what to pack for a winter trip to nyc


It seems like everyone is visiting the city either in the past few weeks or in upcoming ones. Before moving here, winter was actually the one season I hadn't experienced in New York. Granted, for the past two years I lived in Lexington where it did snow and got very cold in the winter so I wasn't a total newbie to winter dressing.

But, I will say that winters in New York are a little different and require different outfit strategies mostly because of the lifestyle here. I don't drive, so I'm no longer only required to dress warm enough to walk downstairs to my car. For the most part, when you're in the city, you're walking or taking the train everywhere.

So, your outfits need to be practical for being outside for an extended period of time in the cold/snow. This can be a little difficult, particularly when you still want to look put together and stylish. If you're visiting the city this winter, I've put together a little packing list for you. If you were moving here, I'd add more to the list but this is just for someone who's coming on a weekend/week long trip and doesn't want to overpack.

  • Chic, heavy coat in neutral tone (camel or oatmeal)
    A stylish coat is a must and I recommend a camel one because they look high-end and can be dressed up or down. If you can fit two coats in your luggage, bring a puffer jacket as well as these work better if it snows.
  • Dark sweater
    When I say dark, I mean a nice gray, navy, or black. You can really go in any direction here: turtleneck, cable knit, wool, whatever. A dark colored sweater will be easy to mix and match, layering under a multitude of outfits.
  • Light sweater
    In addition to a dark colored sweater, bring a light sweater: cream, white, blush pink, periwinkle, etc. Honestly, these are the only tops you need for just about any occasion. You can wear your dark or light sweater with blue jeans during the day and with black pants for slightly more formal occasions. 
  • Cozy scarf  (neutral or tastefully printed)
    Pack one cozy scarf that will pair well with all of your outfits. To do this, I recommend a neutral color like oatmeal or a festive plaid scarf. If you're only packing neutral sweaters anyway, just about any winter scarf will work with all of your looks.
  • Black jeans
    Pack a pair of dark, black jeans. Make sure they're dark enough that they barely look like jeans like these from Zara. That way, you're safe to wear them with a sweater to a higher end restaurant, to Bergdorf Goodman, or to the ballet without feeling underdressed. You can also easily dress these down for daytime.
  • Blue jeans
    The only other bottoms you need are your favorite pair of blue jeans. They're easy, comfortable, and you can pair them with literally everything else you pack so that you can leave the decision fatigue to choosing restaurants. 
  • Gloves
    Don't forget a pair of gloves. If you're like me and your hands get colder than any other part of your body, these are essential. If at all possible, get a pair with tech-friendly fingers so you don't have to take the gloves off every time you want to take a photo or navigate on Google Maps.
  • Tote bag
    Bring one, medium-sized tote bag with you on the trip. Pick one in a neutral color: cognac, gray, black or a subtle print like the ones from Barrington. You can pair this with all of your outfits, day or night, and it will be big enough to fit your essentials plus snacks and any extras like your scarf or a book.
  • Ankle boots
    I feel like I've said this a lot, but ankle boots are the most versatile shoe you can pack for any trip. I think in New York, you can get away with wearing them to a more formal spot so there's no need to pack heels for a winter trip. They're also super comfortable for walking!
  • White sneakers
    Instead of suggesting you try to pack your giant snow boots, just bring along a pair of white Converse to wear if it happens to snow. Yes, they're not the most practical snow shoes but they're canvas so they won't get ruined if they get wet.
  • Statement earrings
    One pair of statement earrings is enough to dress up an entire look. I love any pair that incorporate pearls, like the ones shown in the grid below.
  • Statement sunglasses
    This applies to any trip, not just winter. I just find that they're an easy way to make a look more stylish. Whether you already have a great pair of Balenciaga sunglasses or you need to run out to get a pair from Urban Outfitters, it's easy to find a bold pair that define your relatively simple look. Anything that makes packing/styling easier while traveling is something I'm happy to recommend!