New York is a shoe problem — all cities are. To San Francisco, I dragged a 50-pound monster suitcase which Tyson kindly maneuvered on the subway. “What’s in here?” he wanted to know. Freaking shoes.
Last week, I helped my friend Cindy pack two small suitcases for four weeks in Europe, so I figured I could get myself into one carry-on for a long weekend in New York. And I did, it too. I’m flying out with Marni this morning and headed to see my girl Shanna and autumn in New York. (Ella Fitzgerald is singing in my mind.)
My travel-light strategy is to choose a color palette of smart basics with major accessories. Here’s how I pack for the city:
1. Three pairs of shoes: Flat walking boots (these are my new loves), tennis shoes that you aren’t embarrassed to wear in public, and one pair of heels that go with everything (see above). Wear the walking boots on the plane.
2. My well-loved map for my annual autumnal walk. (See the route here.) I’m wearing tennis shoes, black yoga pants, a Splendid tunic, and a trench coat. I mean business and major blocks.
3. Two handbags: pack one shoulder bag/tote that is large enough to hold everything you need on the plane — including your laptop or iPad. It will be your everyday bag in the city, too. Second, an evening bag. Below is my beloved Valentino — the bow serves as wristlet and makes it easy to carry and impossible to lose.
4. Layer-ready basics. Rick Steves’ rule is this: if you’re not going to wear it three times, it’s not invited. It also helps to pack lightweight layers in a color scheme: black, cream, leopard and gold. Cindy’s palette was black, gray, cream, and red. You’ll be ready for whatever weather, and your accessories can have the fun.
For five days, I’m bringing: one pair of jeans, two pairs of leggings, one day dress, one evening dress, and one dress that does both.
Also: three thin sweaters. Two T-shirts. Two blouses – one dressy, one casual. Yoga pants, a biker jacket, a lightweight trench coat, and a heavier dress coat.
I pack the three things that could wrinkle in dry-clean bags. It helps keep the wrinkles away — truly.
5. The coat is the most important thing. That’s all anyone ever sees, and it will be in all your photos. You’ll be happy with yourself if you have more than one to wear. I invested in this thin Burberry trench a few years ago. The price per wear is down to pennies at this point, and it’s one of my greatest-ever buys. This coat is similar, and hint: they go on sale. Mine was a steal.
Next, load up on accessories to make your T-shirts and leggings feel fun. I’m bringing:
6. One scarf: this Alexander McQueen scarf was a gift from a friend – apropos for Halloween weekend, right? I can wear it with my coat, use it as a blanket on the plane, or let it dress down a white blouse and thin black sweater. (This is my favorite.)
7. 1-2 statement necklaces: I bring pearls, because I never go anywhere without some iteration. This was a gift from the McQueen friend, as well. She loves me. It makes my day dress an evening dress, and can be a bracelet, too.
8. Small baubles – bring only your trademarks and favorites. This was a gift from Shanna. I adore.
9. I make my cosmetics fight one another for space. Some of my favorite workhorses: solid perfume – Stella by Tocca, Clinique’s Black Honey Almost Lipstick to wear every day, Bobbi Brown Shore eyeshadow (thank you, SarahsFabDay), Mac Primer + Powder, and a mini shine spray.
9. You’re allowed one thing that seems a little insane. I threw in a vintage fur collar. Watch me wear this three times. (Take that, Rick Steves.) It can give my dress coat new life or work for dinner at DBGB with jeans and a crewneck sweater.
10. A hostess gift. I believe in gift cards, and my hostess is moving.
11. My LIST. This was last year’s, plotted with Cindy on the plane. I’m a whirling dervish in this city — you’ve never seen a girl move so fast. I have no time for wardrobe fuss — there’s just too much to absorb.
Follow my New York adventures on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram: @JaimeeRoseStyle. I go every year to celebrate my birthday and walk through those golden leaves in the park – the best gift to myself. Read about my favorite pumpkin donuts here, a destination shop here, adventures in bakeries and bridges here, and a dining guide here.
And please tell me — what can’t I miss in the city?