The New York City look is well documented—but hard to define. Yes, New York women are sleek and stylish, but we’re not teetering around in super trendy outfits and too-high Jimmy Choos. The most stylish among us do have at least one thing in common: being able to look pulled together and totally effortless all at once. As long as you follow these fashion rules, you’ll master the simple, comfortable look, too. When in doubt, recall the words of Iris Apfel, NYC’s grande dame of style: “If you’ve got good shoes, you can get away with anything.”
If you’re planning a trip to New York City, you might be trying to figure out what to pack for New York City. This blog post can help you figure out what to wear in New York City. Keep reading for tips on what to bring to New York City, what NOT to pack for New York City, and a New York City packing list for every season. People wear a lot of black. There’s nothing wrong with other colors, but the stereotype is just a little true. That said, feel free to wear whatever you want. Fashion in New York is famous for a reason, so enjoy it.
New York has real seasons, so it’s NYC is cold in winter, ridiculously humid in summer, and kind of perfect in September/April. As a result, it’s recommended checking carefully what the weather is in New York City when you’ll be here.
You don’t need a special outfit every day, so definitely look up the idea of a capsule wardrobe if you want to minimize packing for New York City (e.g. everything can be mixed/matched/reworn).
Dress up, but not too much.
New Yorkers dress for comfort, but always add a nice touch or two. Balance relaxed clothing with more structured pieces, keep on eye on the weather, and layer strategically. Try a crisp button-down under a baggy boyfriend sweater, or wear a structured sweatshirt with slouchy trousers and a softly-tailored cocoon coat. Think Diane Keaton in Annie Hall or J.Crew’s Jenna Lyons—iconic women who know how to roll up their sleeves or untuck their shirt just enough to look perfectly undone.
In a city where everyone walks everywhere, having the right shoes is non-negotiable. (Nothing reveals a tourist quicker than inappropriate footwear.) Avoid anything practical but unstylish (clunky running shoes), or the opposite, stylish but super uncomfortable (painfully high heels). There are endless options that strike the balance: mid-heeled booties, smoking loafers, ballet flats, oxford lace-ups, and slip-on brogues. Or just try a cool pair of sneakers, like Nike Frees, Adidas Stan Smiths, classic Vans, and Converse Chuck Taylors. And if you really must wear high heels, remember to stash a pair of back-up flats in your bag.
Master the mix.
New Yorkers have the high-low mix down to a science, mixing brands like H&M or Topshop with a well-made bag or coat—especially ones that can be worn forever. Of course, designer shopping is much sweeter when you don’t pay full price. Stop by some of the city’s great vintage stores and consignment shops to get your hands on a well-priced, high-quality treasure. Or take advantage of the city’s many amazing designer sample sales.
While you’ll see some New York women draped in jewels and statement pieces, many like to keep things simple when it comes to jewelry. Look for pieces that are classic, but with a hint of edge: a single gold necklace, a bunch of tiny rings, or one architectural cuff.
When in doubt, wear black.
As I have already mentioned, New Yorkers are known for embracing neutrals—black most obviously, but also shades of navy, ivory, and gray. Neutrals instantly make even the most experimental silhouettes sleek and wearable. Plus, when your closet’s full of them, getting dressed is a snap (and when you’re in a rush, that’s a priority). Mixing different textures and playing with proportion is the NYC secret to keeping non-color from looking drab.
The best way to look like you belong in New York? Just be yourself. Most people don’t live in NYC to be surrounded by the same old same old, and that applies to fashion, too. If you love flower printed pants and faux leopard fur, just wear them. Same goes for whatever avant-garde trend you’ve been wanting to test out. New York is where trends are born, and people here have seen it all—whether it’s colorful club kids, über-stylish Upper East Side doyennes, or sleek downtown denizens. Be confident and own your look, and you’ll fit right in.
What to wear in New York City depends on the weather and your itinerary, of course—but regardless of season or activity, carry this knowledge: New York thrives on individuality. Wear what makes you feel good, and take the opportunity to test new styles and make bold statements.
More than any other city in America, the Big Apple inspires people from all backgrounds to walk in their own rhythm and fearlessly express their personal style.
Start with classic denim, a great pair of jeans or jean jacket (wearing denim-on-denim requires chutzpah, but can be ultra-cool when on the mark), but think beyond blue. Jewel or powder tones offer a fresh look and contribute color to the collective ensemble of street life.
When it comes to what to wear in New York, a multi-purpose scarf is a no-brainer. Block cool winds coming off the Hudson with a wrap around the neck, or create warmth and drama in the evening by wearing the piece as a shoulder or head wrap.
A well-known NYC fashionista once described animal print as the new neutral, and after only a few minutes in the urban jungle, you’ll begin to understand the concept. Design devotees love to sport bold prints, from zebra stripes and leopard spots to polka dots and florals. And, lest you think a bold piece must be paired with solids, this is New York: Mix and match those prints to your fashion-forward heart’s content.
Little Black Dress
For those nonstop days every traveler has while visiting New York City, pack at least one look that can easily transition from museum-hopping by day to club-hopping into the wee hours. A little black dress is always worthy of suitcase space, but for New York, make sure yours has extra oomph. Trendy, yet classic peekaboo lace fittingly expresses New York’s love affair with naughty-meets-nice wear.
Pair a sport coat with jeans for casual chic during the day, then with tailored pants for a night out in one of the many famous restaurants in New York City.
Click your favorite fitness tracker and watch your step count soar as you stroll through the open-air theater of New York’s city sidewalks. Navigating NYC requires constant motion—crossing busy intersections, dodging cyclists, flagging taxis, climbing subway stairs—making comfortable shoes the foundation for all successful New York outfits.
Inspiring Street Style Ideas Of New York City For Women: