May 5, 2017
When you read this, I will be in New York for a long weekend with La Photographe. She’s got a chance to photograph at Ellis Island on Sunday, and so we decided to make a long weekend of it! Why not?
But of course, one must pack…. How do you make these choices? I have thoughts – oh do I have thoughts!
(my brain generates acronyms like normal people make conversation…)
W – here are you going? This is pretty critical, because the difference between the city and the beach, or between the mountains and the downtown office, are massive. The joy of going to New York is that I could pack a tutu, a Buddhist monk robe, and a leather jumpsuit, and still be fine… it’s pretty difficult to be inappropriate there!
H – ow do you want to be seen? If I were making this trip with Belovedest, I would pack 4 dresses, and an assortment of flat shoes. I’d have at least a couple of scarves with me, and lots of changes of jewelry.
But this trip is with LP, and she’s done ALL the dressing up that she wants to do in her life, thank you. She wore suits for years when she worked in the financial markets, and so now she dresses for comfort and function. If I wore dresses when I was running around with her, it might be an awkward juxtaposition – just being comfortable is all that I need with her. I personally feel that it’s not respectful, and might even be seen as showing up someone, if you deliberately dress a lot more dressy than your companions. Your mileage may vary…
A – ctivities. If you’ve got something special on tap, you’ve got to dress for it. Our agenda is sightseeing, museum-going, and casual but “table-service” dining. Family-owned Italian and French is what we’re aiming for….
T – emperature. You’ve got to be as prepared as you can reasonably manage for the weather. It’s impossible to know with complete certainty what you’re going to encounter, but you should at least keep an eye on forecasts, and perhaps plan for some variations from what the predictions tell you. I’ve written a lot about this in the past, in the posts Tagged “Triple Top Secret.”
So enough philosophy – W.H.A.T. am I taking with me?
(I’ve linked to anything that’s still available; I’m sure that you understand that some of these items aren’t new!)
I’m basically packing two “Clusters” around my two crew neck sweaters, and then adding another sweater and skirt…
This is how I’m picturing things – Friday will be a ton of walking, and relatively relaxed. I’m going to step it up about a half a notch on Saturday because we’re meeting people for dinner. (so it’s trousers instead of jeans, and loafers rather than trainers – not a big change…)
I think I’m going to be alone most of the day on Sunday, so I’m going to do some “Vivienne Files” due diligence by seeing what I can see that’s wonderful and amazing. Monday morning – back to Chicago!
The Vivienne Files is continuing without interruption during my little jaunt, but if I’m late with responses to questions and comments, forgive me!
Are you really not taking a coat? Living in the UK , we have to take one everywhere especially if not travelling in our own car. This is the area I have great difficulty with, trying to find one coat to cover all activities on a trip.
Taste of France says
A short trench looks good in a city, isn't too bulky and is a little less formal than a full-length one. But if you're really walking around a lot, a waterproof coat with a hood is handy. I have a great swingy raincoat with a hood that bunches up like a cowl when not in use; a brilliant Parisian souvenir that has withstood the test of time and climate.
Funny. I was going to ask if she wouldn't be too hot with all the sweaters! Guess it's location, location,location!
Hi starryfish! I wondered that too – I'm carrying around two different weight coats in my car at the moment. England in the Spring :-)
It's supposed to pour all day today and some showers tomorrow, so I agree with starryfish – I hope you have a raincoat. Enjoy!
Brilliant! I love acronyms! Now I have an easy way to remember those pre-trip questions. Enjoy your trip!
If you find a wonderful family owned Italian restaurant, can you please share the name? Im headed to NY this summer and thats exactly what Im looking for!
Tre Colori in the theater district is wonderful.
Family owned restaurants are always the best all over the world!! The atmosphere is usually just as good as the food. This post and the above comments prompted me to think more about travelling coats. The best, for me, is one with a good looking hood, lots of pockets with zippers, attractive and easy to fold up and put into a back pack and knee length. At some point, would you consider a post on this?
Den from Vancouver
I too, am always looking for the perfect travel coat. Lots of zippered pockets, especially a zippered inner or outer chest pocket, is also a requirement for me, and it's hard to find. I will accept pocket snaps but definitely prefer zippers. But a hood is usually a deal breaker for me, because I rarely use a hood on a regular jacket or coat, and I don't want the extra bulk when traveling. I do bring a hooded rain shell on many/most trips. – nancyo
Excellent post! I'm taking notes (and re-thinking the bag I just packed for my own weekend get-away) ;)
Thank you for your approach to building a wardrobe. I am retired, formerly worked mostly from home with occasional weeks on-site. Now, my wardrobe has no suits, a few simple dresses, jeans, slacks and shorts (I live in Arizona). My husband loves to cruise and he's booking longer cruises with more formal nights each time. I am stumped at how to pack for 2 weeks in the Mediterranean, dressing for dinner each night with 4 formal nights, followed by 4 days in Rome. Not the worst problem to have, I know, but lugging luggage on and off planes, boats and trains means I need to keep it light. Suggestions?
