Skip to Content

What to Wear in NYC with Secret Tips for 2022 to Create the Best Ever NYC Packing List

Not sure what to wear in NYC or what to add to your NYC packing list? If so then this exoert guide with 25 items to add to your New York packing list is 110% for you.

After all, I am a 30+ year local who knows exaclty what you should and should NOT wear in NYC.

So, leave the stillettos at home, wear lots of black, and always rock a cool pair of sunnies if you want to blend in with the locals.

Also walk really fast and with purpose – like you know exactly where you’re going. This way, everyone around you will totally mistake you for a local.

However, for the full inside scoop, continue onwards my friend and swan dive into this badass New York packing list right now!

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure for more information. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases.

NYC Packing List – Travel Accesories

1. Packing Cubes

Pack your bag like a pro and avoid creases with a set of these amazing packing cubes.

I mean, you can’t very well decide on what to wear in NYC and then walk down the street in wrinkled pants, now can you?

Good. Glad we agree when it comes to what to add to your NYC packing list.

Plus, packing cubes means that even the most disorganized packers in the world stand a chance of showing up prepared and ready to go for the day ahead.

After all, they enable you to separate your different items of clothing and compress them so that they take up a lot less space in your bag.

Then, when you finally arrive in New York, you’ll know exactly where your favorite top/lipstick is.

And this set of 8 BAGAIL packing cubes includes a mix of varying-sized pouches for your clothes.

You’ll also get cubes specifically designed for toiletries, shoes, bras, and small items such as cables and keys.

Strategically crafted from lightweight nylon fabric, they’re built to withstand regular use without adding unnecessary weight to your bag. Plus, a water-resistant finish protects your stuff from any accidental spills.

Yup, once you invest in a pack, they’ll see you through on all your future trips.

2. Money Belt

Keep your passport, credit cards, cash, and other essentials safe by adding a comfy money belt to your New York packing list.

After all, money belts are essential when you’re in transit. But, when you’re navigating a huge city like NYC where pickpockets roam, it adds peace of mind to your trip.

And this nifty Travel Money Belt with RFID Block comes in two sizes, featuring comfort-soft straps to ensure it’s always comfortable to wear.

But wait. Worried that it’s so comfy it’ll slip off without you noticing? Well, a dual side-release buckle makes that impossible.

Meanwhile, a moisture-wick backing keeps the pouch cool against your skin. Handy for those of you visiting New York in the summer months.

Two recovery tags are included in the purchase of your money belt. Just in case the worst should happen.

Plus, ReturnMe’s 24/7 customer services team will help get lost items back to you, from anywhere in the world: at NO additional cost. Pretty sweet indeed.

3. Stylish Backpack

A conundrum of any NYC packing list is choosing a day bag that’s practical and comfortable yet stylish.

Well, I’ve found the perfect bag for you if you’re wondering what day add to your New York packing list.

Assembled from vegan leather, this chic women’s fashion backpack purse by ZOCILOR comes in 26 different colors and patterns.

So, spice up an otherwise somber look with pillar-box red or leopard print, or go incognito with classic black, beige, or brown.

Plus, this bag will easily accommodate all your daily essentials and can even fit smaller laptops (max. 14-inch MacBooks).

Sturdy metal zippers and clasps also keep your prized possessions super secure, complete with a funky shoulder strap that adds a kooky finish to an already fantastic bag.

You’ll also love that this bag is exceptionally well-priced and outfitted with internal and external pockets to help keep everything organized.

So, not only is your stuff be sure and well-organized but your fashion sense will remain totally intact.

4. Microfiber Travel Towel

Chances are that your hotel is going to provide you with a towel.

However, if you’re planning on hitting up the green spaces and beaches of NYC, you’ll appreciate having something to park your tush on that isn’t sand.

And this 4 Monster super absorbent microfiber travel towel is designed for the gym, hiking, picnicking, and more. It’s also available in a multitude of colors and sizes.

Plus, it dries in moments. So, if you do take a dip at one of the best beaches in Montauk or the Hamptons, this towel has your back.

