Published on November 2, 2018 — Leave a comment

Travel Light for the Holidays: Turn 1 Sweater into 3 Outfits

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Tickets have been booked. Gifts for the family are wrapped. Travel season is here, it’s time to get packing. Thick coats and puffers seem like a no-brainer for cold weather, but your suitcase is going to get full (and heavy) fast. We say leave the bulk at home and pack layers instead!

Planning your fall and winter outfits for travel? We got you. We asked travel blogger Madeleine of Moderately High Maintenance to share how she travels light. Her secret? She packs one key layering piece, a cozy sweater.

Hi! I’m Madeleine, you may recognize me from when I showed off my favorite fall outfit formula! My husband, John and I will be spending Thanksgiving with my family in Athens, Georgia. Which means I need to plan my fall and winter outfits (let alone John’s!). As someone who travels a lot, living out of a suitcase during the holiday season is a breeze. Here’s my secret: Layering!

I love the versatility of layering. There are so many ways to add intrigue to an outfit from a pop of color in a scarf to interesting textures in sweaters. For this trip, I picked a black sweater as my key piece. Sweaters tend to look great on their own or layered with other pieces in an outfit, so it’s the perfect essential to have for the trip. Plus they don’t wrinkle easily.

I’ve planned my outfits around meeting the needs of three events: traveling to the airport, an intimate dinner with family, and a day at the pumpkin patch. Read on and happy packing!


Jet, Set, Go!: The In-Transit Outfit



My travel outfit needs to meet two objectives. One, be comfortable in the air. Two, look put together when I arrive. My black Banana Republic sweater (scored for just $25, whoo!) is very comfortable and the best thing about a knit sweater is that it doesn’t wrinkle! I may travel all day, but my sweater will look fresh when I arrive.

I wore my sweater with neutral gray leggings because they can be dressed up or down and used for another outfit later in my trip. The white puffer vest is a practical addition. Depending on how far you travel, the weather may be different at your destination. A puffer vest is a must for any travel outfit because it will keep you flexible in changing climates.

Add a pop of color with an accessory or a scarf to brighten up an all neutral look. Regardless of the season, I always travel with a scarf. I use it as a blanket on long flights or a pillow on long road trips.

Family Dinner: The Thanksgiving Outfit



I like to include at least one layering piece I am super excited to wear. It makes layering more fun and less of a chore. My absolute favorite item in my suitcase right now is my animal print skirt from Diane von Furstenberg! My best friend, Charlotte, has said for years that leopard print is a neutral and I am so excited that it is so on trend this fall. It’s an easy way to punch up your layering game.

My Thanksgiving dinner outfit is a statement leopard print midi skirt, my key black sweater, black heels, and burgundy clutch. I love this look because it is classic and timeless. Not that fashion is about pleasing other people, but I always like to dress a little more conservatively for holidays with multiple generations of family members. Conservative doesn’t mean boring, the look is trendy without pushing the envelope too much for Grandma 😉

I love the neutrals with the pop of fall color in the burgundy clutch. My tip for easy packing is to have an anchor color. I choose either black or brown before I travel so that I am only packing one accessory/shoe color. This makes for easy mixing and matching!

Pumpkin Outings: The Plaid Outfit


Fall outings just call for flannel. It is so cozy and just makes you want to grab a cup of cider and enjoy the crisp air.

I love flannel styled under a sweater because it can make an outfit look more polished. Tie the look together with coordinating booties and you have a sure winner! I’m planning to wear this look out to a corn maze or pumpkin patch with my family to wrap up the end of fall and celebrate the beginning of the holiday season. Plus, it’s the perfect place for photo ops!  

Get Packing: Need-to-Know Tips

Yep, one simple sweater can mean SO many different outfits! That’s the magic of layering. Just keep in mind the following tips when you’re packing, and you’ll have an easy time styling while on the go.

  1. All my outfits tend to run a bit neutral, it makes mixing and matching easier! Need a pop? Bring smaller and brighter accessories.
  2. Pick an anchor color for shoes and accessories. It makes mixing and matching so much easier and you can pack a lot less.
  3. Totally not style related, but I also love carrying a small mesh zipper bag more my dirty socks and undies. It’s like a mini hamper for your suitcase and makes sorting when you unpack a breeze.

Safe travels and Happy Thanksgiving, y’all!

Cooler temperatures means MORE opportunities to get creative with your styling. The holidays are a busy time, we hope these styling tips will make dressing up (or down) a little easier! Check out other fall essentials here to help you travel savvier.

Are you a travel style pro? Share your best packing tips in the comments below.