6 New York Style Rules I Swear By (And You Should Too)

I've lived in New York going on five years now and I'm still not convinced that I'll ever qualify as a "New Yorker." Sure, I've walked up and down Manhattan in high heels and had my outfit soaked by a surprise thunderstorm, but I'm still awaiting the moment that I feel like a NYC native considers me a local, too. Still, even though I may not call myself a true New Yorker, that doesn't mean that I haven't figured out how to look like one. Living in the city has had a clear impact on my personal style, and learning how to dress like a New York woman has given me plenty of insight into my own sense of style.

So, what is it that sets NYC's trendsetters apart when it comes to style? One overarching theme is the fact that residents know how to marry style and practicality. Because commuting on foot, navigating sweaty subways, and putting up with unpredictable weather are realities of life in the Big Apple, outfits can't just look good — they have to serve a purpose too. Below, you'll find six rules that I've learned to live by since relocating here permanently, all modeled by stylish women who also call the city home.

Have A Collection Of Practical Bags


I'm never one to complain about carrying a chic handbag, but in addition to any designer purse a NYC woman has on her arm, she's likely also carrying a simple tote. When an average day might take me from the gym, to the office, to cocktails, I've learned that I can't survive without having a bag that can hold everything I might need. While a chic leather tote is great if you just want just one bag, a basic canvas style will do the job equally well.

Make Sure Your Shoes Are For Walking


Anyone who's checked their health app after a day in NYC might be pleasantly surprised to learn how easy it is to log 10,000 steps simply running errands. But, with all that walking, choosing the right footwear is paramount. Don't write out heels completely, but keep comfort in mind. Low block heels are the way to go if flats or sneakers aren't your thing.

Workout Gear Isn't Just For The Gym


While I wouldn't recommend wearing gym clothes to the office (unless you've seen your boss do it first), New Yorkers make workout gear their weekend uniform. Comfortable sneakers and a sleek pair of leggings aren't just for SoulCycle or Barry's Bootcamp, they're appropriate for brunch or a casual stroll around SoHo too.

Find Your Own Way To Wear The Trends


With such a diverse and quirky range of personal styles that exist in Manhattan (the Sex and the City crew are prime example of this), women know not to lean on trends too heavily. Instead, they find ways to cherry-pick styles and incorporate them into their already existing wardrobe. A pop of neon or splash of leopard are ideal ways to give your closet an update without totally having to start from scratch.

Think In Day-To-Night Outfits


Like the all-important tote bag, a transitional outfit is a key style element I quickly mastered upon moving here. Since a day could take me up and down the island (and possibly into Brooklyn too), I'm partial to planning an ensemble that I know will survive the day (and into evening) with me.

When In Doubt, Go For All Black


Black head-to-toe may be the stereotypical New York outfit, but it's for good reason: It's serious and sophisticated, and when I'm running out the door, throwing on all black is a guarantee that my outfit will actually coordinate no matter what material or style of top or bottom I choose.