How to Create a Holiday Capsule Wardrobe: 12 Essential Items to Pack

As we enter the season of adventure, visiting new and far-away destinations is on everyone’s mind. But with limited suitcase space and an array of outfit opportunities, trying to pack everything you need quickly becomes stressful — the last thing you need before a relaxing break.

A capsule wardrobe – a stripped-back collection of clothes specifically selected to pair together in a number of different ways – can help you avoid overpacking and taking up
valuable luggage space, while also creating a combination of on-trend outfits to elevate your holiday style.

Here at The House of Bruar, we’ve curated a list of timeless and versatile pieces to help you create a capsule clothing collection that’s both practical and pretty. Whether you’re exploring a bustling city or a serene beach, we'll provide you with all the inspiration you need to pack efficiently for your next getaway.

How to plan your outfits

When creating a capsule holiday wardrobe, planning your outfits in advance is important to prevent you from taking unnecessary items. It’ll also save you time when you’re away, so you can spend more time exploring. 

Here are some tips to help you get started:
  • Think about activities and dress codes – Start by considering your plans while you’re away and whether they require certain dress codes that you will need to adhere to. Physical activities will call for specialist outdoor clothing, like breathable base layers and waterproof outer pieces. If you’re planning to enjoy fine-dining options in the evening, you may wish to include a few formal outfit options.
  • Consider different fabrics – Think about the climate of your destination and choose materials that are appropriate for the weather. For example, if you're headed to a hot and humid destination, lightweight fabrics like linen or cotton will keep you cool and comfortable. For cooler escapes, opt for wool or cashmere to keep you warm yet on-trend. Additionally, you may wish to look for materials that are easy to care for and won't wrinkle easily, like polyester or silk blends. Learn more about our favourite summer fabrics here. 
  • Select a colour scheme – Choose a colour scheme that is easy to mix and match. Neutrals like black, white and beige are timeless and complement each other effortlessly. This will make it easier to create different outfits with fewer pieces, reducing the number of garments you need to take. It also makes incorporating statement items, like colourful or patterned fabrics, a breeze.
  • Don't forget the accessories – Pack versatile accessories that can elevate your outfits without taking up too much space in your case. Think a classic necklace, a casual and standout pair of earrings or a sun hat. These can be used to add interest and dress up a more casual look.

How to create your capsule holiday wardrobe


1. The Basic T-Shirt

A white T-shirt is an essential fashion staple for holidays and to have as an all-year-round capsule wardrobe option. Selecting a neutral, solid colour gives you limitless options for dressing up or down. Our top tip is to look for high-quality, soft cotton that will withstand wear and tear and also wick away moisture from the body. For sunny destinations, a relaxed fit will be more comfortable and selecting one with a long hemline gives you the choice to tuck it in at the waist into a pair of linen trousers or a maxi skirt.

2. Tailored Shorts

Tailored shorts are the perfect piece for practical days. With belt loops and side pockets, they offer a sense of vintage style that remains elegant and sophisticated. Denim shorts are a classic choice but can be weighty and uncomfortable in higher temperatures. Alternatively, a lighter natural fibre like cotton provides all-day comfort and is available in various colours to suit your sensibilities. Lighter hues will reflect the sun in the day, while darker shades can be called upon for dressier occasions.

3. The Day-to-Night Dress 

A dress that can take you from day to night ticks several style boxes all at once. Flowing fabrics that don’t cling to your body but gently accentuate your silhouette offer the most versatility: dress down with comfy sandals for an afternoon of sightseeing, or pair with statement accessories for a striking yet feminine dinner-time ensemble. 

4. The Casual Sundress

In warmer climates, a sundress is a classic item that can always be depended on. Whether you opt for bold floral patterns or a solid pastel hue, select one with subtle flourishes for added visual interest; wide shoulder straps, delicate embroidery and a frilled hem speak to effortless summer style. This capsule holiday wardrobe must-have can be layered over a swimsuit for a beach cover-up, or worn with wedge espadrilles for a feminine daytime look.

5. The Lightweight Shirt

Whether you are travelling for a city or seaside escape, the evening chill once the sun sets is inevitable. To keep the cold at bay, a lightweight, throw-on shirt or tunic is an ideal layering piece to pack in your suitcase. An oversized fit is on-trend and means you can comfortably slide it on over a T-shirt, vest top or even a swimsuit. If your base layers are neutral, choosing an overshirt in a bright colour creates a striking visual statement. 

6. The Midi Skirt

A midi skirt is a versatile staple in your all-year-round or holiday capsule wardrobe. They can be styled for any destination, whether at the seaside or in a cityscape. Tuck your T-shirt into your midi skirt for a casual daytime look, or swap for a camisole and wedge sandals for an evening-appropriate feel. Pretty floral prints offer statement appeal, but solid neutral colours give you limitless style combinations.

7. The All-in-One Jumpsuit

Save space with an all-in-one; an airy jumpsuit is a low-maintenance option that delivers maximum impact – perfect for wearing on the plane or travelling between locations. If you prefer a muted look, stick to one tone, but a patterned piece creates a bold holiday statement. Delicate V-necklines and wrap designs add a feminine feel for a flattering finishing touch. Wear with trainers to help you travel in comfort before swapping out for sandals when you arrive at your destination.

