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Ankle Boots
Living in New York without good ankle boots is like living in Hawaii without solid sandals. Pretty much every girl I know here has a pair. They look great with both Alexa Chung-y sundresses in summer and layered, model-off-duty looks in winter. They're necessary.
Striped Shirts
Weirdly, I think their popularity springs from this romantic notion that French girls wear striped tops, like they do ballet flats and berets (at least in our Francophile minds). Either way, striped tops are wildly common here. Go to brunch on the Upper West Side or the Lower East Side and you'll see just as many post-SoulCycle moms in these as you will messy eyeliner-wearing students. They're the new go-to basic.
Utilitarian Anoraks
Sporty anoraks and army jackets are especially popular here. Perhaps it's the whole "urban warrior" notion. Or maybe it's the fact that we walk everywhere, so you really, really need things like this for bad weather days.
Chunky Scarves
It's all about layering here, because, well, it has to be. You've gotta dress for the swing of temperatures that comes with leaving your apartment at 7 am when it's bristling, then walking five blocks to get lunch at 1 pm when it's no-jacket-needed weather. Layering makes deconstructing and building outfits back up so much easier, and snoods and thick scarves are the cheat sheet to that.
Weekly manicures are rituals here, way more so than in most cities. With such fancy salons (champagne with your $60 gel mani?) and talented nail artists available, it's no surprise girls go crazy with their colors, textures and designs.
Oversize Tote/Crossbody Bag
Some girls carry multiple purses or use an extra canvas tote to stash the gym clothes or lunch they're bringing to work. But most girls I know stash everythign in one really big bag, like these. It's another offshoot of the on-the-go, no-car lifestyle. Bags have to be big.
Motorcycle Denim
Blame it on Rag & Bone and Isabel Marant, two of the more beloved labels here. They churn out collection after collection of cropped skinnies with zipper details and waxed, leather-looking jeans, and everyone's smitten. Most girls I know use these as a default have-a-drinks-date-but-don't-want-to-wear-a-skirt option. They're ubiquitous.