What Do You Wear To NYC Pride?

If you’re thinking of attending NYC Pride, one of the biggest questions you’re likely to be grappling with is what to wear. Whether you’re a fashionista who always dresses to the nines and looks fabulous in every moment of every day or somebody who usually couldn’t care less and will happily chill out in faded jeans and holey sneakers, Pride clothing matters – but what should you wear?

There are a few important points to cover when it comes to choosing a Pride outfit: the appearance is obviously critical, but you’re also going to want to make sure comfort is on the list. Accessories are important in most cases too, so make sure you pay attention to these once you’ve got your main ensemble sorted.

With that in mind, let’s kick off a list of all the things you might want to wear to NYC Pride, so you can make sure you’re dressed your best!

The Shirt

Pride Tshirts

You’ve got a myriad of choices when it comes to decorating your torso for Pride. Some people choose to go for nothing at all or opt for elaborate body paint rather than clothing – but assuming you want some actual attire, let’s look at your options. A t-shirt is often considered a great starting point, and importantly, you can get one featuring almost anything you want.

Whether that’s rainbows, sparkles, cool slogans, blocky graphics, sequins, or something else, you’re bound to be able to find something suitable, or you can even get a custom-made shirt if you prefer. There are so many options out there!

If a t-shirt doesn’t do it for you, consider a scoop bra, a crop top, a rainbow blouse, or something else. Mesh shirts are also popular for Pride, but you should remember that you might end up with an interesting suntan if you wear a mesh shirt outside for hours.

Some people get ultra creative and decorate their torsos with things like feather boas or leather harnesses – so don’t be afraid to think outside the box. If you feel good in it, you’re ready for Pride!

You may also want a light top that you can throw on over your outfit in case the weather turns out to be cooler than expected or you want to cover your skin from the sun. There are lots of floaty, gauzy tops out there that may fit the bill, or you could go for a large colorful scarf or shawl if that works better for you.

Having a couple of layers that can be discarded is often wise, because you won’t necessarily know before you get there how warm you’re likely to be – and you don’t want to end up either overheating or too cold when you’re trying to just enjoy the day.

The Pants

By pants, we mean clothing for the lower half here – so skirts and onesies are included. There are some incredible tutus that can make a bold rainbow statement for Pride, and many people love these paired with bright leggings or something similar.

If that’s not quite right for you, consider a vintage-style romper or a bright onesie, both of which are fun and functional. Shorts are another good alternative and might be ideal for facing the hot weather; you could get cool rainbow ones, or just pick a bold color that complements the rest of your outfit. For those who want to make more of a statement, short shorts can be a good option.

Some people love overalls for Pride, and these can be rainbow or plain, depending on your preferences. Plain looks just fine if you’ve got a bright shirt on (or even if you haven’t), and a lot of people find overalls comfortable and practical.

Another alternative is to find a pair of pants that you like and feel good in, and get customizing. People often go all-out on the decorations for Pride, so consider painting or dyeing the pants (either in whole or in part), or go nuts with sequins and glitter. 

You can make some incredible designs with the help of YouTube or other online tutorials, and this is one way to ensure you’re definitely a unique part of the parade!

A Bag

Not everyone will take a bag to Pride, but it’s a common enough part of the outfit that it’s well worth mentioning – a bag should be part of your outfit and should fit in well with your chosen approach. Think about perhaps grabbing a rainbow purse or a backpack in a bright hue, or getting a plainer bag and decking it out with pins, stickers, decals, glitter, or something else.

It’s also a good idea to write your name on your bag, in case it gets lost on the day. Having a bag ensures you can keep your belongings safe and it’s often better than pockets. Additionally, many funky clothes don’t have pockets because they’re more focused on aesthetics, and so a bag becomes a must-have accessory.


The accessories are one of the best parts of getting ready for Pride, and there are tons to think about – so let’s break it down a bit!


Pride Capes

It’s not every day that you can wear a cape (well, you can, but many people don’t feel comfortable doing so). Pride is the perfect opportunity; part of the joy of this event is that you can really dress however you want – and a cape both looks cool and feels cool. 

