The Chic 10-Piece Holiday Capsule You Easily Can Fit Into a Carry-On

There's no disappointment like mentally assembling your dream holiday wardrobe, only to find it won't fit in your compact Ryanair carry-on. Unless you've budgeted for a generous check-in bag, suitcase space is prime real estate, and every piece that makes it in must be carefully considered.

That's why we're advocates of the holiday capsule wardrobe. Instead of stuffing in ten sundresses last-minute alongside an array of printed pieces that don't really go together, decide that every item you pack needs to work in a handful of looks to make the cut. Take time before your flight to think about the complete outfits and different occasions you'll be dressing for. Ask questions like, "Will this button-down work just as well for a candlelit dinner as a day at the beach?" Sure, those strappy heels are cute—but will you reach for them over a pair of practical flat sandals? Probably not.

To maximise your holiday capsule, stick to neutral and easy-to-style shades with the odd splash of colour. Remember, the aim is to be able to mix and match everything you pack. If you have a spare couple of inches once the essentials are safely strapped in, that's when you add in the fun extras.

The truth is, you can put together the perfect packing list with as little as ten pieces (minus underwear and jewellery). Sounds too good to be true? Scroll on to see the simple items we suggest packing for a short getaway—and don't forget to count as you go.

1. White Shirt

Holiday capsule wardrobe: @spicy.mayo wears a white shirt



Style Notes: There's no end to the holiday looks a white shirt will slot into. Seriously. Treat it as a bikini cover-up during the day, an added layer in the evening, or knot it at the waist and pair it with shorts for a stint of sightseeing. 

Shop the staple:

The longer cut makes this the ideal shirt to throw-on over a swimsuit.

It's not cheap, but you'll never need to buy another white shirt again.

2. Simple Swimsuit

Holiday capsule wardrobe: @jullie.jeine wears a simple green bikini



Style Notes: If your packing space is limited, try not to be tempted by the pretty crochet and floral-printed swimwear hitting your inbox. A fuss-free triangle bikini or a monochrome one-piece will serve you best for a quick coastal getaway.

Shop the staple:

3. Strappy Sundress

Style Notes: When selecting your holiday dresses, prioritise styles you'll be happy wearing more than once. Keep your white shirt on hand to layer on top if the temperature dips.

Shop the staple:

I love the bodice on this dress—it will suit larger busts, too.

Every time I see this dress on Instagram, I want it a little bit more.

4. Linen Shorts

Style Notes: Linen shorts are to summer what coats are to winter. An essential. I promise, once you find a pair that fits neatly at the waist and billows out into a roomy leg, you won't want to take them off.

Shop the staple:

Scrunch these up and they'll occupy minimal space in your suitcase.

You'll want to wear these every day of your holiday.

5. Tank Top

Holiday capsule wardrobe: @taffymsipa wears a white tank top



Style Notes: Humour me while I drive home just how handy a basic tank top is. You can wear it over a bikini with your linen shorts, tucked into wide-leg trousers or a denim skirt (more on both below), layered under your white shirt, lifted with red lipstick for a night out... the list goes on.

Shop the staple:

It makes me so happy when brands update basics with a fresh detail; in this case, the high V-neckline.

6. Wide Trousers

Style Notes: Wide-leg trousers, ideally in cotton or linen, are an influencer favourite this season. But they're also incredibly timeless—probably due to their comfort and versatility.

Shop the staple:

Blue-and-white together will always epitomise summer.

These look comfortable enough to wear in the heat for hours on end.

7. Minimal Sandals

Style Notes: With so many sleek sandals out there, it's easy to jump on board with the minimal aesthetic. Get yourself a hardwearing leather (or vegan leather) pair that you can comfortably walk in for hours and your feet will thank you.

Shop the staple:

Perhaps the most in-demand sandals of the moment.

I can't believe these aren't designer.

8. Denim Bottoms

Style Notes: I always like to have something denim in my suitcase to ground my outfits. If I'm headed somewhere with a cooler climate, I'll pack jeans, but otherwise, a denim skirt or shorts do the job nicely.

Shop the staple:

You won't find a cooler pair of denim shorts.

I always like to pack an option for cloudier days.

9. Tote Bag

Style Notes: You know what it's like; when on holiday, a simple stroll around town seems to necessitate a zombie-apocalypse-like supply of equipment. Suncream, a good book, sunglasses, a water bottle—all these things quickly fill up your bag, and a nifty cross-body just won't cut it. Instead, a roomy tote will double as both a carry-on and a beach bag.

10. Nice Top

Holiday capsule wardrobe: @emmaleger wears an off-the-shoulder top



Style Notes: The jeans-and-a-nice-top formula works wherever you are in the world. Bring an elevated bardot, halterneck or silk blouse on your travels to pull out for fancier meals.

Shop the staple:

Style with a rosy lip and gold jewellery.

This looks so premium, you'd never guess it's from the high street.