Despite being a last-minute packer, I always end up with the perfect combination of coordinated clothing in my suitcase.

I give all the credit to my mom, who taught me from a young age that it’s important to invest in classic minimal pieces that can be mixed and matched easily.

Below are all the tips, tricks, and hacks I’ve learned to help you build a stylish minimalist travel wardrobe. 

What is a Minimalist Travel Wardrobe?

Minimalist travel wardrobe

A minimalist travel wardrobe should include pieces that are functional, easy to mix and match, and chic. 

The biggest thing to remember is to pick classic styles that flatter your body type and personal style. The last thing you want is to feel uncomfortable in your clothes.

Another important note is that everyone’s minimalist travel wardrobe will look different depending on their personality and style. Your primary goal will be to identify a specific color scheme that works best for you.

Being a New Yorker, I gravitate towards a monotone vibe with lots of black, white, navy, beige, and occasionally some red or pink for a pop of color.

What to Include in Your Minimalist Travel Wardrobe

minamilist wardrobe 2

It’s important to stick with your chosen color scheme and keep to basic pieces.

I suggest looking at your closet and finding where the gaps are. Once you’ve identified problem areas, focus on filling them in accordingly.

Any shopping you do from this point forward should be to fill in those gaps you’ve spotted in your closet. 

Also, there’s no point in buying something you’ll only end up wearing once, so avoid fast fashion statement pieces. 

Let’s be honest, depending on the season, what you’re packing will vary. You’ll ideally want four tops, two bottoms, one dress or jumpsuit, one jacket, two pairs of shoes, and a handful of accessories.

Being a New Yorker, I’ll typically buy these things in black and accessorize with a bit of color or vintage jewelry. 

To make it easy for you, I’ve created a basic packing list that includes seasonal items. 

Under each section, I’ve included some of my favorite go-to items that I always pack in my minimalist travel wardrobe.

Minimalist Travel Wardrobe Packing List

Dress or Jumpsuit

Minimalist Dress

During the summer I love having either a midi or maxi dress, little mini dress, or chic jumpsuit that I can dress up or down depending on where we end up going out at night. 

Everyone should have at least a single summer dress that makes them feel like a movie star.

Berydress Spaghetti Strap Button Down Midi Sundress
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French Connection Whisper Light Dress
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Any time I’m (reluctantly!) heading toward cold weather, I default to packing a long fitted sweater dress or a short black turtleneck dress. 

If it’s really going to be freezing, I’ll opt for a long-sleeved jumpsuit to have more coverage. 

Either way, you need to have something that’s warm and can be dressed up or down easily. 

LaSuiveur Sweater Dress
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Norma Kamali Jumpsuit
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Tops

Minimalist Travel Paris

A black tank top is necessary and instantly makes any outfit chic. I also always have a white blouse and a tank that I can wear alone (if it isn’t see-through) or under a fitted white t-shirt. 

These are staples every woman needs to have in her wardrobe.

During the summer, I try to include at least one flattering top that has a bit of color. Typically, for me, it ends up being a jewel-toned blouse.

BLENCOT Lace Trim Tank Top
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Amazon Essentials 2-Pack V-Necks
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I always pack turtlenecks in the winter, I’m obsessed with how stylish they look. Naturally, I’ll pack a black one, a chocolate one, and either a cream or light pink one. 

Then just to mix it up a bit I’ll pack either a dark green, navy, or maroon V-neck sweater. I really veer toward jewel-tones when adding color, especially in the wintertime.

VOBCTY Lightweight Turtleneck
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Asvivid V Neck Backless Knitted Sweater
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Bottoms

Ally Paris Skinny Jeans

Everyone should have a pair of dark wash jeans in their wardrobe that make them feel like a million bucks.

I love wearing skinny jeans in the winter because they’re so easy to tuck into boots. My all-time favorite denim brand is JBrand. I’ve been wearing them for over a decade because they’re always flattering, stylish, and well-made.

