If you’re planning to travel this fall, it’s not too early to start thinking about your travel wardrobe. We all want to pack lighter and smarter these days, so here’s a 2-4 week capsule wardrobe idea.
This article was published at an earlier date and has since been updated. I’ve left prior comments in place.
Last fall, we spent almost 4 weeks in Northern Italy, Paris and London, from early October to early November. Here’s what I packed and why I chose what I did…
What I packed for an autumn trip to Italy
Assembling this travel wardrobe was challenging for a number of reasons…
- It’s a longer trip (almost 4 weeks!) than we’ve taken in many years
- Though I’m excited to be traveling in autumn, it means variable weather, with temperatures ranging from mild to cold, and probably no small amount of rain.
- We have a mix of city and country destinations and activities
- And this will be the first European travel wardrobe I’ve put together without relying heavily on black. 😉
But I’m always up for a packing challenge!
Looking back over my recaps of past travel wardrobes, I’ve noticed a pattern of wishing for more color and variety. So I’ve tried to build that in here while still keeping the size manageable. I hope to supplement this wardrobe with some shopping along the way, but need to have the bases covered so I’m not scrambling to find something I need.
I’ve had some feedback in the past from people who find my travel wardrobes and outfits “boring.” I get it, though I’m not one of those bloggers/influencers who travels primarily to photograph pretty outfits in pretty places. We travel to be able to experience new scenery, tastes, and culture. (As well as to further explore our favorites.) So my wardrobe has to be functional above all else. By “functional,” I mean cohesive, layer-able, comfortable, versatile, and climate- and venue-appropriate.
My Italy travel wardrobe for autumn
The only limit I gave myself with this Italy travel wardrobe was that it had to fit in my medium-sized suitcase (similar), leaving room for a few purchases along the way. Because of the length of this trip and plans to shop, I opted for a checked bag. I will also have a carry-on backpack with essentials and a change of clothes, just in case.
When planning a travel wardrobe, I always start with the shoes. City destinations are relatively easy to plan for, but we also have some activities out in the countryside that may involve traipsing about in muddy conditions. So I’m packing an old pair of black all-weather boots if needed.
I also plan to do a little shoe shopping in Milan 😉, but at least I have the bases covered here.
I always travel with jeans, and they’re what I wear most days. I know some people avoid them because they’re heavier than some fabrics, but I’ve found the pros outweigh the cons. First, they don’t need to be laundered often, if at all. Second, they’re versatile, easy to style, and appropriate for most venues. Don’t let anyone tell you that jeans aren’t worn in Europe; they absolutely ARE.
- 2 pairs medium wash jeans, similar HERE and HERE. (I’ll probably wear one of these in transit.)
- 1 pair dark wash jeans, similar HERE.
- 1 pair ponte knit lantern pants. These in “Espresso” (how appropriate for Italy!) are my Little Black Pants alternative, and can dress them up or down.
- 1 pair plaid jeans, just for fun!
Using the concept of “tabletop dressing,” (keeping bottoms simple and versatile, adding variety and interest above the waist), I usually follow a ratio of 2-3 tops per 1 bottom.
- ivory blouse (if I need to dress up)
- 2 solid long-sleeve tees in brown HERE and soft yellow HERE.
- 2 striped tees HERE and HERE. (Both of these are lightweight and 3/4 sleeve, so should be comfortable for warmer days.)
- 2 merino pullovers, navy HERE, red similar HERE (I love merino wool for travel, as it’s comfortable in a range of temperatures, lightweight, doesn’t pick up odors, and can be hand washed in a pinch.)
- similar ribbed polo sweater
- cashmere pullover
- wool-blend cardigan (this can be worn 3 ways: open over another top, buttoned as a mid-layer, or with buttons in back)
- cashmere v-neck cardigan
Yes, I’m still relying heavily on neutrals, but in brown, ivory and camel rather than black. For color (as well as warmth) I’ve included several scarves, and expect to pick up a few more along the way.
Outerwear & Accessories
I’ve selected outerwear that can accommodate mild to very chilly and/or wet conditions. All of these pieces are a few years old, but I’ve linked to similar items below:
Coats & jackets
- The navy long blazer was purchased in Italy in 2017. It’s a lightweight wool that’s warm, and I can easily layer a sweater underneath. Similar look HERE and HERE
- This yellow rain jacket will brighten up dreary days! I can layer up underneath if needed. Similar HERE and HERE
- The packable down coat is lightweight and SO warm. This season’s version HERE.
- This Lo & Sons Pearl bag has been my travel go-to for years. It’s sleek, chic, secure, and holds everything I need.
- If there’s room in my case, I’ll pack my Loewe puzzle bag (similar) as an alternate. It’s also lightweight and secure.
As always, I’ll leave room for a Wild Card. That’s a piece I add or sub out at the last minute based on weather forecasts and whim.
Want to see how this wardrobe worked out? 👇
More packing and travel wardrobe tips
- If you’ll be checking bags, be sure to keep prescription meds, a change of clothes, travel documents, and any other essentials with you in your carry-on Personal Item bag.
- Packing cubes can help you stay organized (especially if you have multiple destinations) and can help compress items to save space. I like these with the clear mesh tops so I can see what’s inside.
- Dress in layers or keep a lightweight wrap handy for the plane. Cabin temperatures can fluctuate wildly.
- Plan ahead, but be sure to check weather forecasts at your destination(s) immediately before you leave. Weather can be very changeable in some locations this time of year.
- For more travel wardrobe ideas, packing and travel trips, visit my Travel Wardrobe Resource Hub