What To Wear ( and Not Wear) in New York City

Are you jetting to the Big Apple this summer and fretting about what to wear? Relax. Even though New York is the world’s fashion capital, you don’t need to worry about stuffing your suitcase full of all the latest trends to blend in.

You’ll want to be casual and comfy for walking around, sightseeing, and shopping. That being said, there are a few things you’ll want to steer clear of to avoid looking touristy. Here are some tips for what to wear and what not to wear in NYC.

NYC - Dress


What to Wear in NYC – A Cute Sundress

Summer in the city can be a scorcher,  but you won’t catch local gals wearing shorts. So, a casual summer dress will look great if you plan to shop, take a horse and carriage ride through Central Park, or have a pretzel in Times Square.

Comfortable walking shoes are a must for a day on your feet, so choose a cushioned and supportive pair. As for accessories, you’ll want to carry a medium-sized bag to fit your daytime essentials, one you can easily throw over your shoulder. Pop on a touch of jewelry and oversized sunglasses, and you’re good to go!


NYC - green pants

What to Wear in NYC – Joggers

Relaxed, loose, comfy, and if they are linen, they will keep you cool. This cute olive pair looks fabulous with a never-can-go-wrong striped top.





NYC - black pants


What to Wear In NYC  – Something Black 

You can only get the whole NYC experience by doing a bit of shopping. For an afternoon browsing the stores, you’ll need an easy, comfortable, and chic outfit. New Yorkers are infamous for wearing black, so why not wear skinny black jeans and a simple classic tee?

Choose a tee with a v or scoop neckline- it’s most flattering. Wear with skinny black jeans, black sandals, and a neutral-colored leather crossbody bag to keep your hands free. Finish off the look with a scarf and a dramatic piece of jewelry like this bold cuff.



What to Wear in  NYC – Cropped Wide-Leg Jeans

Cropped wide-leg jeans are cute and fashion-forward!


What to Wear in NYC – Outfit # 3  Cargo Look

Cargo Pants are always a popular urban look; with these colors, you don’t have to worry about sitting anywhere and getting dirty. Lightweight olive jeans, a navy tee, a saddle bag, and practical chunky sandals are cool-looking, comfortable outfits for the city that never sleeps.


What Not To Wear in NYC 

  • Heavy Shoes – It’s NYC, and everyone walks everywhere, so a pair of great walking shoes is a must if you are sightseeing. A casual, comfy flat shoe like a gladiator sandal, ballet flat, or stylish statement sneaker is perfect for shopping or grabbing a bite.
  •  The “I heart NY” tee – You know, the one. This classic New York souvenir is available on almost every street corner in the city. Pick one up (I have several!) and pack it away to wear back home.
  •  The Fanny Pack – Yes, it’s convenient but super frumpy. Instead, choose a roomy tote with long straps that can be thrown over your shoulder. Having a bag that zips closed is a good idea to protect your belongings. Regarding color, a neutral bag is best for travel as it will match all the outfits you have packed.

Deciding what to take to NYC can be simple. Advanced wardrobe planning will put you in that New York State of Mind and make your trip much more enjoyable.

Wondering what to wear siteseeing in New York? Find out here.

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16 thoughts on “What To Wear ( and Not Wear) in New York City

  1. What do you wear at the end of Sept?? For day and night, supposed to have dinner at Tavern on the Green. Thank you for any advice in advance.

    1. Hi Lana,
      Tavern on the green is not super dressy, but you probably don’t want to wear jeans either. Why not a lovely dress- a sweater dress is always the cozy end of Sept with some tall riding boots or booties, or you could wear some dark pants and a pretty blouse or sweater. Cheers, Deborah

  2. Deborah,
    Kathy seems to express her disdain for what others in NYC are wearing. I am unpleasantly surprised by her insulting comments about women who wear “H & M and such.”
    were posted here. Further, she also calls others’ clothing “junk.” Sorry, I thought this forum was for positive comments and constructive criticism. Another comment…….who made her the “Big Apple” police? She slapped your wrist for that comment. SHAME ON HER!

    1. Hi Christie,
      Kathy is entitled to her opinion, but I’m with you. I’m afraid I have to disagree with Kathy. I find New York does have a lot of very stylish women! I love visiting NYC (The Big Apple) or whatever else you want to call it. It’s always inspiring. Cheers, Deborah

  3. I like the dress outfit and the idea of a pashmina. The average daytime temperature in New York City in July is in the mid-80s. I can’t wear jeans when it’s that hot, incredibly not skinny, clingy jeans. Am I the only one?

  4. Hardcore truth about NYC: most people are NOT stylish. Not at all. That myth was busted long ago. From Manhattan to the boroughs, it’s all the same junk. My child often laments how in a city full of designers and boutiques, the same stuff from h&m and such are worn everywhere — and not worn well.
    The real fashionistas are the ones you will only get a glimpse of because that kind of style takes a coin. Keep your eyes open on your next trip. I always do.

  5. Bring a black rain or trench coat; you can dress it up or down, and it’ll do double duty of keeping clean your (clothes) from whatever you may be sitting on or brushing up against!

  6. Coming to NYC in December, definitely boots but be sure they are waterproof! When we get snow, it’s black and slushy. You do not want to ruin a good pair of boots trekking around the city!

  7. As a New Yorker, these outfits will take you almost anywhere. A maxi dress is an excellent addition. I wouldn’t advise super flat sandals, though. You want to keep a little bit of distance between your feet and the sidewalk :-)

  8. I love the outfits, but open-toe shoes are not always the best option. Also, white pants in the city are acceptable if you are strolling out of your hotel, but I would not wear them in a car, train, or boat since they will get stained. I always bring a scarf or light sweater, even in the summer, since many restaurants are cold!

    1. Hi Karen,
      The scarf is a good idea. I always pack one when I travel. I guess white is an individual thing. I haven’t had any problems with white. I don’t find it dirtier than any other color I wear.
      Cheers, Deb

        1. I travel to NYC often and recommend stylish sandals or walking shoes with arch support and a cushioned footbed. Beautiful is a brand that has both. Restaurants and theatres are often over-air-conditioned–and the skyscrapers in NYC can create a wind tunnel effect, so it often feels much more relaxed than the temperature. A light jacket, Pashmina, or colorful wrap will keep you comfortable. If you’re walking around the city in the summertime, you may also want a chic roll-up straw hat for sun protection.

          1. I’m heading there next week. I live in Houston, TX, and all my summer clothes look like I’m going to Galveston!! I wear jeans here so I’ll wear them there…also leggings and tunics…because I can, though they may need to be more stylish. I am searching for a cute maxi and will take several cards…(Bec arms!). It’s been a challenge! But this post was helpful!!
            Hair is my biggest problem… the new haircut is a miss, and it’s supposed to rain!! :(

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