What To Wear In NYC (Or Any Major City) Right Now


One question we seem to get over and over is this:  What should one wear while visiting NYC?  Or….Paris or San Francisco or London or….fill in the blank. I’m lumping all the major cities together, more or less, because in my experience, what works in New York will also work in Paris, or Reykjavik or San Fran or really anywhere else.  The only discriminating factor is the weather, so let’s just narrow this article down to focus on cooler weather.

When exploring any major city (or heck, even my own Philadelphia), I have a few non-negotiable requirements:  First of all, comfy shoes.  Like….walk-all-day comfortable.  Secondly, I won’t suffer cold (or hot) for fashion, so layers are key here.  And lastly, when exploring a new city (or even an old favorite) spontaneity is key.  If we happen upon a perfect little place for happy hour/dinner/cocktails, I want to be able to just….walk in.  I want my daytime outfit to be chic enough for a night-time outfit in a pinch.  That doesn’t mean I don’t pack that cute little slipdress….but….a trip back to the hotel (just to change clothes??) sometimes feels like a giant waste of time.

The best part of travel, for me, is the adventure, the unknown, the discovery.   Even in a city.  So.  What I wear – to basically any major city – during the cooler months, is this:

My Fool-Proof Outfit Formula For Exploring NYC (or other cities)

  • A silky bodysuit – not only does a bodysuit (or silk cami, tucked in) help to keep you warm – and this works shockingly well – but silk camis or bodysuits layer beautifully under a sweater, and doubles as a date-night top if you find yourself somewhere fancy-ish.
  • High-rise black skinny jeans – These will work for 99% of the places worth going.  My favorite black jeans have a slight variation in the wash – it’s more interesting than a basic black.
  • A Cute Sweater – I rely on drapey cashmere, or something thin enough to tuck in.  Or….stripes.  Stripes always work.
  • Cool Kicks – Any sort of fashion-girl sneaker will work.  Even at night, in cute little bistros. I love my Golden Goose sneaks, but my Adidas Superstars are also a go-to.
  • Black Smartwool Socks – With black skinny jeans, black Smartwool socks look cute with any type of sneaker (we tested that theory here).  And woolly socks not only help keep you warm, but they keep your feet soooo much more comfy when walking all day.
  • Leather jacket – Real leather jackets are just the best for travel (or everyday).  They’re both warm and chic.
  • Big scarf, hat, mittens – These pieces are key to making this outfit honestly work in the cold.  And the giant scarf wrapped around a leather jacket always looks so good.
  • A Bag (big enough to hold the scarf, hat, mittens) – I like to be able to take my layers off and stash them somewhere.  In most cities, I rely on a backpack.  However, someone just asked about the best backpack to bring to Barcelona….and in that case, I wouldn’t do a backpack – pickpockets are an issue in Barcelona.

My look: sweater | jeans | sneaks | bodysuit | leather jacket

For less, left: sweater | jeans | sneakers

For less, right: sweater | jeans | sneakers

Oh Hey, New York

Outfit Details

bodysuitTuxe Bodywear – I have an xs.  It’s a pricey piece, but one I wear virtually all year round.  Layered, in the winter (like this), and alone all summer long.  It’s one of my wardrobe workhorses.

More Bodysuit Love

sweaterFree People – I have this in an XS. Love this thing.

More Sweaters (To Wear All Day)

jeans:  Rag and Bone (size 25 for reference) – on crazy sale at Bloomingdales & Neiman Marcus

socks: SmartWool

sneakers: Golden Goose

Because I Wear Sneakers Like It’s My Job

leather jacket: Mine is an old Iro jacket (here’s this year’s version – on sale). I’m wearing a 38.  There’s also a jacket with a similar vibe from Madewell (for a fraction of the cost).

scarf: Sole Society c/o

hat: Intermix – Over half off at Intermix right now!

So that’s it!  And gang….I’d love some feedback on the format of this article.  Was the collage helpful, or not necessary?  Do you like the shopping widgets next to each piece, or would you prefer them at the end?  We’re always messing around with the overall layout, trying to make these articles as useful as possible.




  1. Great article; I especially like the “look for less” options. I like the collage a lot but at first I was worried there would only be the hyperlinks below instead of the shopping widget—I love the shopping widget because I can tap an image and immediately see the price, even on mobile. The “shoe|bag|jeans” links are less helpful for me personally but I get why they work below the collage (which, again, I liked seeing with the outfits styled together). Overall the formatting worked for me.

    • Yes me too! I prefer the widget at the bottom, too, and it would be nice to know if it will be there or not so I know if I have to click the hyperlinks or if I can just scroll down to the format I prefer.
      Love that you included the look for less section – thanks!

  2. Good tips and oh hey, your jeans are on sale! TTS? I like the layout including the collage and the variety of link options. Widgets at the end are good IMO especially if you’re on mobile.

  3. I feel like the collage is not necessary; they seem like a lot of work and I’m always bummed that a I can’t click on the items in them. I prefer it when the links are near the item, or even better, when images of the items are the links. These packing/travel list articles are fun and helpful!

