My Travel Capsule Wardrobe for California

Happy Hump Day, folks! We are officially two days out from our trip to California, and (thanks in part to having to prepare this blog post) I am actually getting our suitcase ready a couple of days early. Hopefully I planned it right and everything will be perfectly situated without being overstuffed (I tend to be an over-packer). I followed all my tips from last week's post, though, so I should be good!

Preparing for this trip got me thinking: how do you plan what to pack when you're going on a long vacation (or if you're me, what not to pack)? 

I think that having a bit of an agenda, as well as a good understanding of the weather where you're going helps a ton. I was able to manage that for this trip, but I still had trouble paring things down a bit. So of course I sought help from Pinterest. I ran across the 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 Rule, which has a few variations, but the one I followed goes like this: 5 tops, 4 bottoms, 3 dresses/rompers & 3 shoes, 2 swimsuits/cover-ups & 2 bags, and 1 each of hat, watch and sunglasses.

I tweaked the rule to accommodate my interests a bit - I'm bringing an extra pair of shoes because my anxiety is doing the "what iiiiiiif?" bullshit, but I could totally get away with just three; I'm also only bringing one swimsuit because I'm boring and I didn't go swimsuit shopping early enough (yay me!).

Anyway, here's a look at what I'm packing. Altogether it's 27 pieces, and I'll be wearing 10 different outfits over 10 days. You could easily stretch this to last two weeks (or maybe even two-and-a-half), though.


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For tops, I wanted to bring pieces that were light and airy, to make sure that I'm not uncomfortable in the sun, since we're going on quite a few outings. These are all either cotton or linen blends that have relaxed fits to keep me nice and cool.


Keeping it simple and sweet for the bottoms - just four pairs of shorts, since it's going to be super hot. Pants are definitely not going to cut it, but I am bringing leggings for my morning yoga, so that I have a little plan B in case there's some freak weather.


For outerwear, I'm sticking to light layers that will give me just a little extra covering. The kimono is a rayon challis, which is lightweight but solid enough to provide a good layer.

As far as dresses go, I decided to stick with mid-length, casual pieces that will wear well to the beach if need be. The jumpsuit is also a great piece that can transition from day to night. It's another super lightweight piece, and the wide legs are beyond comfortable.


For accessories, I'm sticking to simple cognac and grey leather, for the most part. Jewelry is mostly gold. I'm actually bringing a couple additional pairs of earrings (these and these, which I've talked about in previous posts), but you could get away with just the two pictured here.


Now that you know what the building blocks of my travel wardrobe are, it's time to get into the outfits! I don't have anything special that I need to dress up for, so most of these are pretty casual.

I don't imagine I'll be wearing the cardigan/kimono too often, but I wanted to include them anyway to show the versatility of these looks. 

Outfits #1 and #10 are my airport looks. I'm actually bringing this weekender bag from Target as my carry-on since we have the little ones with us, but the gray tote works nicely as a carry-on if you're traveling solo, so I used that one in the graphics instead.

There you have it! What do you like to bring on a long trip? Let me know in the comments!

Much Love,

Michelle