My honeymoon was on a cruise also and for 3 weeks! The cruise ships have self service laundries. For the formal nights I took a longish black silk skirt and paired it with different silky tops that folded into nothing. I saw some women wearing the same black dress at each of the formal nights. No one cares! I took a simple 4×4 wardrobe with plenty of underwear and went to the laundry three times. I'm so happy I didn't over pack like I usually do. I mostly wear pants and brought 4: two casual and two dress (for dinners) and brought a variety of tops and two sweaters that were all easily washable knits. I did not use a carry -on but a smallish medium size suitcase. I had planned very carefully after reviewing all of. Janice' travel packing posts. It worked out very well. Good luck and have a nice trip. Janice Collins, Washington DC
Just a caveat – be sure to check whether there actually is a self-service laundry. The cruise ship I was recently on did not have one, and laundry service was very expensive. I got by, barely, by hand-washing undies and socks, and sent a bag of outerwear to the laundry only on the one occasion when they offered a cut rate. Items were returned wrinkled, so that was disappointing, and not very helpful.
Dr. JAM says
Cool and rainy–so I would add hooded rain jacket necessary!
Just back from month long roadtrip across country (to conference)–and while I packed for both hot (3 days in Phoenix) & cool climates (hit snow in New Mexico!), I basically lived out of my small under the seat bag, thanks to all your packing and capsule wardrobe advice. Layering was/is key. Now home, and will thin out wardrobe even more…
Thanks for such great advice!
Ann Holstrom says
Janice, perfect for a weekend in NYC with one caveat — you need a hooded rain jacket. We have had so much rain this spring that I fear you will need one. Thanks for the all of the wonderful packing advice over the years!
Perfect travel wardrobe! A rain coat/jacket might be needed.I know you like cold weather though. I bought a super lightweight one form J Jill last year. Doesn't add warmth but helps keep you dry. I think this time of year that layers are the answer for uncertain weather. I hope you also have tights for that skirt! Have a blast with your friend!
Thanks for always giving us great ideas and advice, Janice. My question is, what do you wear on your legs when you are wearing a skirt? Tights? Pantyhose? I am over 50 (but still look good!) and have to have something on my legs if I don't have some color from a suntan, meaning all other times than the summer. No one seems to address this. Also, can you talk about your Tumi bag? Do you recommend it?
I brought up this same question recently. One of Janice's readers responded that the Millenials skip the nylons, but wear tights or leggings under a skirt in chilly weather.
I'm 51 and do the same.. tights for warmth. Bare, pale legs when it's warm enough, and it's the same in my office with those women. My daughter, who us 29, and her friends, also do the same.
And I don't think there is anything "bad" about pale legs. If pale skin was bad, I'd better start wearing long sleeves all the time and a mask over my face LOL. I actually think this belief of needing a tan is left over from marketing by the self tanners (remember QT?) and other companies that had money to earn if we thought pale was bad. Back several generations, pale was a sign of wealth. It meant you had no need to work outside.
Your travel bag reminded me of your slot machine + 1. This concept of 3+3+4 interchangeable items is a really useful one. Thanks for all you do.
Don't you just love Janice's easy formats ? I know that I sure do ! So simple and instructive !
Gail Finke says
Ditto everyone else, but also: I love all these garments and I could be happy buying the whole set.
Hope you took an umbrella and waterproof shoes ! Enjoy your weekend !
Your clusters idea is my favourite. I've come to the conclusion that buying a series of complete outfits, all around one central item such as a bag or scarf, is the best way forward for me. So pleased I found this blog. Have a great weekend! Linda M
Those jjill skirts are the bomb! They pack like a dream, keep their shape, look good, and are comfortable to wear. I have several in different colors and patterns.
I really like this group of clothes – it makes me wish, for the millionth time, that I looked better in black.
Arts Doc says
Dear Janice, you continue to inspire and amaze me. So clever, but so much more than merely clever. The intelligent woman's guide to all things wardrobe, with a very high degree of aesthetics and savvy. Wow!
Pam @ over50feeling40 says
Would love to be in New York with you! I love the city! Great selections here as well.
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