Leading up to New York Fashion Week this season, my phone served me a memory: A photo of me standing in front of Lincoln Center at my first NYFW ten years ago, upon just having moved to N.Y.C. for college back in 2011. I was wearing a sheer dress from H&M, which featured a contrast peter pan collar, and some tall, black wedges that I’m pretty positive were either from Steve Madden or Aldo. I remember feeling amazing in it, and even looking back on it today, it’s surprisingly not...the worst.
Looking at that photo, I could hardly believe I’d officially been attending NYFW for a decade. At the same time, though, with ten years under my belt, I’ve definitely gotten a system down for getting dressed for shows. In fact, when the week of three-outfit-changes-a-day and posing for the street style cameras approaches yet again, I feel pretty level-headed about putting looks together, despite how insane and nerve-wracking fashion week can be.
Now, there is a lot to keep in mind when it comes to planning a fashion week look. How will this outfit look in photographs, in motion, standing still? What designers or brands am I supporting? What message am I sending? What am I telling everyone about myself with this look?
Then, of course, there’s the aspect of authenticity. If you’ve been following fashion week for some time, then you probably know that many celebrities and influencers are loaned outfits and accessories to wear to the shows, only to return them to the brand the next day (this is true!). But, I do think there’s a way to put a personal spin on these loaned items, while still repping and supporting a brand you care about.
For me, it’s all about staying true to myself. I don’t want to be a totally different person during fashion week than I am the rest of the year. I do, of course, want to put forward the best version of myself. And through trial and error (and yes, a lot of regrettable outfits), I’ve ironed out some tips and tricks for putting together outfits that shine, but don’t make me feel like someone I’m not. This NYFW was no different. Below, I’ll walk you through my looks and how I landed on them, with some key styling lessons along the way.
Day 1: Rolling With the Punches
On the first day of NYFW, the only show I had was Collina Strada, a favorite of mine because of their quirky approach to sustainability. A rep from the brand offered to send me a Collina outfit to wear to the show (yay!), but unfortunately my hotel temporarily misplaced it and it didn’t get to me in time to wear to the show (boo!). So, in a bit of a last-minute rut, I decided to keep it casual and ease into the fashion week craziness. I paired a sparkly knit top by Ganni with a great pair of carpenter jeans by Saks Potts, and finished it off with my favorite Balenciaga bag. It felt cool enough to wear to the show in Brooklyn, but casual enough to feel like, well, me. It may not have been Collina Strada, but it did the trick anyway!
Day 2: Making a Loan Your Own
The second day of NYFW was an exciting one. I attended a Gucci event at their Wooster Street store, and then went to the Proenza Schouler runway show shortly after. For the store event, I was able to pick out a look from a recent Gucci collection, and this checkered suit spoke to me on a deeply personal level, because if I had to pick a print to reflect my personality, it would be a checkered print. This suit actually had a blazer too, but it was a bit muggy out and I preferred how it looked with just the shirt and vest—a bit more casual and laid back. I finished the look with my own Gucci shoes and bag which I brought with me to N.Y.C.
For Proenza Schouler, I was also loaned a look from the brand to wear to the show, including a tweed bram ivory dress and padded leather bag. I was relieved that the bra and dress fit me just right, because you never know how a sample size is going to fit. I added a bit of edge with an old-favorite Maison Margiela shoe, slicked my hair a bit, and added a dark lip to hopefully nail the elevated drama of the look. Both outfits (aside from my own accessories) went back to the brands the following morning.
Day 3: DIY Tailoring
Day three started with the Adam Lippes show, which actually served up coffee and breakfast. I always love a matching set because it’s a no-brainer outfit to throw on in the morning, and that was the case with this loaned plaid Tibi skirt suit, which I paired with my own tall black boots and a cut-off tank top (my friend buys these in bulk on Amazon and cuts them with scissors, and gave me one).
Later in the day, I wore a denim look (yet another easy matching set!) by Bevza, which the brand loaned me for the show. I was excited to wear and support this small brand because I love her vision. What you don’t see is that a hair tie was tying together the pants at the back, since they were too big on me, and I also used double-sided tape for the too-long hem. But I made it work! I paired this with my own Marge Sherwood bag and Are You Am I bra top underneath.
Day 4: Pieces to Put On Repeat
Batsheva is always one of my favorite shows because she always does something unexpected. I headed uptown in this floral Batsheva dress (a gift from the brand) and added some edge with the same black boots from yesterday, and the same Balenciaga bag from day one. See? You can totally repeat pieces during fashion week—don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
The theme of this day was apparently floral dresses, because I was also loaned one from Coach for there show later that afternoon. I think the cami was supposed to go underneath the dress, but the night before, I tried it on over the dress and kind of loved the ‘90s-feeling result. I added my own twist with a pair of my own Maryam Nassir Zadeh boots, which really made this outfit feel like “me.” Shoes and accessories can really go a long way in making a look all your own, and you can see that knee-high boots are a styling staple of mine when it comes to fashion week outfits.
Day 5: Three Outfit Changes and a Bike Ride
In true NYFW fashion, day five fully involved three whole outfits, as ridiculous as it may seem. The morning started off with the Maisie Wilen show, which took place at the Boom Boom Room, which explains why leather pants actually felt right to wear at 10 in the morning (it is basically a club, after all). The top was a lovely gift from the designer. Unfortunately, the matching pants were too big on me, which happens a lot. I paired it with my own leather ALC pants, Acne Studios chunky necklace, and vintage Prada shoulder bag from the Real Real in L.A.
By midday, I was biking around a bit so I changed into something more comfortable to head uptown to the Dauphinette presentation, which is usually colorful with a handmade feel, so this crochet top (from my own wardrobe, by VB Victoria Beckham) felt appropriate.
Later in the day, it was only right to wear a pleated skirt to Thom Browne, who’s known for his school-uniform-like suiting. The skirt and shoes are my own from ShuShu Tong, and the vest is a special piece by SuperYaya that’d been sitting in my closet for far too long and finally got its moment. It’s always nice when you can feel “on theme” for the show you’re attending, but still feel like yourself, and that’s what this look did for me.
Day 6: The Grand Finale
Last but certainly not least, after many outfits graciously loaned, it felt great to wear a look that was entirely my own and included some pretty special investment pieces I hope to have for a very, very long time. You might recognize the MNZ boots from Day four, but this time with a crochet cardigan-dress by Helmut Lang (a pre-fashion week impulse buy). The bag is Bottega Veneta. It was a hot day, and I definitely got some stairs for being almost-naked, but even still, I felt comfortable in these pieces from my wardrobe that are all gorgeous and photogenic in their own right, and even more so when styled together. That’s a wrap on another New York Fashion Week; We’ll see which looks I regret (or don’t) ten years from now.