Last summer, my parents decided to cycle from London to Cornwall in nine days. Yes, you heard me right. They were riding throughout the day and stopping at Bed and Breakfasts whereever they ended up for the night. I asked them what they packed for the trip, why a capsule wardrobe is the way to go and how I could use their approach to pack my own holiday suitcase (albeit for a less adventurous time off).
What did you pack for your nine days on the road between London and Cornwall?
“We had two sets of clothes, one for riding itself and one for the evenings when we might go out for dinner. During the day we were wearing our active wear t-shirt and zip trousers (the ones you can turn into shorts by detattaching the leg with a zip). The active wear t-shirt got a gentle wash in the evening and was then dry and ready to use again the next morning. Obviously, you need to be sure that you can rely on your deodrant to do a good job. In case it rains we also had a rain jacket with us and a jumper or cardigan should the temperature drop“ – Dad
And what about footwear?
“You need to wear your most comfortable shoes and then work your outfit from the bottom up – just like you always tell your clients, Daisy. All my clothes for both cycling and for dinner in the evening matched my shoes: one closed pair of trainers, one pair of sandals and even the beach slippers came in handy.” – Mum
So you wore the same top and bottom for nine consequtive days (with a gentle wash over night). Doesn’t that get boring?
“Well, it is a bit silly when you are taking pictures during the trip and you wear the same outfit in each picture, but for us that wasn’t a big deal. I brought accessories with me to jazz it all up a bit. Necklaces can be heavy, so I only brought one – but five different scarves ensured some variety in my limited options.” – Mum
You mentioned that you brought a change of clothes for the evening. What did that look like?
“Because we stayed in a different B&B or hotel each night, no one saw that we were wearing the same clothes twice (or nine times in my case). It was always the same pair of smart trousers and the same shirt each night that I wore for a couple of hours during dinner, so they really didn’t get dirty. We generally wash our clothes way too often anyway, so this was a good way to practice being more sustainable and get more wears out of a garment before it needs a wash.“ – Dad
“I had one smart pair of trousers that could go with all of my shoes. I only needed one long sleeve blouse, one short sleeve blouse, one cardigan, and one waistcoat. I also packed a blazer but didn’t wear it in the end, because we didn’t go anywhere fancy for dinner – it was Cornwall after all.“ – Mum
What else did you pack that was unnecessary?
“Make-up! I’m not going to bother bringing Make-up on my holiday again. I found myself not using it in the end. All you need is a good moisturiser, suncream and an all-in-one shampoo/shower gel. I always carry tweezers, a nail file, nail clips etc so that I felt well groomed and not unkept – but there was really no need for make-up.” – Mum
If you had one tip for anyone trying to pack light, what would it be?
“You definitively need a lot less than you might think! When everything matches with everything your suitcase is the ultimate capsule wardrobe! Start with your most comfortable shoes, pick one pair of trousers and two to three tops. Jazz it up with accessories like scarfes and jewellery to add some character.” – Mum
My mum managed to roll her 18 items of clothing in her bike panniers:
1 Active wear t-shirt
1 Zip Trousers
1 Smart Trousers
1 Jumper / Cardigan
2 Blouses (long sleeve & short sleeve)
3 Shoes (trainers, sandles and flip flops)
As mentioned before, the key to packing light was to stick to one colour pallete and to start from the shoes up. But how can you choose the right colours for your capsule wardrobe? You can find out more in my next blog!
Are you going on holiday soon, but not sure what to pack? Would you like a simple worksheet to help you create a capsule collection for your suitcase? You can now download my capsule wardrobe worksheet to help you pack, whatever the destination. Click here to get your free copy now!