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Ask CF: What Should I Pack for a Cold Climate Getaway to Visit My Boyfriend?


Ask CF-Cold Weather Travel-Header
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Welcome to the latest edition of Ask CF! Every two weeks, we select a reader fashion question and answer it here on the site. Do you have a specific fashion question for us? Scroll to the bottom of this post to learn how to send it our way!

Ask CF Question

Dear CF,

In three weeks’ time I’m flying out to Great Lakes, IL (which, by that time, might be super cold) to attend my boyfriend’s graduation from Navy bootcamp. I was wondering if you could help me out by posting some outfits that I can wear while visiting him. All the other posts I’ve seen on the Internet on what to wear aren’t really helping. So maybe you can help me out on this dilemma? Thank you so much!

Always a fan,
Chillin’ with my BF

Our Response

Dear Chillin’,

Dressing in cold weather is hard enough. Packing for cold weather is even harder. And when your travel destination plans involve many different occasions, you can feel incredibly overwhelmed just thinking about it!

When packing for this trip, think about the different events you will need to attend. Obviously you will need a formal look to wear for the graduation, but you want to make sure you have clothing ready for any and all scenarios. And what’s great about your question is that even though most people won’t need outfits specifically for a Navy graduation ceremony in Illinois, it does allow me to create some cold weather outfits that can be worn for all of our daily lives.

Because suitcases limit our wardrobes while traveling, I decided to use some of the same pieces in each look (and you could even tailor your suitcase more by only bringing one pair of booties opposed to the two types I used below). Overall, when packing for a trip, make sure to choose pieces that all go together. Also, wear your largest pieces on the plane so they don’t take up valuable suitcase space. With these tips and the outfit ideas below, I hope you find this post helpful. I wish you a great trip and safe travels!



Outfit #1: Graduation Ceremony

Ask CF-Cold Weather Travel-Graduation
Product Information: Earrings, Dress, Coat, Tights, Bag, Heels

You will need something appropriate to wear to the graduation ceremony, but also something that will keep you warm. And for those of you not attending a graduation, this look also works well for any other formal events you might have scheduled like a party or formal dinner.

For this look, I chose this pretty lace dress – it’s completely perfect for a dressy winter occasion. Next, add on some sparkly drop earrings, a pair of opaque black tights, and heels — and yes: you can wear tights with open-toed shoes. (We promise!) To keep warm, I chose a burgundy peacoat that is versatile enough to take you throughout your trip. Finish the look with a leopard clutch.

Outfit #2: Hanging Out

Ask CF-Cold Weather Travel-Hanging Out
Product Information: Cardigan, Pullover, Scarf, Pants, Ring, Boots

For the more casual times you will spend during your getaway (or even for the plane ride there!), you will need something comfy and warm. A pair of corduroy pants paired with a baseball sweatshirt provide a nice foundation to wear under an oversized print cardigan. Finish the look with simple accessories like a black knit scarf, ankle boots, and a serpent ring.

Outfit #3: Date Night

Ask CF-Cold Weather Travel-Date Night
Product Information: Ring, Shirt, Coat, Boots, Necklace, Pants

For date night with your guy, opt for something casual but still a little sexy with a pair of leg-hugging black skinny jeans and a floral print top. Add on a statement necklace for a little pizzaz. As I mentioned previously, you won’t have space to pack many different coats (and realistically, one seasonal coat is most cost-efficient, anyway) so I designed this look with that in mind. And if it is still too cold, a leather jacket or black sweater can be layered underneath. Finish the look with some ankle booties (this time with a little heel, but if you are tight on space, the ones used in outfit #2 would work just as well, too!).

Outfit #4: Dinner with the Parents

Ask CF-Cold Weather Travel-Dinner with Parents
Product Information: Bag, Shirt, Coat, Earrings, Bracelet, Boots, Skirt

For a dinner with his parents, you’ll probably want to dress modestly, but that doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice your style. For this look, tuck a button-up shirt into a gray maxi skirt. And don’t forget to wear some tights, leggings, or both underneath to keep your legs nice and toasty. Add some sparkle to the look with jewelry like gold earrings and an ornate bracelet. Finally, finish the look with the same boots from look #2, the same burgundy coat, and a small bag.

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What do you think?

Have you ever had a similar dilemma? What different occasions do you find it difficult to dress for when it’s cold outside? Do you have other tips for keeping warm? Do you like the outfits? Which one is your favorite? Please leave a comment below and let us know what you think!

Posted on on November 4, 2012 / Filed Under: Fashion Tips / Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

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14 Responses to “Ask CF: What Should I Pack for a Cold Climate Getaway to Visit My Boyfriend?”

