Female Winter Packing List – Stay Warm and Chic in Cold Destinations

by Viola
female winter packing list

Thinking about what to bring for a winter trip can be a pain in the behinds amirite? Trying to pack clothes that will be warm enough yet make you look somewhat nice in your travel photos, while figuring out how the heck to fit all this bulk in your suitcase, is bananas. Have no stress! This post provides some cold destination outfit inspirations to help you with ideas on what to pack. There are two versions. The first winter packing list contains classic cold weather essentials. It is for girls who want to travel as light as possible. The second version incorporates add-on pieces, for ladies who want to bring more options for a luxurious and stylish vaca.


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Golden Tips For Dressing in Winter

Having grown up in Canada where winter is like -1000 degrees, I’ve spent my fair share of time in cold places. Have you ever cried because it’s so cold, only to have your tears freeze into ice on your face? Ya…It’s about survival people! I have only in recent years made peace with winter again. Just came back from the Snow Festival in Hokkaido, Japan and can say that I had an awesome time. Anyways! Before we get to the official lists, here are some general advices for staying comfortable and stylish in the winter.

female winter packing list


Invest in winter outerwear and shoes

Although I happily buy a lot of fast fashion goods, when it comes to winter outerwear, I would not cheap out. It’s so important to invest in a good quality jacket that will protect you when the weather gets rough. As for shoes, they must be able to keep your feet warm. Bonus if they are water proof. Remember, wet toes = frozen toes = sad toes.

Wear thermals!

I cannot live without thermals in winter. It is always the base layer. My go-to is the Heattech line from Uniqlo. Their tops and bottoms are thin, light, and so warm. The best part is that they wick away moisture, which means that sweat would not turn back to haunt you when you go from somewhere hot to somewhere cold.


Use heat packs

I discovered this secret weapon when I spent my first winter in Japan. There are several kinds of heat pack, but my favourite is the kind that you can stick on the inner sides of your clothing. The little packets give off heat and last all day! I usually like to stick one on my lower tummy and one on my back, but you can stick them everywhere. Calves, chest, buttocks, go crazy!


Mix textures

So we’ve come a bit on to the style side of recommendations. Winter wear doesn’t have to be drab. It can be cozy, luxurious and fun. Experiment with textures like faux fur, knits, and wool. Adding a fuzzy jacket or fur trimmed coat to your collection would definitely upgrade the stylish factor of your wardrobe.

taking better travel photos


Add a pop of colour

When not playing with texture, I like to add a little colour to my outfit, like a bright coloured scarf, hat, or mittens. They always look great in photos, especially when contrasted with a white snowy background. It makes you, the subject, totally stand out!


Layering is key

Layers are awesome both functionally and stylistically. I pretty much always have 3-4 layers on in the winter. Thermal + long sleeve shirt + sweater /cardigan+ coat. You can control your temperature by adding or removing layers. As well, this is where you can get creative with mixing textures and colors for a fabulous ootd.



Without further ado, here are some ideas for your winter vacation packing list. Revise as needed for your trip!


The Essentialist Winter Packing List

This list is dedicated to the minimalists who want to bring as less as possible yet still look put together and chic on a cold weather trip.

female winter packing list



Thermals (x2): As I mentioned, Heattech is a life-saver!

Long sleeve shirt (x3): A cute long sleeve can be worn on its own for days that are less cold, and worn as a layer under sweaters when it gets freezing. Pack a few options depending on the length of your trip.

Turtleneck sweater (x1): No scarf needed because your neck would already be warm! I used to think turtlenecks are for old people, but came to see how classy and chic they can look. Partially thanks to the movie Love Actually. So many turtlenecks in this movie! Have you ever watched it?

female winter packing list

Wool cardigan (x1): A cardigan can be quickly thrown on to add some warmth and style. Merino wool is my recommendation. It’s super soft and breathable.

Sweatshirt pull over (x1): An extra comfortable shirt that you can rock in a casual setting or even as PJ. 


Black Jeans & Blue Jeans (x1 each): Honestly, I don’t like jeans so much. But I have to admit that they go with everything. So pack at least one pair.

Fleece lined leggings (x2): These thick leggings are stretchy so you can be fully mobile. Choose a solid pair, and perhaps a pair with a fun color/pattern to change things up a bit.


