How to pack a suitcase - top tips for a holiday capsule wardrobe

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April 2019 News

summer hat woman.jpg

Holidays are exciting, but the packing can be stressful. You want the perfect holiday capsule wardrobe, but end up sitting on a bulging suitcase trying not to bust the zip.Capsule wardrobe in a suitcase

So how’s it done? Here’s our quick guide to packing like a pro. Follow these tips and you’ll have a huge choice of outfits – all fitting neatly into your hand luggage.

Skincare & make-up

Remember to keep your skincare and make-up to under 100mg so that you’ll be OK at the airport. Where necessary, decant into good quality travel bottles.

With make-up, you can probably get away with waterproof mascara, a coloured eyeliner, your favourite lipstick, bronzer and a kabuki brush.  If you’re reluctant to leave foundation at home, opt for a dual mineral compact. It’s especially brilliant in hot weather.

Mix and match

Once you know your best colours, and the styles that work for you, packing a capsule wardrobe becomes easier. It’s not an exact science, but for your average beach holiday, here’s a rough guide:

  • 3 camis and 2 long-sleeved tops in great colours, 1-2 neutral cardigans or wraps
  • 1-2 casual dresses or skirts, 1 smarter dress
  • 3 pairs neutral coloured leggings or trousers
  • 2 swimsuits or bikinis, a squashable hat, sarongs, scarves or pashminas

One quick tip about patterns…. Try not to overdo them. If you’ve brought patterned tops, choose non-patterned trousers or skirts.

Get rolling

You’re aiming for 3 rolled sausages. Start by laying out your tops and dresses, one inside the other, with the most crushable fabrics on the outside. Now roll them into a sausage. The crease-prone items will be padded out by the less fussy fabrics in the middle.

Trousers and skirts go in the second sausage. Everything else goes in the third - swimwear, sarongs, pashminas and scarves. Kettlewell infinity scarves are great for holidays. They come in a huge range of colours and will take you into the evening by doubling as a bolero.


It’s tempting to pack shoes for every occasion. But actually, you only need 4 pairs - flip flops, flats, heels and those contoured `fit flops’ that also come in sparkly finishes for the evening.

And talking about sparkle, how about shoe clips? Crimson Pink have a huge range. They’ll transform daytime flats into evening glamour within an instant.

See it in action

If you’d like a quick step-by-step guide, watch House of Colour’s Rachel. In five minutes she magics 70+ outfits from a small suitcase, neatly packed with 21 items of clothing. 

Those zip-busting moments will soon be a thing of the past. Happy holiday!