I wouldn’t say I’m a bad packer, but I don’t really start my packing with a strategy so much as I start it with a very panicked approach. Most of my clothes are relatively similar and at least somewhat neutral, so it’s really easy to mix and match. As a result, I can throw a bunch of tops and pants into a suitcase, and end up with outfits I like, even if I haven’t really planned them. When I packed for my couple months in NYC, I was rushing around doing a lot of things, and I tended toward the side of, “If I think I’ll need it, I should just bring it.” Unfortunately, that is not the logic applied to backpacking trips, and I wish I thought a little bit more like a backpacker. My suitcase with 10 weeks worth of clothes weighed 42 pounds, and while that’s not insane (in my opinion), it’s also not a manageable amount of weight to trek around New York City.
Here’s what I seriously should have cut:
Awkwardly loose summer going out shirts.
I’m honestly not sure why I still own these types of shirts, but they sort of work with my LA wardrobe, because they’re flowy and comfortable and light. Unfortunately, thanks to some washer/dryer-induced injuries, this shirt has stretch to be looser than it has any business being. Also, in New York, the weather hasn’t really allowed for this shirt, and I feel a lot more self-conscious about my laid-back looks, because it feels like everyone else in this city is dressed to the nines. Overall, this shirt is just getting further wrinkled in my suitcase.
Four pairs of jeans that are all essentially the same.
If you’re going somewhere for 10 weeks, how many jeans do you bring? My answer was four, and I’d say that was two pairs too many. I brought two dark blue pairs (distressed and non-distressed), a light-washed distressed pair, and black jeans. The black jeans pick up NYC dirt faster than anything else you can imagine, and the two pairs of dark blue are redundant. I also was inspired to do laundry much less frequently, because when one pair of jeans got dirty, I could move onto the next, which is good for environment, but meant I ran out of tops very quickly.
The insanely-fitted 90s sweater.
In my defense, this looks better on a human than on a hanger. However, its sleeves hit that awkward mid-point that isn’t flattering on the arms, nor is it keeping your arms warm. While I can get away with the semi-covered arm in a warm climate, in NYC, it just leaves a random section of my arm uncomfortably cold. Not worth bringing. Also, most of my thick sweaters are beige or gray, so it doesn’t look good paired with any of them.
Low-key Easter egg-looking Peplum top.
Here’s the thing: I really do love this top, but it’s hard to pair with anything unless you want to fully commit to rockin’ a slightly NYE-ish shirt. My level of style commitment to some articles of clothing really reflect my best mix-and-match work, but I was sort of at a loss with this. And much like my 90s vibe gray sweater, the sleeves could not be less convenient.
The cute but totally unnecessary knick knacks.
There is also a list of “little things” that I rationalized throwing into my suitcase because they were small and I “totally had the space.” Here are the things I haven’t used at all: the jewelry I brought in that cute little tin (except one pair of earrings that I wore to Lauren’s wedding), nail polish (even though I do have enough love for that polish, I haven’t painted my nails since being here), adorable flats (which I love, but which provide exactly no support for me to trample around NYC with). I used these flats exactly once in NYC, and trash juice came in on all sides. It was not my best moment.
Any stuff that would have been cute if I had remembered to bring appropriate accessories.
This is actually one of my favorite dresses! It’s long-sleeved, which as you may have guessed at this point, is my preferred sleeve length. It’s good material, so it works for the colder months and for spring. And I love the color. The only catch is this: it needs a belt. Without one, there’s too much fabric, and I look like I’m a seven-year-old swimming in her mother’s dress. So it’s taking up a good amount of space in my suitcase, but not getting used at all.