Thanksgiving break may be a brief vacation from classes, but it is also one of the most important reprieves. Many students will be leaving the city and traveling home — some for the first time in the fall semester. If you are planning to catch a plane or train in pursuit of family time and pumpkin pie, the one thing you are probably not looking forward to is lugging your bags through LaGuardia Airport or Grand Central Station. Pack your clothes efficiently by gathering your most versatile pieces and coordinating outfits in advance. With the right strategy, you can manage the trip with only a handful of items and minimal accessories.
For Thanksgiving dinner
Skip the space-consuming array of blouses and shirts and make your dresses work overtime. A cozy sweater dress, such as the cable knit scoopneck dress from Victoria’s Secret ($69.50), can be formal for a big family dinner when paired with sheer black or jewel-toned tights, black flats and a statement necklace, or it can be perfect for lounging around with friends and family later when worn with warm leggings and boots.
For outdoor activities
Since you are packing light, focus on versatile pieces like jeans. Bring just one or two pairs and style them differently for each occasion. Outdoor activities, like watching your high school’s football game or playing in the leaves with younger relatives, will require clothes that are warm and comfortable. Throw on your go-to skinny jeans and tuck them into your boots, and layer up with a sporty shirt and a warm jacket, such as the hooded puffer jacket from American Eagle ($89.95). For anyone venturing home to a region as cold or even colder than New York, a warm jacket is a necessity. Be sure to pack gloves, a hat and a scarf, too.
For Black Friday shopping
For those who participate in the near-Olympic sport of Black Friday shopping, dressing is usually function over form. But that doesn’t mean you can’t pull together a cute and practical ensemble. Wear a plaid shirt, such as the flannel button-down from Forever 21 ($19.80), with your jeans. Pull on boots or the flats you wore to dinner, and wear the same jacket and cold-weather accessories you already packed to stay the practical but stylish.
By sticking to neutral-colored and versatile clothing, you can get away with bringing a minimal amount of clothing and accessories. Focus on staying warm and cozy with family, but remember that you will be wheeling your single suitcase back into the city soon.
A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Nov. 19 print edition. Ariana DiValentino is a staff writer. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.