We’ve all been there—caught in a rainstorm without rubber boots or a waterproof jacket or waking up to a snowfall without a properly insulated coat on hand. Not having the appropriate attire for an unexpected change in the weather; well, it happens to the best of us.
Whether it’s packing for a vacation, moving to a totally different climate, or just preparing yourself for the upcoming season, it’s essential to be ready for the elements. So, is your wardrobe stocked to get you through the 30-degree days, the 80-degree days, and everything in between?
Having A Wardrobe That Is Ready For Anything
Unless you live in an area of the world that is consistently extremely cold or extremely warm, you probably need a variety of pieces in your closet to get you through the varying seasons. And in some areas of the world, the weather can change pretty drastically from one day to the next (I’m looking at you, UK)! One day it can be 30 degrees and snowing, and the next day it’s sunny and 60 degrees. So, how do you prepare yourself for these sudden drops and spikes?
There are some staples pieces that you should have in your closet that will keep you prepared for whatever mother nature has in store for you each day. And, if you’re traveling, your weather app is going to be your best friend. Check on your app a few days before your trip to get a good sense of what to expect.
Traveling to high tourism areas that charge a premium on anything from food to clothing to activities will put a dent in your vacation budget if you don’t properly prepare. Having to buy weather-related clothing and supplies in these places is not just hassle, it’s also pricey. The local economies know that people come unprepared, and trust me, they make you pay for that lack of foresight.
So, let’s take a look at what staple items you’ll need to have available should you be facing weather that falls along varying degrees of the spectrum.
What To Wear In 30-Degree Weather
30 degrees is officially considered freezing, so this is where you need to be prepared to keep yourself warm.
Thick sweaters, a winter jacket, and insulated boots will be the foundational pieces you’ll need to stay cozy when wandering out into 30-degree weather.
- Footwear: Boots are essential; anything that covers your entire foot. Ideally, you will want a pair that comes up over your ankles, up to as high as the knee. Insulated boots are great, but if you don’t have an insulated pair, then packing an appropriate number of insulated socks will work as well.
- Jackets & Sweaters: Jackets are like boots: if the weather is cold, insulation will be your best friend. If an insulated jacket isn’t already in your wardrobe, and you want to save on the expense, then pack a fall jacket or overcoat, some thick sweaters, and some long-sleeved, fitted undershirts. An insulated jacket is ideal, but layering can work too. Laying is also beneficial if you are going in and out of heated interior spaces as you can remove and add layers when needed. A hat and gloves are always good to keep on hand as well.
- Bottoms: Pants. It’s doubtful you will want to be caught in anything that exposes your legs in this weather. However, in some cases, like with dresses, you can make things work—just be sure you bring along some tights, thick socks, and boots to accessorize in a practical and comfortable way.
What To Wear In 40-Degree Weather
40 degrees is still quite chilly. Having full body coverage is vital when the temperature outside is lingering in this range. Similar to 30-degree rules, layers will work well in 40-degree weather. A good thing to consider here is the types of activities you will be doing.
If you’re planning on light walks around the city, then a long-sleeved, fitted top with a thick sweater is an excellent choice, possibly with a light jacket over top. If you’re planning on more substantial activity (hiking or running), go with something similar, but skip the jacket. The higher-intensity activities will elevate your body temperature, keeping you warm without the added thicker layer.
- Footwear: Anything closed-toed. Sneakers, boots, or dress shoes are fine in 40-degree weather. Just be sure to pack a few different types of socks, medium to heavy thickness. Avoid any open-toed shoes.
- Tops: Some thick sweaters, long-sleeved, fitted shirts, a light to medium jacket, and/or a blazer will be ideal in 40-degree weather. Acrylic is a great fabric for this temperature because it will keep you insulted. Again, it’s good to have a pair of gloves and a hat on hand, just in case you want to add or remove them.
- Bottoms: It’s still pants weather at 40 degrees. Pants, tights (if wearing a dress), and jeans are all good options to keep you comfortable in this climate.
What To Wear In 50-Degree Weather
50 degrees is when we begin to border on spring attire. Heavy jackets, gloves, and toques can probably be skipped when venturing into this climate. If your body tends to veer on the cold side of things, then some light gloves might be a good idea to keep on hand.Otherwise, a lighter long-sleeved sweater and top paired with jeans, loafers, and a scarf is a perfect choice!
The one thing to consider with spring is that rain is common. So, if you’re planning on being somewhere that has rain in the forecast, make sure you include a light, waterproof jacket in your suitcase. Another option is to have an umbrella on hand. If you’ve ever been to tourist hot spots, like Times Square, you know that umbrellas will cost you an arm and a leg once you’re there. Packing a compact umbrella in your bag is always a good idea—especially in the spring.
