Two weeks ago I flew back to the Netherlands to see my Dad and this is what I packed. I do the same trip every few months and have prepping for it down to a fine art. It takes me half an hour to decide what to bring after I’ve studied the weather forecast and finalized which pairs of shoes make the cut. I keep things simple by creating a daily outfit formula, and slotting my current favourite wardrobe items into the formula.
The weather was a wet and windy 2 to 11 degrees Celsius (35 to 51 degrees Fahrenheit). The wind and damp make it feel colder than sunny, still and dry weather at the same temperature, especially when you’re on foot and taking public transport.
I opted for the following practical outfit formula to wear each day:
Trendy Jeans + Fun Pullover + Coat/Jacket + Comfy Shoes + Bright Bag + Scarf/Hat/Umbrella
A few things upfront before I delve into the details:
- I visited family, saw dear friend Inge, did errands, organized, shopped, ate out, and went to appointments. I hung out with my Dad in his home town of Velp, with daily trips to nearby Arnhem (a 15-minute bus ride). These very quaint and local towns are on the east side of the Netherlands and close to the German border. They are about an hour and a half away from Amsterdam.
- I kept my outfits on the dressier side of casual because that’s true to my style.
- I put a suitcase in the hold because I like to have more dressing options than a carry-on can accommodate. I also bring back presents for family, and do some shopping, which requires extra space.
- I did not do laundry on the trip.
- I can keep white and cream wardrobe items clean, and have been travelling with them for years. It’s a complete non-issue.
- The capsule excludes the outfit that I wore on both non-stop ten-hour flights. It’s the same outfit, and I’ve shown the components at the end of this post.
I crave a change in colour more than a change in silhouette from day to day. This is why the palette of my capsule is colour-rich, yet the items create the same daily uniform. I kept things neutral with blue jeans, an animal print coat and navy puffer, but went to town with brights and stripes in the tops and accessories. White footwear makes my outfits crisp, bookends my hair, and adds a bright touch to my look. There was zero black in the palette. The darks that you see are navy and ink blue.
Most of the components can be mixed and matched with each other because I like to pattern mix and wear several brights together. That said, I ensured I could wear neutral from head to toe when the mood struck me. I could also choose a dressier outfit or a more casual one.
I build a travel capsule around my shoes because it’s extremely important to have happy feet when you’re walking around a city and using public transport. Once I knew which ultra comfortable shoes I was taking, I planned the rest of the outfits to work with them. Both pairs of shoes are tried and tested 20,000-step city shoes.
I chose my new white boots because white or cream footwear is signature to my style. I chose cream hi-top sneakers because their fleece lining is very warm, and the grippy soles are good in grotty weather. They are my most comfortable shoes of all time. I wore the shoes with socks or knee-highs to keep warm. I wore the sneakers a little more often than the boots because of the rain.
I brought three pairs of trendy jeans so that my outfits looked fashionable and a little unique amidst a sea of Modern Classic skinnies. I wore the glitzy Simkhai Cig and GRLFRND Carpenter jeans the most because they’re dressier than the light-wash Levi’s Wedgies. Dark-wash jeans made the casual cashmere hoodie and navy puffer feel dressier too. My Dad adored the gold hardware on the Simkhai’s so I wore those the most. Who knew he liked glitz! All bottoms worked equally well with boots and sneakers.
I packed seven warm pullovers for eight days which was more than I needed. But I wanted the festive variety, so why not. I stuck to fine gauge knits because it’s easier to pack, but had ample variety in colour, solid, pattern and silhouette. Cropped, hoodie, classic, vented, lantern-sleeved, neck tie, and turtleneck. Each pullover worked well with either bottom. I was toasty warm with a camisole layered underneath.
I get bored wearing the same outerwear for eight days straight so I brought a dressier coat, and a short Sporty puffer. I chose my animal print coat because it’s on-trend, and a short puffer because it’s practical and warm. They worked well over every top, and with either pair of jeans or shoes. I wore each topper equally and was happy to have two to choose from.
I packed many accessories because they change up my look, create a maximal vibe, keep me warm, and don’t take up space. I chose two scarves – one patterned, one solid – that can work across any of the outfits in the capsule because I like bold colour combinations, and enjoy pattern mixing. The orange scarf creates a twinset effect with the orange pullover. I chose a watermelon crossbody because it’s matchy-matchy with my new watermelon specs, and easy for travel. It’s a dressy Furla because casual bags are not my thing, and I like the way they amp up a pair of jeans and sneakers. A cream beret was essential for walking in the cold morning and night. I wore my pearl necklace with every pullover except the striped turtleneck. I wore my pearl wedding ring, bracelets and specs daily. I added a pair of statement socks to outfits when the colour perfectly matched my pullovers. I took along sunnies and gloves, but didn’t wear them.
I also packed an umbrella and cashmere wrap. I’ve left the wrap out of the capsule because it was not styled into these outfits. It’s loungewear and a cosy blanket and scarf for plane travel only.
This is the exact outfit that I wore on the flight out to Amsterdam, and the flight back to Seattle eight days later. It follows my strategy for what to wear on long flights. Layers, fabrics with stretch, fluid fits, and soft textures are cosy, comfortable and insulating for plane travel. A jacket, scarf and dressy bag make my casual outfit look pulled together and polished. Comfortable shoes are essential when traipsing through airports and catching public transport with luggage. The toffee flares, cream top, wrap and denim jacket that I wore on both flights did not get worn during my trip, which is why they’ve been excluded from the travel capsule.
You can visit the collection page to see my travel capsule in its entirety. It ticked off all the boxes and worked very well. I posted photos of some of the outfits on our forum along the way:
The picture above shows the items just before I started packing. After giving his paw of approval, mini in-house Fashion Stylist Sam was bored and wanted to play.