TME reader, Karen reached out to us on Facebook with the following dilemma:
“In the spirit of ‘inspired by’ posts I’ve seen over the last few weeks, I thought I would submit and ask if you would consider whipping up some suggestions. A few friends and I are meeting in NYC for 4 nights (5 days) of kid-free girl bonding. We’ll be playing culinary tourists (so food baby allowance is a must) but obviously comfort and function trump everything. What basics and stand out pieces should I pack (or buy?) before heading out? Our days are likely to be spent touring (read: walking walking and more walking) while our nights will be cocktail lounges and semi-fancy dinners. My typical jeans and tees aren’t going to cut it! HELP?!”
First off, I’ll just come out and say it: I am completely jealous. How amazing does this trip sound?! A girls only getaway to NYC is the perfect way to recharge your batteries and create memories to cherish for a lifetime. And by “create memories” I don’t mean stand on a convenience store countertop at 4am and serenade the cashier with a drunken rendition of “You are My Sunshine” (because that wasn’t AT ALL what happened on my last girls’ trip to NYC) Ha..moving on…
When I read Karen’s Q, I jumped at the chance to help and maaaybe even live vicariously through her for a minute. Here’s what I discovered:
The 5-4-3-2-1 Packing Rule
What I originally intended to be an “essentials” vacation packing list quickly became an “everything but the kitchen sink” packing list. Oops. When I turned to the internet for some much needed help I came across something that completely blew. my. mind:
The 5-4-3-2-1 packing rule.
The originator of this idea needs some sort of award. Seriously. I am in awe of all organized, analytical, left brain thinkers because my mind just does not work that way. To say I am unorganized is an understatement and by default, packing is no exception. My method goes a little something like this: find the biggest suitcase, stuff it with everything in sight, pray it closes. Needless to say, I NEVER have what I actually need on a trip – just every pair of shoes I’ve ever owned.
5-4-3-2-1 is SO simple and here’s how to do it: 5 tops (one lightweight jacket or raincoat, one hoodie or sweater, at least one t-shirt, at least one tank), 4 bottoms (one pair of jeans or pants, at least one pair of shorts, at least one skirt) 3 shoes (one comfortable walking sandal, one pair of low-sling heels for evening, one pair of sneakers or flats), 2 bags ( a daytime carry all bag and small evening bag like a cross body), then 1 dress, 1 shawl, 1 hat, 1 pair of sunglasses and 1 carry-on sized sunblock. Just for fun I added in something to read + an instant camera (it’s the over-packer in me).
If you’re only going for a few days or a long weekend just narrow the list down to 4 tops, 3 bottoms, etc.
Here’s my NYC getaway wardrobe based on 5-4-3-2-1…
jacket – Mavi Jeans ‘Samantha’ Denim Jacket at Nordstroms for $118.00.
sweater – The Kooples Striped Knit Sweater currently 40% off at $177.00 at Bloomingdales.
tee – LNA V-Neck Strap Detail Cotton Tee, $74.00 at Nordstrom.
lace cami – Satin Lace Camisole from H&M, $24.99.
eyelet tank – Velvet by Graham and Spencer’s Eyelet Cami, $148.00 on Amazon.
jeans – Paige Denim’s Ankle Peg Skinny Jeans in optic white currently 30% off at Nordstrom for $132.30. A cheaper and very highly rated version are Articles of Society’s ‘Sarah’ Skinny Jean also at Nordstrom for $54.00.
denim shorts – River Island Mid Blue Wash Boyfriend Shorts, $64.00 at River Island.
skirt – River Island’s Floral Print Flippy Skirt, $50.00 at River Island.
flat sandals – Calvin Klein’s ‘Caterina’ Demi Wedge Gladiator Sandal, Nordstrom $118.95.
sneakers – Dr. Scholl’s Original Collection ‘View’ Flats, Nordstrom $117.95.
heeled sandals – these Frye ‘Brielle’ Dress Sandals may be pricey ($176.00 – $248.00 on Amazon) but are a wise investment if you’re looking for a super comfortable and durable heel dress sandal.
backpack – Suede and Leather Roll Top Backpack from ASOS, $89.00.
crossover – ONE by Most Wanted Saddle Bag, $77.00 at Shopbop.
scarf – Madewell’s Sheer Weave Scarf, $44.50.
dress – Mara Hoffman’s Striped Midi available on Amazon for $198.00.
sunglasses – Karen Walker’s ‘Super Duper Thistle’ Retro Sunglasses currently 40% off for $179.98 at Nordstrom or for a cheaper but still stylish option there is Urban Outfitter’s Festival Round Sunglasses in 5 different colors for only $14.00.
sunscreen – Clinique’s ‘Super City Block’ Oil Free Daily Protector SPF 40, $21.60 at Nordstrom.
Added Fun Stuff
reading material – The Best Things to Do in New York, Second Edition (paperback version) $14.95 on Amazon.
instant camera – Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 Instant Camera $70 at Urban Outfitters.
How to Make Your Vacation-Friendly Outfit Stand Out
If you’re looking to spice-up your standard jeans and tee look for vacation, flowy dresses and skirts are a great way to add variation to your wardrobe. I’m a BIG believer in rocking a dress or a skirt during summer months; especially when I know I’m going to be active and outdoors. As I’ve learned over the years, my body type (hippy and thick-thighed) doesn’t take kindly to most shorts and without fail, they ALWAYS ride up/cause me some chafing or both. If you can relate, make your life 10 times easier and go for that flowy dress or skirt. Add a patterned shawl or scarf (perfect for cooler evenings, too) to make your outfit stand out even more. Here are some of my favorite pieces + other must have travel essentials:
Hope this helped, Karen! Enjoy that girls’ trip.