A worldwide pandemic changed most of our lives in the last year. Millions of people shifted to working remotely during this time, and as a result, many folks have left the crowded and denser cities for the quieter (and more affordable) settings of quaint countryside hideouts, heavenly forests, and small towns. My partner and I decided to join the wave of resettlers. After having lived in some of the world's biggest cities like London and New York for over a decade, we decided to venture forth into the wide-open American South.
Life in Austin, Texas seemed not only more attainable but also more spacious. And it's hotter—way hotter. As the terrain changes, so must my wardrobe. Clearly, what worked in the urban jungle of NYC didn't translate as well to the sunshine-filled hills of Austin. So without further ado, here are some clothing pieces that I swapped for more practical upgrades that would make me look at home in my new city. Scroll down to find out what the biggest NYC to Texas style differences were for me.
Stopped Wearing as Much: High-Heeled Boots
Replaced With: Comfier Alternatives
When I lived in New York, I was always on the quest for a killer pair of high-heeled shoes. I am talking about stilettos, close-toed boots, and elevated platforms. The higher the shoes, the closer I was to the New York skyline.
That policy doesn't work so well in Austin, though. Not only is the city so spread out that it would be a terribly painful experience to walk around in my statement shoes, but I would also look super overdressed everywhere I went. So I now opt for cool yet understated shoes like the ones below.
These Madewell kicks are comfy and chic. They are a perfect upgrade from classic white sneakers. Worn with a dress or jeans, they go with whatever hoedown you decide to go to.
Stopped Wearing as Much: Heavy Winter Coats
Replaced With: Denim Jackets
It should go without saying, but I am going to say it anyway. Texas is hot. Yes, we had a once-in-a-million-year freeze last year that brought the state to its knees. But it is far more common to stay inside to avoid the sweltering heat than it is to be snowed in. The reason so many people are moving to this sunny state is due in part to its lovely winters. Unlike NYC, we don't have to deal with freezing temperatures all winter long, but we do need to be prepared for summer-like heat in the middle of January. So I had to swap my parkas and down jackets for lighter outerwear. My denim jackets have been the perfect switch that makes me look like a local and totally at home at a Garth Brooks concert.
Stopped Wearing as Much: Body-Hugging Dresses
Replaced With: Flowy Dresses
It's one thing to wear all of my fancy body-con dresses with snazzy cutouts on the streets of a big city, but they feel somewhat misplaced in my day-to-day life in Austin. One can definitely feel way too dressed up way too easily. That's why I swapped out my tighter, figure-hugging dresses for looser, flowy ones.
This floral dress is the loveliest cross between French minx and prairie girl. Flowy dresses don't have to sacrifice style, either. This one features trumpet sleeves and a corset tie that brings it into the future—perfect for a bike ride along Lady Bird Lake.
Reformation has always cornered the market on flowy dresses, and for good reason. These dresses may not be as curve-hugging as some of my others, but they are still flattering in all of the right places and also keep the air flowing on those humid Austin nights. They pair best with mosquito repellent.
Stopped Wearing as Much: Lingerie Sets
Replaced With: Swimsuits
In both New York and London, I always tried to wear comfy and supportive lingerie that would get me through my busy urban days. A supportive bra with matching underwear was an essential part of city life. But now that I live in Austin, I have swapped out the essentials for another kind of essential—swimwear! There are so many gorgeous lakes and bodies of water around Austin that I swim so much more here than even I did when I lived near the ocean. I always have to be prepared for a midday dip in Barton Springs! Here are some of my favorite swimwear pieces for a cool dip.
Stopped Wearing as Much: Rigid Jeans
Replaced With: Activewear
Austin has a lot of outdoor adventures to offer the roaming spirit, so you best be prepared for the Barton Creek Greenbelt in some activewear. Back in the big cities, my standard go-to clothing for a big day out was classic denim. Not anymore! Too constraining, too hot. I am loving up on my activewear while living in Austin, and it will be hard to go back.