A capsule travel wardrobe for all seasons

As I’ve made my way around the UK and published blog posts and Instagram updates, I’ve had a lot of questions about how many clothes I took on holiday so I thought I’d do a flatlay of the whole lot as a matter of interest.  It’s all been washed, but not necessarily pressed, and laid out on the bed. The shoes are on a towel I took in the hope that I’d find a 50m pool to swim in (I didn’t).


Starting with the shoes, I took a pair of Keen hiking shoes, which I wore a lot, red Reikers, and black Prado laceups. I knitted a pair of fingerless gloves en route from wool bought in a Pateley Bridge, Yorkshire, charity shop, and they are on the shoes. At the very back is my raincoat and hat made from fabric bought from Misan in London a couple of visits ago. Moving forward is the single piece boatneck tunic from Drape Drape 3, together with the infinity scarf made from leftovers and the Maisie hack top made from a wool Indian shawl. Blue and yellow Anais jackets Tunisian crocheted from Stitch Diva Studios. To the left in the middle are blue jeans (pattern made for me), black wool ponte Jalie Elénore jeans, and a pair of striped wool trousers made from my trouser block.

In front of the Anais jackets are a red merino funnel neck top, orange merino long sleeved tee, cream/fawn self drafted turtleneck, hoodie made from thrifted fabric and copied from an old Esprit one I loved. Tucked under here and appearing to be out of sight is a 3/4 length sleeve yellow tee-shirt.

Moving to the front is an LBpullover from Knitwit french terry, a knitted hood, knitted beanie, The Weekender jumper, a grey scarf I Tunisian crocheted for Mark and immediately borrowed, self drafted ponte skirt, black tee shirt, and ponte Eléonore pull up jeans, with garter stitch gloves on top.

In the middle is the Lotta Jansdotter Esme dress I made from another Indian wool shawl, my Pattern Union Beverley cape, and Pattern Union Phoebe Bib and Tucker, both of which got many compliments every time I wore them, which made me feel vaguely trendy.

I just realised that I had left a few things in the ironing pile, namely the madder dyed silk shirt, the white tablecloth shirt, black shirt from Basic Black Japanese sewing book, and blue and mustard shirt. I probably should retake the shot, but I’ve put everything away now and just can’t face getting it all out again, so did a separate shot. I added the orange Frye oxfords to this group as I had also forgotten them.


I did borrow a couple of Mark’s jumpers, which is just as well as he didn’t wear either of them!

Of course I also had socks, tights and underwear all made by me. Everything I took was made by me, apart from the shoes. It probably seems like a lot but we were away for nearly eight weeks and at times it wasn’t anywhere near enough. Of course, every day I had several layers on – some days many layers! I pack in vacuum bags so it didn’t take up much space, and my suitcase weighed about 22 kgs – on the way to the UK, rather more on the way home!

I wore every single thing shown here. I did take too many pairs of socks and I also took a swimsuit, cap and goggles, none of which I wore. Travelling at this time of the year is a bit challenging as I had to take clothes which would accommodate almost any weather and I did manage quite well with the layers.

I was pretty pleased with the wardrobe I took. I felt reasonably well pulled together most days and was able to complete all our activities in comfort.


21 thoughts on “A capsule travel wardrobe for all seasons

  1. Thanks for sharing your final report on your capsule wardrobe. As you know I followed your adventures on Instagram and saw almost daily how impressively you were able to make everything work together, especially in tricky weather. Possibly some days you were wearing half your suitcase and some of Mark’s on those very cold days! I did wonder given that (other than your shoes) it was all made by you, whether everything lived up to the constant washing and wearing ones seem to do when travelling. I’m always surprised when my hand made stuff doesn’t fall apart – or maybe that’s my lack of confidence in sewing skills?! Kerry x

    1. Thank you Kerry, nothing fell apart in those apartment washing machines which seem much harder on the clothes than mine at home, but I always travel with a repair kit just in case! Thank you so much for the nice comment about my wardrobe, I really felt as though I’m coming close to nailing it, especially if I can nick a bit of Mark’s wardrobe too! His jumpers allowed me to change the look more than if I’d just had my own clothes. Sue x

