How to Pack 12 Traveling Outfits in 1 Carry-on


Don’t you just hate paying for baggage. During my blogger trip to Italy, I knew a full sized bag for my personal things would be too complicated with cobblestone streets, trains, buses, and ferries. It was carry-on or bust.

After all the obsessing I’ve done over Nasty Gal’s collection, I decided to go hard and purchase their sets for my trip. I’m a fairly minimalist girl, but twelve outfits was going to be a new capsule carry-on wardrobe and I needed Nasty Gal’s help. I bought plenty of sizes; it arrived three days later with a free shipping label to return the ones that didn’t fit. Easy peasy.

(By the way, I’ve collaborated with Nasty Gal in the past but this post is in no way sponsored. I’m just a cult follower of NG.)

The damage wasn’t bad at all. My total for all the pieces came to a little over $200, which equals an entire summer of fresh outfits for about the cost of a month of groceries for me and Chris.

I also swung by Charlotte Russe to grab some dangly earrings, headbands, and accessories. That total was under $20.

Everything fit with my laptop, cosmetic bag, travel steamer, three pairs of shoes, and a couple paperbacks. Boom.

These outfits were a blast to wear. I squeezed out twelve different looks (technically there were fourteen looks but my other blogger travel buddies, Ashley and Madi, advised against two combinations. Something you just can’t stretch it too far.)

how to pack a carry-on capsule wardrobe

1. Aim for tops and bottoms instead of jumpers and dresses.

It makes mixing and matching easier.

Find this top here. Find this skirt here.

2. Stick with neutrals.

White, beige, black, brown, navy, khaki, cream, and tan can go with each other and won’t clash bold colors in your accessories.

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Find this top here. Find these culottes here.

3. Mix it up with big jewelry to keep outfits feeling different.

Earrings, necklaces, and bracelets don’t take up much space, yet they add a little pizzazz to a plain jane outfit.


Sold out at Nasty Gal. Find a similar romper here.

4. Try bold lipstick shades to add extra drama to a same-shade outfit.

This beige on beige outfit felt borrrring, but with a bright red lip it changed the game.


Find the top here. Find this skirt here.

5. Don’t forget about the hat equation: same outfit + new hat = new outfit.

I brought two hats: a black felt hat and a squishable straw hat. The hat equation is a real thing, and completely necessary in the middle of the day.


Find this top here. Find this skirt here .

6. Pick one color to be that pop.

I chose bright red, since it makes my bright lipstick another easy match.


Find these pants here.

7. Make sure your jewelry is either gold toned or silver toned for easier matching.

This is a little secret my bff taught me. All my watch faces, necklaces, earrings, and bracelets are the same gold or rose gold tone, which makes coordinating easier. All my jewelry fit in a tiny bag.


Find this set here:

8. You only need three pairs of shoes.

Pack a comfy neutral sandal, a comfy high heel, and either booties or sneakers, depending on the amount of hiking you’ll be doing on the trip. It turns out that outfits still look different with the same sandals.

I got my sandals from Swedish Hasbeens, a great company making sturdy leather sandals that last a lifetime. The quality is unbeatable and I can walk for miles in these girls.


Find this top here.

9. Embrace a stripe, polkadot, or a floral piece to mix it up.

I grabbed this striped skirt from Forever 21 and it went perfectly with Nasty Gal’s collection. I love the way it adds something interesting to a set of solid outfits.


10. Don’t be afraid of adding skirts.

I’m the queen of crop tops, but you can pair any top with skirts, shorts, pants, or culottes. Skirts aren’t going to get in the way of your vacation and with a pair of sandals, it equals casual chic.


11. Pack a mini steamer and HAND WASH every other day

I love my tiny steamer. It makes linen do-able on the go. I add a drop of lemon essential oil to get rid of any odors while re-wearing a skirt or pants. I always handwash my tops in the sink between use to keep armpits sweet; all it takes is a few drops of soap and gentle squeezes.

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Love these looks? Got more tips for packing light? Leave a comment!


Photography by Madi Rogers @madirogers