Outer wear and shoes

Heavy jacket (x1): If you are planning to travel with just one jacket, it better be a good one. Look for solid insulation and a classic style.

Water proof boots (x1): Prepare for rain or snow with shoes that will keep your feet dry.


Other essentials

Beanie (x1): Keep your head protected from the wind. Also another chance to add that pop of colour I keep yapping about.

winter packing list for women

Big scarf (x1): A scarf that’s big enough to double as a shawl/blanket is the best. We love multifunctional!

Winter gloves (x1): You will for sure have your hands out for taking photos, so having a good pair of gloves is important. Bonus if they are touch pad friendly for using your phone.

Wool socks (x1 million): Again, never neglect your feet. They are the closest contact to the cold ground. Keep them nice and dry always.

Heat packs (x1 million): Or heaven in a packet, as I like to call them. Ok you don’t actually have to bring a million of them. Pack as many as you need for your trip.




Satchel: AKA a cross body purse, it’s very handy for storing your little items like wallet, phone, and keys.

Sun glasses: It can get very bright in the winter sometimes. You may find yourself with a hard time opening your eyes if there’s sun shining on snow. So don’t leave your shades at home.

Statement jewelry: Spice up your outfit with a statement necklace or pair of pretty earrings.


The Luxurista Packing List

Oh you fancy huh? This list contains add-on items from the Essentialist Packing List above. It’s for those who want to have ample options for some lit ootd shots! So if you are willing to pack a couple more items, check out these ideas.

female winter packing list



Classic style sweater (x1): Preferably cashmere. It’s just such a comforting and luxurious material!

Button up shirt (x1): A stable that can be mixed and matched in many ways. I.e. Layer it under a sweater, and finish with a pair of jeans and booties. Bam! You’ve got yourself a clean and chic outfit.

Sweater dress (x1): For pants haters *raise hand, you can still rock a sweater dress. Keep warm with a pair of insulated tights, and knee/thigh high boots.



Circle skirt (x1): Who said skirts are only for summer? Look for skirts with double layers when choosing one for winter. Again, tights and boots are key in staying warm. A knee length circle skirt looks romantic and stylish with a button up and/or a sweater!

Tights (x2): An essential if you plan to wear skirts or sweater dresses. Bring two pairs for back up.



Teddy coat (x1): As the name suggest, this coat is so fuzzy it feels like getting a hug from a teddy bear!

winter vacation packing list women

Wool coat (x1): If you are going somewhere with milder winter, like south of Europe, you can get away with a thinner jacket. A wool coat is timeless in fashion. Pick an eye-popping color like red to stand out.


Over the knees boots (x1): Thigh highs are definitely sassy, but they also keep your legs as snug as a bug! Suede is recommended.

Walking booties (x1): A pair of short booties for everyday sightseeing walking purposes.



Ear muffs (x1): Feel like a snow bunny in a pair of faux fur earmuffs.

Headband (x1): An easy cute option that will keep your ears cozy yet take up barely any room in your suitcase.

Beret (x1): This French style hat will never go out of style. It’s a piece that you can use to accessorize many different outfits.


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winter packing list

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Tiare February 22, 2018 - 5:07 am

Woww this is really the ultimate guide to winter packing. I come from an island that is eternally summer, so reading words like ‘thermals’ and ‘heat packs’ freak me out haha. How cold does it really get in the snow?! Thanks for the post, super helpful.!

Viola February 22, 2018 - 9:22 am

Haha I envy you Tiare! Where are you from? 🙂 It really depends on the country. Toronto, Canada can easily be -10 degrees in the winter.

Sonika Agarwal February 22, 2018 - 5:31 am

Wow. Very useful tips these are. I love cold weather. You can dress up in style and these tips help us do just that! Thank you :1

Kelly February 22, 2018 - 8:23 am

Great tips! I’m currently in Sapporo (came for the Snow Festival as well) and I’m looking out on a snowy Maruyama Koen as I type this. I totally agree with you on the Uniqlo thermals and hand/otherbodypart warmer ideas! The only thing I would say is, if coming to Japan, they sell the warmers everywhere, so you could save on your luggage weight by just waiting to buy them til you get here. That said, Japan is a bit of an exception when it comes to convenience, so I suspect that for other cold destinations, it might be good to stock up in advance.

