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Wondering what to wear in Vancouver year-round? Here are some local-approved outfits for day, night, and anytime!
What to Wear in Vancouver
Written By: Sebrin Elms & Soheila Yalpani
Vancouver is, without question, a beautiful city, with tall, glassy buildings, framed by mountains, forest, and ocean. The city itself, especially the downtown, is relatively small compared to other “big” cities, with a small, but growing volume of nightlife and cultural activities.
What to Wear in Vancouver: Year-Round Basics
No matter what time of year you visit Vancouver, it’s important to invest in a quality jacket. Despite the warmer months, you will find a fair amount of cloudy days that will result in much cooler weather even if the temperature reads high 70s Fahrenheit.
Puffer jackets, rain shells, and coats are wonderful options depending on the type of activities you plan on doing in Vancouver.
Find out the most stylish and practical best down jacket for your cold weather travels!
Boots year-round are a wise purchase considering the amount of cool and wet weather that’s ever-present throughout Vancouver. If you plan to be active during your stay–like hiking–sturdy and earth-tone boots would be a wonderful investment.
Find out how to choose hiking boots and the styles TFG readers voted as their favorites!
This city is all about staying active and healthy. In addition to hiking boots, you might want active sneakers for biking the seawall, walking around Vancouver Park, or simply walking from yoga class to spin class.
Find out why fashion sneakers for women make cute comfortable shoes for travel!
For a trip revolved around the city, booties are wonderful year-round. Booties add style and functionality to almost any outfit, especially in trendy neighborhoods like Gastown. You can add socks to keep warm in the fall and spring or tights in the summer.
Here’s a collection of the best waterproof boots for travel this winter!
The ultimate Vancouver uniform is Athleisure. Did you know Vancouver is the birthplace of Lululemon? Lululemon is the cult-like “athleisure wear” company that started the worldwide yoga pant craze.
For more budget-friendly yoga wear, check out the TFG fan fave Zella brand from Nordstrom!
Love or hate the look, Vancouverites take their Lulu very seriously. These are all appropriate situations to wear yoga wear in Vancouver: at home, to brunch, to the grocery store, shopping, walking around the city, and oh yes–to the yoga studio. It may not be the classiest fashion on the planet, but it’s super comfortable.
No trip to Vancouver is complete without working up a sweat with the backdrop of Rocky Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. So zip up your hoodie, take a final sip of green juice, and head out for a run along the seawall!
Here are more athleisure wear inspired outfits!
What to Wear in Vancouver: Winter
Rule #1: This is the only rule of fashion in Vancouver: carry an umbrella. Carry it with you at all times. Will it rain today? Yes. The answer is always yes. It really rains all winter long. Not like a monsoon, just a steady, incessant drizzle.
Start by reading these general tips on packing for winter travel:
- Capsule Wardrobe for Winter
- How to Pack for Cold Weather
- How to Stay Warm in Cold Weather (without the bulk)
- The Best Travel Shoes for Winter
However, don’t let this deter you from visiting; an oft-used cliche about Vancouver is: “You can sit on the beach in the morning, go for a run in the forest in the afternoon, and be up on the mountain for a ski by nighttime.”
It’s warm enough in the winter that long leggings, a long-sleeved thermal top, and a vest are usually enough to keep you comfortably warm. (Note: you might feel colder than the locals do if you’re not used to a cold winter at home.)
These are what our readers voted as the best leggings for travel!
What to wear in Vancouver: Winter Packing List
Here are some great daytime looks:
- Jacket: A wool overcoat will keep you warm. Check out stores like Michael Kors and Club Monaco.
- Jeans: Nice-looking black or dark blue skinny jeans
- Top: A long-sleeve top
- Shoe: I recommend black leather boots (prepped with waterproofing spray). Definitely don’t wear suede–the rain will destroy it. The Canadian brand Browns Shoes is great for high-quality footwear.
When it’s time to take off the yoga pants and be a bit more civilized, a simple uniform will take you wherever you need to go. Vancouver doesn’t get super fancy during the daytime. Think boots with skinny jeans, a cute top, and a jacket.
If you’re doing some shopping in Vancouver, stop at an Aritzia boutique, a favorite amongst the city’s young ladies, and stock up on the basics.
Here are some great nighttime looks:
While Vancouver may stay casual during the day, girls definitely love to dress up to go out for a night dancing or to the local bars. Styles vary a bit from neighborhood to neighborhood. Here’s what to wear under your coat in downtown’s main nightlife areas:
YALETOWN | COAL HARBOR | ALBERNI STREET
- Dress: Wear your cutest dress. Remember, Vancouver doesn’t get super cold, so you can go bare-legged even in January. The best shops for buying dresses here are BCBG, Marciano, Holt Renfrew, and Nordstrom.
- Shoe: Heels, heels, heels. Most of the bars and clubs are clustered together on the same few streets. Also: Vancouver has a tiny downtown, so even if you decide you don’t like the scene in one area, you’ll never have to trek too far in your stilettos to get around.
- Accessories: Vancouver girls are fairly label-conscious, so now’s the time to bring out your Chanel clutch.
- This is fake lips/designer bag/sugar baby territory. You’ll want to look your shiniest–but think more Real Housewives and less Jersey Shore.
- Pants: Leather leggings–they have great ones at the Caldezonia boutique.
- Shoe: Black boots
- Top: Cute top
- Accessories: Edgy jewelry. Now’s the time to wear your nose ring proudly.
Gastown is the newly cool hipster part of town. Think tattoos, bearded men, trendy eateries, plaid, and funkiness. The key here is to look really good without looking like you’re trying to look good. It’s not easy for most of us (being a girl is complicated).
