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Traveling through the US? We’ve got tips on what to wear in the Midwest. Find out the best things to bring to this diverse region throughout the year!

 


What to Wear in The Midwest

Written By: Elizabeth Georgian


 

 

Table Of Contents

 

 

So what exactly is The Midwest? 

 

It’s normally defined as the states of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Ohio, and Wisconsin. This includes the cities of Chicago, Detroit, Indianapolis, Minneapolis, Madison, Wichita, St. Louis, Columbus, Kansas City, and Omaha.

 

Traveling to The West Coast? Read this packing guide!

 

 

What do people wear in the Midwest?

 

What to pack for the Midwest can be different depending on where you’re visiting. Style in each state and city in the Midwest varies, particularly when it comes to the college towns. One of the biggest draws to visiting or moving to the Midwest is the Big 10 universities and their sporting events, especially football.

So, in cities with Big 10 universities, like Madison, Wisconsin and East Lansing, Michigan, visitors might want to think about school colors if visiting the schools (or at least not rival colors!) when you’re planning your Midwest packing list.

Read on for more of what to wear across the Midwest in every season and for different events!

 

You’ll want to look your best when you travel! Read my travel tips to Pack Light Stylishly!

 

what-to-wear-in-the-midwest

T-Shirt | Down Jacket | Dress | Pants | Backpack | Cargo Jacket | Necklace | Shoes

 

What to Wear in the Midwest in Spring

 

What is the weather in the Midwest in Spring (March, April, May)?

 

Spring in the Midwest is a mild time of year with temperatures ranging from approximately 50-70°F. Although rain showers can be frequent, spring weather is fun to dress for. Locals shed their heavy winter layers to make way for lighter, brighter outfits, perhaps to complement the unfurling leaves and blooming flowers, so your Midwest packing list might reflect this.

 

Start by reading these general tips on packing for spring travel:

 

What clothes should I wear in the Midwest in Spring?

 

Spring in the Midwest is a gorgeous time to plan a getaway, especially because you beat the heat of the summer and don’t freeze during sightseeing trips like you would in the winter. This is the best time of year to enjoy a wander around a botanical garden such as the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis or the University of Wisconsin Arboretum in Madison.

You’ll fit right in with casual outfits like t-shirt dresses or a short-sleeved shirt with jeans, but don’t forget the layers as it can still be chilly, especially at night. Great outerwear options to include in your packing list for the Midwest are packable puffers and military-inspired jackets. Maybe add a fun touch of school spirit in the form of a necklace or earrings!

 

From sporty to bold and colorful, see how to choose the best down jacket for cold weather travels!

 

What shoes should I wear in the Midwest in spring?

 

As with your clothes, choose your shoes based on the weather and your planned activities. Select no more than two to three pairs of shoes in neutral colors that can mix and match with all your clothing. Make sure your sightseeing shoes are broken in properly.

Your Midwest packing list should always include comfortable walking shoes (like Toms slip-ons) and a structured backpack to keep this look casual and practical, yet cute. 

 

Midwest Packing List for Spring

 

Clothes:

  • Two short sleeve tops
  • Two long sleeve tops
  • Two additional tops
  • One pair of blue jeans
  • One pair of black Ponte pants
  • One additional bottom
  • One dress
  • One rain or winter jacket
  • One warm layer
  • Thermals (if very cold)
  • Three socks
  • Ten underwear
  • Three bras
  • One versatile sleep set

 

Shoes:

  • Waterproof ankle boots (sightseeing)
  • Slip on sneakers (sightseeing)

 

 

what-to-wear-in-the-midwest

Sleeveless | Dress | T-Shirt Dress | Swimsuit | Shorts | Earrings | Sunglasses | Sandals | Heels| Flats | Backpack

 

What to Wear in the Midwest in Summer

 

What is the weather in the Midwest in Summer (June, July, August)?

 

In general, summer in the Midwest is hot and humid with temperatures ranging from around 80-90°F. For a visit to Lake Michigan, plan on wearing cool, casual clothes.

 

Start by reading these general tips on packing for summer travel:

 

What clothes should I wear in the Midwest in summer?

 

What to wear in the Midwest depends on what you have planned. All you need for relaxing on a family trip to the lake is a swimsuit, shorts, and a tank top. For shoes, I’m loving the new all-plastic Birkenstocks for comfort, practicality, and style.

Or for a girls’ trip to Chicago to indulge in shopping, cool museums, and great food, beat the heat with a comfortable, light dress, low heels made for walking, and colorful sunglasses.

For a casual day running errands in Milwaukee or Minneapolis, your Midwest clothes can be a t-shirt dress with open-toe espadrilles and a sleek backpack. These will have you looking good and feeling airy. Whatever you do, don’t forget that sunblock!

