Monday, September 8, 2008

Stuff I've Learned: It's worth your while to be "Fashion Week"-literate

We're five days into the Fashion Week, my friends, and yet again, I find myself obsessing over clothes I cannot afford. Like this amazing ruffled gown in today's Carolina Herrera collection! Oh, the beauty! And the pain!

Why do I spend hours on or NYT or WWD flipping through slide after slide? I'm not one of these girls who lives and breathe fashion, who can rattle off the names of the hottest designers and provide critiques of their past four collections (if that many had been had) without blinking an eye, who'd rather forego food and utilities than a pair of Louboutin short, someone who actually gets invited to Fashion Week! So why is it that twice a year, I can't help but get a little crazy?

The thing is I, like many New Yorkers, didn't give a crap for many years. So what changed? A combination of circumstances:
  1. I stopped being a grad student and started earning money, which meant I could afford to buy some of the clothes, or at least the clothes inspired by the clothes, I see in Fashion Week. And when you're in the work force, dressing well is an easy way to communicate that you're a> conscientious, b> someone who's got it together. And let's face it, when someone comes to work in a beautiful outfit, you can't help but pay attention to said person, even if you're crazy jealous.
  2. As a continuation of point #1, I know it's a cliche, but in this town (more so than LA), people care more about what you wear. There's no hiding in your car! In NYC, from the moment you step out of your apartment, you're on display, and that means hundreds of times a day people are sizing you up, just based on your appearance. Sound unfair? Tough! It's NY. So, you can either be one of those people who learns not to care (good for you--you're more well-adjusted than most), or you can start thinking more seriously about what you're putting on in the morning...or the evening.
  3. Even if you can't afford Gucci & Prada, the fact is with the fashion industry being as diverse as it is today (read: H&M, UniQlo and Target on the low end all the way up through Club Monaco & BR, department store labels and beyond) come Spring 2009, you WILL find something in your price range that meets standards of fashion as defined by this week's Fashion Week. So you should do your homework. This doesn't mean you should be slavishly devoted to trends; just informed.
  4. It's darn fun. This is art, people, and it's just like us New Yorkers to embrace any form it's in, whether silk, satin, cotton, leather, feathered or fur. In fact, don't just stop with New York. The party continues to Europe! Miss Fashion, in fact, favors Paris and Milan's fashion weeks.
  5. Some people are turned off by the pieces that seem impractical--the "I would never wear that" phenomenon. But one thing to realize is what looks "crazy" this year is often what the general public is wearing a couple years out. Also, designers aren't stupid- they know their customers probably won't buy their most outlandish outfits--not even the Richie Nicole Ritchies. They tone down their runway pieces for retail production, so don't let that stop you from appreciating their art.
  6. And finally, after a while, with your sense of fashion honed through successive fashion weeks, chances are you'll make styling choices that will help you "pass" more easily for a New Yorker.
All this is just my way of saying fashion's one of this cities greatest pleasures, so don't be intimidated. Whatever her financial circumstances, a girl can dream.


Mary Hilton said...

Nice blog. And aren't you going to miss Fashion Week? I know I am. Gosh, its such art and high drama.

The Girl Next Door said...

Yes! I've been fashion-obsessed all week. Who were your favorites? I really liked J.Mendel, Badgley Mischka, Doo.ri. Tory Burch...