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Those of us who are “women of a certain age” have special considerations when planning travel wardrobes. In today’s post, I’ll show you a sampling of my cold weather travel packing list. Always start by following Travel Fashion Girl’s concept of a Capsule Wardrobe.
This is a four-part article, make sure to read all the posts!
PART 1: 9 Tips to Get You Started with A Capsule Wardrobe
PART 2: Capsule Wardrobe for Mixed Weather
PART 3: Capsule Wardrobe for Hot Weather
PART 4: Capsule Wardrobe for Cold Weather
Capsule Wardrobe for Women over 40: Cold Weather
Written by: Phebe Schwartz
How I pack my travel wardrobe: I use packing cubes and have one cube for cold, one for hot, and one for in between weather. Since we’re just traveling (have been on the road for two years thus far), I’ve color-coded my packing cubes, and just pull out one or two cubes whenever we stop long enough to unpack for a while.
Plus I can get away with a few less items in each temperature group because I can overlap – some of the transitional weather items work just fine as a layer for cold weather, or hot weather items can work under a shirt or jacket for transitional weather climates. Again, this expands the options.
Here is my sample capsule wardrobe for cold weather
Cold Weather Capsule Wardrobe
6 tops + 3 bottoms + 0 dress + 2 outer garments
The base color is grey. (Grey is vastly under-rated, in my opinion.)
Black Tee (similar) / Long Sleeve Tee (similar) / Boy Shirt in Classic White / Denim Blouse / Red Long Sleeve / Peasant Blouse / Blazer (similar) / Trench Coat (similar) / Leggings / Maxi Skirt / Craft Pants (similar) / Straight Leg Jeans (similar) / Black Boots (similar) / Athletic Shoes / Crossbody Bag (similar)
For the bottoms
I always have jeans for cold weather, but not the skinny body conscious jeans – I prefer a slim leg jean that still has some room for movement. Add a pair of slacks in grey. The long skirt is a knit, also grey.
The leggings are for warmth here, not instead of slacks!!! – use leggings instead of long underwear under any of the bottoms and you can withstand freezing weather (though maybe not in the Arctic).
For the tops
There are two lightweight knit long-sleeved tees, one in charcoal grey and one in pale grey, that can layer under or over any of the shirts – button-up shirts in white, light blue denim, red (often my pop color), and a dark multi-colored top. (See how that print top has a defined waist? Looks great with the slacks or skirt.)
Once again, all the tops work with all the bottoms, and can be layered to create more outfits as well as keep you warmer or cooler, depending on both your temperature and that of the location.
I’d suggest a heavy sweater with almost blazer construction, or one of those light fleece or boiled wool jackets – something very warm that can act as a jacket on its own, but can also fit under the waterproof trench coat (or another neutral raincoat). Can’t you picture how great that sweater jacket would look over the long skirt for an evening out, or over the slacks or jeans for day
Layer the outerwear to increase your outfits but minimize your packing. (I have a marled alpaca sweater I wear under a grey raincoat, which works in weather down to about 10 degrees F, or -5 degrees C. Colder than that and I just don’t want to be there.)
I’d go with something warm and sporty with good traction, like the athletic shoes here, and a pair of short boots also with good traction. Add a dark grey bag and you’re good to go.
I took out the dress I have in my hot weather capsule wardrobe and added a long skirt. If you’re in a cold climate, you want warm clothes. And while a long-sleeved dress would work with tights and the boots, the skirt will go with all the tops and thus expands your options.
Also, add a dark grey bag and you’re good to go.
In the above capsule wardrobe, I’ve added one piece of outwear , as well as two pair of shoes. I included a handbag, just so you can see how it all comes together.
Advice on a handbag – I prefer small nylon fabric handbags to leather, having had leather get moldy in hot humid climates. Also, I like straps that clip on and off, and carry a spare wrist strap, so I can change a shoulder or cross-body bag to a wristlet or clutch, depending on the occasion.
A scarf or two, some inexpensive jewelry, and you have a complete wardrobe for travel.
Scarves and jewelry are great souvenirs to remember your travels, so you can always pick up a few to tuck into your bag to change up your look.
Obviously, you’ll adjust for your personal style. You’ll look at what you have in your closet and try compiling your capsule wardrobe. Maybe you only need to buy one or two pieces to tie it all together.
The point is that with just a few well-selected items you can put together a wardrobe that will take you through country after country, location after location, and events ranging from a walk on the beach to an afternoon at a museum to a night at the ballet or opera. You’ll be ready for just about anything, (Okay, if you’re meeting royalty, you obviously need to go shopping.)
But you really don’t need to travel with more than five or six pieces of any one kind of clothing (other than undies and maybe socks).
Stay tuned for the other two posts in this series!
What other items would you add to this packing list for women over 40?
Please read the following for more tips and ideas on travel clothing:
- How to Choose Travel Shoes
- 10 Step Guide: How to Pack for a Trip with Different Weather
- Extreme Cold Weather Gear for Women
- Fabulous Fall Coats
- Top Rain Jackets for Women
Author Bio: Phebe Schwartz started traveling and living overseas at age 19, and haven’t stopped. Her career has included two years in Africa with the Peace Corps, and a three month trip home from there. As a result of living in Liberia, West Africa, she found a job teaching art in the US Virgin Islands, where she spent 25 wonderful years. Now retired, she and her husband are just traveling the world and having the time of their lives; the plan is to have no plan, the philosophy is that where they end up is where they are meant to be. Follow their adventure at their travel blog: Rolling Luggagers