Living in New York City may often be hailed as the BEST THING EVER, but it’s no easy feat, either. And, as a New Yorker myself, I can attest to the fact that one of our favorite pastimes is letting everyone else on the planet know just how difficult it is to live here! Consider it our favorite sport, and one that we excel at more than anything involving cardio.
Because this island is such an—ahem—special place, it also has a distinct effect on its inhabitants’ style. The super-busy, fast-paced lifestyle does not lend itself well to the majority of fashion trends, which leaves us New Yorkers with limited options and a few special wardrobe tricks to help us just barely survive (we try not to expect much more than that).
In case you have plans to visit Manhattan soon and want to fit in like a local, or you are a local simply looking to commiserate, we’ve compiled a list of the funniest ways that living in New York City transforms your style. The bright side? Cute shopping options abound, even within the limitations of our concrete jungle.
Scroll down to discover (and shop) the 11 funniest ways that living in NYC changes your style.
Let's put it this way: Living here is not the episode of The City that we'd hoped it would be. Instead (and no matter how cool your job is) you're probably spending a lot of time walking to and from subway stops or across never-ending avenues. Faking heel comfort just won't fly here, though, and if you're anything like me, it might take you a few blood-filled shoes to learn that.
Fabrics like silk may seem light and airy, but you'll quickly learn that they make you sweat ferociously, which is not the best look, even in open-minded NYC. Instead, you'll start specifically shopping for linen, thin cotton, and polyester clothes to minimize feelings of summertime suffocation.
Chances are that you work far enough away from your apartment to make going home for touch-ups after the workday totally unreasonable. Thus, you must bring everything you need with you, and if you're like the average New York City lady, that probably involves a host of toiletries, medicines, and occasionally an outfit or shoe change. A small bag just won't do.
As mentioned above, impractical footwear is a big no-no. Unfortunately, even the flattest shoes can give your feet hell (hi, blisters), so, to avoid having issues altogether, many of us rely on a classic pair of gym sneakers to travel around the city each day. They might read as unstylish or out of touch when paired with some of our nicer outfits, but we got over caring a long time ago.
Because our days are often pretty stressful, we’re prone to blowing off some steam at a cocktail bar with friends after work. Since these plans can often form at the last minute, we tend to get dressed every day with the assumption that they might take place.
People don’t wax poetic about Manhattan summers for a reason—the place itself may be fun, but the humidity and high temps make engaging in anything at all a challenge. You quickly learn that less is more with makeup, because anything remotely excessive will render your face and hairline a greasy mess.
Makeup usage takes a dip outside of summer months, too, mostly because there’s only so much time in the mornings, and your work commute and toasted everything bagel from the local bodega are just far more important than perfecting that cat eye. Simply put, if you can’t do it on the subway, it’s just not worth it.
When you and far too many other people are packed like sardines in a subway car, or you're traversing the city streets praying that you won't run into an ex, sunglasses quickly became your saving grace. Even though it's mostly mental, the act of putting on shades lends you a bit of inner peace and a sense of anonymity that is so refreshing in a city that truly never sleeps.
You'll quickly learn that a lot of Manhattanites have no shame when it comes to commenting on your figure as you walk by. While this would ideally be resolved so that we could wear whatever we want to without worrying, that progress seems to be slowgoing. In the meantime, we become less and less drawn to shorter hemlines, opting for longer skirts and shorts that don't seem to garner as much irritating attention.
Victoria Beckham Denim Stretch-Denim Pencil Skirt ($380)
As mentioned before, we New Yorkers tend to feel like we're short on time. As a result, wearing all black all the time becomes the most reliable wardrobe option. Why? It's nearly impossible to mess up.
We spend a lot of our days running in and out of buildings that are either air-conditioned to the point of freezing or sauna-level hot, depending on the season. Usually the outdoor temperature is drastically different, resulting in a contrast that is bad not only for our health but also for our style, too. The best solution? Layering all day every day so that you're never stuck without the option to take something off or put something on.