What to Wear In New York In Summer: 5 Outfits for Siteseeing

A trip to New York in the summer is always a thrill because there are so many things to see and do. What will you wear when you tour Times Square, go for a carriage ride in Central Park, or take the ferry boat to The Statue of Liberty?

Here are five outfits to wear sightseeing, plus some handy tips for what to wear in New York in the summer.


dress | sneakers | bag | sunglasses

1. Comfortable Clothes are Key

If you are visiting NYC for the first time, you might feel pressured to dress up. After all, it is one of the world’s foremost fashion capitals. But remember that ninety-nine percent of the time, you will be walking around( a lot!), shopping, touring, and doing some casual dining, so it’s more about being relaxed and comfy than looking like a supermodel.

You can dress comfortably and look casually chic by adding a trendy accessory. Wear a fabulous pair of sunglasses, and carry a great bag or slip-on pair of stylish sneakers. Grooming is essential too.   A swipe of lipstick, a good manicure, and freshly washed hair go a long way to looking and feeling polished and chic.

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NYC - Peach Top

pants | top | jacket | sneakers | bag | earrings

2. Wear Clothes That Will Keep You Cool

There are tons of online searches for what to wear in New York in July and what to wear in New York in August since these are the two most popular months to travel to the Big Apple. They are also the hottest!

Temperatures are often in the 80’s (and can even go as high as the low 90’s in August), and it’s sticky, muggy, and sweaty.   I know, I’ve been going there the first weekend in August for years.

Be sure to wear something cool that breathes. Sleeveless or short sleeve tops are perfect for summer in NYC, but if you are going to be in air-conditioned museums all day, or you are a woman who likes to cover her arms, try wearing short sleeves or 3/4 length sleeves in a light, cool fabric.

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jeans | tee | jacket | sneakers | bag | earrings

3. Comfortable Walking Shoes are Your #1 Priority

This is the most important of all the points I’m making today. New York is a walking city. Everybody walks everywhere, and nobody checks you out to see what shoes you have on. So do yourself a favor and find the softest, most comfortable walking shoes, with arch support if necessary.

Comfortable shoes are used frumpy shoes, but now there’s so much choice, from lightweight, flexible ballet flats to cool sneakers or chunky, soft sports sandals. And don’t ever take new walking shoes to New York without wearing them at home first! Testing out new shoes in NYC is a mistake that will ruin your whole trip.

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pants | top | sneakers | bag | earrings

4. Cropped Pants are Chicer Than Shorts

Many women wonder about pants and shorts; the bottom line is that there is no rule. Jeans are okay, but they can be hot and heavy this time of year, so if you wear them in summer, make sure you get a lightweight pair with some stretch.

Casual cropped pants are chicer than shorts, although longer, tailored walking shorts can sophisticated city style than short shorts, which are meant for the beach.

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NYC - Olive & Black Dress

olive green shirtdress | black shirtdress | sandals | bag

5. Darker Colors and Neutrals say City Life

Darker colors like navy, gray, olive, black, and khaki are more city-like than tropical brights, especially on your bottom half, and more practical with all the city soot. That doesn’t mean you must wear dark colors, but it’s easier to blend in. Try a darker color on your bottom half and keep your brighter colors up top if you like some color. If you want to wear white jeans, proceed with caution of where them out on a hot summer night to dinner or the theatre.

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6. Tailored Clothes Look Less Touristy

Soft, flowy, bright-colored clothes have a carefree vibe and are more suited to a Caribbean vacation than a trip to the world’s most bustling cities. It’s only a guideline, but tailored casual clothes look chicer and less touristy than flowy loose styles. You want to look sharp in the city.

7.   T-Shirt Dress or Casual Skirt is a Good Idea

If you want to get some sun on your legs but don’t want to wear shorts, do as New Yorkers do and wear a casual summer skirt. You can choose a denim skirt, a casual pleated skirt, a soft knit jogger skirt, a chambray shirt, a striped, graphic print, or a floral skirt. There are so many cute, casual skirts that you can dress down with a tee shirt or dress up by adding fab jewelry and shoes. Skirts are versatile and great for wearing in New York in the summer. Shirt dresses that are loose and easy are also perfect for NYC heat.

 Shop skirts- t-shirt dresses






jeans | top | bag | earrings


8. A Hands-Free Bag Helps

When checking out the goods at the weekend flea market on 6th Avenue, grabbing an ice cream cone at Rockefeller Center, or walking The Highline, it’s nice to be hands-free. A crossbody bag or a cute backpack with a zipper is a good idea, so you can move around and get involved.

Finally, don’t forget to bring along a pair of sunglasses. It’s bright out there, and a couple of hip sunglasses adds a good dose of New York cool!   A water bottle and sunscreen are also good to carry in your bag or backpack.

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9. Try a Jumpsuit

Short sleeve and sleeveless casual jumpsuits in light summery fabrics are other options. The cropped ones will keep you cool, and they have a friendly summery vibe. Wear them to the theatre, dinner, or to that new art exhibition you have been dying to see. You’ll look cute and right on-trend.

Whether it’s your 1st or 40th time in the city that never sleeps, have fun, no matter what you wear!

Are you going to the theatre? Here’s what to wear to a Broadway show in NYC.

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7 thoughts on “What to Wear In New York In Summer: 5 Outfits for Siteseeing

  1. Thanks for all the great suggestions. It’s always so helpful to see examples of the types of things you recommend.

  2. Thanks so much for the info on what to wear. I am going in 2 weeks. o you think Black Ecco Yucatán sandals would be appropriate? I don’t have anything that compares to what you suggest, but I own these Eccos.

    1. Hi Michelle, Sure, that’s fine. I prefer a closed-toe shoes like a sneaker, but that’s me. There are no rules. They are comfy and hot in August, so if you are sightseeing, that is fine.

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