A Few Ideas For Your Fall Travel Wardrobe

Susan B of une femme d'un certain age in Jardin de Luxembourg in Paris.

Autumn is my favorite season for travel! We have a week in Northern California wine country (Sonoma and Napa) planned for later this month, and will probably squeeze in a weekend getaway somewhere closer to home toward the end of the year.

Fall Travel Wardrobe Ideas

While Fall (and Spring) are beautiful times of the year to travel, packing for those transitional seasons can be challenging because weather is often so changeable. You can’t rely on forecasts more than a couple of days out. Rather than trying to determine and pack for specific conditions, I’ve learned to think in terms of possible temperature ranges and be sure I have clothing that will work at either end of the range. Usually, this means packing lightweight layers that I can add or remove as needed.

Here are a few lightweight pieces you may want to consider for your Fall travel wardrobe…

Outerwear

When it comes to outerwear, I prefer not to pack a bulky coat. I found that too often I’m stuck having to carry it around, either indoors or outside when the day warms up unexpectedly.

Uniqlo compact down jacket for travel.

A couple of years ago, I picked up one of the ultra light down vests (wearing in top photo) from Uniqlo in Paris. A few months later on a recommendation from a friend, I bought the compact down jacket. These jackets pack down to nothing, can be worn on their own or layered underneath a coat or raincoat. Like the vests, I think they run a little small. I sized up to a Medium. (This will definitely be going to wine country with me!)

Uniqlo women's blocktech raincoat. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

And if you need a travel raincoat at a budget-friendly price, I was also impressed with how light these “Blocktech” coats are. They don’t have a lot of insulation, but you can layer up underneath for warmth if needed.

Lands End packable down coat for travel. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

I bought one of the Lands’ End packable down coats a few years ago and have been quite pleased with it. Here’s this year’s version. The shell is water-resistant, and the feathers retain their loft even when wet. This style is offered in Misses, Petites, Tall, Plus and Petites Plus.

Travel In Style

Boden wide leg ponte knit pants. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

I love my Eileen Fisher stretch crepe pants for travel, but often find myself wishing for something more like a trouser. Here’s a pair of wide-leg ponte knit pants (also offered in navy) with pockets! Regular and Petite lengths. Tall lengths also offered here.

Johnny Was reversible kimono. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

Perhaps you’re going on a cruise, or to a warmer destination. This pretty reversible kimono jacket gives you two pieces in one, to help maximize your travel wardrobe.

Chicos reversible quilted paisley jacket. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

Reversible pieces are a great way to get more mileage out of your travel wardrobe. This quilted jacket reverses to black, providing two completely different looks.

For more of my travel wardrobes, and to search for ideas by season, check out my Travel Wardrobe Resource page HERE. And I’ll be creating a special Wine 🍷Country Recap and Guide later this month just for my email subscribers, so if you don’t already subscribe, you can use the form below to do so now. 👇

Are you planning any travel this fall? Facing any travel wardrobe challenges?

Stay in touch.

Affiliate links in posts may generate commissions for unefemme.net. See my complete disclosure policy here.

57 Comments

  1. September 10, 2018 / 4:08 am

    Those down jackets were everywhere in France last winter, in every color. Very practical. I imagine they will come out again when the weather cools down.

  2. Isabelle
    September 10, 2018 / 4:40 am

    I am traveling to the UK in mid October and have recently purchased a Michael Kors packable very little weight down jacket. I plan to take it along with a light weight LL Bean fleece. Since I always travel carry on only the new down jacket will be an excellent choice for both weight and space saving.

