Packing for a Spring trip presents a few challenges because the weather can go from cold to warm to rainy. When you are planning your spring travel outfits pack lightweight layers to help you get through the unpredictable weather. You can add or take away these layers as the weather changes.

In the Spring Travel Capsule I posted yesterday I offered several layering options with the 12 piece capsule: 1 Trench Coat, 1 raincoat, 1 open caridigan, 1 open knit pullover sweater, 1 draped jacket, 1 Long Sleeve Tee Shirt, 1 Short Sleeve Tee Shirt, 1 Long Sleeve Blouse, 1 Short Sleeve Blouse, 1 Jean, 1 Black Pant, 1 Dress. Here’s some ideas for just a few of the outfit combinations you can put together (clothing details can be found in yesterday’s post). The outfit possibilities extend beyond this I just wanted to visually show how many versatile outfits you can get out of a 12 piece travel capsule wardrobe.

trav_spring_outfits copy

Happy Travels!

Grab my FREE Spring Carry-On Travel Checklist here!


{ 1 comment }

Spring travel requires versatile clothing that can help you adapt to quickly changing weather situations. Crisp mornings may warm up or stay cool depending on where you visit. Layers help keep you warm and give you lots of outfit options. This 12 piece capsule includes some dressy options. Just take these as suggestions to help you build your spring travel wardrobe. If you are visiting somewhere rainy, you may want to consider pair of waterproof booties like these in addition to a waterproof outer layer like the jacket shown in the capsule. You don’t want a little rain slowing you down.

The neutral palette makes it easy to add in splashes of color here and there. Adjust your palette to suit your taste and destination but I find it easier to mix and match with a base set of neutrals to work with. In order to pack light choose lightweight knits and synthetic fabrications. Refer to my How to Pack Light post for more packing light suggestions.

trav_springcapsule copy

I’ve gone in depth about my love affair with the trench so of course I thought I’d include it in this Spring Capsule. It’s the ultimate in versatility and light enough for warm spring weather. If a trench isn’t your thing an olive green parka is a modern classic, check out this one or this one. Classic cotton trench coat.

Wind/Rain Resistant Layer
The Marmot Precip Jacket shown above provides breathable protection from spring rains and windy days and can be layered over your lightweight layers. If your destination does not call for rain you can of course leave off this item but I generally pack a raincoat just in case.

Draped Jacket
Draped jackets offer a slightly less structured silhouette than a blazer yet still look dressed up. A draped jacket can dress up jeans and a tee shirt or add a finishing layer to blouses or dresses. Black Waterfall Structured Jacket.

Open Knit Sweater
An open knit sweater will keep you warm but with a slightly looser weave it won’t overheat you once the weather warms up. It can be layered over a tee and paired with the trench or draped jacket. Open Knit Sweater.

Open Cardigan
A cardigan adds to your layering and outfit options. Layer a cardi over a tee shirt with jeans and you’ve got a comfortable airplane outfit. Top it off with a trench and you add a bit of jet-set chic to your comfy traveling outfit. Dolman Sleeve Cardigan.

Long Sleeve Tee Shirt
Nothing beats a good tee shirt for layering. Look for fabrications like this top that are all synthetic so it won’t take up much room in your suitcase. Layer it under the cardigan or sweater as part of your airplane ensemble. Dolman Sleeve Tee shirt.

Short Sleeve Tee
A nice pop of color keeps your functional travel wardrobe from looking too dull. This tee pairs nicely with travel sneakers and layers easily under the trench. V-neck classic top.

Day to Night Dress
If you need to dress up during your travels you can choose a dress specifically for your event or try and find a multi-functional dress that can work during the day or evening. Striped Dress.

2 Scarves
Lightweight scarves can help add another warming light layer and give you another opportunity to accessorize. Bring along a scarf like the Black Crinkled Cashmere Wrap to keep you warm during a cold flight. On warm spring days go for a lightweight scarf like the Modal/Silk blend scarf shown above.

Short Sleeve Blouse
A short sleeve blouse gives you a nice option for warm spring days when you don’t have to hide under layers. Go for one that can transition from day to night if possible. Printed Tunic.

Long Sleeve Blouse
A long sleeve blouse will keep you looking dressy casual and comfortable if the temperatures haven’t warmed up yet. A neutral print can be worn with jeans or pants and worn with the Draped Jacket for a more dressed up look. Long Sleeve Blouse.

