Lucy takes on NYC with no checked bags

I recently hit the Big Apple.

I am fortunate enough to have relatives who live in the heart of Manhattan, so I didn’t have to pay for any accommodations. Beyond that, I used my personal spending money for clothes and souvenirs. My biggest challenge was packing cute, practical outfits in one carry-on and one “personal bag,” while leaving space for the clothes I was certain to buy once there.

Experience my trip with this day-by-day music and wardrobe guide.

The journey

Song for travel: Flying Overseas (ft. Devonte Hynes and Solange Knowles) by Theophilus London

Day 1

Temp: 45 degrees F

Song: Laser Gun (ft. Mai Lan) by M83


Red sneakers, Converse

Ripped jeans, American Eagle Outfitters

Flannel, thrift store find

Columbia sweatshirt, courtesy of my uncle

This was the coldest day I was there. The double-layering of the flannel and sweatshirt not only kept me warm but also created a preppy look that I don’t harness enough.

Day 2

Temp: 50-55 degrees F

Song: Set Me Free by Herizen Guardiola as Mylene Cruz


Flannel, again!

Cropped white tank top, Forever 21

Vintage High-Rise jeans, American Eagle Outfitters

Nike Trainers, Nike

This was the day we went to Ellis Island. I anticipated a lot of walking and waiting, so I opted for a sportier look, complete with a street-wear tank top under an old flannel.

Day 3 Part 1

Temp: 60 degrees F

Song: Boyish by Hippo Campus


Open neck tee, American Eagle Outfitters

Ripped jeans, American Eagle Outfitters


Red sneakers, Converse

My Uncle is a professor at Columbia, so I went with him to his morning lecture. My goal was, of course, to look stylish, because I’d be among people my age.

Day 3 Part 2

Temp: 60 degrees F

Song: Melbourne Bitter by Cousin Tony’s Brand New Firebird


Sheer blouse, thrift shop

White tank top, Kohls

Black jeans, American Eagle Outfitters

Laced, heeled combat boots

My uncle is a famous producer, and he was invited to a movie preview. He, in turn, invited me as a “date.” It was dressy but not cocktail attire, so I put together a professional, but fun outfit.


This was my outerwear every day.

Song: Cold (ft. Lizzy Land) by Mating Ritual


Black cashmere beanie, courtesy of my hosts

Black rough denim jacket, courtesy of my hosts

Song for the return trip: Noise Pollution (ft. Mary Elizabeth Winstead & Zoe Manville) by Portugal The Man

Although my suitcase was stuffed to the brim, I made it home with all my purchases. And, while I was lucky enough to not have to bring my own outerwear, I think hitting New York with one traditional suitcase is doable, especially if you pack smart and re-wear your faves.

If I took one thing from the experience, it would be that having room to bring things back is more important than having your entire wardrobe with you.

Lucy is a college freshman and an avid pursuer of good music and cute clothes. She describers her style as "Mom from the '90s" combined with "Young, confident millennial." She values kindness and self-expression.