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ULTIMATE Winter Travel Capsule Wardrobe

ULTIMATE Winter Travel Capsule Wardrobe

Are you looking for the ULTIMATE Winter travel capsule wardrobe? In this guide we tell you exactly what to pack for Winter travel to cope with the weather while being minimalist, not overpacking but still looking chic!

Important Note: This post may contain affiliate links which means if you click through and make a purchase I will make a small commission at no extra cost to you!

But before we get onto the specific items we put in our favorite Winter travel capsule wardrobe, we first thought it would be a good idea to tell what is a Winter travel capsule wardrobe, why you should pack one and where it can be used.

What is a Winter Travel Capsule Wardrobe?

Woman in hat and scarf in Snow in Winter
Winter Travel Capsule Wardrobe / Winter Travel Outfits

To know what a Winter travel capsule wardrobe is, it is worth outlining what a travel capsule wardrobe is.

Capsule wardrobes, travel or regular, are a method of limiting the clothes you are using. Using a travel capsule wardrobe is a great way of avoiding overpacking.

A travel capsule wardrobe, no matter the season, uses a few key pieces of clothing to make up several cute mix and match outfits. Basically meaning that every piece of your wardrobe, can be used in multiple outfits to create completely different outfits.

However Winter travel capsule wardrobes can be more challenging to pack, especially if you want to travel with hand luggage only. That is because the weight of clothes you are traveling with will inevitably take up more space in your case.

Therefore in this guide we will tell you the best clothes to pack for winter season travel while giving advice on packing them to maximise your luggage space.

Depending on the length of our travels and the destination we also use other packing techniques to create our capsule wardrobes such as:

Note: This is our Winter travel capsule wardrobe but if you are interested in learning how to pack capsule wardrobes for other seasons be sure to check out our other seasonal posts:

This Winter packing list and capsule wardrobe is designed to be used in the traditional Winter months of December, January and February. In places with traditional Winter weather i.e. Europe in Winter, the North East USA and Canada in Winter for instance.

Note: if you are traveling to the Southern hemisphere i.e. Australia and South Africa, Winter is obviously catagorized as June, July and August.

And even if you are traveling in Winter it is worth pointing out that packing lists can differ from place to place, especially in relation to local temperatures and dress codes. If you want a specific destination and month head to the top of this page and type your location and month of travel into the search bar i.e. London December.

Also if there is a specific activity you are doing, it is worth checking out our activity based capsule wardrobes:

So now you know what a Winter travel capsule wardrobe is how do you begin to put one together?

How to put together a Winter Travel Capsule Wardrobe

Woman in Christmas outfit while traveling in Europe
Winter Travel Capsule Wardrobe

Whenever I am putting together a capsule wardrobe the first thing I always start with the same principles for narrowing down my selection. The first being:

Select a color palette

Having a clear color palette is essential for creating any successful capsule wardrobe no matter the season of travel.

Without a clear color palette your items will not mix and match correctly and therefore will not create multiple cohesive Winter outfits.

However a color palette does not have to be boring or monochrome in order to create a successful capsule wardrobe. Many people choose to stick to monochrome or neutral colors as these tend to be easier to mix and match. However there is nothing stopping you going with a louder color palette.

For Winter capsule wardrobes however, I personally like to have a more muted color palette, especially for traveling to Europe. That is because it fits in with local styles more.

But if you are planning to use your winter capsule wardrobe in December as a Christmas capsule wardrobe you may want to leave into more Christmassy colors such as red and green.

Plan out your outfits in advance

Whenever I am packing my travel capsule wardrobe, I always lay my clothes out and plan my outfit combinations in advance.

This way you know that everything you have goes in your outfits and can be used multiple times.

Plan for Activities

This Winter Travel Capsule wardrobe is designed for city breaks and traditional Winter outings. However for more extreme Winter activities such as skiing, skating, husky rides etc you will need to alter this list to prepare for your activity.

Check weather before travel

Obviously this is a generic Winter capsule wardrobe designed for use during traditional Winter weather in December, January and February. However a word of caution is to always check the weather at your destination 7 days before travel and keep an eye on it up until departure.

That is because you can always get cold snaps which can affect things like snowfall, ice or rain at your destination.

Winter Travel Capsule Wardrobe Essential Items

Woman in Winter outfit in European street with twinkling lights
Winter Travel Capsule Wardrobe

So now you know the principles of how to put together a winter travel capsule wardrobe we will look at some of our favorite pieces to include:


Although we don’t normally have pairs of jeans as part of our summer capsule wardrobe they are absolutely an essential for any Winter packing list.

