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How to Dress for a Day Out in New York City

New York City has quite the reputation — the city that never sleeps is home to one of the most prolific Fashion Week events in the world, and it’s a place where people are always impeccably dressed and usually in a hurry. Whether you’ve just moved there or are visiting, the last thing you want to do is stick out like a sore thumb in an outfit that clearly labels you “a tourist.” It’s also important to dress mindfully of the fact you may be walking long distances and facing inclement weather. In other words, there’s a lot to think about when you’re dressing for a day out in New York City.

1 Start with Comfort

As USA Today Travel Tips reminds us, sometimes it’s actually more useful to first think in terms of what to avoid. No matter how great you look, dressing incorrectly for the weather at hand is a surefire way to have an off day. Here are a couple of tips to make sure you stay comfortable:

  • Always wear shoes you could walk in for miles if need be. Avoid anything that will give you blisters, leak, slip off mid-step, or fail to provide arch support.
  • Remember that New York City can get “swampy.” Avoid synthetic fabrics and heavy denim when it’s humid or warm.
  • Always bring an extra layer so you can dress up or dress down as needed.
  • Blend in by aiming for a mix of “comfortable and cool.”

Think about the day ahead and make sure you’re choosing versatile pieces that look great and will keep you comfy throughout.

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2 Don’t Be Afraid to Take Risks

The first rule of New York City fashion? There are no rules — provided you wear exactly what you want with confidence. Remember, there is a lot of power in contrasting two seemingly unlike pieces. Here are a couple of eye-catching pairings listed in PopSugar’s commandments for dressing like a New Yorker:

  • Simple garments paired with punchy statement accessories.
  • Form-fitting pieces paired with a casual sweatshirt.
  • Two contrasting prints, like zig zags and stripes.
  • Mostly neutral tones with one pop of color.
  • Layering two vastly different tops.

The list could go on and on, but the underlying point is it can be tons of fun — and very freeing — to pair unexpected pieces in one outfit that somehow works. For instance, you might first think of women’s day dresses as pairing best with heels or ankle boots. But there’s no reason you couldn’t finish off the sleek look with a pair of great sneakers instead. Your imagination is the only limit when it comes to mixing, matching, and even clashing memorably.

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3 Tailor Your Outfit to Your Itinerary

New York City is a vast place filled with so many little pockets of life. The truth is that there’s no such thing as a universal NYC experience. Instead of getting overwhelmed, think in terms of what you’re doing that day. A day window shopping, meandering through Central Park, and looking at art on the Upper East Side will call for a very different style than gallery hopping in SoHo, as Travel + Leisure points out. So, do a little research on what you’ll be doing for the day and where — then dress according to the vibe of the neighborhood and the nature of your itinerary. If you’ll be hopping all around the city, try to split the difference by wearing something you can transform with the addition or removal of a layer or accessory.

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There’s no simple secret to dressing well for a day out in New York City. It all depends on the weather, your itinerary and your willingness to make some bold choices when it comes to mixing and matching.

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