  3. September 10, 2018 / 6:28 am

    I just ordered one of the Uniqlo down vests on-line… thanks to your recommendation and that of two readers of my own blog who have them. I don’t know if I’ll take it on our upcoming trip to Italy, but I know I’ll wear it a lot under my fall coats at home. If it fits.
    I don’t usually order on-line sight unseen, if I’m not familiar with the quality and sizing of a brand already. But I’m getting more adventurous this summer since I haven’t been able to shop for a couple of months due to being flattened by a bad case of shingles. But I paid close attention to the Uniqlo size measurements on the website, and ordered an XL. Fingers are crossed. I know I can return it but what a pain to have to re-wrap and reship.
    Next week I’ll be packing for our three weeks in Italy, and writing my own packing post… so I’m loving the coincidence of being able to read one from you… my packing mentor:)

    • Susan B
      September 10, 2018 / 6:34 am

      I’m so excited for you for your Italy trip, and will be following along online! If you’re going into the mountains at all, you might find that vest comes in handy. When we visited Lake Como in May in 2017, I found myself wishing I’d packed my down jacket. It was still pretty chilly in the mornings and evenings.

      • lagatta à Montréal
        October 9, 2019 / 4:50 am

        I agree, and it isn’t only in the foothills of the Alps. Some places in the Appenines get surprisingly chilly or even cold in mornings, evenings – and at night, for those who are camping. How can one wear those jackets without looking like Bibendum, the Michelin tire mascot? Sue, I’ve lived and studied in Italy; I’ll look at your blog, if I can possibly be of any help?

      • lagatta à Montréal
        October 9, 2019 / 4:55 am

        I agree, and it isn’t only in the foothills of the Alps. Some places in the Appenines get surprisingly chilly or even cold in mornings, evenings – and at night, for those who are camping. How can one wear those jackets without looking like Bibendum, the Michelin tire mascot? Sue, I’ve lived and studied in Italy; I’ll look at your blog, if I can possibly be of any help?

        I see that you’ve been travelling to Slovenia, which has a climate similar to northeastern Italy, including the mountains.

  4. September 10, 2018 / 6:30 am

    Thanks – just ordered the Uniglo jacket in gray for my daughter and black for me. I think living in LA requires a full time “travel” wardrobe as the temperatures and weather changes constantly. So the jacket is perfect for stuffing in a tote or backpack as the day warms up.

  5. September 10, 2018 / 7:14 am

    In fact, those Uniqlo down jackets are so tiny, compacted in their stuff case, that I bought a second one because search though I might — and our condo is not very big — I could not find mine and assumed I must have left in behind on some train or plane or AirBnB somewhere. Of course, my husband found it tucked away in a dark corner of the closet only days after I’d flown off with its replacement packed in my carry-on. . . .
    The only problem with mine is that he liked the practicality enough to buy his own — in a different colour, sure, but there are days when I don’t want to look as if we bought the Mr.-and-Mrs. matching set 😉

  6. darby callahan
    September 10, 2018 / 7:46 am

    this was very useful as I will be traveling to Germany, Austria and Hungary early next month. I will definitely take my packable down coat. curious to see what other suggestions you will have in the next posts.

  7. Mary Alice
    September 10, 2018 / 8:03 am

    I can’t say enough about those Uniqlo down jackets! As you know, living in Los Angeles means I really have no need to own a heavy coat. WHen I have to travel to cold climates, I simply layer the uniqlo jacket under my peacoat or my trench and I am good to go.

  8. Jan whichard
    September 10, 2018 / 8:43 am

    I have found the Uniqlo jackets are so tiny I can’t even wear an XL and I’m a size 12. I do have last year’s Land’s End when it was a chevron pattern stitching and it is my “go to”…love it as it zips bottom to top and top to bottom.
    I find that layering is best and I have a full choice of Icebreaker merino wool pieces. They are marvelous and I highly recommend them. On winter travel to Italy and France, an Icebreaker tee shirt under my down coat with a cashmere scarf was perfect. I did bring a mink jacket which of course did the trick as well but it would be too much for fall.
    My other work horse that did the trick in Ireland in chilly spring and Scotland in fall and is warm, wind proof and water shedding was my Scottish made tartan which can wrap in so many ways.
    Susan, Napa will be glorious in September and October. If you haven’t been there, I highly recommend the Farmhouse Inn for dinner.

  9. Gitte
    September 10, 2018 / 8:50 am

    The down vests and jackets are great for traveling. I will be traveling to Denmark in November/December and plan to pack mine, but I’m sure I will also need my winter coat as it gets chilly in Scandinavia during the these months. Susan I’m in search of a dark camel 3/4 wool coats, would love your thoughts on where I can find one.

