China travel capsule

I'm just about ready to go. Tomorrow we head to Toronto for an evening visit with friends, a Sunday reunion of our adoption group, a Sunday evening supper with my mother -- and I fly to Beijing on Monday. 

Here is the weather report: 

July is both the hottest and wettest month in this city, with temperatures reaching up to 40C (104 F) during the day accompanied with a moderate rainfall of 185 mm (7 inches). Thunderstorms are frequent along with sudden torrential rain. Due to the high temperatures and humidity, this city has ‘sauna' days towards the end of July (when it is so hot, excessive perspiration leads to soaking wet clothes).

The setting is academic and very casual. I will be sleeping in an air conditioned place. (Assuming the AC works.) My days will be spent in a non-air conditioned classroom, or out on the non-air conditioned streets. We are touring the Forbidden City, the Great Wall, some hutongs, and the 798 Art District. I have been to all these places before so I have a fair idea of what I am in for. ;) 

There will likely be one or two "special" dinners and possibly a presentation to give towards the end. Apart from the outings, we will be in school all day and evening; it's a highly intensive program. 

I am bringing a small suitcase -- what used to be carry on size until they changed regulations. I will be gone for 2.5 weeks. I will not have laundry facilities except for hand washing in the sink and dry in the bathroom. I won't have privacy in my room (sharing, from what I understand). So I might feel awkward about hanging my things about. 

Here is what I've got so far (mostly in Finds; I'll post a list below for those who like words) -- let me know if you see obvious holes. 

Note: I also have a cropped denim jacket, 2 scarves, undies, several tank tops, PJs, a sun hat, and a rain jacket in bright pink. Plus some costume jewellery. 

Do I need more shoes? I only have two pair now. Should I bring a dressier (wedge) sandal, or my other low sandals for variety in case my feet start complaining? Or a more closed sneaker? 

A few possible outfit combos below. 

This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.


  • Aida replied 8 years ago

    First off, so fun to see a whole collection of your outfits all at once! This
    is a great illustration of your travel capsule, you've certainly got a lot of
    good mixing options. Are you bringing any other toppers besides a denim
    jacket? A lightweight cardigan might be handy to have with you. I would also be inclined to bring another pair of shoes, probably sandals, in case both of the other pairs get soaked.

  • Suz replied 8 years ago

    This might be too many clothes, but they do fit in the suitcase: 


    Light wash skimmer jeans
    Linen cropped pants navy
    Linen cropped pants white
    White bermudas (slim cut)
    White linen/ rayon loose shorts
    GAP blue camo BF shorts
    VC tube skirt navy


    Plum Arc'teryx
    B&W Loft trapeze dress


    Linen boatneck tee white
    Linen boatneck tee cobalt
    Linen boatneck tee navy
    Grey sleeveless tee with metallic stripe
    Grey SS tee with metallic details
    Blue linen ikat tee
    Blue and white cotton floral print tee
    Sleeveless Zara silk mixed media top navy
    Sleeveless Zara silk mixed media top hot pink
    Black split back tank. 
    Gingham gauze cotton blouse


    Short chambray kimono
    Denim cropped jacket
    Striped Mariner sweater cotton
    Rain jacket (hot pink)


    Flat sandals


    Knapsack (gear)
    Small B&W shoulder bag for when not in school, going out. 

  • Suz replied 8 years ago

    Good points, Aida. I don't own a lightweight cardigan and am hoping that the kimono in chambray will fill that role. What I also do sometimes is layer the linen tee over a tank and that gives me options. 

    Seriously think you might be right about the sandals. 

  • Sal replied 8 years ago

    Looks great. I would not add any more toppers, for this weather you have plenty. I would take one more pair of shoes because I do like to change them up. It looks smart cool and casual.

    Have a wonderful time!

  • replied 8 years ago

    Oh, I haven't seen that aritzia topper. So cute!
    Do you suppose you'll need a wedge for the special dinners?
    The outfit in #1 seems fairly dressy, so do you think you could do that outfit for the dinner?
    Seems like wedges would take up a lot of space in your suitcase, though...

  • Maneera replied 8 years ago

    Love the travel capsule. It's very versatile!

    I don't think you need anymore toppers. In fact, I highly doubt you'll wear any because it is hot & humid, and the air conditioning is actually a welcome relief. It is possible you feel the need to cover your shoulders in a tank after youve been in the AC too long, for which a scarf/stole/ wrap is more than enough.

    I like both your shoes and think they're doing well with the clothes. But to be safe, I'd carry another pair of sandals.

    Have an amazing trip Suz!

  • Karie replied 8 years ago

    What a great travel capsule! I'd bring another pair of comfy shoes, and if you'll be in AC, a lightweight cardigan. Since you're packing some things that are white and you won't have laundry facilities, be sure and bring a stain stick. Your capsule looks very color cohesive, so you do have a lot of mix and match outfit possibilities. 

