In a dream world, we would all spend May to September in a quaint coastal town or traveling to new or favorite destinations. Unfortunately, reality (for me at least) means that sometimes you are going to spend at least a few summer weekends in town. Whether you need to catch up on work or errands, have a fun engagement that is keeping you city-bound, or simply want to relax and binge on Netflix and dumplings (been there!), sometimes you just can’t get away. So, what do you wear when you find yourself in the throes of summer inside city limits?
Weekend dressing in New York (or any big city) during these next few months can present a challenge. Allow me to introduce my three self-imposed city-specific “rules”: 1) no over-the-top prep, 2) no flip-flops and 3) no shorts (there is a lot of leeway on this last one though). It sounds easy enough, but can be difficult when you are dying to break out your favorite warm-weather pieces once the temperature rises. Before I go into detail, I want to preemptively apologize if I offend anybody – these are simply my personal thoughts on the matter. Okay. Onto the rules!
1. Over-the-top Prep. This rule is pretty much a given, but deserves to be acknowledged nonetheless. I am the first to admit that after a long winter, it requires some serious restraint to set aside your blatantly preppy attire until you can get away. After months and months of snow, sleet and rain, we all need some bright color in our lives. That said, for the most part, head-to-toe Lilly or a full-on pink and green ensemble just looks weird in the city.
2. Flip-flops. Another city style no-no for me are flip-flops (unless you are in the park). Walk around in backless, open-toed flats for a day and you will understand why. (Hint: it starts with a “d” and ends with an “irty”.) You don’t want whatever ick is on the ground on your body. And no one should be forced to look at someone else’s dirty feet.
3. Shorts. I just don’t think it is appropriate to wear shorts in the city (again, unless you are in the park). This isn’t a blanket ban though – it primarily applies to certain areas, including midtown (or any business/commercial area) and shopping destinations such as Madison Avenue. Wearing shorts in these locales seems disrespectful for some reason and frankly, grosses me out.
Since these two areas are the primary focus of the shorts ban, there are naturally a lot of exceptions. The particular situation, destination, fabric, length or general styling can (and often does) override this rule. Also, once August arrives, all bets are off. (The combination of humidity, people and concrete creates a pretty unbearable environment here.) In fact, you will see me in shorts all over this city, just never in midtown, Bergdorf’s or Whole Foods.
For the sake of this post, though, let’s adhere to the rules: shorts, flip-flops and over the top, Palm Beach-esque prep are out. This isn’t such a big deal in June, when temperatures are still moderate and often lovely. It gets more difficult as it heats up, but fortunately (for the moment at least), the rules are relatively easy to follow.
What I wore last Friday is a good example of appropriate summer attire in the city. I was working, running errands and basically kicking butt on my to do-list, so my outfit needed to be practical. This look worked splendidly. I was able to run around town and get things done without breaking my wardrobe “rules”. Best of all, I was comfortable and even managed to work in some bright, summery touches.
Here, I paired dark, lightweight jeans with a white sleeveless blouse embellished with an oversized bow at the waist. (Don’t you think bows make just about everything better?) I cuffed my jeans out of sheer boredom at the post office and naturally forgot to unroll them. Nothing complicated about that styling “decision”!
I added a serious dose of color to the look with pointy-toe flats in multi-color plaid. The shoes are also adorned with pink, beaded tassels and have hot pink ankle straps. Basically, I channeled any latent, pent up preppy tendencies from my college days into my shoes. 🙂
I carried my essentials in a structured handbag that is the loveliest shade of pink. I think the bag ties the look together, thanks to its shape and color. For such a dainty piece, this bag is a heavy hitter in my wardrobe. I mean, how many bags are classic, whimsical and modern all at the same time? And the perfect size to boot! Plus, it looks great with just about everything.
While there is nothing earth-shattering about this simple look, it works really well for a casual summer day in the city. I got my fix of prep thanks to the bow on my blouse and slightly crazy, colorful, embellished shoes. Still, the look as a whole is tailored and effortless – perfect for summer weekends in New York. Plus, the lightweight jeans and sleeveless blouse meant there was no chance of overheating in June weather. Success!
Do you have any self-imposed rules when it comes to your wardrobe? Leave a comment with your craziest pet peeves. (I told you mine! 🙂 )
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