Vacation Wardrobe Recap


How do you start a capsule wardrobe? How do you create Grab and Go looks when you are in a hurry? What do you wear when you are staying at home? These are some of the questions women often ask me. In this post, I share what I took on my most recent vacation and a few of the outfits I created with these few pieces. There are many more possibilities.

This mini wardrobe is an excellent example of my closet for daily life. I am semi-retired now, so I spend a lot of time working from home, but I still want to look nice even if no one will see me but the UPS person or maybe the mail carrier. It lifts my spirits to get dressed each day. There are seven tops, four pairs of pants, and three jackets. The accessories included two scarves, three small handbags, a hat, three pairs of shoes, socks (for those long walks in the lace-up sneakers), two pairs of pajamas, bras, and undies for each day. All of the items fit into the two bags shown in the video at the bottom of this post.

Levi’s Original Trucker Jacket is from Dillard’s. The fuchsia tee is from Chico’s. The white jeans are by Everlane. The Triple Decker silver platform sneakers were by Keds last year, but I found them on Amazon. The crossbody bag is by Patricia Nash from Dillard’s.

The long sleeve white tee is by Croft & Barrow from Kohl’s. The Malibu Punch jeans are from Chico’s. The sandals are by Børn from last year. The colorful clutch is a couple of years old.

I wore black ankle split crepe pants and a three-quarter sleeve matching top to travel because this is the most comfortable clothing I own.

The striped tee goes well with the Malibu Punch jeans. Both are from Chico’s. The hat is by Betmar from Belk. The small crossbody bag has no name. I bought it from the Little Shop inside The Martha in Abingdon, Va.

The same striped tee looks great with jeans and the white jacket from Chico’s. The more casual Patricia Nash bag complements the New Balance walking shoes.

I was on the beach a few times as the sun was coming up, so I was happy I brought this heavier utility-style jacket from White House|Black Market. The air was frigid in the mornings and after the sun went down.

This scarf was another layer to keep me warm as needed. The tee was from Cali & York a few years ago. Those are the black ankle pants again worn with the Børn sandals and the cute little crossbody bag.

The navy tee also looked great with the Malibu Punch jeans and the same scarf!

Here is another tee with brass grommets from Cali & York a couple of years ago. The jeans are the Sheri Slim style from NYDJ.

The same black tee works with all the pants.

The black pants with the striped tee and the white jacket from Chico’s made for a comfortable, smart look for shopping one morning.

The black pants and the turquoise tee from Cali & York, along with the bright accessories, made for an excellent look to wear out to lunch. All of the restaurants were very casual.

You can’t go wrong with navy and white! That is another tee from Cali & York a few years ago. The Tankee bra is from The pajamas are by Miss Elaine from Belk. Have a fabulous weekend!

  1. Susan, you are my go-to fashion guru! I have never been one to follow fads but have always loved understated sophisticated fashion. You have hit the nail on the head with every outfit! I am so happy I found your site! You are my fashion soul sister!

  2. All of these looks are understated, yet so polished! This is a wonderful primer on how to be casual, yet smart. Well done!

  3. Great demonstration and powerful with pictures showing many from few. Lots of combinations and great results! Thanks. That color from Chicos is fabulous on you..

  4. Fabulous video! Thank you Susan for breaking things down for us. I traveled recently and used your methods to feel great and have many possibilities for my whole trip. The better I keep my clothes edited based on how well they fit my body and personality along with how well the items coordinate with each other, the happier I am. Your teachings have helped me enjoy fashion in a practical and fun manner!

  5. I love how you make these casual clothes look so polished. I am a casual person at heart, but don’t like to be too casual as that feels scruffy. I need to pay close attention to this post. It’s exactly what I need.

    I’m right now packing for a city break, this has been so timely, many thanks.

  6. Susan, I’ve followed your blog for years but have never felt the need to comment until now. I’m loving the changes you’re making to your style! Your new haircut is perfect as it frames your face and, in my opinion, gives you a most youthful appearance. Bringing color into your wardrobe has put a glow to your skin which I hadn’t noticed before and is inspiring me to get out there and bring more color into my wardrobe. We grey hair gals can tend to gravitate to grey and navy but in reality look great with strong, saturated colors. Keep up your awesome work – it’s most appreciated! And now, I’m off to shop.

