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Seasonless Clothing for Snowbirds (Rainbirds on the West Coast)

snowbird wardrobe rainbird west coast arizona seattle california

by Kay Kerns (along with Tina Boomerina)

Kay Kerns, a friend of mine, asked me if I had any articles about seasonless wardrobes – clothing that works for snowbirds (or rainbirds) who live half the year in the North and half the year in the South. Well, because Kay will be living in both Seattle and Phoenix in a year or two, she ended up writing this article for us because she knows more about building a seasonless wardrobe than I do.

In the United States, people who “go south” for the winter are usually called snowbirds, but people who live in the Pacific Northwest (Seattle, Portland, Vancouver, and Northern California) are sometimes called rainbirds. And, most rainbirds don’t end going to Florida, they go to the Southwest (Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, or the California desert).

Seasonless Snowbird (Rainbird) Clothing – by Kay Kerns

Here’s what Kay wrote:

I’ve been thinking about seasonless and snowbird/rainbird clothing and I’ve noticed that travel-friendly clothing often fits in with the same theme. Seasonless clothing should layer and work together in the same way as travel wear.

In Arizona, you may need to go from cold conditions to hot ones within a short period. I noticed the temperatures in Phoenix can go from 88 to 55 over a 24-hour period and I there's fierce air conditioning everywhere.

layer clothing for climate changes snowbirds

Layered Clothing for Southwest Snowbirds

Thin layers that can be easily added and removed, made of breathable fabrics and loose, flowy, gauzy stuff are ideal. I remember passing through the Southwest on one of my first road trips and living in a dark-printed gauze broomstick skirt because it didn't wrinkle, was so comfortable and loose, and could be super casual or more dressy depending on my tops or accessories. The dark colors of the print didn't show dirt either!

Then I backed up into a cactus in a desert botanical garden and got spines all over my hip! Now I know why cowboys wore chaps!

Kay’s Seasonless Wardrobe Ideas

Here’s my list of clothing that works year round. I always get pieces that work alone or layered:

  • clothing for snowbirds rainbirds travelerTops and bottoms: Buy lighter-weight cottons and knits. (Neutral colors are versatile.)
  • Leggings: These can be worn as a layer under a long skirt for extra warmth or as bottoms with a tunic or shorter dress if it's warm out.
  • Long skirts (peasant style, gauze, T-shirt knits, stretchy fabric, maxi length): Long skirts can be worn in hot weather with a tank or short-sleeved knit top. If it’s chilly, long skirts can be worn with tights or leggings under them and worn with a long-sleeved top, thin sweater or knit top/cardigan combo.
  • Capri pants
  • Denim anything: I especially like dark washes.clothing to wear year round
  • Khaki anything: Army green, to my mind, is more seasonless than beige khaki.
  • Florals: I look for prints with a dark background. (The dark floral dress from Eucalyptus can be mixed and matched with every piece in the main photo - for every kind of weather.)
  • Tops and dresses with 3/4 sleeves
  • Tank tops
  • Tailored bigshirts: The most versatile ones are white or chambray. (article continues)

Keep reading about seasonless fashion on page two.

Tina Boomerina (AKA Christina Gregoire) is a Baby Boomer born at the end of 1952. Her mission is to make the internet a kinder and gentler place for Baby Boomer women around the world. Tina's specialty is fashion for women over 50.

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  1. kay kerns

    Oh Tina what a great article! You did everything perfectly, and I would love to have the wardrobe you used to illustrate the article! I notice the pieces look a lot like the clothes I already have! Don't they say write about what you know? Tell me how many people read and/or pin our article (I assume you have a way to track such things) thank you!!!

    • Tina-Boomerina

      Kay, I'm glad you like it. I'm not quite finished... I'm putting part of it on another page and adding photos. Of course, I'll let you know if people read it. And, I wish I had these clothes, too. Half the fun is looking for clothing that I might get someday... hopefully sooner rather than later.

  2. kay kerns

    Tina this is wonderful! Thank you so much. I commented before and on my end it said i did it twice but now on your end i don't see my comment! I hate the internet sometimes....:) Kay

    • Tina-Boomerina

      I probably have to go through all the comments to approve your first comment. sometimes I don't see all the comments until I wade through the list. I'll put it up later if it came through.

      But, I'm just about to post some paisley cowboy boots. I wish I had them. They're from England, so I'm not even sure if they sell them in the US. But, I'm happy just to look at them and to lust after them.

      • Tina-Boomerina


        And, if I win the lottery, we'll go to London and buy all this stuff. Don't worry... I can tell that you wear different colors than I do... so we won't fight over the same tops, etc.

        • kay kerns

          I know, the internet pacifies me when I'm too poor to actually shop, and it's better than magazines. I see you wearing more pastels than I do...I like darker colors or brights. I need some rest too, going to turn in soon.

  3. kay kerns

    Now I know what a backlink is! thanks

  4. kay kerns

    Hi Tina! Hope you are well, I miss seeing you online. I just reread this article to see if I agree with it after actually living in Arizona since just after Christmas. Basically I do agree with it, if anything I found that Southern Arizona in winter can go from freezing at night to hot during the day...I really do need all my clothes! Now that spring is here it's been in the high 70's to mid-80's during the day and down to high 40's -50's at night. I have been shopping for lighter pieces to wear during the hotter days to come. Luckily the thrift shops are full of that, and there seems to be a Goodwill store every couple miles or so! They are all over the place, along with other thrift stores too. The ones nearest to the wealthier neighborhoods like Chandler and Gilbert have the best clothing, no surprise there! We went through Phoenix but I haven't spent much time there at all. The closest I got to Phoenix was Mesa...we found the gated 55+ communities to be creepy! We are now living in Bapchule which is part of the Gila River Indian Community and where Marvin's allotment is located. It is only about a 20-minute drive to Chandler. We like it there...we do spend time at the Senior Center but otherwise we enjoy being around people of all ages. We are in temporary housing but hope to get a low-income place or our own place after Marvin gets hired by his tribe. That may be soon, as he has been going for interviews. Anyway, I've been thinking of you and hope you are ok. (hugs) Kay

  5. Roxann Browne

    Tina: Loved reading your article and all the clothing you posted. Really lusting after those boots; even if they did have them here in the U.S. vs. just the U.K. I know I would not have the money to buy them. How about painting a pair? How about a contest (just for fun) of people painting a pair with a cute little prize for the best pair? How fun would that be? Keep up the great work for us baby boomers to keep looking our best and dressing smart! Blessings, Roxann