An all purpose tote can serve as your personal carry-on bag and your day bag during your travels. Make sure you get one with a zipper for a little added security. A small clutch takes up barely room in your suitcase and will help complete dressy and casual/dressy outfits. Tote, Clutch.

2 Pants
Dark wash jeans are versatile and can be dressed up or down and for this capsule can be combined with all 3 footwear options. This particular pair from Zara is cotton blended with modal so they will be more lightweight than typical jeans. If your activities call for a smart casual or dressed up look, pack a pair of black pants. Or you can always add in another dress or skirt for dressy outfits. If your travel activities are on the casual end, another pair of jeans can be packed instead.

3 Pairs of Shoes
As long as you’ve planned your travel wardrobe carefully you shouldn’t need more than 3 pairs of shoes. Depending on your destination and the type of trip you’re taking you will probably need a good pair of walking shoes. Luckily sneakers are having a “fashion moment” and can be incorporated into travel outfits without looking too touristy, check out my Pinterest Board for styling ideas. The sneakers shown are the Nike Internationalist from J. Crew. The Cut-out booties shown above have a transitional feel to them and they work well in warm or cooler spring weather and give you more of a dressy/casual look. If you’ve packed dressier looks, a shoe like the “Now” open toe bootie from Steve Madden provide a nice alternative to pumps.

Later this week I’ll provide ideas on different outfit options using this Spring Capsule. What are your biggest struggles in packing for Spring?

Here’s a free Spring Carry-On Travel Checklist to get you started!



A trench can go beyond basic travel outerwear to becoming a style statement with a few tips and tricks. Its classic shape and silhouette adapts itself to just about anything in your wardrobe. This makes it a great Travelista Essential and a good item to include in your travel wardrobe. If you haven’t already looked at my guide on the 6 Best Trench Coats for Travel check it out to find out which style works best for you.

A trench works best in Fall and Spring weather and in the in between transitional seasons. Look at the weather of your destination to make a final determination. A trench coat easily gets you through European travel or travel to large cities but may not work in more casual cultural climates or during rainy season travel (unless your trench is waterproof).

trav_trench_howtowear copy

General Styling Tips
* Popping the collar of your trench adds extra drama and it’s a good look for evening activities.
* Scrunch your sleeves for a casual, effortless look.
* On warmer days you can leave your trench coat open and tie it in the back.
* If you do wear the trench coat closed, tie the belt instead of buckling it.
* A scarf pairs well with a trench and can give you added warmth, tuck the scarf into the belt for a different look.
* If you wear it tied in front, leave a small gap to show off your outfit and add a casual vibe.

There’s certain clothing combinations that transcend age and time. These classic combinations should leave you feeling confident and pulled together no matter your travel situation. Combining a stripe top, jeans and leopard flats with your trench provides you a good starting point to planning a travel wardrobe. A nice white button down gives that same classic and pulled together feel. Personalize your look with a scarf and accessories. Striped Top, Jeans, Leopard Flats, White Shirt.

If your travel agenda involves activities that require being dressed up your trench can do double duty. Combine your trench with classics like a little black travel dress or a black trousers and a dressy top and look pulled together without having to pack an extra jacket. Black Dress, Wedge Heels, Black Top, Black Trousers.

Let’s say you want to be comfortable in transit without looking too sloppy. You can do that by just throwing on your trench coat. That’s the beauty of the trench coat, you can wear comfortable layers underneath yet still look like you put some effort into your outfit. If you like a comfortable and casual airplane outfit a trench will still keep you looking pulled together. Wearing your trench in transit also helps save suitcase room. Winning! Gray Tee, Boyfriend Jeans, Vans Slip-On Sneaker, Chambray (Lyocell) Top.

I’m always looking for travel outfits that can transition from day to evening activities. Skirts paired with your trench provide a nice dressy casual look that can get you through the day. You can go with a flattering A-line shape or a slimmer style, just make sure the length isn’t too short and you feel comfortable. Gingham Shirt, Skirt, Cut-out booties, Button Down Blouse, Skirt, Cut-out Booties.

It may not seem to be a likely pairing but your bohemian looks can work with your trench coat. The trench provides a nice style counterpoint to your rocker tees, distressed denim and boho blouses. Tee, Black Jeans, Cut-out booties, Blouse, Cut-offs, Birks.

