Post Overview: What to Wear in Scotland (Scotland Packing List + Scotland Outfit Ideas)
My love affair with Scotland started innocently enough. On a friend’s recommendation — okay, it was more like an hour-long rave review — we decided to prioritize a trip to Braveheart Country.
And holy cow, even hearing the rave reviews beforehand, I was completely unprepared for how much I would come to love Scotland. The proof? We ended up returning for a second trip less than a year later.
All told, I’ve visited Scotland twice now, and both time felt adequately dressed and prepared (traveling with a carry-on exclusively, to boot).
I thought it might be helpful to share some of my Scotland outfits ideas and roundup my personal Scotland packing list for anyone planning a similar trip.
I’m not big on small talk, so let’s dive right in.
Meet the gal behind this Scotland packing list
Hey, I’m Antonina (nice to meet you).
As mentioned, I visited Scotland twice now and felt perfectly prepared for the trip while using a carry-on exclusively.
To call me fashionable would be a stretch (ask my mom and sisters). But I strive to be efficient and prefer to keep things simple.
These easy Scotland outfits ideas are simple and quick to put together — they don’t require much thought. I hope you find my Scotland packing list useful!
And remember, as always, don’t hesitate to reach out with questions, I’m (more than) happy to help any way I can.
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What to Pack for Scotland (Tips)
Good quality hiking boots are non-negotiable
Scotland is an outdoor lover’s paradise. Attracting nature nuts visitors from all over the world, I’m willing to bet you plan on getting some outdoor recreation in while visiting Scotland.
Confession time: Shoes are my biggest obstacle when packing for international trips. Left unchecked, I’d cross the Atlantic with 6 pairs (“what if we go somewhere nice for dinner!”).
Learn from my mistake and stick with 2 pairs of shoes when packing for Scotland.
Chances are high that you’ll end up wearing one pair 80-90% of the time anyway. For me, it was this great pair of boots (I’d sleep in them if I could!).
My husband and I both picked up a pair specifically for our Scotland trip and ending up wearing them daily. They were — by far — the best thing I added to my Scotland packing list.
Contrary to popular belief, sunglasses are a must
Having visited Scotland twice, the one essential item on my personal Scotland packing list is a good pair of polarized sunglasses. I bought this pair 6+ years ago and they’re holding up quite well.
My husband forgot to pack a pair (bless him) and had to buy a pair upon arrival. He paid more and got less, come prepared. Also, never (ever, ever) leave the house without packing this as well (it’s the only brand I recommend for a reason).
What to pack for Scotland: Sunglasses
Focus on quality over quantity
You know the drill: better to invest in a good quality piece that will last 5-10 years rather than buying a new item every year.
If you find yourself having to choose between 2-3 sweaters or one really high quality sweater, I say opt for the one sweater over the 2-3.
The biggest perk of packing high quality clothes is that you won’t need to wash them as often. Wool, cashmere and cotton don’t get stinky as fast as artificial materials, which means you’ll get more wear per wash.
And since most accommodations don’t have access to washers and dryers, you’ll want to set yourself up for success.
East Scotland Outfit Ideas (What to Pack for Scotland)
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Scotland Outfit Ideas #1: Black jeans + turtleneck
Let’s kick off this list of easy outfit ideas for Scotland with a crowd favorite: the classic black outfit. This is the simplest outfit to put together (requires no thought) which is exactly why it’s my go-to.
Simply pair a black long-sleeve t-shirt (or in my case, turtleneck) with black jeans and violà — you’re ready to go within seconds.
I opted for my brown leather boots (as opposed to the hiking boots) to make it seem like I put it more effort than I actually did (ha!).
Layering is a breeze, so remember to bring a sweater with you, regardless of what the forecast says.
Outfit Ideas for Scotland #2: Wool cardigan/sweater, skinny jeans & boots
The wool cardigan and jean combo was probably my most worn outfit in Scotland. Mostly because I was really impressed with the quality of the cardigan, which make reaching for it in the morning a no-brainer.
You can pair the cardigan with anything, really. From warm long-sleeve t-shirts to a breezy tank (pictured below) simply mix and match based on the warmth of the day.
Toss a long, soft scarf over the cardigan for an extra layer of coziness.
Packing List for Scotland: My sweater is sold out, here’s a good alternative.
Scotland Outfit Ideas: #3. Jean jacket, turtleneck and white jeans
Warm attire is essential when packing for Scotland. Even in the dead of summer, the temperatures can dip to astonishing lows.
As such, I made stock up on layers when narrowing down my list of what to pack for Scotland, the star of the show was the jean jacket. I tossed this thing on a daily basis, definitely one of the best purchases I made when packing for Scotland.
Scotland Outfit Ideas #4: Statement jacket & wide-leg jeans
Sometimes you want an outfit that’s a bit more memorable and interesting. When dwindling down my Scotland outfit ideas, I decided to tag along an interesting wool jacket I picked up in Porto (love that place!).
But — between you and me — any old statement jacket will do. If you have one you love, add it to your Scotland packing list, pair with a cool/trendy pair of wide leg jeans and call it a day.
Scotland Outfit Ideas #5: Stripe shirt + vest
I’m rounding up this list of Scotland outfit ideas with my “uniform.” Truth be told, this is my preferred ensemble whether I’m traveling or at home.
