Back to the real world….This happens a lot in large cities – when the hotels become less expensive over the weekend, people from the suburbs come into “the city.” They come in by train on Saturday morning to spend the day in town, have a nice dinner, maybe see a sporting event or a show, stay over, have a lovely brunch, and get back home before darkness falls on Sunday.
When I said I was going to create the smallest possible travel capsule wardrobe, THIS is what I was thinking of! (I’m so sorry, I have a hunch that I’ve really disappointed some of you.)
I see these people every weekend, and it seems that they are often hauling about a lot more “stuff” than they might need. This might not be a problem if you’re able to get into your hotel room immediately when you arrive downtown, but if you wanted to lunch, or go to a museum, or do something BEFORE you check in, having a big suitcase is a drag, literally.
How about this:
Note that 2 really pivotal parts of this whole look are (1) a coat that will work day and night, and (2) a pair of trousers that are simple and classic enough to play an understated role in a variety of ensembles.
If you’ve managed to streamline your personal care products to a sensible minimum, this is all you’ll need to pack:
What got me started thinking about tote bags? The fact that I have more of them than I need! The beauty pictured below was a gift from the digital staff at Neiman Marcus; I’m not really sure how I deserved a gift from them for the holidays, but bless their hearts, they gave this to me. But I TRULY don’t need it, and so I’m giving it to one of you.
Leave me a comment – if only to tell me how disappointed you are to see today’s post – and you will have a chance to win this lovely bag. I have no idea what it’s made of, but if it’s got a Neiman Marcus label on it, it’s got to be pretty nice, eh?
This might seem like a really silly comment but I love these posts and I have an overnight away this weekend so I know what to take and the type of bag….. But what's the most efficient way to pack? Could you do a couple of pictures "filling the bag" ? I struggle to pack efficiently. To roll or fold etc
I love the way a different colour can transform the overall look of an outfit. This combo certainly gives you bang for every centimetre used. And, if you put a few walks in the mix you don't even need to include any gym gear.
I have a grey and pink/shell/blush wardrobe and just love the way this duck egg colour gives a completely different look. Might need to diversify……..and I love the tote bag :) x
This is a great post, it's just a little late for me. I had an overnight seminar last week! Granted, I spent the entire time in the conference hotel and the only activities besides work were meals…but I anaged to pack even less than what you suggest here. I made do with the same beautiful cashmere sweater on both days- I just wore a pretty brooch on first day and a scarf I wore in transit the next day. I could have packed another top, but then a bigger bag would have been necessary. I did notice that of all the attendants including men, my baggage was the smallest, even though I had everything I needed. I had a change of underwear, knitted socks for extra warmth, indoor shoes, pajama, cosmetic bag, a book, the items needed in the meetings, my emergency kit (that contains miscellanous useful items from painkillers to scissors and a sewing kit), and a shoulder bag. My tote was very full, but had I wanted to, I could have included an extra piece of jewelry.
The only days I am ever disappointed are those, when there is no new blog. Thanks for all the lovely inspirations.
Amen to that, Tina. Always something to have a think about! Well said.
Chris from Australia. X
Coco Colmani says
Yes, a perfect demonstration of TVF principles!
Robyn in Tasmania
Oh Janice, never disappointed. Love the idea, my daughter is a train ride away and this is definitely what is needed for an overnighter.
Disappointed! I don't think so. This idea so fits in with my lifestyle. I may take 2 longer vacays a year it's the two or three night ones that come up more often. I loved these pieces and colors and I am still searching for that pink top! Thanks.
Beautiful as usual. Between work and living in rural NH, I do a trip like this at least once a month if just to see a movie in a real theater! I'm a light packer already (mostly thanks to a few years of following your blog) but I might forward this post to my travelling companions who can use the help :)
From Margie in Toronto – Love this idea and its very helpful – even though I live in the city, a friend from out of town comes in once a year and we stay at a hotel for a night or two and do all those fun things – I'd probably add one more pair of pants and possibly one more top and I'd be set. And yes I could do it in a tote bag – would love to be in consideration for this one. I find that more and more I'm tending to do more of these short trips throughout the year so this post really helps me to focus on what I actually need to take.
I, too, believe in traveling extra, extra, extra light – figuring on having to carry whatever bag up and down stairs, for blocks, etc. Wouldn't be enough stuff to make one of your delightful posts out of. :D I shop at several off price groceries where you need your own bags – wouldn't this mock croc one be so very stylish there! :D
I'm not disappointed at all. I go on over nighters occasionally.so this is a great post. My only problem is that I am afraid that if I didn't bring a second pair of pants I would mess up the trousers the first day.
