Building on the 12-Piece Winter Travel Wardrobe I shared last week, here are some outerwear suggestions and outfit ideas.
Winter Travel Outerwear…
One of the challenges of building a winter travel wardrobe is adding warmth without bulk. A standard wool coat will keep you warm, but will be heavy if you have to carry it around for any amount of time. Fortunately there are a lot of options now that pack down to almost nothing and will still keep you warm and dry. Packable down and Primaloft (often made with recycled plastics) are both lightweight and insulating, and would be my choice for most types of travel.
Here are a few packable options to stay warm in style…
For Paris, I’ll be bringing along an earlier version of this Lands’ End packable down coat, which I’ve been very happy with.
Winter Travel Outfits
I’ve built the 12-piece travel wardrobe and these outfits on the premise of cold-but-not-extreme conditions. Daytime temperatures at or above freezing, light snow if any. Some rain, maybe sleet. In each of the outfits, I’ve used clothing from the 12-piece capsule, and added outerwear and accessories. My goal here was to create “smart casual” looks that would be comfortable for all-day sightseeing, and could go straight to dinner.
Above: Hat | Sweater | Scarf (similar) | Pants | Coat | Boots (similar) | Bag
That compact down coat is warm, yet sleek enough that you could even add a waterproof shell or another layer over top if needed.
I’ve included the Eileen Fisher ponte knit pants in this wardrobe and set. I’ve traveled with them extensively and have nothing but good things to say about them. They hold up well, don’t stretch out, are washable, and look sharp. That said, many of you have asked for more budget-friendly options, so here are a few with a similar style:
Chico’s | Nic + Zoe | Nic + Zoe (Plus) | Karen Kane |
Vince Camuto (Plus) | Vince Camuto
For this outfit, I went for a minimalist, slightly edgy city look.
Hat | Cardigan | Top (similar) | Coat | Scarf | Skirt (similar) | Boots (similar) | Backpack
Though I didn’t show them in this collage, I’d also include a pair of warm tights to wear with the skirt.
Here I’ve added my favorite color of the season (forest green) with accessories. A little matchy-matchy perhaps, but I think with small accessories it works. (Tip: check out the scarves in the men’s section too!)
Hat (similar) | Scarf (similar) | Jacket | Cardigan | Boots (similar) | Bag | Jeans | Gloves (similar)
Again, the compact down jacket could either function as a mid-layer on colder days, or an outer layer on warmer ones. (Mine will be going with me to Paris.) For a budget-friendly skinny jeans alternative, try these.
See all of my Travel Wardrobe posts HERE.
Do you have any tried-and-true winter travel outfits?
Your blog is always so helpful.
I am concerned for you, though, with plans for Paris.
The news yesterday was sad and troubling. Please stay safe.
I just returned from a weeks Thanksgiving Holiday to Dublin. I had purchased the Lands End Squall coat. Two day I needed both layers, the rest of the time I took the coat apart and wore the weather proof coat during the day and the down coat at night. It servered my needs perfectly. I took my rain booties, and 12 pieces. I was so pleased with how the pieces worked. Your blog has always been so helpful for my travel planning. Have a very safe trip.
I’m wondering what your take is on the situation with Paris? I’ve never been there, but I’ve been considering a trip in the spring… I’m less sure now though. Is there a point where you’d decide not to go?
Really like these choices. I’m doing this in reverse from Europe to New York. This padded coats are really warm and light weight. Please be careful in Paris. The discontent is escalating. Travel safely.
Thought of you with the trouble in Paris, with the trouble erupting mainly on nweekends I hope you will schedule your activities to stay away from the tourist draws on those days.
Totes agree about the virtues of packing a puffer. This is great intel on Eileen Fisher too thanks Susan. I’m going into the city tomorrow specifically to try on the brand for size. I love their ethos and style but I’ve heard the sizes are generous so I thought I’d go see for myself. Now I feel a bit more fore armed 😉
As the others have expressed, I thought of you when seeing the Paris coverage. It’s concerning.
Ah Paris! I recall a very passionate (arrests, minor violence and injuries) “No Nukes in Europe” protest while was a student there years ago. The ironic thing was they didn’t know I was american and approached me in a cafe to join their cause against the USA. Not to downplay safety concerns, but I had European friends ask me if it was safe to visit me in Virginia after the Charlottesville mayhem. But back to fashion, thanks ever so much, once again, for this blog. I do not enjoy shopping (I know, horrors!) and am very thankful to have found someone whose style I admire who can steer me towards wonderful purchases. Happy Holidays!
I echo the sentiments of others to be careful. I watch the French news every night (www.france2.fr) and they claim another demonstration has been scheduled for next weekend. Most of the violence has been in the 8th and 16th arrondissements. Stay safe.
I really like collarless coats. You can switch them up with different scarves and if you’re inside you can take the scarf off to lighten up.
I live in DC and protesters don’t bother me, generally they confine themselves to particular routes and it’s easy to avoid them. It’s terrorists that are scary.