If you want even more styling ideas check out my Pinterest Board on Trench Coat Travel Style. I also found lots of trench street style pics on the Burberry Site, Art of the Trench. Happy Packing!

Row 1: Pic 1, Pic 2, Pic 3
Row 2: Pic 4, Pic 5, Pic 6


Do you want to look chic and pulled together on your next trip? Of course you do! Here’s the secret – pack a trench coat. The Trench Coat, I could write a whole book about it and it is most definitely a Travelista Essential. You could throw it over any outfit and look pulled together and effortlessly chic. If you don’t want to concern yourself too much about your travel outfits just make sure you wear your trench and a scarf and you’ll be set.

A trench coat works wonderfully for Spring or Fall weather travel. A trench coat will also get you through the tricky transitional time in between seasons. Being smart with your travel layers helps you get the most out of your trench. In cooler weather layer your trench over long sleeves or a sweater. In warmer weather layer over tees, short sleeve tops, blouses and even sleeveless tops. Remember to wear your coat on travel days to minimize bulk in your suitcase and you will look oh so jet-setty going through the airport.

While the trench coat works in many travel situations it won’t work for all of them. For instance I wouldn’t pack it for rainy season travel (you will need truly waterproof outerwear) or in countries where the cultural climate requires a more casual style like some South Asian countries. However, it is perfect for travel to large or cosmopolitan cities and European travel.

The kind of trench you select is all based on your style. I’ve shown several different takes on the classic and you can select one based on your own taste and what works best with your travel needs and wardrobe. The beauty of this style is that you can find affordable versions of the trench at stores like Target or Old Navy and of course the price points go up from there to the luxury classic Burberry.

trav_spring_essentials_trench copy

Classic Camel Trench
When you think of a trench coat you think of this coat – double breasted, belted in a camel or khaki color. This versatile shape can be styled a multitude of ways. One style note is to never buckle the belt, tie it closed instead. Classic cotton trench coat

Modern Trench Coat
This season I’ve noticed retailers offering a softer more modern approach to the Trench Coat. The version shown above has a zippered closure instead of buttons for a more streamlined look yet the cut is somewhat drapey for a more casual feel. Modern Zip Trench.

Waterproof Trench Coat
If you’re traveling to a rainy destination a waterproof Trench Coat will keep you comfortable and dry. A hood offers a little extra rain protection as well. Keep an option like this in mind if you are traveling in multiple climates. Columbia Pardon My Trench Rain Jacket.

Dark Trench Coat
No need to stick to a light colored Trench coat, there are plenty of dark colors or even bright colors to choose from. A dark trench may be more practical since it’s less likely to show dirt. My camel trench has a few stubborn spots that I’ve been unable to remove because it’s gotten a lot of wear over the years. For travel I would stick to darker neutral tones like black, navy or olive. The Trench Coat shown above from Madewell features a synthetic blend of poly/viscose and spandex (as opposed to heavy cotton) so it’s easily packable. Madewell Travel Trench Coat.

Flowy Trench Coat
A soft and drapey silhouette for the Classic Trench appears to be becoming more popular. This version of the Trench definitely gives off that effortless vibe. Refer to my Pinterest Board on Trench Coats for ideas on how to style a flowy trench coat. Flowy trench.

Cropped Trench Coat
A modern take on the Trench the crop Trench is perfect for spring. This is an easy to throw on layer that’s best suited for wearing over pants or jeans. Short Cotton Rain Coat.

You can find trench coats just about everywhere right now. As I mentioned above Target and Old Navy have affordable versions. Other places to look are Gap, Banana Republic, H&M, Asos, Forever 21, Nordstrom, Macy’s, ShopBop and REI and for more technical versions of a trench coat. You can also check out your local consignment stores or ebay for some good deals.

Tomorrow I’ll offer tons of styling ideas for wearing your trench during travel, ok maybe not tons but 16 ways to style your trench. Please take a look at my Pinterest board for trench coat travel style inspiration.

I’m no fashion blogger type model by any means but here’s a photo of me and my trench coat in action in Barcelona. The trench served me well during a spring trip with temperatures in the 50’s in the morning and warming up slightly through the day.

