Friday, December 7, 2012

one suitcase: beach vacation capsule wardrobe


Post 10/10 -
Between my job & my love of seeing new places around the world I spend a fair amount of time living out of a suitcase. From all the experience I have gained from hauling myself & my stuff all over the place I have learned just how valuable packing smart & packing light is to your sanity. And I think I have gotten pretty good at selecting just my few favorite pieces of clothing to bring and stretching their use though multiple outfits for multiple activities as I travel. So for this second installment of the one suitcase feature I'm going to try out a beach vacation capsule wardrobe.

The purpose of the "One Suitcase" feature is to try to show you how you can pare down your packing list when you travel without sacrificing the number or variety of outfits you have for the range of activities your trip may entail. I have learned through trial and error (and the pain of lugging wayyy too big a suitcase) that by packing a few favorite & versatile pieces of clothing I can mix and match the items into a surprising number of outfit options. You just have to do a little planning up front. Hopefully the posts this week will show you my method and help you find the potential of the clothes you already have in your closet!

In case you missed it:
Packing Checklist:


The method:
  1. Basics - First I pick some basics pieces to lay the foundation for the trip. I try to pick my favorite go-to clothes. Clothes I know I wear over and over. The ones that go with almost everything. For me, this usually involves  laying out my favorite jeans, basic shorts and a pair of super comfy wedges.

    For the basics in this capsule wardrobe I have chosen whites & navys/blues as the base colors. I packed my favorite jeans, white & black shorts, white button down shirt, chambray button down shirt, a navy & a white cardigan and a white strapless dress.









  • Interest - Second, I add a few interesting pieces to compliment the subtle basics. I look for pops of color or fun patterns that will make the basic pieces more exciting. I try to grab items that will compliment each other or at least be somewhat in the same color scheme. For me, I'd usually go for a striped top, a dress, few colored dresses and an interesting blouse that would go with both cardigans.

    For this capsule wardrobe I chose a pink t-shirt, a striped tank, a teal tank, an ikat tank, an ikat coverup, a teal maxi dress, an ikat skirt and a green & yellow dress.

  • Accessories & Shoes - Finally, I add some accessories to complete the outfits. Jewelry, belts and scarves take up very little room and can dramatically alter how an outfit looks. Unfortunately, shoes is the area I still struggle with. I always want to bring just one more pair. But I've learned to limit myself to only either blacks or browns (depending on my clothes) and then nude/beige shoes go with everything.

    For this capsule wardrobe I chose three necklaces, one gold watch, white fedora hat, brown belt and a teal clear beach bag. 


      Proof of concept - All my clothes, jewelry & shoes fit in my one beach bag! (I'd actually use a carry-on suitcase and typically I wear my bulkiest pair of shoes & jeans on the plane so this bag would have more room - but just for show I put everything into the one bag.)




            73 comments:

            1. Great Tips. Cannot believe you fit that all in one beach bag! I am the worst over packer so I need to take note here.
              Thanks for Sharing.

              pjmscloset.blogspot.ca

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            2. this series was great! keep up the good work.

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            3. I appreciate the work that you must have put into this fantastically detailed series.
              Travelling light is very freeing and after years of doing it, I enjoy challenging myself to carry fewer and fewer items. To be honest, it's partly for the feeling of pride when I see some poor, sweaty soul hauling her giant suitcase around...while I have everything I need casually slung over my shoulder. ;)

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            4. Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it!! :)

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            5. I love these capsules! My husband and I travel so much with our jobs, and I really haven't found something as amazing as yours. Most capsules don't actually show people wearing the items. They just simply suggest to have 5 bottoms, and 5 tops which makes 25 outfits. NOT SO! Most people know your'e just rewearing clothes. This gives us travelers hope! Thanks again for your creativity with outfits. Can't wait to try this for our Christmas/New Year trip.

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            6. Just discovered your blog and I love it.... I am really going to try to do something like this.

              also almost by accident I found this necklace right after reading this entry. So another 'similar' if you wanted it :) http://www.etsy.com/listing/116207133/turquoise-green-necklace-bubble-necklace

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            7. Glad you are enjoying it!

              Anon, I totally agree - I like the suggestions of the clothing pieces to pack but I want to see them put together to mentally understand what it will look like!

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            8. Awesome! Definitely need to try to do this! Going to panama and florida this year and travelling for the first time with an infant so not only do I have to pack for me, but I have to pack for her also. Would love to be able to fit all of her and my stuff in one suitcase!

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            9. Once again, fantastic inspiration! I'm going on my honeymoon soon and I'll definitely be using some of these outfits as a jumping off point! Thanks again!

