A New York Fashion Epiphany

New York: Fashion Capital of the World
New York: Fashion Capital of the World
New York: Fashion Capital of the World

New York: Fashion Capital of the World. I thought.

I learnt something about fashion in New York. I know, groundbreaking stuff, right? Woman travels to one of the four fashion capitals of the world and returns with a new idea about style. Not exactly completely unexpected. But what I did learn about fashion was.

Walking the streets in new York, I expected to see expensive clothing, stylishly cut hair, women wearing stilettos, oversized sunglasses and the absolutely cutting edge of style. Women would be rugged up in capes, heeled boots, their hair perfectly blowing in the wind. Men would be wearing Ralph Lauren trench coats with Burberry scarves and shiny black shoes.

What I found was very different.

Walking the streets of Manhattan, and we went everywhere from East Village to the Financial District, to 5th Avenue to Upper West Side, the most common choice of footwear for women was ugg boots. It got to the stage where, upon going to Woodbury Commons designer factory outlets and seeing an Ugg Australia store there, I started to wonder if they weren’t aware ugg boots are supposed to be worn indoors.

The Real Fashion of New York

The Real Fashion of New York

Those who weren’t wearing ugg boots were often wearing ballet flats or sneakers. While coats were seen, hoodies were more common for both men and women. On one journey to buy a bagel (how typically New York is that? I had to do it) I saw not one, not two, but 5 different people or varying ages wearing pyjama pants. It was the middle of the day. They weren’t in a group either, they were just wearing pyjama pants. And I’m not talking stripes pants that looked suspiciously like pyjama pants, I’m talking full-on fleece pyjama pants. One set had Elmo on them.

And then it hit me: People in New York are part of the fashion capital of the world not because they follow fashion trends, but because they don’t.

Everyone in New York seemed to have unanimously decided that they could just wear whatever they damn well pleased. And there were expensive gold chains worn with tracksuit pants, and there were ghd curls worn with ugg boots. There were Hunter gumboots worn with mini skirts and there were cute hats worn with hoodies. It wasn’t that people didn’t put any effort into their appearance, quite the opposite, it was that they didn’t care what anyone else was wearing.

And it was contagious.

It wasn’t long before I was strutting my stuff in a blazer, black leggings and cowboy boots and feeling a million bucks because I was comfortable and wearing something I thought looked good, even if cowboy boots aren’t in fashion. And I was complimented. Everywhere I went. My hair was complimented in its braids, my boots were complimented (a lot, especially by men), and the Viking adored the outfit.

My New York Fashion

My New York Fashion

It’s an attitude to style I hope I have brought back with me, along with all the ridiculously amazing and cheap clothing and accessories I brought back with me. A little reminder that nothing looks better than an outfit that makes you feel good. Nothing looks more stylish than clothes that reflect who you actually are. And nothing looks better than the things you like the look of.

In the words of Coco Chanel “Fashion fades. Only style remains.”

Have you ever had a fashion epiphany? Do you dress for you, or for fashion? 

Featured Image

  • Maryann

    I think people look the best when their clothes reflect who they are or an aspect of their personality rather than strict adherance to fashion trends. This is something that I see a lot in London and Paris, to a lesser extent in Sydney.

    • http://kikiandtea.com/ Tamsin Howse

      Agreed! It’s time, Sydney!

      • Maree Talidu

        I have always, always (as you know) marched to the beat of my own drum when it comes to ‘fashion’. Always have, always will. It’s liberating. Love your Big Apple mani!

  • pt

    Dude cowboy boots ARE VERY STYLISH!!

    • http://kikiandtea.com/ Tamsin Howse

      They are? I win!

  • Bek

    I totally dress for me. I’ll incorporate stuff that’s in fashion if I like it, but it has to be comfy, practical and brightly coloured.

    • http://kikiandtea.com/ Tamsin Howse

      I’ve never known anyone as brightly coloured as you :)

      • Bek

        Haha thanks! :-)

  • Jessica Chapman

    I treat fashion and current trends as a buffet, I take what I like and leave what I don’t. Also I have been known to pick a trend I love and wear it long after it’s gone out of fashion. I am currently buying everything I love that’s green to save up for when green is out of trend again because it’s my favourite colour.

    • http://kikiandtea.com/ Tamsin Howse

      I think I do that a bit too! If it looks good on you and it’s what you like, it’s never really out of fashion.

  • SonjaLouise

    Due to the size of my body and my budget, I find it hard to dress for fashion (although, don’t get me wrong, there are some curvy and budget friendly places out there).
    I mostly dress for comfort :)

    • http://kikiandtea.com/ Tamsin Howse

      Comfort is definitely a factor in my wardrobe!

  • Mazi

    My GF being from NYC tells me the only thing that she will miss in Australia is the Shopping. She made sure to buy my wardrobe last time I was there. It is so much cheaper and better quality at all price ranges.

    • http://kikiandtea.com/ Tamsin Howse

      Yes, it is.