{ 1 comment }

Cold Weather Travel Series : A series of posts about the particular challenges of traveling during cold weather and how to address them while still packing light and looking fabulous.

This recent bout of cold weather has inspired me to put together a cold weather travel packing capsule. The Travelista goal is always to pack light and look fabulous, which means a smart capsule wardrobe that fits in a carry-on bag or travel backpack. Packing for cold weather doesn’t have to mean big bulky layers which hog up suitcase space. Understanding the techniques and principles of functional layering you will learn how to keep warm without the bulk. Check out my Guide to Cold Weather Layering for a super long explanation of layering.


Weatherproof Outer Layer
Your outerwear provides you the most protection against the elements and is your most visible layer so consider making an investment in outer wear that you love and is suitable for your travel needs.

Your outer layer can be a classic or fashion forward coat or you can go the functional route with a lightweight technical jacket that can repel water and wind and insulate you against cold weather. The choice is up to you depending on your travel needs and destination. My feeling is that outerwear should be determined first by the weather of your destination and secondly the style of your destination.

Those traveling through multiple climates or long-term travelers may want to consider going the functional route, check out my guide to Cold Weather Layering for more detailed recommendations.

Shown above the LL Bean Classic Lambswool 3/4 coat provides plenty of warmth for cold weather, urban excursions in big cities where stylish dressing is the norm. If classic is not your thing, go for something edgier just make sure it will keep you warm. The disadvantage of wool coats is that they are bulky and will not protect you from all the elements. If you are only expecting cold weather and doing short term travel then a wool coat should suit your needs.

The Marmot Precip Jacket shown above provides breathable protection from rain and wind and can be layered over insulating, mid or even base layers. Another outdoor technical jacket (shown above) that also serves as great weatherproof outer layer or insulating layer is the Patagonia Nano Puff. Its ability to withstand getting wet combined with its lightweight compressibility make it a versatile option for those needing to pack light. The fit is also flatteringly cut close to the body while still allowing lightweight layers underneath. With technical outerwear stick with dark neutrals to downplay their sporty vibe. If you value function over fashion, a technical outer layer is the way to go. Travel backpackers and long term travelers will also benefit from the lightweight functionality of outdoor technical outerwear.

Insulating Layers
Insulating layers are your next level of protection against cold weather. Breathable materials like wool provide the most lightweight possible insulating layer. With proper layering you are layering light, thin knits over each other as opposed to bulky thick layers. In extreme cold weather you could add an additional insulating layer like the Patagonia Nano Puff jacket for further warmth. The J.Crew Relaxed Merino Sweater provides a versatile, lightweight merino wool layer that goes from day to night in a timeless style. For a casual, comfortable travel look the Athleta Merino Soma sweater can comfortably take you from the plane directly to casually chic sightseeing.

Mid and Base Layers
Your mid-layers as far as travel is concerned will be will be tees, tops, blouses or buttondowns that are layered over your base layers. If you’re trying to get the most effectiveness out of your layers it’s best to stay away from cotton materials and go with breathable synthetic materials instead. The air released from your mid layer is captured by your insulating layer. Shown above is a long sleeve H&M blouse that is 100% rayon which is breathable and can be part of a day to night travel outfit. A more casual top option is the Zara Striped Boat neck top. A dress like the Athleta Solitude Sweater Dress gives you a nice option if need to look a little more dressed up during travel, the merino wool material will provide a cozy warm layer. When planning mid-layers a casual and a dressed up option give you plenty of travel outfit combinations especially considering you are adding sweaters and coats to the mix.

The final and most hardest working layer will be your base layer. It will be your first layer and it’s job is to help regulate your body temperature by keeping your skin dry. The type of base layer I recommend is a lightweight wool base layer. Refer to my Guide to Cold Weather Layering for more on the different types of base layers. Shown above are the Icebreaker Siren Sweetheart Top and the Icebreaker Everyday Leggings.

Choose footwear that not only looks good but that can withstand winter elements like getting wet. Shoes like the Sorel Toronto Lace look great with jeans with a wedge heel that is comfortable yet can easily take you from day to night. They have the added benefit of being waterproof so you’ll be prepared for whatever the weather brings. The Merrel Captiva Boots shown above are waterproof and look great tucked into skinny jeans or worn with leggings and a dress. I really like a sneaker for travel and these simple Nikes provide a sporty chic option for cold weather outfits.

