How to pack a capsule wardrobe for travel

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It seems like every guy I know is in constant get-up-and-go mode. Whether there’s a bachelor’s party in Vegas or a business meeting in Berlin, modern guys are racking up their frequent flyer miles by the hundreds. For some, packing is one of the most stressful aspects of this lifestyle. That’s where capsule wardrobes come in.

A capsule wardrobe is a collection of basic pieces that are not only timeless, but mix-and-match effortlessly so you can have a maximum amount of looks with less pieces. You invest in a small number of quality items that you can wear over and over again—no fast fashion allowed.

Regarding this example of packing a capsule wardrobe, we’re thinking in terms of packing for a week trip. The idea is even if you’re staying longer, you have access to launder pieces and still have options to spare. The easiest way to fix as many pieces you need in one bag is to choose several thin layers that you can put on one after another. People might think you’re cold in a chambray button-down and a light jacket, but they don’t know you’ve got extra warmth with a thermal Henley tee shirt underneath it all. And you got it all to your destination with the least amount of bulk possible.

Quality doesn’t just mean construction—you should also consider the materials of the pieces you choose for your capsule wardrobe. These details have a lot to do with your destination, but to make it easy I’ll tell you to choose fabrics that don’t hold on to odors or stains that can also be de-wrinkled easily. Finally, stick with neutral colors, maybe adding one signature color that you can use to accent your staple pieces. That loud Hawaiian print short-sleeved shirt can chill in your closet for the time being.

When all is said and done, the clothes of your capsule wardrobe should break down to:

  • 4 tee shirts
  • 2 long sleeved button down shirts
  • 1 light jacket
  • 1 pair of jeans or chinos (your style, your choice)
  • 1 pair of shorts (sub for another pair of pants if the destination is cold)
  • 6 pairs of underwear
  • 6 pairs of socks


If it’s winter and you’re traveling to another chilly destination, chances are you’ll have your coat on you at check-in, so we’re not including it in the list. You might also notice that the list is lacking in the shoes and accessories department. We suggest bringing your favorite watch, sunglasses, and cap—these are elemental necessities and don’t need to be left behind.

For shoes, we suggest bringing two pair: an easy pair of slip-ons and something dressier. You’ll want slip-ons like The McQueen Driving Shoe for day of travel, especially if you’re flying. Quick off and back on when you’re going through security plus they are super-comfortable. For dress shoes, we suggest going for something with extra versatility like The Newman Chukka Boot. Not only are they appropriate for casual and formal dress; they have appropriate ankle support for long walks around your destination city. Whichever two pairs of shoes you choose, make sure they are in the same color family—that way you only have to pack one leather belt to match both pairs.


Bon voyage, boys!


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