- Footwear: You will still want to stick with closed-toed shoes at this point: sneakers, high-tops, or light leather ankle boots are all great options. The weather can always drop at night, so having footwear that you can add socks to is essential. Also, at least one option to handle a light sprinkle of rain (like leather) is excellent to have available.
- Tops: Light to medium shirts and sweaters should be fine for 50 degrees. It’s always good to have a few light scarves as well; they can dress up your look and keep you cozy if you’re ever feeling a bit chilly.
- Bottoms: It’s not quite shorts weather yet, but jeans, even ones that are slightly cropped, will keep you cozy at 50 degrees.
What To Wear In 60-Degree Weather
We all tend to get a little excited when it starts to warm up outside, but in 60-degree weather, you’re probably still going to want to opt for some arm coverage.
Whether it’s short-sleeved, three-quarter length, or long-sleeved, a comfy cotton material should do the trick to keep you comfy. Alternatively, you can layer a short-sleeved or sleeveless top with a cardigan, so you can quickly add and remove the extra layer as needed.
- Footwear: Sneakers or slip-ons are usually a good idea when the temperature is lingering at around 60 degrees. Most people are comfortable in these options without socks, but a light pair of socks can be added if your feet tend to get cold easily.
- Tops: Sleeves are likely still a good idea, even short ones. Lighter, airy fabrics should keep you comfortable. Packing a few tanks and a cardigan is a great option to have on hand as well. Also, this is still a spring temperature, so if there is any possibility of rain, a light waterproof shell or an umbrella are useful items to throw in your suitcase.
- Bottoms: Shorts are acceptable at this point, but if you tend to get cold easily, opting for leggings or cropped pants should keep you comfortable.
What To Wear In 70-Degree Weather
70 degrees is pretty much the dawn of summer weather for most of us, so no need for jackets or sweaters by the time it reaches this temperature outside.
Airy cotton or silk tops and shorts or pants made of light materials should keep your body comfortable and keep you in good spirits. You can start to bring out those open-toed footwear options as well.
One caveat in this weather is that the evenings could drop in temperature, so a light jacket or a hoodie is a good idea to have available as needed.
- Footwear: Light sneakers, slip-ons, open-toed shoes, and flip flops are all perfect for 70-degree weather. When it warms up to this temperature, you probably won’t need socks, but you should still pack one or two light pairs for the evenings—better safe than sorry!
- Tops: Short-sleeved shirts and tank tops are perfect for this weather. You should be able to comfortably walk around and move through interior and exterior spaces without too much thought about needing to add layers. Again, a light jacket or hoodie is good to have on hand just in case.
- Bottoms: Shorts and dresses are officially in when the exterior temperature hits 70 degrees. Cropped pants or light leggings are also great for those casual days or if it’s overcast outside (making it feel slightly colder than the weather app displays).
What To Wear in 80-Degree Weather
All hail the shorts, tank tops, tube tops, and dresses! You can probably ditch the pants and sneakers if the weather forecast is lingering around 80 degrees—they will probably just end up taking up room in your bag anyway.
This is the time to shine in your cutest summer attire. The sun is officially out, and you do not want to be caught sipping a cocktail on a patio in heavy black pants!
You can also brush the dust off those flip flops and open-toed shoes that have been hibernating in your closet. Time to let your skin soak up some rays!
- Footwear: Flip flops are entirely acceptable and probably even your most comfortable option in this heat. They will keep your feet out in the open, enjoying that sunshine as much as you do. If you’re going to a spot where you plan to do a ton of walking around, some light sneakers, slip-ons, or open-toed shoes that offer support are probably your best options to keep your feet comfortable. Socks likely won’t be needed, but maybe pack one light pair (because you never know).
- Tops: Tank tops and strapless tops all the way! 80 degrees is warm, and if you tend to sweat or just get warm easily, wearing anything longer than short-sleeved tops will have you perspiring in this kind of heat. A jacket probably won’t be necessary, but if you’re going to a place that tends to have bouts of rain even in the summer months, like Seattle, NYC, or London, toss a compact umbrella into your suitcase. You won’t want to skip a day of touring around because of some droplets—not in these hot spots!
Even weather apps aren’t going to prepare you for the unpredictable. But using any resources you have to get a sense of what you’ll be entering into weather-wise is an excellent place to start when preparing yourself for that upcoming trip or move.
Having the right attire on hand is key to comfort and making the most of your time in any place. So, while it is highly recommended that you use something like your weather app to gauge what pieces to pack, also consider the trends in that destination.
For instance, summertime in Las Vegas has a very low likelihood of precipitation. But on the flip side, did you know that in recent years New York City has been seeing rainy days for close to half of their summer?
A great way to get a sense of the things that the weather app might not be predicting for you is to search the weather trends in your destination during that time of year (and for the past few years). This will tell you if you need to pack that umbrella or waterproof jacket, or if you can skip them to make room for that extra pair of cute shoes!