Plus, if you fancy squeezing in a yoga workout in while visiting the city then this towel will come in handy.

5. Reusable Face Masks

Restrictions are lifting and we’re inching back to normal travel.

But, for now, masks are still required when using public transport. Some museums also request or encourage masks to be worn too.

So, in terms of what to wear in NYC, come prepared by slipping a couple of reusable face masks into your bag as you create the perfect NYC packing list.

And this pack of 5 bohemian reusable and washable face masks feature an adjustable nose clip as well as adaptable ear loops.

They are also made from 100% cotton so they’re gentle on your skin and stay in place thanks to a nose wire.

You can also wash them in the sink at your hotel and they’ll dry overnight.

6. First Aid Kit

You might scrunch your nose at this one seeing as you’re off to a major metropolis where pharmacies (aka Duane Reede) are very much a regular sighting.

But, when you’re on vacation, you really don’t want to waste valuable bagel-eating time looking for your favorite band-aid brand.

So, invest in a nice little First Aid Kit with all your essentials as you decide what to wear in NYC.

After all, when you get a teeny kit like this mini hard shell First Aid Kit, you can quickly and easily fit it into your suitcase.

But before you head to NYC – and your trip after that – customize it.

Fingers crossed that you probably won’t need the zillion bandages provided. So, feel free to swap them out with your trusty painkillers and any medication or vitamins you take.

This way, you always know exactly where everything is when using your New York packing list to prep for yout trip.

Plus, this kit comes with a pair of tweezers and other knick-knacks that always seem to come in handy no matter what.

7. Solid shampoo

Embrace your inner eco-warrior with an earth-friendly and cruelty-free shampoo bar.

Because this 100% organic shampoo bar by Bamboo Earth foams up just like conventional soap but contains zero nasties.

No parabens, no palm oil, no preservatives. Nada.

Each pack also contains four solid shampoo bars in delectable scents like lavender, seaweed, honey, and chamomile.

Plus, the shampoo is fused with conditioning components so there’s no need to pack conditioner on the side – saving you room in your suitcase without having to worry about carrying liquids.

8. SPF Moisturizer and Lip Balm

We all know that we’re supposed to wear SPF every day. So, there’s no excuse to skip an SPF moisturizer on your NYC packing list.

See, this CeraVe oil-free facial moisturizer with SPF 30 is carry-on friendly. It’s also formulated with ceramides found naturally in the skin and absorbs quickly.

Recommended for daily use, this cream is suitable for sensitive, dry, oily, and acne-prone skin.

So, just dab this moisturizer on in the morning and you can rest easy knowing that a red nose won’t be an additional souvenir from your trip to NYC.

Also remember to add a tube of lip balm to your NYC packing list too.

Yeah, these vegan and cruelty-free SPF lip balms by Sun Bum are enriched with vitamin E and aloe vera. Therefore, they’ll keep lips feeling supple whatever conditions New York throws your way.

And while this trio of three fruity blends is super economical, you can always order a single as you decide what to wear in NYC.

9. Windproof Umbrella

The Big Apple is prone to rainfall during the spring and winter months. But, an umbrella is also handy to keep in your bag during summer too as it can shield you from the sun while picnicking or strolling through the city’s many parks.

Now, NYC is also predisposed to insane gusts of wind. So, my insider tip is to pack a windproof umbrella.

Cheap, cheerful, and functional, this Amazon Basics travel umbrella with a wind vent will avoid any awkward inside-out umbrella situations.

Because once it’s closed, it measures a mere 11 inches which makes it handbag-friendly. Even better, it extends by clicking a button so you can pop it open with a flourish.

So, stand out with the yellow version or blend in with the classic black. After all, when deciding what to wear in NYC, you’ll know that your clothes will stay dry!

10. Reusable Water Bottle

Do yourself (and your wallet) a huge favor by adding a reusable water bottle to your NYC packing list.

Buying plastic bottles is expensive and dreadful for the environment. So, seeing as the drinking water in New York is perfectly safe, this is an item not to forget.

And you really can’t go wrong with this koodee stainless steel BPA-free water bottle that can keep your water chilled for up to 24 hours.