Susan, I couldn’t agree more with your advice to start with shoes and plan with an eye towards layering to cope with a range of cold temperatures! My winter travel outfits are very similar to yours! My outerwear is probably my favorite thing about my travel wardrobe. I have a thigh length waterproof and windproof shell and then take a Lands End primaloft jacket that hits my upper thighs. What I love is that I can wear each jacket by itself depending upon weather conditions or both together. For the plane, I just layer the primaloft into the shell and carry it as one jacket. Other favorite winter piece. A pair of knee high sock liners I got from Lands’s end. Truly amazing how much warmth that thin layer adds under my socks on frigid days.
Susan, your packing tip about choosing shoes first is invaluable. I have always chosen footwear last when packing. I was skeptical at first but it really helps to choose shoes first. It saves time and I find I do not have to take things out of the suitcase and reorganize. Amazing.
The collarless compact jacket worn under my LL Bean raincoat worked perfectly when the weather dipped into the 40’s on my last trip. However, if it had been any colder, I would have wanted to swap it for my standard weight Uniqlo down jacket instead. Just as Nancy pointed out above, layering works just as well for outerwear as for the rest of your wardrobe. If the weather warms up, you can wear either the raincoat or the down jacket by itself. And sometimes you really need a raincoat — mine has stood up to a 2-hour downpour. I won’t travel without it.
You were also my first thought when I saw the news about Paris. Stay safe!
I agree with Roseag. So much news relayed afar is overly sensationalistic. The terror attacks around the Bataclan and other areas actually were horrifying, but stereotypes about “tough” neighbourhoods (now very much gentrified) made those of us who know Paris wondering who on earth wrote them.
As in Washington and other capitals, demonstrations and even ugly destructive actions are restricted to certain areas. I would avoid the 8th and the 16th especially at weekends, but really, do not panic.
While nothing is 100% predictable, usually such events tend to die down after a while.
Today, I was shocked to read that the main Dior store was looted of over a million dollars of stock, and of course the store is damaged badly. So sorry to see these beautiful shops, florists, cafes, being ruined this way. Also read that the protests will continue …until when and what…who knows. No neighborhood is being left out completely. I am so sad.
Destroying statuary and defacing monuments ,tearing up streets , burning cars and beating each other….I am in tears!
I am sorry, but these comments I am reading here playing down the situation in Paris must be from people who have not read very much or examined the photographs. Also, the rioting is spreading to other cities such as Toulouse and Marseille. Yesterday two demonstrators were seriously injured pulling down that long fence that runs along the Tuileries on Rue de Rivoli right there across from Angelina’s. I was so shocked. I am surprised at how emotional I feel. The photos of the smashed Marianne make me want to cry.
Hi Gloria, I am also disturbed by the destruction and vandalism. According to people I know who live and work in Paris (and with whom I’ve had contact today), the demonstrations are limited to certain days and areas. I’ve been told they can be avoided, and with any luck the tensions may be de-escalated by the time I get there.
Yes, I too have friends who live and work in Paris, I too have been in touch with them. It is no longer the weekend, traditional protest parade days, and yet today, Monday, the ambulance drivers and other emergency personnel went on strike in solidarity with the yellow jackets and amassed their vehicles at Place de Madeline, blocking access to Plaza de Concorde. Most disturbing, The police have asked Macron to deploy the army, most certainly this coming weekend if not before, because they are overwhelmed and have said some of their ranks sympathize with the protesters and are giving their riot gear away. An assault rifle was stolen from a police vehicle by protesters…so now the police want the army called out.
Is it enough to avoid the 8th and the 16th? Well, I hope it is.
I read more in French than I do in English, and have been listening to news reports on French media, including those relayed by media here in Québec. This is a serious situation, and an ugly one, but my point was that it shouldn’t affect most tourists as long as they avoid certain particular parts of Paris, especially at the weekend when people can travel to Paris in order to protest (and in some cases, to cause trouble).
And that media reports especially in terms of international stories are often sensationalistic, and stereotyped.
Now there are reports that the government will suspend its plan to bring in an eco-tax on fuel, though I agree that the movement has expanded beyong its original demands.
Love the looks, just for everyday in the burbs. I wanted to get a lightweight jacket, I have a vest, so nice. I need a jacket for walking and keeping my thighs warm even here in Northern California. I looked at the reviews of the Lands end jacket and several complained about the zipper. It does not zip easily. So I found another on sale at Nordstrom on sale, Michael Korea’s. Hope it is ok.
Are you still going to Paris? The riots sound terrible.
A down coat/jacket is so smart for travel. It was cold last week, but this week has been quite warm; it’s supposed to be colder again next week. I was in a T-shirt yesterday; if I were traveling with a heavy winter coat I would be miserable.
As for the protests, personally I’ve managed to steer clear and haven’t seen much of them. When I do see them ahead, I make a detour. Paris is huge and there are so many things to see. The Champs-Elysées has become the place for demonstrations, whether for winning the World Cup or voicing discontent. There is more to Paris than the Champs-Elysées. Montmartre, for example!