  1. 1
    November 4th, 2012 at 5:35 pm

    I love the boots! But I live in mild climate in Europe and I would be cold in just a shirt and a coat and I imagine it must be way colder by Great Lakes than it is here.

  2. 2
    November 4th, 2012 at 6:16 pm

    I really liked the cords in the “hanging out” part and the outfit suggested for dinner with parents.

  3. 3
    November 4th, 2012 at 6:53 pm

    As someone who lives in northern Illinois, I think these are really good.

    Also, if it’s really cold/windy, you can wear the tights UNDER the pants for extra warmth. Doesn’t seem like much, but it really does help a lot.

  4. 4
    November 4th, 2012 at 7:13 pm

    Love these ideas! And if you’re still cold just put on a basic long-sleeved top underneath – that’s what I do! No-one can see it since you barely get down to that layer anyway!

  5. 5
    November 4th, 2012 at 7:32 pm

    is there no way to wear a scarf with a more formal outfit? :(

  6. 6
    November 4th, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    Hey! I have this same Exact situation! My boyfriend graduates from Navy bootcamp in Great Lakes on the 21st of November. I haven’t even thought of what to wear, so I’m glad I came across this post! I am especially “cold-blooded” though, so I would probably add a few extra layers to the outfits.
    Thank you, “Chillin’ with my BF” for bringing this up!

  7. 7
    November 5th, 2012 at 2:54 am

    Really like this post! The advice is practical, realistic, and all the styles are so wearable! Thank you~

  8. 8
    November 5th, 2012 at 3:53 am

    @Jessica Of course you can wear a scarf formally- I do it all the time (though that’s more because I’m a hijabi lol ;D)!

    Just go for a bigger scarf in a fine/ gauzy material so that you can wrap it around you lots (thicker knitted materials can look too casual, but I promise a thinner material wrapped multiple times is just as warm!) As the same with everything else you wear, also make sure the scarf colour co-ordinates with your outfit- it’s also good to wear a colour that suits your complexion, since the scarf will be the nearest clothing item to your face.

    Hope that helps! :)

  9. 9
    November 5th, 2012 at 5:25 am

    I have a question: why so sad? All the colours are really dark or neutral. It’s like for a funeral celebration.

    On the matter of cod weather: layers! I am currently in Finland and every day I go to school on bike (and it’s freezing here) so I am wearing e.g. two pairs of tights + shorts under a tulip skirt or two tank tops under a sweater and then maybe even a blazer and then coat… warm innersoles have proven to be very effective, if you have enough space in your boots. Scarf, hat and gloves are a necessity. Plus I have a really good experience with woolen stuff. Maybe it is a bit itchy at first, but warmer then anything else.

  10. 10
    November 5th, 2012 at 6:41 am

    Hooyah Navy! Having been at RTC Great Lakes recently I can say that those heels may not be the most comfortable of shoes to wear for walking around base until you can get to the drill hall. And given that the people are seated on bleachers, the dress is also a bit impractical and probably uncomfortable especially with all the standing and sitting that people have to do with the National Anthem and Pledge.

    For other females whose boyfriends are at Great Lakes: Depending on when your Sailor leaves for his A-school he may have weekend liberty so you’d need more outfits than those shown however it is also possible that he leaves for A-school the next day. Even if he has weekend liberty he may have to stand watch and will definitely have a curfew. Do not bring clothes for your Sailor to change into because he will end up in trouble the privilage of wearinf civvies has to be earned. :) I’m hoping to see my guy when he graduates in January.

  11. 11
    November 5th, 2012 at 11:36 pm

    Omg, I used to live in Great Lakes, IL. I was a navy brat. IT GETS SUPER COLD, below zero with crazy biting winds. Tights would be must for dresses, and I suggest wearing booties with heels instead of anything open-toed.

  12. 12
    November 5th, 2012 at 11:40 pm

    I remember going to my brother’s boot camp graduation in Great Lakes when I was 16. It was really cold, and there were snow flurries. I wore peep-toe shoes and no leggings. I guess I was too used to the weather but now that I’m in Tacoma, WA it seems crazy that I was okay wearing that haha

  13. 13
    November 7th, 2012 at 11:03 pm

    I think this list is great. And I agree with the comment above, wearing tights under jeans is smart. One winter I went to DC and since we were out around the city most of the time I wore thick tights under my jeans and it helped a lot!

  14. 14
    November 14th, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    this is really helpful but i was wondering what would u guys recommend for a girl who lives in a tropical place and will b traveling to europe for new yrs maybe ypy guys could tell me what basic winter stuff i nees to buy.. i dont own any winter clothing and ill be doing a lot of walking so i nees something comfortable and maybe versatile to wear.. it would be extremely helpful if you guys could help me

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