A pair of black jeans are a super versatile pieces and hide stains easier than a light wash jeans. Also you will find in Europe in particular that dark blue are a popular style. As I normally have a pair of black pants with me I will usually pick a dark blue pair of jeans for Winter travel.

If you are traveling in the US or Canada I would select the style of jeans you are most comfortable i.e. your favorite jeans from home. However for mainland Europe I would stick to smarter jeans and skinny jeans as opposed to boyfriend jeans or baggy jeans. That is because these are more akin to local style.

Also for Winter I prefer to have a pair of lined jeans. These are better insulated against cold weather and are comfy even in more extreme weather conditions and cold climates.

Click here to shop lined jeans for your Winter WArdrobe.

Black Pants

No packing list or capsule wardrobe is complete without a pair of black pants in my opinion.

My absolute favorite travel pant of the moment has to be the Athleta Brooklyn Pant which happily come in black as standard (though there are also some great bold colors too).

But not only that the fact that they do not wrinkle, along with the ability to machine wash and dry make them perfect for traveling and including in this minimalist capsule wardrobe.

I like to wear these as part of my airplane outfit which again saves room in your luggage and means as a minimalist traveler you may be able to travel with carry-on suitcase only / hand luggage only.

And if you are happy to have a more casual pant and want something slightly thicker than the Athleta black jogger is another superb choice for your Winter wardrobe capsule.

Click here to shop the Athleta Brooklyn ankle pant for travel.

Fleece Lined Leggings

If you want to dress for comfort then you also can’t go wrong with a pair of fleece lined leggings too.

Click here to shop fleece lined leggings


And if you are planning to go out in the Winter, then we love a sparkly skirt that can be paired with sweaters or t shirts and tights to make a glam evening outfit.

Click here to shop going out skirts for Winter.


 One type of dress I love for a capsule wardrobe is the classic little black dress. This is one of those timeless pieces that every woman should have in their wardrobe, for travel or not.

For a Winter travel wardrobe I recommend packing a sweater dress as a warmer evening out outfit. I like to pair this with thick tights and ankle boots.

Click here to shop sweater dresses.

Best Tops for Winter Travel Capsule Wardrobes

T Shirt

A basic tee, either long or short sleeve is an essential for a capsule wardrobe at any time of year. It is perfect as both a base layer and also a top layer on warmer Winter days.

Note: you could go with something with a graphic or illustration. Personally I am partial to a band tee. However for Europe you will find that plain t shirts are more in keeping with local styles. Also when using for layering basic t shirts in more neutral colors are better.

Click here to shop tees for travel.

Merino Wool Base Layer

Merino wool is one of my favorite fabrics to include in a Winter capsule wardrobe. That is because provide extra warmth as they are an insulating fabric but is also compact unlike a thick knit.

Therefore it is easy to pack and doesn’t take up a lot of space in your case.

Turtleneck tops are particularly popular for Winter, and there are some great merino wool options so this is an absolute must for my list.

But if you are going somewhere that is extremely cold days you may also want to add a merino wool thermal base layer too!

Click here to shop merino wool tops.

Shirt / Shacket

Another great layering option is a plaid shirt or plaid shacket. This is a half way house between a regular plaid shirt and a jacket and usually is lined with fleece.

This can be either worn open with your base layer underneath, or done up at as a top.

Click here to shop shirts / Shackets for Winter

Best Layers for Winter Travel Capsule Wardrobes

Layers are probably the most important part of your winter capsule wardrobe. But what layers should you include? Our essentials for women are:


Cozy sweaters are synonomous with winter and are absolutely an essential for any Winter wardrobe. The difficulty in packing sweaters and jumpers for Winter capsule wardrobes is they take up lots of space in your case.

Therefore when we look at the best sweaters for travel we look at:

  • warmth vs bulk – I like to make sure the sweaters I pack are not bulky sweaters to make them easier to pack while also have some good thermal qualities
  • easy to layer – while I absolutely adore interesting sleeve shapes and batwing jumpers I don’t recommend packing them for capsule wardrobes. That is because they can feel bulky and uncomfortable to wear under coats. Therefore I pick a more fitted silhouette.

For my perfect cosy Winter sweater I like to pack items made of wool (especially merino wool), cashmere and fleece material.

Turtleneck sweaters are a good way of adding a detail into your silhouette while still being comfortable to wear under and over things. Cable knit sweaters are also a great way of adding some texture into your winter capsule wardrobe.

Click here to shop sweaters


A fleece is another of my wardrobe essentials for Winter. Fleece is a great material for capsule wardrobes as they pack down really slim while being very warm.

They are also good for windy locations, and also dry quickly if you get caught in the rain.

Shop fleeces here.

