A More Minimal Travel Capsule

It’s the beginning of June, which means it is conference season! I just got home from my first of two conferences this summer and thought I’d share my Travel Capsule. I tried something different from my previous two (I’ve written about them here and here) — minimalism, which may seem at odds with my style, but lemme break it down!

The top five things I learned from my previous two Travel Capsules are:

  1. Re-wearability is Key: That is to say, in my first Travel Capsule I packed things I loved wearing, but since I packed four dresses (one for each conference day) to mix and match with two blazers (I like having options!) I didn’t end up re-wearing any of the dresses. For my second Travel Capsule, I really maximized the re-wearability of three key pieces, but still ended up with pieces I only wore once and new pieces, courtesy of shopping excursions.
  2. Weather is Fickle: Pack for everything! For both of my previous Travel Capsules I felt like I shot myself in the foot by not packing a sweater. For my first Travel Capsule, I figured my Blazigan would do double duty as not only a blazer, classing things up, but also as a cardigan, keeping me warm; however, its 3/4 sleeves left me cold. For my second Travel Capsule, I figured one light cardigan would be fine since my ultimate destination, where the majority of my time would be spent, was California. But the hotel in Vancouver where the conference was held was freezing and I ended up wearing that poor white cardigan to just about every session.
  3. Don’t Forget to Plan for Downtime: I get so hung up on the conference and fancy occasion aspects of these trips that I seem to forget that by day four I am often cranky, my leg is sore and I don’t want to wear a pencil skirt for either conference activities or fun excursions. In addition, the items I packed as casual clothes for both of my previous Travel Capsules had very little in common with the rest of what I packed (J Crew sunflower shorts aside!) and highlighted the lack of cohesion.
  4. “Look in the Mirror and Take One Thing Off”: Simply, in my past Travel Capsules I’ve packed too much jewelry and need to learn how to reign that in — pack less and highlight the few pieces I bring as statement items.15a1d5e
  5. Don’t Worry, Be Happy: I often worry that people will be scandalized if I wear the same item two days in a row, but the reality is that at a conference you are so busy and going to so many panels that you can’t remember who you saw, what day, and where. Wear what you want, when you want.

In My Bags

My style in a nutshell: part geek, part class

So, using these five tips, armed with Travel Capsule experience, I packed the following 10 items:

  1. Just Black Denim – Boyfriend Jeans (Spring purchase)
  2. Old Navy – Beastie Boys Tee (Out of Storage)
  3. Gap – Oxford Shirt (Spring purchase)
  4. RW&Co. – Navy Blazer (Out of Storage) *Similar
  5. Winners (Grand and Greene) – White Dress Shirt (Spring purchase) *Similar
  6. Funky – Bird Print Dress (Out of Storage) *Similar ModCloth
  7. Vero Moda – White Tee (Out of Storage) *Similar
  8. Winners (Adrianna Papell) – Navy and White Pencil Skirt (Spring purchase) *Similar
  9. Out of Print – Wuthering Heights Tee (Spring purchase)
  10. Mako – Light Blue Sweater (Winter Capsule) *Similar

*Like similar Capsules, I didn’t count my swim suit or workout gear as part of the capsule.

I only packed one pair of shoes (in addition to my sneakers), and four accessories:

What I did Differently?

  1. Re-Wearability
    1. I packed neutrals (Blues and White)
    2. I made sure that every item could work with two or more items
    3. I only packed one dress
  2. Weather is Fickle
    1. I packed a warm (and oh so soft!) sweater that I kept in my Fossil bag ready to throw on whenever I got cold
    2. I packed sneakers (I ruined my beige tassel shoes in the rain last summer) and my North Face rain trench.
  3. Don’t Forget to Pack for Down-time
    1. Jeans. Tees. I don’t normally wear jeans and tees as casual wear (I really do gravitate towards a summer dress), but I made sure I had comfortable items to mix and match (see #1).
  4. “Look in the Mirror and Take One Thing Off”
    1. I only packed one necklace, one pair of studs, one brooch, and one bow tie and I didn’t wear them together — I made sure each accessory was the highlight of each look
  5. Don’t Worry, Be Happy
    1. I wore my pencil skirt two days in a row and often threw my jeans on in the evening and didn’t care because I was comfortable and happy with my looks

Hello Calgary!
So How Did Everything Look?

Look One: 
Occasion: This is what I wore on the plane and to a Dance Party. My Beastie Boy shirt has a history of conference travel wear.
Styling: I paired the tee with jeans, sneakers, Kat von D “Outlaw”, and big, Calgary humidity hair!



Look Two:
Occasion: After I landed I went for a swim to get some blood flow going through my legs and to loosen up. I met some pals for drinks and decided to swap out the Beastie Boys for my Oxford.
Styling: Statement necklace, pink lipstick, and a braid.



Look Three:
Occasion: Conference day one! Unfortunately, the weather turned and I got caught in a downpour without my rain coat. This look is my usual conference uniform: dress and blazer.
Styling: Crown braid into Fishtail (tutorial here!) and pearl studs.

Look Four:
Occasion: Grad Caucus Pub Night. I went with simple and comfortable — sweater and jeans.
Styling: Hair loose, bling, and “Outlaw” lipstick again!

Look Five:
Occasion: Conference day two! Super clean, pencil skirt and white dress shirt; topped off with my navy blazer. You might remember this look from my Spring Additions post.
Styling: I braided my hair around the back of my head into a simple side braid. Topped off with glasses and Kat von D’s “Magick.”

Look Six:
Occasion: My roommate and I blew off the afternoon key note and decided to hit up the Telus Spark Centre for Body Worlds! After the exhibit I had drinks with my London travelling buddy Celine, and then went to the movies with my roommate and a past Dalhousie grad student. It was a fun-filled afternoon and evening and I knew I wanted to be comfortable, so I went with my nineteenth-century book tee, jeans, and blazer.
Styling: Post-swimming braid, Kat von D “Magick”, and Glasses.

Look Seven:
Occasion: Conference day three — presentation day. I paired the pencil skirt with my Oxford and a fun bow tie!
Styling: I wanted the bow tie to be the star, so I went with a messy bun, pearl studs, glasses, and Kat von D’s “Magick.”

Look Eight:
Occasion: Conference day four. I knew that my dress shirt was too rumpled to wear on its own, so I layered my bird dress over top.
Styling: I went with another fishtail braid, pearl studs and contacts.

Went for a swim and then changed into Look Nine!
Look Nine:
Occasion: I had to start packing for my flight, so I put my jeans and blazer back on to make room in my suitcase for the books I bought at the Expo.
Styling: New dino studs, swapped out my contacts, post-swim, for glasses, and re-braided my hair and put on some Kat von D “Backstage Bambi”.

Essentially, I packed 10 items and got 9 separate looks out of them, which I think is pretty amazing! Which look was your favourite?

Bye Calgary!

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