Sunday, September 21, 2014

20 Piece Travel Wardrobe for 3 Months

Having learned from our Panama trip and traveling in Germany that I tend to overpack, I was not going to repeat it this time round. It's so embarrassing to lug so many suitcases around and all over cobble stone streets just to find out you didn't even wear some of the stuff you so faithfully lugged around. So I looked at several fashion related pins and blogs before packing this time and I am pleased with all I learned not only for an extended holiday out of the country, but for everyday options at home.

I especially focused on Project 333, Eurotrip Packing Edition, where I was introduced to Project 333 which is the concept of having 33 clothing items for 3 months of the year. That really appealed to me since our NZ stay is 3 months. Approximately one season back home, so I can change the look for fall, winter, spring, etc... when not traveling.
I also love the idea of a capsule wardrobe, particularly Jennifer L. Scott's version from the Daily Connoisseur, that she explains in her book, "Madam Chic" and here on her blog under the label "10 Item Wardrobe". She has a core wardrobe of 10 pieces, and keeps layering t-shirts and basics as extras.
I really liked this guideline of a winter vacation with one suitcase and 16 pieces too. I noticed she doesn't count shoes and scarves as part of the "official" 16 though. I like how she breaks the outfits down into categories like, "pattern and texture".

So, armed with all this knowledge, plus the fact that I didn't have an option but to pack less (see note at bottom of this post), here's what my wardrobe for 3 months of living in New Zealand, with travel before and after looks like:


  • 3/4 length sleeve navy & white striped boatneck top
  • Short sleeve off-white and navy striped top
  • 3 t-shirts for layering: black, ivory and green
  • Long-sleeve navy, v-neck sweater
  • 3/4 length sleeve rose colored sweater
  • Long sleeve gray cardigan
  • Black flats
  • Tennis Shoes


  • Black maxi skirt
  • Gray and white striped maxi skirt
  • Slim "skinny" jeans
  • Blue knit and silky infinity
  • Lavender fringed scarf
  • Knitted maroon infinity (made while here)
    • Yoga/Workout pants
    • Cami for sleeping
    • Shorts for sleeping 
    • Trench Coat


    Not Illustrated Extras (Nor Officially Numbered)
    • Two pair of socks
    • Two pair of footies for flats
    • 1 belt
    • Unmentionables. 7 and 2. You figure what is what.
    • Silky camisole for wearing under thinner shirts 
    • Small selection of jewelry, such as a few bracelets and a few necklaces. I don't individually count jewelry individually since they seem so small and don't take up that much room.


    The main reason for such a limited wardrobe was we did not check any luggage. It was ALL carry-on. And, for one of our flights, all the carry-ons had a weight limit of 15 lbs. If we wanted to check any luggage, it was upwards of $125 per bag! So, we really didn't have room for a lot of extras. I must say, it was so liberating to zoom through airports without having to lug around all the extra luggage. 

    Basically, everything had to match everything. With a couple slight exceptions, I can wear everything with everything, multiple ways. It's a rather dark color scheme, but I kind of like it. Ever since being in Europe last year, I have really become a fan of the more low-key colors, like neutrals, navy and black. This same amount of clothing could work with several different seasons and colors though, so for summer, I probably would have added more color. Still keeping the rule of everything being able to match everything.

    Two pair of shoes seems really skimpy when I look at other travel wardrobe collections. But we are during a Kiwi late winter-early spring. It's not warm enough for sandals, boots would have been to heavy, I don't have cute converse shoes or "booties" (simply can't get accustomed to that name) and honestly, I don't have a closet full of shoes to select from anyway.

    I regret not bringing: Another pair of jeans. Since we are bicycling as our main mode of transportation, the skirts are not practical for wearing out and about. So I end up wearing the skinny jeans anytime I want to go anywhere, and it would be really nice to have another pair to alternate occasionally. Some folks would use the yoga pants for that purpose, but I am not one of those people. Still not sure how I would have brought an extra pair anyway, since we were basically at the weight limit as it was for the 15 lb. per carry-on...
               The skirts still get their share of wear, since my jeans are not as comfortable as I'd like, and I always change as soon as I get home. Maybe one day I'll find some *really* comfortable skinny jeans.

    I am incredibly grateful to have a washing machine here at our rental house, so I can do laundry as often as needed. If I would have been backpacking or not near a washing machine for more extended amounts of time, I might have adjusted the selections a little. Still, I don't wear and wash immediately; I try to wear things more than once. Within reason, of course!

    I thought I might get bored with the small selection, and my sister said our clothes will be thread-bare when we return, but so far, it's going well. In fact, I think I'm going to revamp my wardrobe at home in favor of a Project 333 theme or a Capsule Wardrobe.

    If you'd like to see pictures of this wardrobe in action, just head over to our travel blog, and see if you can spot me in any pictures. :) Or, I did a "what I wore" post a while ago, and you can see some of the combinations here

    1 comment:

    1. I am a huge fan of carry-on traveling. As you said, it's liberating!


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