packing for new york city: 18 outfits in one carry-on


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Aaron and I got to go to New York City for Memorial Day weekend, and we spent a few lovely days soaking in the energy of the city. We did plenty of exploring, shop-hopping, and eating, but the real purpose of our trip was Broadway! We saw a musical a day — Dear Evan Hansen, Mean Girls, and (eep!) Hamilton.

A full travel video is coming your way soon (with our full itinerary and recommendations), but today we’re talking packing! I’ll share:

  • How I decide what to pack
  • A free printable packing planner for you
  • The 20 items I brought
  • The 6 outfits I wore on the trip, plus 12 bonus outfits!

Ready? Let’s jump in.


The key to successful packing, in my opinion? You guessed it — planning. But it doesn’t have to be serious or complicated. I loosely follow these 4 steps and have fun with ’em:

1. Check the weather

The first two days of our trip were sunny, beautiful, and warm. Then the last two days were chilly, rainy, and dreary.

So I split my suitcase down the middle — half warm weather items, and half cold weather items.

2. Know your itinerary

Our itinerary included typical city things, but if there’s one thing I know about New York City, it’s that there will be lots of walking. Lots.

Years ago, on my first trip to NYC, I packed “the cute shoes” and ended up with sad, blistered feet for the rest of the trip.

Never again, I vowed. Never again.

So this time, I took a shoes-first approach to packing. Meaning, I picked out the most comfortable shoes I own and built my packing list + outfits around them.

The result? My feet were happy and blister free on the trip! 

3. Stick to a color palette

I went with a black, white, grey, and caramel color palette — with a little interest via floral patterns and woven accessories.

Yes, all those neutrals can seem lackluster when they are just sitting in a suitcase. But, it doesn’t really matter how the clothes look in a suitcase — once those clothes are on, we bring life and vibrancy to them with our energy.

4. Try on each outfit and snap a photo of it

Once I arrive, I don’t want to spend time figuring out what to wear — I just want to throw on an outfit and get going! This step allows me to do just that.


If you’re like me and you love a good printable, this one’s for you! You can download my packing planner right here and here’s an example to get you started

Tip: I’ve found it’s best to write in pencil, so you can adjust as you go along.


All together, I brought:

  • 3 pairs of shoes
  • 3 tops
  • 1 jacket
  • 3 dresses/jumpsuits
  • 3 bottoms
  • 4 active/lounge items
  • Plus a small purse, tote, and of course, my carry-on suitcase

Of course, for a long weekend, I didn’t even end up needing all of this — several pieces went completely unworn. This packing list is probably more appropriate for a two week trip. But while I could have pared down a bit more, it all fit in my carry-on anyway, so why not bring the lot? :)

Here’s the full lineup. If you see something you like, you can shop it and support Unfancy at the same time by using the affiliate links below.

New York photo by Katie L. Howell

1 / Woven Flats by Zara / similar by Frye

2 / Low Heels by Madewell (old) / similar by Madewell / similar by Everlane (made responsibly)

3 / Sneakers gifted by Nisolo (made responsibly)

4 / Sweater by HM

5 / Tank by Aritzia / similar by Urban Outfitters

6 / Crop top by Reformation (made responsibly)

7 / Jacket by Elizabeth Suzann (made responsibly, old) / similar by Aritzia (light weight for summer)

8 / Maxi Dress by Christy Dawn (made responsibly) *Not available online yet, search “Poppy Dress” to check availability / similar by Madewell / similar by Anthropologie

9 / Midi Dress by Christy Dawn (made responsibly) *Sold out, search “Lennon Dress” for the same dress in different fabrics / super similar by Reformation (made responsibly) / similar by Reformation (made responsibly) / similar by Anthropologie / similar by Sezane

10 / Jumpsuit gifted by Vetta (made responsibly)

11 / Mini Skirt by Everlane (made responsibly) / similar by HM

12 / Jeans by Citizens of Humanity

13 / Wide Leg Crops by Everlane (made responsibly)

14 / Yoga Leggings by Outdoor Voices

15 / Tank by Madewell

16 / Sweatshirt by Outdoor Voices

17 / Joggers by Outdoor Voices

18 / Crossbody Bag gifted by Lo&Sons *sold out in white / similar by Madewell in white

19 / Carry-On Suitcase gifted by Away

20 / Tote gifted by ABLE (made responsibly)

And finally, a few things that aren’t pictured: Toiletries. Hair Wand. Phone charger and tiny bluetooth speakerMahabis slippers. And a travel steamer.


On the Plane: I like to travel as comfy as possible — no shame wearing joggers and a sweatshirt in the airport!

Friday Afternoon / Out and About: As soon as we landed and checked into our hotel, I changed into this dress that always makes me feel happy (here’s a similar dress). Pairing it with shock absorbing sneakers guaranteed I’d be comfortable for a full afternoon of walking.

Friday Night / Dinner and Broadway: Wearing this jumpsuit is like wearing PJs. Yes, using the restroom in a jumpsuit feels very strange (because you’re essentially naked) but the comfort factor easily outweighs that brief feeling.

Saturday Morning and Afternoon / Shop Hopping: For a full day out and about, I kept things simple with a tank and my favorite soft jeans. Most vintage jeans like this have zero stretch, but my stomach and digestive system do not do well with that. So when I found this pair that gave me the vintage jean look with some stretch, I was a happy lady. Yes, they bag out after about 3-5 wears, but a quick wash snaps them back into shape.

Saturday Night Out / Dinner, Broadway, and Live Jazz: Ah, another “going out” outfit that feels like PJs. :)

Sunday / Museum, Matinee, and Dinner: We woke up to a chilly, rainy morning, so I cozied up in a sweater and my wool jacket and left my legs exposed so the look wouldn’t be quite so heavy.

Monday / On the Plane: I kept things simple and wore the same airplane outfit as before.


I was able to make so many more outfits from the pieces I packed, so how about a few bonus outfits?

And there you have it!

Soon I’ll share my NYC video including our itinerary and recommendations, but in the meantime, feel free to subscribe to my YouTube channel so you don’t miss it. 

So tell me, got any trips coming up? If so, care to share any tips or tricks or techniques you’re planning to use to pack? And if you have any questions about how I packed or any of the items I brought — ask away!