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            10. Best packing advice I've found! Trying it this week

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            11. Esto es increíble. La vez pasada que fui de vacaciones a la playa, mi maleta era enoorme y aun así sentí que me faltó ropa, esta idea es genial! Y son sólo 16 piezas, me has ayudado muchísimo. Eres genial!

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            12. love your One Suitcase series! I'd love to see more posts like this. I travel constantly and overpack every time!

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            13. Amazing!! These outfits are adorable! What a great (and useful) post! Thanks!

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            14. You are a genius for putting together those outfits and presenting them in a way that makes sense! Every outfit is so cute and wearable. I'm actually incorporating this capsule into my everyday wardrobe. Thanks for sharing your creativity!!

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            15. Yay! I'm so happy you guys have found this interesting & useful! Will hopefully have the next installment (winter suitcase!) out in a few weeks! Excited! :)

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            16. Great tips...and nice outfits for the beach vacation!

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            17. That is AWESOME! If you want to, could you do a 7 day cruise one? I would be ever so grateful! I'm heading out on a Disney cruise the end of March that will include a formal night, semi formal night, Pirate party, and two beach days and I think I'm gonna need 10 suitcases, LOL.

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            18. Thank you so much for this! Really inspiring. Greetings from Amsterdam.

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            19. Perfect...just what I needed, packing is going to be fun I think.
              Thanks

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            20. Riiight...No socks, no panties, no bras, no hosiery, no make up, no toiletries...no emergency changes of clothes, no jacket, no umbrella, no sun screen, no towel, no book, no chargers for electronics...total fail...you know how else you can "pack for a week?" Take nothing and buy it all at your destination! HAHAHAHA!!!

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              Replies
              1. No bathing suit? For a beach vacation? Really? Totally agree with above.

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              2. For me the most difficult part of packing for a trip is trying pare down to a limited set of clothing pieces to maximize the number of outfits that I can create. The easier part of the packing process is adding the swimsuits, necessary undergarments, tech accessories and toiletries once I've decided on clothing. So for me the focus of the one suitcase posts have been around harder concept of the clothes.

                But all I would do to complete this packing - is put the suits in a real carry-on suitcase & to top it off with a small packing cube with undergarments and my small makeup bag. And then my liquids & tech items go in my purse for easy access in airport security.

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            21. I am so doing this! I'm going to Puerto Rico and St Croix at the end of April. I just spent the morning doing some online sale shopping at Old Navy. Island packing is so difficult since I find I end up changing several times a day. I'm exchanging light scarves for the necklaces because I don't ever wear necklaces. Besides the multi-colored items, I'm sticking with a neutral and green color scheme (with some hints of pink). Of course I also need to add a couple swim suits and a fancy dress to wear to my sister's wedding, but the rest of the plan has a good start. Thanks.

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            22. Any chance you'll do a one suitcase trip to Europe? I'd love to see that one.

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            23. I seriously think this post has changed my life. I haven't bought clothes for myself in ages, so my summer wardrobe is somewhat lacking. Since reading and absorbing this post yesterday morning, I have been "shopping" to 4 different websites and have bought every item on this list except for jeans and black shorts (which I might already own) and flats (which I'll shop for in person later this week).

              I've even contemplated the "trip to Europe" question of the last poster. Black or gray pants instead of the skirt or one of the dresses, another t-shirt instead of one of the tank tops, close-toed shoes instead of the sandals; layering is still your friend.

              I may actually blog about this after all my purchases arrive in the mail.

              Thank you!!!

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            24. AD - that's so awesome that the post has been so helpful! Definitely ping me if you blog about your purchases!!

              A Teacher's Quest - A Europe suitcase is next on my list. It'll probably be a few months before I can find the time to put one together but it's definitely on my list!

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            25. Found your blog thru Pinterest and love your One-Suitcase ideas! I ditto the request to Europe, as I go every year for 5 weeks with varying climates (as cool as Ireland and as warm as Italy within the 5 week time frame). Although I have managed to pack both myself and my daughter in one BIG suitcase, I would like to pack lighter and need some inspiration. I look forward to your next One-Suitcase to Europe post. In the meantime, I will be using your idea to pack for my next cruise in two weeks. Wish me luck!

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            26. Cool...except some of the photos have items that are not listed. Like the blue dress with reddish stripes and one of the multicolored tops. Has no one else noticed this?!

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            27. Lillian, I don't have exact pictures of my clothes so I used close approximations.

              The blue dress with reddish stripes that I'm wearing is listed as the "Ikat Strapless Coverup"

              And the Multicolored top is listed as "Ikat Print Tank"

              Hope this helps!

