NYC Bound: Here’s What I Packed.

Oct 26, 2018

This week, I’m headed to the Big Apple to host another Thirtyish event, visit a couple of museums, and catch up with a few old friends.  And there’s just something about traveling to New York, you always want to look your best.  So when I needed to freshen up a few outfits, my first, and only, stop was Nordstrom.

Usually for a long, dinnertime plane flight, I would just wear faux-leather leggings and a long sweater. But I’m going straight from the plane to a casual event so I needed something with more style to it.  I wanted an outfit that was comfortable and relaxed, but still chic.

How fun are these Boden Windsor Wide Leg Jeans? I love the red piping and wide-leg fit. I chose Boden’s balloon-sleeve striped for a unique basic, and added this Argento Vivo necklace for a pop of metallic.  These red Caslon shoes are generously cushioned for walking, but give me the pointed toe and longer leg line that I’m looking for with a wide-leg jean.

Because New York in the fall usually feels chillier than the thermometer indicates (thanks, humidity), I grabbed this lovely Topshop coat.  I adore the red accent under the collar.  But the coat does run a bit big, so size down for a better fit.

In addition the fun part of my visit, I have one serious business meeting to attend.  A friend set up an informational meeting with a lawyer who has the kind of career you only dream of, so I wanted to look professional but not wear a suit.

I decided to freshen up these NYDJ stretch knit trousers and Sam Edelman Hazel pumps with this affordable, dramatically printed Rachel Roy blouse.  The black-and-white abstract print pairs well with so many colors that it’s perfect in any season.  For fall, I paired it with this belted Padova jacket, from a fantastic brand that I just discovered, B&SH.

B&SH’s pieces are modern and sleek, but with a hint of something special.  I adore how wearable all their pieces are without being boring.  I needed the jacket sleeves shortened to fit me, and my local Nordstrom was able to alter the jacket for no charge.

If there was ever a city to wear dramatic, Jackie Kennedy-esque sunglasses in, it’s New York. So I picked up these Gucci oversized sunnies. I feel so glamorous when I wear them.

Add an affordable bag with a cool handle, like this Chelsea 28 tote, and a pair of interesting Kate Spade stud earrings, and this outfit is done. I’ll probably wear my hair up, just because New York humidity is a cruel mistress and I’d rather be thinking about our conversation than my quickly deflating blowout.

Nordstrom’s beauty department is always filled with racks of travel-sizes of your beauty and skincare favorites.  But I was in a rush prepping for this trip, so I picked out some essentials online and asked Kyle to grab them using Nordstrom’s Curbside Pickup.  He was so impressed by how easy it was that he asked the gentleman if, next time, he could add an E-Bar double espresso to the order.  Always looking for more perks, that one.

For my trip, I snapped up this wonderful Kopari Beauty Besties gift set featuring their natural Coconut Oil Deodorant and their Coconut Melt makeup remover, which is my all time favorite. I also grabbed Drybar’s Detox Dry Shampoo and their Hot Toddy heat protectant.  And I never travel without my Atelier Cologne (Pomelo Paradis is my favorite).

And how cute are these Dagne Dover toiletry bags?  I have resisted buying leather makeup bags, because let’s be real, I’m going to spill things.  These fantastic toiletry bags are made of durable neoprene, so no worrying about spills or damage.  And they come in a selection of unisex colors.

If you need some thing carry-on friendly, I love this Truffle makeup case with the clear, plastic windows to keep everything where you can see it.  It and its smaller clutch cousin are both TSA-approved.

After four years out of the city, the lights, the noise, the time difference, it can all be too much. So I have to have a relaxing nighttime routine when I travel, or else I can’t sleep.  That’s why I always pack what I need for a cozy and relaxing end-of-day regimen.

1) Comfortable pajamas, like these Nordstrom Lingerie Moonlight Pajamas.  2) My Ugg Ansley Slippers, to keep my feet warm in chilly hotel rooms. 3) A relaxing coconut milk bath soak from Herbivore.  And 4) great skincare products like SK-II’s Overnight Miracle Mask and Wander Beauty’s Gold Foil Eye Masks.

Add a good book, and you have everything you need for a relaxing night of eating room service and chilling out.

So that’s what I packed for my quick trip to New York.  Thanks to Nordstrom and Shopstyle for sponsoring this post.  I don’t usually participate in sponsorships, but when they let you pick what you want and write about what you want with no strings attached, it’s hard not to say yes.

