8 Things I Never Pack When I Go to NYC

About a million years ago, I lived in NYC for a few years. And while I now live in the South, I do feel like I have some knowledge about what to wear in the city, even though I just visit for a few days at a time now. I would even argue that traveling to NYC often makes you as much of an expert on what to wear there that living in the city does—hear me out! When you can only pack a limited number of items, you need to be very intentional about what those items are, really thinking through their practicality and utility for the location you’re traveling to.

Over the years, I’ve learned (sometimes the hard what) what does and doesn’t work in that big, busy, dirty city that you can’t help but love. When I pack something that I end up not wearing or being uncomfortable in, I make a mental note not to pack a similar item next time. Scroll for my list of no-go items for an NYC trip (I just returned from one, so the list is fresh!) and shop items that I recommend packing instead.

I’m aware that my dress in the photo above is quite short, but as soon as I got into an Uber, I regretted wearing it. Even just getting into the car without flashing the passerbys was tricky, and I had to sit in a precarious position once I was in. Not putting on black tights was a last-minute decision that I quickly regretted.

Walk down practically any block in NYC and you’re likely to encounter subway grates. They’re everywhere, and they’re a pair of stilettos’ worst enemy. I always make a point to pack shoes with heels that are thick enough not to slip between the grates.

I keep very busy when I go to New York. There’s lots of walking and lots of sitting for many hours at a time at the theatre, and doing so in a pair of stiff jeans is a good way to be pretty miserable while doing so. Baggy jeans or ones with even a hint of stretch will be a gift to yourself—trust me.

Having my mostly-bare foot within millimeters of making contact with the streets of New York City is a no for me. If you care about these things, I recommend shoes that provide more coverage, and if you really want to wear sandals, Birkenstocks or anything with a platform are my favorites to wear in NYC.

I love a good pair of puddle pants, but I’m particular about where my pants are dragging and the always-wet NYC streets don’t make the cut. 

I know that a lot of these points have to do with dirty New York City streets, but wanting your clothes (and skin) to avoid them as much as possible is valid. That includes my coats.

When I’m running around in New York, I’m not as careful with my clothes as I am during my day-to-day life. Sturdier fabrics such as wool (not merino) and polyester blends are far safer.

While I definitely don’t want access to the contents of my bag to be easy for anyone else, I try to bring bags that don’t have complicated closures, since I often need to open it while I’m on the go.

Next up, the 5 defining trends of NYC’s coolest It crowd.