  4. Love this post! I really like the layout, too! I love that Tuxe cami. I will be stalking the website to find it on sale! I will admit that I can’t get into the Golden Goose sneakers. I just can’t get over the…dinginess (for lack of a better word)…of them! I love all of the other suggestions, though! Love it!!!

  5. Next weekend have a fast paced day in Disney at Animal Kingdom that starts with a jungle trek (closed toe shoes, no dresses or skirts) and finishes with a very fancy dinner and then more time at the park. No changing time anywhere. HELP!!!!

    • Lori, I’m really asking out of a place of curiosity and not criticism. Why did you single out the most expensive sneakers? Out of 8 pairs listed, 4 of them are under $100, which seems to indicate that TME writers know the most expensive items probably won’t be within many readers’ budgets. Are you asking them not to list the more expensive items?

      • I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the initial comment by Lori. I think most of us are shocked at the price, and that’s it. don’t read too much into it

  6. My husband and I are going in May for our 10 anniversary and I’ve never been! I was just wondering the other day what a denim obsessed Florida beach bum is going to wear in NYC. ?

  7. Keep it up Shana! I like the artsy collage photos and the widgets are great too for mobile. I understand people’s reaction to sticker shock and even offense, but at the same time I like to know what’s out there and appreciate well made, beautiful (and well styled!) clothing. I think the “for less” outfit options strike the perfect balance. Enjoyed this piece!

  8. Loved this piece – really useful and practical for day to day and travel (I’m mom to a 2 yr old in London and we travel quite a bit too). Thanks for the range of budget options too; sometimes it’s nice to splurge, sometimes you have to work within a $$ framework ?

  9. Nice post! I really liked how you put the collages together. Had a fun magazine vibe. I can see it was more work, but it really helps me visualize the outfits put together. i can go either way, but appreciate the extra effort. Thanks!

  10. I love the collages – really helps to visualize the whole look. Without it you can’t do that as easily. It’s not that much work to scroll down and see the prices.

  11. My 2 cents: I like the collage, especially when you do one to show the same piece with different tops/bottoms/accessories/whatever. 15 photos of one outfit is about 12 too many. I like the widgets that you can see the brand and price without leaving this page

  12. This is great, I love this! Can you also one in a few months for summer? I’m going to Paris and trying to figure out how to wear comfortable shoes (casual sneakers?) for walking around but also look chic in shorts and dresses. Will be much warmer than my current city in summer (San Francisco) so I need some tips!

      • Try flat slip on espadrilles. I have them in light blue and they go with shorts, jeans, and dresses. I also like canvas sneakers, like a ked type of sneaker. Again, light blue is a good color that goes with lots of things. I would avoid sandals.

        • Also would love tips for a trip to Paris and Provence in June – especially struggling with comfortable yet cool, warm-weather shoes to wear with dresses while chasing a four-year-old. I live in NYC where I wear cutoffs and tees but feel like that’s too casual for Paris – maybe? Love the post.

  13. I was just in SF this past weekend and this would’ve been perfect!!! Unfortunately I didn’t layer well. Would love more packing/vacation capsules.

  14. Love everything about this post. Perfect major city look. Love the collage – sorry, it’s just pretty. Appreciate the diverse price points. And I like the widgets broken up by piece. Not in the market for sneaks? Zip right to silky camis! And yes, yes, 1000 times yes to being in the moment instead of in the hotel changing!

  15. Thank you for this post! Perfect for a trip coming up to Belgium. Love the golden goose sneakers…one day they will be mine. Do you mind sharing you backpack details?

  16. Great post. Love the collages. I also like the different price points. Even if I personally am not going to spend $500 on shoes or $1200 on a jacket, I like seeing the options. I enjoy the fact that Shana has expensive tastes. Some of the other contributors regularly show much less expensive options, so there‘s balance.

  17. Can you do a post where all the TME bloggers give their true feelings about body suits? Maybe it’s just that I’m tall with a super long torso, but they just do not feel right to me. Am I the only one?

    • I am also tall, but with a shorter torso. J Crew makes some tall size bodysuits I’ve found to be comfortable, especially if you go up one size than your normal top size.

  18. Lol! The comments are almost better than the post! I’m old enough to remember when bodysuits were big back in the 80’s.

  19. in your January post ‘How to ear cropped jeans and socks’ you are wearing a pair of black hi-top sneakers in the Foolproof graphic. Can you please give me the details of these.. the link isn’t working. Thanks!

  20. Really liked the format of this article! The collage really worked…you can’t have too many pictures (as long as they are fast to load -which these were). Great article all around for a former New Yorker that moved out of state into the burbs of a much less interesting city.

  21. I really like the collage–it’s easier to imagine the clothes on me that way, rather than on your gorgeous self strutting down a city street. 🙂 But I do also like seeing how they look on real people moving around, not catalog-modeling.
    Also, thanks for The Look For Less! Seeing the higher end clothes helps me know what to look for in the clothes that I can afford, and seeing options for less lets me know that there are similar items out there to hunt down.
    I’ve been reading themomedit since the beginning of aintnomomjeans–still my fav fashion blog by far!

  22. Love this! Can you do another article for warm weather? I’m going to Paris and Rome the end of August and beginning of September.

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