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            28. Lillian, I don't have exact pictures of my clothes so I used close approximations.

              The blue dress with reddish stripes that I'm wearing is listed as the "Ikat Strapless Coverup"

              And the Multicolored top is listed as "Ikat Print Tank"

              Hope this helps!

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            29. Lillian,
              I don't have exact pictures of my clothes so I used close approximations.

              The blue dress with reddish stripes that I'm wearing is listed as the "Ikat Strapless Coverup"

              And the Multicolored top is listed as "Ikat Print Tank"

              Hope this helps!

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            30. This whole capsule idea is exactly what I need. I don't even care that it is not my style, I'm using it anyway!

              Ugh, I need more of a 10 week European summer vacay. But with bar/club/nightlife stuff as well. LBDs, etc.

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            31. ^^ I'll be in Paris, Rome, Florence, and London- don't even know how to dress..
              (hopefully other countries too!)

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            32. http://diasbelcavello.blogspot.com/2013/03/one-suitcase-march-25-2013.html

              I copied you, and here's the outcome. Shopping was fun, and now I have some colorful summer outfits, and some basic essential pieces for any time of year.

              Thanks again for this inspiration.

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              Replies
              1. thank you for taking the time and effort to model all the clothing you picked. i am not a size 6 either, so it is nice to see this work for someone of more average size :)

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            33. do you wear underwear & bras? shampoo, face wash, tooth brush/paste, etc? where is it? People say buy it when you get there! I don't have that kind of $. Flight is expensive enough. Anyone can pack a suitcase.

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            34. Thank you MK. I found your blog while looking for a "How to" sort of on creating a ton of outfits with some basics and a few fun pieces. Your simple explanation and style were just what I wanted. I loved it so much, I recreated it, bought it and posted it to polyvore :) That's the first time I've really felt confident clothes shopping.
              http://www.polyvore.com/cgi/collection?id=2437678

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            35. Where is the dress from outfits 5, 18, 35, 36? (Not challenging you, just feel like I'm missing something?
              Where do you pack undergarments, swimsuits, toiletries? Or do you check that bag due to restrictions?
              This is great for wardrobe-building, not just packing.

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              Replies
              1. she used a similar strapless cover up. if you look at the pics of her modeling the clothes, not the pics of just the clothes, and count out to 5, 18, etc., you will see a royal blue strapless dress with a red and yellow band around the bottom and the top.

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            36. Hi Kelly,
              I answered this above when Lillian asked it -
              "I don't have exact pictures of my clothes so I used close approximations.

              The blue dress with reddish stripes that I'm wearing is listed as the "Ikat Strapless Coverup"

              And the Multicolored top is listed as "Ikat Print Tank"

              Hope this helps! "

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            37. Hi FrenchKissnLife,
              For me the most difficult part of packing for a trip is trying pare down to a limited set of clothing pieces to maximize the number of outfits that I can create. The easier part of the packing process is adding the necessary undergarments, tech accessories and toiletries once I've decided on clothing. So for me the focus of the one suitcase posts have been around harder concept of the clothes.

              But all I would do to complete this packing - is put the items in a real carry-on suitcase & to top it off with a small packing cube with undergarments and my small makeup bag. And then my liquids & tech items go in my purse for easy access in airport security.

              I hope this helps!

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            38. While I love Love LOVE this concept, I thought I'd share some problems I'm running into.
              1. I'm going to St Croix for my sister's wedding, so an additional dress is already a necessity for that.
              2. For Christmas, my sister bought me a dress and a shrug to bring on this beach vacation. I didn't remember it until my bag was already packed. She'll be hurt if I don't bring it, and it doesn't really go with anything else I'm packing, so this will add an additional two items to my suitcase.
              3. I'm confident one of my cousins will arrange a late night room party, and I won't want to be wearing a dress or the shorts I wore all day. I know I will hate myself if I don't have a pair of comfy yoga pants to wear in the hotel room at night.
              4. Oh, and don't forget a swimsuit or two.

              I'm just glad that summer clothing takes up much less room than winter clothing.

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            39. Rose,
              Your polyvore set is SO COOL! Love it!

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            40. Hi AD,
              The One Suitcase posts are really just to help figure out ways to mix & match the items in the suitcase. It's not intended to be a comprehensive packing list. (There are tons of those available on other sites.) Glad you figured out what you needed to pack! :)

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            41. Love this! Going to a family reunion in July and this will come in very handy. My only question is on the toiletries (hair products/flat iron, etc) and pj's etc. - where do you put all those items?

              Now to figure out how to keep the shoes down to a minimum!

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            42. Great post! I'd love to know what kind of bag you use for toiletries, undergarments, book, hat (what's a good packable sun hat?), swimsuits...