A lot of people choose to use a rainbow flag for a cape, and this has several advantages. It helps to pull together your outfit, adds more color, covers your shoulders from the sun, is light and breezy, and ensures you’re very much in theme for the parade. Of course, you don’t have to use a flag, but it does work well!


Socks definitely do not have to be boring, but they’re an oft-overlooked part of a person’s attire, and loads of people just go for plain colors. Instead, go wild – think about rainbow toe socks or knee-high stockings with suspenders or fishnets or anything else that’s weird and wonderful and fun. 

Your socks may not show outside your shoes, depending on what you choose, but it’s still worth thinking about them and deciding what to put on. Even if nobody else sees them, you will!


Thinking of missing out on the hat? You can if you’re not a hat person, but the hat is a great opportunity to make a statement, and it can help turn a mediocre outfit into a roaring success. Almost any hat goes when it comes to Pride, so why not dress like a pirate, try a top hat, sport a beret, or go for a huge straw hat?

Hats can also be an integral part of protecting your face from the sun and they can keep the light out of your eyes, so don’t underestimate the value of them. However, you do need to make sure you can keep track of your hat if you’re likely to take it off, so bear this in mind when you’re planning your outfit.

If a hat doesn’t do it for you, you might want to think about a headband of some sort; there are lots of wonderful options here. Choose rainbow bows, glitzy pom-poms, flashy antlers, or anything else that attracts your attention.

Body Paint

Pride Paint

A lot of people attend Pride with body art in place, and there’s some phenomenally beautiful artistry showcased every year. This is an opportunity if you want to show off some skin and you have the confidence to do so (and it doesn’t have to be too extreme if you’re not sure about it yet).

Body paint can come in many different forms, and is often combined with glitter and sequins for the full flashy effect. If you’re planning on a DIY job, it’s a good idea to practice in advance of the parade so you know that you’re capable of achieving the look you’re going for.

Other Accessories

Some of the other accessories you might opt for include wristbands, bowties, necklaces, ribbons, sunglasses, headphones, and anything else you may be carrying around with you. Balloons and streamers can add to an outfit, and bright makeup looks amazing too. Some people even go as far as to dye their hair for Pride, adding an extra splash of color to their appearance.

You may also wish to carry a banner of some sort for the parade, so think about this too. If you’re clever, you can ensure it matches your outfit and conveys the message you want to send to the world.

Don’t Forgo Comfort

Before we wrap up, it’s really important to make a note of this: no matter what you choose to wear for the Pride event and no matter how great you think that one costume looks, do not forget about or dismiss the importance of comfort! 

You’re going to be walking around in potentially very warm weather, and what you wear matters a lot. Think about how hot you’re going to be, and choose breathable materials that will wick moisture away from your body and let your skin breathe as much as possible. This will help to ensure you don’t overheat.

You should also make sure you’ve got some good sunblock or cover ups available, and carry some water too! Opt for comfortable footwear too; you don’t want to be marching in shoes that make your feet ache or leave you at risk of twisting an ankle. Yes, fashion matters, but don’t go so crazy on the footwear that you’re liable to fall over. 

Most people who have attended Pride in NYC will tell you that while it’s nice to look good, aesthetics aren’t everything, and feeling comfy is crucial to having a good time. In short, don’t forget about the feel of your clothes when you plan your ensemble, and don’t prioritize being the king or queen of attire at the parade!

One final note: some people toss around colored powder or glitter at Pride events, and it’s worth bearing in mind that your clothes may be a little worse for wear at the end of the day than at the start. Don’t wear anything that you are really precious about, just in case it suffers from an unexpected color bomb!


As you can see, the possibilities of how to dress for Pride are pretty much limitless. The most important thing is that you choose clothes that make you feel good and reflect your individuality; after all, the whole point is to celebrate who you are and the beauty of humans.

Popular choices for pride include bright colors and rainbows, glitter, sequins, and wild outfits that one would never normally wear. Couple this with your own unique style, and you’ll have a Pride outfit in no time!

Gay Worlley

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