  7. Perfect timing as I’m planning my vacation wardrobe. I also like to look pulled together and stylish when I’m home. It just makes me feel so much better and I can accomplish so much more! Thank you for keeping me styling, classy and on trend.

  8. Hi Susan, I enjoyed your vacation wardrobe video. I have noticed for several weeks, you do not look yourself – I know some of that is the change of hair style, but your eyes look very weak, and you look tired. I know you should never mention when a person does not look on top of their game; I mention it only because of concern for your health. I hope you are much more well than you appear.

  9. Hi Susan, Loved the summary of your travel wardrobe. You looked so fantastic in every outfit. I have a couple of questions. How do you rewear the same pants? Nutty question, but I find that my pants stretch out so much that I look sloppy. I cannot seem to find pants that don’t bag in the rear after one wearing. (You know, that area at the base of your rearend). Garment manufacturers seem intent on putting a lot of fabric there. I also noticed that some are sewing in a “jodhpur” look on the legs. I know some may need that, but my main area of problem is the waist. My waist isn’t huge, but if I get my pants to fit there, I wind up with big, blousy legs. Help!! Any suggestions or brands that you have found that don’t do this? My second question is regarding hats. I would love to wear a hat, but with the exception of Solumbra, noone seems to make hats for women that are beyond one size. I have a large head as well as a mass of hair and an XL in a hat is about the size I need. The problem with Solumbra, their styles are limited that offer sizing. Would love to know if your have found hats that are offered in sizes. Thanks for your help. Love your website. It gives me hope and encouragement. —Rebecca

    1. If I alternate pants after a few hours, rather than wearing them all day, they hold out a bit better. I hang them from the hemline of the leg rather than the waist after wearing them. The weight of the waistband helps to straighten them out somewhat. (When I am not on vacation, I only wear pants once before washing them.) I buy jeans too tight if they have any stretch at all because I know that within an hour they will start to bag. The Betmar hat I showed has a little ribbon sewn into the band on the inside so that it can be tightened to adjust the size of the hat. I do have some hats that are sized larger than others. Maybe if you can try on a few different ones, you will find one that fits you.

  10. Congratulations on slowing down with work and increasing your travel time. I enjoy your teachable tidbits for dressing appropriately. Please take extra care of yourself, you look sad in your eyes. Know you are appreciated by your blog fans.

    1. Thanks!! I just ordered in the silk satin, have been looking at that since you first posted pics from your trip. Will go with several pairs of pants I have – including the malibu punch pants from Chicos.

      Thanks again!

  11. Just watched the video – you are just too cute and sweet!!! Thanks for taking you time to put this together!

  12. Hi – love your blog! Where is the blue cotton scarf from that you showed at the beginning, but didn’t take? I looked for it on your shopping site and didn’t see it.


  13. Loved every one of these outfits! You are such an inspiration! I save almost every one of your photos to a “style” album on my iPad. Thank you so much for all the time you take to help us look our best.

  14. I believe someone told you your style modifications make you look older — whatever that means. I think you are looking fantastic!! Your new approach is giving me lots of ideas.

  15. @Rebecca Winters, I have the same figure concern – waist a bit wider in proportion to hips and rear and thighs. I almost always have jeans tailored. I buy to fit my waist and alter the legs in thigh area, which pulls in the rear end area too. I have even done this myself on less expensive pants by trying them on inside out and marking with pins on the outside seam below pockets to the knees. I also avoid jeans with too much stretch, as they will slide down with no hips to hold them up!

  16. A heartfelt thank you, Susan. I have followed you for 3 years now and love your practical style. Thanks to you, you have taught me how to purge the “frump” from my closet and enjoy fashion again.

  17. What a great fashion show! Is Mr.Mickey taking the photos? If so, tell him he’s doing a terrific job — you look relaxed & happy & as thought you’re having a world of fun. One question about your purses: I’m not overweight but I am a bit busty & X-body bags don’t do me ANY favours (well, actually I guess in a way they do, but not the way I appreciate). Is there a secret I’m missing? Usually I wear what I want to wear & couldn’t care less what anyone else thinks, but while I’m grateful they’re healthy & factory original, I’m not comfortable having my boobs accentuated quite so blatantly 🙂 Any tips (so to speak)? I ask because your X-body bags look elegant & attractive & not in the least as though you’re showing off 🙂

    1. Thank you. Yes, Mr. Mickey gave up a couple of hours of his evening to help me with this post. I try to always keep the crossbody bag on the front of my hip rather than letting it slip to the back.