 

Take a look at the latest trends with these cute summer dresses!

 

For cooler days in June, you’ll need neutral tailored trousers or jeans in a dark wash, which you can wear with your comfortable ankle booties. Summer is also the time to make use of your wedge sandals, which instantly give your wardrobe a summery touch.

 

Take a look at these fashionable, comfortable walking sandals for summer!

 

Bring out your dresses! Cotton, rayon, and linen are the most comfortable in the heat. Add a belt for a feminine, polished fit. If you prefer maxi dresses or summer dresses, those all work and are a matter of style and preference.

To ensure you are prepared for unpredictable weather, don’t forget a light jacket or compact umbrella. Save museums for rainy days to make the most out of your trip.

Lastly, accessorize with sunglasses, a summer scarf, and jewelry–subtle yet stylish–to give you a touch of color. Choose minimalist jewelry (not too expensive or flashy) that reflects your own individuality and sense of style. Less is more.

 

What shoes should I wear in the Midwest in summer?

 

As with your clothes, choose your shoes based on the weather and your planned activities. Select no more than two to three pairs of shoes in neutral colors that can mix and match with all your clothing. 

Make sure your sightseeing shoes are broken in properly. Pack a pair of comfortable summer sandals or canvas sneakers for all-day sightseeing and a pair of open-toe heeled wedges for a fancy night out. 

In summer, many events are outside as many venues have gardens and al fresco spaces with evening cocktail parties and happy hours. These are the best times to wear your favorite cocktail dress and enjoy the summer breeze. Pack a light jacket and cardigan for cooler days and evenings.

While not recommended for all day sightseeing, ballet flats are also a good option should you want a dressier pair of shoes on your trip for warmer days or evenings. Alternatively, bring closed toe wedges for a dressy alternative.

 

This is a selection of the best sandals for travel in summer – our top recommendation for a summer trip to the Midwest!

 

Midwest Packing List for Summer

 

Clothes:

  • Three short sleeve and/or sleeveless tops
  • One ¾ sleeve top
  • One additional top
  • Two bottoms
  • One maxi dress
  • Two summer dresses
  • One light rain jacket
  • One light layer
  • Three socks
  • Ten underwear
  • Three bras
  • One versatile sleep set

 

Shoes:

  • Comfortable sandals (sightseeing)
  • Slip-on sneakers (sightseeing)
  • Ballet flat (dressing up)
  • Wedges: (optional)

 

 

what-to-wear-in-the-midwest

Scarf | T-Shirt | Jacket | Jeans | Backpack | Bag | Concealer | Lip Cream | Shoes

 

What to Wear in the Midwest in Fall

 

What is the weather in the Midwest in Fall (September, October, November)?

 

In autumn, the weather is cool and the Midwest is quite beautiful. If you’re wondering what to wear in the Midwest in September, bring a few summer clothes for leftover summer weather. Autumn colors create a picturesque setting; however, as in spring, the seasons are unpredictable.

 

Start by reading these general tips on packing for autumn travel:

 

What clothes should I wear in the Midwest in Fall?

 

In the Midwest, autumn is all about football season. Even if you aren’t a football fan, it’s fun to get tickets to see a game at least once–trust me, the energy really makes it worth it. If you’re headed to a sporting event this fall, cheer on the team wearing appropriate school attire and make sure your Midwest clothes include the team colors.

Complete this activewear look with skinny jeans, sneakers, and outerwear for cold days. This is the time of year that cities across the Midwest are flooded with students, but university gear works in every season and can help you narrow down your Midwest packing list.

 

These are gorgeously designed cute backpacks for travel, and one of them may be your new favorite travel companion!

 

 Midwest Packing List for Fall

 

Clothes:

  • Two short sleeve tops
  • Two long sleeve tops
  • Two additional tops
  • One pair of blue jeans
  • One pair of black ponte pants
  • Two dresses
  • One rain or winter jacket
  • One warm layer
  • Thermals (if very cold)
  • Three socks
  • Ten underwear
  • Three bras
  • One versatile sleep set

 

Shoes:

  • Waterproof leather boots (sightseeing)
  • Canvas sneakers (sightseeing)
  • Ballet flat (dressing up)
  • Closed toe wedges: (optional)

 

 

what-to-wear-in-the-midwest

Tights | Sweater | Shirt | Parka | Dress | Jeans | Boots | Tall Boot | Scarf | Lipstick | Crossbody | Backpack

 

What to Wear in the Midwest in Winter

 

What is the weather in the Midwest in winter? (December, January, February)?

