Now, when it comes down to you to decide what stuff you need to keep and what not, it is one decision that you have to make for yourself. The reason why I am saying this is because I underwent a change in the style of clothes I was used to wear. This led me to completely changing my wardrobe. And to be honest, I am still not sure what my dressing style exactly is like!
What’s your dressing style?
You have to decide this first. What kind of clothes do you like wearing that make you feel comfortable? Look at your current wardrobe and see what kind of clothes have you always wore, for both formal and informal occasions, parties or anything like that. You will then get an idea the kind of colours that you like. More importantly, you will realise the style of the clothes themselves.
Comfort or Style?
Well, London is a city of the fashionable. But it’s also a city of people that just like to wear all sorts of clothes. You will find some people wearing really colourful combinations, and some are just dressed in their most casual outfits. So, it depends entirely on you. Whether you are the experimental type, or the too-rigid-about-my-fashion type, you should not shop for everything that you are going to wear in the UK. It is always good to have some money kept aside to shop in the city where you are going to be living in.
You must definitely keep the essentials. I do not have to travel the distance of defining what the essential for you would be. But whatever it is that you consider to be essential in your clothing, keep a good number of pairs for them. This is because for the first few days in the new city, you will be familiarising yourself with the way things work. Hence, you would not necessarily have the time to go out and buy the stuff that you need. Therefore do keep a good number of pairs for the essentials. Think about going without washing your clothes for about a week. What all would you keep then?
Anything like suits you must definitely keep. This is because you might have the freshers’ party, or a night ball, or a more formal welcome event. For all these events you would need formal clothing. So do not hesitate to spend even a bit extra on buying the type of suit or dress you love. You would definitely need it. However, again, I would advise you to not go out of your way and spend thousands of money on the suits. This is because as you move to a new city, your style does change. Therefore, keep some money aside to buy some clothes when you actually arrive in the new city.
Keep some warm jackets and tees. This is again, because in the first few days you might not get a chance to shop for the fancy warm clothes. So, try and keep at-least a few jackets, a couple of warm tees.
Should you keep warm innerwear? Look at the temperature of the city you are going to. If it’s London, and if it’s September then I can say that it would be cold enough that you would need a jacket. If it’s January in London, then you would absolutely need a jacket and below that a really warm tee or, a cotton tee and a jumper and a warm jacket.
Check the weather, if you feel that for that temperature you would need the additional clothing inside, then keep a few pairs. I would not say keep a lot of them, because it is better to have less than to have more and then dispose it later.
Where should you buy them? For the jackets, I decided to go to the cantonment area in Delhi. The market there has quite some choices when it comes to winter jackets. And some of those jackets are really good as well. But, they are not cheap. Alternatively, you can check out areas like Sarojini Nagar, Gaffar Market or other places in Delhi where you might get winter clothes.
Keep them! In summer, especially in London, it does get quite hot. And you cannot expect yourself to wear full trousers and walk around. So keeping cotton clothes like half-sleeved cotton tees and shorts would be especially helpful. Also, keep in mind that during winter when you are inside your room, because of the heating, you would find these cotton clothes very comfortable. For sleeping too, a cotton tee is extremely comfortable, even during winters.
Shirts and Trousers
Do not forget to keep at-least a couple combinations of shirts and trousers. This is because, again, during the first few days you might just need them. Once you are there in the city and have settled down, then you can think about buying more. Keep some informal shirts as well as you would need them for some casual parties or more informal social events.
For shoes, keep in mind that you would absolutely need a pair of formal shoes. My best suggestion for that would be to get a pair of brogues. The brogues have the style that they suit both formal and informal occasions. Although for extremely formal jobs or events you might need a formal pair of shoes. But for most events, a pair of brogues or oxfords would do.
Where should you buy them? Bata! I have a pair of oxfords from Bata and they are the most comfortable shoes I have ever worn in my life. Bata shoes are extremely comfortable and they last really long. Therefore, go for Bata. They are not too expensive as well.
Again, I have explained my rationale behind why I should not have brought a warm blanket from Delhi. The temperatures in London do not go as low as they get in Delhi. The cold wind adds to the chill too. Therefore, you might find that unless you are carrying a really heavy blanket from home, it might just not work for that kind of weather. Therefore, buying a new duvet from the city you live in would be more useful. You can check out Argos for the prices of the duvets. You can carry the bed-sheets from home though.
This is something that is entirely up to you. If you feel that you need to carry with yourself loads of stationery items like pencils, ball-point pens (other pens are not allowed in the flight) and other essential items you should. Usually, most of your assignments are going to be typed out on the computer and are going to be submitted online. Therefore, even if you write them on pieces of paper at the beginning, you would anyway need to digitise them. Hence, it would be a good to review how many stationery items you should keep. Stationery is not expensive in the UK. You will get everything you need for less than £10 including a good notebook, pens, pencils, cutters, erasers among other things.
Hand and Bath Towels
It goes without saying that you must keep at-least two of each. My student accommodation did not give me one, hence I am guessing in general student accommodations won’t give them to you.
Now, should you carry food with yourself? I personally did not carry any spices from India to the UK. This is because I was a) unsure whether they would be allowed, b) I knew quite well that I could find the basic spices easily at almost all the stores in London. Although I did not check to see if (a) was true, I did realise that (b) was, indeed. There are hundreds of stores in London where you will find traditional Indian spices. So, if you are someone who is thinking of bringing those spices, you can save that space in your bags for something else. However, do keep in mind that the spices that you get in the UK are more anglicised and lack authentic flavour. So, if you are someone who is hell bent on eating only the Indian food, then you can get in touch with your airlines and see if you can keep it. I know a couple people who were staying in my accommodation who had brought a lot of rice and all the spices with them.
If, on the other hand, you are not too keen on simply eating Indian food for the rest of your stay in the UK, then you can chuck the idea of getting those spices.
Food for the first few days
You can pack some ready-to-eat packets for the first few days. They will help you to manage the settlement during the first week in your new city. You can check out MTR’s ready to eat range. I carried at-least 5 – 6 packets with myself.
Do you really need to take it? I mean finding cutlery in the UK would not be tough. And it is not too expensive as well. You can get items like a pan, a plate, a bowl and a simple pair of knife and fork along with a kitchen knife for about £25. Add a mug and a chopping board and that’s about £30. Hence, this is a decision that you will have to make for yourself. Although, yes you can take those items, but then you can even buy them in the UK.
I would advise you to carry only the basic stuff like a plate, perhaps, and a small mug and a pan. That would neither take much of your space in the suitcase, and nor will let you go the first week having to worry about your own cutlery.