The City Space

Cultivating Urban Understanding

City Styles


You only have to visit one new city to realize how much your clothes depend on your location. I’m not just talking about bathing suits in Hawaii and hiking boots in Alaska; I’m talking about the subtle and not-so-subtle differences in dress that we find when we roam between cities, states and regions. The outfits of New Yorkers are definitely not the same as the attire of New Jerseyans. They’re not even the same in the Bronx and Manhatten.

What defines the style of a city? Broadly, dress differs by age and gender—this transcends cities, but I think we can still observe some trends in different places and perhaps point to the origins of such divergences. The Midwest, for instance, is defined by warm coats and boots for much of the year (arguably October through April). Outerwear might range in style but you can be sure that you’ll see a lot of jackets in Chicago, Detroit or Minneapolis. My friend Isabel rocked velvet leggings and a fur coat last January in Minneapolis.

On the other hand, as soon as a hint of warmth rolls around, we Midwesterners shed all the layers and go for easy hot-weather wear.

Turning Westward, Seattle and Portland are the designated hipster spots, as we see in this photo from The Emerald Closet.

Straight-leg pants, colorful socks and “grandpa sweaters” (as my brother calls them) define this look.

But West Coast also means a hefty dose of California style. For instance, out in Los Angeles, Leslie of Fashion Du Jour Daily sports some cowboy-esque boots and a casual but stylish outfit. Finally, she reps her city with an LA Dodgers snap-back.

Down South, Kiah keeps it fresh in Dallas with bright, breezy clothes for that hot heat while still maintaining a classy urban look.

Out East it’s a whole different story. Lydia from Chic on the Cheap, for instance, throws down a beachy, slightly preppy look in Branford, Connecticut.

Last but not least, Helena at Brooklyn Blonde is the picture of bold New York City glamour.


Like signature foods, city styles tell us about the aesthetic of a place. Casual versus tailored, bold versus muted, warm versus cool, practical versus outlandish—the clothes that we see when we enter a new landscape and the clothes that we put on in our hometowns contribute to the culture of these spaces. We shouldn’t feel limited by a narrow idea of what is “in style” in a given city, but rather, we should recognize that the clothes people wear are yet another facet of the unique character that each urban landscape offers.

All photos are from the respective bloggers.


3 thoughts on “City Styles

  1. Thanks for mentioning little ol’ me! 🙂


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