Packing Essentials for Fall and Spring

by josie

With Spring in the air I thought I’d do another series of visual posts with a focus on Fall and Spring packing. I feel the similar temperature ranges (anywhere from 40ºF/4ºC to 80ºF/26ºC) for both seasons makes the packing list just about the same. Of course this is just meant to serve as a guideline and you can tweak it based on your travel destination and personal style. The suggestions provided are for city getaways (foreign and domestic) doing the normal range of tourist activities.

The 11 articles of clothing I recommend (1 outerwear, 2 sweaters, 1 Blouse/Button down, 2 layering tanks, 2 tees/tops, 2 jeans/pants, and 1 dress) should get you through a week or several months worth of travel (if you are doing laundry on the road). If you are traveling for less than a week I would eliminate a few items. Refer to my packing light post if you need a few reminders on packing light guidelines.

Packing Essentials for Fall & Spring

1. Outerwear
Fall and Spring weather temperatures can get chilly so you’ll want a lightweight outer layer. There’s a myriad of coat options out there but when I travel I stick to a lightweight trench, it always makes me feel pulled together and chic. If you’re going somewhere with typically rainy weather during Fall and Spring you’ll want to choose a waterproof outer layer such as this REI raincoat or something like this versatile waterproof trench from Rainforest. Otherwise an umbrella thrown in your purse should help you deal with any unexpected rain showers. Iris and Ink Trench coat.

2. 2 Sweaters
Sweaters are a vital layer for Spring and Fall travel. On crisp mornings they are essential to layer under your outerwear to keep you warm. On pleasant days a sweater may be the only outer layer you need. I like to pack two different styles of sweaters: A warm pullover and a lightweight cardigan. Whatever style you choose make sure they layer easily over your bottom layers and under your outer layer. Try and find a lightweight knit that will not take up too much precious room in your suitcase and wear your thickest knit sweater while in transit. Mango Pullover Sweater and Madewell Cardigan.

3. 1 Blouse or Button Down
A blouse or button down shirt adds a bit more polish to your travel ensembles. I’d wear a blouse on travel days when my activities go on through the evening and I don’t have time to change. If you’re not into the blouse thing a button down always looks smart layered under a crew neck sweater add in a statement necklace and you are au courant. A black button down shirt and black jeans or pants is a timeless look that can take you from museum hopping to dinner and drinks. TopShop Button Down and Madewell Blouse.

4. Two Layering Tanks
If you wear a layering tank underneath everything like I do, two lightweight ones should get you through your travels. If you don’t use them then bring a tank just to sleep in or one in case you get lucky enough and encounter a warm fall or spring day. Target Black cami and J Crew gray tank.

5. Two Tees or Tops
If you’re packing tee shirts, a long sleeve and short sleeve tee should accommodate your travel needs. I consider a striped shirt a neutral and always pack one but I’m addicted to striped tops (that is another story). There are so many variations on the tee shirt available just make sure whatever you pack is a lightweight knit. If you’re not a tee shirt person then lightweight tops or blouses that can layer under your sweater will also work. Chance Striped tee and Splendid gray tee.

6. Two Jeans or Pants
Jeans are the workhorse of your travel wardrobe so make sure they are comfortable and fit well. Pack the style that suits you best and that you’re comfortable in. Skinny jeans are the most versatile because they go with a variety of shoes from sneakers to flats to heels and they tuck in easily into boots. If you don’t wear jeans then a pant will work fine as long as it is made out of a lightweight, wrinkle resistant fabric. Another option is a ponte pant such as this one from J Crew. A ponte pant is like a thicker version of a legging and these from J Crew have an elastic waist for comfort. A black ponte pant is an option for a sleek, classic look. The only drawback to the ponte pant is that it’s dry clean only so keep this in mind for longer trips. J Brand Black skinny jeans and J Crew Toothpick Jeans in Huron wash.

7. Dress
A good “travel” dress takes you stylishly from day to evening. For fall and spring travel you’ll want a dress that layers over tights or leggings. My go-to formula is to wear a dress with leggings and boots or leggings and sandals on warmer days. Shirt dresses and wrap dresses are flattering styles for many figures. If you’re not a dress person a skirt or an extra blouse may be all you need and maybe a pair of heels (depending on your travel activities). Remember that accessories really change the look of outfits so pack some bold jewelry if you’re going out at night. Mango Black Dress.

