PictureGare de l'Est, Paris
It's not usual for me to write a personal post, but a couple of weeks ago whilst catching up on summer holidays with friends over a coffee, I was asked how on earth I managed to pack for a three week rail trip around Europe with just a backpack. So here it is - my capsule train-friendly backpacking wardrobe with room for a few little luxuries.

If it’s been a little while since your summer hols and the shorter, crisper Autumn days arriving, now is a great time to think about taking a weekend break – but what to pack? For a few short days away, there really is no need for excess baggage - you will be able to take the essentials and more in a carry-on bag and still have a selection of outfits you can mix and match to suit the weather and the occasion. A recent survey found that on average, women wear less than half of the clothes they pack to take on holiday, so instead of wasting time on endless items that don’t get worn, get to grips with these simple techniques to get everything you need for a great weekend away without straining a zip on your case. 

On The Case

For most events in life a little planning can go a long way and that goes for your holiday packing too. The last thing you want as you anticipate your well-earned break is a stressful week of packing.then unpacking, then re-packing!

So, before you even dig out your suitcase you need to draw up a basic list. Write a column for every day of your trip and for each day write down what you might be doing (sightseeing, sporting activity or just relaxing). In each column write roughly what you are likely to wear. This will quickly show you that you can wear the same pair of trousers or skirt, for example, at least twice and that you can pack lighter than you think.

Begin With The Basics
Your basics are those items that you will wear more than once such as a pair of trousers, a skirt and a jacket. Use your list to pick out these basic pieces and lay them out on your bed. You may want most of these basics to be neutral or a mix of neutral and colours, depending on your preferences.

When your selection is laid out you can work out different outfit combinations and therefore you will see which items will be the most versatile. Along with the basics you should have a couple of cotton tops for daytime and two that you can wear day or night which should be something a little more 'special', perhaps with a little extra detail, that you can dress up or down. You most definitely want a couple of dresses in two different, fabulous colours.

Capitalise On Colour
Holidays are the perfect opportunity to really enjoy wearing colours as they always look more fabulous in sunnier weather and we're not limited by work dress codes. Don't feel you have to be 'matchy, matchy', clashing colours can look fabulous.

Some great colour combinations this season are orange and pink or purple with green or turquoise. If clashing your clothes is a little too much for your taste just bring strong colours in to your accessories. A great pair of green shoes and matching handbag and a chunky orange bangle will set off a neutral outfit beautifully.

White can be a super neutral against a tan, but check whether you suit a bright bluish white or a softer creamy white against your skin. To get your colours right it's important to select the right 'shade' or 'tone' in each of your best colours so that they really complement your colouring.