It’s hard to believe that last November I said goodbye to my American closet. I rolled a single suitcase per person out of our house as we handed over the key and, since then, have tried to buy as little as possible. We’re still moving around a little as we settle in as Americans living in Freiburg, Germany. Mostly though, as things are complicated enough right now it’s a big help to have fewer decisions to make with what to wear and how to deal with any more clothing than we truly need.
Letting go of my clothes before we moved took a lot of work (and emotional strength), but at the same time I was prepping our family to live in a German winter for the first time. What would we absolutely need to feel cozy, comfortable and ourselves on this new adventure?
I love the German mindset, “There’s no bad weather, only bad clothing.” With this in mind, I set out to build a capsule for each member of our family that would keep us warm and happy whether we were walking around town or in the Black Forest at the bonfire on Saturday, which has become our favorite pastime.
If you’re headed over to Europe during the winter months, you deserve to be comfortable and warm while feeling chic and ready for the elements and any adventure that finds you! Here’s my take on what to pack so you’re ready for anything on the trip of a lifetime.
WOMEN’S WINTER PACKING LIST
Fair Isle Turtleneck – I picked this one up when I touched it in the store and could not resist its softness. I love a fair isle print that can pop out of the top of a zipped up coat.
Oversized Scarf – The big size is trending here, keeps me bundled and inspires me to keep finding new ways to wrap it up.
Women’s 1/4 Zip Base Layer – I love how this gives a retro, sporty vibe the minute it wants to while working great under my everyday looks too. Made in America by my favorite ski brand.
Aviators – Big enough to cover jet lag eyes while giving the jet set vibe.
Women’s Retro Snow Bib – I found a similar snow bib consigned that is my go-to for outdoor play. It wipes down easily, keeps me warm while breathing well and is a chic alternative to athlesuire. Just add braids and a hot drink.
Women’s Sport Puffer Jacket – So chic and high performing for this price!
Beret – Some things are cliche because they’re perfect.
Knit Sweater – I love this over a turtleneck or 1/4 zip baselayer for a classic winter look.
Wool Socks – The number one thing I learned from working in a ski shop was the power of a wool sock! They keep feet so warm while wicking sweat and naturally fighting bacteria. This pattern is classic and fun.
Layering Turtleneck – Simple, elegant and looks great under anything.
A Great Pair of Jeans – Mine are Wranglers and under $50, natch.
Winter Beanie – If you’re not wearing chunky knits and pom poms, why are you event in the cold?
Street Puffer Jacket – I love finding good city coats from reputable ski brands as I think their insulation and fabrics make all the difference. The quilting on this is so slimming and the hood keeps it chic.
Winter Boots – There is such a huge difference between my Timberlands and how warm my feet are when I’m out and how they feel when I get home after a long day of walking through cobblestone streets.
Baselayer Sets – Finding great baselayer made all the difference in this Texas expat staying warm through winter! I love the soft lining in this set, while the fun print and high performing fabric on these pants make them my favorite to wear under jeans.
GIRLS WINTER PACKING LIST
The Coziest Baselayer – We love this baselayer set for girls, lined with a soft layer inside and featuring fun prints on the outside. They slide right under our street or play clothes and transition to a nice set of pajamas.
The Best Kid’s Ski Overalls – Before I was much of a mountain or winter girl myself, I worked in a high end ski shop. The Obermeyer snowveralls were always our best-selling winter item for kids. They keep warmth in and snow, mud or puddle splashes out. My favorite part are the i-grow seams in the legs and adjustable shoulder straps, making them a sound investment that will grow up with your little adventurer for multiple seasons.
Wool Socks – But make them animals, of course.
Obermeyer Girls’ Ski Jacket – The same Obermeyer i-grow technology applies to their beautiful winter coats (this time in the sleeves). I love the patterns they create for girls styles that make them beautiful, high performing options for on or off the mountain. Kids love the attached compass!
Earmuff Headbands – Our go-to for staying warm without overdoing it on a hat. They slip easily into a coat pocket as the sun comes out over the day. I love the pop of pearls on this set!
Winter Dress – It’s nice to have at least one pretty dress along for seeing churches or going to tea and museums. I look for ones that are warm and feature a pretty trim or pattern on the bottom that can be seen even when we’re bundled in coats.
Cozy Leggings – By far our favorite winter leggings and from our beloved Target, no less!
Winter Boots – I love the timeless look of a nice leather boot, ready to perform on long walks, in muddy puddles or through crunchy snow. We sub out the classic shoelaces for this pair that makes it easy to little hands to get ready themselves.
Tube Scarf – Throw it on and go!
Chic Coat – I love a warm coat in classic fur or sherpa for walking around beautiful European towns.
Plenty of Gloves – From street food to street cars and all the places in between where they can get gunked up or run away…you might as well bring the pack.
MENS WINTER PACKING LIST
Puffer Jacket – I bought this down alternative puffer jacket for Markus years ago and it has truly stood the test of time. There’s nothing better than a quality investment piece like this!
Winter Sport Jacket – Another great winter sport piece from Obermeyer! The pockets and detail keep my minimalist adventure man warm, hands free and, I have to admit, looking really good.
Hoodie – The perfect midlayer for a guy too cool to wear anything officially called “midlayer.”
Jeans – I love how people layer black here, from their coats and accessories all the way down to the denim.
Winter Sport Pants – A cheap and easy pair of waterproof shell pants for winter weather fun.
Winter Boots – There’s nothing hotter than a man in Timbs.
Beanie – Ride for the brand.
Wool Socks – I love the pop of color on these.
Easy Baselayer Set – Lumberjack vibes.
Shades – A high performing, polarized set with color that pops.
Need more ideas on what you’ll want to pack? Check out our family packing guide and favorite gifts for travelers.