    • lagatta à Montréal
      October 9, 2019 / 5:03 am

      Those are beautiful, but you can get cold rain as well as wet snow in Denmark, so you are better off with a water-resistant coat. How about loden, a water-resistant woollen? I had a splendid one, but alas it was destroyed by moths.

  10. Lyn
    September 10, 2018 / 9:08 am

    Those down jackets are travel workhorses!
    First-time buyers should be aware that the down jackets and vests come in two different weights — the more traditional Ultralight and the lighter no-collar Compact. Under a raincoat, the traditional puffer kept me warm in 25° conditions. Exploring Paris in the spring, the Compact jacket was perfect. There’s a Uniqlo there, so the Parisians wear them as well. They were everywhere!
    Both types pack in their stuff sacks, but the Compact ones, of course, are smaller and more easy to stash in a purse. In fact, the Compact vest will fit in a sandwich size baggie if you lose the stuff sack as my daughter did. There is no valid reason not to take one on every trip – it’s the ultimate Just-In-Case piece..

  11. SJ
    September 10, 2018 / 10:29 am

    We will be in France and the UK in Oct.-Nov. Those compact down vests and jackets sound ideal, but I am allergic to feathers. Does anyone have suggestions for similar items/brands that are feather-free? Thanks!

  12. Kristen
    September 10, 2018 / 11:31 am

    Heading to the Netherlands and Portugal next week! Any lower cost option for travel pants? I can’t justify $200 no matter how well they are made.

    • Susan B
      September 10, 2018 / 11:50 am

      Hi Kristen, I have not tried these knit trousers yet, but they’re well-reviewed by customers, and under $100: http://shopstyle.it/l/RXCe

      Also try the J.Crew “Cameron” pants, also very well-reviewed: http://shopstyle.it/l/RXBU (Currently 30% off too!)

      Both are available in several colors.

  13. Janet
    September 10, 2018 / 12:05 pm

    I’ve been in Italy, Switzerland and France for the last couple of weeks and certainly wish I’d had one of those packable vests! I was hiking, so had no need to dress up, but I had to wear multiple layers every morning. I’m currently in Geneva to go on a flight to the U.S. at the crack of dawn. Wish I had time to go looking for a Uniqlo!

  14. September 10, 2018 / 12:30 pm

    I’m thinking about what to pack for an upcoming 3 week trip to the BC coast, so your post is very timely. We were there in early June and half of what I had packed didn’t come out of the suitcase, so I’m hoping to do better this time! While we’re in Vancouver, I plan to shop at Uniqlo (the only Uniqlo stores in Canada are in Vancouver and Toronto at this point). I’ve been seriously considering one of their ultra light down filled coats. I’m not sure if it would be warm enough for our Alberta winters, but it would probably work well for the shoulder seasons. I may also invest in the vest or jacket as a lightweight layering piece.

    • yvrjanice
      September 10, 2018 / 4:44 pm

      Make sure you bring your raingear! Although we’ve had a dry summer, it’s very wet here again right now and might be for some time. A good Vancouverite always keeps her umbrella close by!

    • September 11, 2018 / 10:29 am

      Definitely NOT warm enough for Alberta winters, but useful as a layering piece, or for spring and autumn.

    • Anon
      September 15, 2018 / 2:12 pm

      Similar at Costco!

      • Cathy
        October 8, 2019 / 6:38 am

        Yes, Costco is a great source for travel gear. Online and in warehouse they have great travel pants, for $15-20 depending on brand. I bought 2 pairs, pretty true to size. Also loved their down vest, slightly more shaped than the Uniqlo vest but I do love the color variety of Uniqlo.

    • Anon
      September 15, 2018 / 2:23 pm

      P.S. I bought Denver Hayes Lightweight T-Max jacket from Marks last year and it worked well for packability and warmth. It was good for much of the winter, but not the coldest days. I wore it in the spring, but it wouldn’t work for heavy west coast downpours.

