A Few Ideas For Your Fall Travel Wardrobe

Autumn in Jardin du Luxembourg, Paris. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

First, Shana Tovah to those who are celebrating! May you be inscribed for a good year.

There are a few small trips on my calendar already for this fall, and one bigger one toward the end of the year. We’re off to Napa for a long weekend later this month. I’m hoping to get a road trip together with my sister in October to do some nature photography. The bigger trip? Yes, I’m headed back to Paris in December! (OK, so the tail-end of Fall…)

Fall Travel Wardrobe Ideas

I love to travel in the Fall (and Spring) but packing for those times of year 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. (I’m working on a sample fall travel wardrobe that I’ll post next week.)

But in the meantime, here are a few pieces that you may want to consider for a Fall travel wardrobe. You can see all of my recent travel wardrobes HERE.


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.

Putting together a Fall travel wardrobe: these packable down jackets can be worn on their own or layered underneath a coat or raincoat. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

Last fall, I picked up one of the ultra light down vests from Uniqlo when I was in Paris. A friend of mine has been raving about these compact down jackets, so when we were at a store over the weekend, I tried and bought one. (I chose the off-white option.) 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.

Uniqlo blocktech coat in navy. 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.

Fall travel wardrobe ideas: packable down coat. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

I bought one of the Lands’ End packable down coats a couple of years ago and have been quite pleased with it. Here’s this year’s version. Their down is Responsible Down Certified, which means that the animals are sustainably and humanely raised. 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

Perfect pants for travel: washable stretch crepe. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

I love my Eileen Fisher stretch crepe pants for travel, but sometimes wish for a style with a little more of a tailored look, and with pockets. Looks like I might get my wish! Offered in Misses, Petite, and Plus.

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.

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

Stay in touch.

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  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.

  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.

  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!

    • 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!

  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?

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