Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or it’s your first time taking a trip, figuring out how to pack light can be an intimidating challenge. I’ve taken dozens of trips around the world and after years of checking a bag, I finally made the switch to carry-on only. Even for long trips! Which is how I’ve been able to master my travel capsule wardrobe for the fall/winter.
A carry-on is a great way to avoid checked bag fees and the anxiety of potentially losing your luggage. But the lack of space can be hard to pack especially when heading to a destination that’s a bit chillier when bulkier items are often needed. Lucky for you I’ve mastered the perfect travel capsule wardrobe for the fall/winter months and I’m excited to share it with you today. The info below will show you 18+ carry-on outfits you can create with only a handful of items which will make packing a breeze so you can enjoy your trip.
Plus, don’t forget to check out my video below which runs through as well as shows you all of the outfits on!
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How Do You Make A Capsule Wardrobe For A Trip?
There are 3 main factors you want to consider when making a travel capsule wardrobe for a trip.
Is It Versatile?
This is key for any type of capsule wardrobe but especially one you’ll use for travel. For example, you’ll want a shirt that can be dressed up for dinner or down for a walking tour. This is where it’s all about maximizing every item’s potential and making sure they can be mixed and matched with other items easily.
Is It Comfortable?
When I’m on the go, comfort is one of my biggest priorities. I refuse to wear anything that makes me uncomfortable, inside or out, which is why I always opt for pieces with soft fabrics that aren’t overly restricting. All of the items you bring in your fall/winter travel capsule wardrobe should be pieces you’re familiar with or pieces that you are confident will be consistently comfortable throughout your trip.
Is It Packable?
This is where you want to focus on lightweight materials. Now I know this can be tough when packing for a trip to a chillier destination. But that’s where layers come in, so don’t worry. With the packing list you’ll find below, you’ll see that all of the items are able to be layered allowing for maximum warmth and space in your carry-on.
How Many Pieces Are In A Travel Capsule Wardrobe?
There’s no hard and fast rule about how many pieces are in a travel capsule wardrobe. It really comes down to how much you want to fit in your bag. In this article, I have 17 items (tops, bottoms, outerwear, shoes, bags) all of which can be easily rolled into a carry-on or worn on the plane/train.
I recommend being a bit cautious of how much you jam-pack in your carry-on for two reasons. A. It’s not fun lugging a heavy carry-on around. And B. Some airlines are pretty strict with weighing carry-ons. I find that in the States I can get away with an overweight carry-on (they rarely weigh, in my experience) but internationally, they are much stricter. So be sure to follow this guide to pack smartly!
What Pieces Are Good For A Fall/Winter Capsule Wardrobe?
These are all the pieces I recommend bringing to maximize your style, and space, with your travel capsule wardrobe.
Black Long Sleeve Shirt – Perfect for layering and giving endless pairing possibilities.
Smokey Blue (Grey) Long Sleeve Shirt – Giving a subtle hint of color, this shirt helps add some depth to your travel capsule wardrobe.
Brown Bodysuit – A great option for an elevated look, especially with the earthy tone.
Black Sweatshirt – Perfect for the plane ride or lounging at the hotel/airbnb.
White Button Down – A quintessential piece for transitioning from day to night.
Multi-Color Sweater – The best way to brighten up an outfit, especially during gloomier days.
Black Cardigan – Whether open, buttoned, or draped on your shoulders, this is the perfect finishing touch to any ensemble.
White Sweater Knit Top – The perfect layering piece that adds a touch of elegance to your outfit.
Printed Wide Leg Pants – Add a touch of playfulness with a printed pant that balances comfort and style.
Black Cargo Pants – The best combination of utility and style, especially with the wide-leg silhouette.
Jeans – A timeless favorite, jeans are a must-pack no matter what.
Brown Leggings – Cozy and comfy, perfect for lounging around, working out, and on the airplane of course.
Black Purse – A sleek black purse is the perfect functional staple.
Canvas Tote Bag – A must-have for grocery store runs and casual outings.
Black Boots – Perfect for dinner or a get-together with new friends on your trip.
White Sneakers – What you’ll likely wear a majority of the time, both cute and comfy.
Wool Coat OR Leather Coat – Depending on the weather at your destination, opt for one of these coats for a classic look. Leather is better for fall weather while a wool coat will keep you warm in colder destinations. Pack a scarf and some clothes for the especially frigid destinations.