{image is mine; this post is sponsored by Nordstrom and Shopstyle}

Style, The Escape

share this post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Wanda says:

    While everything was perfect, in my opinion, my favorite part was your end-of-day regimen. I had the rare opportunity to take a quick work trip back in May and my favorite part was relaxing at the end of the day. Being all alone in a hotel room without my 7 year old constantly interrupting me with her needs was glorious. I brought my fluffy Ugg slippers, comfy pajamas, a great book, a sheet mask and a bath bomb (something I’d never had the time to try)and my evening alone was perfect. So relaxing.

  2. Jess says:

    I adore your travel look! So chic.

  3. […] Continue reading full story: NYC Bound: Here’s What I Packed. […]

  4. Courtney says:

    Can I be honest? I don’t mind this sponsored post, not even a little bit. I was actually really excited for you when I saw the IG post promoting it. I respect how you’ve run your business through the years, and appreciate your integrity. Seeing the blog sponsored by a brand you’ve promoted through the years is exciting! As a long time follower, I’m happy for you.

    • MicHaela says:

      Same! I think the content/picks seem really fresh and fun. I love that travel outfit and the chance to see the clothes laid out together.

    • Kay says:

      Same. I loved this post and seeing what you picked (and what a great deal to pick what you want.)

      So many bloggers write about the same items, and load up their posts with links and eighty different options. This is actually helpful and I added a few more items to my wish list. Have a great trip, Belle.

    • Heidi says:

      Also like this type of sponsored post, still feels totally you. Keep up the great work! Also would love to know how the coconut deodorant worked – not just did it keep the sweat situation under control but also does it leave marks on your clothes?

      • Belle says:

        I’ve only used it for a little while. I didn’t have a sweat problem, but they were all pretty light activity days.

    • Erika says:

      Agreed. This is a well-done sponsored post. No need to worry or apologize or explain. We all have to make a living and I’d wager that the people that read your blog know that very, very well…..

    • Belle says:

      Thanks. I’m working on a sponsorship policy that makes sense for the kind of content I want to create. I think I’m only going to work with brands that I’ve endorsed before. That’s what makes sense. If I already love it, if I already spent money it, if I already endorse it, it seems like a good option.

    • Lucy says:

      Agreed! This was useful and it also made me go shop at Nordstrom – win win 🙂

  5. Kelly says:

    Has anyone ever worked with a Nordstrom stylist? Or the Trunk Club program? I’m moving to a casual office and need help. Mostly someone to save me from myself.

    • Jen says:

      I’ve worked with a Nordstrom stylist before and it was a great experience! So easy to set up and find what I needed. I was shopping for a week long job interview but everything I got fit so well into my existing wardrobe because the stylist really listened to me.

    • Belle says:

      I had good luck in the Trunk Club clubhouse, not as much with the shipments. It’s easier in person.

  6. Maggie says:

    There are lots of issues with “Girl, Wash Your Face.” This review is pretty fair:

  7. Kate says:

    What size are your Dagne Dover tolietry bags? I love the color!

  8. SArah says:

    I would love to know your thoughts on “Girl, Wash Your Face”. Would you consider a book review?

  9. HW says:

    I’m so torn on this. I love you getting to do a sponsored post, because I think you deserve to be compensated for this wonderful blog, especially given some of the challenges you’ve had recently, but the tone of this one was markedly different (to me) in a way that was a smidge off-putting. By the time I got to the end of the post, I was thinking “this has to have been sponsored, right?” Some of the issues might have been resolved if the sponsorship was labeled at the top of the post or mentioned early on, and especially if it’d been more in an “I got to go on this amazing spending spree, look at what I picked up and why” kind of way.

    Anyway, I almost didn’t want to mention it and bring any kind of negativity into something that’s almost uniformly positive for you, but hopefully you’ll be getting lots more of these opportunities, and just in case it struck anyone else this way, I wanted to put it out there.

    • Anna c says:

      I got the same vibe, and I wish it had been mentioned at the beginning of the post. I actually skimmed down to the bottom to see if it was sponsored after I started reading because the tone was just a little different than Abra’s usual.

      • Sally says:

        Am I reading this correctly? There a discussion happening about needing a ” trigger warning” for sponsored content?

    • Casey says:

      I’ve been reading Belle’s blog for 10 years, and I’m pretty sure this is the second sponsored post I’ve ever seen. 2 in 10 years, and you want to complain about a barely noticeable tone?