8. Wide-Leg Trousers

Keep the slim-fit jeans at home; holidaying calls for wide-leg or loose-fit trousers in an easy, breezy fabric. As comfort is key, look for details like drawstring, elasticated or belted waistbands for an adjustable fit. A cropped length will help to keep you cool and on-trend, but opt for a high-waist rise to help flatter your figure and elongate your silhouette. Trousers are an excellent way to incorporate summery prints into your capsule wardrobe as you can wear them with a wide rotation of neutral tops.

9. The Lightweight Jacket

A jacket may not seem like an obvious choice for a holiday capsule wardrobe, but it’s a must-have garment for wearing on travel days and for al fresco dining. If you are heading somewhere warm, consider a cardigan in cashmere or merino wool to help regulate your temperature. For cooler climates, a jean jacket is an extremely versatile choice; roll up the sleeves for a casual style, or wear draped over your shoulders and paired with a dress to keep the chill at bay in the evening.

10. Espadrille Sandals 

For holiday footwear, a pair of espadrille sandals are a reliable and always stylish choice. Braided jute details add an air of summer to any look, and select a pair with a sturdy rubber sole for maximum grip. Flat espadrilles are the ultimate for all-day comfort, but you may also want to pack a pair of wedge espadrilles too for slipping into for a more fancy evening option. 

Example Capsule Holiday Wardrobes for Every Destination 

We understand that not every holiday is the same, so it’s important to curate your capsule wardrobe for whatever the occasion. Here, we have put together some examples of capsule holiday wardrobes that are both classic and on-trend, suitable for a variety of destinations.

1. Beach Getaway

Pack a selection of breezy cotton dresses and lightweight linen separates for a beach holiday to keep cool in the heat. Opt for bright colours and bold patterns to match the vibrant atmosphere. Don’t forget to take a wide-brimmed sun hat, sunglasses and a beach tote that can double as a daytime bag. A pair of comfortable sandals are essential for walking on the beach or exploring nearby towns. 
  • A selection of camisoles and T-shirts
  • A maxi dress
  • A midi skirt
  • A sunhat
  • A swimsuit
  • A beach cover-up
  • A pair of comfortable sandals
  • A beach bag
  • A pair of sunglasses

2. City Break

A city break requires a wardrobe that is both fashionable and functional. Opt for tailored trousers, a classic white blouse and comfortable trainers. Layering is essential, so pack a lightweight jacket or tailored blazer that can be dressed up or down. A crossbody bag and a pair of elegant earrings will add a touch of glamour to your look.
  • A tailored blazer or light jacket
  • A pair of loose-fit trousers
  • A pair of lightweight shorts
  • An oversized shirt or blouse
  • A selection of T-shirts 
  • An evening dress
  • A comfortable pair of trainers 
  • A pair of smart sandals
  • A crossbody bag

3. Outdoor Adventure

For a mountain getaway or active escape, your focus will be on practical and temperature-regulating fabrics that can be layered to adjust to fluctuating temperatures. Breathable base layers, waterproof jackets and sturdy walking boots are non-negotiables; look for items made with Gore-Tex to keep you dry and comfortable no matter what your adventure has in store. A UV-resistant hat will also come in useful for when the sun makes an appearance.
  • Breathable base layers 
  • Thermal base layers 
  • A pair of quick-drying shorts
  • A pair of waterproof trousers
  • A fleece 
  • A waterproof jacket 
  • A UV-resistant hat (for beach camping trips)
  • A pair of hiking boots 
  • A day backpack

Our Top Tips for How to Pack Efficiently 

Whether you’re planning to take a spacious suitcase or a compact holdall, baggage limits can be tricky to adhere to. Here are some useful tips to help you pack efficiently and maximise space:
  • Roll, don't fold – Rolling your clothes is an excellent way to maximise space and minimise wrinkles. This is especially useful when packing bulky items like jackets and jumpers. 
  • Use packing cubes – Packing cubes mean that you can group similar items together, so you can easily locate what you need without having to dig through your entire suitcase. This also makes it easier to unpack and repack when you move from one destination to another.
  • Wear your bulkiest items – If you're travelling with bulky items like a heavy jacket or hiking boots, wear them on the plane to save space in your suitcase. 
  • Choose wrinkle-resistant fabrics – To minimise wrinkling, choose materials that are less prone to wrinkles, such as synthetic blends or knitwear. If you do plan to take items made from linen or cotton, which can be more likely to crease, be sure to make space in your case for a travel iron.
  • Pack for the climate – Check the weather forecast for your destination before you go and pack accordingly. While the climate of your holiday location may usually be clear skies with no chances of rain, don’t let a sudden downpour or dip in weather catch you off guard.

Build Your Capsule Holiday Wardrobe with The House of Bruar

Whether your destination is a bustling city break or a sandy retreat further afield, packing for the occasion has never been easier. Find classic, quality pieces from our men’s and ladies' seasonal edits, or discover our Brights Collection to add a burst of vivid colour to your capsule holiday wardrobe.