As for the striped shirts, everyone knows I have too many of those, but alas, this is such an easy outfit to through together, can you blame me?
For those asking — my baseball cap can be found here (if it’s still available).
What to Pack for Scotland for Women
1. An insulated jacket
Alright let’s kick off this list of things to pack for Scotland with the most essential item: an insulated jacket. The first time we visited Scotland, it was part of a big 10-month trip (where we lived out of our carry-on suitcases!).
We flew to Scotland after visiting Egypt (which was not at all what we expected), where the 100+ degree heat was quite the adjustment.
Very impressed with the quality, it was the first thing I added to my Scotland packing list the second time around.
2. A light (everyday) jacket
When preparing my Scotland outfits ideas, I knew I’d be living in a jacket most of the trip. I wanted something light enough to wear daily but substantial enough to keep me warm and comfortable.
3. Wool sweater (1-3 sweaters)
I’m hardly the first to tell you that a wool sweater is a must on any proper Scotland packing list. The challenge? Finding a high quality sweater that won’t break the bank.
Wool is an investment, and not all wool sweater are created equal. I was keen to find a warm 100% sweater and spent a few days nursing disappointment (way too many options to sort through).
After (way too) much time online, I finally landed on this quality wool cardigan and loved it so much I ordered two pairs for my Scotland packing list. I also ordered another one for my husband as well (here’s the color I went with).
Ultimately, when finalizing my Scotland outfit ideas, I ended up packing 2 wool sweaters and one wool vest.
4. Waterproof jacket
Like an insulated jacket, waterproof jackets are essential when thinking about things to pack for Scotland. Thankfully, they’re way less bulky than insulated jackets, which means they take up less space.
If I had more room in my suitcase, I would have brought my favorite (and most complimented) rain jacket, but alas – you can’t win them all.
5. High quality boots (& wool socks)
When researching what to pack for Scotland I came across some helpful advice: pack comfortable closed-toe shoes. And while I’m glad for the advice, I’d take it a step further and say that boots are an essential packing item for Scotland as well.
I was keen to keep my Scotland packing list as light as possible, so I opted for two pairs of boots during my seconsd trip.
However, during my first visit, I only packed one pair of shoes (these comfortable sneakers ), they were great.
If I were using a checked bag while packing for Scotland, I would have opted to packing my favorite rain boots (but I wasn’t, so I didn’t). And I was completely fine without the rain boots, because the boots I packed were waterproof, so they checked that box.
6. Jeans (2-3 pairs)
Jeans were staple in my Scotland outfit ideas planning. I wear them often (when traveling or not) so I know to invest in good pairs that are sure to last a while.
For my Scotland packing list, I opted for 4 pairs of jeans, but 2-3 pairs would be totally fine too. Since I wasn’t planning on packing any other pants/bottoms, I chose to use my luggage space on jeans.
7. Wool beanie
I run cold. It can be 90+ degrees outsides and you’ll see me donning a sweater. Blame in on genetics if you must, but at the end of the day it doesn’t change the fact that I need to pack warm clothes where I got.
My Scotland packing list was no exception, and since I didn’t want to pack too many things, I had to make sure I found one really wool quality wool beanie that would go with any outfit.
8. Long-sleeve shirts (2-4)
News flash: Turtleneck shirts are cool again (I think, at least).
Okay, this probably isn’t a factual statement, but I love turtlenecks, so I stocked up on a few pairs while planning my Scotland outfit ideas.
Here’s the turtleneck shirts I bought when packing for Scotland (I was so impressed by the quality, I ended up getting 3 more for the house).
I also packed my favorite striped shirt, and a few lighter long-sleeve shirts that served as underlayers for the wool sweaters.
Scotland Packing List: Let’s Talk Accessories
1. High quality sunscreen
Make no mistake, you’re going to need sunscreen while packing for Scotland, and it should be high quality sunscreen. This is not one department I ever recommend skimping on.
2. Polarized sunglasses are non-negotiable
I brought two pairs of sunglasses when packing for Scotland. One pair of polarizes sunglasses and one pair of regular glasses I picked up during a trip to Portugal.
Needless to say, I wore the polarized pair exclusively after realizing the regular pair wouldn’t cut it. The sun, while somewhat elusive, is harsh especially while driving.
What to Pack for Scotland: Here’s the classic pair of polarized sunglasses I’ve owned for 6+ years. They never go out of style (right?).
3. Long scarf
Since we spend so much time traveling lately, I’ve been learning a few tips and trips for making flights more comfortable. My biggest comfort is packing this large cashmere scarf my mom gifted me for Christmas, because it doubles as a blanket in a pinch.
Naturally, I added it to my Scotland packing list and wasn’t the least bit surprised when it fit right in with the various Scotland outfits ideas I had planned.
What to Pack for Scotland (Post Summary)
In sum, here’s a quick overview of what to pack for Scotland, based on firsthand experience.
- Insulated jacket
- A light (everyday) jacket
- Wool sweater (2-3)
- Waterproof jacket
- Long-sleeve shirts (2-4)
- Wool Beanie
- Good quality hiking boots
- Polarized sunglasses
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