      Belle, I loved the post. Bought the jeans. Keep being transparent. Keep producing great content. Don’t listen to people who just want something to complain about.

    • SaraH says:

      Agreed 100% about the difference in tone. I take absolutely no issue with the sponsored post (Belle, I think I’m the Nordstrom devotee I am today because of your praise of the company, and it’s about time they recognize that!). For future sponsored posts, I hope more of your voice can shine through, like we’re used to.

      • Belle says:

        I just hadn’t written one of these before, so it’s possible the tone is a little different because I didn’t feel like I was writing for myself. But this is exactly the content I would have produced if the post hadn’t been sponsored, so that’s what matters.

  10. sbe says:

    I thought this was fantastic. Enjoy your new, fun finds! I really loved the interesting take on the classic breton, super cute.

  11. LK says:


    I’ve stopped reading blogs because of sponsored content. Either that don’t disclose on the post (hello, Mary Orton) or they act like they didn’t get paid for the post (Marianna Hewitt) or worse, they act like they’re using the product all the time (um, Olay much?).

    You disclosed it. You worked with a store you promote all the time. You picked things that feel like what I’ve seen in your other posts. Maybe disclosing at the front would be better, but if that had turned me away (and it might have), I would have missed some good content.

    Cheers. Once in a while for sponsors is fine. I echo what someone said above, you have enough of my trust, that even though this is a little more traditional-blogger in tone, I still loved it.

    • Anna says:

      I would have preferred it mentioned in the beginning. I could tell from the start it was a sponsored post and totally don’t mind that it’s sponsored, but it did seem weird that everything came from one store.. I think something like, “This week, I’m headed to the Big Apple to host another Thirtyish event..and when Nordstrom offered me the opportunity to do a sponsored post, I thought it was the perfect chance to freshen up my wardrobe for my trip,” then mention they let you set the terms and you’ve always shopped at Nordstrom, etc. Waiting to the end to say something is sponsored comes off as a little shady and was totally unnecessary.

      • Laura says:

        Shady? You’ve got to be kidding me. If you have so many thoughts on how she should be writing, feel free to start your own blog and/or move on. Abra, keep doing you. You are a gem in the fashion blogger industry and for long time readers, this is absolutely okay. I loved the article.

        • aNNA says:

          What part of I “totally don’t mind that it’s sponsored” did you not understand? I didn’t say it was shady (that’s the last thing Belle/Abra or this blog are); it just gave that perception by only disclosing at the very end of the post. I also thought it was unnecessary to wait until the end, because Belle has built such a sense of trust among her readers. I don’t think it would deter readers if the sponsorship line was mentioned in the beginning, and it would serve to continue to foster the sense of transparency she’s worked so long to establish. I only offered an example of how it could work in the beginning.

          I would never claim that I could do this job better than Belle, and my suggestions were only that – suggestions. They’re suggestions from a long-time reader who wants to see this blog thrive and continue to be a great resource for so many women (and men).

      • Belle says:

        I’ve never seen a blogger do a disclosure at the beginning. They’re always at the end, so I was just doing what is usually done. I would assume, as a reader pointed out in the comments, that putting it at the top, a lot of people would ignore the post.

        • LS says:

          I only follow ethical/responsible bloggers (this blog is my exception) so my experience may not match others, but I am definitely used to it being at the top (see example below). I actually stopped reading because I was wondering why Abra purchased so many new items for a 2-3 day trip. I agree with others in that I’m happy to support you by having sponsored posts. I would just rather know upfront so I can read it in the right voice. Sounds like everyone is different though based on the comments.


          • Belle says:

            I bought all the items myself with the exception of the sunglasses (which were bought with a gift card). I decided that a trip was a good reason to buy a couple of outfits that I would need anyway. Some of them, (like the dagne bags and the NYDJ pants and the slippers/beauty products) I already owned and had already bought at Nordstrom.

            I’m not sure why a different voice is needed to read this post. I’m not featuring anything that I wouldn’t anyway from a store that I post from all the time.

          • Belle says:

            Also I’m not sure what qualifies this blog as an unethical exception.

            • LS says:

              Not suggesting you’re unethical, but rather that “responsible fashion” is not the focus here like it is for the other blogs I read. The reason I mentioned it is because transparency tends to be massively important in the responsible blogging community and I think that effects how they disclose partnerships. I didn’t want to sounds like I was making a bold claim that most bloggers disclose upfront without that caveat.

