Travel and style don’t always mix thanks to annoying things like baggage constraints or a lack or ironing boards (why are they always so hard to find?!), but as every fashionista knows Europe is the one place you don’t want to look sloppy. I recently returned from a six country jaunt across the continent where I put some of my favourite gear to the test, and through some trial and error have come up with the ultimate list of what to pack for spending winter in Europe. Here are my top picks for a winter wardrobe that’s not only trendy, but will also keep out the cold.
Yes…that’s jackets, plural. Europe is the world’s most chic continent, so what you wear for tearing down the ski hill usually isn’t the same coat you’ll want to navigate the streets of London in.
When I went, I packed one peacoat that looked cute while I wandered around the cobblestone streets in cities like Budapest and Vienna, as well as a cozy parka to ward off the chill on freezing days or while skiing in Zermatt, Switzerland.
This Helly Hansen Lunar H2Flow Women’s Parka from Sport Chek is so warm and cozy, it’s the next best thing to wearing a furnace. It has a special insulation inside that keeps me toasty, and I love the fur-lined hood. Another bonus is the big pockets, which meant I could stash everything I needed for the day without lugging around a purse. This jacket even performed during two days on the ski hill, as it’s water repellant and windproof. Did I mention it’s less than $250?
A stylish coat is a must, so I brought this camel-coloured one with wide lapels which I picked up in Amsterdam. However, I’d recommend buying one with a zipper or buttons instead, which ensures it will stay fastened.
Here’s another time you’ll want to throw a couple of options in the ol’ suitcase.
I’m obsessed with my wool Talula Baylis fedora from Aritzia, which my husband refers to as my ‘fashion hat.’ I literally got stopped in the streets of Annecy, France and complimented on how fab it is, so I think that says everything right there! It’s a bit of a pain to carry around if you’re not wearing it, but this hat is the perfect accessory to throw on with a pair of big sunglasses after a long flight so no one can tell how jet lagged you are.
You’ll also want a warm toque on hand for those freezing cold days or outdoor adventures, so channel your inner hipster and pick up a cute beanie. I love the look of this Icebreaker Skyline hat.
Gloves or mittens
Be sure to pack a cozy pair of mittens, such as Aritzia’s Fulton mitten which has been a staple in my winter wardrobe for years. They’re knit on the outside with a fleece-lined interior, and come in over 20 different colours.
One pair I wish I’d brought is a convertible glove like the Matin multi-shooting gloves, which are perfect for photographers. They look like a mitten, but you can flip back the top so you’re able to use electronics like a camera or smartphone without having to whip off your entire mitt each time. Brilliant!
A cozy scarf
Scarves are a necessity for winter in Europe, and if you get a luxe one it can also make your outfit stand out.
I’m seriously coveting this luxe cashmere wrap from Nordstrom, so if anyone needs to know what to get me for my birthday…
And if you really, really love me, you’ll also gift me one of these Burberry wraps with the iconic check print. It has classy written all over it, and just so happens to be super warm as it’s a blend of cashmere and wool.
As anyone who’s ever walked on a street in Europe knows all too well, heels and cobblestones don’t mix. If you’re heading over to Europe, you’ll want to not only wear a sturdy, flat boot, but also one that’s warm. Behold, the perfect winter boot:
I’ve been walking around town in the Chancery water resistant boot, and you’d never know they’re UGGs amirite?! They’re made of a stylish black leather complete with buckles, and are super warm and comfy thanks to a shearling interior. Perfection.
I had to go on a bit of a shopping spree after my purse was stolen in Montreal, and I ended up buying two new bags ahead of my winter trip to Europe, both by Marc Jacobs.
The first one is the cross-body New Q Mini Natasha bag. It’s tiny enough that it never gets in the way or heavy, yet holds everything I need including a phone, keys, gum, lipgloss and wallet.
The other Marc Jacobs bag I picked up is their New Q Hillier Hobo. You can wear it over the shoulder or cross-body, and stash SO MUCH inside. I managed to fit everything listed above, plus travel essentials such as my DSLR camera, an extra lens, waterbottle, snacks and a map. A large bag is essential to hold everything you’ll need for a day of exploring, and this one comes up tops in the style department.
Winter cold can wreak havoc on your skin (a struggle I know all too well living in Canada), and I swear by L’Occitane’s Ultra Rich Body Cream. Made with shea butter, it’s an amazing balm for those days when it feels like your poor cuticles are about to go on strike. While L’Occitane products are sold all over the world, I first discovered it in France (it’s made in Provence) so I always feel fancy when I use it!
Clearly this isn’t a requirement, but I’d be remiss to not mention the need to bring ski equipment if the entire reason you’re heading to Europe in the winter is to visit a ski resort. Click here for a full list of what to pack for a ski trip—or, save yourself the extra baggage fees and simply rent your equipment at the hill.
Do you have any must-have items to add to this list? Share them in the comments below!
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Globe Guide’s Helly Hansen parka was kindly provided by Sport Chek. As always, partners have no editorial influence over articles.