What to Wear in Napa

By Ashley Friedman

Feeling fashionably fine in California's famous wine country

What to Wear in Napa

Stunning natural beauty, balmy weather, proximity to the coastline and easy access to the bounty of top-tier vineyards are among the reasons that Napa is a beloved destination for road-trippers, honeymooners and just about everybody else. Packing for Napa can be a bit daunting. Napa has a rustic charm that makes formal wear seem stiff and out of place, but there's definitely a chicness to the town, so striking a balance on your trip is key.

Wear light and comfortable attire

  1. Sundresses. A sundress is perfect for Napa because it can be dressed down in the daytime with sneakers or flat sandals, and turned up in the evening with a scarf, heels and some simple jewelry. Packing a few sundresses is a great way to double your wardrobe options and keep you comfortable.
  2. Light layers. The northern California region can get chilly, especially in the evening during the cooler months of the year, and you'll want to be prepared. A light denim or canvas jacket and a couple of lightweight sweaters or cardigans can help ward off a chill, whether you're enjoying a glass of wine on the terrace or in an air-conditioned restaurant. 
  3. Flats and heels. Too many shoes spells overpacking disaster on a trip, but because Napa style toggles between smart casual and upscale chic, bringing formal footwear and a few pairs of a sneakers or flats can help to maximize shirts, t-shirts and jeans. Throw on a pair of lace-up sneakers and jeans during the day, and then swap them out for heels to take your look from the bike path to the cocktail bar. 
  4. Scarves. Scarves are a great way to dress up a casual outfit and also make for a useful body-wrap when the temperature drops during the evening hours. 

Leave these items behind

  1. Puffy coats. The temperature in Napa gets chilly, but a peacoat and a sweater should do you fine. Don't bother packing a heavy, puffy coat for the evening, unless you're expecting a very unusual cold snap.
  2. Stilettos and lace-up or thigh-high boots. You may dress up in Napa, but the overall vibe is casual. Save the stilettos and dressy boots for the big city or a formal event. 

Dress for the weather and the occasion

The climate in Napa is pretty temperate. Sunny dry days and cool evenings make for comfortable living, but Northern California can get rainy in the autumn and winter. If you're traveling between September and March, be sure to pack an umbrella and rain boots, and a waterproof outer layer. Weddings are popular in Napa, as well. If you're going to a wedding or other event, be careful not to get too formal. Simple beauty is the watchword in Northern California, and unless you're going to a black tie event, a gown and excessive jewelry may look out of place.

Pack light, or be a maximalist

If you're flying and bringing a limited amount of luggage, think about creative ways to maximize or reuse some of the clothes you bring. Repurposing dresses or skirts from day to night will help maximize space because you'll be packing for fewer days. If you're driving, you can afford to bring more. Throw a couple of throw blankets and pillows in the car for an outdoor picnic on the vineyard, or bring your bicycles for rides through Napa's famously beautiful countryside.

About the Author

Ashley Friedman graduated from Sarah Lawrence College in 2003 with a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing and Social Sciences. She has experience writing copy for the websites of creative professionals, and regularly contributes to several blogs covering popular culture, travel, food, and social action.