 

Winter in the Midwest is cold, dark, and snowy, with temperatures dipping into the negatives in Fahrenheit and snowfall averaging 36-76 inches depending on the state.

 

Start by reading these general tips on packing for winter travel:

 

What clothes should I wear in the Midwest in winter?

 

With temperatures this cold, it’s best to plan your packing list for the Midwest around packing layers and a high-quality, waterproof winter coat. Other winter accessories such as gloves, a hat, and scarf are also a must when visiting the Midwest in winter.

If you’re attending a seminar or workshop, opt for dark skinny jeans that can be dressed up or down. On top, a pretty cashmere sweater over a floaty blouse is warm and professional. That same sleek backpack from the spring and summer can be put to use to carry a tablet and other seminar essentials.

When deciding what to wear to the Midwest for a more casual trip, an appropriate outfit for a dinner date or museum hopping is a short sweater dress worn over thick tights. To keep those feet warm, a pair of knee-high boots, especially a water-resistant pair, is ideal.

For extra warmth on the coldest of days, a large scarf or cape scarf can act as an extra layer over the dress and under a coat.

Do you have after-dinner drinks planned? A swipe of dark lipstick can take either of these winter outfits from day to evening, fast.

One thing to keep in mind when traveling in the Midwest during the winter is that the weather can be unpredictable, which can lead to delayed or missed flights. While this can be super stressful, try to think of it as more time to see the city!

 

Find out why thermals are a must for traveling light (and staying warm) in winter

 

What shoes should I wear in the Midwest in winter?

 

Uggs are the winter shoe of choice for many Midwestern women because they’re comfortable, but knee-high boots are another great shoe option. If it snows during your trip, opt for a pair of warm winter boots. If it will be cold and rainy without snow, opt for cute and versatile waterproof leather boots instead.

 

Find out what TFG readers chose as the best waterproof leather boots!

 

 Midwest Packing List for Winter

 

Clothes:

  • Two long sleeve tops
  • Three long sleeve sweaters
  • One additional top
  • One pair of blue jeans
  • One pair of black ponte pants
  • One additional bottom
  • One long sleeve dress
  • One winter jacket
  • One warm layer
  • Thermals
  • Three socks
  • Ten underwear
  • Three bras
  • One versatile sleep set

 

Shoes:

  • Waterproof tall or ankle leather boots (sightseeing)
  • Leather sneakers (sightseeing)
  • Ballet flat or heeled ankle boot (dressing up)

 

 

 What is the Best Luggage for the Midwest?

 

If you don’t already own a suitcase, choose one wisely. Read these tips on how to pick a suitcase and consider one of these top brands. Make your life easy with our best suitcase recommendations.

There are times when backpacks are better than wheeled bags. If you’re going on an adventurous trip, learn how to choose the best travel backpack.

 

 

what-to-wear-in-the-midwest

Compass Rose Carryon Packing Cubes

 

Planning to travel carryon only? USE PACKING CUBES! They changed everything for me and thousands of other travelers. See my packing tutorial on how to use them! Trust me, they are a must!

 

 

what-to-wear-in-the-midwest

Compass Rose Secret Bra Wallet

 

Safety

 

Safety is a big concern whenever you travel. Taking a few safety precautions can help you feel less stressed during your trip.

 

How can I stay safe while traveling in the Midwest?

 

Wear your purse strap across your body and the zipper towards the front. For extra security, check out the “theft-proof” bags featured in this post about crossbody purses.

 

These are articles with other suggested anti-theft products:

 

Remember, the safest place for your passport is locked in your accommodation. Carry a photocopy or other ID when you’re sightseeing or are out at night.

 

Read these tips on how to keep your passport safe when you travel!

 

Suggested Anti-Theft Accessories for the Midwest

 

  • Bra stash, neck pouch, or money belt with RFID protection
  • Anti-theft crossbody bag
  • Passport case
  • TSA-approved luggage lock
  • Clothing with hidden pockets (like underwear, tops, and scarves)

 

What’s the best time of year to visit The Midwest?

 

The Midwest has some wonderful destinations to add to your travel bucket list, but the weather can vary so drastically from season to season that you might be left stumped about what to pack.

The climate of this region varies depending on the latitude of the state (the further north you go the colder it gets), with the winter generally cold and snowy and the summers hot—perfect for a dip into Lake Michigan.

 

 


What are your tips on what to wear in the Midwest? Share in the comments below!


 

For more North America packing tips, please read:

 


 

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Author Bio: Elizabeth Georgian is a travel writer and expat currently based in Vilnius, Lithuania. Follow her local and international travels on In Search Of or on Facebook and Instagram.