How to dress in layers for travel; a capsule wardrobe from Taking Shape

In Autumn we travelled from South Australia to Darwin, and my capsule holiday wardrobe was all about how how to pack layers for travel. As well as needing to dress for multiple climates, I also needed a mix of clothing to suit everything from walking, to dining out, to ballooning. Some clothes needed to be robust and others light, cool and reasonably dressy. I found it more challenging than packing for 6 weeks in Europe, but with someTaking Shape pieces in your suitcase you will have garments for every occasion (well maybe not a ball, are you going to a ball?)

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Shortly after returning from those travels, I was asked by Taking Shape to put together a holiday capsule wardrobe suited to travelling in Australia. I have based my recommendations on items to layer up across our various climates, but of course you can simply pick those items that match your travel plans and add others from your exisiting wardrobe. Take my list as an a la carte rather than fixed menu.

Planning your travel capsule wardrobe

The steps that apply whenever I am putting together a capsule wardrobe are:

  1. What will I be doing ?
  2. What will the weather be like ?
  3. What is already in my wardrobe ?
  4. How can my existing wardrobe be utilised ?
  5. What gaps do I need to fill ?
  6. How long will I be away
  7. Will I be able/want to do laundry whilst we are travelling?

To make sure I have that point 5 ticked off, I typically start my planning 3-4 weeks prior to departure so that I can order any additional pieces. I lay out garments on the spare bed and ‘play’ with them, working out what goes well together, what doesn’t. And, particularly for a multi climate travel capsule wardrobe, I look at how I can layer garments together to create versatility and warmth.

How to dress in layers for travel

Having layers that work together is key for for me and that means colours that will work together, and fabrics too. I needed warm layers for ballooning at Alice Springs and cool clothes for tropical Darwin. I recommend you choose a reasonably tight colour palette, and that as you lay garments out you work out how you can mix and match them and layer them. If possible, avoid taking any garment that will only be worn once, each piece needs to earn its place in your luggage.

What was in my suitcase for a 3 week capsule wardrobe

My final packing list looked like this:

1 knit1 denim jacket
1 beanie and 1 pair of gloves1 cardigan
1 pashmina3 scarves
2 belts1 long sleeved top
3 tee shirts2 pairs of jeans/jeggings
2 pairs of shorts1 pair of swimmers
1 long sleeved dress2 sleeveless dresses

I wore everything in my suitcase with the exception of a couple of scarves, this because I bought a new one on the trip which I totally fell in love with and wore everywhere! The layers worked beautifully; our coldest morning was when we were up well before dawn to go ballooning, and I wore a tee shirt under my woollen jumper and topped that with my denim jacket, and of course I wore the beanie and gloves.

Planning a capsule holiday wardrobe with Taking Shape

Your holiday might be different to mine but the process outlined above can still work really well for you. And you should definitely take a look at the Holiday Collection on the Taking Shape site. This is a beautifully curated collection that will have you dreaming of tropical beaches and cocktails. What I haven’t included is shoes because you will always have favourite brands and styles and most likely already in your wardrobe. And you will definitely want to choose shoes to suit your activities – for me it was mostly about sneakers for walking, but that may not be your need.

As well as that, I set a challenge of replicating most of my travel capsule from the Taking Shape site. Why do I say most? Well remember what I said about starting with what is already in my wardrobe, you should too.

The first outfit is the one at the top of this post, a selection for layering on those cooler mornings and nights. For the knit I chose something not too bulky that could easily be layered under a jacket. The bamboo cotton v neck jumper would be ideal for this purpose, and the colour choices are beautiful. Wear this back with the Easy Fit Denim Jeans or jeggings, or pop it over a dress for a different look. Add a denim jacket for those times when you need extra warmth, add a scarf, beanie and gloves as well, and you will be warm as toast. The jacket can go back over your dresses too; there is no more flexible wardrobe piece than a denim jacket.

Next in my capsule I would add 3 tee shirts/tunics to mix and match with jeans and shorts, as well as one long sleeved top for when more warmth is needed.

My selections are:

The Ponte Destination Top

The Organic Swing Tee – this comes in a myriad of colour choices – I have chosen Apple Green and Peacock Blue

The Uluwatu Natural Tunic

This selection gives you a great mix of sleeve lengths as well as some block colours and some patterns

Our travel wardrobe is now coming together with lots of pieces you can mix and match. To complete the mix and match options, I am going to add a pair of jeggings and two pairs of shorts. Again, these pieces cover cooler or warmer weather. I have included:

Beachside Linen Shorts – these also come in white but I like the black for serviceability

Best Friend Denim Jeggings in navy

The Getaway Zip Short in stone – also available in navy and black

Whilst separates are excellent for mixing and matching and making the most of your choices, there is nothing like a dress for ease of getting ready, and also to look just that more dressed up. In my case a dress with sleeves was perfect for dinner on The Ghan, and a couple of sleeveless dresses were just the thing for evenings in Darwin. Here are some great dresses for you to include in your capsule, and all able to be layered with the denim jacket, or you could throw on a cardigan or pashmina for extra warmth.

My top picks are:

The Bamboo Foundation Dress – a little black dress will take you anywhere and always looks stylish

The Ku De Ta Natural Dress – easy care viscose is wash and wear and a dream in warmer climes.

The Sirocco Viscose Dress – perfect if you like some arm cover but still want to keep cool.

A few extras for your multi climate travel capsule wardrobe

Of course I haven’t included undies in my choices above, nor have I added swimmers. Swimmers are hard to come by at this time of the year and I am betting that if you are heading north you already have a plan for swimwear.

But I do recommend packing cubes if you don’t already have some. I like to organise my clothes into separate cubes so that I know exactly where things are, rather than having to pull everything out of my suitcase. I have a cube for each of the following: undies, accessories like scarves and wraps, tops, bottoms, dresses. I also pack my shoes in bags to make sure my clothes are protected.

I also had a super cute beanie in my suitcase and really appreciated it on a couple of pre-dawn starts in Central Australia. In addition I packed some leather gloves for those cold mornings. I just love the kitty cat beanie and you will also find great packing accessories at Taking Shape. I talk in another blog post about packing travel toiletries and make up.

Travel Bag Set in Aqua– these five bags should meet all your needs.

Kitty Cat Beanie – cute and cosy

Hanging Travel Toiletry Bag – having a hanging bag just makes life so much easier, particularly if you are in a tiny bathroom like on a train.

What have I missed that you would include in your travel capsule? Of course if you are heading for a single location you will want to vary the pieces you pack. If you are heading to warmer climes you should definitely check the curated Holiday collection at Taking Shape. Happy packing and travelling.

Want to read about our fabulous trip from Adelaide to Darwin, via Uluru? Find all the details here.

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