How to Build a Wardrobe- Packing for Japan


Photo By HolidayGems


There isn’t a more stressful time in traveling than deciding on what to pack. I know some people would say getting your visa, or applying for your passport. But those parts are really a matter of filling out paperwork and waiting. Packing requires you to have some foresight.

You have to think about the environment that you’ll be in. The type of weather that could occur. The culture and how that might affect the clothes you can bring. It’s difficult and time consuming. And if you’re like me, you don’t like to wear just anything when you leave the house.



Comfortable, cozy, and ready to work.


I’m in no way a “fashionista”, I just really love to feel good and look good in the clothes that I wear. I want to be comfortable while still feeling professional, or casual without looking lazy. And that’s hard to do when you can only pack two suitcases worth of clothing with you. So how do you decide on what clothes to bring with you that will make the most impact?

You have to create a capsule wardrobe. Despite what a lot of bloggers will have you believe, capsule wardrobing isn’t about choosing ten items to wear for a year. It’s about choosing the minimum amount of items that can be used in a variety of situations.


Check the Environment of Your Host Country

What kind of weather will you be dealing with when you go abroad? Will it be hot and humid most of the year or will it snow a majority of the time? Is the terrain mountainous or is it very flat? For such a small country Japan does have a lot of climate variations. Before leaving you should check the environment of where you’ll be staying at currently and then three months in advance. You don’t want to pack a majority sandals and t-shirts if it snows for 7 months out the year.

Japanese office women

Photo taken by Byron Villegas


Also check to see what kind of clothes do people wear normally in their daily lives. Japanese people, compared to Americans tend to be more fashion forward. In Asia especially the way you look can determine your success and a lot of people are very aware of that. You’ll hardly if ever see someone wearing pajamas or a dirty track suit walking around town. They also tend to dress more conservatively. No exposed chests or arms for any gender. Even in the summer time you’ll still see people wearing long sleeves and pants.

Finally be sure to check in with the environment of your school. Some schools are more relaxed in their work wear while other schools will require you to wear button up and trousers everyday. Whatever clothes you bring remember that a majority of your clothes should be able to be used in a professional setting.


The Rule of Three’s

A great thing to remember when capsule wardrobing is that whatever  you plan to bring with you it can be used in at least three outfits for three different occasions. For example one of my favorite white blouses can be used in professional and casual settings.




Same pants, 3 different outfits

90% of the clothes you bring, you should be able to mix and match them for different occasions through out the year.

Quality over Quantity

Since I’ve been capsule wardrobing I’ve been taking, the quality of my clothes much more seriously. I don’t want to have to buy new work shirts every 3 months or deal with my clothes tearing on me while I’m out. As much as I love how cheap fast fashion is I realize the quality of those items aren’t ideal. They’re made to disposed of quickly so you’ll hurry and buy more clothes.

Keeping a good long lasting capsule wardrobe requires some digging and researching to find clothes that will still be in good condition three months down the line. It can be expensive but you’ll thank yourself in the next year when you can continue to wear the same clothes from last year.


To be Neutral or Add a Splash of Color


Photo Provided by PXHere


I was never to person to wear neutral colors. I love color and mixing and matching colors together. A lot of blogs do emphasize sticking to neutral colors i.e. gray, white, black, pastels, etc. But you don’t have to be Plain Jane to wear something that makes you feel good. Life is colorful and you should be able to express that through your clothes.

When adding colors make sure, they don’t take away from your overall appearance. If you’re interested in adding color but don’t know where to start. I suggest starting with your basics first (white shirt, jeans) then adding from there. A pink blazer or a red handbag. Do a little research on color blocking and skin tones to get a better idea on what you’ll look best in.

Use Apps to Their Advantage

If you just have no idea what you’re doing or maybe you just need a little help apps are a great way to push you in the right direction for building a wardrobe. There are tons of apps out there to help you plan the greatest outfits of your life. Most popular style apps are found here.


Packing to travel overseas doesn’t have to be stressful or time consuming. With a little bit of thought and effort you coordinate your own outfits to make a good impression. Do you have any packing and wardrobe tips?

See also Packing Essentials


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *