I've Lived in NYC and Miami—These Are the Biggest Style Differences

After a decade, I decided it was time for my time in New York to come to an end—for now. And so, like many New Yorkers did this year, I packed up my one-bedroom apartment into my car and drove down South to the next best city (in my opinion): Miami. Granted I am only on my third month of living down here, and perhaps I am still in the honeymoon phase, but I am adjusting just fine to this new lifestyle. Okay, I absolutely love it. Though I will admit, my biggest concern moving down to Miami was the style. Being a fashion editor in New York for almost over a decade, I was worried about how I would transition my minimal Manhattan wardrobe into a colorful, summer year-round closet. And candidly, the differences between the style in New York and Miami are polarizing.

From the drastic difference between a New York winter and a Miami one (if it can be even called that, as I sit here writing this in 85-degree weather in December) to the innate energy of each city, the style similarities between New York and Miami are hard to come by.

As a fashion editor, entering new style territory has been an enjoyable task to take on over the last several months. I’ve traded a majority of my pants, from denim to workout leggings, for shorts and skirts, and I’ve kissed most of my boots goodbye for the time being and have ushered in a plethora of sandals. And yes, I find myself asking why I felt the need to pack all 100+ of my sweatshirts and sweaters. New moves always foster new beginnings, and I have realized it has also brought out a different style side in me. Though it’s no secret that I love bikinis, I have begun to tap into a more colorful, flirty side of fashion.

While I will always be a Manhattan girl at heart, I am embracing Miami’s culture, and most importantly, having fun with the fashion. Keep scrolling to discover the main style differences between NYC and Miami, and decide which one is for you.

Style Differences: Footwear

There is no doubt that weather plays a huge role in the style difference between these two cities; thus, I have slowly begun to file my once go-to boots in the “don’t need right now” closet and have adopted new essential shoes that still allow me to stay true to my personal style. I find myself rotating between three shoe styles down in Miami: minimal flip-flop sandals, low-heel mules, and a chunky white sneaker. It’s funny how shoes I thought were my ride-or-dies in New York have slowly faded to the background—until we meet again.

Style Differences: Handbags

When I was living my life in Manhattan, both pre-pandemic and the new-normal of now, I opted for sleek, functional handbags that could carry me through my commute. Or if it were a weekend or casual night out, I was always going for a structured, top-handle number. Now, in a complete 180, my handbags consist of straw or canvas beach bags, bold-colored clutches, or silk mini bags. Though the bag styles are completely different, I still commit to the importance of functionality in each handbag and prefer bags that can carry more of my essential items.

Style Differences: Jewelry 

I have to admit, the jewelry style differences surprised me the most. In New York, I always considered myself a minimalist when it came to jewelry; I wore simple, everyday pieces that consisted of delicate gold stacking rings, sophisticated gold hoops, and a dainty, personal necklace. I never thought that would change. And while I still love minimal jewelry, I have found myself gravitating to more dynamic gold pieces, like snake chains and thicker rings, and I love an anklet. In true Miami fashion, I am slowly but surely, introducing color into my rotation through earthy pinks and pops of orange that compliment my sunkissed skin. 

Style Differences: Activewear

Gone are the days of workout leggings; it is simply just too hot. I have had to redo my workout wardrobe completely, and I have officially become a workout-shorts girl, from the classic biker shorts to a wide range of yoga shorts. I’ve also ditched all of the long-sleeve crop-tops, zip-ups, hoodies I used to layer over my workout clothes when running along the East River and replaced them with a hat my accessory. And, of course, I love colorful activewear now. Who would’ve ever guessed?

Style Differences: Everyday Ensembles

The difference between my everyday ensembles in these two cities is quite comical. I had my outfit formula down to an art in New York: cardigan sweater + high-rise, straight-leg denim + knee-high boots. I would continuously wear different outfit variations and style them with different coats and handbags, depending on the season. However, in Miami, I live in a bikini. And if not a bikini, most likely a loungewear crop-top paired with a breezy linen trouser that is both comfortable and stylish. I’ve learned in Miami weather that it’s best to opt for looser-fitting clothing like wide-leg pants or a maxi dress to stay cool throughout the day.

Style Differences: Nighttime Looks

This style difference came as no surprise to me. Though I am not technically “going out” at the moment, I am still enjoying weekends outside with friends, and even then, I know the style difference in evening looks is also a stark contrast. In New York, the nighttime look almost always consists of something black, whether it’s your entire outfit or just the top. In Miami, I am experimenting with evening outfits by mixing bright-colored pieces or subtly revealing dresses. Going-out outfits in Miami are definitely more playful, whereas in New York, there was more sophistication to an evening look.

Style Differences: Color 

Last, but certainly not least, the color in these city’s style is the most significant difference for me. My style in New York errs on the more minimal, neutral side, and in Miami, I am all of a sudden obsessed with wearing color. Maybe it’s the warm weather or view of the ocean every day, but something about living in Miami has made me love integrating bright colors into my wardrobe—especially pinks and yellows.