What to Wear in New York in Summer

Stylish, glamorous, fun and exciting, there are few cities in the world like New York. It is the premier US destination for the arts, shopping, dining, fashion, and fun. Covering approximately 780 square kilometers (300 square miles), there’s very little you can’t do in the city that never sleeps. If you’re headed here and want to know what to wear in New York in Summer, we can help.

A great destination year-round, New York shines in summer. The warm weather and long, bright days are perfect for relaxing in parks, exploring iconic attractions, and enjoying stunning cityscapes from trendy rooftop patios. No matter what your interests, there’s something for everyone in New York.

Read more: Boutique Hotels in New York City

what to wear in new york in summer

WEATHER

There’s no hotter place to visit in the summer than New York City.

Literally.

New York summers are infamous for their long and sunny days, and hot and humid conditions. Temperatures peak in July with August offering little relief. During this time, daytime highs average in the high-20s (the mid-80s) to low-30s (low-90s) but will feel infinitely hotter thanks to the high levels of humidity.

The humidity in New York is caused by a jet stream of air that comes in from the Atlantic. It can make the air feel hot, thick and sticky. Although not the most pleasant of conditions, scorching, sweaty and steamy summers are as iconic to New York as pizza and Broadway. To help you look great and beat the heat, read on for our top picks for what to wear in New York in summer.

WHAT TO WEAR IN NEW YORK IN SUMMER

Tops

Look chic and stay cool in New York in the summer by wearing sleeveless t-shirts or cropped tops. Opt for lightweight and breezy fabrics, like linen, chiffon, or seersucker for a great and humidity-friendly ensemble.

Available in every shape, pattern, and color, lightweight and breezy tops are incredibly versatile and easy to pack. Whether paired with your favorite shorts or a great midi-skirt, lightweight tops and tanks guarantee a cute and comfortable ensemble.

Just make sure your hotel has an iron (or send it out for pressing at your hotel, because I REPEAT: IT IS HOT IN NEW YORK IN SUMMER). Linen has a tendency to wrinkle terribly in a suitcase.

Swap out your shoes and jewels and these tops can easily take you from a day in Time Square to a night on Broadway.

Our top picks:

Dresses

From uptown to downtown there’s no better way to beat the humidity in New York in summer than a dress.

For a stylish summer in the city look, wear a striped shirtdress. Pair one with flat sandals for a day on the town or a pair of wedges for a night in the city. No matter where you want to go, your shirtdress will take you there.

For a more laid-back look, opt for a cute and casual t-shirt dress. Made of cotton, these simple dresses are ideal for a day of sightseeing. Pair your t-shirt dress with a pair of trainers for a laid-back yet put-together daytime look.

Our top picks:

what to wear in new york in summer

Shorts

Denim shorts are one of the most versatile pieces you can have in your closet. They go with everything, literally. Whether you want to rock a basic tee or wear an oversized cotton blouse, jean shorts will have you looking and feeling cool as you explore the city.

Take your shorts from day to night by swapping your flats or trainers for heels, and upping the volume with an oversized necklace.

Our top picks:

Pants

Lightweight and breathable pants are also a great way to survive the summer in New York. Reach for fabrics like linen, which is perfect for summer, as it won’t trap heat or moisture. Also, avoid any tight or skinny styles and you’ll feel fashion-forward and amazing as you strut down Madison Avenue.

Our favorite places to grab nice summer linen trousers are from Jcrew, Theory (especially great for petites!), and Anthropologie.

Pair your white linen trousers with a flat leather sandal for a chic Hamptons-inspired ensemble. Or, for a Bushwick-approved look, pair funky stripped culottes with your favorite t-shirt and trainers.

Comfortable walking shoes

On any visit to New York, you can expect to do a lot of walking. It’s said that New Yorkers walk, on average, between two and five miles per day. With so much time spent pounding the pavement, you’re going to want to be comfortable.

Don’t sacrifice style, slip on a pair of flat, white trainers for a cute and casual look. These trendy shoes pair well with pants, shorts, dresses, and skirts. From the Met to the Mets, these shoes can take you anywhere in the city.

For a dressier look, opt for a pair of flat, open-toed sandals or espadrilles. These summery staples are great for exploring because they look good and won’t cause your feet to overheat. Incredibly versatile, these sandals pair well with any ensemble and look appropriate no matter the activity.

what to wear in new york in summer

Light Sweater

Air conditioning is a constant throughout New York City in summer. As the temperature rises outside, temperatures inside decrease. To stay warm as you experience one of New York’s many museums or restaurants, throw a light sweater or shrug over your shoulder. Pairing perfectly with pants, skirts, dresses, and shorts, a cardigan is the ultimate choice.

Accessories

Protect your skin, face, and eyes from the suns harmful rays by topping every ensemble with a fabulous hat and a cool pair of shades.

For a downtown casual look, pair your jean shorts and t-shirt with a baseball cap and a pair of aviators. For a day of shopping, grab a wide-brimmed hat and oversized sunnies. No matter how you plan to spend your day, a hat and sunglasses will be the ultimate accessories for your time in New York.

Do as the locals do and grab a baseball hat from one of the street vendors. You’ll get the best price from these guys.

nyc skyline from brooklyn Smorgasburg

Makeup

Hot and humid conditions wreak havoc on your skin and makeup. Protect your face and body by applying a good sunscreen. Layered under your makeup, SPF 30 or higher will save your skin from a painful and unsightly sunburn.

Opt for lighter makeups. Swap your heavy foundation for a lightweight CC cream. It will still help even out your skintone, but it won’t melt off of your face on those hot days touring the city. Smashbox has a great CC cream that also has SPF in it – a double wammy!

When it comes to your makeup routine, ensure your face stays in place by swapping your regular products for waterproof versions. There’s nothing worse than walking out the door with a perfectly made-up face only to feel it start melting moments later.

And finally, don’t let the humidity ruin your day. Before heading out on the town, swipe on a good strong deodorant to ensure you look and smell great as you explore New York City.

Despite the hot and humid conditions, New York is a city that shines in summer. By following these tips, you’ll not only look and feel great, but you’ll have an amazing time as you experience New York in the summer.

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Kate

Kate Slean is a wanderluster, fashion fiend, and list-maker extraordinaire. Originally from Canada, Kate is currently based in Europe, traveling as much as possible. When she’s not exploring the world, Kate is on the hunt for the latest and greatest trends in petite fashion. At just 5’2″ Kate knows just how hard it can be to find the perfect fit, style, trend, and she wants to help others avoid the struggle. Kate enjoys writing about her everyday experiences of dressing as a petite, and the never-ending quest to find the perfect petite pencil skirt. You can stay up-to-date on all Kate’s adventures on her blog, Petite Adventures.

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