one suitcase: european vacation capsule wardrobe

Post 1/10 -
It's time for a first! My good friend V is traveling to Europe for three weeks and asked me to help her pack. I've never tried to pick out clothes for a trip for anyone besides myself. It was a new and really fun experience. (Although I kept exclaiming, "I feel like it's weird because I'm just dressing you like me! But she insisted she liked it.)

We discussed her trip, the places she was visiting and activities she was planning and we came up with a plan -

Here are the Countries/Cities she & her husband are visiting:
  • Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Paris, France
  • Montpellier, France
  • Monte Carlo, Monaco
  • Milan, Italy
  • Rome, Italy
Here are some of the activities that require different clothing we came up with:
  • Travel days (planes & trains)
  • Sightseeing with lots of walking
  • Churches
  • Nice dinners
  • Shopping
  • Beach
  • Hiking, Biking
  • Be able to accommodate cold a/c and really hot days 
Below are the 20 pieces plus shoes & accessories that we picked for her trip as well as a little explanation as to the method we used choosing them. Over the next week I will show you the 40 outfits we put together and photographed from these pieces. (PS she's also preggers so we had to make sure the clothes that fit her now will still fit a month from now...)

The method:
  1. Basics - First we picked some basics pieces to lay the foundation for the trip. We tried to pick her favorite go-to clothes. Clothes she said she wears over and over. The ones that go with almost everything.

    For the basics in this capsule wardrobe we chose a white shirt, white blouse, white cardigan, white cropped pants, black asymmetrical tank, black shorts, jeans and black pants.

  • Interest - Second, we added a few interesting pieces to compliment the subtle basics. We looked for pops of color or fun patterns or even texture that would make the basic pieces more exciting. We tried to grab items that would compliment each other or at least be somewhat in the same color scheme. For this trip we picked lots of reds, teals and greens with some florals and stripes.

    For this set of interest pieces we picked two teal dresses, a striped maxi dress, two patterned skirts, orangy/red cropped pants, green sweater, a burgundy cardigan, a striped shirt and three fun tanks.

  • Accessories & Shoes - Finally, we added some accessories to complete the outfits. Jewelry, belts and scarves take up very little room and can dramatically alter how an outfit looks.

    For this capsule wardrobe we chose two necklaces, one gold watch and some fun bracelets.  For shoes we chose white sandals, pink flats and black Tom's.

  • Over the next eight days I'm going to show you 40 outfits that I put together with these 20 pieces. I will share five outfits each day listing what pieces they are made from. And then on the last day I will post a big downloadable image that includes the all the individual 20 pieces and all the 40 put together outfits for easy reference.

    Hope you enjoy!!

    Here's a couple of FAQ's I've gotten over the course of the past few 'One Suitcase' posts:
    • Do you wear all outfits when you pack a suitcase like this?
      • Not typically. I just like to have extra options when I travel. Most times I'll have 30 options for a two week business trip. Just nice to know they're there! :)
    • What about toiletries & undergarments & tech accessories - why aren't they listed?  
      • For me, the most difficult part of packing for a trip is trying pare down to a small 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, don't worry - the amount of clothes I'm listing in these posts leaves enough room for that stuff! All I would do to complete this suitcase is to top it off with a small packing cube with undergarments and my small makeup bag by placing them both on top of the clothes. And then my liquids & tech items go in my purse for easy access in airport security. Here's an overview of traveling post I did that has a bit of that info. But the internet is full of much more comprehensive packing lists then I'm posting.

    • How come  the individual item pictures don't match your actual clothes?
      • I just try to find as close as possible images from googling to use for the example graphics. Many times I can't find the original items. So I just do my best.

    • How can you re-wear clothing pieces so many times without getting smelly?
      • Re-wearing clothing works better when the weather isn't too hot. So it's less effective in high temperatures or with any athletic activity. Luckily my job typically has offices with freezing A/Cs so it helps lessen the sweating likelihood.
        I also usually pack a travel sized fabric refresher - like Downey Wrinkle Releaser - for light refreshes.

        But, most often, for a really long trip, I just resign myself to the cost of sending out my laundry (or finding a laundry mat) for the benefit of having a light suitcase for the duration of the trip. I think it's totally worth that extra cost to not die every time you have to carry your bag... 
    You can check out my other One Suitcase features:
    • Business Casual clothes here  
    • Summer Vacation clothes here 
    • Winter Vacation clothes here
    • Spring Business Casual clothes here
    • Mini Getaway clothes here


    1. This is so exciting! I was in Italy for a little over 2 weeks last year at this time. I would have loved you inspiration. I could only bring one suit case since the cars are so small thanks for this post.

      1. Hope you find it helpful for your next trip!

    2. Yay! I'm so excited to see this :)

    3. These are my favorite posts! Thanks for another great one! I can't wait to see all the outfits.


    Post a Comment