If you know New York, you know that each neighborhood has its own distinct vibe in terms of architecture, restaurants, stores, etc. Sure, there is some blurring of lines––one block you’re in Chinatown surrounded by dumpling shops and the next you’re in Little Italy drooling over a cannoli stand––but there’s a distinctly different feeling between being in Chelsea versus being in Tribeca.
If you pay close enough attention, you’ll notice that the people milling about these neighborhoods also have a specific style that matches the neighborhood. I’m not sure how these people all happen to congregate in one area dressed the same, but it just happens. New York is definitely one of the best people-watching cities, and by simply examining someone’s outfit you can pretty easily guess what neighborhood they live, work, or play in.
When you’re ready to explore a new NYC neighborhood and want to do a little shapeshifting to fit in, here’s what you can wear to fit the vibe:
If you’re strolling through Soho, you’re gonna see a lot of models (especially if you’re by the Equinox on Prince St.), so go for the casual model-off-duty vibe. You can really put on the simplest outfit as long as you walk with the confidence of Bella Hadid. Dark colors are good because you’re defs trying to avoid attention from the paparazzi, but low rise cargo pants and a sexy off-the-shoulder top are a great way to show a little skin. Plus, a big fun tote is a great way to store all the stuff you’ll need as you strut from casting calls to Balthazar.
1. Off-the-Shoulder Top 2. Satin Cargo Pant 3. Turquoise Velour Tote
If you’re in the West Village, you’re classy: you’re going to a wine bar or a fancy antique lamp shop. You’re totally fine with spending $25 on an espresso martini because you’re cool. This is where you’re going to see the Carrie Bradshaw apartment and pretend like someday you too can afford to live in a gorgeous brownstone. A great look for this neighborhood is something that’s a bit more reserved, but still on trend. The girlies you see at brunch aren’t as much stylish as they are trying to fit in with their friends, so a layered turtleneck and jeans is a great way to look the part while still being a little risqué. Add a pop of color with your bag to subtly elevate your fit.
1. Layered Turtleneck Sweater 2. High-Rise Straight-Leg Jeans 3. Edie Bag
Lower East Side
In the LES, you’re surrounded by a bunch of cool kids who may or may not be pro skaters. And these people are like, actually cool, in an effortless way. Their clothes look worn in, not like they just bought their outfit from the Aimé Leon Dore store. They wear Carhartt, but it’s because they stole it from their dad’s closet, rather than ordering it from Urban Outfitters. Cargo pants in a thick material are definitely the move, so when you fall while practicing your kickflip you don’t totally ruin your pants. A zip-up in a neutral tone plus a tank top is the perfect way to look like you didn’t try too hard.
1. Knit Zip Up Hoodie 2. Curve Crop Top 3. Colorblock Cargo Pant
Upper East Side
Yes, what you’ve seen on Gossip Girl is true. The Upper East Side is old money, extra fancy. You’ll take a cab from your Park Ave penthouse to Serafina, because there are too many tourists on the street to walk. And after a long day of shopping at Bergdorf Goodman, you can send your bags home in a car for your doorman to look after. Nothing says classy like a fabulously luxe coat, so let that piece do the talking. Pair with an understated cardigan and a nice pair of jeans (because you’re just like everyone else). Headband optional.
1. Check Mate Top 2. Sherry Coat 3. Straight Leg Jeans
Crossing the bridge to Williamsburg, you’re gonna see a lot of mullets and bleached eyebrows. You can practically wear anything here, as long as you strut and own it. Everyone looks a little intimidating, but if you compliment the girl with the septum and nose piercings on her shoes while waiting in line for your matcha, you might make a new best friend. A funky cropped sweater with a bold-colored pant is sure to help you fit in. Top it off with a sherpa baseball cap and you just might be photographed by Watching New York while walking down Bedford.
1. Binita Sweater 2. Harley Parachute Pant 3. Black Sherpa Cap