Riding a motorbike, I’ve learnt to pack light and play with neutrals, colour and accessories so that I don’t feel like I’m wearing the same thing everyday. Whilst my husband may be happy to go with all black for an entire week (he maintains it’s practical!), as a lover of colour and clothes I prefer to look feminine and have a variety of outfits when I’m off the bike.
Whatever your reason for travelling light this guide will help you create many outfits from fewer pieces of clothing.
Decide on your colours
The starting point is to choose your colours. I always make sure I pick key items such as trousers, skirt and jacket in neutral colours. Neutrals go with lots of other colours so it’s easy to then ring the changes in your outfits simply by adding different coloured tops. What’s more, if you choose colours that also go together, it’s easier to select accessories that work with them all.
It’s sometimes said that black is the ultimate neutral that goes with all other colours and that everybody can wear. That simply isn’t true. Black only suits those with a cool undertone to their skin and a high level of contrast between their eye, hair and skin colour. There’s many other neutrals that you can try depending on your own natural colouring. Once you’ve picked one or two neutrals, add two or maximum three other colours for your tops and accessories.
Below I’ve illustrated a colour scheme for each of the seasons that are identified with colour analysis. The top left split square on each one contains two neutrals which you’ll see combine beautifully with the other colours.
Warm Spring & Autumn Palettes
Cool Summer & Winter Palettes
Example Capsule for a 5-day Trip
For this trip I’ve chosen:
Neutrals: 1 x cropped trousers, 1 x jacket
1 x scarf, 2 x shoes
Colours: 1 x floaty skirt, 3 x tops
A selection of jewellery
I’ve opted for three tops that go with my skirt (coral, purple & soft white) and as my trousers are neutral all those colours go with them too. In this way I can create 3 outfits by wearing each top with the trousers and a further 3 outfits by wearing each top with the skirt. The jacket, also a neutral, goes with all 6 outfits.
For a longer break I could easily add another top and a pair of shorts which would give me 12 outfits in total. If I get bored with my denim jacket, a light cardi or jumper would ring the changes and double the number of outfits plus, I can always use my scarf as a wrap.
My jewellery, a mix of neutrals and colours, takes up little space and helps me adapt my outfits as well as giving me a ‘put together’ look. On the bike I just pop a small cross body handbag in a neutral colour in my top box. However, if I’m not on the bike I’ll pick a larger fabric bag in a bright colour that can double as both my travel and day bag once we arrive, with a small clutch inside for the evenings.
Using a palette of neutrals and complimentary colours is key to creating a versatile holiday wardrobe.
Lay it out
As you work out your colour palette be sure to lay all your clothes and accessories out. That way you can:
- Check that the colours go.
- Sense check you have outfits which work for the activities you’ll be doing each day.
Don’t forget the shoes
Keep your shoes in neutrals so that they tone in too and think about each day’s activities to make sure you’ve got practical footwear. I often go with a pair of converse style pumps as they squash down small and are great for walking, along with a pair of pretty flip flops for the evening.
Multi purpose items
Light fabrics are useful as you can layer them up when it’s chilly. I frequently take a long sleeved top which I can wear on its own or use as a base layer under t-shirts or sweatshirts for both riding and off the bike. A large cotton scarf can work as a sarong on the beach during the day, act as wrap to go with a dress or be worn as a scarf with a jacket too.
Getting it in the bag
The final piece of the puzzle is fitting everything into your bag. Do check your airline’s baggage specifications if you’re flying, they are all different and change regularly. Also, make sure you can easily lift your bag. As my Dad used to say, you pack it, you carry it!
- Wear your bulkiest pair of shoes and outer layer to travel.
- Roll rather than fold your clothes. It leaves fewer creases and they take up less space.
- Stuff your knickers or socks inside your shoes to make maximum use of space.
- Buy mini versions of your toiletries or decant them into small bottles which you can buy from Boots or Superdrug.
- Ask for samples in cosmetic retailers, tiny perfume and skincare testers take up barely any room.
- If you need to take a towel, opt for a lightweight jersey cotton one. They are super absorbent and roll up very small.
Enjoy your travels & dress with confidence everyday!
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