Best Coats for Winter Wardrobes for Travel

And of course no Winter wardrobe is complete without a coat. Now depending on where you are going and what you are doing will depend on the coat you need. I either opt for a:

Puffer Jacket

A puffer jacket is perfect for those going to really cold destinations. I try and find one with some water resistance or water proofing as this is good for cold and wet places such as Iceland and Scotland in Winter.

My favorite brands for Winter puffer coats are Marmot and Columbia, as these are warm and durable.

Note: often these type of jackets can run a little small in their sizing. This with the fact that you are likely to be using lots of thicker layers underneath may mean you find it more comfortable to shop one size larger than normal.

Click here to shop puffer jackets for winter travel.

Smart Wool Coat

However if you are traveling somewhere where you will be spending limited time doing outdoors activities and visiting places which may have a dress code i.e. afternoon teas or theatre, then you may want to change out the puffer jacket for a smarter wool coat.

Click here to shop smart wool coats.

Note: coats can be hard to travel with. If you are not planning on wearing your coat as part of your airport outfit because you are traveling from a warm to cold weather destination for example you will need to plan on how to pack your jacket. For more information on how to pack coats for travel check out this post.

Best Shoes for your Winter Capsule Wardrobe for Travel

So now you know the clothes you should pack for your Winter travels, we turn our attention to shoes. Now shoes are important no matter which seasonal wardrobe you are packing but they are even more important in Winter.

When packing a pair pf shoes for Winter travel you need to make sure they have:

  • a good sole – in case of icy weather, a sole that can cope with slippery surfaces is really important.
  • some waterproofing / water resistance – in case of rainy winter weather.


Boots are my number one pick for Winter travel. I make sure they have a thick sole and waterproofing.

If I am traveling and visiting smarter locations then I love a knee high boot. However ankle boots are easier to pack and better for more outdoorsy itineraries.

If I am not doing a minimalist wardrobe I tend to pack both. Usually I will wear the knee-high boots as part of my airplane outfit and pack my ankle boots.

Click here to shop Winter boots.

And if I have space or plan on doing lots of activities I will usually also pack:


I tend to pick a leather pair with some waterproofing as my favorite winter sneaker for travel. My favorite brand for waterproof sneakers are Ecco.

Click here to shop waterproof sneakers.

What else to add to your Winter Capsule Wardrobe for Travel

So what else should you add to your Winter Capsule wardrobe? This section looks at both essentials and nice to have things for your Winter packing list.


Obviously underwear is an essential to any capsule wardrobe. Pants / knickers are obviosuly on this list and for bras we recommend having one bra in a neutral or flesh tone as it layers under everything. But a sports bra is also a good idea for those doing activities as part of their Winter vacation itinerary.

On top of this we recommend packing:

  • Thick socks – I like hiking socks in Winter as I get cold feet when sightseeing.
  • Thick Tights – to wear under dresses or skirts in the evening.

Hat, Scarf and Gloves set

I would also recommend taking with you a matching scarf and gloves set that match your winter coat to finish off the look.

We recommend making sure the gloves you bring have the electric conductor pad on the finer so you can still use your smart phone for taking photos and using things like google maps with your gloves on.  

Click here to shop winter accessories


Traveling with jewelry can feel a bit like a minefield especially if you are worried about traveling with expensive or precious jewelry.

The type of jewelry you travel with is really a personal choice about what you feel comfortable with. However we think even traveling with some costume jewelry is a good idea to help you make your capsule wardrobe outfits look a bit different.

For more information on how to travel with jewelry check out this post.

Crossbody Bag

crossbody bag,  the anti theft type is actually always on my packing lists especially for traveling in cities such as Rome and Barcelona.

It can add peace of mind for travellers by making you a harder target for pickpockets. When selecting a crossbody bag I would pick something in a neutral color such as brown, black or navy depending on the palette of your capsule wardrobe and think about one that can be sued throughout your seasonal capsule wardrobes.

Shop crossbody bags here.

A Pashmina

Pashminas are my number one travel essential for women as they are so versatile as a great layering piece and are always part of my perfect fall capsule wardrobe.

They can be used as an extra layer in the cooler weather or even as a scarf, and can also make outfits more modest at religious sites. And of course they are a great day to style an outfit differently for a day to night transition.

Click here to shop pashminas.

Good Deodorant

As the point of a travel capsule wardrobe is to reuse items to create many different looks it is absolutely essential that you have a good deodorant that works for you. Otherwise you may find yourself short on the top front.

We hope this has helped you put together your own Winter travel Capsule wardrobeBut if you have any questions about how to create a winter travel capsule wardrobe leave us a comment below and we will do our best to get back to you as soon as we can.

And we always love to see your capsule wardrobe photographs so do send them in or tag us on Instagram or Facebook.