Fall/Winter Travel Capsule Wardrobe Outfits
When I first wrote this article and recorded this video, my goal was to come up with 18 outfits. Well lucky for you, I actually came up with even more! 20 to be exact. Let’s get into them.
This is the perfect comfy airport outfit. You should choose which coat works best based on the weather of the destination you’re headed to. I always prioritize comfort over everything so this airport outfit is perfect for making sure I’m comfy no matter how long my travels may be.
Leggings aren’t a huge part of my wardrobe but this outfit would be perfect for a quick errand that’s a bit more elevated than wearing a sweatshirt. You can never really go wrong with leggings and a cute cardigan.
Definitely watch the video to see what this looks like. I didn’t love the button-down unbuttoned so I ended up tying it for a little *Britney Spears* moment. It was cute! But now let’s move on from leggings and get into some more practical outfits for everyday looks.
I wrote this outfit with the button-down open. It’s a simple, classic look for a more relaxed day.
I love the square neckline of this top! It’s incredibly flattering. I paired it with the black cardigan but it would likely be fine on its own as this top has very thick material and is warm. In the video, I show you how I cuff the sleeves around the cardigan which gives the look a bit of contrast.
You’ll probably notice that the black cardigan is one of the most popular items in all of these outfits and that’s because of its versatility. You’ll see here how well it layers with this top and jeans making it a must-have in any travel capsule wardrobe.
Let’s stick with the smokey blue/grey top for now. When I added the button-down, it gave a “scientist” look which I respect, but that’s not the vibe I’m going for. I ended up tucking the top in to make it a bit more sleek. Check out the video to see what I mean!
A white button-down is not something I typically incorporate into my outfits so I’m challenging myself to make as many looks as I can with this item. For this outfit, I tucked it in and paired it with the black cardigan. It was a bit corporate for my style but I’d probably wear it to a museum or out to a cafe when I want a more preppy look.
Time to break out the multi-color sweater! I paired this with the button down which helped make this outfit super warm. I also did a little French tuck with the sweater which you can see in the video.
This bodysuit is warm enough so I don’t think I would need a layer depending on the weather. But if you do, the black cardigan is a great option. In the video, I show you how to tuck this cardigan for an even cuter look than simply wearing it buttoned up or open.
This is a great casual outfit, especially if you style the button-down half-tucked into your pants. I love doing a half-tuck, it really balances the outfit well without being overly serious.
This is probably one of my favorite outfits on this list. Can you tell I love dark neutrals?! The balance of the brown and black is perfection. Plus, I love these wide-leg cargo pant.
These are two of my favorite pieces put together. Especially with the black bag, this look is the closest thing to perfection in my eyes.
I feel so at home with an all-black outfit. I’m trying hard to branch out and wear color but this is truly where I feel at peace (dramatic, yes). You can’t go wrong with this look!
If you need a little bit of “color” to break up the all-black outfit, simply add the smokey blue/grey top for a bit of contrast.
Layering the white button-down under this sweater is the perfect way to stay warm!
Wearing this button-down half-tucked or folded and tucked (check out the video to see what I mean) is a good option for this look. The black and white is a great contrast of course.
This is a great option to make these pants the star of the show by balancing them with all-black pieces.
A neutral pair of pants with a fun print? You can never go wrong. At first, I tried to pair this with a layer underneath but I didn’t love the look. so I decided to wear it with just the button-down shirt in a half-tuck. This might be a bit chilly, so I do recommend wearing a warm coat with this look if you’ll be heading outside.
I really like the contrast of the white and beige so throw a black Caridgan on to balance out the black and you’ll have a cute preppy look.
What jewelry to bring when traveling?
I always bring a few gold rings, bracelets, and a necklace when I’m traveling. Frankly, these are all pieces I wear 24/7 anyway, so I just wear them on the plane. However, to spice up all of these neutral outfits, I always bring a couple of fun earrings to add a bit of personality to my look. Check out this article about my favorite Etsy shops for jewelry to find some great pieces to bring!
How do get wrinkles out when traveling?
Wrinkles are inevitable when packing everything up into a small carry-on. I always bring Downy Wrinkle Refresh Spray on a trip with me. This bottle is TSA-friendly and lasts super long. All you need to do is spray it on your clothes, “wipe” the wrinkles out and the clothes will be smooth and wrinkle-free. If it leaves a wet spot, don’t worry because it will try in a few minutes and won’t leave any type of mark.
I hope this article was able to prepare you best for your upcoming trip! This is the perfect travel capsule wardrobe you can refer to for years to come. Thank you for reading!