Pam @ over50feeling40 says
It is a perfect idea for a post! I think post like this are welcomed when we address specific circumstances and I would absolutely love to win the bag! Thanks, Janice!
I like this post. I like the addition of pajamas and lingerie. You are such an excellent resource for outer wear , I assume that would follow for inner wear too.
I feel like you had me in mind when you wrote this — we live a couple of hours from NYC and when we saw a TravelZoo deal at a hotel we like, we jumped all over it for the upcoming long weekend. All three of our daughters are in the city (at least for 6 months, while #3 does her co-op job this semester) so it will be a nice family weekend!
I love these soft pretty colors. We often pack for an "overnight" to visit family or a theme park (living three hours from Orlando) and lugging around a suitcase is not fun. Thanks for these ideas.
Mary mcm says
Definitely a timely post since I'll be heading to NYC soon for the weekend. While I seem unable to pack lightly for a longer trip 3+ nights) I am fairly competent at overnights. DD went to college in NYC and it's only an hour train ride so I'd often go up for a short visit.
Obviously shoes and and toiletries at the bottom of the bag but would you roll the clothing? Do you ever use the packing cubes? And this is where I envy your hair – mine is fairly long and I always pack small bottles of my own shampoo, conditioner and a curling iron.
Lisa M. says
Just what I was hoping for! I needed this badly, as I'm taking a short weekend trip soon, and want to take just a tote. I also need a classy tote for the trip, coincidentally! Thanks so much for your always-appropriate advice.
No disappointment at all! The colors in the transit image are wonderful. Thank you, Janice.
I adore this shell pink color – wish I could wear it with my coloring! It gives me a sense of tranquility and order just looking at it.
Excellent selections – perfect for a weekend of museum hopping in D.C.!
I will be in Chicago later this month and am grateful for all your posts. – CRP
Yes, I would love to win the lovely tote bag. Your blog is perfect for those of us who love clothes and love to travel!
I appreciate today's post as I always seem to bring along too many pieces for short trips. My son lives outside DC and we will be taking longer visits there, with short trips into the city so this will be very helpful. Thank you, I look forward to your posts each day. Always something of interest. – DBQMary
I have a lot of grey so I feel like this is something I can duplicate. Always love the packing posts!
Disappointed? Whatever for? This is a great post, that I find awfully practical, as Ii do go away for quite a few weekends. Yet I still haven't whittled it down to this level of efficiency!
I also love this post and will whittle down my long weekend travel wardrobe even more! Just one pair of pants is all that is needed! Wow! Thank you again, Janice and the travel tote would be lovely.
Janice Collins, Washington, DC.
This is PERFECT!! I live a train ride from NYC, and our schedule typically requires us to 'tote' our belongings around the city. This is going up on my closet wall. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
I love all of your posts. This one is very helpful as I often go to NYC for the weekend. Thanks for all of your hard work!
i love your posts. I travel for work and need all the inspiration and guidance I can get-still after all these years. Thanks they help.
Absolutely lovely. If I didn't already live in a city, I'd want to go to one this weekend. (That gorgeous Hermes scarf and aqua sweater are the stuff of dreams as well as an inspiring packing pick.)
Terry A. says
No disappointment here! Love this.
Along with some of your other readers, I am also wondering which way of packing you favor ? I have packing cubes and folders, but am always torn between rolling and folding for longer trips with more items. I don't have a lot of synthetic blends, although I am slowly working in that direction with future purchases and I find that rolling still creates wrinkles, although it allows you to see what you have at a glance. I know that you and an iron are good friends,so what is your packing style preference ? Love the colors and simplicity of this post !
Great suggestions! One more top and another change of underwear and a Friday to Sunday weekend is covered. Just a reminder that most hotels have a "left luggage" room and are happy to store luggage until your room is available.
Love this combination. I'd feel so fresh and beautiful wearing these clothes in these colours. And yes please to the NM bag.
I love how you use a scarf as a focal point and bring out an accent color with neutrals. That has always been my goal but you have helped me to think it through and have a plan. Thank you for all your hard work on this blog. I enjoy it and I've learned so much!
Never, ever disappointed with your posts (unless, of course, there is no post – LOL!) This is a beautiful overnight wardrobe in colors that I love! I have learned so much from your posts and am constantly working at streamlining my wardrobe and packing. Your posts are one of the highlights of my day!
