Building a Winter Capsule Wardrobe

Your Capsule Wardrobe for Winter Starts Here

Travel in style this season.

If you’re getting ready to take in the sights and sounds of a destination on your bucket list, procuring a travel capsule wardrobe for winter can definitely help alleviate some of the packing stress when it comes to your closet. Here’s my checklist with a few suggestions on how to build your own without breaking the bank.

Final Destination

First, let’s consider if and where you are travelling. It’s always best to check the weather ahead of time in order to prepare. A rule of thumb: remember all winters are not created equal. Will you need a parka or a pair of shorts? Does it require layering or will a cute top and bottom fit the bill? Don’t be afraid to do a little Google search to glance at the forecast. 

R-E-S-P-E-C-T: Also, in doing your research about the weather, it’s nice to be considerate of local cultures and customs as it pertains to dress code. Planning to visit us here in the UAE or making a trip to another Muslim country? Grab a gorgeous abaya. This staple is an integral part of their cultural garb and many brands create them in an array of styles, so why not find one in your favorite colour to style? For instance, check out the affordable Omani abaya brand NB Design on Boksha for inspiration. 

Abaya design by Boksha

NB Design Abaya, Boksha

How to Style: Throw it on as a duster and make it multi-purpose as another warm layer.

Bottoms Up

Consider your agenda. Does it call for complete comfort as you backpack through the cold of the Swiss Alps? Or are you just kicking it with family? Maybe you’re fine/casual dining in cute little cafés and making visits to amazing museums?

Destination Denim: If you’re in need of a pair of trousers, go with denim in a medium and dark wash as they can easily be paired with a T-shirt or button down. Grab a basic black pair as well – it can transition from day to night with top, heels, or boots. I personally prefer the Levi’s 312 Shaping Slim fit available in all three of the aforementioned colours. 

 three woman standing

Denim Bottoms, Levi’s

a women wearing a coat

Coat Dress, House of Devereaux

woman wearing a white shirt dress

Shirt Dress, Namshi

How to Style: Each pair of denim comes in several lengths and inseams to ensure great fit as well as shaping technology, creating eye-catching curves. Pair them with a great outer layer like the Luna coat and a white shirt dress from Levi’s for a playful yet polished look along with footwear of your choice. If it’s a bit warmer, you may even opt to wear the shirt dress solo (as seen in the photo) along with light scarf.

Dressed to Impress

Nothing beats a basic dress that you can wear in a multitude of ways, making it the perfect piece for a winter travel capsule wardrobe. Again, with weather considered, grab two dresses that can be worn casually but also dressed up for a nice dinner when needed.

When in Doubt, Wrap It Out: And what does that mean? Go for the amazing multipurpose wrap dress that’s known to accent every woman’s figure. Not only can the wrap dress be worn as a singular item for warmer temps, but also layered as a duster. And if it’s extra cold, then throw a cute top on underneath and a great pair of boots, and go. Check out this Ella wrap dress from Namshi in a winter shade of wine that looks great on just about any skin tone.

Lean on the LBD: We all know the power of the famous little black dress and its influence on fashion and style. Not only is it one of the best staples and in a colour known to provide warmth, but it’s also a no-brainer for your winter travel capsule wardrobe. These two black dresses from Mango definitely make the cut. First, we have the pleated ruffle dress that gives you the illusion of the wrap dress pulling in at the waist, creating a great shape, but also the comfort and style of the LBD. Then there is the simplicity of the Maggie black dress that can be dressed up or down with heels, boots, or even sneakers and your go-to travel sweater.

woman wearing a red dress

Wrap Dress, Namshi

woman wearing a ruffled black dress

Ruffled Black Dress, Mango

woman wearing a sleeveless black dress

Black Dress, Mango

Over and Out

Your outer layers matter just as much as your inner when it comes to proper planning and packing. I suggest at least two or three great tops to pair with your bottoms and even layer over your dresses, dependent upon your destination. Let’s not forget a great lightweight sweater or even overcoat if you anticipate an Arctic kind of cold.

Top Shop: A great white blouse is forever in style, no matter where you’re going. It can be worn alone or as an additional layer as well as with your staple T-shirts and cardigans in a neutral or fun print.

three different colored tshirt

T-shirt, Namshi

woman wearing a yellow cardigan

Cardigan, Namshi

woman wearing a grey cardigan

Cardigan, Namshi

How to Style: Layer, layer, layer. And if it gets a bit warmer later in the day, then just tie it over your shoulders. Did I mention the T-shirts come in a tri-pack so you can switch out for whatever colour you wish?

The Cover Up: Keep in mind the weather as well as the weight of your luggage. Go for pieces that are easily to layer, but also to remove. One good quality coat to cover up should do. Want a dash of colour? Have a bit of fun with the double-breasted green coat from Zara, especially if all of your under layers are muted neutrals. If rocking full on neutrals rings your bell, then you’ll like the aforementioned Luna or even the Lumiere from House of Devereaux; both can be custom made to fit flawlessly.