  18. Susan, this is just what I needed to see. Your ideas are well-thought out, practical, and comfortable. I am a retired teacher, so I did a silent high five when I saw the more casual combinations. (Thank you for including a tee from Kohl’s, as I have some Kohls Cash to spend!) Thank you!

  19. Susan, Thank you! Thank you!! I have found your style blog is my ” go to” for this wonderful season of life! I am retired and lead a fairly casual lifestyle, but I still want to look put together and classy! Your packing recaps are invaluable! Please continue to teach us!

  20. I always forget about navy blue, but your comment, “You can never go wrong with navy and white,” and the photo reminded me how sharp it can look. Those Bjorn sandals are the perfect neutral sandal to wear with so many different outfits, but you have to have pretty feet like yours to wear them! I found a classic style made by Bjorn that came in gold, white and black. I liked them so much that I bought several of each, so that when a pair begins to show wear, there’s a replacement. Do you ever do that?

    1. I do! When I find something that I enjoy wearing, is of good quality and goes well with other items I have, I may buy one or more in every color that works for me.

  21. I want to thank you for this blog. I used to be able to pack for trips but the last few years have struggled with how to pack and have what I need. I either end up with the wrong things, too much or not enough. I took some notes to help me pack in an organized fashion. I am also going to bookmark this blog to refer to. Thank you!

  22. That mariniere goes so well with almost everything in your suitcase and rings my bell, too. I’m a less-is-more dresser and feel most comfortable when I look like I’m not trying so hard. That’s not to say I don’t have to edit pretty hard some days before leaving the building. 😉

    I’m glad to see you taking more time for yourself. Life is short and getting shorter. It’s time to savor every single moment. 🙂 We have so much to be grateful for.

  23. Truly enjoy your blog and timely tips. I did not see a mention of the lovely orange and white scarf. Is it one of yours?

      1. Thank you Susan! It would be a wonderful addition to my other scarves from your collection. Let me know, if possible, when they are in stock again. Have a good day, Norma

  24. I love all of your outfits and you have great taste. I always admire scarves on other people but I just feel goofy in them myself. Any advice on how to tie them and what size works best? Thanks!

  25. Hello

    As always, you are absolutely gorgeous. What an inspiration! The only thing I really don’t like is the utility jacket
    you bought for the beach, in fact I strongly dislike it. Don’t know why it is causing such a reaction, but it does. I
    would donate it to a worthy cause immediately!

    Lizer Pearl

  26. Your video is very informative! I am going on a Viking River Cruise and while the Florida vacation isn’t the same weather, the ideas of making 50 different outfits helped me rethink the number of things I can take. I tend to take too many things and stuff my suitcase full. However, some good advice a friend gave me and made me laugh at the same time: Take half as many clothes and twice as much money!!

    Again, thanks and may God richly bless you….

    Nancy Stoops

    P.S. I have worked in Boutique at Steinmart for nearly 10 years and when you mention Steinmart, my face lights up..

  27. Hi Susan,

    I like that black outfit you sell in your store that you mentioned you wear on the plane. If I am a size 2 in Chicos Travelers line, what size would be best to buy that top and pants in your line? I find their Travelers are not as good of quality as they used to be. You look lovely in your new shorter hairstyle and congrats on your happy travels. 🙂

  28. Hi Susan – first let me say I love your page. I look forward to your posts. A while ago you did a post about the correct pant length with various heel heights. Would you please give me the name of that post, so I can pull it up again? I am also petite and am trying to decide on the appropriate length so that I can wear some of my pants with flats or heels. Is that possible? I have actually bought the same pair of pants twice to hem at different lengths. That gets expensive!

    Thanks in advance,

    1. I don’t recall a post about wearing a certain heel height with specific pants, but I have posted about where the hem of certain styles of pants should end. Capri and shorts should end at the most slender part of the leg. Ankle pants should end at the most slender part of the ankle, usually about two inches above the ankle bone. In general, the wider the pant leg, the longer the pant should be. Boot cuts, flares, and straight leg pants should touch the top of the foot without bunching or puddling. Palazzo pants (and evening gowns) should end about a quarter inch off the floor and cover the foot.

