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The Traveling Muse: Capsule Wardrobe Packing

Erin Abbott has traveled near and far as a Noonday Collection Ambassador. She’s picked up some styling secrets and a few travel-muse tips along the way, including these nifty packing hacks for the next time you find yourself over-stuffing a suitcase.  

Self-Portrait of an Over-Packer

It was an unbearably humid and overcrowded train station in East Asia, where the reality of my over-packing struck me. I was carrying an obscene amount of luggage through a sea of people in an attempt to get to the bus. There was a point where my body odor offended even me, and I began to regret the weight of every unnecessary item packed in my luggage.

Lesson Learned!

I’ve traveled quite a bit since then, and I’ve realized that a travel experience can be greatly impacted just by the kind of packing we do. I know I am not alone in my tendency to over-pack. In theory, it seems so simple. Yet, we get in our closets, lay down the suitcase, and—without thinking—start to throw in everything we find.

The Secret to Packing Success: A Capsule Wardrobe

Before we get too far into the art of packing, let me define “capsule wardrobe.” This method for organizing our closets was introduced in the ’70s by London boutique owner, Susie Faux . A capsule wardrobe is a collection of clothing that is composed of only interchangeable items.

With the capsule wardrobe strategy of smart and stylish packing, I’m determined that neither you nor I will have to endure yet another over-packing nightmare!

Packing tips for future trips…

These packing tips apply to any type of travel experience:

  • A Couple’s Getaway
  • Family Vacation
  • Adventures Abroad
  • Girls’ Trip
  • A Weekend Out of Town

Choose a color palette.

I always pick a scarf to set my color palette, no matter the climate. Why? Because a scarf automatically upgrades an outfit from basic to style maven. Once you’ve chosen your scarf, this color palette will determine all further packing.

The Songbird Scarf is one of my favorites because of its light hues and soft woven cotton that make for versatile styling possibilities.

Limit shoes…

I know, I know. We want to pack a different pair of shoes for every day. But don’t do it! Shoes can get very heavy, so limit yourself to three pairs, including the pair you plan to wear. Have a pair for walking, a pair for any specific activity you might do (trail riding, hiking, water sports, etc.), and a nice pair of dress shoes for a night out. (You’ll thank me later.)

Always try on your clothes!

The easy thing to do would be to just throw some matching stuff in your suitcase. But if you want to feel confidently stylish (and enjoy every moment of your getaway) you should take the time to try on everything you plan to wear on your trip before your pack it. This helps you gauge how your travel capsule wardrobe’s versatility and interchangeability. It also gets you thinking outside your closet!

Many of the pieces you pack will double up on functions. Just for example, the kimono I wear with my jumpsuit is also my swimsuit cover-up. But you can’t know for sure what will work until you try it on.

Drifter Makeup Bag – Hand-dyed fabric loomed together into a perfect pouch to grab on the go.

Go crazy with accessories!


Be sure to pack your favorite pair of studs. I’m loving the Nouvelle Studs. Pairing these with the Together Necklace makes for a simply classic daytime ensemble.

When I travel, I want my jewelry to move with me, so I stick with a wrap bracelet for daytime adventures. The Bonfire Wrap Bracelet is neutral and one of my all time favorite wraps!


Always pack some brilliant statement earrings.
The Pirouette Earrings (in blush) are neutral and add a fun layer of texture to every movement.

But if you want something that’s sure to pop with color, the Canopy Earrings are eye-catching and compliment so many outfits!

For an evening out, I always pack a set of bangles, too. I love the Renegade Bangles and the music they make when I move my arm.

If your evening outfit could use a little more definition, I recommend the Dune Necklace. The lines of this necklace bring in the waistline by creating a visually exciting stopping point right at the center of your outfit. If you don’t already own this piece, you need it!

Day or Night

The Mumbai Hoops are the most versatile pair of earrings I have ever encountered. If you can only pack one piece of jewelry, pack these. They begin with a simple gold hoop earring that can evolve into a statement earring just by adding the charms.

Mumbai Hoops – These mixed metal hoops include five removable charms allowing for make-your-own earring magic!

Bags, bags, bags!

For the weekend, I find that the Mossflower Weekender Bag has the perfect amount of space for everything I need.

I used the Cobalt Crossbody when visiting Mexico City recently, and it was perfect for my sunnies, chewing gum, sunscreen, iPhone, and credit card.

The Postmark Jewelry Roll is one of my faves right now because it can safely keep my jewelry during travel. Plus, it can function as a stylish clutch for an evening out!

If you plan to pack a suitcase, be sure to make yours uniquely you with either a Huipil Luggage Tag or a Market Print Luggage Tag.

Huipil Luggage Tag, Assorted – In the villages of Guatemala, women take great pride in stitching an array of vivid colors and motifs onto their cotton garments, called huipiles.

Market Print Luggage Tag, Assorted – Unique cotton print patterns from the markets of Rwanda will add a recognizable pop of color to your luggage.

For a carry-on, I travel most often with my Modern Leather Tote. It has the space I need for just about anything!

Never Travel Without…

  • A hat. You absolutely must take a hat. It’s an outfit completer, a cover-up for bad hair days, and one of those accessories that can instantly bring out your “cool girl” confidence. Basically, it’s fashion with function.
  • An extra outfit in the carry-on. Unfortunately, my luggage gets lost half the time when I travel. It has always reappeared…but that can take days. Planning for a luggage disaster is never a bad idea.

Mossflower Weekender Bag (top), Noonday Collection Founder Jessica Honegger’s Imperfect Courage (center), Drifter Makeup Bag (bottom-left)

Bon voyage, Traveling Muses!

Don’t forget to let me know how your packing goes, and feel free to tag me (@erinabbottaud) in those adventure pictures. I want to see you in your travel capsule wardrobe!

Meet Erin Abbott

Erin Abbott has been a part of the Noonday Collection community since November 2014. Since then she has hosted and gathered many women in her small Texas community. As a woman who deeply values the stories behind imperfection, Erin enjoys raising her four imperfect children, alongside her not quite perfect husband, while modeling a beautifully imperfect life.