  15. Joy Johnson
    September 10, 2018 / 3:09 pm

    I have two down Bernardo vests (black and a silvery greige and found at TJ Maxx) as well as a Bernardo down puffer coat from Belks….our equivalent of Macy’s here in the south. These are all lighter than air and have served me so well for several years. As all have said, they pack down to nothing. I’m traveling to Provence in very early October and haven’t yet figured out if I will need this warmth? Any words of wisdom here? I so enjoy your blog Susan…we are staying for a couple of days in Lyon and I’ve taken note of your recommendations for that city! Merci mille fois!

    • lagatta à Montréal
      October 9, 2019 / 12:34 pm

      Joy, the main difference between the Old South (southeastern US) and Provence is the humidity level. Your climate is warm/hot and humid; theirs is much drier. One effect of this is that is can be chillier in the evenings even if it is hot during the day. Lyon isn’t very far north of Provence, but it is close to the Alps. In general, October is a fine month to travel their as there aren’t huge numbers of (other) tourists.

    • lagatta à Montréal
      October 9, 2019 / 12:46 pm

      Joy, the main difference between the Old South (southeastern US) and Provence is the humidity level. Your climate is warm/hot and humid; theirs is much drier. One effect of this is that is can be chillier in the evenings even if it is hot during the day. Lyon isn’t very far north of Provence, but it is close to the Alps. In general, October is a fine month to travel there as there aren’t huge numbers of (other) tourists, and you’ll see more of normal life.

  16. Ann
    September 10, 2018 / 4:47 pm

    Here’s another vote for those Uniqlo ultra-light down collarless jackets. I recently bought one (navy) in their Chicago store. I wear a small in almost every other brand, but for this garment I took a medium, and it’s a perfect fit.

    I also got the Uniqlo knee-length raincoat in a medium, which doesn’t swallow me but does afford me enough layering room underneath.

    AND I sampled some of Uniqlo’s new autumn Ines de la Fressange offerings — a dark navy crewneck sweater, a black/white striped mariniere’ish sweater with a single red stripe at the wrists and hips, and a beautiful (under US$20!) rust and navy large scarf / shawl I can’t wait to wear.

    Ann in Missouri

    • Ann
      September 10, 2018 / 4:49 pm

      P.S. I didn’t have to size-up on the two de la Fressange sweaters, which are smalls and fit me fine.

  17. Jean
    September 10, 2018 / 8:41 pm

    I’ve taken Uniqlo vests to Paris for several years. Last April I brought the Blocktech rain coat. It rained almost everyday and that item was a lifesaver. It’s also a very good wind block. The rainy days didn’t stop me at all.

  18. September 12, 2018 / 3:12 pm

    Heading to Paris in early November – Viking Paris to the Swiss Alps. I am sure there will be a big change in temps as we travel along. Thanks for your great ideas!

  19. September 13, 2018 / 8:33 am

    Traveling to France in October! I live in Florida and can hardly imagine being cold, so I’m having a hard time packing for Paris in the fall. Layers to the rescue, I hope. I have a light windbreaker/rain jacket, thigh length, that I’m hoping will do the trick. Debating about taking any other kind of jacket as well. Taking some tanks to wear under my shirts if it’s cool, and a scarf. I’m a size 16, so I’m afraid I won’t be able to pick up anything there if I need it!

  20. Rebecca Ford
    August 2, 2019 / 9:36 am

    We’re going on a Scandinavian cruise the last week of August into mid-September. This is my first cruse (Viking) and I’m pretty stumped on wardrobe at this point. Anyone have any tips? Will it feel like fall?

  21. Deb in TX
    October 8, 2019 / 4:20 am

    So pleased this post popped up. The Johnny Was kimono is now on sale, got it for under $200. Thanks.

