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New York City Summer Fashion Trends 2010

Updated on April 20, 2015
Summer fashion in action: Sunbathers in Central Park / Photo by E. A. Wright
Summer fashion in action: Sunbathers in Central Park / Photo by E. A. Wright

Trend Hunting

Here in New York City, the temperature finally seems poised to stay above 80 F, and at least one corner drug store is already sold out of ice cube trays for the season. These signs point to two things:

  1. Summer must be nearly here and...
  2. It's time to start gawking at the emerging crazy-show that is summer fashion in New York City.

This is that magic moment when city dwellers — even the cold-blooded ones — are shedding layers, adding color, and attempting to look unique in surprisingly similar ways.

This time of year, patterns are forming, trends are congealing, and predictably, fashion history is repeating itself. (Hint: The late 80s are being raided and robbed.)

New York City Summer Trends

(And why you should care)

  • While some outrageous summer looks will stay safely quarantined in parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn; others may disperse even to Nevada, possibly by tomorrow.

Assuming you're curious, know that I've looked; I've seen; I've judged. Now, suitably attired in an old T-shirt and not-quite-cut-right jeans, here are my observations about the emerging summer fashion trends of 2010. Get ready.

Ankle wrap sandals / Photos by E. A. Wright
Ankle wrap sandals / Photos by E. A. Wright
Ballet flats / Photo by E. A. Wright
Ballet flats / Photo by E. A. Wright

On Your Feet: Summer Shoes

Flat Ankle Wrap Sandals

  • Clomping down the sidewalks en masse this summer are ankle wrap sandals. These are the opposite of a dainty shoe, and they anchor floaty summer dresses in a fresh way. For fans of studs or embellishment, note that the eye-catching, mostly superfluous ankle wrap provides more surface area for adornment! Then too, if, for whatever reason, your ankles aren't your favorite body part, these shoes are The Ultimate Disguise.
  • Bonus: These sandals are a new spin on the road-worthy gladiator sandal. So expect these shoes to stay put on your feet, no matter where you walk — in pleasing contrast to flip flops. Yes, yes: flip flops are generally accepted as the ultimate summer comfort shoe, but they're not always so practical on crowded New York City sidewalks. It hurts when some fellow pedestrian tromps on the heel of a flipping flop!

Ballet Flats

  • These versatile shoes have been popular for some time now, gaining steam along with the skinny jeans trend. The two pair so well, and neither seems poised to disappear this summer. Black ballet flats remain the standard.
  • The most flattering ballet flats aren't blocky, but come slightly contoured on the sides, dipping down toward the floor. Pick a slightly pointed toe if you want a dressier look. While I'm not a big fan, I have been noticing few more loafer-esque and jazz shoe styles this spring, so that may become the predominant style by summer's end.
  • Tip: Ballet flats look like they'd be simple to wear and unfailingly comfortably, but they're actually hit and miss. To maximize comfort, look for ballet flats with flexible heels and possibly some elastic. Beware: I've seen a few women carrying their ballet flats while walking barefoot through New York City — with obviously blistered heels. And as with any totally flat-soled shoe, ballet flats can leave your arches aching.
  • A final warning: Plastic-y materials make for a cheaper shoe, but in hot, muggy weather of summer, the interior of a bargain ballet flat can transform into something quite soupy and smelly.

Trending Legwear 2010


  • As long as the heat is not unendurable, jeans continue to reign in any summer. This year, if you don't mind the silhouette hugging nature of jeggings, you'll find they're comfortable, lightweight and easy to size. Thank super-thin, stretchy material.
  • Warning: Some jeggings are just jeans-colored leggings with faux stitching and faux pockets. These require a long, hip-covering top, at the very least. It's better to opt for real denim (with plenty of stretch) and at least a few real pockets.

Short, poufy skits

  • Look for short, full skirts. These aren't for everyone, as they hit high on the thigh and are very nipped at the waist. Usually the waistband is a thick swath of black elastic with an exposed back zipper, usually a chunky silver zipper.

Shorts are back

  • Look for (or, look out for) short-shorts in worn-in denim.

All The Extras

Black vests

  • With jeggings, tiny shorts and tiny skirts so popular, there's no question summer's looks go long on exposed legs. And perhaps that explains the long vest: it's one way to to add the tiniest hint of coverage below the hip. Draped over tees and tanks and layered under long blazers, these vests are uniformly black and are made from flowing, lightweight knit material.
  • Tip: For shape, look for one with some elastic shirring at the back that hits just below your waist. Or, look for one that is cropped in the back.

Also look for:

  • Beige and dove gray cross-body bags
  • Coral toenail polish
  • Neon accent colors
  • Gauzy, printed summer scarves
  • Loose tops
  • A go-to sundress

Just so you know ...

No responsibility will be taken for any fashion flops inspired by this writing; no glory will be claimed for any assistance provided. (In other words, just go out there and enjoy your summer, whatever you're wearing.)


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    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 6 years ago from San Francisco

      Hahaa, these things really were all over the place last summer. Great street shots, too!

    • mysisters profile image

      mysisters 6 years ago

      Great Hub. I have been to New York City a few times. A must is wearing nothing but comfortable shoes because you do a lot of walking!