New York City is where dreams are made and where you can freeze your buns off in the winter if you’re not prepared.
New York is a city where, even if you're staying in the downtown core, you’ll likely be spending a lot of time outside. You’ve likely heard the crazy traffic stories of NYC, so you can count on taking the subway system (which means waiting on chilly train platforms) or walking down the street in the slush and having every second taxi splash you with rainwater.
Preparing for winter in the Big Apple takes careful consideration of your attire. But functionality isn’t the only wardrobe requirement.
New York: A fashion capital of the world
Despite the cold weather, NYC is a fashion capital of the world, and one of the most magical cities on earth. New York has the power to inspire you to reach for your dreams. After all, “If you can make it in NYC, you can make it anywhere!”
But you’re not going to survive your winter in New York if you’re frozen to the bone and can’t feel your toes. Whether you live in NYC year round or are only visiting for the holiday season, you will definitely want to pack layers and warm clothing and accessories. But how do you make layers and winter gear look fashionable?
Here’s some super helpful tips for donning your winter wear and staying warm while you’re out living, working, or visiting the Big Apple this winter.
How cold does it get in NYC?
Most winter and warm clothes are temperature-rated, so it’s best to know what you’re walking into, temperature-wise, in New York City. The city is in it’s winter from mid-November to March, and it’s common for temperatures to get pretty cold in this season, dropping to around freezing (0 to 3 degrees Fahrenheit or -16 or -17 Celsius). Wind chill in parts of the city can make it feel even colder!
New York also gets a lot of rain. It rains an average of 119 days every year. So not only do you need to stay warm in New York winters, you need to stay dry too!
How do you keep warm in New York in the winter?
New Yorkers know that the best tip to stay warm in the big city is to wear layers and dress for the weather. Here’s what we recommend for each layer:
Closest to your skin: Wool
The best material to have next to your skin when you wear multiple layers is wool. Wool has a natural ability to retain warmth and makes for a great thermal layer beneath your clothes to keep you warm and dry.
Wool is also moisture-wicking, so if you’re running to catch a bus or connecting to the next train line, the wool will wick the moisture away from your body. Merino Wool is one of the softest liners to have next to your skin and is odor resistant too.
If you opt to wear your regular clothes with no thermal underlayer, that’s ok, but in New York winters, you’ll want your jacket to be lined with wool for warmth and moisture-wicking protection.
Middle Layer: Your regular clothes
The middle layer should be your regular clothes. Don’t forget a pair of thick socks to keep your feet warm and cozy. For the fashionistas, consider how your middle layer will look if you choose to unbutton or unzip your jacket. As you know, coordinating all aspects of your wardrobe is necessary to maintain your style around town.
Outer Layer: Warm winter jacket
This outer layer is the one that provides extra warmth, in addition to your wool base layer, and is the layer people will see as you walk down the street. When travelling to the big city, you want to bring a jacket that is both warm and compact without extra bulk, like the Stella Performance (P+ Ultimate Weatherproof Jacket.
Thankfully warm, weatherproof coats come in stylish and on-trend colours, fits, and styles, including:
- Trench coat with tie straps like the Alexa Jacket
- Typical vertical zippers or modern asymmetrical zipper of the Houston Jacket
- Hooded or non-hooded (like the Lexi 2 wool coat with a detachable hood)
- Buttons (like the Chloe Jacket) or zipper (like the Anna Jacket)
- Flattering A-line (like the Lucia Jacket) or tailored fit
Finally add accessories and other warming gear. These are things like ear muffs, fashion scarves, hats, gloves, and statement jewelry.
How do you stay dry in a New York winter?
It often rains in New York, and a good, waterproof jacket and a sturdy umbrella help. However, it’s not just the falling rain that you need to worry about.
The rain falls and puddles on the street, then passing cars splash it onto the sidewalk or you if you happen to be standing there. Being soaked by a speeding New York taxi can be quite unpleasant and cold. A waterproof jacket can help protect you from puddle splashes a bit too. Look for one with Durable Water Repellency (DWR) technology. That’s how water appears to bead off the fabric.
What shoes do you wear in New York City winters?
To keep your feet dry, wear a pair of waterproof shoes or waterproof boots. If you choose boots, get one with fleece lining for extra warmth.
If you usually like to make a fashion statement with the latest Jimmy Choo’s or Sophia Webster heels, winter is not the best time. The weather and road salt will ruin them and they’re likely not very warm either. Winter or rain boots with wool socks are your better choice in winter.
Can you wear sneakers in New York winters?
Yes, you can wear sneakers in NYC in the winter, but check the weather forecast before going out. If it calls for rain, you’ll likely want some gumboots or waterproof, high boots at the very least. If it’s going to be a cold day and you absolutely need to wear sneakers, consider getting a winter-rated pair of wooly socks to keep your feet warm and dry.