J Brand Natasha Sky High Skinny Jeans
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J Brand 620 Mid Rise Super Skinny Jean
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The other pants I have to bring with me are my high-waisted black skinny pants (also from JBrand). I love good high-waisted pants, especially for traveling. I can dress them up or down and they’re almost always flattering if you find the right brand for your body type.

During the summer, I typically pack a pair of dark denim shorts, white denim shorts, and occasionally a third pair of light denim shorts. I believe in having all three options in my closet at all times.

Levi's Women's 501 Original Shorts
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Levi's Women's Mid Length Shorts
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I also cannot live without a pair of high-waisted black shorts. They’ve really become my go-to over the last few years.

Haola Women's Vintage Denim High Waisted Shorts
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Jacket

Ally Reiss Jacket

You need a timeless dress jacket and a solid everyday coat in your wardrobe. 

That said, I recommend only traveling with one of those per trip unless you have a ton of room in your bag and know that you’ll need both.

I especially like traveling with a puffy jacket with a hood to block the elements. I love brands like North Face and Nautica for jackets like this.

The North Face Women's Gotham Jacket II
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If I know my trip is taking me somewhere fancier where I won’t be outside for too long, I’ll opt for a long wool coat instead. I got my last wool coat from Reiss and am obsessed with it.

Just make sure the coat you’re wearing is chic and warm and ideally a neutral color, like black or beige.

I’ve included some similar styles below.

Kenneth Cole New York Women's
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Murfhee Sheep Fur Coat
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During the fall and spring, I wear my trench coat on repeat. I think it’s a style that screams class and is still functional enough that it can be dressed up or down based on the occasion.

London Fog Women's Double-Breasted Trench Coat
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During the warmer months, I’m a big fan of bringing either a leather or denim jacket with me when I travel. I typically default to the leather since it can elevate any look and is instantly warm on cooler nights.

UGG Women's Alba Leather Jacket
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Wrangler Stretch Denim Jacket
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Shoes

Rothys

I’m honestly obsessed with my ASICS running shoes and On Cloud slip on running shoes.

You should know that this is coming from a girl who never wore tennis shoes outside the gym until these brands came along. Now I can’t imagine ever traveling without them.

ASICS Women's Gel-Pulse 11 Running Shoes
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On Cloud Active Running Shoe
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Besides a stylish pair of tennis shoes, have a solid pair of flats and a pair of sandals for the summer.

I got a pair of leopard flats from Rothy‘s this year, and they’re my new favorite way to add a bit of color to my minimalist wardrobe. 

The coolest part is that they’re made of recycled material, easily fold up to save space, and are machine washable!

These are some similar budget options:

Amazon Essentials Women's Ballet Flat
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Skechers Women's Ballet Flat
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For sandals, I always end up defaulting to black leather Sam Edelmans. They are the most comfortable and fashionable walking sandals that I’ve ever found.

Sam Edelman Women's Gigi Classic Flat Sandal
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During the winter my go-to boots are over the knee, black boots by Blondo. They’re waterproof, comfy to walk in, and look almost exactly like Stuart Weitzman’s 50/50 boots.

Blondo Women's Velma Waterproof Riding Boot
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I also pack a shorter pair of black leather booties with a heel in case I want to dress up an outfit. 

My favorite booties have been from Nine West or Blondo. I love that both have boots at lower price points, especially Blondo’s since they have the added benefit of being waterproof. 

Blondo Women's Vegas Waterproof Ankle Bootie
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Nine West Quillin Leather Ankle Boot
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Pashmina

Pashmina

Are you one of those people that’s always cold in restaurants or on planes?

It’s my belief that everyone needs to travel with a pashmina in their purse. I can’t tell you how many times having one in my bag has saved me from freezing to death during a flight.

Achillea Pashmina
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Pajamas

PJs

This one is obvious. Honestly, this is all preference based on who you’re traveling with.

If it’s a partner, pick something sexy like a silk slip or sexy onsie.

Avidlove Satin Lace Chemise Nightgown
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If you’re traveling with family, then choose something chill and cute with more coverage. My all-time favorite is Eberjey’s classic PJ set.