  29. Susan,

    Once again Thank You soooo much for your wonderful video! This one is great it shows warmer weather and casual clothing you look amazing!

    Thank you for all that you do !

    I love that you tell us where everything came from it makes it so much easier.
    I still have trouble finding anything I am a size 0 /2 and I am about 5ft almost 4 so sometimes I am Petite and sometimes I am not. Often when you go into Petite the colors are limited.

    I have worn a capsule wardrobe for years only due to the fact that my capsule wardrobe equals everything I have to wear. LOL
    I have fallen on black and I am very tired of the black so I am hopping to branch out soon and add navy and white.
    I Love your look and your attitude about life ! You are AMAZING!!!!

  30. One of the best I’ve viewed….very doable and each outfit had a well put together look. You made it look simple…haha.

  31. Love to watch ur videos. U give excellent ideas for how to diversify the uses of one same clothing item. You are a classy, beautiful and very smart lady. Thank you for your ideas and your hard work.

  32. So happy to see this post on packing!!! I will be trying to replicate it for an upcoming 8 day trip. Thanks!

  33. Hi Susan,
    Thank you so much for your blog. I am so grateful for the guidance you offer women in their sixties. We STILL CARE and that’s a good thing! You have a great sense of style without trying to be something you’re not–that being–trying to look ridiculously young as some others do. You know how to accentuate the positive, stay current and exude confidence in your manner of dress…you are a very classy lady. You are so down-to-earth in your clothing/accessory choices–price-wise, too. I always enjoy learning from you. There’s not a lot out there that elevates style for maturing women and you help bring that to the forefront making us feel like we can still count.
    Thank you that!

  34. I am currently planning my wardrobe for a 17 day trip to France. Your post is the most helpful one I’ve found. Merci Beaucoup!!!

  35. Hi Susan,
    I too am a Chico’s shopper (not affiliated with them in any way) and I’m wondering if you are aware of their new website This is their outlet and has only been online for a few months. I recently bought a wonderful white denim jacket there for about $55. Classic style, and no funky hem like the one at the Chico’s boutiques. It has stretch and is incredibly comfortable. I think you’d love it!

  36. I grew up in a time and place where for everyday we wore our old, worn good clothes. As an adult and as times improved I started buying casual clothes for everyday— discount store jeans, inexpensive t shirts and sweatshirts, certainly utilitarian but not particualrly flattering or fun. Now retired I am looking for a new daily uniform that is a bit more elevated and yet allows me to attack tasks like housecleaning and gardening without worrying about ruining my $100 jeans and $50 t shirts that weren’t designed for hard labor. Must I resort to athleisure wear? Or are there other options?

    1. Look for items in solid colors and comfortable materials that flatter your shape. It matters not how much you spend on the pieces because even Walmart offers some cute, affordable pieces in classic styles. Solids serve you well because you can mix and match them or dress them up with accessories. I wear a tee shirt and jeans almost every day, but they fit well and flatter my shape, and the tee will always have a V or low scoop neckline with a slender shape. I would never wear those crew neck tee shirts that men wear because it would make me look like a barrel. (I have a dear sweet aunt named Sue Kemp.)

    1. Yes, these wear very well, but they are from a couple of years ago. The company is under new ownership now. I am looking forward to seeing the new lines they will be coming out with soon.

  37. Hello Susan
    Very interesting post and helpful. I absolutely love your small white and tan cross body bag but cannot find anything like it in the UK. Do you have any email contact for the shop that you bought it from please.
    Thank you, Sue

    1. I bought the last one they had. There is no company name or logo anywhere on it. It was very inexpensive. The shop is no longer a specialty boutique. It is just a little gift shop.

  38. Susan
    Thanks for the pics . You answered all my questions & I too love to shop @ Dillars & my fav is Chico.

    I basically already have most of the pieces in your video & pictures in my closet; glad you were able to show me how to put them together.

    Thanks again.

  39. Great video and lots of lovely outfits for a vacation. What do wear in the evening to go out for dinner? Every holiday I go, I overpack! I am going to keep this video and have another look 3 months before I go on my next trip! (I had 27 kilos last trip, although it was for 5 weeks and two different climates, I still had far too much) I live in Australia so your outfits are even perfect for me here in Spring and Autumn for everyday wear. Thanks again for such good practical advice.

