What Not to Wear in New York City

Please try not to dress like you’re from the suburbs.

A student shows off their pair of Birkenstocks. Going to school in New York City means there are more strict fashion rules that must be followed. (Photo by Sammy Kumaran)

On a normal college campus, most students roll out of bed, barely brush their hair and then head to class. But at NYU, where the Greenwich Village locals as well as our own classmates look impeccable almost every day, we tend to spend more time getting ready in the mornings and have become conscious about what we wear. As such, some things that are perfectly acceptable to wear in your hometown simply will not cut it in New York City.


At first glance, Patagonia fleeces seem to make perfect sense in a northeastern climate like NYC’s. They are incredibly functional, warm and easy to throw on. Except, that doesn’t matter in New York City, where the locals are so used to the cold, they simply wear whatever they want no matter the weather.

“Everyone I knew in high school had a Patagonia,” CAS first-year Cassie Yermack said. “But NYU students and NYC locals have completely different styles than the people that went to my high school.”


Patagonias have a preppy connotation associated with them that simply doesn’t fit the aesthetic of downtown NYC. Unless you’re visiting your friend uptown at Columbia, you won’t be considered a trendsetter if you show up to class wearing one of these.

Vineyard Vines

Like Patagonias, Vineyard Vines has a preppy undertone to it that is more Nantucket, Massachusetts than Manhattan, New York. It is also far too colorful for a city that is more concrete than anything. 

“I wore Vineyard Vines in high school because I went to a private school in New Jersey where it was the popular thing to do,” CAS first-year Leo Zhu said. “But now, whenever I wear anything like that to class, I subconsciously make sure I cover the logo.”

If you’re going to wear something that has the logo of the brand plastered on the front or back in NYC, you’re better off with Supreme.


Basic, basic, basic. An integral part of both the VSCO girl and West Coast girl aesthetic, Birkenstocks are shoes that you can usually pair with almost anything, even socks. Nonetheless, it’s time to admit that these shoes are just not quite as comfortable as everyone says they are, especially living in a city where walking is the primary mode of transportation.

“I’ve never understood the hype over Birkenstocks, especially considering their price,” CAS first-year Ambar Silverio said. “I really think that they look like shoes straight out of the Bible.”

It’s only half-acceptable to show up to class with these sandals and a pair of fuzzy socks. Although, you’re probably going to warrant some stares from the people who wear platform Doc Martens to class every day.

Lilly Pulitzer

There was a phase in middle school where everyone wore a pastel-colored Lilly Pulitzer dress that looked like a garden vomited all over it to their eighth-grade graduation. If you grew up in the Northeast or West Coast, this phase most likely came to a full stop upon entering high school. On the contrary, Lilly Pulitzer dresses remained popular in the South.

“Growing up in the South, we bought Lilly Pulitzer dresses, Lilly Pulitzer agendas, etc.,” Stern first-year and Georgia native Veronica Sandoval said. “I don’t wear or use any of that stuff here, though.”

Like Vineyard Vines and Patagonia, Lilly Pulitzer is a staple in the more preppy and colorful aesthetic in the South. Even if you were to wear such a dress uptown, it would probably attract a lot of confused onlookers.


This one is controversial, but hear me out: sweatpants are only acceptable to wear in New York when you’re 15 minutes late to your 8 a.m. recitation or pulling an all-nighter in Bobst. Otherwise, you’re bound to feel slightly out of place in a city where people are always up-to-date on the latest trends in fashion. 

“Every day that I choose to wear sweatpants to class, there’s always a girl who arrives to class with a full face of makeup and the cutest outfit on,” Steinhardt first-year Amanda Saunders said.

Whatever the fashion community of New York City says, you should still wear whatever makes you feel the most comfortable. And if that’s an outfit of Patagonia, Birkenstocks and sweatpants, then so be it.

Email Gaby Baldovino at [email protected]



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