Written by Emma D'Arcy
It was a chilly morning in early March. I was about to make a much-anticipated trip across the Atlantic, moving from my home in London to a glittering New York City. I had one large suitcase and one small carry-on to my name. For someone who usually takes a large suitcase for a weekend away, the process of organizing what to take on my journey was a whole new experience!
I have moved many times over the years, from university halls to several different houses across many areas in London. I thought I had this process down. However, moving across an ocean requires a whole new level of organization. It made me consider what wardrobe items were truly essential, and the investment pieces I simply couldn’t travel without.
When it came to packing for the trip, what I was expecting was the need to be really strict when it came to my possessions, taking bags of pre-loved clothes and household items to a charity shop. Having such limited space forces you to consider and reconsider what you actually need. Gradually, I figured it out: my trusty Arc’teryx winter coat, my favourite pair of stilettos, a leather jacket, silk shirt, pair of versatile jeans, alone with my treasured jewelry. I packed, repacked and changed my mind multiple times, and eventually resorted to wearing multiple layers for my flight, layering a smart jacket underneath my winter coat. Granted it was a bulky look, but worth it in the end.
What I wasn’t expecting was discovering that stripping back to a few key pieces was actually an incredibly liberating experience. I focused on the items that I treasured, then once I arrived in New York, purchased the seasonal pieces that I needed as the harsh winter season transitioned into the warmer summer months. Once I had landed, those two suitcases packed with my favourite possessions made me feel so much at home, especially once I found my ideal place to live – a beautiful brownstone converted apartment in Brooklyn.
Through the process, I realized that we don’t really need all of our possessions. We can make do without, but also, when I did make a purchase while living in New York, it was only items that I really loved. I didn’t buy many items, but those that I did, I cherish. When given the opportunity, we can make a home anywhere in the world with a dose of courage, humour and flexibility to adapt to our surroundings.
Ever since that move to the Big Apple, I try to keep to that overall approach with it comes to buying decisions. I stick to few, choice investment pieces, with everyday wear purchased on the high street. That’s not to say I don’t make special exceptions – I still get carried away when I travel as I love finding amazing clothing or paintings from other countries. There are occasions where I’ve found something made by a favourite designer, or discovered at a market. But, as a general approach, it means that the wardrobe, jewelry and furnishings for my home are beautiful, high quality pieces that are made to last. What I enjoy most is that many of my possessions have their own unique story to tell.