    1. When I travel alone, I never go out to dinner. I’m usually in my room reading and relaxing after walking about ten miles during the day. I do eat a hearty breakfast and late lunch. If I did meet a friend for dinner, I would include some black or navy blue items from my site so that I could put together something appropriate for dinner time.

  40. Thank you for one of the easiest wardrobe suggestions I’ve come across. About to embark on a Scotland wales trip in August for six weeks and you’ve given me some amazing ideas. I now have you saved and it’ll become my go to site.
    Thank you you make things looks so easy, an stylish.

  41. Good choices for North America. Europeans
    dress up a bit more especially in major cities.
    Any advice?

    1. For a European vacation, I would take black pants, white jeans, navy jeans, a blazer, a short rain jacket, (those plastic raincoats you buy on the street target you as a tourist). I would include a couple of tanks and silky blouses, a comfortable pair of shoes for lots of walking, four scarves, shoes and a clutch for evenings out and a nice leather bag for daytime.

  42. What a great video! I’m really tired of capsule wardrobes that monochromatic – wearing the same color everyday just makes me sad! As a (new) retiree, I can really appreciate the ageless look of all these pieces. Congratulations!

  43. Thank you so very much for the great ideas for styling a simple wardrobe. 3/4 sleeve v neck or round neck looks best on me, but have a hard time finding ones that don’t cling to my stomach. Until viewing your sight recently I thought I had to shop for completely different outfits from head to toe. You took on your vacation basically same top just different colors. Thanks again for your help. I have never been good at fashion. For work I always worn basic business suits with white, blue or ivory blouses. Don’t want that boring dull look anymore but haven’t stepped out there with too bold of colors. Thanks again.

  44. I am thinking ahead to a 2 week trip to Italy in September, and I have to tell you, this is the best travel wardrobe advice I have seen. Most travel wardrobes are very monochromatic and dark with an emphasis on leggings or bohemian looks. Yours is colorful, coordinated, interesting, and practical. Thank you so much. I plan to duplicate it with the addition of a couple of dressy outfits.

  45. Love the wardrobe combo, but would have chosen a dressier sandal that t-straps. Would never wear lace up sneaker unless I’m actually exercising in workout clothes.

  46. Love your style! Never know what to take, we love to cruise, but I hate to pack! Will enjoy putting together outfits using your tips!

  47. I love this blog & your tips/styles in general that I would feel comfortable in. From across the pond UK

  48. This is a fabulous capsule for a week and weekend. I love the idea of less is more. Thank you.
    I basically have everything you showed and wore. You have made my week in Washington DC, much easier due to I don’t have to worry about What I need to pack. I’m a terrible packer and this will help me soooo much.

    Thank you Susan,

    Sandy N.

  49. Thank you for your help in how to pack a short vacation wardrobe. I had every piece ( similar) of tops and pants so it was so easy for me to pack.

    Thank you again,

  50. Dear Susan,

    I thoroughly enjoyed your article. I love every outfit you put together and, as you say, there are many more possible outfits. I especially liked your comment about the outfit you wore to travel. Comfort is key. I am always cold, so a longer cardigan tops jeans and a tee or shirt for me.

  51. I have completely enjoyed your Vacation Wardrobe Recap article. I particularly liked seeing the photographs of the various combination – I’m pretty visual. I realized, other than one or two Items, I have everything on this list.

    My husband and I are semi- retired and soon to be empty nesters. We’re planning a late spring much anticipated road trip to visit parts of the US we haven’t seen and I’m now totally looking forward to putting this Vacation Wardrobe capsule together for our trip. It will totally work! I might add in one skirt or “travel well” dress – just in case…

  52. Hello Susan,
    I know this vacation recap is here. We are going to RV in San Diego and I reminded myself about how cute all the styles were so I have my list that I will use everyone of these styles.
    THANK YOU So much.

  53. Love your look. We have the same taste in clothing and hair. I’m much older than you,however, following your blog gives me confidence to continue on.
    Thanks for the inspiration

  54. Love this post Susan. I can totally see myself in everything you wore. I would love to own your ‘vacation wardrobe’.

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I share tips and inspiration for using what you already have in contemporary ways. Defining words include effortless, classic, refined, discreet, and elegant. My style is chic, minimal, and timeless with a bit of edge.