Moving series: My New York packing list

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So, you may or may not be aware that I moved to New York City recently. I thought it might be nice, for those of you crazy enough to move here too, if you had a short-ish New York packing list. Disclaimer: I came to this hectic city with two checked bags and a purse. There was no U-Haul of stuff coming behind me (I didn’t have an apartment–where tf would I put all that stuff?), but I have been steadily receiving packages of things from home–kitchen supplies, winter coats, etc. 

nyc-packingYou’ve really got to figure out what belongings are important to you and purge the rest. I’ve heard lots of different advice (“pick out everything you want to take with you, and then pack half of it;” “only pack whole outfits so that you’re never scrambling;” etc.), but I like to make a specific list of the things I’m taking.

When I say “a specific list,” what I mean is that you should to specifically itemize each piece you’re taking with you. This forces you to know what you’re taking with you (there can be no surprises this way!), and serves as a way to make airlines pay you $$$ if they lose your luggage. It’s a win-win.

So, without further ado, here’s my New York packing list:

Black dresses

Honestly, these are a no-brainer on any New York packing list. Your closet needs to match your heart (in color, not size. It would be impossible to find a closet that big), and black dresses are the easiest way to do that. I tried to pack dresses that would work for day or night, but the priority was work-wear.  I’ve found favorites from Sézane (like the dress below), Saks Fifth Avenue (and here!) and affordable choices from Express.

Work-ready separates

I’m talking skirts, blouses and pants. Depending on your style, this is also a good category from which to pull some going-out clothes. I’ve got a girl-boner for the LOFT utility blouse (as I’ve mentioned here), and I’ve recently fallen in love with buying work pants at Aritzia.

Off-duty denim

This is also obvious. If you don’t wear jeans, I’m not sure you’re from earth. Finding good denim can be really hard, though, and you can’t just bring every pair you own. I’ve brought some trusty pairs from Madewell and have really been loving these toothpick-cut jeans from J. Crew lately. (Off-duty denim works well with giant sweaters, as I try/fail to illustrate in this post.)

Black. White. Camel.

By this, I just mean that you should try to keep inside a pretty neutral color scheme during the move. Add in some gray or navy if you’re not into camel, and maybe bring a little color.

Every single bra you own

This also applies to socks. There’s 0 reason you should leave them behind. Put them in a silk bag or stuff them in your shoes–you need them. It will suck to buy more.

Black heels, nude heels, flats…

By this, I mean your work shoes. Sure, you could buy these later, but it won’t kill you to have at least two pairs of shoes for work.

Adidas Superstars and booties

Your casual shoes. This should be a small category. I wore the same pair of Adidas Superstars every day for almost a month. They worked in every situation–I wasn’t negotiating any major mergers or acquisitions during my first month here. Now that the cold weather is coming in, booties are a great choice as well. I’ve found these from LOFT to be great. Otherwise… you know where to look.

A work-horse of a purse

I have one black purse and one brown tote bag. In week four after the move, my not-a-work-horse of a purse broke… on Fifth Avenue. It was mildly embarrassing and terribly inconvenient. Ya girl needed a replacement, especially since walking around with a computer in a bag with straps tied to her shoulder wasn’t going to work out. This one from Madewell works wonders.


Seriously. There’s nothing like realizing all the t-shirts you had budgeted to be sleepwear are suddenly gross and dirty to make you feel suddenly down. Sleeping naked is awesome (or so my friends tell me…), but not when you have an air mattress with no sheets or an apartment with no curtains. Trust me on this–pajamas are one of the few (ok… the many) things I’m kicking myself for not having brought. I’d be happier looking like Jess from New Girl than the New Girl–obsessed vagabond that seems to have taken over my body.


Here I’m talking about umbrellas. I’m talking about slippers. I’m talking about pillows and a blow-drier and a flashlight. I’m talking about a coat, for god’s sake. Does inclement weather seem likely? Prepare…but not too much. That space is valuable. (Was that confusing? Good. Because I’m terribly confused. I’m also the worst person on the planet to be giving advice. Why have you people gone on reading this long?)

tl;dr? Be prepared. Bring extra bras. Don’t forget the black.


What do you think would be on your New York packing list?

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