In April this year I went on an 8-day vacation to England and Ireland. My pal, Bess, and I landed in Manchester and took the train to Liverpool to spend the weekend with a college friend before ferrying across the Irish Sea to spend a week in Dublin.
When we arrived in Liverpool our hotel room wasn’t ready yet so we left our suitcases with the concierge and went off in search of coffee. Now, I’ve been to England many times and thought I’d dressed appropriately: denim skirt, casual sneaks (Tsubos – love them), long-sleeved, white T-shirt, a trench coat and a scarf. Fine in central Texas. Not so much in northern England in April, it turns out. Thankfully, Wonder Bess booked us in a hotel right on the edge of Liverpool One, a huge new shopping/entertainment complex. As much as I needed a strong, post-trans-Atlantic-flight cup of coffee, I needed an additional layer even more.
After a few minutes of searching, I spotted an H&M store. I ran in and found exactly what I needed: a long-sleeved, mid-thigh length cardigan. In black. On sale. For the equivalent of about $20. I paid for it, put it on in the store under my trench, and headed to Starbucks.
That $20 cardigan soon became the most important piece in my travel wardrobe. I wore it with everything (with jeans, with my skirt, with and without T-shirts underneath)…and nothing. Yes, on two occasions, it was a dress. I wore it with black patterned tights, a black belt and flats and it was perfect for a night of Liverpool pub crawling. With a black belt, leggings, heels and a clutch, it was ideal for dinner at a Dublin club.
It was the best $20 I spent during the whole trip. Except for pints of Guinness. And shots of Jameson whiskey. Drinking is mandatory in England and Ireland. (It is!)