Or, in winter, you can fill it up with hot water and your preferred infusion of choice will stay warm for 12 solid hours.

The stainless steel is also safe and durable and won’t rust or interfere with the taste of the water.

Meanwhile, the slim style means it slips neatly into your backpack and doesn’t add too much weight to your day bag.

Pro Tip: If you’re really worried about saving space and the weight of your bag, try adding an inflattable water bottle to your New York packing list instead.

NYC Packing List – Clothes

11. Colorfulkoala leggings

Not sure what to wear in NYC?

Well, what’s not to love about leggings? After all, they’re comfy, versatile, and lend themselves to all-weather, seasons, and occasions – making the perfect addition to any New York packing list.

So, you can rock an athleisure look or dress them up with something a bit sleeker.

Now, colorfulkoala leggings in particular are an absolute steal and have soared to the top spot for leggings on Amazon (and taken TikTok by storm).

And that’s mainly because OG Colorfulkoala creates buttery soft high-rise yoga pants that come in goes-with-everything black and gray.

A seamless waistband also makes these squat-proof yoga pants suitable for extended day wear and workouts.

On the other hand, the faux leather leggings are matched for comfort and add a little extra pizzazz while you’re pounding the streets of NYC.

Plus, they cost a fraction of the price of a big-brand pair of leggings. Therefore, they really are a must when deciding what to wear in NYC.

It’s also something that you’ll get tons of use out of once you get back home.

12. Button-down shirt

A button-down shirt meticulously treads the line between formal and casual. Which is exactly what you want to get out of your NYC packing list.

In fact, you put a classic blouse over a vest or use it as a base layer in the cooler months. Alternatively, wear it as-is throughout the summer when trying to figure out what to wear in NYC.

And this Karlywindow women’s button-down blouse really ticks all the right boxes.

The range is crafted from a cotton-linen blend meaning that you avoid the sticky, staticky finish of synthetic shirts.

Then, just pair your chosen shirt with jeans, leggings, shorts, or culotte pants for a stylish look that will leave you feeling like a local.

You can also fling it over a dress or jumpsuit as an extra layer. And when you’re not wearing this item on your New York packing list, roll it into one of your packing cubes and pop it back in your bag.

Pro Tip: When it’s summer and air-conditioned restaurants and museums feel extra frigid, use this shirt to help keep you warm while still looking fly like a G-6.

13. Oversized Poncho

Is it a sweater or a coat? No one really knows, but we do know that few items look as fabulous as an oversized poncho.

And this VamJump open front blanket shawl cape is the perfect alternative to a typical jacket while exploring NYC.

It’s produced using a superior cashmere imitation fabric that’ll keep you warm and snug while feeling soft against the skin.

So, be rusrek to rock it with your fave pari of leggings and ankle boots on a crisp fall day or when planning a picnic in the park.

You can also dress it up with your fave LBD for rooftop cocktails or a night on Broadway. Yup, just super versatile and great in photos – making it an easy pick when considering what to wear in NYC.

It’s also great for regulating body temperature while flying or road tripping upstate.

Plus, another reason to add a poncho to your NYC packing list is that it makes it even easier to keep your money belt and valuables out of sight.

14. Scarf

In terms of what to wear in NYC, you’re always going to need a scarf.

Yes, need!

Because, if you are a minimalist packer then a scarf is an easy way to spruce up your outfit with a pop of color.

And, it’ll protect you from air-conditioned-induced neck stiffness or a cool chill on a brisk winter day.

Now, a light scarf such as this range of geometric scarves by Melifluos will keep afternoon breezes at bay but you can also wrap it around your head while sunbathing.

Created with bamboo viscose, these stylish scarves are designed to uphold frequent wear and are a perfect accent piece as you decide what to wear in NYC.

Because the patterns on these magnificent scarfs are inspired by European trends with a bountiful spread of paisley and geometric styles to mull over.

15. Day to Night Jumpsuit

Assert a sassy yet laid-back sense of style on the New York City streets with this fun romper.

