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If you don't know the 411 on the LBD (or its little sister the LWD) then you may be SOL when you go to NYC. It just feels like New York women are born stylish sirens, doesn't it? If you want to know what dresses to wear when you wing your way to the City, follow a few simple sartorial strategies to join the effortlessly fashionable in Gotham. That way, you can LOL when they mistake you for a savvy native New Yorker.
While black is the universal flatterer for every gal in almost every city, New York women don't dress like they're in perpetual mourning every day. NYC women also wear dresses in fun prints and sporty fabrics appropriate for the season with either a great pair of sandals or boots. Bridgette Raes, style expert and author of "Style Rx: Dressing the Body You Have to Create the Body You Want," says, "Don't forget the sundress. Typically, New Yorkers avoid wearing shorts unless, of course, they are really stylish fashion-statement type shorts. When the weather gets warm, casual dressing for us is popping on an easy sundress with a pair of sandals."
Definitely, definitely avoid looking like you just left the prom, even if you did score those impossible tickets for the hot new Broadway musical. New Yorkers like to have a lot of fun with their after-dark wear, but they do it with panache, which is a bit Frenchy for "less is more." Raes advises her clients to "Play with shiny fabrics, interesting seaming, ruffles, asymmetry in necklines or bold colors along with sleek black shades." In other words, look at yourself in the mirror before you leave the room, and if your reflection screams Carrie Bradshaw, edit it all down to find your inner Charlotte York MacDougal Goldenblatt. Save Carrie for after your move to NYC.
Day to Night
"Stick to the basics," says Blair Brodar, image makeover expert for the Rachael Ray Show. "Choose a versatile dress that can take you from day to night, and then transform yourself by switching out accessories and shoes." Not only will the extra space in your suitcase thank you, but you'll be just like your New York spirit sisters who keep a change of shoes and jewelry in their oversized bags to help them transition from career girl to girl-on-the-town. Brodar adds, "Avoid florals or patterns that limit your ability to be a quick-change artist and stick with a monochromatic color in a season-appropriate fabric, such as matte jersey or cashmere, that will look as fresh at midnight as it does at dawn." Remember to layer with a cute cardigan, wrap or jacket for those cooler mornings, nights or rare buildings where the A/C blows at full blast.
Sure To Make You Look Like a Tourist
Raes suggests a couple of tips to help a hesitant visitor stylishly belong: "I think the most universal thing I tell people is not to strain so hard to put the most well-coordinated outfit together. New Yorkers prefer more of an effortless ease in their dresses. We want to look pulled together, but individuality is also important. In a city of 7 million people on a teeny-tiny island, standing out is important. That won't be accomplished by wearing something predictable, pedestrian or matchy-matchy." Brodar adds a few extra tips for visitors who are enthralled with the city but don't want to look like they just walked out of Penn Station or LaGuardia: "Don't wear the 'I heart NY' T-shirts, sweatshirts, caps or underwear. Avoid the fanny packs, and the jeans-and-sneakers is a giveaway you're from out of town." Why be a tourist when you can be your fashionable, fabulous self?