I posted earlier (months ago, I think) that I was looking for a trench coat to take. After much searching, debating, and considering, I landed on the Travex jacket from Eddie Bauer. It is light-weight and waterproof, and has pockets everywhere. The sleeves can be buckled up. It is belted and can be packed up in a small space. It is not a classic trench - it has a more military/safari look to it, but I rather love it. It's perfect for England in May.
Here are the contents of my bag. We have decided to do carry-only, and I am determined to pack light - I don't want to stick out as a clueless tourist and I don't want to lug forty pounds between train stations and hotels. So here is what I am taking: one pair of jeans (Gap Curvy, boot cut), one pair of gray cords (Aeropostale, straight cut), long-sleeve light pink cotton/cashmere sweater (Fair Indigo), 3/4 sleeve coral cotton sweater (Gap), long sleeve white T-shirt (Target), white camisole (Gap), black button cotton/cashmere cardigan (Gap), black track pants and pink camisole for sleeping in, brown Mary Jane walking shoes (Skechers), black flip-flops, scarf. Also pictured: liquid toiletries in Ziploc bag and non-liquid toiletries in pink bag.
I believe that these can be easily layered, they all coordinate (pink, white, and black), and they are light-weight, but warm. The scarf is great. It is a wide retangle that can be worn around my neck or as a shawl and can also be used as a blanket on the plane. I am bringing the track pants instead of pajama pants so that they can be worn out if need be.
Here are the contents of my purse. I have had my Ameribag for several years and it is great for travel. It is not the most stylish-looking bag, but it is designed to feel lighter and it has tons of pockets for everything. Top row: Totes umbrella (tiny folded up, but expands to full size), Fodor's England 2010 (this is the heaviest item I am taking, but I can't bear to tear it up and I can't leave it behind and I need too much out of it to make copies), travel journal (Moleskine cahier), pen and pencil. Bottom row: wallet (Vera Bradley - very cool design with wrist strap so it can be carried on it's own) with cell phone, camera (just the case, since I was using the camera at the moment - my trusty old point and shoot, Olympus FE110), passport, reading material - Diana Gabaldon's Drums of Autumn. This was a point of some consideration - I needed something long enough to last the whole trip, interesting, but not too fluffy. Gabaldon's fourth installment in the Outlander series should be just the thing. Sunglasses (Armani Exchange for $20 at Ross - I love that store!) and their case.
Here is everything packed up. One carry-on (my Nine-West valise, also from Ross) and one purse. The carry-on is actually only about 2/3 full, so I should have room for some souvenirs.
I actually love planning what to pack, and this trip was thoroughly researched. Of particular use was One Bag, a website with an exhaustively annotated packing list - it is really geared for more tropical, exotic travel, but also worked for thinking about the England trip. I also love the articles that Harper's Bazaar includes about how to pack. Of course, those trips are super-luxurious (heli-skiing!?) and include suggestions for thousand dollar zebra striped Kate Moss bags, but it helps me get in the mind-set of super-chic, jet-setting luxury. Here is an article in their latest issue: Packing Like a Pro: Tips for Travelling Light but Fashionably. I also just like to see what people carry around with them. The Flickr group What's in Your Bag is voyeuristic fun.