@Bookwyrm – What part of NH are you from? We moved to the Lakes Region from MA 4 years ago and adjustment to this somewhat rural area has been interesting, to say the least!
Very useful post! There are many of us weekend in NYC readers who appreciate your creativity. Great ideas. Thanks
A wonderful post, as usual.
And so nice to see you include the L.L. Bean "Perfect Fit Pants." You feature the slim fit, which is lovely. But I buy the original fit, mostly because that version has pockets. These pants are so comfortable that I wear them almost every day. Not even sure how many pairs I have: several in gray, a couple in black, one in khaki. (The khaki seems to be available only in spring and summer.) As you say, they're "simple and classic enough to play an understated role in a variety of ensembles." They're also extremely comfortable, and they're great for airline travel. (No belt needed, which makes it easier to go through security.)
as a fifty something 'soft' would the duck egg colour suit me? No grey hair yet!!
Janice Riggs says
I think it's a color that would suit most women – sort of the way turquoise seems to be widely flattering. Worth a try, don't you think?
Thank you……yes I think it is definitely worth a try. I saw a jumper only yesterday, duck egg and grey and thought it looked fab. I think this colour should also work well with navy, one of my other neutrals, but not sure about stone/beige. What do you think?
tracey meade says
Thank you Janice, two weeks in Paris with a carry-on thanks to you!
As a new mother, I've had to revise my approach to dressing. Your blog has been a tremendous help for me in building my new wardrobe. I especially love these packing capsules! Thank you!
Claire M. Johnson says
As always a great post on how to minimalize but not at the sacrifice of style. I would love to see more posts on how to tie all sorts of sizes of scarfs. I have several oblong scarfs that I usually just knot but other ideas would be helpful. Thanks!
Dear Janice, I love, love, love your posts! I have two big weekends coming up this month; one is to Washington, D.C., to celebrate my husband's 60th birthday, and the next is to Chicago for a nephew's wedding. I started reading your blog last year, beginning with Starting From Scratch. I was looking for a way to pare down and refine my kaleidoscopic wardrobe. You helped me focus my buying strategies so that when I purchase something new it coordinates with my existing outfits and/or accessories, and you enable me to realize that when I donate a no longer worn item because it does not fit my current look, it frees me up and actually makes dressing a whole lot easier. I would like to see a post for a 4-day weekend in Las Vegas, which, by the way, is where I am going with my three daughters in mid-March. Maybe you could incorporate Rose Quartz and Serenity, two of the Pantone 2016 colors? Please, nothing too expensive! Thank you, thank you, thank you for all that you do!
Beautiful color combinations! I use gray as one of my neutrals and find it versatile. I love the blue top in the first ensemble and the beautiful Hermes scarf! Your posts are always thoughtful and inspiring.
Laurie J. says
Drooling over that first set!
Thalie F says
Today's post is no disappointment to me. I'm a recovering over-packer so I can totally relate! I still have a way to go and your capsule is an excellent start. Thanks!
Perfect timing, as I'm starting to think about what to pack for our weekend in New York City. I don't want much in my bag – need to leave room for the "souvenirs" I intend to purchase in the Garment District. Thank you!
Tom and Cheryl says
No disappointment AND our odds of winning the tote are so much better than the billion dollar powerball….
This is brilliant . . . . . and I can use this to get a better grip on all of the concepts you develop . . . . . Thank you!
what a wonderful idea.
Nancy B. says
I love this – colors, strategy, simplicity – all of it. I am always stumped as to how to pack properly for overnights. One question, though – will the kitten heels really work with the LL Bean pants? I love your site, Janice. It always makes my day. And by the way, Robertson Davies Deptford Trilogy is one of my all-time favorite books.
Janice Riggs says
So long as the legs of the pant fall nicely at the top of the shoe, there's no reason that L.L.Bean pants won't work with kitten heels. You don't have to tell anybody where you got them ;)
hostess of the humble bungalow says
I really needed to see this post as we are heading off on a weekend jaunt stateside soon…
Oh and I would Love to win the bag!
Great suggestions, but I don't think I am brave enough to go with only one pair of pants and one change of underwear. If I did that, I would spill dinner on my only pants! I always want another pair of shoes too.
SRSly NOLA says
I liked this post. I am all for not carrying HUGE bags on overnight trips. I would love to win this tote!!!!
