What to Wear in New York in Winter
New York is a city I find myself returning to often. I grew up not far from Manhattan and each time I go back to visit my family, I am drawn to it’s night life, it’s food scene and of course, all the shopping.
Over Christmas I left the balmy winter weather of Mexico City and headed North of the border to spend Christmas with my parents. I was woefully unprepared for how cold it was. I don’t want you lovely ladies to repeat my mistakes, so here’s what to pack for winter in New York.
A Thick Coat
Like really thick. A nice warm wool coat or equivalent. It should cover your thighs because jeans apparently don’t keep you warm as the wind whistles past those sky scrapers. I also recommend getting a jacket that fits snuggly through the sleeves. I had a coat that had gorgeous bell sleeves. Looked cute, but didn’t keep me warm at all.
Comfortable (Waterproof) Boots
The more of your leg you can cover, the better. I wore my knee length boots and they were great for walking around the city all day and keep my calves warm, too. Go with a color that you can match to most of the clothes you packed – I prefer a nice camel brown or black. Be sure you either spray them with a waterproof coating or opt for a pair that are already waterproof. Winter in New York brings lots of slushy rain and dirty snow and you’ll want to ensure you’ll be able to easily clean your boots up at the end of each day.
A Cross Body Bag
While New York is a relatively safe place to travel, I use this type of bag in every big city I travel to. You’ll likely be traveling around the city with bank cards, cash, your camera and a phone and you don’t want to be easily pick-pocketed or have your bag swiped while you’re on the subway or in busy tourist spots. This style from Coach is my favorite. Durable and cute.
Don’t even think about packing your distressed denim for winter in New York. Not unless you plan on wearing stockings underneath them (I’ve done this, not the most comfortable thing in the world). I would opt instead for black wool pencil trousers. They go with everything and will keep your legs so much warmer. Jeans are fine for the milder days, but just remember, denim can get VERY cold.
Gloves, Scarves and Hats
I like to bring a few accessories for my winter holidays, otherwise when I look back at photos it looks like I wore the exact same thing everyday (same coat, same hat, same scarf). There are plenty of street stalls selling cheap pashminas and I Love New York Hats, but definitely bring a few of your favorites with you to stay warm. I really love gloves that allow me to just take one or two fingers out to take a picture with my phone without having to take the entire glove off.
Layering Pieces on Top
Think long sleeve blouses and thin cardigans. The classic Jackie cardigan from JCrew is my go-to. It comes in so many colors and is thin enough to wear basically year round. While temperatures can drop outside, once you get inside anywhere you’re going to be sweltering. There is no lack of heating in restaurants, cafes and museums around New York. Thank goodness for coat checks.
If you’re going to pack dresses or skirts, make sure they’re going to keep you nice and toasty. I really like sleeveless pinafores because they are thick and they keep my body warm, but I can layer thinner shirts underneath for when I get inside. Short sleeve wool dresses are also a great option.
If you’re going to pack skirts or dresses which are perfect for evening, don’t simply pack a pair of opaque tights. It won’t cut it when the wind it cutting through you. Opt for thick, patterned wool tights. They’ll look cute and keep you MUCH warmer especially if paired with your knee-high boots! I love the selection most from Nordstrom. They come in so many great colors and often have buy-one, get-one offers.
Okay, so let’s recap. Winter in New York is cold. Like, really cold (at least to this kid who fled south of the border for warmer climates). But when you go inside anywhere, you’ll likely feel like you just got off a plane in Florida in July. So be prepared to shed different layers. You’ll definitely need a hat to stay warm, so pop a mini bottle of dry shampoo in your bag so you can give your hair a bit of umph when needed (Living Proof is my fave).
Mostly though, enjoy the hell out of it. New York during the wintertime is pretty magical.