    It sounds like an exciting trip! Enjoy! Let me know when you get back, maybe we can have another mini-meetup later this summer.

  • Diana replied 8 years ago

    Wow, I think this is a very impressive travel capsule! Very coherent. I think I'd bring a third pair of shoes, prob another pair of super comfy flat sandals. I worry there will be days it'll be too hot for sneakers, and if your feet are anything like mine you'll need to swap sandals on consecutive days...

    Have you tried these footwear options on really hot, humid days (in as much as you can where you live)? Because you don't want to be surprised by foot swelling and sweaty blisters....

    What are you doing for handbags?

  • Lucy replied 8 years ago

    Love it! You will look great. The dresses are fab. 
    I wonder if a cardigan or two would be more versatile than three almost long sleeve tops? I live in a  pretty hot climate, and in summer there is no way I would be wearing a long sleeve cotton top of this kind. The cotton shirt will be handy for sun protection, but the knits I'm not so sure about.  A cardigan could be added for warmth in the air con, but leaves you with a cooler sleeveless/singlet layer underneath for when you are in the heat. 
    Can't wait to hear the travel stories! 

  • DonnaF replied 8 years ago

    Will your footwear stand up to torrential rain?  You don't want slick soles. . .Maybe you can pick up whatever locals wear while you're there?

  • Beth Ann replied 8 years ago

    These are marvelous outfits, Suz.  Casual, but polished, which is important when living cross-culturally.  The dresses are particularly fab, and your white bermuda looks are fresh and modern.

    Definitely another pair of footwear!  Nothing's worse than sore feet! 

    Have a terrific time in China -- what an amazing country.  I have a special place in my heart for the country that gave me such an amazing gift!

  • Rambling Ann replied 8 years ago

    I'd bring a pair of closed-toe shoes, for the dressier occasions and the bug factor. I haven't been to China, but in Japan I would not try to get away with sandals at a dressier affair. And I can't stand the idea of bugs under the table in my shoes.

  • Joy replied 8 years ago

    You have a beautiful, well thought out travel capsule. I would add another pair of comfortable walking shoes. Even my fussy feet can get by with 2 pair, but you have the torrential rain factor. Maybe some of those gear type shoes that are meant to be worn in water? You may not have any free time to shop there when you might need to. I am so excited for you. Have a safe and fabulous time.

  • Suz replied 8 years ago

    Helpful replies -- thank you all! And yes, Beth Ann -- same here. The country gave me one of the biggest gifts of my life! :) 

    It seems the consensus is I could use another pair of shoes or sandals. Thank you; I'm going to do it. I think I'll bring the Soffts. I know for sure they work for long periods. Too bad all my shoes are silver...but what can you do. That's what I've got.

    Rambling Ann -- China in general is far less formal than Japan, and I'll be in an especially casual setting. I had not thought of bugs...that was not an issue on my other trips there. But now you are creeping me out! Yikes. ;) 

    Donna, I don't think any footwear would really stand up to torrential rain...ugh. The soles on these shoes are good, though. But I do think I should bring another pair -- probably sandals (despite Ann's comments....) 

    Lucy, I see your point. But I don't own a light cardigan. Guess I will have to buy one if I need it. ;)   BTW, the 3/4 length sleeve knit tops are linen. Not cotton. They are SUPER lightweight. The sleeves give coverage from the sun. I wouldn't wear the navy on an exceptionally hot day, but the others are fine. There is only the one cotton sweater -- mainly for the plane. 

    Diana, yes, I've tried the shoes on hot days. They pass....barely...because, yeah. Feet swell. 

    For handbags, I have a knapsack (what I'll mainly use -- Patagucci -- ha!) and a small black and white shoulder bag. I won't use it often -- only if we go anywhere slightly fancier. 

    Karie -- STAIN STICK. You are my saviour. I thought about it earlier and forgot -- but you nailed it. Thank you. 

    Thanks, Maneera -- I hope you are right about the toppers! 

    Smittie, thank you. I could wear the Loft dress for a dinner if there is one. It feels a bit short to be dressy to me, but maybe I won't feel that in the heat. 

    Thanks,Kiwigal -- as a practiced traveller your advice is especially welcome! 

  • AJ replied 8 years ago

    Wow, looks well planned out! I like all the outfits!

    So both pairs of shoes are quick drying for all the predicted rain? How about stashing a light pair of waterproof sandals/flip flops in your day bag in case you are caught walking in a wet mess? I also would recommend a folding hand fan.

    Have a great trip! Safe travels!