As usual, this post was perfect. A weekend trip can happen anytime so thank you for the advice! Love the combo of turquoise and grey. Again- thank you, Suz
Ohhhh, your timing is perfect, Janice. I'm heading to Vancouver from Vancouver Island this weekend. I'll be walking on the ferry, so of course I want to keep my luggage manageable. Although I'm going for two nights, I think I can still do it all in a tote bag. I'd love a classy Neiman Marcus bag, though! AND, you've chosen all my colours for this weekend ensemble. Thank you. Joanna
Just discovered this blog and it makes me soooo happy to see someone has taken the guesswork out of packing for me. I'll be relying on you for my next trip. Thanks!
Just discovered this blog and it makes me soooo happy to see someone has taken the guesswork out of packing for me. I'll be relying on you for my next trip. Thanks!
Wonderful post! We often get away for one or two nights and I love to challenge myself to pack smart!
Oooooh! Love the bag!
Donna Herrmann says
Your posts are always so inspiring! Here in Texas most of the year it's just too hot for layering anything. Even so your basics are a great starting place for me. Your approach made something click for me and I'm so thankful you do this :)
Susan Bybee says
I love today's post!
Love this post and would love to win! Thanks
I love this capsule and the colors you've used! I can see myself in these clothes.Lovely!
My only disappointment is when there's no new post, but then I wander through your archives and marvel anew at your talent. I would have to add a bottom – I am paranoid about accidents, etc. – maybe a soft skirt I could roll/smush into the tote.
What a great post! You always come up with new, useful posts that address questions I haven't even thought of asking.
Mary Ann says
Love the very different looks you have created with minimal clothes. Thanks for the inspiration!
I often take 24 hr trips and this is very helpful!
Would love tote.
Kay Carter says
Funny how airlines have cajoled me into packing lightly! I took only a large tote on our Chicago weekend trip two months ago and managed to have all I needed fit under the seat in front of me :)
I've just had a weekend in London, Friday to Sunday, and visited an exhibition on Friday and on Sunday. Fortunately, although I had my case – carry on but not so small due to things other than clothes in it(!) – I was able to use the cloakroom to deposit case and jacket. A nice tote.
I love your planned weekend wardrobe. I love quick getaways and this has inspired me to plan one.
The tote would be a nice addition.
I have the opposite problem.. I don't have enough tote bags and the ones I have I have had forever and most certainly aren't fashionable nor do they compliment my outfits. I also love that LL Bean coat in the In transit outfit set.
As another recovering over-packer and buyer, your methods make so much sense to me. More to wear with less clothes, who knew it could be done? Thank you for all your hard work and for giving away such a lovely bag.
You're right, these super short trips can be the hardest to not overpack for. Great ideas here.
There is always something interesting in each of your posts, and this tote is a lot more attractive than the one I schlepp with me on an overnight trip. ;))
You are too funny! I love the minimalist capsule – lots of variety and punch in one compact tote.
Miss Mary says
funny post, but I really need a new tote!!
A fabulous post. I need more of these as I never seem to get the 'pack so everything works together' concept quite right!
Would love this tote; the wardrobe is very do-able!!! Thank you. Susan in WA
Love everything but the colors, mint an pink, blech.
cheryl :) says
I'm an over packer so this is a beautiful lesson for me :)
I really don't need another tote – but I did want to let you know how much I like this colour combination and the usefulness of this kind of packing set. Great post!
Mary OK says
I love this post. I just went to Boston for 2 days of the ALA midwinter conference, using the smallest of my carry-on bags. I still had room to pack free books from the exhibits! I have learned to pack light and still look pulled together from reading your blog. Many thanks!
After a couple of years of following you, I have pared down my wardrobe so much, packing is a lot easier! Would love yo see this capsule in black-white-jewel tones ?
Janice Riggs says
It's a much larger packing capsule wardrobe, but have you seen one of my favorites from July 21, 2015? It's here: https://www.theviviennefiles.com/2015/07/start-with-art-coast-road-by-fanny.html
I so enjoy all your ideas and blog! Thank you for all the time and expertise!
The grey and pink is such a pretty look. I'm headed to a 2-night conference in a few weeks and will be using this post as a packing guide. Your posts always hit the spot.
I love pink and grey! Thanks for the inspiration.
Arts Doc says
I always learn SO much! Your influence has made my travels easier, and my next big trip will be easier still. I am getting the hang of really thinking it through – not just the colors, but the textures and the mix of up or down dress code. I LOVE this idea for my short getaways, which I do quite often. As always, thank you.
