Travel Style – Wardrobe Recap: 5 Days in Vancouver

My short visit to Vancouver was great! The weather was close to perfect – lots of rain and cool grey days JUST LIKE I WISHED! It may not make sense to you, but after living in the desert southwest for over a decade, the thought or being able to enjoy rain and clouds makes me giddy! There will be lots of future posts that cover the trip in detail, but for today I wanted to provide a recap of my wardrobe, a review of what made the cut, what got changed, and what I’d do differently next time.

For a quick recap, when I planned the packing list, I chose several well-loved and versatile favorites that would work for the variety of things I wanted to do – from tromping around the deciduous rain forest to strolling through the city. The weather was as expected, wet, cool, and perfect. My goal was to be comfortable and as stylish as I could be with a minimal amount of items.

Let’s review the pieces that were on my original list and the changes I made (noted in red).

  • Classic trench coat – similar to this
  • Anorak jacket – similar to this
  • Black blazer – CUT I decided that it would be overkill, considering I had a rain anorak and a trench coat.
  • Black v-neck sweater – Wore this as a lounging/sleeping layer; I get cold easily.
  • Grey v-neck sweater – MODIFIED I opted for a thicker grey crew neck sweater.
  • Graphic tee – CUT I switched this out for a black crepe short-sleeved popover blouse that could easily be washed and dried in a hotel sink.
  • White crepe camp shirt
  • White tee shirt – NEW I added this into the mix as a layering piece to each sweater and the blouse.
  • Breton stripe – NEW I added this (mine is an olver ivory/black version) as another piece that would work layered under a sweater, puffer vest, or alone.
  • Black jeans
  • Dark wash jeans – BUY THESE BEFORE THEY SELL OUT! I am amazed at these; they never lost their shape, were comfortable, and did not sag at the ass or knees despite my vigorous walking, hiking, climbing, bending, and contorting over 2 days of wear. I bought another pair due to limited quantities so feel free to snag yourself a pair!
  • Black camisole
  • Boots – similar to this – These were perfect for this trip. Unlaced, they had a casual vibe of a 17 year old from Seattle, circa 1996 and laced up, they were the right choice for all the walking I did on pavement, wet earth, sand, or rocks.
  • Oxfords
  • Hat
  • 2 scarves
  • Arm warmers – FORGOT I neglected to pack these and only missed them on one day, when my hands were too cold to change lenses. I overcame this hardship with pockets. 😆
  • PJs, underwear, and zoris (not pictured)

Here are photos of each outfit assembled.


Transit days –  The unlaced boots gave me an air of mid-90’s grunge insouciance. 😎 Even with my TSA pre-check and Global Entry status, I slid these off before I got to security. Didn’t want anyone to be alarmed that I’d try to go through the machine with steel shanks.


Day 1 – Perfect outfit for exploring all of Capilano Suspension Bridge Park and at least half of Stanley Park. It was a cool day and I wish I’d remembered my arm gaiters.


DAy 2 – The perfect outfit for exploring the city on a rainy, grey day. Armed with layers, a hat, and an umbrella I was cozy, dry, and walked all day!


Day 3 – Weather whiplash had my third day being sunny again but this outfit was perfect for the day spent at sea whale watching. The puffer vest over the Breton stripe t-shirt under the rain anorak was just the right amount of warm but not so hot that I was uncomfortable. Again, my trusty boots kept me warm and dry from dock to deck to a revisit of Stanley Park.


Knowing I wouldn’t need anything more formal for a night out to dinner, I opted to remix the pieces I had and rely on the patent leather shine of my oxfords for dinner out on my 2nd night. This outfit was the right mix of casual, but not sloppy. I wrapped the scarf this way  (the 2nd option) for some added zhuzh!

On reflection, there is not much I would change about my wardrobe, except that I didn’t really need to pack my oxfords. I only wore them once over the 5 days, which to me, counts as a waste of valuable bag space. Next time, I may slip a pair of ballet slippers in the bag, but my boots got me everywhere I wanted to go.

All of this (except what I wore in transit) pasked into the Lucas Underseat bag, including my leather backpack. The Le Pliage helf my camera, wallet, iPad, inflight comfort pouch, snack pouch, electronics pouch, collapsible water bottle, and the black sweater. I was lightweight and mobile from train to plane to train to the 1 1/2 mile uphill walk to my hotel in the west end. Success!!

What do you think? How would you pack for 5 days in a cool, wet climate? Let me know in the comments!

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