From the Concrete Jungle to the Wild West: My Surprising Fashion Adventure

From the Concrete Jungle to the Mile High City 12 Surprising Things I've Discovered since Calling Denver Home

Moving from NYC to Denver over 2 years ago, here are 12 surprising things about my new home.

Side-by-side images of the author in NYC and Denver, Colorado. Side-by-side images of the author in New York City and Denver. Monica Humphries/Insider

Hey there, fashion lovers! Grab your fabulous outfits and buckle up for a wild ride as I take you on my colorful journey from the bustling streets of New York City to the breathtaking landscapes of Denver. Hold on tight because the fashion game is about to get interesting!

Let’s start with my time in the Big Apple. New York City always felt like a temporary home. I roamed the concrete jungle for three years, never bothering to buy real furniture. I mean, who needs a dining table when you can collect nightstands from the sidewalk, right? That’s “curbside chic” for you!

But then, my perspective shifted. The pandemic made me reassess what truly mattered. Suddenly, I craved a career that allowed me the freedom to work remotely, a community that embraced me with open arms, and a deeper connection with nature. That’s when it hit me: it was time to bid farewell to the city that never sleeps.

And so, armed with my trusty Subaru Legacy, I embarked on a 27-hour road trip from NYC to Denver. Talk about taking fashion to the streets! I traded in my high heels for hiking boots and set off on a journey that would redefine my fashion sense forever.

A selfie of the author and a screenshot of google maps from Brooklyn to Denver. I moved out of my two-bedroom apartment, packed my car, and embarked on the 27-hour drive to Denver. Monica Humphries/Google maps

Once I arrived, Denver welcomed me with open arms and a sense of adventure that transformed my fashion choices. In the Mile-High City, athleisure reigns supreme. Who needs little black dresses when you can rock running shorts at a concert? The bars even embrace leggings and sports bras as the ultimate night-out attire. Talk about fashion-forward fitness!

But fashion isn’t just about clothes; it’s also about embracing the local culture. In Denver, that means diving headfirst into the magical world of green chile. This fiery delight coats everything from burritos to pizzas and even burgers. It’s like a fashionable accessory for your taste buds!

Compared to my New York counterparts, Coloradans know how to balance work and play. In the concrete jungle, the first question is always, “What do you do for work?” But in Denver, it’s all about living life to the fullest and asking, “What do you do for fun?” Work-life balance takes center stage, allowing room for hiking, brewery hopping, and embracing the thriving food scene.

The author at St. Mary’s Glacier, a popular Colorado hike. The author at St. Mary’s Glacier, a popular Colorado hike. Amanda Slater

Speaking of food, Denver surprises me at every culinary turn. From tasty quinoa chorizo to indulgent hand-roll sushi, the city’s food scene keeps me on my toes. I’m still on the hunt for a decent everything bagel, but hey, I can’t compete with the bagel mecca that is New York City.

And let’s not forget about the breweries! Denver is a paradise for beer lovers. Everywhere you turn, there’s a new brewery waiting to tantalize your taste buds. Forget the catwalk; here, you can strut down Brewery Lane in the latest brew-tiful fashion.

In Denver, the changing seasons bring with them a sense of wonder. Blossoming wildflowers create a perpetual spring-like atmosphere that lasts far beyond what I experienced back in New York City. It’s like living in a fashion magazine photoshoot, surrounded by nature’s splendid colors.

I was surprised to see Tevas, rain jackets, and running shorts at my first concert at Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre. I was surprised to see Tevas, water bottles, and running shorts at my first concert at Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre. Monica Humphries/Insider

Now let’s address the elephant in the room: the weather. Yes, Denver is known for its sunshine. Forget 300 days; the sun just can’t get enough of us! It’s the perfect excuse to show off your favorite shades and celebrate the great outdoors. However, there is a slight catch: the occasional fires and smoke. But hey, fashion knows no obstacles, right? We adapt, innovate, and rock our stylish masks when necessary.

And let’s not forget the love affair that Coloradans have with their majestic state flag. It’s everywhere! T-shirts, bumper stickers, and banners proudly wave the iconic design that embodies Colorado’s natural beauty. The red rocks, snow-capped mountains, golden sunshine, and endless blue skies come together in a fashion statement that screams, “I am proud to be a Coloradan!”

Now, let’s take a moment to appreciate the winter wonderland that is Denver. The snowy slopes beckon, tempting both skiers and snowboarders alike. When I first arrived, I thought skiing was simply a hobby. Little did I know, it’s practically a way of life here. Some people clock in 100 days on the mountains! While I’m still perfecting my moves on the slopes, I’ve realized that fashion can be the perfect companion during those chilly adventures.

The author snowboarding at the Winter Park Resort. The author snowboarding at the Winter Park Resort. Katie Sproles

But before you envision all these winter fashion ensembles, let’s talk pricing. Who would have thought that hitting the slopes could cost a small fortune? From day passes to season tickets, gear, and accommodations, my winter fashion budget swelled faster than a snowball rolling down the mountain. But hey, fashion knows no limits, right?

More than two years have gone by, and Denver’s nature continues to amaze me. Whether I’m hiking to hidden hot springs or white-water rafting down roaring rivers, I find myself constantly inspired by the breathtaking landscapes that surround me. Nature provides the ultimate fashion backdrop, reminding us that the most stylish accessory is a sense of adventure.

So, my dear fashion enthusiasts, if you find yourself yearning for a dash of wilderness, a pinch of casual chic, and a hearty serving of green chile, I invite you to embrace the unexpected fashion adventure that awaits you in Denver. Pack your outdoor gear, strap on your hiking boots, and get ready to rock your unique style against the backdrop of Colorado’s stunning landscapes. See you on the fashion trail!

Have you experienced a fashion transformation during your travels? Share your stories and style tips in the comments below! And remember, fashion is a journey, not just a destination.