I can’t get away with using a small handbag in New York, can you?
I don’t understand how my friend Heather carries a tiny clutch when we go out. If only I could get away with using a small handbag in New York. On most nights out, my list of necessities is long, warranting a good-size bag, which can often feel like a piece of luggage after I’ve finished loading it.
Most New Yorkers pack everything but the kitchen sink in their city bags, so I’m not alone. And since we don’t drive cars, we rely on our bags to keep all the extras we might need on a day out in NYC. Because as temperamental Mother Nature proves, whenever I don’t throw in my folding umbrella, sure enough, a downpour strikes Manhattan.
If you emptied my handbag, these are the items you’d most likely find.
Obviously. My wallet is overstuffed with business cards, receipts, credit cards, and some cash. In NYC, you should carry cash because you never know when you’ll need it.
Reading glasses in a case
Since I’m a member of the over-forty crowd, I can’t go anywhere without reading glasses, or I won’t be able to read anything in front of me unless the print is really large. Really.
A given. I never leave home without it.
Portable cell phone charger.
I keep a portable cell phone charger and a USB cord in my bag , which I need when I do social media – particularly Instagram.
Don’t all women in New York add a wad of Kleenex to their handbag?
I don’t take the umbrella every day, but any time rain is in the forecast, you’d better believe it’s coming with me.
I never know when a headache will pop up, so I always carry painkillers, just in case.
Scarf (and in winter, a hat and gloves)
In winter, a heavy scarf is a must, but in spring and fall, I carry a light-weight scarf. The only time I won’t have a scarf in NYC is in the dead of summer when the temperature is over 85 degrees.
A sweater isn’t always in my bag, but I’ll throw one in when I’m going someplace air conditioned like the movies or to a Broadway show. In general, theaters can get pretty chilly.
Some ladies travel with only a lipstick, but that’s not me. In NYC, I never know where I’ll end up, so I go prepared. I carry a Bobbi Brown foundation stick, pressed powder, blush, makeup brush, eye shadow, eyeliner, mascara, fragrance, at least two lipsticks (one lighter and one brighter), and lip gloss at all times.
Earbuds (for iPhone).
I listen to music when I ride public transit, and most times when I’m walking in the city, so earbuds are a necessity for me.
Germs on the NYC subway. Enough said.
I’m usually rushing to get out the door, so I often forget or run out of time at home, so I don’t moisturize enough, which is why I keep a small container in my bag.
When I’m on the run, I carry a protein bar for energy. I can’t live without them, and they’ll tide me over until my next meal. Otherwise, I get cranky.
Extra contact lenses
Have you ever had a contact lens tear or irritate your eye, for whatever reason, and not have an extra lens on you? Complete drag. So I keep another lens or two on me to avoid walking around town with one good eye. Truth be told, I am legally blind.
When I go to a work event and I think I may need to take some notes, I pack a pocket-size notebook like this one from Poppin. Those note pads are the best!
And on occasion, an extra pair of shoes.
If I’m out on the town and sporting heels, I take a pair of comfy ballerina flats or thong shoes along so I can switch for the commute home. There’s nothing worse than schlepping to the subway in stilettos because I forgot my extra shoes. I’ve made that mistake and won’t make it again.
So there you have it – what I carry in my handbag in New York. Now you can understand why a large handbag tags along no matter where I travel. As for you devout clutch-carriers out there, you have my utmost respect, but I simply can’t downsize no matter how hard I try.
p.s. One thing I forgot to include was my apartment keys.
A great handbag in New York is essential! What’s do you carry in yours?
If you’re looking for the ultimate city bag, this one is my favorite.