Viola February 22, 2018 - 9:23 am

Oh how great was the Snow Festival this year?! Yes very good point. You definitely don’t need to buy beforehand if coming to Japan. It’s the most convenient country ever!

Anu February 22, 2018 - 8:49 am

I would always say dress in layers and you have taken care of winters.

Ketki February 22, 2018 - 10:51 am

Such a handy essential winter list. I love how you have paired your clothes to give a rocking look.

veyroniqa February 22, 2018 - 12:44 pm

I absolutely adore packing for winter climates. It’s way more exciting than packing for a tropical country because hellooo layering, jackets and scarves!! Plus, it fun to come up with new outfits with what you’ve brought along 😀

Annie February 22, 2018 - 1:57 pm

Don’t forget your sunglasses is a great tip! I love my fur lined leggings, warm yet super comfy 🙂

neha February 22, 2018 - 2:51 pm

You are truly a style icon. I love the overcoat, your way of wrapping the scarf and the other winter outfits that you have displayed here. I would love to try some as a part of my winter wardrobe the next time I travel.

Viola February 23, 2018 - 7:55 am

Haha oh my Neha! Thank you thank you. *blush

Candy February 22, 2018 - 9:37 pm

I love using heat packs. I grew up in Japan and used them all the time for school since most public schools don’t have central heating. They were a lifesaver 🙂

Viola February 23, 2018 - 7:54 am

Oh wow where did you grow up in Candy? I live in Japan now. And yes got to love those kairos 😉

Ann MacLean February 23, 2018 - 8:44 am

I hate the winter and I hate the cold but this is a very useful post that makes dressing up for winter sound like fun! I will refer back to this when I’m heading into winter next. I am especially taken by the heat packs. I had never heard of that!

Nicky February 24, 2018 - 9:08 am

Great article as always, Viola! I don’t deal well with cold (which is unfortunate given that I’m British), but there’s so many cold countries that I’m absolutely desperate to visit, so I’ll be keeping this guide handy. Plus you look super adorable in your photos!

Viola February 24, 2018 - 2:03 pm

Aww thanks Nicky! I’m Canadian and didn’t do well with winter for years. So I totally feel you 😉

MG February 24, 2018 - 12:20 pm

This is such a great post, Viola! I wish I had read something like this before moving to Boston (I too, cannot live without thermals!) I’m terrible at not looking like a big giant down coat ball though – you make winter look so good!

Viola February 24, 2018 - 2:03 pm

Haha thanks girl. I made it my mission to change my stuffed marshmallow winter coat look a little while ago.

Lisanne February 24, 2018 - 2:17 pm

Great post! Love the items! And I agree, layering is key.

Grace Silla February 24, 2018 - 4:30 pm

This is too funny but my friend SWEARS that the Uniqlo thermals are the best things out there. I think she might layer two of them. Now I HAVE to try them! Great guide!! 🙂

Viola February 24, 2018 - 11:52 pm

Yess I like how your friend rolls haha Uniqlo thermals are the best! 😀

Jenn February 24, 2018 - 11:40 pm

This is a great packing post! I totally lack style so this is super helpful more planning outfits on my winter travels. Can’t agree with you enough that the heattech clothing from Uniqlo is AMAZING!

AMANDA February 24, 2018 - 11:44 pm

Such a comprehensive list!! Thank you!

Katherine February 25, 2018 - 12:04 am

I have been saying I am over winter just so I don’t have to wear the same few coats in all my photos! Haha Love all the advice – I have this waffle long tee from Uniqlo I have worn so much this winter and love it – should check out the thermal you recommended 🙂

Kat February 25, 2018 - 12:41 am

What stylish and warm suggestions! I love your red plaid scarf. I will definitely refer to your packing list the next time I visit a cold destination.

Amanda Ulmer February 25, 2018 - 2:16 am

Packing for winter destinations is so challenging and this post is the best. Thank you!!

Weekend Haven February 25, 2018 - 4:24 am

This is pretty comprehensive. I tend to overpacked during winter travels and somehow still feels its not enough for the cold. Cold always bothered me. haha.

Courtney February 25, 2018 - 1:47 pm

What a lovely post! Thanks for the great style ideas.

Kristi February 26, 2018 - 2:16 am

Great list! I’m always looking for ways to spruce up my cold weather travel outfits. Loving the ear muffs! Sooo cute!


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