Coat, Zara

woman wearing a black coat

Coat, House of Devereaux

How to Style: These overcoats work with just about every look, be it casual or evening. Layer away and don’t forget your scarf, if need be.

Bag It Up

When it comes to your bags, it’s not enough to consider what bags you will carry around town, but also your luggage. I highly recommend hard-shell luggage with expandable compartments because your items will be tumbled around the airport. Such suitcases not only decrease the likelihood of damage, but can also withstand being held in wet weather on the airport tarmac (trust me, I’ve seen it firsthand).

At a Crossroads: Can’t quite figure out what everyday bag to carry? When it comes to travelling, a convertible crossbody is always your friend. Find one with a strap that can be shortened or removed all together, transforming your bag into a beautiful clutch. You should also consider the size of the bag. Are you someone whose bag is always bursting at the seams? Then make sure your crossbody comes with enough compartments inside to organise all the extra stuff, like the Coach Bandit found at Bloomingdale’s.

black hand bag

Handbag, Bloomingdales

How to Style: Making a very cool comeback after some clever rebranding, Coach’s Bandit adjustable crossbody features a clean aesthetic that can easily shift from day to night and plenty of compartment space if needed. Keep its strap long during the day for outside excursions, and then shorten or remove it for hand carrying when headed out to dinner.

All Accessories

A simple outfit can be taken to new heights with the right accessories. When it comes to completing your winter capsule, your personal style comes into play by amplifying a simple outfit with small add-ons. Are you a minimalist or do you prefer statement-making pieces? It’s all up to you – just be aware of how much you choose to pack.

Pick with Purpose: Like footwear, it’s important to lay your looks out before packing and begin to pair accessory pieces that are versatile and complement your looks. Never underestimate a great pair of hoops in either silver or gold, as well as a great watch or classic coordinating bracelet. Do you have a no-fail necklace? You know that one necklace you feel goes with everything? Well, don’t forget to pack that as well as two more neck pieces that speak to your personality, but again, go with other looks. 

gold earrings

Gold Earrings, Bloomingdale’s

silver earing

Silver Earrings, Bloomingdale’s

gold and silver colored earing

Double Earrings, Bloomingdale’s

gold and silver necklace

Necklace, Bloomingdale’s

How to Style: Can’t quite decide between silver and gold? Then go for both with Aqua’s double hoops. You can also be on trend with the initial necklace from Kendra Scott available in both silver and gold.

Next Level Layer: Never underestimate the versatility of a scarf. As a lightweight layer that can also save weight in your luggage, this Crerra scarf in a neutral black and brown is a cute accent.

rolled scarf

Scarf, Namshi

How to Style: Loop around your neck in the classic way and, as it gets warmer throughout the day, you can tie it around your Coach crossbody’s strap.

Fancy Footwork

Let’s talk shoes. Firstly, it’s important to pack shoes that aren’t too heavy. Also, consider their versatility based on where you’re going. A great pair of neutral-coloured flats, two cool pairs of casual sneakers, and two pairs of evening shoes for those nights out on the town should do just fine. If you’re beach bound, then replace those flats and evening shoes with two pairs of sandals. Plus, the less shoes you pack, the more space you have in your luggage to purchase more souvenirs (or in my case, more shoes).

Fit First: When I say fit, it’s about a couple of aspects, namely the weather and amount of walking you’ll do – breaking in new shoes is not the best during travel. So, purchase your shoes ahead of time and walk around the house in them, making sure they not only fit, but are also comfortable to explore in. Grab a few comfort in-soles and no-slip grips for the bottoms, if needed. Additionally, lay out your outfits with your shoes to ensure that they coordinate appropriately. 

black heeled boots

Boots, Bloomingdale’s

high knee boots

Boots, Stuart Weitzman

High Heels, Farfetch

How to Style: If true winter weather without the snow is on your wishlist, then a great pair of boots is best. Looking for something rugged, yet chic? Go for the Legion boot by Jeffrey Campbell. If classic is more your style, then the bestselling Reserve by Stuart Weitzman belongs in your closet. And if you need a quick transition from day to night and want to give your boots a rest, then these Alexandre Birman platforms not only give proper support, but also keep your feet semi warm while remaining stylish. 

​​Winter Is Coming

If after taking in all the tips and tricks, you still feel like you’re not prepared for winter – or you just need a little more help – you can always seek assistance. Check out the Travel Edit services from the House of Devereaux. They help you organise and streamline in order to prevent the dreaded overpacking, freeing up your time so you can focus on the fun stuff, like planning your trip. Bon voyage!

Dominique Devereaux is the owner and head of House of Devereaux, which offers variety of services ranging from custom design to closet reorganisation, personal/virtual styling, and professional brand development. Visit www.houseofdevereaux.com or @houseofdevereaux for more information.


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