The Good Ick #10: Pack Style. Cold Weather Edition
The Good Ick #10: Pack Style. Cold Weather Edition

More than any other locale, cold weather destinations require a masters in layering. Forgo this, then you better be prepared for multiple bags, accompanying airline charges, and the subtle but absolutely discernible grumbles of the Uber driver. So, for the purposes of this discussion, we go to Prague. One of my favorite places on earth. For a long weekend, some sightseeing, dinners out, and cozy breakfasts in the hotel.

illustration of woman in travel outfit with Prague postcard

What you wear on the flight matters. Strategically speaking. Each piece will need to mix with other things in the suitcase, that's smart. Shoes that come off and on quickly through security, pant seams that won't leave impressions along your legs by the end of the trip, and a long scarf that doubles as a pillow are a must.

Each item in the bag is designed not only to create lots of looks but to work as a ventilator of sorts. Meaning with slipping out of a sleeve, removing a jacket, you can manipulate your temperature, whilst sitting in a restaurant no less. I'll give you visuals for this so it doesn't have to sit only in your imagination.

Here's the long weekend bag for Prague:

illustration of clothing for travel

First, the underpinnings. Tights are a must - I throw in a few pairs for a cold destination when I plan on doing lots of walking. But note: NOT too thick- even just simple hosiery makes a huge difference in warmth. I don’t know why - it doesn’t seem like it would protect, but it does. Whilst frigid temps are best with tights, they can also become mini-furnaces when you step inside a restaurant for lunch. This is where the right coat choice for traveling is key. The goal for perfect packing to winter destinations is to do it with one coat. If you’ve a coat that has an inside removable vest, then that’s the home run. It’s the ultimate delayering piece - cooling down or heating up on your schedule. Even more important to note, you’ll be looking incredibly chic and not like you're on the sidelines of a pick-up hockey match. You want the coat that strikes the balance of looking great while wandering over cobblestone streets by day and eating at fabulous restaurants at night.

illustration of five women in variations of the same outfits

The wind can be really brutal when you’re crossing The Charles Bridge. And the bridge is where you’ll want to linger, it’s not just a connector from point A to B. So this is where pragmatism has to come to the forefront, because chic and utterly non functional is not at all chic, at the end of the day. Here’s the thing, even when you’re just doing something as simple as strolling an ancient castle, the desire to feel like yourself, modern with ease, hasn’t disappeared. What makes it into the suitcase has all the required functionality, just executed with the knowledge of how different neutrals, textures and proportions all work together. This is how you maintain your personal style, wherever you are. And if faded jeans aren’t your thing, switch it out to black jeans. You can see below, if I did that, I’m inclined to bring a lighter color scarf to break things up a bit, make it feel less heavy. See?

two illustrated women in winter outfits

It’s helpful to get out of the mindset of “outfits.” Rather, think about the types of activities that you’ll be doing, at a more macro level. Making sure you’ve the right ingredients appropriate for those moments is key. What you are probably realizing right now is that when you’ve had travel style disasters in the past, it wasn’t a shit show because you didn’t have “the most exciting/incredible” outfit. It was when you were traveling and literally did not have anything to appropriately match the vibe/temperature/moment in which you found yourself. For example, something as simple as what to wear to breakfast in the hotel can set back even the world's best packer. It’s that time of day when you can’t show up in your pajamas (and please no workout tights), but you’re also not ready to be fully dressed for the day. The tween time. It’s these moments that people’s suitcases fail them.

three illustrated women

When traveling for leisure, the three big categories are breakfast, sightseeing and dinner. That means you need items in the bag that are truly effortless, are not too fussy, but polished enough for a proper hotel dining room breakfast. You also need pieces for sight seeing that will feel just as appropriate on a river tour as they do when you decide to stroll into a fabulous shop or sit down for a glass of wine at lunch. And then items that work for dinner, allowing you to dial them up or down depending on the prices on the menu. The perfect boot comes into play here. Dressy enough for dinner, but not so dressy that it’s rendered useless for other moments on your trip. It’s all about heel height here.

So pay attention here, this is an important run through of what’s needed for cold weather destinations:

The checklist: mix up the good neutrals, texture! dont get repetitive here, people fuck this up all the time. the neutrals are interesting with depth. like you. mohair/cashmere - something a bit hairy. sweatshirting, shine, stretchy, slinky, crispy, make sure each items texture can be described using a different adjective. the good accessories items that dress something up or down. add colour, lighten up the mood. proportions. big/slim/skin. cropped, long. bring the mix. weights - vary them. great for layering!

Resist the urge to throw in multiple sweaters and jackets. RESIST! See if you can group your pieces by texture and heaviness. If you start to see little pile ups of items similar in weight and feel, then you know where to start peeling back. And don’t forget to leave room for a purchase or two. Focus on creating different vibes, not necessarily different “outfits,” by just manipulating a sleeve, adding a necklace, or tying another piece around the neck in an utterly effortless manner.

The chocolate cashmere sweater here. One knit. 3 vibes.

three illustrated women wearing the same sweatshirt

Below, I’ve identified some of the other things I love and showed here - this should help point you in the right direction to start doing your own digging and pulling together what you’ll pack. If you go to Prague, please don’t forget to stop and enjoy the musicians seemingly everywhere playing the violin. My husband and I walked down the aisle to Dvorak’s Humoresques, it’s a very special place.

photos of socks, boots, gloves, hotel, shops, book

And don’t forget to check out our favorite clothing store, Symbols, owned by a woman we’ve gotten to know and love who's really selected every piece with love. And attention. And that’s great. Happy travels.

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