Suitcase solutions

Avoid the excess baggage queue with a capsule holiday wardrobe. Lisa Haynes unveils the secrets to lightweight luggage

By The Newsroom
Sunday, 7th July 2013, 3:16 pm
Tripp Express Sunshine floral cabin case, £49; holdall, £20 at Debenhams (
Tripp Express Sunshine floral cabin case, £49; holdall, £20 at Debenhams (

The out-of-office email alert may be on, but the hard work isn’t over until you’ve packed your suitcase.

Finding the right balance of clobber for the climate, destination and baggage limits can be a logistical nightmare.

We British are universally bad when it comes to packing: 65% of holidaymakers are last-minute packers and cram their suitcase the night before they travel, according to a recent survey by holiday company

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While the average British man packs just 14 items of clothing for one week away, women opt for 44 pieces.

If you’re guilty of being an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink packer, it’s time to streamline your suitcase for a super-stylish capsule wardrobe.


Think light, bright and plenty of white. This fresh summery colour is a breather from black but is just as versatile for mixing with other colours in your suitcase.

“For a two-week family break, there is definitely a danger of over-packing,” warns Kate Angliss, head of merchandise at Kaleidoscope fashion.

“Pick one key colour to form the basis of your entire holiday wardrobe. A light neutral such as white is ideal, as it’s so easy to find items to build around. It will also look fantastic with a tan.”

Free up valuable space for a long trip by rolling your clothes rather than folding them. This will minimise bulk in your suitcase and ensure your clothes are in a much more wearable state when you come to unpack.


If you’re being whisked off to a glamorous capital like Paris or Rome, it’s tempting to think high-fashion and end up with a suitcase haul to rival Lady Gaga.

In reality, comfort is key when you’re exploring a city - and so is packing light if you’re travelling with a budget airline. A large holdall bag or carry-on suitcase is perfectly doable to avoid hefty baggage charges.

“Stick to oh-so-stylish basics,” Angliss recommends. “Classic pieces like skinny jeans, crisp shirts and sharp blazers, which can be mixed and matched or styled up or down depending on the occasion.

“Once you have these key pieces in place, fill the rest of your case with statement jewellery, standout shoes and bright scarves or bags, to add some personality.”


Before you kick back on the deck, you need to consider the fact you’ll be dropping anchor at different destinations.

On the plus side, you wake up every morning to find yourself in a new location. On the downside, your suitcase needs to be more versatile than ever.

Angliss advises: “Think carefully about accessories and cover-ups, which will help you to breeze from one destination to the next looking fabulous.

“Large scarves are great for styling up a simple top and trouser combo for a casual evening look, covering your shoulders when necessary, and fashioning into a head band or sarong when relaxing on the beach.”


This is one occasion where packing late is actually beneficial. If you’re heading for the changeable British coast, check the weather forecast before you go and adjust your weekend wardrobe accordingly.

“Think carefully about the activities you’re likely to do over the weekend,” says Angliss.

“Trip to the beach, dinner out, a walk along the pier, a stroll round the shops - choose one pair of light trousers and a cardigan to travel in that will see you through the majority of activities, and then fill in the gaps around these key pieces.”

Take the minimalist approach and head to the beach with a small holdall bag containing swimwear (optimism) and layers to survive breezes and summer showers (reality). Bucket and spade optional.