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Lani’s Travel Capsule Wardrobe Formula

Our readers who subscribe, and therefore get our weekly newsletter detailing our comings and goings, will know that I have been doing A LOT of traveling for clients lately. After using the same strategy for 4 trips in one month, I thought I should be nice and share my new travel capsule wardrobe formula. (Aside: To those of you who think the life of a personal stylist is glamorous, my 4 year-old is scotch taping me to my desk chair as I write this. Apparently he thought I needed help focusing on the task at hand.) But I digress…. So what is my new, easy-peasy travel fashion formula?


2 bottoms + 3 tops + 1 “topper” + 1 pair of shoes = 3 days of outfits


This is how it works in real time.

Day 1: Wear bottom #1, top #1, and the topper and shoes that will stay the same for all 3 days of travel. Here we have the Superdry Scuba Blazer, a Uniqlo tee, my Donna Karan trousers and Kate Spade loafers.

Day 2: Wear bottom #2, top #2, same topper and shoes. I’ll wear a different color tee and wide leg crop pants.

Day 3: Wear bottom #1 again, top #3, same topper and shoes. I’ll wear another different color tee and the Donna Karan pants again.



The idea is that the stuff that takes up the most space in your suitcase are shoes and toppers like a blazer or coat. If you wear the same topper and shoes the whole time, you save a ton of space. Your suitcase needs only 2 tops, one pant, socks, underwear, and pjs. I even use a packing cube for my clothes so everything stays neat and organized, and separate from my client merchandise.

I know it shouldn’t be, but packing for a work trip can be stressful for me. I am so focused on packing merchandise and paperwork, etc. for my clients, that the last thing I want to think about is what to wear myself. In fact, to make my life even easier, the last time I went to New York I packed 2 of the exact same top (our favorite Uniqlo tee in black!) so I could wear a fresh shirt but have one less decision to make.

I don’t think I will ever be a candidate for Project 333, which involves having only 33 items in your closet each season, but one’s mind truly gets a rest when there are less wardrobe decisions to make. This is one of the reasons our clients feel so ready to tackle the world after they redo their closet with us. It is so much easier to get dressed, and therefore have an easier, more pleasant start to your day, when you only have to decide among pieces that you know work, and your closet is neat and organized.

The anticipation of having to pack 3 different outfits for a 3 day work trip was way more mentally taxing than just choosing one outfit. However, the trick to this capsule wardrobe strategy is to find the right topper. It was still cool when we were traveling in May, so I was able to have a blazer that acted like warm outerwear or outerwear that acted like a blazer each time. My S.W.O.R.D leather jacket, my Athleta Stellar blazer, and my Super-Dry ponte jacket were my toppers of choice. Yes, I was wearing a lot of black! In addition to the same topper and shoes, I also wore the same jewelry and scarf all 3 days of my trips. For the summer I plan to use my strategy with a sleeveless vest as opposed to a long sleeve jacket. Stay tuned to my Instagram to see my travel combinations for the upcoming 90 degree days!

Do you think my travel capsule wardrobe formula would work for you? Let me know if you try it or if you have your own formula to share with us!

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Lani Inlander is a personal stylist who has been working with clients who want to feel their best and look put-together every day for 20 years. You can find her in the Washington, D.C. and New York metropolitan areas. Are you looking for professional training to become a personal stylist? Learn how you can train with Lani at The Stylist Studio

You can find Lani Inlander and Real Life Style on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.


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