What To Wear (And Not Wear) In NYC

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

For walking around, site-seeing and shopping, you’ll want to be casual and comfy. 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 wear in NYC.

What to wear in NYC - sundress

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What to Wear In NYC  – Outfit #1 – Cute Sundress = Fresh and Summery

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

Comfortable walking shoes are a must for a day on your feet, so choose a pair that is cushioned and supportive.  As for accessories, you’ll want to wear a bag that is large enough to fit your daytime essentials and that can be easily thrown over your shoulder. Pop on a touch of jewelry, some big sunglasses and you’re good to go!


what to wear to nyc

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What To Wear in NYC – Outfit # 2  – You can’t go wrong in Black

You can’t get the full NYC experience without doing a bit of shopping. For an afternoon browsing the stores, you’ll need an easy outfit that is both comfortable and chic. New Yorkers are infamous for wearing black so why not wear a pair of black skinny jeans and a simple classic tee.

Choose a tee with a v or scoop neckline- it’s most flattering. Wear with black skinny 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 - olive cargo pants, camo top

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What to Wear in NYC – Outfit # 3  Camo Look

Camo is always a popular urban look and with these colors you don’t have to worry about sitting anywhere and getting dirty. Lightweight olive jeans and a shide shirred tee, with a circle bag and ballet flats is a cool looking and comfortable outfit for the city that never sleeps



What Not To Wear in NYC 

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

Deciding what to take to NYC doesn’t have to be hard. A little advance wardrobe planning will put you in that New York State of Mind, and make your trip so much more enjoyable.

Do you have a great idea for what to wear to New York? Comment below!

*Guest Author: Chantelle Collier 

Join the Conversation

17 thoughts on “What To Wear (And Not Wear) In NYC

  1. What do you wear at end of Sept?? For day and night time… Suppose 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 nice dress- a sweater dress is always 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 obviously seems to express her disdain for what others in NYC are wearing. I am unpleasantly surprised that 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/or 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 don’t agree 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-80’s. I can’t wear jeans when it’s that hot, especially 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, cuz that kind of style takes 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 you (clothes) from whatever you may be sitting on or brushing up against!

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

    1. 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. Love the outfits, but open toe shoes are not always the best option. Also, white pants in the city are fine if you are just 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 freezing 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 gets any dirtier than any other color I wear.
      Cheers, Deb

        1. I travel to NYC a lot, and recommend stylish sandals or walking shoes with arch support and a cushioned footbed. Beautifeel 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 cooler than the temperature reads. 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. Heading there next week…living in Houston, TX, 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 not be super stylish. Am searching for a cute maxi, and will take several cardis…(Bec arms!). It’s been a challenge! But this post was helpful!!
            Hair is my biggest problem…new haircut is a miss and it’s supposed to be raining!! :(

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