It's Hot Out There—14 Outfits That Keep New Yorkers Looking Cool in 90º Weather


As fun as summer in New York City is, the air temperature and humidity percentage from June until September make it almost impossible to enjoy. Take, for instance, last weekend. The real-feel temperature was roughly 98°, and the air was practically thick enough to touch. In short, it was gross. Yet you wouldn't know it was a degree over 80 from looking at the city's residents, who, after bearing plenty of New York City summers, have learned to dress for hot weather in a way that appears as cool as ever. 

From elevated ways to wear a bikini top as a real top to alternatives for your usual denim shorts, tank tops, and sundresses, the 14 outfit recipes ahead can and will make beating the heat this summer a breeze. After all, they were all put together by those who have to put up with the city's soaring temperatures all season long. 

1. Bikini + Sheer Skirt


(Image credit: @laurareilly___)

Putting on any clothes at all when it's over 90° isn't ideal, which is why finding ways to make very minimal attire look chic and presentable is key to surviving summer. Thus, the need to find and buy sheer, lightweight pieces and bikinis that can work as regular clothes rather than beach ones is real. 

Get the look:

2. Oversize Button-Down Shirt + Flowy Wide-Leg Pants


(Image credit: @naomielizee)

One surefire way to stay cool in the summer? Wear clothes that don't touch your skin, which is made easier by the fact that flowy, oversize clothing is extremely on-trend as of late. 

Get the look:

3. Breathable Dress + Heeled Sandals


(Image credit: @fashionwithjazz)

Fabric is sometimes the deciding factor between feeling sticky and sweaty all day and appearing effortless and cool. This is why New Yorkers always opt for breathable fabrics like linen and mesh in the summer.

Get the look:

4. Scarf Top + Slip Skirt


(Image credit: @elizagracehuber)

For the past week of unrelenting heat, I've pretty much lived in some form of this outfit. Because a scarf top ties in the back, wearing one leaves your back completely bare, which is always a bonus when the temps are in the 90s. And since slip skirts and skirts, in general, are breezier than other bottom options every time, the combination of both always wins. 

Get the look:

5. Tank Top + Loose Jeans


(Image credit: @anaasaber)

Sometimes, the chicest (and, in this case, most temperate) outfits are also the easiest ones to create. When it's super hot, a pair of loose-fitting jeans, a tank top, and flip-flops look and feel good. 

Get the look:

6. Cotton Dress + Loafers


(Image credit: @christietyler)

If you want to stay covered up but stay cool at the same time, a breathable cotton dress is a great choice. Now, all you need is a pair of loafers to add a trendy touch to the essential summer basic. 

Get the look:

7. Mini Tube Dress + Knee-High Boots


(Image credit: @inchargeofoutfits)

Every time I wear knee-high boots in the summer, I get tons of comments from people who think I'm crazy for it. But honestly, I've found the style to be surprisingly ideal for warm weather. And I'm not the only one who thinks so. Just check TikTok and Instagram for proof that knee-high boots, especially when paired with mini hemlines, are summer's top shoe style. 

Get the look:

8. Cutout Top + Micro Miniskirt


(Image credit: @champagnemani)

If there's any time to bring on the tiny skirts and skin-baring cutout tops, it's summertime, especially in New York, where wearing minimal clothing on a hot day won't warrant a single disapproving look (Though, that shouldn't make you change your outfit.)

Get the look:

9. Net Top + Cotton Pants


(Image credit: @michellesalem)

Fact: If you like oversize button-down shirts in the summer, you'll love oversize cotton pants in the summer. Breezy, lightweight, and aesthetically stunning, they're the perfect warm-weather bottom, especially when paired with a net-like top. 

Get the look:

10. Midi Dress + Statement Belt


(Image credit: @alexisbadiyi)

If there's one thing New Yorkers excel at most sartorially, it's accessorizing in a way that turns what could be thought of as a no-frills outfit into one worth talking about (a lot). Case in point, this look, which is just a breezy black dress and sandals. It became noteworthy with the addition of a statement belt and bag. 

Get the look:

11. Halter Top + Bermuda Shorts


(Image credit: @meccajw)

Short shorts on a hot summer day are almost too obvious of a choice. Instead, many of New York's best dressers opt for a longer Bermuda style that still gets the same job done, but with a more elevated and stylized appeal. 

Get the look:

12. Corset Top + Slouchy Jeans


(Image credit: @himichelleli)

Corsets are in—we know that. They aren't, however, often thought of as a good choice on a super-hot day. That said, unless you're wearing one that's as tight and constricting as the corsets seen in Bridgerton, the trendy silhouette isn't actually uncomfortable, even in the summer. Instead, it simply offers a stylish alternative to your everyday tank top. 

Get the look:

13. Onesie + Flat Sandals


(Image credit: @spicy.mayo)

Sweat-wicking workout attire that's also stylish is hot-weather dressing 101. Swap out your sneakers for a pair of flat, sporty sandals meant for walking miles on end and you'll be more than comfortable during a heat wave. 

Get the look:

14. Tube Top + Denim Midi Skirt


(Image credit: @karina__trofimova)

Like a pair of jean shorts, denim miniskirts feel sort of "been there, done that" for summertime. On the contrary, midi-length styles are extremely fresh and relevant in 2022, especially when paired with an equally modern and trendy tube top. 

Get the look:

Coming up: I Study Brands for a Living (No, Really, I Do)—These 7 Are by Far the Coolest

Senior Fashion Editor

Eliza Huber is a New York City–based fashion editor who specializes in trend reporting, brand discovery, and celebrity style. She joined Who What Wear in 2021 after almost four years on the fashion editorial team at Refinery29, the job she took after graduating with a marketing degree from the University of Iowa. She has since launched two monthly columns, Let's Get a Room and Ways to Wear; profiled the likes of Dakota Fanning, Diane Kruger, Katie Holmes, and Sabrina Carpenter for WWW's monthly cover features; and reported on everything from the relationship between Formula One and fashion to the top trends from fashion month, season after season. Eliza now lives on the Upper West Side and spends her free time researching F1 fashion imagery for her side Instagram accounts @thepinnacleoffashion and @f1paddockfits, running in Central Park, and scouring eBay for '90s Prada and '80s Yves Saint Laurent.