  • lyn67 replied 8 years ago

    Woohoo, for the camo rolled up BF shorts, have I missed them when you bought it??? What a coesive and super stylish travel capsule for your special needs there, Suz!!! I am dying of envy! Shoes, both silver metallic(?) really are a some statemnet pieces, which elavate to an even higher level (if there is room for more) all of the outfits! I have no ideea if you need more shoes, but your capsule is beautiful! Are you travelling alone?(no familly, I mean?). Anyway, have fun and a great time!

  • replied 8 years ago

    You look great!  I would forget the jeans and scarf.  You will be sweaty without even moving around in this weather.  It will be so sticky, your clothes will feel wet all day long and you will be sweaty even after a shower.  I swear that I will never return to Beijing in the middle of summer, which I count from May to mid September but especially July and August.  Bring clothes that are breezy, nothing tight.   Thank God for air conditioning.  

  • carolbee replied 8 years ago

    Love this capsule, very co-ordinated. I echo the comment about so many long sleeve tops, if its going to be hot I doubt you would need any, especially since you have a few toppers. I'd ditch the tops and pack the extra shoes. BTW - just cos it will all fit doesn't mean you have to take it all!! just sayin .....

  • Astrid replied 8 years ago

    Are you going to wear the jeans on the flight? If no then I would leave them at home. No way would I wear skinny jeans in that kind of weather. I also agree with what others have said about the longsleeved tops, although if they are truly breezy and linen... I think the second pair of sandals are a great idea. I also think taking a pair of flip flops in your bag might be helpful with keeping your real shoes dry. It looks like a great capsule otherwise. I do want to echo what Carolbee said though - no need to take it all just because it fits into the suitcase.

  • replied 8 years ago

    Oh Suz.  You look gorgeous.  Some of those ensembles blew my mind, they were so perfect in every way.  

    I defer to other poster's comments about the jeans and long sleeve tops.  Based on your description, I agree with them.  I would go sleeveless all the way.  

    One thought.  In temperatures like you describe, I wash my clothes after every wearing.  I find I can wear sleeveless tops without having to wash them as often in hot, hot temperatures.  

    I will be very curious to see how you do given your constraints.  Good luck.  Travel safely.  

  • Summer replied 8 years ago

    This is all looking beautiful, Suz.  I would opt for more sandals, as comfortable, refreshed feet are going to be one of your top priorities in those weather conditions.
    Have a great trip.

  • viva replied 8 years ago

    I agree on leaving the jeans at home. I might bring one long-sleeved top but not two. You do have the little jacket for layering, and you have the linen pants for leg coverage. (I get cold in AC so I am sensitive to that, but really -- in that heat and with the wet, will you wear jeans?).

    I totally agree with bringing another pair of sandals. I love so many of your pieces I am fighting myself not to click!!! And both short dresses and your long black column look are amazing on you.

    Have a wonderful time, Suz!

  • dakotacheryl replied 8 years ago

    Fabulous, Flattering, Versatile !!

  • Karie replied 8 years ago

    Suz, I came across this blogger and thought you might like to see how she packs. I haven't read all of her packing posts, but she packs lightly (maybe a little too much so for me) and she fits it all into a carry on.

  • Windchime replied 8 years ago

    You are bringing your fab style with you, Suz! Just make sure your footwear is up for MILES of walking. I remember, when we were in China (receiving our best gift ever), how much walking we did.

    Say hello to China for me, and have an absolutely wonderful time. :)

  • UmmLila replied 8 years ago

    it all works together very well. I echo Karie about the whites getting dirty. I carry individually wrapped Shout wipes in my handbag for this purpose.

  • Angie replied 8 years ago


    You look chic, comfy, polished, pulled together, fashionable and suitably casual. LOVE ALL THE OUTFITS. Just gorgeous. I see you got the silver sandals and a new pair of sneaks. As well as some tops from the Loft. Very, very nice. 

    Two things to think about: 

    • I *hope* that you can wear everything twice, Suz. Often in that type of weather (I know it well from living and working in HK), tops especially can only be worn once before needing a wash. Plus you won't have a/c in the class room. And since you don't have access to a washing machine - I wonder about that. 
    • Pack another pair of shoes. If they get wet in the tropical rain - they take a long time to dry in very humid China. 

    (Do carry Tide to go for your white pants). 

  • replied 8 years ago

    Wow! I do love seeing so many wonderful looks all in one post. Your capsule looks fab and you have had great advice from some of the ladies who know about the climate you're going too. I don't envy that humidity!

  • Suz replied 8 years ago

    Great advice, all. 

    I have the extra sandals. I have the stain stick. 

    I have chucked the jeans. 2 pairs of linen pants and the tube skirt should be enough for when I need some coverage. I hope. 

