I thought these two people were the closest male and female expressions of my personal style and influences. How fortuitous that they should both walk into the frame at the same time.
Looking back on my trip to New York, I was better prepared than I was for Washington DC, but I still learned things about myself and how I want to be dressed. Despite my perceived lack of preparation–I packed two days before I left (too close!)–I managed to bring what I needed with no waste of luggage space, and most of my needs were met by what I’d packed.
NYC pack list:
3 pairs of Uniqlo Ultra Stretch jeans, two black and one dark blue pair
6 long-sleeved Heattech shirts
1 Muji gray cashmere colorblock cardigan
1 H&M black cowl-neck sweater tunic
1 International Concepts short-sleeve turtleneck sweater
2 Nike Dri-Fit jackets
2 Gap men’s sweatshirts
1 Uniqlo gray sweat pullover
1 H&M men’s black and gray scarf
1 Urban Outfitters gray chunky knit scarf
1 Ecco Sculptured GTX ankle boots
1 Nike Lunarglide 5+ running shoes
1 Lands End wool walker coat (with Carhartt beanie) see below:
At Sutphin Blvd – Archer Ave Station, the last NYC subway stop before getting onto the JFK AirTrain system.
This is an accurate depiction of what I looked like for the week I was traipsing around Manhattan.
I learned some very important things on this trip:
- Wool and rain are a bad idea
My Lands End wool coat does well on a regular, dry cold day, but turns into a weight vest when wet. Thankfully I never got so drenched for it to seep through, but next time I travel to the East I’m bringing something waterproof instead. My bag is already heavy. Wearing 3 layers is already heavy. I don’t need a soggy coat restricting me on top of all of that.
- Waterproof shoes sont très utils.
I was fortunate that the one damp day on my trip was actually very light rain / barely a shower, but despite that my Nikes got soaked in less than two minutes. What would I have done if I didn’t have my Ecco Gore-Tex boots? They kept my toes warm and dry and my ankles covered. Well worth the $150 I paid for them. It allowed me to still go out on that day and I ended up at the New York Public Library and Grand Central Terminal (where it was warm indoors) and I spent a good 5 hours photographing everything in sight.
- Impulsive decisions are made when Kristina feels cold.
Did I really need an Ultra Light Down vest? No. Was I jealous of every slick person on the street in something puffy and down-filled? Yes. So many of the locals? tourists? had opted for cozy-looking North Face puffer jackets or parkas and I wanted in on the action. Thank goodness I was able to be somewhat sensible and went for the thinnest and smallest of the ULD options at Uniqlo–my mind is always thinking toward what would be California-appropriate. I don’t need a jacket rated for -20 degrees F. The locals didn’t seem to be wearing much; some ladies were able to go about in just a shawl and a scarf, but my desert blood quailed at 50F.
Trying to blend in with the city slickers.
Did I really need this vest? Not really. And I kind of regret it because 1. there is entirely too much feather leak for my liking–every day I’ve worn it since coming back I’ve needed a lint roller to clean myself up when I get home (more than 3-4 errant feather bits. Is this normal?) and 2. my local store had it for $10 less ($39.99) AND it’s on sale next week (Nov 18, men’s and women’s ULD vests go down to $29.) I could have waited. Classic case of Kristina is traveling and wants a souvenir and is conveniently cold and wants more clothes. Now that I know you, damnable pattern, I will make sure I’m bundled up well when I go shopping! Say no to impulse temperature-regulating buys!
- Buy all your consumable supplies (beauty products, medicine) at home.
I foolishly thought I could buy my $1 travel Dove body wash at a Target somewhere in New York. Duane Reade wanted $2.99 for a little 0.3 fl oz bottle of body wash. My penny-pinching soul railed at my stupidity for being too lazy to pick it up back home. If there’s a product you simply must use (a particular brand of shampoo, hypo-allergenic facial lotion), it is as important as not forgetting gloves or a hat. I’m lucky to be a fairly hardy person, but hotel shampoos and washes can be pretty harsh or just not do an adequate job. I paid the dumb tax on that one. I’d previously packed bottles of my own shampoo and conditioner before, but I wanted to avoid the pressurization kerfuffle and not have them potentially explode in my suitcase. Well, better to double bag some tried-and-true products than wander Manhattan at 10 pm wondering why the travel-sized section has a crappier per-ounce price than buying the full-sized product.
Most Valuable Items (MVI?) on this trip:
- Nike Thermal Dri-Fit jacket with thumbholes that I wore for practically almost 6 days: I will buy another one of these in the future; they’re multi-purpose, has a tall collar to cover my neck, and zippered pockets kept my valuables secure. It’s the jacket I’m wearing in the ULD vest picture. The long sleeves worked out because the thumbholes made it like a partial-glove over my hand, keeping my fingers free.
– Carhartt watch cap: blocked out the wind and kept my head warm. Solid little hat for $7.99 on Amazon.
– Ecco Sculptured GTX boots for the reasons mentioned above.
– a cheap pair of lycra/cotton gloves from Daiso Japan with the thumb, pointer, and middle fingers cut out + plastic dots on the palm-side for traction and grip. I had brought my mom’s 80’s style Isotoners on this trip but I didn’t even bother with those–having smartphone-ready gloves was more useful and if my fingers were a little cold, well, that’s what pockets are for, right?
– all my Uniqlo items were worn to full potential and where would I be sans Heattech? Frozen and/or very sick by now. That stuff works well; I wear it even when it’s not winter because I have no Cold Resistance.
TL;DR: maybe another trip to the East next year and I’ll have bought a proper jacket for wet/dry conditions. Also thank you for reading all the way through this post; I understand that I know very little about cold-weather climates and how to dress for it, so I beg your patience upon reading my pronouncements. What do you recommend is a good-all-weather travel jacket? Should I chance it with wool or go for waterproof down next time? Recommendations and tips for dealing with traveling in wet weather would be welcome!