This past week marked the 1 year anniversary of my move to this beautiful city. After interning in the city the previous spring, I was sick of subleasing. New York was temporary, and I was ready to make it permanent.
Last September, I took the plunge. I loaded two full suitcases on a Southwest flight, hugged my mom goodbye, and moved into my first New York apartment with a girl I barely knew at the time (which turned out to be one of the best decisions I have made to date but that’s a blog for another time).
Looking back at that moment, it feels more like a decade has passed. It’s funny how your life can seem so similar with each passing day, and yet, after a year, it seems completely different. In this time, I’ve made plenty of decisions, the good outweighing the bad, but the bad exists nonetheless. With these decisions come realizations, and with these realizations come lessons, some personal, some professional, all sartorial. In my quest to make New York permanent, I picked up on some lasting style lessons.
1. The Women of NYC are Style Inspiration
While Instagram is a wonderful tool to gather inspiration, the best one to date is sitting outside a New York coffee shop and observing. The women of New York play by their own rules. Fashionista or not, this woman dresses for herself. Whether she be an Upper East side socialite, a downtown photographer, or an Upper West Side soccer mom, this woman may not be the trendiest girl on the block, but she has style. Regardless of how many bloggers you follow, that’s something that can’t be taught.
2. Style is Not About Looking Perfect
I can’t count the number of girls I know with enviable wardrobes but couldn’t rub two pennies together if they tried (when your friends tell you how high the rent is here, they aren’t lying). Their secret isn’t having an unlimited card at Bergdorf Goodman or a Serena Van der Woodsen inheritance. It is knowing how to transform low end, low budget pieces. You could be draped head to toe in labels without receiving a single compliment on your over-priced trousers.
3. Weird is the New Cool
Wearing something because everyone is wearing it is officially the WORST reason to be wearing it. Everyone falls victim to it. Hence, the reason why Ugg boots ever happened. Next time you really really really really want something, ask yourself if you actually like it or if you have seen it on Instagram one too many times. If it’s the latter, wait to buy something you genuinely love. You just might find yourself ahead of a trend.
4. Confidence is Your Best Accessory
During the year I’ve lived here, I have walked into so many situations scared to death. Interviewing at countless companies, starting a new job, hanging out with new people, the list goes on and on and on. When you feel insecure, everyone around you can see it. The same goes for your clothes. If you don’t feel confident in what you are wearing, not only will everyone notice, but that will be your main focus the rest of the time you’re wearing it.
5. Be Brave
New York is a lot of things, but above all, New York is tough. Since moving here, I have done so many things that I never could have dreamed I could do, both professionally and personally. I have assisted on fashion photo shoots for national magazines, and I have also moved an entire bedroom’s contents from the Upper West Side to Brooklyn with only the help of a friendly Uber driver. I attended the Marc Jacobs fashion show during NYFW, and I singlehandedly assembled countless items of furniture. Once you prove to yourself you can take on tasks beyond your imagination, the task of dressing yourself becomes much easier much more fun.