    I'm bringing another short sleeved linen tee and maybe a silk sleeveless top. (It all fits, it all fits, and I am not trying to win any prizes for the smallest suitcase -- and anyway, this one IS small -- though not carry on.) 

    I will definitely be able to wear the dresses more than once because they will wash in the sink easily and dry fast even in humidity (at least one of them will dry super fast -- the other might take a day in humid temps.) The tops will be a little harder to wash but not impossible. I hope. A lot depends on how private I feel, I think. Being an introvert, the thought of sharing a room with a stranger is giving me the heebie jeebies, and the idea of airing my dirty laundry (literally) is a bit much!

    Thanks so much for great advice, all, and I will pop on here as I am able while I am away. 

  • MTBGirl replied 8 years ago

    Sounds like you are good to go Suz! Have a wonderful trip! And it's not airing your dirty laundry! You've cleaned it by then! ; )

  • Elizabeth P replied 8 years ago

    I'm late, so no advice (what I`d have said you are already doing) just wanted to say bon voyage!<br><br>Oh, ok, I have some advice.  :)<br>Any chance you have any Teva`s or Keen`s or waterproof Ecco's?  I know, not the most fashion forward things in the world, but I think they'd be a much better choice than two pairs of silver sandals.  I'd just hate to see them get ruined in the rain.  My Ecco Yucatan's are the most comfortable, practical sandals, ever.  I will never be without them...

  • donnat replied 8 years ago

    Have a great time, be safe, looking forward to the photos.

  • Angie replied 8 years ago

    Great. You are sorted. Have a safe and super trip. Much love to you. 

  • replied 8 years ago

    Everyone has said everything already (I was a little late getting up this morning :) ) but I could not imagine travelling like that with only 2 pair of shoes. I'd definitely be including another closed toe lightweight sneakerish thing.

    And I agree with the others re: jeans. Even the denim jacket. Both seem heavy to me and not needed in that kind of climate. I'm admiring your courage in including so much white - but you know yourself, so if it can stay fresh-looking , then go for it!  

    All this aside, you have a ton of great new pieces here - cute Zara tops etc.  Intrigued by the Aritizia jacketish kimono thing.  Curious to see it on . (I can't go back and look to see if it's part of your photos or I'll lose my post ).

    Anyways, have a fantastic time!

  • Sveta replied 8 years ago

    I am also too late for the advice and you are sorted already. Lovely capsule (also noticing quite a few new pieces here). Extra pair of shoes seems the right thing to do - especially if you have waterproof shoes.  There might be a good reason why people in that region wear rubber flip flops - they may be pretty practical in the tropical downpour. In the worst case you can get a pair there :-)

  • Aubergine replied 8 years ago

    No advice to add here, but that looks like a great extended travel capsule. Casual and hot-weather-friendly, but still definitely polished.

    Also just wanted to say to have a wonderful trip! And I forget whether I offered congrats on going back to grad school, etc. It all sounds really exciting!

  • Jaime replied 8 years ago

    Wow, wow, wow! With the extra pair of shoes I think you are totally set. I completely feel for you - I would be a stomach churning mix of excitement and anxiety right now, especially about sharing a room with a stranger. I am going to vicariously enjoy your adventure though and can't wait to see what comes out of it both short and long term. You are probably almost on your way. Bon voyage! Have an amazing time!

  • jackiec replied 8 years ago

    Safe travels, Susan!! Love your capsule. Seems you're all sorted now. Must say #5 is amazing and seems like the breeziest, coolest option for the heat to me. Great shorts!! Look forward to update along the way. Take care :)

  • Eliza replied 8 years ago

    Just saw your post and am late to be sharing capsule input. Just want to wish you a wonderful trip and great experiences while you are there. Your photos showcase perfect outfits that address your needs. Bon voyage! I look forward to hearing all about your adventures.

  • CocoLion replied 8 years ago

    I'm too late to provide input (my only other thought was to pack a pair of socks to use as bedroom slippers, or a pair of flip flops).  Just wanted to say, have a great time!  I am bookmarking your thread because it's a great capsule for a 2+ week carry on trip.  I know you put a lot of thought into this list and it will be so useful for me when I need it (may be a few years still but I can dream).

  • JAileen replied 8 years ago

    I hope you have a great time. We may be going to China this next year so I'll be watching your posts about your trip.

    My experience in a foreign land: A couple years ago we visited Istanbul. It was quite unlike home. We live in a desert, and Istanbul is surrounded by water. At home, wet things dry very quickly. For example, in summer, sheets dry in an hour on the clothesline. Istanbul was extremely humid. I washed some underclothes by hand and they didn't dry for TWO DAYS. This was quite a surprise, because I needed to wear those clothes! Anyway, you're probably more used to humidity than me so you won't be taken by surprise.

  • Diana replied 8 years ago

    Bon voyage, Suz!

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