Hello hello! Today’s blog post is very closely related to yesterday’s, so I wanted to post them back-to-back to provide the whole picture of my packing experience for a four month vacation. Before I went to Scotland for my semester abroad, I spent a lot of time talking and thinking about a capsule wardrobe that would maximize my outfit options while overseas. Today, I’m reviewing what pieces were successful in my capsule wardrobe, what I didn’t end up wearing, and what I would do differently next time. I’m also sharing all 66 outfits I wore abroad in one place, categorized by top. I know this is a little overwhelming, but I wanted to share the versatility of the pieces I packed for anyone interested and looking for capsule wardrobe inspiration.
What I Packed
As a refresher, below is the list of clothing items I packed for abroad, excluding non-fashionable pieces (such as rain jackets, pajamas, athletic clothes, etc.). For the complete list of what I packed and tips on creating a capsule wardrobe, you can check out my study abroad packing blog post. Additionally, yesterday’s blog post highlights what I recommend packing, which is slightly different than what I ended up packing for myself.
- 4 sweaters
- 10 tops (three sleeveless tops, two tees, four long sleeves, one ‘going out’ top)
- 2 cute jackets
- 1 vest
- 4 dresses (two winter dresses, two spring dresses)
- 4 pairs of pants (three jeans and the coolest pants ever)
- 4 skirts
- 2 winter hats
- 1 scarf
- 2 pairs of tights
- 1 belt
- 2 pairs of boots (rain boots and knee boots)
- 1 pair of sandals
What I Bought in Scotland
Not surprisingly, I ended up purchasing a clothing item or two (or eight, or eleven) while I was abroad. Because of this, my “capsule wardrobe” outfits are a little skewed by additional pieces I added throughout my four months in Scotland. I’ve included a list of those items below, as well as how many of my abroad outfits feature those pieces (if any), so you can get a better sense of how the quantity of possible outfits changed slightly with the addition of these items. However, it should be noted that the initial capsule wardrobe I packed, excluding the pieces below, could yield upwards of 115 outfits (I threw them together on the floor of my bedroom and counted back in December while I was packing). Obviously, I only ended up wearing 60-some of those looks.
- Pink tulle sweater (1 outfit)
- Teal fur coat (5 outfits)
- Floral fit-and-flare dress (1 outfit)
- Blue velour dress (not worn abroad)
- Scarlet jumpsuit (not worn abroad; seen here)
- Teal velour jumpsuit (1 outfit)
- Snakeskin booties (1 outfit)
- White sneakers (1 outfit)
- Orange wedges (not worn abroad; seen here)
- Gold wedges (not worn abroad)
- Oxblood Mary Jane shoes (not worn abroad)
- Fascinator (not worn abroad)
- Brown woven belt (not worn abroad; seen here)
- Heart sunglasses (1 outfit)
Which Pieces I Wore Most & Least
I think my most-worn piece was by far my burgundy moto jacket, which I wore in just over a third of my abroad outfits. Even though I also packed my black pleather jacket, I reached for the burgundy one way more often—I’m not really sure why, to be honest. I guess the black one was just a little edgier and the burgundy seemed to pair better with most things? Regardless, the burgundy jacket required a serious wash when I got back to the States and still has some pit stains on the lining, lol. I definitely could have left the black one at home to free up some space in my suitcase.
My black knee boots got way more use than my leopard print rain booties. This is because I thought the brown in the booties often clashed with the grey items I had in my wardrobe, and since the black boots did a great job of keeping water out, they seemed like just as good an option as the proper rain shoes.
I also wore all three of my pairs of jeans a ton, although the black and dark-wash skinny pairs more so than the grey straight-leg jeans. In contrast, I did not wear my skirts as much as I expected. The cold temperatures lasted longer than I imagined, and I didn’t anticipate so much windiness. For those reasons, I found myself wanting to slip into pants more often than not out of comfort and ease of walking throughout the city.
Surprisingly, I only wore my black polka dot skirt once the entire four months… I think this is because the polka dot skirt is a lot thinner fabric and a looser-fit than my thick plaid skirt and black corduroy skirt, both of which were slimmer fits and therefore better suited for windy days. With that said, I maintain that the black polka dot skirt could be paired with most of the tops in my capsule wardrobe and was therefore still a smart choice.
The fourth skirt I brought was this striped skirt, which is a springier piece. I didn’t end up wearing it all! The other item I didn’t wear at all was this geometric print dress. I packed both of those pieces as my “fun spring items” if the weather warmed up or if I decided to travel to a warmer location like Spain, which I had originally hoped to do while abroad. Since the temperatures didn’t increase much nor did I really travel outside the country, these pieces got no wear. Similarly, I wore my black polka dot dress only once, on a beautiful, sunny day in Glasgow near the end of my stay. Had I remained in Scotland for the entire semester (instead of leaving early for my brother’s wedding), I think I would have broken out more of these warm-weather pieces in May.
What I Would Do Differently Next Time
Admittedly, it was very difficult to pack for my trip abroad because when I left the States in December, Covid-19 entry requirements and testing were still being enforced, making it unclear whether or not I would be able to travel much outside of the UK to warmer locations. As such, I struggled with deciding how many springy pieces to pack. With the knowledge I had at the time, I stand by my decisions. But hindsight is 20/20… and I now realize I would have been better off leaving my few springy pieces (and the black sandals I only wore once!) at home.
Regardless of additional travel, I also wish I had packed one or two more pairs of jeans and only brought two skirts. Like I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I wore my pants way more frequently than I expected, and the vibe of Scotland was a little more casual than what I’ve heard about some other European countries. I probably could have brought only one dress as well—the black tweed dress I packed didn’t yield many outfits. Another sweater would have been good, too. I didn’t end up wearing my beret at all, even though I was initially so excited to style it abroad. Once I got to Glasgow, it felt way too “American tourist” to actually wear out!
. . . . .
And now, what you’ve all been waiting for, the 66 outfits I wore abroad. I hope you find it useful to view all these looks side-by-side so that you can see just how I styled everything multiple ways.
Maroon Mock-Neck Top – 6 Outfits:
Black Mock-Neck Top – 5 Outfits:
Checkered Peplum Top – 5 Outfits:
Blush Tee – 5 Outfits:
Grey Tee – 4 Outfits:
Pink Lace-Up Top – 5 Outfits:
Maroon Wrap-Style Crop Top – 2 Outfits:
Grey Turtleneck – 6 Outfits:
Buffalo Check Button-Down – 3 Outfits:
Mesh Going-Out Top – 2 Outfits:
Burgundy Sweater – 4 Outfits:
Pink Tulle Sweater – 1 Outfit:
Grey Cropped Sweater – 6 Outfits:
Argyle Collared Sweater – 3 Outfits:
Pink Sweater – 3 Outfits:
Patterned Dress – 2 Outfits:
Polka Dot Dress – 1 Outfit:
Black Tweed Dress – 1 Outfit:
Floral Dress – 1 Outfit:
Teal Velour Jumpsuit – 1 Outfit:
As always, thanks for stopping by today’s post! If you’re packing for a long trip and have any questions about creating a capsule wardrobe, let me know in the comments below. For the most part, I thought what I packed for abroad was a huge success!
Miles of smiles,