              Thanks!

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            43. Tami, Anon,
              Here's a post that has a little more about what I pack: http://outfitposts.blogspot.com/2012/08/outfit-posts-reader-request-how-to.html

              If these clothes were in a regular carry-on - there'd be plenty of room for the other non-clothing items.

              I'd recommend google to find a comprehensive packing list. These posts aren't intended to be a complete list of stuff to bring - just to help see various options in the clothes you pack.

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            44. Hi! Thanks for a great post using clothing that we might actually own and feel comfortable wearing. We're leaving for vacation in a few days. This really helped me think about what I could pack from what I already have in my closet. Even though I don't have exactly the same pieces, I was able to substitute the same styles (I.e. a red t-shirt for the pink one). There are now a few items on my wish list as well! I also appreciate the suggestions for packing toiletries. Heather

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            45. I LOVE this entire suitcase series. As someone who is not good at all with putting cute outfits together this has helped me make the most of my closet. I have used this summer suitcase to add new items to my closet. Thank you! I can't wait to see what you have in store for fall!

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            46. I used this post series for a cruise we took in December and now I'm using it again for a trip to California next week. Just wanted to say again how helpful it is! I'm obviously bringing a couple other things like workout clothes and I'm more of a skirt person than a dress person, but HELLO, so easy to make those substitutions and additions based on what you did here. And since I'm travelling alone, I have TONS of extra space in my carry-on even after adding undergarments, PJs, toiletries, etc. Just wanted to thank you again!

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            47. Yay! So happy to hear it's useful!!

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            48. How do you pack your necklaces? ear rings?

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              Replies
              1. Just put the necklaces & earrings in a small zipper case. Sorta like this one: Jewelry Case

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            49. Nice Dresses! Thank you so much for hosting. Enjoy your weekend!

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            50. Just wanted to thank you personally for this fabulous capsule wardrobe!!!! I'm going to my high school reunion and flying with my two kids all.by.myself! YIKES! Anyway, it's great to be able to bring just a carry-on bag with my tweaked wardrobe choices of this capsule!!!! I feel stylish and won't have to spend $50 checking a giant suitcase there and back. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!

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              1. Btw, do you wear the hat when flying?

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              2. That's awesome! I'm so glad that you found this helpful!!

                Good question on the hat! I actually have been meaning to research how to travel with a hat. I usually have my carry-on bag and then a purse/tote sized bag and try to keep the hat in the tote without crushing it.

                The hat in the post above does an okay job at getting reshaped if it gets crushed but I think I either need a crushable hat or a better method for not squashing it in the first place. (I'm not much of a wear a hat in the airport kind of gal...)

                If you find any tips - let me know!!

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            51. The one suitcase idea is genius! My fiance and I are getting married in a few months and we have secured a Cape Cod summer rental for our first married summer vacation together. I am so excited to incorporate some of your ideas into my outfits. Thanks!

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              1. I hope you have a fantastic time!

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            52. Great post - going to try and pack for my December beach holiday with these tips in mind. I think what really works is having a trial run at home and taking pics of yourself in the outfits - so often we wear the same stuff in the same boring combinations. Thanks for your effort!! ( You are a bright spark - there is a plug point in every photo!!)

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            53. This is a great article. My wife usually wears some of these same outfits to the beach because she likes to get a little sun. However, we have three little children so we always have a lot of stuff we bring on our beach trips. Being properly dressed is always a must but I think having enough sunscreen is more important. Lately we have been using All Natural Sunscreen because it is better for you skin and just as powerful.

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            54. Great blog entry, thank so much. I'm using this to help create a capsule wardrobe for everyday not just for travel as I live in Malawi and there's not really any shops so I have to plan all my shopping in advance and buy when I travel abroad. I'm going to switch some of the white basics for tans and oatmeals as it's so dusty here but essentially I'm copying this model exactly!!! Thanks again.

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              1. Awesome! Glad you find it useful! Safe travels!

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            55. Great post but where is your swimsuit ? Every beach vacation needs at least 2!

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              Replies
              1. Good point. 2 is definitely a good idea!

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            56. I find myself coming back to your "one Suitcase" posts time and time again. I will be using your tips on my trip to Belize in April, so thank you!

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              1. Yay! That's so awesome to hear! I hope you have a fantastic time!

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            57. I feel like your posts are the gift that keep on giving. It's been over a year sent you did this, and I am using it to pack for my weekend in Miami followed by a cruise. Thank you so much for sharing. I leave in four days and I am still sane because of you.

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              1. Yay! I'm so glad you like the post. I hope your trip is wonderful!

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