A simple black tote that can carry your daily necessities and an Ipad will serve your travel needs. The SmartWool Copper Basin Slouch hat made of merino wool will help you retain heat in cold weather. If you’re not wanting to give yourself hat head to keep warm, try some ear warmers like these. The Brixton Dakota Scarf and the Athleta Boucle Scarf add texture and warmth to your cold weather travel ensemble. In cold weather I like gloves that are tech compatible and these SmartWool Stella Ridge gloves fit the bill. Just as with your base layer, you want wicking materials for your socks and SmartWool socks keep your tootsies warm.

What’s your favorite way to stay warm and still look good?


Cold Weather Travel Series : A series of posts about the particular challenges of traveling during cold weather and how to address them while still packing light and looking fabulous.

The principle behind functional layering is simple. Instead of relying on heavy bulky items you rely on several lightweight “layers” to keep you warm. Each layer releases air which is then trapped by the next layer until you get to your weatherproof outer layer. As the weather or your activity changes you can add or take away layers.

These layering guidelines are taken from backpackers and hikers but they can be applied to travelers as well. Understanding these principles will not only help you pack lighter but they will keep you comfortable even in cold weather. While traveling you can be exposed to a variety of weather conditions. Your trip doesn’t have to suffer if you are prepared for them.

When packing for cold weather it’s all about that base, layer that is. Your base layer will be your hardest working layer. Your base layer is worn close to the skin, almost like a second skin and it’s job is to wick away moisture away from your body. By drawing perspiration away from your body the base layer helps maintain and regulate your body temperature by keeping you dry.

The materials best suited for base layers are outdoor technical synthetics like Polypropylene and Capilene and merino wool based materials such as Icebreaker or Ibex brand. Both are very lightweight with synthetics being slightly lighter than wool. If you are traveling to an extremely cold destination your base layer should be a thick blend or what’s generally referred to as “heavy weight” or “expedition weight”. However, for more typically cold conditions, a silkweight, lightweight or midweight base layer will prove more versatile. Just stay away from cotton or cotton blend base layers because they will not wick away moisture, instead they will hold moisture in making you clammy and cold and they are bulkier than synthetics or wool.

The main differences between synthetic and wool base layers is price, weight and smell. Synthetic base layers are much more inexpensive than wool. However, after having done much traveling with synthetics one thing becomes very clear. No matter how much you wash it, you can’t get rid of the smells it absorbs. Wool, however is almost magical in its ability to resist odors. In fact when I purchased a wool base layer the salesman told me to hold off washing it as long as possible. This makes it an ideal option for long term travelers since you won’t have to do travel laundry as often. Additionally, an odor absorbing base layer will keep your mid layers cleaner and fresher smelling longer. Finely spun, technical wool base layers like Icebreaker are not itchy and most importantly are breathable. If packing weight is a factor, wool does weigh slightly more than synthetics.

When selecting base layers look to outdoor outfitters such as REI, Sierra Trading Post and Backcountry. Brands to look for are Patagonia Capilene for synthetic base layers and Icebreaker, Ibex and Smart Wool for wool base layers. You can often find many of these brands discounted if you google search enough. As a synthetic alternative, Lululemon produces moisture wicking technical tops that can be used as base layers and feature “anti-stink” technology. Shown below Patagonia Top Base Layer, Patagonia Bottom Base Layer, Icebreaker Siren Sweetheart Long Sleeve, Icebreaker Everyday Leggings. I also find the Ibex Long Sleeve Base Layer good for layering because of the scoop neck.


Your next layers in your layering system are mid and insulating layers. With a breathable base layer, your mid layer helps you retain heat. Once again lightweight is key because you don’t want to trap too much heat. For winter travel packing purposes this will be a long sleeve layer such as a blouse, button down or tee. Make sure the style you choose work well over your base layer. In cold conditions you will want an additional insulating layer such as a lightweight, thin knit merino wool sweater under your weatherproof outer layer (look for a high gauge knit such as 14/16 which means it is finely knit and lightweight). Shown above H&M Long Sleeve Black Blouse, Athleta Ambassador Top (made of synthetic materials, quick drying and lightweight), Athleta Moonbeam Top (sheer lightweight wool blend), Black J. Crew Merino Wool Tippi Sweater, Athleta Merino Soma Sweater.

