One of the beautiful things about moving back to the East Coast from Los Angeles a few years ago is that New York is only an hour flight away for me (as opposed to the five-hour flight I used to dread taking from the West Coast). Thanks to this newfound convenience, I now travel to New York several times a year, for both work and play.
Truth be told, packing for NYC can be a bit of a beast. Luckily, I lived there for a few years after college and got a lot of wardrobe mistakes out of my system then, so I feel pretty confident in my packing skills for my visits to the city these days. (I'd say that being a fashion editor helps too!)
Because the climate in New York varies greatly throughout the year, I've broken my ultimate NYC packing list down by year-round essentials and summer and winter staples. But the most important thing to remember when packing for New York is it's a fast-paced city, and you don't want to wear anything that will hold you back. I fully support looking stylish, but unless you plan on taking Ubers literally everywhere, you want your wardrobe to be functional too.
Keep scrolling to shop my NYC essentials, chosen from years of experience.
Especially if you're taking the subway or shopping, a hands-free bag is of utmost importance. A crossbody bag works too but a shoulder bag is more of-the-moment.
As with any trip, you want to pack items that can be mixed and matched. Enter neutrals like this chic ribbed tank and the below wide-leg pants.
Just imagine all the outfits you can create with these.
You're probably going to be walking a lot during your trip, and maybe sitting in some Broadway theaters for multiple hours. Do yourself a favor and pack jeans that have a little stretch to them.
Whenever I pack my more "extra" sunglasses, I don't usually end up wearing them. I find myself reaching for versatile shades that go with all my outfits instead.
I don't remember the last time I went to New York and didn't bring a pair of white sneakers (I prefer Veja or Adidas). You can wear them in any season and with everything from dresses to shorts to trousers.
I don't usually have the time to pile on jewelry when I travel to NYC, so I stick to packing a few bold pieces that I can wear daily.
I hate riding the subway and sitting in taxis and Ubers with short shorts on, but it's often way too hot in New York for jeans in the summer. The solution: a pair of polished shorts with a longer hemline.
New York is a bit fancy, so I always pack at least one pair of heels, but they have to be walkable. I opt for ankle straps and heels that are three inches or lower.
Again, I stick to longer hemlines in New York and slip skirts take up minimal room in my suitcase, so win-win. I also always pack a pretty midi dress to wear at night or during the day with sneakers.
The perfect NYC summer dress, if you ask me.
If you're sensitive to A/C like I am, be sure to pack a lightweight layer. Blazers are my go-to in NYC, as they help me to blend in with the New Yorkers, which is always my goal.
Even when temperatures are in the 90s, I don't like wearing skimpy shoes in New York. I prefer some support and coverage, so flat mules are always in my suitcase.
Summers in NYC are quite hot and humid, so packing a top or two that allows for some air flow is non-negotiable.
Staying warm while out and about is obviously very important, but I always prefer to only pack one or two coats. You can't go wrong with a camel wool one.
I don't really pack heels in the winter, but I do pack ankle boots with a walkable block heel to wear with everything from jeans to dresses with black tights.
Thick, bulky sweaters take up way too much retail space in a suitcase. For that reason, I opt for cashmere, which provides warmth without the heft.
Close-fitting basics that can be worn under other items are so important to pack for New York. Just ask any NYC girl how they stay warm and they'll chalk it up to bodysuits, leggings, tights, and tees that trap in heat.
I try to not pack multiples of things like scarves, so I choose one in a neutral color that I can wear daily.
Loafers are my flat shoe of choice in the winter. They provide coverage and are comfortable, and if it's really cold, they look cool with socks.
I usually pack at least one dress in the winter, so black tights are necessary to layer under that with ankle boots. Not only that, on the coldest days, I've worn them under jeans for extra warmth.