Packing for London: The cross body experience

london_bridge2So I’m deep in the throes of planning my trip to London next month — and by that, I mean I’ve been Googling tons of places, printing out info sheets and Facebooking my friend Stacy regarding trip plans! I’m visiting her for a long weekend over Memorial Day, and she will be kind enough to escort me around the city and generally be an awesome friend! I’m so excited and nervous, I feel like I’ve swallowed a huge bag of Pop Rocks every time I think it!

And I’m thinking a lot. Obviously I need to iron down what it is I hope to see while I’m there — it’s going to be a whirlwind! I have three full days and then a half day in the city, and I want to hit all the highlights — basically everything I missed when I went the first time. Hyde Park is on the list, as is King’s Cross Station of Harry Potter fame. I want to hang out in Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square, and I’d love to make it back to Buckingham Palace! Mostly I want to wander around, take as many photos as possible, talk to Stacy and just be in London.

And being in London is going to require a certain . . . wardrobe. Now, by absolutely no stretch would I consider myself a “fashionista” — I do all right and don’t usually get made fun of for my clothing choices in public, but I’m definitely not as “fashion-forward” as some folks. Definitely not as fashion-forward as Stacy. So one of the biggest dilemmas I’m facing at the moment is all about . . . my wardrobe.

I know. I’m dreading this. I’m really, truly afraid of my clothes sometimes. What I have is fine for my good ol’ American stops at Target or Kohl’s, going out to dinner or spending a day in the office. But hanging out in London, one of the world’s most fashionable cities? Uh, no.

My next dilemma? My anxiety over traveling abroad — and getting my purse stolen. Seriously, the last time I was in Europe, I carried around a really itsy-bitsy woven bag that stayed permanently glued underneath my arm. My passport, money and credit cards were in a leather organizer that hung from my neck — and was tucked into my shirt. We heard so many warnings about pick-pockets in Italy, we were terrified to have anything . . . exposed. And, sure enough, we managed to get back home without anyone stealing from us! WIN!

But this time? Stacy will be with me. And I’m not so sure Stylish Stacy will approve of my bulky leather neck organizer thing . . . and I’m not so convinced I won’t look like an idiot wearing it! But I don’t want to just throw on a random, casual shoulder bag. I’m not confident enough to carry all important documentation and the money to my name in something that a random person on the street could snatch right off my shoulder. Hi, Mom and Dad? Yeah, I’m at the U.S. Embassy. I have no ID, no money and no idea how I’m getting home. Could you, like, save me or something?

Today I found my solution: the cross body bag. You stick all that important stuff in there, slip it over your shoulder and run down to Kensington Palace. Perfect! So I started Googling around, perusing the endless online retailers who tout “cross body purses” on their sites. Of course, there are a million to choose from . . . and you can pay pretty much any price you want.

My only problem?

They’re ugly. Like, ugly. Completely unattractive, I-would-never-wear-this-in-the-States ugly. And my problem of not looking like a total goob in England resurfaces! I don’t want to embarrass my friend with my poor fashion choices . . . but I still need to stay organized and have all my stuff secure!

After my extensive and rigorous research, I’m left with a few options . . . and I’m still not completely sold on these, though they’re the best of the worst, in my opinion. Oy.

ELLE cross-body handbag in black, Kohls.com, $24

ELLE cross-body handbag in black, Kohls.com, $24

Tignanello Pebble Leather Crossbody Organizer Bag in hot pink, QVC.com, $52.80

Tignanello Pebble Leather Crossbody Organizer Bag in hot pink, QVC.com, $52.80

Kathy Van Zeeland Travelware KVZ Cross Body Organizer in peacock, eBags.com, $39.99

Kathy Van Zeeland Travelware KVZ Cross Body Organizer in peacock, eBags.com, $39.99

Sharif Adjustable Strap Organizer with Printed Trim, HSN.com, $54.90

Sharif Adjustable Strap Organizer with Printed Trim, HSN.com, $54.90

Tignanello Pebble Leather Crossbody Organizer in bone, QVC.com, $54.48

Tignanello Pebble Leather Crossbody Organizer in bone, QVC.com, $54.48

I’m leaning toward the pink Tignanello . . . mostly because, well, it’s pink (that’s reason enough for me to buy most things) and it has roomy pockets and a place for credit cards and cash (on the inside, closest to my body). One of those front pockets will easily fit my camera, too, and the style isn’t completely hideous. I think I could work it. Or at least try to work it! I haven’t written off the other styles, though, and the hunt continues.