Leslie Willmott | Wardrobe Strategies for Career, Travel & Casual Lifestyles

Wardrobe Strategies for Career, Travel & Casual Lifestyles

Wardrobe for a Fall Trip to New York – Black, Brown & Leather!

By on Nov 2, 2013

I’m traveling north this week for a family visit then into New York City for a mix of business and pleasure. Fall comes with abrupt weather changes, which means careful planning on what to pack so that I’m prepared for all scheduled events and weather changes, and still travel light. My trip will be a week in duration, with three days in Manhattan. As I plan my wardrobe, I’ll follow the basic principles I recommend to all women to travel in style and keep luggage light:

1. Plan ahead. Plan what to pack based on the weather (check your weather app up to the moment you zip your suitcase) and what your activities might be, then pack the right clothes for the climate and your events. Ignore the urge to add in “but what if…” items. Pack for what is known and logical possibilities – rain is logical, an impromptu formal dinner is not. After all, if something that unexpected comes up, shopping is part of the fun of any trip!

2. Stick to neutrals. At this time of the year, I prefer black or brown for my core pieces – they coordinate easily, hide stains, and don’t scream “I’m a tourist” in New York. You might choose dark gray or navy, both of which will also help you blend in with New Yorkers.

3. Choose versatile pieces that can mix and match. I’ll be wearing some items more than once (the right jacket can work casually with jeans and also be dressed up for dinner). I take more tops than bottoms (they’re lighter to pack) and every top must go with every bottom to maximize my options.

4. Accessorize with lightweight jewelry, belts, and scarves to achieve several different looks. Seeing someone more than once? They’ll admire your creativity!

5. If colder weather is forecasted, don’t pack a bulky sweater. Instead, pack a thin sweater to layer over a turtleneck or shirt – they’re more versatile and take less space to pack. (I have two ribbed silk crew neck pullover sweaters that are long-time favorites that will make this trip.)

6. Jersey is a great fabric for fall travel.  It’s lightweight, won’t wrinkle, has comfort stretch…and is sexy yet sporty! (Not exactly sexy, but I’ll add my long-sleeved cotton jersey turtlenecks into the mix.)

7. Take comfortable shoes…and no more than 3 pairs. You won’t have a good time anywhere if your feet hurt. Shoes are bulky and heavy so three pairs are the maximum for most trips.


How many pieces do I need to pack?

For this trip I’ll be packing black & brown basics, crisp white shirts, knit turtlenecks, silk sweaters to layer; and adding color accents via scarves:
• 2 pairs of pants – one black, one brown
• 1 pair of black jeans
• 8 tops (2 white shirts; black, brown, beige & white cotton turtlenecks; ribbed silk pullovers – one in black, one in beige – to wear alone or layer over shirts)
• Beige leather jacket (a fall travel favorite – see below)
• 2 pairs of shoes – a lace-up for walking and a slip-on flat for business and/or evening
• 2 scarves; 3 belts
• Raincoat (black)

Ready to travel in black, brown and leather


To see how I’ll pack my favorite 22” roller bag, you can watch this video. And if you need further help in planning your own wardrobe  for a trip this fall, contact me!

Leather is a Best Pick for Fall!

I love leather jackets for travel because they don’t wrinkle.  In the Fall they can be all that you need as a coat. I’ll be taking my favorite beige leather jacket I purchased over seven years ago from The Worth Collection (yes, a good leather jacket is a great investment). There’s a similar jacket in this season’s collection.

What about a handbag?

What’s the best style for moving around the big city? Wall Street Journal fashion columnist Teri Agins recently answered a reader’s question on this (WSJ, Oct. 16, 2013) recommending a flat cross-body bag that falls around your rib cage and fits snugly in front of you.

I couldn’t agree with her more. I have one from Bric’s with zipper closures and an outside compartment, where I put my MetroCard for the subway. I don’t need to carry my full wallet since I only need my smartphone, a photo ID, a health insurance card, a little cash and a credit card on me at all times. (Note: I use my credit card for all purchases, including meals and cabs, so I have a full record of expenditures.)  If I’m heading into a business meeting, I tuck this bag into my business tote.

For evenings, Agins recommends packing one of the new “wristlet” bags instead of an evening clutch. Its strap loops around your forearm, leaving your fingers free to grip the bag. I love this idea and have added this to my shopping list.

Ready to go!

One last check on the weather to ensure I’ve covered my bases before shutting the suitcase and I’m off tomorrow morning!  (And if I’ve forgotten anything…oh boy, I can shop in New York!)




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