From the archives. Originally published in 2019.
In case you missed it, I’m rerunning my La Dolce Vita April guest post on building a travel wardrobe around the classics.
I’ve removed all the stress of packing for a trip by building a capsule wardrobe specifically for travel. I’ve been collecting pieces for years and trust in their reliability for function, comfort and style. I use them as the foundation for my packing strategy and add different items seasonally as needed. It’s easy to build a wardrobe from the key essentials which have repeatedly had me covered in numerous occasions. Since I know they pack well, I’m able to resort to an efficient formula that works every time. I never have to worry if they’ll fit into the carry-on and tote system I rely on for every trip.
I always start my packing strategy around comfort. For me that means shoes. I won’t waste my time bringing a pair that restrict my walking or have limited styling capabilities. A sneaker, day-to-night loafer, basic sandal almost always make the cut. A low heeled boot with a chunky heel is an easy piece to quickly transform an outfit.
Jackets are key because I’m always cold. I like to have a variety of options since I know I will most likely need one every day. Some sort of trench for windy or wet weather would often be my go-to choice. A black blazer to wear with everything from jeans to slacks or with a skirt offers endless styling options. A second blazer in a sporty plaid or light color would also make the cut. I’d pack a short, lightweight wrap for day time layering and perhaps a trim down puffer that compacts nicely.
After those two areas are covered, I start filling in the pieces. I’ll take a few jeans with silhouettes that work with all of the shoes. A dark rinse is a must for day to night, and then usually a white or ivory pair to change things up. A straight, black pant is an essential piece I never travel without. It’s such a workhorse for so many looks. When you find a pair with the perfect fit and fabrication, buy two. Skirts have just as many styling capabilities, so I try to travel with one that works with all the other layers I’ve already zeroed in on. A black silk skirt with a sweater and sneakers can be dinner ready in a minute with a bootie, camisole and blazer.
Next, I’ll make sure I have plenty of top options. Fine knit sweaters for layering or on their own are a must. I always bring at least one in black. For packing efficiency, I never bring anything bulky that would consume too much space in the suitcase. Shirts and blouses, along with nice tee shirts, offer variety and look good under blazers, knitwear or by themselves. I try to select silk blouses that easily release wrinkles with a quick steam from the shower.
Last, I’ll carefully choose accessories that are practical and stylish. A lightweight crossbody works best for me for daytime. I carry a Prada nylon messenger because it weighs nothing and is big enough to fit my camera along with all other necessities. I looked for a chic camera bag forever and never found one I liked. Then, I had an aha moment when I spied a padded insert for cameras and lenses and I’ve never looked back.
SHOP THE KEY PIECES BELOW