  22. Barbara Scott Nelson
    October 8, 2019 / 4:26 am

    Just did a Viking cruise of the Baltic – Scandinavia to St Petersburg. Temps were in the mid sixties, not too much rain but it was iffy lots of days. Susan’s guidelines for travel packing worked perfectly. Wore everything but the rain jacket! Uniqlo vest, a couple of cashmere sweaters – v- neck and cardigan, windbreaker jacket, plus the usual couple of pairs of pants, several tanks, tees and shirts, all mixable in various combinations. I got the award for best packer in our group. Most women on the ship were wearing puffer jackets or coats.

  23. Eva Popovich
    October 8, 2019 / 4:27 am

    We love to travel, and I was actually glad to see that I have most of the travel pieces you mentioned, but I am going to have to look for the printed reversible travel vests as well as some trousers. As you mentioned, I have lately been wishing for a wider leg flowing pant, although I’m short so can be overwhelmed by something too wide.
    Have fun on your trip to Northern California, our former and much-loved home.

  24. Janet
    October 8, 2019 / 5:34 am

    I’m leaving in early November for 3 weeks in Southeast Asia, where it’ll be very hot. Will have to wear my packable down jacket (LLBean) to the airport. I’m trying to figure out a decent wardrobe in which I’ll not be too hot.

    • October 8, 2019 / 7:08 am

      Janet, I have similar questions. I’d also appreciate clothing tips for Southeast Asia. We are heading to Vietnam and Cambodia on a cruise/land tour in March (11 days). I want to be respectful of the culture. Skirts and dresses? Capris or long pants? Base colors? Are washable shoes necessary (will wear one pair and pack one)? Packable, washable, re-wearable fabric, for sure, with a carry-on. I have several Eddie Bauer Travex items, just not sure which/how many to take. After having to move items from my carry-on to my husband’s checked luggage this summer on Iceland Air in Minneapolis (never had that happen anywhere else in US or Europe), I’m very conscious of luggage weight. I have checked our airline recommendations. Would anyone share experience with carry-ons in Asia? I have the larger Lo bag that I sometimes use as my purse, but some airlines seem to combine the weight of carry-on and personal item into one total. I will need my compact Patagonia down jacket to/from the airport. It has been a welcome layer in several European and US travels.
      Susan, thank you for your fashionable, savvy advice in all areas. You’ve helped me a lot.

      • Susan Blakey
        Author
        October 8, 2019 / 7:13 am

        For warm or hot weather destinations, I recommend linen pieces. They allow you to stay covered up enough for cultural considerations without having heat stroke. J.Jill has some nice linen options here. Another option is to bring large, lightweight scarves that can be knotted and worn as a bolero to cover arms and shoulders when needed.

      • Kathleen
        October 8, 2019 / 9:42 am

        I resided in Bangkok for two years. I lived in cotton and linen skirts and dresses. I had lightweight sweaters and shawls for the air conditioned restuarants. Denim was way too hot! Our in the countryside U wire dropped lightweight pants. A lightweight jacket just in case a rain flurry goes by. The ability will dry you in five minutes. Sun hat is a must and lots of sunscreen. They have lovely silks and cottons to buy there.

  25. Florence
    October 8, 2019 / 6:46 am

    I love my Uniqlo ultra-light vest & jacket so much that I gave them as Christmas presents last year. Thank you VERY much for the lead.
    As far as toiletry bags — I returned the one that you suggested last year but found one whose size suits me better & yes, there are some pretty pattern options. The Flight 001 Spacepak Toiletry kit is great. It might not be as girly, but it’s well thought-out & just works. https://flight001.com/spacepak-toiletry/

  26. Jane
    October 8, 2019 / 7:01 am

    I recently travelled in LLBean Perfect Fit Pants and an Eddie Bauer top and my very style conscious friend who met me asked if I was wearing Eileen Fisher! Perfect for travel and everyday wear.

  27. October 8, 2019 / 7:37 am

    Welcome to my neck of the woods. I live in Santa Rosa, part of Sonoma wine country. If you have time, a drive out to the coast towards Armstrong Woods, Duncan’s Mills, Jenner and the coastal Bodega Bay is fabulous. You pass wineries (Korbel is on the way), redwood forests and old towns. You can see where they filmed Hitchcock’s The Birds. Very different from Napa!