              In terms of responsible fashion, here’s a wonderful summary from Gretchen at Gretchen’s closet:

              “To me, being a responsible consumer means I am educated about fabrics, manufacturing processes, supply chains, etc., and I therefore make informed, conscious choices about the clothing I buy. “Responsible” fashion then, takes these things into account and can include items that are manufactured in a location or factory that adheres to higher standards for workers, are made from natural or organic materials, use innovative zero-waste technologies, employ artisans and pay them fairly, are independently-owned and transparent, size inclusive and so on. Being a responsible consumer also means shopping secondhand, repairing well-loved items, using what we have, avoiding polyester/plastics in clothes unless it’s recycled, and choosing to support independent designers, businesses and artisans whenever possible.”

              Full post here:

        • Anna says:

          In other blogs I read (travel, local), it’s usually marked at the top, but I don’t know about other fashion blogs since yours is the only one that I read.

  12. Jessica says:

    I wonder if there is a dupe for those sunglasses. I love them and I’m used to high dollar sunnies but not that high! 🙂

    • Belle says:

      Try the Real Real. Ton of designer sunglasses, lightly or barely worn, very discounted.

    • Crystal says:

      Keep an eye on / stop in at Nordstrom Rack. It can be hit or miss, but I found a pair of *gorgeous* black and gold Prada sunnies there — $899 retail, $99 in store (and with the original case). I’ve also found plenty of beautiful sunnies from other major brands like Tory Burch and Ray-Ban, all steeply discounted.

  13. Monica T says:

    I love how all the red details tie your first outfit together! I grew up with Nordstrom being the go-to department store as well, and it’s still where I go when I need something grown up. Great sponsor and since you are always making recommendations from there and posting your picks from the half-yearly sale it makes perfect sense. Have fun in New York!

  14. Allison says:

    I enjoy this type of sponsored post. And while the price point for most of these items is too high for me, I was able to shop my closet and recreate the look…which is my favorite kind of post ever.

  15. Kate says:

    I loved this post! I pinned all the images and added things to my wishlist, like I usually do. I’m glad you had the opportunity to curate so many things for us at once. I’m a style-loving mom of a two year old and just don’t have the brain power to put things together myself, so I really rely on your guidance. Curating the right looks for work travel is also a sticky point for me, so this post is really appreciated. I trust you implicitly and want you to earn a living, so keep on keeping on. I’ll be reading and looking to your posts for inspiration till the end.Also, I’ve been thinking in recent months of switching the bulk of my beauty purchasing over to Nordstrom due to their beauty rewards program and was wondering if you had any thoughts on that program?

    • Belle says:

      I’ve used it, I like it. I do better though with the Sephora VIB program. I like it because I get early access to the sales.

Join The List

Stay up to date on the latest from Capitol Hill Style!


Ask the Editor: Vol. IV, No Twenty-Three

This week, we have a wedding dress search coming up empty, cell phone slings that don’t suck, sunscreen tips for kids, and more. Let’s take a peek in the reader mail bag.



Recent Posts

Two Ways: The Olive Striped Shirt

I’d write a quippy intro, but it’s 5:00AM and I’m sitting in an airport lounge, so let’s just get on with it, shall we?



The Find: An Olive Striped Shirt

As you may have noticed, I do not have the most creative personal style. I am here for basics. But what I’m always looking for is basic-but, a piece of clothing that is basic but just a little different.




Ask the Edit, Style, Top Posts | June 20, 2024

Ask the Editor: Vol. IV, No Twenty-Three

This week, we have a wedding dress search coming up empty, cell phone slings that don’t suck, sunscreen tips for kids, and more. Let’s take a peek in the reader mail bag.



How To Wear It, Posts, Style | June 18, 2024

Two Ways: The Olive Striped Shirt

I’d write a quippy intro, but it’s 5:00AM and I’m sitting in an airport lounge, so let’s just get on with it, shall we?



Features, Posts, The Range | June 18, 2024

The Find: An Olive Striped Shirt

As you may have noticed, I do not have the most creative personal style. I am here for basics. But what I’m always looking for is basic-but, a piece of clothing that is basic but just a little different.



Features, Monday Mornings, Posts | June 17, 2024

The Mondays: June 17, 2024

From the rooftop deck of my D.C. hotel I can see it all. The Capitol building, where I worked on and off for a decade. My first apartment where my three-doors-down neighbor was a young Senator Obama. My second apartment building where I bounced from unit-to-unit as my salary rose and I was finally able […]