Want To Dress Like A New Yorker? Here’s A Complete Guide.

Master the city’s sartorial je ne sais quoi.

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How to dress like a New Yorker
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The fact that New York City is one of the most stylish places in the world is hardly a secret. Lest you forget this, when February and September roll around, hoards of street style stars descend into the Big Apple for New York Fashion Week, promptly reminding you of the city’s sartorial prowess. That said, you don’t have to live in bustling neighborhoods like SoHo or Williamsburg in order to tap into New York City style. With just a few core tips and tricks from its most experienced and well-dressed residents, you, too, can master that je ne sais quoi. (More on this, ahead.)

Since NYC is often referred to as “a big melting pot,” of different cultures and personalities, it makes sense, then, that when it comes to the fashion, there is no one-size-fits-all ‘recipe’ for copying that imitable New Yorker style. Every resident has their own unique approach to dressing for any season and/or occasion. However, there are a few core style principles that the majority of the city’s dwellers refer to when putting together their everyday outfits. For starters, everyone appears to possess an unapologetic individuality and an innate disposition towards experimenting with their outfits.

“When I was 14, I loved nothing more than the feeling of escaping the suburbs and heading to New York because that meant I could dress any way my heart desired,” Danielle Guizio, a fashion designer and founder of her namesake clothing label, tells TZR. “I could wear absolutely anything and never be judged or made fun of for it. Coming from a small town, [it] felt so liberating for me to know that there was a far-away land where I could be whoever I wanted to be.”

In addition to having that creative liberty, New Yorkers get to change up their wardrobe once every few months as the seasons change, which lends itself to even more style experimentation. When dressing for any given time in the year, Squarespace’s Chief Marketing Officer and NYC fashion connoisseur Kinjil Mathur turns to the city’s character for inspiration. “[NYC] has a pulse that runs through the streets,” Mathur explains. “For me, NYC style is all about that — movement — and how your look will move with you as you walk down the street or into a room.”

Indeed, those who have ever had a chance to be in the city during the chilly months will notice there’s something so very special about dressing for the cooler season. As the temperatures drop, everyone readily breaks out their polished puffer jackets and coats made from wool and gabardine materials. Then they jump right into testing the latest denim trends with their trouser jeans and patchwork skirts, all while playing around with creative layering ideas. In short, the fashion metropolis becomes a fertile ground for trying out the latest trends, and for setting new ones.

TZR reached out to seven New Yorkers with diverse careers and styles in order to find out how you can recreate that typical NYC ensemble. Keep scrolling to discover their wardrobe staples, plus shop their respective wishlists.

Robin Reetz, Vice President of Brand Marketing at rag & bone

Wardrobe staples: “I’m forever trying to find the balance between what looks good and makes me feel good, aka pulled together but super duper easy. I gravitate toward men’s clothing — oversized button-downs (men’s or thrifted), wide-leg pants (The Row or Toteme on sale), sneakers (Keds or Adidas), or elevated little flats to balance it off.”

On her radar: “I’m a pants gal at heart, but I do love the white tights thing that’s happening. [It] gives me all the Alice in Wonderland vibes in the best of ways. I also like the bloomer trend, even though, realistically, I wouldn’t wear that walking around the city. But hey, I can dream!”

Tyla-Lauren Gilmore, Content Creator

Wardrobe staples: “My ideal outfit and wardrobe staples always include a black blazer, loose cargos or a light wash pair of denim, gold hoops, and Nikes. I love to be comfortable but always put together so I can go just about anywhere in my outfit.”

On her radar: “I’m currently looking for a perfect oversized faux fur jacket and trouser-style jorts for spring!”

Elizabeth Cardinal Tamkin, Stylist & Content Director at KULE

Wardrobe staples: “Seasonally, this changes. In the cold weather, it's a great trench style or Balmacaan coat that you won't get sick of. [Plus,] a good pair of high-rise black trousers, a red cardigan, a navy or black blazer, and black ballet flats and penny loafers. In the warmer months, my staples are a great black tank, a short-sleeved blazer, a Breton striped tee, denim shorts (with a finished hem), fisherman sandals, and always a pair of black or brown sunglasses I feel great in.”

On her radar: “I try not to lean into trends too much, but I do get excited or feel validated when a trend I already own arises. I love the bubble miniskirt trend — I have one, and I think it looks great with a menswear button-down for contrast. I love the ongoing high-hem thing we have going on. I joke that “I hate pants,” so this trend works well for me. I think it's all about adapting the trend — if you want to participate — to how you feel most comfortable and not feeling the pressure to be part of the ‘club.’ The ‘club’ changes too quickly to be comfortable in all of them! That's what I tell my clients.”

Valerie Zhang, Content Creator & Creative Director

Wardrobe staples: “My wardrobe essentials include colorful hair clips and a statement bag, featuring either vibrant hues or bold shapes.”

On her radar: “I typically do not follow all the ongoing trends, but If I were to experiment with a trend this year, I'd go for faux fur coats for their vintage charm, and these pieces are timeless.”

Danielle Guizio, Founder, CEO & Creative Director at Guizio

Wardrobe staples: “There’s an extremely effortless vibe here in NYC, so your best bet on trying to master an ‘NYC girl aesthetic’ is simply to not try at all. That is the most beautiful aspect of New York City — every single person here is uniquely themselves, and no one can take that away from you. I’ll definitely be wearing [...] a lot of sweaters and fitted blazers with matching micro skirts.”

On her radar: “Pleated skirts, sweater vests, high socks, school girl aesthetic, and Mary Jane shoes. I feel that the wave of London’s ‘90s fashion will come in strong this winter as well.”

Caroline Maguire, Fashion Director at Shopbop

Wardrobe staples: “Any purveyor of NYC style needs a go-to pair of denim. It’s a must-have for any look and works with anything. I think a mini bag to store just your essentials is also key, as well as a superstar pair of sunnies. Also, every NYC girl needs a good pair of walkable shoes — I personally love a chunky boot or standout sneakers.”

On her radar: “I’m on the hunt for sneakers! I’ll be running around New York all throughout the month and want some shoes that are both comfy and chic, with bold and fun details that reflect my style.”

Kinjil Mathur, Chief Marketing Officer at Squarespace


Wardrobe staples: “[The pieces] should be non-constrictive: pants that flow, jackets that swing, sleeves that flutter, skirts that dance.”

On her radar: “Rocking exaggerated and oversized straight-leg pants, embracing all shades of brown, and sporting embellished and bedazzled everything: bags, dresses, shoes, you name it.”

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