8. Optional
Optional items are those extras that you can throw in your suitcase if you have room or that you can substitute for other items on the list. If you’re into wearing blazers (like I am) you could substitute a blazer for a sweater. Leggings are another optional item that you could bring if you could wear them with your dress and with a longer length sweater. I would only pack heels if your travel itinerary absolutely required it. They look great, but unless you are going to formal restaurants, clubs, or special events I’d leave them at home. They take up room and won’t be used as frequently as your other footwear. TopShop Blazer, Target Mossimo leggings, and Ralph Lauren Amelie pumps.

9. Footwear
The right footwear is an extremely important choice if your travels require you to do a lot of walking. You must find the right mix of functionality, comfort, and style. Boots easily meet these requirements. A flat or slightly heeled knee length boot pairs well with skinny jeans, leggings, and dresses. Knee length boots smarten up any outfit and they have the added benefit of keeping you warmer than a pair of flats. Booties are also a trendy choice and they also pair well with jeans and dresses. A pair of comfortable flats are another good footwear option during Fall and Spring travel. If you’re not into flats a stylish sneaker such as Converse All Stars will stand in nicely. Lastly, a pair of sandals takes up little room in your suitcase and they provide a nice option on warmer days. Clarks Denton Sand Boots, Steve Madden Remington booties, Converse, Cole Haan Air Bacara Black Flat, and Clarks Indira Rue sandal.

10. Accessories
Your travel handbag should easily hold all your daily travel needs: wallet, maps, phone, camera, etc. The bag shown is from Lululemon and is the “Vinyasa to Vino” gym bag with plenty of room for your daily necessities. I’ve been using another Lululemon gym bag as my travel bag lately and it’s the perfect size for holding my heavy DSLR camera while still being fairly comfortable to tote around. It works great for long haul flights as well since it can hold a laptop and tablet. Scarves are an essential Travelista items so make sure and pack at least one. Pack a few items of jewelry that go with your travel wardrobe and a few statement pieces for evening. Lululemon Vinyasa bag, Ray Ban Aviators, Modcloth Leaf Life Behind Scarf, Yochi Oval Stone Pendant Necklace, Calypso Cushy Cashmere scarf, Z Designs necklace, and Miss Selfridge Brown Watch bracelet pack.

Tomorrow I’ll provide details on how to put these 11 items to work for you with lots of different outfit options. Cheers and happy packing!

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Kayla April 2, 2013 at 10:42 am

Love this post. I have the hardest time packing for trips this time of year. Being in Texas it’s time to totally pull out summer dresses and tank tops – rough to remember other places are still having real season!

Memoirs & Mochas

josie April 4, 2013 at 8:57 am

I live in Texas as well (Fort Worth) so it’s hard for me to plan and pack for places that actually do experience seasons. It’s all about layering!

Agnieszka May 18, 2013 at 10:35 am

Awesome post! Could we have one for winter and for summer, too? Please! ;)

Renae March 12, 2014 at 8:49 am

I can’t begin to thank you enough for all of your fantastic packing lists. I think I’ve looked at your site about 50 times over the past four or five days. I’m planning a week-long trip to London and am obsessed with trying to pack minimally. I can’t tell you what a help these lists have been! I’m sad that it’s been a while since you’ve posted as I can tell I’d be a follower of your blog for sure!! But I wanted to thank you so much. I’m sure I’ll be stylish AND travel more easily than I ever have!!

Lindsay April 23, 2014 at 4:44 am

I noticed the converse sneakers. Can these go with jeggings? Converse are very comfortable for long walking days so it would be great if they were allowed fashion wise.

josie August 13, 2014 at 4:34 pm

Yes, Converse can go with jeggings. Here’s my Pinterest board on Sneakers for travel so that you can get some inspiration on how to wear Converse and other sneakers for travel:

Chrissygirl100 September 10, 2014 at 9:41 am

This article and visual depiction is just super! I follow several excellent travel blogs, which is how I found yours, and this particular post is the best packing guide out there for women who want to look stylish but travel lightly. I love the clarity with which you display your selections, the clothing is practical but chic, and it can be worn by women of all ages. I used it as a guide for my upcoming month long stay in Paris. Great job! Thank you.

Erin December 21, 2014 at 12:08 pm

I love this! What a perfect capsule wardrobe! And so stylish, too.

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