Wardrobe Essentials

Fashion in New York: Essential Pieces for Your Wardrobe

Nicole Cueto

Five essential garments to simplify any New Yorker's life.

Just over a year ago, I moved to the city of my dreams, New York City! I’m a 30-something working professional with a serious passion for fashion and it’s no secret Manhattan is the mecca of posh panache and sophisticated style! So when moving here meant I got to step up my style game, I was all in.

Whether strolling the city streets, navigating the underground or sipping at the swankiest of spots, there’s an undeniable flair for fashion in the Big Apple. And with so much to choose from in this city of so many sartorial choices, sometimes it’s best to stick with a few classic staples so you can spend more time discovering the city rather than rummaging through your closet.

With tough choices to make as I cleaned out my closet preparing for a new look, I came up with five basic and simple solutions to waning your wardrobe without sacrificing style.

Whether strolling the city streets, navigating the underground or sipping at the swankiest of spots, there’s an undeniable flair for fashion in the Big Apple.

Leather Jacket

This cool, effortless wardrobe essential is one that can transition from day to night, season to season, and classy to chic. It is a timeless piece that works for women of all ages. From fabulous femmes like Kylie Jenner to Jennifer Lopez to Joan Rivers, leather jackets are always a chic wardrobe piece, regardless of age. Coming in a wide variety of styles, fits and colors, the leather jacket adds pizzazz to any outfit. And while I like a more masculine motto jacket, it really depends on your personal flair.

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A stylish leather jacket can take you from day to night.

Pair your LJ with jeans, a lace dress or a pencil skirt, and you can easily take any outfit from drab to fab in one simple step. You may even consider the simple act of how you wear your little leather jacket –think draped over the shoulders. Whichever way you choose, just do it with confidence and you’re an instant rockstar!

The once frowned upon frumpy flat has made a comeback and is chicer than ever. As a New Yorker, walking countless blocks, up and downstairs and dodging all kinds of objects as you transition from one location to another, is a way of life.

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New York women are swapping their heels for these comfy alternatives.

But doing it in anything more than 2” from the ground is a challenge for many (plus, who likes to ruin their sexy stilettos on the grimy Gotham streets, anyway). So, when the re-invented flat hit the market, the crowd went wild. In all sorts of styles ranging from ballet basic to elegantly embellished, women all over New York are swapping stiletto for these easy-to-wear slip-on (at least until they get to where they’re going, and that’s when they pull out the sky-high show stoppers).

We’ve all heard of the “Little Black Dress” being a necessary closet staple and there’s nowhere more true than in New York City. In a city known for its high fashion but typically less than colorful sartorial selections, the LBD is a perfect choice when picking practical wardrobe pieces.

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Audrey Hepburn popularized the Little Black Dress in the iconic Breakfast at Tiffany’s film.

Depending on the length, style and fabric, most LBDs can easily be taken from day to night, or work to weekend with the simple switch of a shoe or accessories. Hey, you might even consider slipping on those flats and throwing that leather jacket over your shoulders for a super stylish look that is on trend, yet always classic.

If you’re like me (or most other women in this world), your purse (aka bag/pocketbook/carryall) is your life. It fits everything from your wallet to your wardrobe, and everything in between. When you leave your house at 7 am and aren’t coming home until it’s time to go to bed, it’s important to carry a cute keep all that’ll hold your daily essentials (ok, and maybe your fancy footwear for that swanky after-work event). While book bags seem to be all the rage and oh-so-practical, they aren’t exactly uber feminine (though if you find a beautiful leather one, don’t pass it by!).

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Vuitton and more! Large totes are the perfect everyday bags for the busy woman.

So for me, finding the perfect bag to fit all femininities, is key –enter the Never Full by Louis Vuitton. The mother of all totes, there’s a reason LV gave this bag its name. You can literally fit your entire life into this bag a la Mary Poppins, and then still fit some more. Not only is it sturdy and roomy, but fashionable as well. And while this handsome handbag has gone up in price over the past few years, we’re talking investment pieces here, ones that you will use, day in and day out. So do yourself a favor and buy one less cup of Joe every day for a year and there you go!

Much like some of the other essentials on this list, a classic (or cool) coat is an absolute must in this modern metropolis. Yes, the seasons are lovely, but it also makes for adding more to your wardrobe. And while I love switching up my style,

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Coats are a New York City essential.

I can’t have it all. When I moved here, I freaked out thinking I was going to need a million things to keep up with the wacky weather. When I discovered less is more here in NYC, I was jumping for joy. Choosing a coat can be difficult though, so I’m letting you know you just need three – A trench coat for Spring or rainy weather (I like the classic khaki); a Pea Coat or Duster for Fall and night time (color and style may vary depending on your style); and a Puffer Jacket to keep you warm in the Winter. With these three simple solutions, not only will you look fashionable, but you’ll be practical and pleased.  ■

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