I just loved this weekend capsule and was not disappointed at all. Like you, I have a lot of tote bags, and as I thought about it I realized it's because none of them are really up to the job. I need a tote that will handle a full change of clothes and an overnight/weekend trip. I was "rained in", or should I say "flooded in" in the city of St. Louis a couple of weeks ago. We were supposed to be there for one day, visiting for the holiday. Being a seasoned traveler and a veteran at being stranded as a military wife, I had the foresight to carry a backpack with a change of clothes and toiletries–which had to last for FOUR days! But a proper tote would have been more lady-like and less like a gap year backpacker. I shall be on the hunt for one.
Janice. Love, love, love your posts. You could not disappoint. This is excellent. Slowly, I'm making headway in my wardrobe planning. I know one day, it's all going to come together. Just keep posting. Thanks for all you do.
Seattle Sews says
Janice, I liked this post! I tend to pack minimally and it was lovely to see how you brought 2 accent colors into such a small wardrobe. Complete with matching pajamas. I like the sweet pink silk pjs. Susan
Absolutely love this! And really, I think it could work for more than a weekend, seriously :-). Love the subtle color ways. Spot on Janice! Oh, and love the NM bag…if I don't get chosen, I'll make breakfast for the hubster every morning for a month so he agrees to letting me buy it…wish me luck on getting up at 5 am for 30 days to do that ;-)
Au contraire, mon amici. A beautiful, soft combination of colours and design. Thank you, once again. Deb.
Not at all disappointed!
Your blog has helped me so much to hone in on how I can dress as an expression of who I feel like I am. I can do it with less and somehow have more flexibility from fewer,well thought out items. Thank you!
Lynne in NC says
This is so timely. I am headed out of town for a family funeral and need just the same amount of clothing for the overnight trip. Although these colors are two soft for my coloring, the principle is the same. As always, thank you for an excellent post. Cheers!
Jes Streng says
This post is great, as I'm flying from the west coast to the east coast this fall and am looking to go as minimal as possible. This gives a great foundation for that.
I am not disappointed. I truly think it is a perfect weekend wardrobe. Fran.
Grammy Goodwill says
Oooh. I love the colors you chose for this. Now I want to go on a weekend trip so I can try to pack similarly. I would love to win the bag. Thank you for your blog. I love looking at all the outfits.
Yes, I too love the colors you chose for this. I am thinking ahead to a trip in February to Texas to visit family. Never disappointed in anything you post…all your posts are in a separate folder on my computer (for reference).
Lemon Jelliott says
I love this post. I also like the idea of the reverse situation: city dwellers traveling out to the mountains for a day of hiking, spending the night in a hotel and returning the next day. The evening would include some chic lounging clothes and dinner in a restaurant. What can you come up with?
I'm not disappointed at all. I take plenty of short trips where I need to cull and be sane about how much I'm bringing. This is a super flexible and beautiful wardrobe.
Deborah Derden says
I always feel like I need to take a trip when I see your capsules!
Such a beautiful combination – I especially love the soft colors with the gray! I LOVE gray! This wardrobe would be especially stunning on someone with pale blond or gray/silver hair. That's not me (Yet!) but I'm getting there! The bag, thankfully would be amazing for anyone! I'd put it to use for a conference coming up in a few weeks!
Linda Belliotti says
I love the color scheme you chose-very soft and pretty :)
Great post! Even though I can't wear these colors I can use the ideas!! Thanks Janice!!
Candice Turner says
LOVED this combination! Several good selections to fit into my gray/navy/pink/blue wardrobe too!
Just enough of a wardrobe for a quick "visit-the-kids" (in another city) trip. Your blog continues to be an inspiration…thank you!
Sandra James says
Not disappointed by your post at all! It's small but perfectly formed – an ideal mini capsule. I'd leave out the PJs to save on weight ? Your posts are great because the principles are so adaptable. Thank you!
LD Siess says
I love the colors, the selections, and the scenario – and I so appreciate the time and devotion you share with us, so stylishly!
I have become a tote traveler on certain occasions and love seeing your edit and possibilities. I always appreciate seeing what can be done with less and you do it to such perfection. Also, your generous giving talent and what you share is a dream come true. Thank you, Susan
Love all of this .. am ordering the CK pewter pumps right now (fingers crossed that they fit!) Thanks for all you do Janice!
I love the wardrobe but I will always pack extra – a full cup of coffee on a light grey wool skirt & a holiday weekend meant my options were reduced. I'd rather have one item too many than too little. Helen F
This is a perfect weekend wardrobe.
About seven years too late for the contest…but this is still a very useful post! And not too small at all.