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How to travel with a minimal capsule wardrobe || Winter in Japan

There is definitely joy to be found in the idea of travelling light. When I headed for Japan, I knew I wanted to be exploring ancient temples and castles, wandering the streets of Tokyo at night and feeling 100% free. Having a heavy and over stuffed suitcase often makes me feel weighed down whereas returning to your Airbnb at midnight and seeing just the few items laid neatly in your suitcase just improves my attitude and mood. Here are some of my tips for travelling with a minimal capsule wardrobe and embracing minimalism while away on a trip.

Plan your outfits in advance

I don’t mean a serious plan but as you’re packing make sure you know what you’ll be wearing with what. This cuts down how much you will bring as you can get rid of a few items that can be replaced/don’t match with anything else. This was seriously helpful and I managed to cut my packing down by a third.

Heat Tech in Winter

It was winter in Japan so layers were a must. I brought Uniqlo heat tech layers to try and cut down the bulky knits that I would be bringing. This is definitely the main trick in minimising the bulk in your suitcase.

Pack Cashmere Sweaters

I must be a broken record when it comes to recommending cashmere sweaters. They’re light weight, they’re super warm and look very stylish on. These are a total winner when travelling and of course Everlane cashmere is my favourite. At $100, it’s hard to go wrong (read here for a cashmere sweater guide). These tuck into your suitcase very nicely and once again make travelling light a breeze.

Different Beanies/Scarves/Socks

While I wore the same outerwear almost everyday, my outfits varied depending on the accessories I wore. From statement earrings to cute beanies and scarves and even wool socks, these really pack a punch. They’re easy to fit into your suitcase and totally change up the look of your existing items. Not to mention, they are functional as Japan is just so cold in Winter! An honourable mention goes to my Canada scarf from Acne Studios which was a life saver in the cold.

Add Colour into your packing list

Now this is one I regret. I went for a very monochrome and neutral palette. In hindsight, I would have much preferred to have added 1-2 colourful tops just to break up the outfits a little. Most of my neutral items just looked the same so this is now one tip I’ll highly recommend. I also added a little bit of colour through different jewellery items. My flower earrings featured in the video was definitely very useful in adding some interest and colour into otherwise very minimal outfits.

What did I bring

Overall, I brought:

  • 2 Cashmere sweaters
  • a polka dot top
  • a stripe top (could have taken this out)
  • 1 coat
  • 1 bomber jacket
  • 2 pairs of jeans
  • 1 denim skirt (could have taken this out)
  • and some heat tech/ base layers

Coupled with different accessories, this was just enough for my 10 day trip! That’s only about 10 items!

So, this is my minimal capsule wardrobe for a ten day trip to Japan. It was very much within my comfort zone and I didn’t find it to be a stretch to make it through the week with clean clothes nor was it too repetitive or boring. I enjoyed how light my suitcase was and really appreciated how clean my Airbnb was and how easy it was to move from one place to another. So if you’re planning your next trip, ditch the full suitcase and opt for a more enjoyable travel experience!