So that means it's time to plan what to wear. Friends and relations will quickly testify that I'm absolutely rubbish at packing; I start off with the best of intentions then see all that space and suddenly I'm indecisive; can't choose between four bags? Take them all, I have room!
But this time I'd rather like to not have to buy a new suitcase on holiday to trundle back all my shopping goodies, especially as the case I'm taking is ginormous to start with.
Can I finally do a stylish capsule wardrobe for an eight day trip?
My current favourite items:
Trousers and black top from Primark; skirt and metallic top from Fred + Florence. Yes, Tesco.
Total cost: around £25.
All wearable in airports, at breakfast tables, shopping, sight-seeing, shopping, lunching and hitting up Ghiradelli for sample chocolates.
I'll travel to Heathrow in my boyfriend jeans and probably a classic Breton tee-shirt and my trusty pack-a-jacket, again from Primark, in a simple tiny polka dot and blue print that will work with most outfits (may need to rely on cocktails for warmth when wearing the skirt).
To smarten up, fold in two dresses:
Black dress: Marks and Sparks, Yellow dress (SS15 trend) F+F. Total cost: around £40
No outfit, never mind a trip, is complete without shoes and a bag (or two):
Tan leather bag, DKNY, purple clutch, Faith, raspberry-pink shoes, Kaleidescope.
Total cost: about half the flight to Chicago. But so worth it; bags and shoes make any outfit.
These tones compliment each other and offer the practicality of any speedy wardrobe change; roomy tan DKNY bag for flights (handy cross-body strap for hands-free shopping) is also smart enough to house presentations and samples for clients.
The purple clutch is cute and compact, and will really bring together the statement skirt and look classic with both dresses.
The heels are a bit of a gamble: they will smarten up the black dress, trousers, jeans and skirt, but definitely not for shopping in: I will also pack trusty Croc flipflops and metallic ballet pumps for mall and beach visits.
So, here are some sample outfits (I'll swap with a black top, and that makes 8 outfits, including the frocks).
This capsule wardrobe should mean I can shop without needing to buy a new suitcase; there'll be tons of room for my Macy's and Marshall Field's shopping expeditions.
And I can wear all these pieces for the other 51 weeks of the year; that metallic top and statement skirt will look great for AW2015 nights out, with leggings and a black leather jacket!
What delights have you treated yourself to this summer?