Eberjey Gisele Long PJ Set
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Eberjey Gisele Short PJ Set
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Bras

minimalist bra

Normally I aim to have a strapless bra, a black bra, a nude bra, and one fun bra.

Bonus points if you can find a convertible bra.

Calvin Klein Women's Constant Strapless Bra
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Socks/Tights

Tights

I like to pack a majority of black ankle socks, with maybe two pairs of white ones thrown in.

During the winter, I have to bring at least a pair of black tights with me. My favorite go-to tights are from Capezio. They’re really durable and thick because they’re made for dancers.

Capezio Women's Hold & Stretch Footed Tight
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Panties

minimalist panties

Again, pretty much just default to preference here in terms of cut. 

I recommend having a few seamless neutral-colored pairs that will work under white shorts, fitted dresses, or jumpsuits. Trust me, the last thing you want to see are panty lines in your vacation photos.

These are some of my favorite seamless options to shop:

Calvin Klein Women's Invisibles Line Thong-Panty
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Calvin Klein Women's Sleek Model Thong Panty
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Swimsuits

Minimalistic Swimwear

You’ve got a few options here depending on what you’re personally comfortable with. I typically pack two bikinis, but also have a classic one-piece, just in case. This is an area where I enjoy adding a bit of color or patterns.

These are some of my favorite recent purchases:

Blooming Jelly Womens High Waisted Bikini Set
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Hilor Women's Front Crossover Swimsuit
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Accessories

Minimal Accessories

I think it’s smart to keep a small yet well-curated jewelry collection. The right cocktail ring or pair of earrings can really elevate a basic outfit. Below are some of my favorite go-to items:

Necklaces 

Diamond necklace

I always wear a dainty necklace and like to bring a statement necklace in case I want to jazz up an outfit.

These are some similar pieces to what I pack:

Kobelli Tiny Diamond Solitaire Bezel Necklace in 14k Gold (18" Chain)
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18k Gold Plated Gemstone and Diamond Accent Pendant
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Bracelets

Braclets

Pick your poison with this one. Typically, I bring either a vintage gold bangle or a gold charm bracelet. 

This is an area where your personal style can pop more, so go toward what feels right for you. 

These are some recent favorites that I found online:

Ross-Simons 14kt Gold Engraved Bangle
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14K Gold Plated Cubic Zirconia Tennis Bracelet
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Earrings

earrings

I always wear a pair of classic studs on the plane (typically faux diamond). Then I’ll include a pair of small hoops, and one statement pair (usually vintage).

These are some similar styles to what I normally pack:

Plated Sterling Silver Cubic Zirconia Stud Earrings
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Sterling Silver Post Lightweight Hoops
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Rings

minimilist Rings

I have one to two gold rings that I wear daily, both are vintage. Then I’ll also bring one statement vintage cocktail ring, and one or two silver rings. 

These are some of my recent online favorites:

14K Gold Plated Antiqued Oval Cut Genuine Red Garnet Vintage Style Ring
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Sterling Silver Sky Blue Topaz Women's Solitaire Ring
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Maintaining Your Minimalist Travel Wardrobe

minimilist wardrobe 3

This is big—the key here is to keep the mindset of maintaining your wardrobe’s consistency. 

This means upholding the quality of pieces you buy and that urge to go for quantity over quality when you shop.

I know better than anyone that those impulse buys are easy to make, but you need to stay disciplined. 

I always make myself stop and really think about how many actual occasions that I’ll wear the piece, and if I can’t name 5 legit ones, then it goes back on the rack.

It’s better to invest your money in quality pieces that you know you’ll wear more than just once before it goes out of style or you get sick of it. 

Just take the time to care for the items you invest in.

If you do it right, you may even have quality pieces to pass down to your daughter one day. 

You think I’m joking, but I’m not.

My mother has passed down to me so many classic vintage pieces from her youth that are still in style and in great shape.

I bet the pieces she’s given me make up about a quarter of my minimalist travel wardrobe these days.

It’s just further proof that minimal classic style never goes out of fashion.

What’s your favorite investment piece? Let me know in the comments below!

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