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Layer Up: Packing for the Transition Season

The transition season can be a packing nightmare. The only way to go is to layer up.

As we move from summer to fall, we start to see cooler mornings and evenings. But the afternoons are often still sunny and warm. And if you’re on a road trip or cruise where you start in one place and finish in another, you may experience many climate shifts throughout your vacation. For example, on an autumn cruise up the east coast from NYC to the Canadian Maritimes, temperatures can range from 50 to 85 degrees, depending on the location and time of day. What’s a girl to do? If you’re looking for exciting things to do and places to explore during the transition season, click here to see an example East Coast driving itinerary.

You don’t want to lug around a lot of heavy cold-weather gear, but you do need to stay warm. Here are some stylish ways to layer up for your transition season travels.

layer up

Kimonos and Capes

Even in warmer places, there’s a nip in the air in the very early or late hours of an autumn day. Pack a lightweight kimono or cape sweater in a neutral color to keep out the chill. Paired with skinny jeans or leggings and a super-soft tee, you’ll look great and feel good. Not to mention, you won’t have to worry about lugging around a heavy jacket when the weather warms up later in the day. Kimonos and capes fold up pretty small and should fit nicely in your purse.

Layer Up Kimono


These days, sweatshirts are about as stylish as they come. Whether you prefer something casual with a punny slogan or one with some embellishments, there’s something for every taste. From lace to beads to embroidery, there are so many styles to choose from. Throw one of these on over top of a chambray shirt, white button down blouse, or plaid shirt, and you’ll look adorable in your layers. When the sun comes out, simply tie your sweatshirt around your waist, and you’re ready to go.

Layer Up Sweatshirt


Vests add a bit of pizzazz to any outfit. They look amazing with skinnies and ankle boots, and don’t even get me started on how they look popped over a cute little jersey dress. For the perfect neutral, toss a military-style, olive-green vest into your suitcase. That color and cut will go with just about anything you can think of.

If you’re planning of a lot of morning or evening walks, a puffy, down vest will do the trick. The best thing about a vest is that it’s not bulky. Your arms aren’t bogged down by the weight of a full jacket, so you can take pictures more easily and shop for souvenirs without the fear of knocking knickknacks of the shelves with your bulky sleeves.

Layer Up Vest


Sometimes, you simply can’t avoid taking along a jacket. The east coast cruise vacation is a perfect example. Some days will simply be too cold not to have something with a little extra heft to keep warm. Luckily, there are a lot of options. A denim jacket is a classic that goes with everything. These days, you can even wear it with your favorite pair of jeans.

A black or brown moto jacket is also a good option, especially if you’ll be going for a night on the town. It’s a bit edgier and can be dressed up in a way a jean jacket can’t be. Like the vest, a lightweight, military-style, olive-green jacket is a nice neutral. It will likely have a bit more length than the other jackets, giving you a some added warmth.

A personal favorite is a down jacket that folds into a travel pouch. They are ultra lightweight and fit nicely inside your purse. I used one of these on a spring vacation in Spain, and it was the perfect antidote to transition-season climate changes.

Layer Up Jackets

These are just a few of the ways you can layer up during the transition season. Use the #wanderlustwayfarer on Instagram to share your wardrobe ideas.

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