New York State of Mind

by zoé b

Thinking big in a small space: easier done in Manhattan than when trying to pack to get there, which I what I’m attempting for the coming weekend. Four days, three nights, two dinners, one brunch and myriad other activities, each necessitating outfits at varying levels of formality; all must fit into a carry-on. I am refusing the $25 checked bag fee–those are funds better allocated towards a post-plane bellini at Cipriani.

I need: shoes for night, shoes for day (walkable, both), blouses, shirts, a jacket, a sweater, a skirt, tights or leggings, a handbag for day, a handbag for night, and a rain trench since the forecast shows 66 degrees–that’s practically arctic for my Southern blood–and a 40% chance of rain. If there’s anything more detestable than being cold and wet, it’s being poorly dressed to boot. And boots are out of the question since we’re dealing with a cabin-sized suitcase.

Heels are warranted, but they’ll have to be somewhat substantial; I’ll need my toes covered and I can’t walk far in stilettos. So I’ve chosen a chunky YSL-looking (they’re actually Dolce Vita) pair in grey and black suede with gold piping and an ankle strap. The heel is thick; they go with everything and I’ll probably wear them to dinner once or twice.

This is step one in today’s prudent packing lesson: make sure everything is coordinated and can be worn more than once, but never reuse an outfit; that’s boring, folks. It helps to stick to a certain color palette, and also to make a list of what you’re doing and where (wear?).

Color-wise I’m doing greys, blues, and blacks for the clothes…

…and adding a P.O.C (pop of color!) with accessories.

One of my favorite modes of P.O.C.-ing? Lipstick. MWAH!

In addition to the heels, I’m packing a pair of black smoking slippers and I might throw in my white Converse, since I know it’s going to rain.

For that reason I’m also taking my rain-trench, which I’ll probably wear on the plane over my  pullover, which, unworn, assumes the most space of any one item.

Also wearing in transit: My jeans. Yep, I’m only taking the one garment. Don’t look at me like I’m an unlaundered child of the gutter; I said one garment, not one pair. Huh?


These clever pants are made by Bleulab and they are AWESOME for traveling. I acquired them earlier this year; I think they’ve gone on just about every trip I’ve taken since.

So what’s left? Makeup, shampoo, face wash, and jewelry, all of which I will put in travel sized-containters (they sell them at the drugstore) and will likely put in my purse—black, pictured above with the blues and greys and is itself the size of a small suitcase—so as to ease the screening process at security. Flying from one major US airport to another major US airport does not a fun time with the TSA make.

And here we have it: all four days, three nights, and a couple of extras just for good measure all fit into my little bag, and I still have space for acquisitions!