Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Getaway Tips: Clothing Capsules

outfit for breakfast downstairs in the inn on our first morning
In this post and the next i'll show you some pictures of outfits i wore on our recent trip to Pacific Grove's Green Gables Inn.  I'm big on using 'clothing capsules, so i thought i'd show you what i took along and some of my outfits to to give you a better feel for this concept.  In the next post i'll show you some more outfits, plus tell you how i lighten my makeup bag and give you my super secret travel knickers tip!

Before i begin, i recommend the Four Sister's Inns in the Monterey area unconditionally.  Great to amazing old houses, lovingly restored, lots of yummy food, and really really really nice staff. After we'd forgotten our cell phone, Honey and Ivy especially went above and beyond when i needed to contact my mom about a doctor appointment result.  Mom's fine (yay!).  And i suggest you check out the Four Sister's Inns - Gosby House and Green Gables. (No, they didn't pay me.)

out walking and harbor seal watching on an overcast but mild day
 I've talked about clothing capsules before. Here's the best definition i've found of a clothing capsule: "A clothing capsule is a group of 5-12 pieces (jacket, skirt, slacks, etc.) that work in combination with each other in color, style, or mood."  So, when packing for a two or three day trip, if you take one clothing capsule you should be set. What i like about taking clothing capsules, instead of planned outfits, is the flexibility - you have everything you need to create numerous outfits, all depending on your mood, the weather, or changing activities. For a longer trip you can take more than one capsule - two capsules with style or color 'overlap' will increase your options even more.

Here's the top half of the story:

left to right:  straw hat, grey floral scarf, leather bomber jacket, khaki jean jacket, black alpaca cardigan, white ruffle tunic, black lace cami, black ruffle tunic, white lace tank, black lace tank, leather hat.

And here's the bottom half of things:

left to right: leather heels, cotton black and white print skirt, white/ecru petticoat, gray wash jeggings, grey wooly tights, grey over the knee socks, ecru knit over the knee socks, black nylon stockings (i photo'd my brown ones since my black are in the wash!), khaki sneakers.  Missing: Smartwool socks: oatmeal with coral floral pattern.

ready to head out for pizza (with the addition of leather jacket) our second night.
tank, tunic, cardi tied at hi waist, jeggings, heels and smartwool socks.
The color scheme is pretty strict - black, white, khaki and grey. That's one of the tricks to a successful capsule - by limiting your color scheme, you ensure everything 'goes' with everything else with no clashing. And most of the pieces have a very romantic, flowing feel.  But i also threw in some 'tougher' more casual pieces - the leather jacket, the jeggings, the jean jacket - to allow more flexibility. I paired the jeggings with tunic length blouses, since i wear jeggings more as leggings than as jeans.

Packing pieces at different places on the casual/dressy scale increases your options as well. In this example, i can pair a romantic skirt with the lacy, crocheted sweater over a ruffled tunic and heels for a very dressy, festive look.  I can pair the jeggings with a tank and jean jacket and sneakers for a pulled-together yet totally casual ensemble. Mix the items of these two outfits as you please for looks that fall in between all dressed up and just kickin' around. To take advantage of this approach to flexibility, make sure to include a top and a bottom piece that go with your capsule but fall on the opposite end of the casual/dressy scale from the bulk of your travel wardrobe.

I include this last outfit, not because it is fabulous, stylish, or compelling (although it is very warm, which is important on the coast!). I include it because of the comment it generated as i strolled along Monterey's touristy Cannery Row late on our first night away.

the 'cowgirl' wore black stockings, not brown.  this is a dramatic recreation based on actual events.
 I walked past a bench with two ladies sitting on it. One lady was looking at the other, who was looking at me. The latter lady turned away from me to her puzzled-looking friend, and said,'She's a cowgirl.'  I looked out towards the Monterey Bay- seagulls don't care if you're trying not to burst out laughing!

Next up: a little more on creating your own clothing capsules for travel, lightening the makeup load, and a peek into my undies drawer.


  1. I like both photos and outfits.I think you have a unique sense of style!Your advice is helpful,I've never paid much attention on capsules before> I consider your post a capsule mini seminar. How do you feel about that?Check my second outfit and tell me what you think.

  2. Last trip my packing flunked--the weather was unexpectedly warm, and I had to scramble! Your capsule looks like it is very successful--you look adorable!

  3. Too bad I didn't have this post before I packed for my trip. Actually, my clothes might be sort of a capsule, because there are a lot of things in my bag that all go with my red jacket.

  4. Thank you Angie! i left my comments on 'outfit #2' over on your blog - i'm still in shock that you planned all your combos in advance! but i think it's a smart idea....

    Howdy FOF! yeah, a big weather change can throw a spanner in the works. my husband's a big weather freak so i'm usually in the loop on forecasts, but mother nature has the last word. & Thank you!

    Hi Cynthia! yes, i've been especially interested in your posts on your trip. hmm. i'll have to check your travel wardrobe out from the capsule angle. Fun!! & i hope your companion is calmer now and that you're having a good, productive time!! steph

  5. Some great capsule advice! I have done a bunch of capsule wardrobe challenges over the years, and have this down to an art now. I'm looking forward to going to Miami in December so that I can build one for that trip.

    Hee, I laughed at the cowgirl comment.

  6. Thank you Sheila! you're right, it IS an art (with plenty of guidelines)....that's why i try to put up examples when i've gone on a trip - although usually it's a group of pretty similar outfits, i hope it will make it easier for people to 'get' the idea.

    Miami! yowza, that'll be fun for you (& us!). and i did my best not to snort out loud at that comment...have a good week!!!!! steph

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