Before heading out on my trip to South and Central America I searched high and low for any kind of list like this but what I could find was either too 'dressy' or too 'outdoorsy', neither of which are my style. This is the kind of wardrobe for the girl next door who likes to dress up when the occasion calls for it, and be comfortable when doing the odd outdoor hike, but most of the time wears clothes that are comfortable but can also look smart for a night out. So here it is, my 25 item round the world capsule wardrobe for every occasion and almost* every climate.
So essentially this list consists of the following items:
3 bras (1 normal, 1 active, 1 bralette)
From this basic list you could create any manner of capsule wardrobe, but the specific numbers correlate to having enough options for multiple climates. If you want more details regarding exactly what I recommend then keep reading.
1 layering singlet (black or white) | 3 basic T-shirts | 1 dressy top
1 cropped top (or any other top you like) | 1 long sleeved T-shirt | 1 active top
1 skirt | 1 shorts | 1 active shorts
1 comfy pants | 1 joggers | 1 jeans
1 day dress | 1 night dress
1 jacket | 1 sweater | 1 rain mac
1 sandal | 1 sneaker | 1 comfortable dress shoe
1 scarf | 1 hat | 1 swimsuit
And that's it! If you want to know why I chose these items specifically, read on. If you just want the list then click here.
1. A layering singlet: the perfect companion for extra warmth in cooler climates, whether that be under a t-shirt when you don't want to wear a sweater or under a sweater when you don't want to wear a t-shirt, adding a layer without the bulk.
2./3./4. Three basic t-shirts: in my opinion these are some of the most versatile pieces of clothing in your wardrobe and can be worn on many different occasions, beaches, street wandering, day excursions, out to lunch etc. These will become you everyday staples which is why I recommend three.
5. A dressy top: the perfect cami or blouse can take jeans or joggers from day to night in an instant. Dressing up never felt so easy.
6. A cute crop top: for those summery days and tropical destinations where the less clothing the better. Also something I'd wear to a festival, I like to be prepared for anything.
7. A long sleeved t-shirt: for those times when you want extra warmth and comfort without the bulk, like on a cool autumn morning or a wintery night in.
8. An active top: for those odd hikes you like to partake in or god forbid an actual workout every now and again.
9. A skirt: something cute for day or night, for casual or dressy, for hot beach days. Another everyday staple in your wardrobe.
10. Shorts: since we're going for versatile I wouldn't recommend denim shorts, as flowy shorts are better in hot weather, nevertheless nothing performs quite as well as denim shorts and they're such a classic. This one, I think, hugely depends on personal style preference and what you feel most comfortable in.
11: Active shorts: again for the hiking and exercising stuff. Also good for travel days in hot weather.
12. Comfy pants: for cold nights, mornings, and even day time where you just want to be comfy and cozy.
13. Joggers: a lightweight pant that performs well in warm and cool weather, ideal for hotter climates with more conservative customs.
14. Jeans: you can never go wrong with jeans in winter! Warm but dressy is the perfect combo when you wanna get out of your sweats
15. Day dress: from the beach, to city wandering, to lunch dates, a comfortable and casual dress will be your go-to.
16. Night dress: everyone needs one formal piece of clothing for a fancy dinner, special occasion or night out. A little black dress is a good way to go. Also pick something that makes you feel good as well as being comfortable, you wanna look good but you wanna last all night without your dress stopping you from breathing.
17. A jacket: a denim jacket in particular is a great versatile pieces of clothing to keep you warm but also dress up. Leather jackets can work to bit can add extra bulk you might not want and are usually more expensive for the real thing.
18. A jumper: again an essential for cooler weather or icy air-con buses and planes.
19. A rain mac: for when you're caught out in the rain or out in cooler weather for prolonged periods of time like during a football match, or walking tour on a rainy day.
20. Sandals: I wanted something that was lightweight, stylish, waterproof but also comfortable for walking all day and convenient enough to slip on in a flash, which is why I went with Birkenstock Arizona Eva's in black. Of course you don't have to go with the Arizona style but they're my personal preference.
21. Sneakers: trekking, hiking and working out need some specialist equipment like sneakers which is why I suggest you invest in some quality ones that'll last. Also good for long walking days but beware of the sneans look, and that goes for more than just jeans.
22. Comfortable dress shoe: boots are a great shoe that lasts against the weather, including the cold the rain and the dust but looks smart for dressier occasions. However an alternative to boots are some leather slip ons, they also repel water and are easy to clean, however they're not as warm as boots but they are definitely less bulky. Try to avoid heels unless absolutely necessary.
23. Scarf: a lightweight one is good for cold and warm weather to keep you toasty or to shade your shoulders from the sun.
24. A Hat: pretty self explanatory but good for sunny days or for days when you can't be bothered to do something with your hair, a sleek low bun and a cap can look quite put together.
25. A swim suit: Last but not least a swimsuit, an essential always. You never know when you'll end up in a beach town, on a secret waterfall hike or in a hot tub at the ski resort. Pick your favourite one, but make sure its good quality. Nevertheless you can always pick up a new one during your time on the road if it breaks.
With these 25 items plus pyjamas, underwear, socks and bras, I think you'll be prepared to tackle multiple climates with enough options to keep you sane.
*Ah, finally the asterisk, basically what I meant by almost every climate is that if you're going to be in extremely cold conditions you'll obviously need to bring some extra cold weather gear such as thermals and puffer jackets. This list will cover you for generally cold winters.
I hope you've found this list helpful and find use for it on your next adventure!