Finally, your weatherproof outer layer will protect you from weather elements like rain and wind and be your final barrier of protection against the cold. A classic wool coat can get you through most travel situations. But keep in mind that you will have to wear it and keep track of it on your travel days and it offers no protection against rain. Styles for wool coats range from classic to trendy. Choose according to your style and the style of your destination. Classic styles like LL Bean feature thinsulate insulation for added warmth. J Crew, Zara, ASOS and H&M also offer options in a range of prices. I also like to check Ebay for good deals on coats. Shown above LL Bean Classic Lambswool Polo Coat, Three Quarter Length.

If you are in a multi-climate, long term travel situation or just want to pack ultra light a bulky coat isn’t feasible. In this case we look to outdoor technical outerwear to meet our needs. Technical outerwear also offers the best protection against cold, rain, snow and wind and can be lightweight and compressible. Even though technical jackets and coats were developed for outdoor activities they have become more mainstream and brands like North Face can be found worldwide. I consider brands like North Face and Patagonia (or Pata-Gucci as we call it in my house) practically luxury brands because of their high price. It’s up to you and your personal style and your travel needs and destination whether you should go with a fashionable or functional outerwear option.

If you go the technical functional route try and resist the urge to get the amazing bright colors some of the jackets come in. Instead, if possible, opt for dark neutral colors like black, navy, grey, olive or even a dark berry. Some technical coats are a hybrid of functionality and fashion and feature insulation, rain and wind resistance in a stylish looking coat. Shown above Merrel Haven Redux Jacket.

In non-extreme cold temperatures you could consider a water proof and wind proof shell paired with an insulating jacket. The shell on its own will not provide any additional warmth but it will help conserve the warmth you’ve built up in your layers by blocking out the wind. You boost the warmth of the shell by layering it over a lightweight insulated jacket. The wind proof shell paired with the insulated jacket gives you several outerwear options to deal with changing weather conditions. If the weather warms up you can remove the insulating layer or remove the outer shell layer. If you are in a multi-climate or long term travel situation, a shell paired with an insulating jacket layer provides you with several outerwear options. Shown above Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket, Marmot PreCip Jacket.

Exteme cold weather calls for insulated outerwear. If you are traveling somewhere rainy or snowy you will also need your outerwear to be water resistant or water repellent. Once again you are faced with a natural and synthetic option when it comes to insulation. The differentiating factors are insulation effectiveness, cost, weight and moisture management. Natural goose down insulated coats cost more than synthetic but they provide more warmth than synthetics and at a lighter weight with better compression. However, if down gets wet it loses its insulating effectiveness and takes a long time to dry.

Some types of down are treated to be water repellent and can withstand getting slightly wet with a quicker drying time than pure down. Synthetics present an affordable option and the benefits of being able to withstand getting wet and drying quickly at a lower price than down. I own a Patagonia Nano Puff synthetic insulated jacket (Primaloft) and it got me through a half mile walk in a snowstorm after my car got stranded. With my base layers in place I wasn’t cold and the jacket never got soaked through. It dried in less than 15 minutes.

With both down and synthetics the more you move, the more body heat you produce and they capture the heat. So if you are not doing much physical activity but will be exposed to the cold, then down might be the way to go. If you will be briskly walking or engaging in light activity synthetics should keep you warm as well. As an example of how expensive down jackets can get the Canada Goose brand jackets are astronomical in price but they provide a high degree of warmth for extreme temperatures (like below zero cold). For most folks you will not need to go to that extreme. Other major brands to look for are Patagonia, North Face, Arc’teryx, Marmot, Mountain Hardwear, Outdoor Research, Sierra Designs, Helly Hanson, Burton and Columbia. Look for good deals on these brands in the off-season. Shown above Patagonia Kai Lee Parka (synthetic), Canada Goose Victoria Down Jacket.

Additional cold weather accessories like gloves, hats and scarves will help you retain heat as well. In extreme cold weather make sure there’s plenty of functionality in your accessories like wind-proofing.

Excuse the long post but being warm when I travel is super important to me and I’ve researched it extensively. When you are packing light especially in cold weather every single item has to have a specific purpose and I wanted to extensively outline every layers purpose. Stay warm and travel happy!

How do you deal with cold weather travel?