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Single-Suitcase Packing Hacks for a Summer Trip

Packing single suitcase with clothes for a vacation capsule wardrobe.

Are you planning a summer getaway but dreading the packing process? Packing for any type of trip can be stressful, especially if you’re trying to fit everything into one suitcase. But with some easy-to-follow hacks, you can ensure you retain your fashionable style for your vacation capsule wardrobe.

In this guide:

  • How to plan for all the activities you intend to do
  • The frequency of wear for key items
  • Types of clothes can be the most versatile and form the core of ‘your vacation capsule wardrobe’

How to Plan for All the Activities You Intend to Do

Planning ahead of time is essential when packing a single suitcase. Before you start, plan your activities for the duration of your trip and list the items you’ll need for each activity. Here are a few tips to remember:

  • Before packing your suitcase, ensure to read the labels of any items you’re putting in it. This will help you know their care instructions and save you from surprises when you arrive at your destination.
  • Think about the weather. Incorporate warm-weather and cold-weather items into your suitcase to prepare for changing temperatures throughout your trip. Consider investing in a few packable items like a warm jacket or raincoat that will take up minimal space.
  • Pack multipurpose items to save more room in your suitcase. Look for clothes and accessories that can be worn in multiple ways to get the most out of every item you bring.

The Frequency of Wear for Key Items

Packing for a summer vacation is all about getting the most out of each item. To help you decide which items to bring, consider how frequently you’ll wear them. Start by selecting a few core items that will be worn most often and build your vacation capsule wardrobe around those.

Below is a breakdown of a few essential selections and how often you should wear them:

  • Shirts – You should bring at least two to three short sleeve shirts and one long sleeve shirt for cooler evenings. These can be worn multiple times if you alternate them throughout your trip.
  • Pants – Select a few pairs of jeans or chinos that can be dressed up or down with different accessories. Jeans are usually much more versatile and comfortable than shorts.
  • Shoes – Bring one pair for daytime activities and another for evening events. You can also pack a pair of flip-flops or sandals if you plan to be near a beach or pool.

Types of Clothes That Can Form the Core of Your Vacation Capsule Wardrobe

To get the most out of your suitcase, choose versatile pieces that can be used in different combinations to create multiple outfits. Here are a few of the best items for a capsule wardrobe:


A white T-shirt is an excellent base for any outfit. You can dress it up with a blazer and trousers or dress it down with shorts and sandals. For more formal occasions, add a collared shirt, which can also be worn for daywear with jeans. Additionally, a light-colored button-down shirt is perfect for days out in the sun and cool evenings in the city.


A pair of jeans is essential for any wardrobe and can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion. If you plan to spend most of your time outdoors, opt for a pair of athleisure pants and shorts. These are both comfortable and stylish. Finally, add a few accessories, such as a hat, sunglasses, and a statement necklace, to complete each outfit.


Invest in a lightweight jacket or cardigan that you can layer over any outfit. This will keep you warm on cooler evenings and protect you from wind and rain. If traveling in a hotter climate, add a lightweight blazer or a kimono to your suitcase.


Bring at least two pairs of shoes that can be used for both day and night occasions. A pair of trainers is excellent for sightseeing and casual days, while a pair of loafers or sandals are perfect for evening events. But remember rubber sole shoes are a must; they provide better traction and support. Moreover, if you plan to hit the beach, don’t forget to pack a pair of flip-flops!

A Few More Things to Note:

  • Narrow your color palette so you will have an easier time matching and interchanging outfits
  • The ideal colors for summer are stone-light khaki and blue for pants and shorts
  • An unconstructed coat or a vest would be suitable for more social outings
  • As for tee shirts, polos, and button-downs, you can use most colors to create multiple options
  • Accessories like hats, scarves, and sunglasses are always a great way to add some flare
  • Keep the garments trendy and up to date with the latest style and fit. For instance, if you’re going for a more modern look, opt for skinny or slim-fit jeans.

Packing for a summer vacation can be tricky, but with the right items in your suitcase, you can create multiple looks to help you stand out from the crowd. Make sure to keep your vacation capsule wardrobe to the essentials and pick versatile pieces that can be used in different combinations. This way, you won’t have to worry about being over-packed or underdressed.

At Family Britches, we’re here to help you pack the perfect vacation wardrobe. Stop by our Chappaqua, NY, or New Canaan, CT, store today and let one of our experienced staff members help you find the perfect items for your next trip. Or, better, you can contact us online, and one of our client advisors will assist you in selecting the best items for your vacation capsule wardrobe.

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