    I bought a similar thin packable vest and jacket in Germany last month but not feathers. I’m trying to be a little more vegan in my clothing choices. They each cost $10 at a department store called C&A which is like Target. I have a good feeling that they’ll be very warm, useful and flattering.

    Love your posts! I’ve learned a lot!

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      October 8, 2019 / 7:38 am

      Thanks, Marian! We actually have Armstrong Woods on our itinerary, as well as some wineries in that area. Can’t wait!

  28. October 8, 2019 / 7:51 am

    I’ll second the many votes for Uniqlo compact and lightweight down vests: I own one of each and find them essential not only for travel but also for cold Bay Area summers!

    No one’s mentioned headgear, so I’ll add some praise for my soft, warm recycled-cashmere beanie, which I stuff into a pocket until I need to wear it. The company I bought it from is no longer in business, but you can find well-priced recycled-cashmere beanies at Uniqlo in lots of colors. Flat-knit cashmere is less bulky than rib-knit.

  29. October 8, 2019 / 8:22 am

    Susan I have been eagerly looking for a post on how you are processing your gamine style. I am also a 60 something, curvy, glasses wearing petite who thinks she might be a gamine. I have learned so much from you during the couple of years I have been following your blog. I love the posts you do on what you are thinking and how you are processing your style. I would love to know how this style adventure is going. Thank you for what you do.

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      October 8, 2019 / 8:38 am

      Hi Debra, I’ve been working on one, should be up next week! 🙂

  30. Ann in Missouri
    October 8, 2019 / 8:36 am

    Am in Strasbourg right now, and everyone here — locals and visitors alike — look like they’ve been outfitted by Uniqlo! Me, too, with a little Hermes thrown in.

    Fall is definitely happening here. 🙂

    Ann in Missouri

  31. kb
    October 8, 2019 / 9:07 am

    As always, Susan, thank you for encouraging the conversation….I’m hopeful this “soapbox” recommendation won’t offend: I would like to encourage purchases from Patagonia. The company carefully sources its down; non-feather pieces are also available. The prices are higher — yes — than Uniqlo, but the clothing lasts much, much longer. Patagonia will recycle your vest or jacket (as they did mine, after 12 years of travel on 5 continents) and reduce the price of your next one. Not to mention its partnership in 1% for the Planet, a very worthy consideration in this era of consumptive consumerism and fast fashion.

    • Cathy
      October 8, 2019 / 9:45 am

      I buy from both. My oldest Patagonia is a pullover fleece…about 34yrs old.

  32. Jan
    October 8, 2019 / 12:25 pm

    I too, like the rest of the world have the Uniqlo vest, mine in the same rusty/orange colour which I love. I’ve just returned from the UK where I picked up a packable down jacket in Primark for £15, which I thought was an amazing bargain. They had a great range of colours and I got the yellowy green one which I love. They also had the sleeveless vests which I think were £12.

  33. Alanna
    October 8, 2019 / 1:03 pm

    Love the outfit you are wearing in this post.

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      October 8, 2019 / 2:53 pm

      Thanks, Alanna!

  34. Sf-dre
    October 8, 2019 / 8:52 pm

    Going on an Alaska cruise next May, casual wear except for one dressy dinner. Layers, scarves, wool berets are staples even at home in SF and my LLBean raincoat has a zip in liner if it gets cool. Down might be too warm because I’m kind of a furnace (even before menopause hit).

    Hope the fire danger will have passed when you’re up this way.

  35. Angela in NZ
    October 9, 2019 / 12:30 pm

    I’m expecting a last minute change in my packing for 3 week tour of China in two weeks time. Everything I think I’ll need has been hanging together in my wardrobe and already I’ve made some changeouts. So far packable down jacket and coat, ponte pants and scarves are there. Half, three quarter and long sleeve viscose tees and lightweight merino sweaters are ready for the final cut.Sink washing will be minimal as 3-4 days is the maximum stay in any one place. I think it will be the bamboo/viscose thermal tanks that will be the life savers for temperature variations over such a large country.

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