Do you need snow-rated boots in New York?
If it’s not snowing, then they’re not necessary! If there is any snow or slush on the streets, there are many benefits to wearing warm snow boots. One of them being they usually have good soles and traction in slushy streets.
If you get cold easily, look for snow-rated boots with a warm, fleecy lining to keep your toes warm and dry all winter long.
Do you need gloves, scarves, and mittens in NYC?
Technically, you don’t have to wear them, but they’re totally worth it. We recommend wearing high-quality ones that will help you stay cozy and warm during your outdoor adventures in New York City. Scarves can be worn in many ways and make a fabulous fashion statement or provide a pop of color if your outfit is darker or more neutral.
Tips for staying warm around NYC
There is lots to see and do in New York City, and different winter activities require different outfits and winter accessories if you want to stay super warm. Here is a round-up of the attire and accessories you need around during an NYC winter.
Walking around downtown
New York has so many great selfie spots. Make sure you’re Instagram-ready with a stylish jacket to keep you warm (and looking good).
In addition to a comfy wool jacket, consider getting a fabulous scarf, hat, and cute mittens.
A night on Broadway
A must-do for anyone living or visiting NYC is to see a Broadway show. However, this area of town has many large buildings and long streets that create wind tunnels, making the area susceptible to high winds. Broadway street is one of these known wind tunnels.
The best jackets contain a special thermal membrane within the cotton or wool blend. It helps the jacket breathe better (to avoid overheating), increases its water resistance, and makes it more windproof, perfect for the wind tunnels of New York.
Be sure what you wear underneath your jacket is comfortable and appropriate because when you arrive at the theater and check your coat, you want to look fantastic and not as if you’ve just stepped off the ski slopes.
The Hailey Waterproof Jacket is great for a night out because it’s stylish and warm, without being bulky. It’ll keep you warm while walking to a show then out for drinks after.
In Central Park
Central Park is over 840 acres! That’s likely a lot of walking if your winter trip takes you through this popular city park. All that movement makes it easy to overheat if you’re wearing too many winter clothes.
Make sure to wear layers in the park so you can take off your jacket if you get too warm in early or late winter. Ideally, your inner layers should be wool and warm, so if you decide to shed a layer or unzip your jacket slightly, you won’t get too chilled, and moisture can still be wicked away from your body.
The Lexi Waterproof Wool Jacket is a good one for strolling around central park. It’s warm and flexible, especially helpful for a long stroll through the park.
Enjoying holiday markets
New York is known as the city that never sleeps, but it’s even more awake with holiday spirit and markets all around town in the winter. These markets are likely to get overcrowded, and wearing oversized parkas or ski jackets and warm winter gear may make it difficult to navigate.
Here’s what we suggest wearing for a great trip to the New York winter markets:
- Hats: Keep your head warm with a cozy knit or wool hat hat.
- Fashionable scarves: There are so many ways you can wear a scarf to dress it up for a night at the market.
- Hand warmers: Grab a few hand warmers and tuck them in your pocket. Many will last for several hours, and you can slip your hands in your coat pocket when you get too chilly.
- Warm winter coats: For tightly packed outdoor events or spaces in winter, wear a jacket without too much extra bulk if possible so you can squeeze your way through the crowds to the warm pretzel stand.
In cold weather, a warm and elegant outfit will make all the difference in keeping you nice and warm. New York is one of the world’s fashion capitals, and you want your warm, winter outfits to match the city. You can combine style and warmth in your winter coat for your next business trip to NYC, your next winter vacation, or if you are a New Yorker already.MIA MELON LEXI WATERPROOF WOOL COAT
Mia Melon Jackets keep you warm and dry, thanks to the DWR technology and a special thermal membrane. This high-tech layer is laminated between the outer fabric and the fleece, mesh, or insulated interior to make them windproof, waterproof, and breathable—as it deflects heat back towards your body. Thanks to this technology, Mia Melon jackets need less material to accomplish the same amount of warmth you would experience from other, much bulkier and less elegant jackets. Our wool insulated blends are rated for as low as -22F and our cotton Herringbone fabric is insulated to -13F (much colder than you’re likely to need in New York).
Mia Melon jackets make incredibly durable, cozy, and stylish additions to your NYC winter wardrobe. Some great New York Winter coats include:
- The Hailey and Dana insulated coats are some of our warmest ones this season and are the perfect length for exploring New York.
- The Lexi coat blends style and microfleece for optimal comfort and performance.
- The Stella Travel Jacket is a waterproof travel jacket with a purse pocket, great for protecting your valuables while exploring through New York City.
When you’re not worrying about being cold, you can focus on taking in all the beautiful sights and sounds of New York City winter. Just don’t forget your wool coat before you step into the city!