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Anna

October 29th, 2012

How to Pack for London

7 comments | 1 shares

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Anna

October 29th, 2012

How to Pack for London

7 comments | 1 shares

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

I have quite a lot of practice moving around the world, ladies and gentlemen. There’s a bit of an art to it. How to best do it is something I have been discussing (loudly and often) with the student diaspora here, and so I thought I’d share my insights as we agree universally that these would have been useful things to know before moving here.

Now, obviously packing up and moving to another country is less stressful when your suitcase holds your entire wardrobe and your child.

Not likely. Also, unless your face resembles Ryan Gosling’s, there is little chance the airline will give you more wriggle room on the 23kg limit. So, here’s what to pack when you move to London and have 23kg to do it with. Remember, this is the bare minimum –

1. Shoes. For my other work on this subject see my blog post. Girls, you will need a pair of boots. Whatever colour, but make sure they’re sturdy and can handle four days of incessant rain without falling apart. One pair of heels, preferably black. A pair of flats when you flake out on the heels. And a pair of runners. Gentlemen – a pair of runners that you wear to exercise in. These are under no circumstances to be worn with jeans. Another pair of casual shoes. A pair of ‘formal’ shoes – if your suit is black, you need black shoes. If your suit is grey, your shoes should still be black. If your suit is brown, you need a head-check.

2. Underwear and socks. Bring at least one week’s supply. Any less is unhygienic. You can buy more here very reasonably, e.g. 5 pairs for 2 pounds at Primark. Generally, the insane clothing import tariffs (and lack of Eurozone crisis) means many articles of clothing are cheaper here than in Australia. That goes especially for the High Street variant. Maybe less so if you’re on Saville Row.

3. Jeans. Two pairs, one each of blue and black. Jeans will stand you in good stead whatever the weather. And the weather will inevitably be nothing like you think it’s going to be. If you’re not big on jeans, substitute in a skirt/dress/jumpsuit but remember the Rule of Four – 4 bottoms x 4 tops = 16 combinations. 16 is just more than two weeks, which means you’re well past week 2 before you have to repeat an outfit and that buys you time for laundry.

4. A suit/formal 2-piece ensemble. Some of you will be all like, “What? Why would you pack a suit for uni?” Well, there are these little things called careers fairs. And the LSE has a dress code. Seriously these things are harder to get in to than Boujis on a Saturday night. Not only are the fairs essential in this Recession Era, but they are also the most fertile husband-/trophy-wife-hunting territory, so you’ll be wanting to look your best if your plans are inclined to the marital rather than to gainful employment.

5. Jumpers and coats. Please don’t only bring Collegiate jumpers. One of those is fine for weekends/the gym/CBF-days, but even then only if you’ve actually BEEN to that College. But everyone knows you’re not at Oxford if you’re walking around the LSE [my apologies to the young man who actually did his undergrad at Oxford whom I met the other day. You’re entitled to do whatever the hell you want – you went to Oxford.] Bring one ‘nice’ jumper to throw on. You will also need a coat or warm jacket. There are few living creatures that can work a puffy jacket. Most of us will look like the Michelin man. Instead, ladies and gentlemen, invest in a decent mid-length coat. Not floor length, you’re not Gandalf. Leather jackets are great trans-seasonally, as are Trenches. If you’ve pretensions of integrating, buy a Barbour.

6. A semi-formal/cocktail ensemble. Gentlemen, that means a variant on aforementioned suit. Not just a different shirt, a different tie as well. You should in fact take four changes of shirts – a blue, a white, a patterned and a linen/summery variant. No, that doesn’t mean Hawaiian.

Ladies, a cocktail dress will almost certainly see you turning to the LBD. Don’t pack your shortest/tightest/trampiest version – you can get plenty of those here. Go to Newcastle if you need to. Instead, pack a knee-length LBD with straps and a slight décolleté.  Choose a dress that travels well – dry-cleaning is  horrendously expensive here and you know you don’t iron.

Obviously I’m not suggesting you wear the same LBD to all semi-formal occasions. Woe betide. Pack one other mid-length dress in a different colour – red if you can handle it, cream or blue. Something you can wear without having to buy new shoes to match. Changing your accessories/hair/make-up is always going to be cheaper. (You can tell I don’t follow my own rules, right?)

7. One proper Formal outfit, for when you get stand-by tickets to the opera/ballet/a night at the Ritz. Boys, you’re off the hook if you have followed rules 4 and 6. Wear that suit with aplomb, matching socks and hold the door open. Ladies, you need a floor length dress. The dress you wore to your third cousin’s wedding probably isn’t the way to go, so if you haven’t got a black or blue evening gown already, it’s time to go shopping! You’ll be thanking yourself for being organised for the eventuality of needing an evening dress when, on the day, you can do your hair in peace rather than running about frantically on Oxford Street and then doing this:

8. Miscellaneous. Bring Pyjamas – you may think you’ll be getting up to no good so you won’t need them, but – newsflash- you won’t. So bring PJs. A dressing gown is a good idea if you’re living in a shared flat or student housing. No one needs to see all that for breakfast. Scarves and gloves are ok to bring along, but you can buy them cheaply here. Bring some things that remind you of home – pictures, posters, your guitar, a favourite pillow or teddy. You’re moving to a new country – it’s alright to remember where you came from. Don’t attempt to bring half your feckin household though: you will only make the people behind you in the check-in visualise roundhouse-kicking you in the head.

9. Breathe deeply, laugh loudly, drink responsibly, and remember – for everything else, there’s Mastercard.

About the author

Anna

MSc Comparative Politics (Conflict Studies)

Posted In: LSE | Off Campus

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