My capsule wardrobe needs work

I have a goal.

By the time the V3 of the Tortuga comes out (we don't have firm release dates yet, but I have a general time frame), I will be down to a carry-on backpack and a personal item.

Y'all - it's harder than it sounds. Especially for long-term travel.

I've always been a carry-on-only traveler, but I've also never traveled indefinitely. I packed a lot of just-in-case items that have come in handy in South America. Like a wine opener. It was weirdly difficult to find wine openers in Uruguay.

I'll ditch those superfluous things in Europe, where it'll be easier to find ad hoc gear that I need. That part is easy.

My biggest challenge lies in my wardrobe. 

I'm sick of my clothes and I miss the ability to dress fashionably. My go-to aesthetic isn't exactly minimalist and I don't love the look of performance gear. I'll never be the girl who wears head-to-toe Arc'teryx and Merrell and Patagonia. I'd far rather wear Free People and Asos and Halogen - but I have to find packable and layerable options from my favorite brands. I want this in my capsule wardrobe, but try stuffing those sleeves under a jacket.


I'm finding the line between fashion and practicality to be particularly challenging.


What I'm missing altogether:

  • Tights (regular and fleece-lined)
  • A maxi skirt - Lauren Hom has a gorgeous one in an elephant print that I covet on the regular
  • Black cigarette pants, or maybe something more stylish like joggers (but ughh they aren't as practical or versatile)
  • Dressy shoes (that are packable and comfy) like these in black or these, if my size comes back in stock
  • Bodysuit (great for layering under the maxi skirt I don't own)
  • Wool cardigan (planning to purchase this one in Dublin)
  • A flannel shirt (I had one, but I lost it in Montreal)
  • Laptop bag (as a personal item, for more space)

What I have, but want to replace:

  • Mini skirt - mine is a print, which isn't as easy to mix and match. I'd love a black or grey one with interesting textures. 
  • Jeans. I want to switch to high-waisted. You were right about that one, Emily. 
  • A dress or two. I want one that makes me feel like a badass and is nice enough for dressy occasions. My current options fulfill neither requirement.
  • Tops. I need some better layers. But stylish ones, not plain merino v-necks.
  • A warm jacket. Mine is not very warm.

My MVP items:

  • Jeans (even though they don't fit very well)
  • Ankle boots, comfy enough for walking through a city
  • Black bomber jacket
  • Blanket scarf
  • My Marmot Precip rain jacket. I respectfully disagree with my Tortuga colleages who think rain jackets are specialized gear that don't belong in carry-ons. I wear this thing all the time.

Things I need to ditch:

  • Half of my workout gear (I don't need as much as I have)
  • First aid kit 
  • A pair of shoes (or two) and replace them with the ones linked above
  • Tees - why did I bring so many tees?
  • My UNC hoodie (sorry, hoodie)
  • Clothes that make me feel bleh
  • Superfluous toiletries
  • Things that won't fly (get it) through TSA

Oy, this is going to be difficult.

Header image: Hannah Morgan via Unsplash.

Taylor Coil is traveling the world with Remote Year, living in 12 countries in 12 months, while working as a marketing manager. Follow along to read more philosophies on work, stories from the road, and general (mis)adventures. Sign up for the weekly email or read more from the blog.