New Yorkers stick to a sophisticated style that values comfort and convenience just as much as fashion. With all the amazing restaurants, museums, and neighborhoods to explore, you’ll want to pack strategically in order to fit in with the stylish locals instead of sticking out like a tourist. Here are the key pieces and accessories you should bring on your next trip to New York City.
Come September, NYC is already starting to cool down after its most sweltering period in the summer. You’ll want to pack items that can layer easily – like this cute poncho – for the unpredictable temperatures. It can be quite chilly in the mornings and then rise to the high 70s to low 80s by mid-afternoon. Plus, rain is always possible in the city no matter what season it is.
Bring along skinny jeans in a classic denim or black color. New Yorkers love denim and wear it year-round, so you’ll blend in among the locals. A denim jacket is also a great option and can be easily layered on top of sweaters, t-shirts, or even a comfortable dress. This look is effortless and practical.
If you want to go a little more daring, opt for a black motorcycle-style jacket. The stereotype that New Yorkers wear all-black frequently is totally is true (and they’re more than OK with that). You’ll stay comfortable and look really, really fashionable by NYC standards.
Winter in NYC is cold. Very, very cold. On average, the temperature stays in the 30s, but can also drop to the 20s and teens during December, January, and February. The wind chill will also make it feel a lot colder than it actually is, so prepare for all of this by packing a warm coat or jacket. A wool pea coat or puffer-jacket are the most ideal. It may sound unfashionable, but most locals actually do rock the below-the-knee puffer to stay warm from head-to-toe. Layer a sweater and long-sleeve t-shirt underneath–it gets warm on the subway, so you’ll want to unzip and cool off while getting from point A to B.
Stay clear of bulky snow pants and go with black or dark denim, as well as thermal tights if you plan to wear a dress or skirt. You should accessorize with a good hat, warm scarf, and pair of gloves to protect your skin from the harsh wind and cold temps. (Pro-tip: bring a pair of gloves that are phone-friendly). Keep your outfit trendy by bringing in a pop of color with a unique handbag. As for shoes, riding boots or comfortable booties are perfect for walking around the city for hours as well as protection against potential puddles.
The reality of visiting NYC is that driving really isn’t an option because of traffic and in the cold, icy winter, it can often be tricky if you don’t have a four-wheel drive vehicle. Most locals don’t own cars, and if they do, they have compact cars that are convenient to park (when parking is an option). This fact means that you’ll blend right in when walking down the street in your puffy jacket.
Similar to fall, spring can be a tad unpredictable in terms of temperature and weather conditions. Winter can last well into April, so expect it to be a mix of chilly and warm as the city blooms into spring. Every New Yorker will be overjoyed that they can finally shed all the extra layers and you should plan to do the same. This is also a great opportunity to pack some fashionable jewelry because it won’t be hidden under a mountain of layers.
Pack a light-weight jacket and raincoat that you can easily fold-up just in case a downpour occurs. You’ll also want to carry around an umbrella, so you never get caught in the rain unprepared. This will also ensure you don’t have to buy a plastic poncho on the street like many tourists end up doing.
Waterproof booties or fashionable sneakers like Adidas or Golden Goose are the perfect footwear choice. They’ll be comfortable and look cute, plus many New Yorkers wear these for commuting around the city all day.
Summer in NYC means two things: hot and humid. Everyone who lives there is ecstatic about finally being able to sit and eat outside, but dress appropriately to not overheat. Think all natural, breathable fibers like cotton and avoid synthetic fabrics that can cause you to sweat more. Denim shorts and skirts are always in style, paired with a simple t-shirt or top. Black shorts also work if you’re trying to stay chic.
The best remedy, however, is a classic dress either in a solid color like white or a pretty floral pattern. This will keep you cool and while also blending in with the other fashionable locals. Do bring a sweater along for when you’re indoors though–most places like to blast the air conditioner. Casual sandals will help your feet breathe in the heat while walking around, but flats also work as well, just be sure to break in whatever you wear.
It’s also helpful to pack a picnic blanket, sheet, or towel you can use for spontaneous picnicking around the city. Central Park and Bryant Park are perfect for this and don’t forget a reusable water bottle so you don’t have to keep buying water while out and about.
The key to looking fashionable while traveling NYC is so be comfortable and practical. New Yorkers are more concerned with getting from place to place on time and dry than they are with looking at your outfit. If you carry a camera around your neck and break out the poncho when it rains, you might as well carry a sign that says “tourist”. Otherwise, just bring your favorite outfits and comfortable walking shoes and you’ll fit right in! Safe travels.