Creating A Lean Closet: Travel Edition

May 18, 2015

I’ve barely unpacked and it’s time to repack and head off on another adventure. With all the movement and a conscious effort to accumulate fewer, but better quality things I’ve become smarter with what I pack and buy. This year I’ve invested in more basics than statement pieces. My collection of striped tops has steadily grown and has made travelling and getting ready a lot easier. They are effortless and can be dressed up or down easily. I’ve been considering the red breton from Popbasic but haven’t committed as yet, only because I just don’t wear red (remember you can get $15 off on your next Popbasic purchase by using this link). I’ll spend between $30-$50 on my breton tops. They aren’t overly expensive but I definitely get a lot of mileage out of them.

This travel cardigan was a fantastic investment. It’s a cardigan that can be worn a few different ways. It’s lightweight but warm and is made from Merino wool. I have it in black and this fossil colour. I can wrap it around my neck like a scarf and even use it as a blanket. It can be tricky to photograph but it’s become my travel must have. This travel cardigan is by Australian designers 4Minutes33 and costs around $250, a little pricey but well worth saving your pennies for.

I tend not to wear dresses a lot but sometimes the work I do and the cultural settings I work in make it necessary to swap the pants and shorts for dresses. I’ve recently worn a couple of dresses by Australian designer Leina Broughton and the feedback I got from people was encouraging! The cut of her clothes is impeccable and she doesn’t compromise on the quality of the fabric she uses. I’ve dropped hot chocolate down the front of one of the dresses and was able to wipe it off with a dry tissue without leaving a trace. The fabric is perfect for travel – they roll up easily, don’t need ironing and can be steamed by hanging them in the bathroom while you shower for a refresher. Her clothes sell at around the $250 mark or lower, but they have great sales – read $50-$80 for the dresses. While it might be a little pricey for some, the fabric is of great quality but it’s still easy to launder and isn’t precious (again – hot chocolate down the front, but all was well).

Cuyana – this is where my dedication and commitment to ‘fewer better things’ this year stems from. In a small step towards fewer better quality things I swapped my numerous cheap travel cases for this Cuyana travel case set ($95). Having purchased this travel case set I’ve had to re-think what I lug around when I travel. This in itself has helped me throw out numerous products and once again focus on the ‘essentials’. I’ve been honest and gentle with myself in this process though. Creating a lean wardrobe isn’t something that can happen overnight for me. It’s taking time and is on-going. I do find that having to travel really helps you put into perspective what you need, what you use, and what you don’t need. With each trip I’m paying attention to what I use and what I don’t and those items I find myself wishing I had. It’s certainly telling me a lot about the ‘gaps’ in my wardrobe.

What are your travel must haves? 
Do you feel like you have your style sorted, or is it something that’s still evolving? 

Related posts: Creating a lean closet ICreating a lean closet II | Maintaining a lean closet progress report | Creating a lean closet the shoe edition |


  • Alex

    Great recommendations for places to check out for wardrobe building! I'm a fan of Popbasic as well!

    I also bring a wrap with me when I travel. It's just less cumbersome to put on in a plane compared to a jacket. Plus it looks way more chic! a cardigan/wrap hybrid like yours is the best of both worlds.

    My style is definitely still evolving. As I'm growing older, I think I'm slowly cutting down on the clothes I own and employing the same philosophy you have of really investing in high quality essential pieces. It's really more of a bargain in the long run. I used to replace cheaper clothes often because they never last constant wear which cost me way more than my pricier but more enduring pieces.

    Alex from Refined Lately

  • Katrin

    You look so beautiful! I am a huge fan of striped tops as well, they just always look good. I do like basic pieces and try to combine them in different ways. My style is still evolving, that is for sure. 🙂

  • Stephanie

    Thanks to you, i'm saving up to buy a few items from Cuyana.

    I'm still working on my makeover so i haven't really bought much. I'm trying to spend a good amount of time figuring out the things i want and how they'll work around my lifestyle. I've always been interested in a lean closet, i sort of have one but i'm pretty sure i can trim it down in some areas

    Having to move apartments frequently certainly puts things in perspective for me

    xo Stephanie

  • Laura

    I love reading your posts about creating a lean closet. I have been trying to do the same over the last year or so and have been much stricter with the fabrics that I buy. I've found that it is the best way to walk away from a poor quality item. I also have many (maybe 10!) breton tops but they all get enough wear to warrant keeping them all. I really want to get the Cuyana travel case set but I hardly ever travel so it is difficult to justify.

    Laura | Breton & Blush

  • Sarah from Creating Contentment

    Goodness, you are beautiful girl!
    Loving these posts. I am also thinking about my wardrobe, how I use it, what it's missing. Using travel as a guide is a great tip. Wish I travelled!! Am going to go check out the dresses now. Xx

  • VioletDaffodils

    I love the photos, you are so gorgeous too! I always find packing so stressful!

  • Sam

    Hi Vanisha, I am also always collecting striped tops, can never have enough, I think the red one will look lovely on you. The cardigan is so elegant, love the way its draped. These are such chic and classic pieces. I appreciate your great comment, have a creative week ahead hun!

  • Kristian

    That cardigan is so gorgeous on you. It is neat how versatile it is too.

    I feel like my style is changing- away from as many dresses and vintage-y things to a more simple look that requires less, but better pieces.

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  • Diana Mieczan

    That cardi looks really fantastic and stripes are a must for me too. I have a few brands that I always go back to because I know their designs so well and they fit me perfectly. Totally going to check out Leina Broughton. Those dresses look so sassy. Kisses, darling.

  • Rita

    There's nothing like traveling to teach you a thing or two about what you actually need. I feel I now have my long haul travel essentials sorted but I still have much to learn about shorter flights or road trips. I really like that cardi and have been looking for something like that for my traveling. Can you get it online? Anyway, I feel like my style is sorted but part of it is to leave room for experimentation, adaptation and change. What I have found to slowly change in my approach in recent years has been a focus on better, not more.

  • Mimi Finerty

    Definitely go for the red breton. It will look amazing with your complexion and it is nice to have the safety of stripes but the splash of colour. Love your monogrammed travel set too. So jealous that you have stripped down your wardrobe and you translate it to your packing. I think my wardrobe needs some invested, staples. I always feel horrendous parting with a large amount of money for a t shirt, but then the cheapies fall apart so quickly and I think why didn't it invest in better quality. It is making that first jump.

  • Vanessa

    I love the idea of a dress that you can spill things on haha.

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