Also, what’s great about a jumpsuit is that you can wear it from day to night. So, if you wind up at the opposite end of the city from your hotel and discover a bar you want to head into, you’re good to go.

And, it keeps your NYC packing list trim because there’s no need to fret over what to coordinate it with.

Plus, jumpsuits are super flattering for a variety of body types. And this collection of LACOZY casual loose sleeveless jumpsuit rompers are no exception since there are created with a soft, stretchy, and breathable material.

You can even accessorize your chosen romper with a scarf, chunky jewelry, and your choice of flat shoes as you decide what to wear in NYC.

Just be aware that there are two styles for you to choose from: wide leg or skinny.

16. Little Black Dress

The LBD is the backbone of any New York packing list.

And this DouBCQ casual flowy pleated loose dress is a blank canvas that you can accessorize and style to suit your tastes.

In fact, with a couple of accessory tweaks, you can flip it from a casual day dress to sleek eveningwear fit for no less than the MET Gala.

Made from wrinkle-proof rayon, this little black dress is designed for summer wear and with travelers in mind who are deciding what to wear in NYC.

If you want, you can even layer it up in the winter with your trusty black leggings for warmth.

It also works really well with sneakers, boots, or sandals. Oh, and it gets an extra brownie point for having pockets. Because, ladies, we all love a great dress with pockets.

Am I right? Hell yeah I am.

17. Chic coat (fall and winter)

If you’re planning to visit the Big Apple during winter, then your cool poncho isn’t going to cut it in our frosty climes.

And that’s where this women’s wool blend peacoat plaid jacket with a belt comes in might handy.

It’s available in a mix of neutral hues that make it easy to accessorize with your regular jeans, leggings, dresses, and boots.

An attached hood also adds additional warmth for the coldest days while the double-breasted front is great for warmth and a sleek, polished look.

Pay attention as the listing also features a shawl trench which although awesome for fall isn’t going to be enough for what to wear in NYC during winter.

Pro Tip: Don’t forget to add something warm to your New York packing list in the summer since AC is pumped up to kill. Therefore. you’ll feel like you’re gonna freeze to death any time you step inside a building.

18. Polarized Sunglasses

Regardless of what time of year you visit NYC, a pair of sunnies is a must if you want to protect your peepers.

Plus, sunglasses are perfect for sunny days, sightseeing tours, and those early mornings when your head if throbbing after a late night out on the town.

And this pair of SOJOS classic polarized glasses have UV protection and come in a modish vintage design.

Wearing polarized specs also maintains eye health and safeguards your eyes from long-term damage.

Need prescription sunnies? Then just take these to your regular optician and they’ll be able to replace the lenses as you decide what to wear in NYC and if you should add these to your NYC packing list.

19. Pajamas

When planning what to wear in NYC, don’t forget to pack some ultra-comfy sleepwear or loungewear.

And if you’re not sure what to add to your New York packing list for bed then try these bougie Ekouaer satin pajamas that are soft, silky, and breathable.

Made from a light satin fabric, they’ll take up minimal space in your bag.

They’ll also keep you cool during the city’s sweltering summers and warm when the air-con is on full blast. And, if you stay in a hostel, they’ll keep modest while walking around communal spaces.

Exactly what you need after a long day traipsing around the city!

20. Season-Dependent Hat

A hat is highly recommended for your NYC packing list.

Although, the type of hat you’ll need is going to vary depending on the time of year you visit NYC.

Summer travelers will benefit from a sun hat. The New York sun is a scorcher and you can never go wrong with a Roxy trucker’s hat.

Plus, a mesh back allows additional breathability while the brand is designed to last.

However, a quintessential Panama hat suits most people and works across the seasons. Ant this adjustable straw Fedora hat even comes with a moisture-wicking sweatband too.

What, visiting for the holidays? Then don’t even think about going ice skating until you’ve found the perfect winter hat.

And this FURTALK knitted hat is perfect since it’s slouchy and topped with a detachable faux-fur pom pom for added Insta awesomeness.

NYC Packing List – Shoes

21. Classic Keds Walking Sneakers

Cast your eye over any NYC bucket list and you’ll quickly see that this massive city demands you spend ample time on your feet.

