Why Orange Will Never Be The New Black…. at Least Not in New York City!

By: Michael H. Cohen

I have never been pragmatic, but I have finally succumbed to the fact that living life based on practicality is indeed very important — at least when it comes to my closet.

“Ugh,” my friend said, a visitor from Miami. “Your closet is so dreary. Everything is so 50 Shades of Black.”

He was right. When I moved back to New York City and walked the streets in tattered D Squared jeans and a Crayola colored button down, I felt ashamed. I quickly took my style oath and put together the perfect New York City wardrobe of textured blacks with pops of color like grey, navy, brown and taupe for the days I felt rebellious.

That night as we were getting dressed, preparing for the Lower East Side, the land of homos and hipsters, my friend asked, “How does this look?” This was one of those orangish, pinkish faded over-priced t-shirts with a picture of a 50’s Cadillac and palm trees on it. I couldn’t quite tell if it was a reference to Las Vegas or Miami Vice.

Whatever it was, it was not-so-much. Wear this, I said, now throwing him an overpriced All Saints black t-shirt. I was relieved. The chances of us getting egged had now greatly diminished.

After a night of debauchery, I received a compliment that put me over the moon in New York City. “You really have changed,” he said. “Finally something makes sense about you.”

But, it’s not just me. It’s all of us New Yorkers- like zombies from the Walking Dead, but on Adderall. Here are the top 5 reasons for “the real black is the new black” NYC clothing code:



It’s sort of gross to admit this and in no way does it mean we strut in dirty clothes, but it would be pretty accurate to say that we pick up polluted air on our clothes. And, unless you have nothing to do all day and lots of money – black, uh, disguises not the grime, but tipsy after work gatherings that involve over priced apps and cocktails that spill when you’re undoubtedly bumped into.


New Yorker’s don’t tell each other how great they look, how nice their outfit is or the price tag. Allow me to be a snob: we tawkkkk about culture.


Inherently, New York is colorful. Our monochromatic wardrobes run counter to the life and vibrancy that are inherent to the city. The cliche of Bright Lights, Big City runs deep – just not on the streets of the West Village. Wear some red sequin outfit (something only a d-list tranny should wear) getting into a car with Jersey plates and your bound to get hijacked. Wear some light blue crop pants from the Jaclyn Smith collection at K-Mart – not only will your Magnolia Cupcakes get taken – but so will your wallet.


If you haven’t experienced rush hour – try it. It will take you an hour to get from your Mid-town office to the latest hot spot below 14th street. Which means dress ‘utility city chic’…AKA all black. Unlike other cities, we don’t go home ‘after work’ to ‘get ready’ for a night out, unless it’s a Saturday, but real NY’ERS don’t go out on weekends. Just to Barney’s and brunch.


Okay, we’re all not big girls. Work out trends start here at boutique gyms with edgy trainers (P.S. – Barry’s Bootcamp is so 3 years ago), but we seem to have an extra 10 pounds on us at all times primarily because we have so many of the best restaurants to choose from. Black hides the shadows of our bodily imperfections and lets us not feel as guilty about eating out 5 nights a week.

So, next time you’re on Jet Blue (even though, uh, it leaves from 954), I hope you have left the Cavalli at home, are ready to work some Alexander Wang (I’m not talking the H&M collection) and prepare to drink and eat your way from downtown to uptown…in all black, of course.

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