10 Tips for New York Transplants to Optimize the Illusion of a Bad Bitch

BY MOLLY COLLINS

I moved to New York City about two years ago after being stuck in a cycle of shitty decisions that left me a people pleaser and at a podunk school in Michigan. When I moved into my first “apartment” (ie. the dorms at my school), I marveled at how put together and stylish women here were. Rain or fucking shine these ladies showed out! I was jealous and confused.

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I spent my first year here delving into fast fashion and buying expensive meals thinking that was the answer to my envy. But as I round out my second year in the Big Apple I’ve realized that style isn’t about what’s fashionable, and living in NYC isn’t about being trendy. It’s about being able to walk with confidence, or at least the illusion of confidence. Here are some tips to give the illusion that you’re with the times, when in actuality you a broke-thrift-confident bitch, just like me.

(1) Ditch your high messy bun for a low bun.

New York ladies are all about the low bun. You can wear it slicked back for a bare and natural look, dress it up with some hair tendrils falling gracefully, or wear it fun with some chunky barrettes!

(2) Stop shopping for the status quo and start shopping for you.

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When I made the move from my small school in Michigan to New York City, I was stuck in a cycle of wearing what the other girls around me were wearing for fear of standing out. But now, all I want to do is stand out! The most comforting thing I learned about living in New York is that nobody cares about you. Maybe it’s a little cynical, but knowing that you could wear any and everything without judgement is such a comforting notion, and one that you should definitely take advantage of.

(3) Invest in staple pieces and statement clothes.

Look in your closet right now and pick out three pieces that represent you or three things that you want to represent you and build from. It can be something as simple as a pair of sunglasses that frame your face well, or a top that makes you feel like a sex goddess. Find those pieces that make you feel like the person you want to be and use that as inspo for the rest of your closet!

(4) Find a ritual that works for you.

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Moving can be stressful so find a ritual that you can do every day that makes you feel instantly complete whether it’s making your bed in the morning or taking a walk around the block. Get in the habit of doing something, anything that gets you ready for the day and makes you feel good about yourself.

(5) MEAL PREP. MEAL PREP. MEAL PREP.

If you’re like me and you work two jobs and go to school full time you do not have time to make breakfast, lunch and dinner every day and you definitely can’t afford to buy it either. If you have even two hours during the day, that’s enough to make a couple dishes that’ll last you the week. For me, I love sautéing up ground beef with onions, peppers, and making black beans and white rice on the side. It’s a super easy meal to customize with a fried egg in the morning or a bag of steamed veggies in the evening, and it’s high in protein!

(6) Invest in a pair of thick soled shoes.

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New York is no doubt a walking city, and the best way to conquer the shin splints and tired toes is investing in a solid pair of sneakers. Anything with a thick sole will do (could be a pair of Docs or some trendy Adidas), just anything that’ll give you support and comfort because after a day of walking 20,000 steps and spreading your bad bitch energy, you do NOT have time for sore feet.

(7) Find a side hustle and find it quick!

Whether it’s babysitting on Urban Sitter or running food on Postmates, figure out a way to make some quick cash that works for you. When I first moved to NYC I tried everything from Task Rabbit to Sweatcoin, and I promise you there is absolutely no shame in getting that money by any means necessary because New York is EXPENSIVE. You gotta afford that SoHo rent somehow, baby.

(8) Get a silk scarf, I mean it!

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Nothing says “I’m a chic bitch” like a silk scarf. I am properly obsessed with silk scarves and I love to tie them on bags, in my hair, wear them as a belt, or use them as wall decor. They’re a great item to thrift and can be added to any outfit for a pop of color and sophistication.

(9) Textures, ladies, textures.

I’m a big fan of the black jeans with a black T-shirt outfit and one thing that I’ve seen seasoned New Yorkers do is add a fuzzy cardigan or a nylon cross-body bag or a chain necklace to make the outfit look more put together. It’s little additions like this that can flip your wardrobe from midwestern blah to New York hoorah!

(10) Learn how to run a quick stitch.

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One of my favorite things to do is go to the sale sections at Urban Outfitters, Forever 21 and Zara and find the ripped or otherwise shitty items of clothing and alter them to make them unique! I know it may seem intimidating to those who don’t know how to sew at all, but after a quick YouTube video and a run to the 99 cents store for a $2 sewing kit, you’ll be glad you put the effort in.

Moving to New York City is not an easy feat. To me, NYC is the place you go to be the person you always wanted to be, and if you have to force yourself to be that person until you’re comfortable with it, so be it! So wear that cute top you bought for too much money because it made you feel cool. And swing that neon green faux leather handbag around like you’ve been wearing it for years, because it’s New York City, baby! And the city that never sleeps does NOT have time for anything less than the confident, self-sufficient, bad bitch that YOU are!

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