So, treat your feet well with a comfy pair of walking shoes that’ll hold up after a long day of touring the incredible museums, parks, and buildings that NYC is known for.

In particuliar though, Keds have long been a go-to sneaker brand for comfort and style on a budget.

And these women’s Keds are available in a mix of cute colors that are perfect for summer and beyond.

But, you can also get your hands on a pair of black leopard Keds or double-decker sneakers too.

After all, Keds’ trademark is that they feature a chunky rubber sole, memory foam footbeds, and a 100% cotton padded collar. That’s the golden triangle of comfort for your all-season NYC packing list.

Also, because Keds don’t look traditionally “sporty”, you can even get away with wearing them to most bars, restaurants, and clubs.

22. Classic Ankle Boots

Maybe in the evenings, you want to dress up your feet with something besides your new favorite sneakers.

Now, despite what Carrie Bradshaw might lead you to believe, NYC is no place for stilettos. Unless you want a sky-high Uber bill.

So what to wear in NYC at night? Wel, abandon your heels and pack a pair of classic ankle boots. Just choose from all the typical hues and opt for either a faux-suede or faux-leather finish.

Plus, with no laces or buckles to complicate things, you can slip into these boots in a jiffy as you decide what to wear in NYC for thei evening.

And a round-toe design and wear-resistant rubber outsole make these classic ankle boots comfy, durable, and safe for wear after rainfall.

Besides, these all-season ankle boots pair seamlessly with skirts, dresses, jeans, leggings, or shorts. Therefore, they really are the perfect addition to any New York packing list.

What to Wear in NYC – Miscellaneous

23. Kindle E-Reader

True, a Kindle is never going to replace the joy turning the pages of an actual book with real pages.

But, when you’re on the road, you need a Kindle or an e-reader. This way, you can pack far lighter and maybe even avoid checking a bag with excess tomes.

And the Kindle Paperwhite allows you to do that since it’s easy on the eyes and weighs a meager 205 grams.

My other tip? Load your Kindle with books set in NYC before your trip. This will help get you in the mood for your very merry New York getaway!

And if you need some inspiration, have a look at City of Girls, Sweetbitter, The Great Gatsby, and The Bell Jar.

24. Portable Charger

Between searching for cafes on Google, hailing Ubers, and snapping photos, this NYC vacation is going to put a lot of pressure on your cell phone.

So, avoid a depleted battery (and all the associated stress that follows) by slipping a portable charger in your day bag.

If you’re already stressing out (or having kittens) about carrying an umbrella and a sun hat in your bag, this one’s for you.

See, the Anker PowerCore lipstick-sized portable charger weighs next to nothing. And, as the name suggests, it’s the size of a lipstick tube.

Therefore, it’s ultra compact and compatible with most of the newest iPhone and Android devices.

But, do check the specifications before you checkout. If this one isn’t a match, you’ll deffo be able to find yours in the Anker Amazon Store.

25. Journal

Yeah, we’ve got all got a notes app on our cells these days that doesn’t contribute toward your NYC packing list luggage allowance.

But, there’s something nostalgic and deliciously appealing about keeping a travel journal while you’re on the move.

Besides, NYC is packed with cafes where you can catch your breath and jot down your thoughts.

And this AHGXG lined journal notebook has a timeless appeal that won’t make you feel shy about jotting down your musings.

In fact, it comes with 100GSM paper and a faux leather cover with an elastic strap that make it robust enough to tote around in your backpack.

It can also help you keep track of where you’ve been, what you’ve loved, and any reflections on your trip. Yup, you’ll fill the book up before you blink.

It also comes in classic tan and black as well as blue or pink. Just remember to pick up a fresh fountain pen to slip into the pen hook and you’ll be good to go when it comes to your NYC packing list.

Additional New York Resources You’ll Love

There you have it! That just about wraps up this guide on what to wear in NYC.

Tell me, did your fave items make it on this NYC packing list? If not then let me know below.

And if you found this post useful, be sure to join our email lsit before pinning this post now so that you can read it again later.