  2. Incredible! I bet you won’t be pulling those clothes out for a while, even if they are Perth winter appropriate…. I loved reading your adventures, and how awesome it was for your Son to visit you- I tried to do that for Mum & Dad when they were in Europe but a sick child kept me here at the time 🙁

    1. Haha Linda, you’re so right! What a shame you couldn’t visit your parents in Europe as a surprise, but I’m sure you’ll wangle it another time. Thank you so much for the lovely comment. x

  3. What an adventure, with a well thought out wardrobe. Please tell us about the vacuum bags. Just for fun, have you ever read the blog Vivienne Files? https://www.theviviennefiles.com/ https://www.pinterest.com/SMafter60/the-vivienne-files/templates/ Not only is it fun to read, but it gives me many ideas. I have officially put together all the fabrics for a weekend travel wardrobe based on a jacket. https://www.theviviennefiles.com/2019/06/start-with-a-jacket-travel-six-pack.html/ All fabrics are from my stash and based on this printed fabric from Spoonflower https://www.spoonflower.com/en/fabric/3987607-birds-bees-aqua-med-by-nouveau_bohemian?fabric=petal_signature_cotton The fabric number is in the link in case the link doesen’t work for you. You seem experienced at this packing stuff, but as a person who always packs too much, the wrong way, I am going to try this.

    1. Thank you so much Patricia, I did think much more about packing this time. I use Samsonite roll up vacuum bags but also some my sister recommended from Amazon, which are like this https://www.amazon.com.au/SAVORLIVING-Reusable-Space-saving-Included-Compression/dp/B07FDPYWMQ/ref=sr_1_18?keywords=vacuum+travel+bags&qid=1560660026&s=gateway&sr=8-18. Sorry, I don’t know the brand of mine as I bought them on my sister’s amazon account. They are just brilliant, but as I only like natural fibres things do need to be pressed on arrival. I love the Vivienne Files and am now following her, so thank you for that link. Your spoonflower fabric is fabulous and will make a great base outfit for travelling. I might need to do this! Thank you again. Sue x

  4. I know people who would take more than that for two weeks and wouldn’t look as well turned out as you did! Well done you 😁

    1. Thank you Kim, you’re so sweet! Having had a couple of disasters on recent trips I worked hard at this one and felt much better put together!

  5. I have been following along on your adventures and you always looked so well put together in an interesting and appropriate way. Thank you for putting together this post of what you took. As you say, it is quite a challenge to travel for a long time when the weather can vary so much. You did a fabulous job.

    1. Thank you so much Christine. It is a massive challenge and I might be getting slightly better at it as my last few trips have been a bit of a disaster, so I’m putting more thought into it!

  6. Now one silly question: what was “the” piece you most loved and would bring back again for another trip? My favorite certainly was your orange Esme dress!

    1. I’ve thought about this since I read your comment and I think I have three – the Esme dress, the Bib and Tucker dungarees and my Beverley cape – they all made me feel quite glamorous which doesn’t usually happen when I travel!

  7. Nailed it! There’s nothing quite so satisfying as a well thought out travel capsule is there?! As a person who does NOT have a capsule wardrobe at home, I love the challenge of making one when travelling.

    1. I refuse to do the capsule thing at home too, but it’s good to hone the skills when travelling. Thank you Naomi, I was very happy with this one.

  8. I’ve enjoyed reading all your adventures in England, Scotland and your daily fashion show. One can call this a travel capsule wardrobe. Packing in vacuum bags is a very clever way to reduce space.

  9. Your wardrobe was very impressive and by the sounds of things worked pretty well for the weather. Thank you for the link for the vacuum bags.

    I am trying to work out my wardrobe for 5 weeks travel, Inland Passage, Canada, Maine, Zurich and Singapore and the only thing I have thought about is the 3 days in Singapore!

    1. This made me laugh! It’s so hard to plan a wardrobe and think of all the contingencies. I understand why you haven’t got past Singapore – it’s going to be hot, so it’s pretty easy. Work on layers with some neutral basics. I think a few bright things make a difference too. I find shoes the hardest thing – I seem to need to many pairs!

  10. Sue, you are such an inspiration! Even though I think I’m pretty good at capsules etc, I am still a way away from having entirely handmade ones. You never fail to impress me! (and even more so since we met in person).

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