What to Wear in Vancouver: Spring
What Vancouver lacks in actual inches of rain, it makes up for in frequency. To have a great trip in this city, make sure that your clothing items can withstand rain. That means rainproof jackets, boots, pants and umbrellas. As long as you can avoid getting too wet, you’ll absolutely love what this city has to offer!
Read these tips on what to wear on a rainy day!
Springtime has a fairly diverse climate. The beginning of the season brings clouds, rain, and occasional snow left over from the winter season with lows around 35°F. Towards the end of spring, you’ll find it to be quite warm and sunny with highs at a comfortable, brisk mid-60s.
Start by reading these general tips on packing for spring travel:
- How to Pack for Trips with Mixed Weather
- How to Layer a Summer Dress for Spring
- Spring Basic Travel Wardrobe
- Best Shoes for Traveling in Spring and Fall
What to wear in Vancouver: Spring Packing List
Vancouver is a city that focuses around nature and its diverse landscapes. Even its reflective skyscrapers evoke natural scenes of the water and sky. This should be reflective in your summer wardrobe. Earth tones like greens, browns, blues and blacks are the perfect colors to blend in with your surroundings and the locals.
Towards the end of spring, you can start to show a little more skin with tees, tanks, and dresses. Florals are a given, but make sure you prepare for the coolish weather.
When planning what to wear in Vancouver in spring, consider a long maxi dress, mini dress with long sleeves, or just a plain mini dress if the sun calls for it! Make sure you have a jacket or cardigan on you as the weather can change quickly.
Evening wear can be a little more chic with black clothing and decorative jewelry. From black crop tops and jeans to LBDs, darker shades work anywhere in Vancouver whether you’re off to a concert or fine dining.
If the weather is a tad cooler in the evenings, be sure to add some tights to keep you warm. Hip accessories like a boater hat, infinity scarf, or leather, fingerless gloves can add style without compromising your body temperature.
What to Wear in Vancouver: Summer
Summer is the ideal time to visit Vancouver as your chance of rain is a lot more slim and the sun peeks out a bit more through those gray skies (although clouds are still quite common during the month of June).
With June gloom comes cooler weather, with the average temperature around the low 60s. The hottest month, August, is still quite cool near the mid to high 70s.
Start by reading these general tips on packing for summer travel:
- Capsule Wardrobe for Summer
- Cute Summer Dresses
- Lightweight Jackets for Easy Layers
- Beach Sandals for Hot Weather Vacations
What to wear in Vancouver: Summer Packing List
Now is the time to play around a little more with breezy and cool outfits. Skirts, dresses, and shorts are the perfect pieces for what to wear in Vancouver this time of year. Much like spring, stick to the same color scheme with maybe a bit more brighter colors or pastels.
Since Vancouver’s hottest temperature consistently falls within the 70s, you’re going to need layers throughout your day in case some gray clouds come your way. A light cardigan or wrap will keep your body warm while a pair of tights can help keep your legs warm.
Vancouver has a bit more of a casual air about its social scene, so cocktail dresses aren’t necessary. Skinny jeans and a nice blouse are perfectly acceptable, but if you feel like dressing up a bit more, maxi dresses or maxi skirts are a great middle ground.
The scene and weather doesn’t quite call for sandals unless you’re headed towards the water or casually hanging at the park.
What to Wear in Vancouver: Fall
Fall remains the most diverse and unpredictable time of year, both inland and coastal. Fall is when the wet season begins in Vancouver, so you’re going to want to bring layers and rain protective gear. Temperatures can range as low as the mid 20s to the mid 50s. Ultimately, bundling up is a necessity when planning what to wear in Vancouver in autumn.
Start by reading these general tips on packing for autumn travel:
- How to Pack for Trips with Mixed Weather
- How to Layer Clothes
- Use a Summer Dress to Pack Light in Fall
- Best Shoes for Traveling in Spring and Fall
What to wear in Vancouver: Fall
This west coast city is similar in style to Seattle in the US. When you picture Seattle, you probably imagine flannel, cardigans, coats, and browns. This very much rings true for fashion in Vancouver during the fall!
Knits, cashmere, wool, and thermals are a necessity during this time of year. Vancouver locals are casual and care about comfort over fashion most of the time.
You’re also going to want amp up on the accessories. Mittens (or fingerless gloves), beanies, scarves, cabin socks, and earmuffs are not only gorgeous additions to your outfit but will keep you warm as winter starts to approach. Luckily, Vancouver is filled with local shops and artisans, so you can buy these unique goods throughout the city.
Now would be the time to bust out those adorable rain boots! November is the rainiest time of the month, but you can start to get rain as early as late-September.
Enjoy Vancouver! And remember: it’s ok to complain about the rain–you’ll fit right in!
What are your tips on what to wear in Vancouver? Share them below!
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For more packing tips for North America, please read:
- How to Pack for Toronto
- What to Pack for Newfoundland
- What to Wear in Montreal in Winter
- Packing for Canadian National Parks
Suggested travel resources:
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Author Bio: Soheila Yalpani is Project Manager and the Principal of Oppfinn Consulting. She also runs Thinkstr.co, a blog for digital nomads and entrepreneurs about business, innovation, money and travel. For more travel tips, follow her blog!
Author Bio: Sebrin is a newlywed, flower child, and travel-obsessed blogger. When she isn’t traipsing the globe with her husband, you can find her curled up with a book, snuggling with her kitty babies, or binge-watching Netflix. Follow along her travels on Instagram @theclumsytraveler or her blog!