When you travel to any city in the world, there are always telltale signs of what makes that destination unique, but the easiest way to get a true sense of the town is through street style. What a Parisian wears in the middle of summer will be completely different from what someone wears in Houston, for example. There's something magical about witnessing how people around the world approach style, but I'd be lying if I didn't say that my true loyalty will always lie with New Yorkers. After all, I am one. Don't get me wrong. I'll always love French style, and sometimes, I miss the laid-back Los Angeles energy, but it's not up for debate that New Yorkers know how to look good while they stay steady grinding. The hustle and bustle of the city require a focus on functionality. You can't survive walking in uncomfortable shoes, extreme temperatures are normal, and you have to know that the city's filth will, at some point, require you to find a better cleaner. Basically, this city is brutal, so you need an arsenal of reliable pieces to throw on and go.
What those basics are depends on the season. But in the middle of the summer, you can't walk a city block without spotting one signature staple: a white dress. It's a concept that, admittedly, I never noticed until a recent transplant pointed it out to me. So in that vein, I've pulled the receipts to show how this "boring" staple continues to be popular with the New York crowd and shopped out the best white dresses online right now. This staple is a must-have, even if you don't live in Manhattan.
What better piece to wear from day to the evening than a white button-down dress? Whether you're hanging out at a gallery in the Lower East Side after work, secured a reservation at Misi, or are searching for a rooftop for happy hour, this style will not fail you.
Long before everyone was buzzing about lingerie-inspired dresses coming back into style, the summer uniform on the down-low in NYC was a white slip dress. When it's humid out and you're huffing it across the avenues, you want something as effortless as possible, and this dress is it.
Maybe it's the impact of Sex and the City, but every New Yorker I know owns at least one strapless dress—we love a risqué moment. But in the summer? We're all on one, so we're not afraid to frolic about in this style in every shade of white.
Is it even summertime in New York if you haven't worn a white minidress? Whether dressed up with a pair of strappy heels or down with sneakers, this style always manages to stand out in the sea of skyscrapers as a stylish staple.
No other dress can halt traffic quite like a white halter dress—it's that stunning. Whether you opt for a mini, maxi, or anything in between, this simple style is sure to stun every single time.
Cottagecore dresses may have exploded in popularity worldwide over the past two years, but let it be known that New Yorkers wore puff-sleeved dresses in the city long before everyone was flocking to the countryside. They're proving, once again, that you can take the girl out of the city, but the trends will always be found in NYC first.
Photo:@lefevrediary; Pictured: The Bar dress
Consider it the cause of close proximity to the runways, but the New York fashion set loves a good cutout number. I can't tell you the countless number of times I've walked around the city or gone out only and spotted someone wearing a white cutout dress—it's the unofficial Hot Girl Summer uniform.
Maxi dresses may seem like a tough sell when you're schlepping through the city in scorching heat, but like all true New Yorkers, we'll suffer for fashion. I'll tell you a little secret: The real natives know that opting for lightweight versions or wearing this dress at the start and end of the season is the way to make maxi dresses practical.
No one does transitional dressing quite like New Yorkers. Even in the late summer, you'll see women across the city making the most of their sundresses by styling them with fall pieces. Case in point: the look above. A white ribbed maxi, a tank dress, or even a white sweaterdress can get more mileage if you know how to make it work.
A white dress may be a staple, but it doesn't have to be simple. In fact, New Yorkers are known for wearing white dresses with interesting details—e.g., dropped bodices, bows, ruffles, corset boning, embroidery, and logo-adorned eyelet. Ultimately, when it comes to embracing this basic, it's not about ditching fashion for function. Rather, in proper New York form, it's about finding pieces that give you the best of both worlds. If you can do that, you're a New Yorker at heart (no matter what zip code you actually reside in).