The Professional Stylist’s Guide To Dressing For Fashion Week
I vividly remember my first New York Fashion Week. I’d only lived in the city for a couple weeks, and I was working as a fashion assistant at a magazine when an editor forwarded me a seat to one of the shows she couldn’t attend. I sprinted home after work, dropped off my bag, rummaged through my sparse clothing rack and tried to put together a look that might make Anna Wintour’s head turn. Ultimately, I failed pretty hard. My New York Fashion Week ensemble involved a striped tank top, velvet skirt and some ratty black boots (AKA budget pieces from an extremely broke recent grad’s wardrobe). Three years and six fashion weeks later, I finally have the whole what to wear to fashion week thing down.
Dressing for fashion week should be fun—but not at the expense of practicality. As a professional stylist and fashion editor, I’m constantly running between runway shows, designer presentations, breakfasts, dinners and afterparties. It might sound glamorous—and don’t get me wrong, nothing compares—but a weeklong marathon of events requires some combination of comfort, versatility and statement-making style. (I made the horrible mistake of attempting to wear heels and uncomfortable clothing my first season because #fashion, I but quickly learned from that mistake and wore sneakers and jeans the next day.)
I always gravitate toward layers, prints, bold colors and statement items. They get the job done, and they can help you stand out in a crowd of designer duds (if you’re trying to get snapped by street style photographers, and honestly, who isn’t?). This fashion week, level up by grabbing a few friends to attend shows with, and consider coordinating outfits for a killer Insta shot.
Ahead, you’ll find 17 photos full of fashion week outfit inspiration you can turn to when getting dressed this NYFW. And remember, have fun with your outfits—don’t overthink it. This is your opportunity to dig up those statement pieces hiding in the back of your closet. I fully intend to wear as many fanny packs and vintage dresses as I can. And I can’t wait to bust out the newest addition to my closet: sequined ass-less chaps (which I plan to wear with jeans, of course). Cheers!
1. Mix prints
Prints on prints on prints. NYFW is the perfect opportunity to go wild with bold prints and test out some new combinations.
2. Drape and layer
Two styling rules from Audree’s unofficial Fashion Week guide: Wearing your jacket draped over your shoulders (or slouched at your elbows) instantly ups your outfit game, and layering is your best friend.
3. Think outside the box
Spice up your look with something daring—a pop of color or something you wouldn’t think of wearing on a regular day. Fur boots, anyone?
4. Wear bold colors
Want to get stopped by street style photographers? Wear bold colors. You’ll instantly stand out in a crowd of fashion week guests.
5. Prioritize comfort
Ditch the stilettos this season, and opt for a super-chic sneakers or loafers instead. Your feet will thank you.
6. Opt for statement accessories
Not sure how to incorporate practical accessories, like a scarf to keep warm, into your look? Opt for a bold option and let it do the talking as a statement piece.
7. And opt for statement clothes, too
Show-stopping pieces—like this matching patterned scarf, dress and leggings moment—can instantly upgrade your look without much effort.
8. Play with proportions
I’m a big fan of oversized clothing, and I see fashion week as an opportunity to play with voluminous silhouettes. (Consider this your excuse to get as sartorially weird as you want—because if not now, then when?)
9. Feeling overwhelmed? Scale back
Balancing bright colors, bold prints and dynamic silhouettes can be a lot. If you feel like too much is happening with your outfit, keeping things in one color palette can allow you to experiment more with other elements—like size and shape. (By the same token, scaling back on prints or shape can make it easier to play with color.)
10. Coordinate with a friend
I spend most of fashion week with my best friend (and fashion industry “work wife”). We go to the same shows, sit with each other, travel together—and sometimes, we even match. This is basically a surefire way to get photographed, and it just makes the whole week a lot more fun.
11. Or coordinate with all your friends
If you’ve got a handful of friends hitting the shows this week, meet up and coordinate. Again, this is basically a guaranteed way to get snapped by street style photographers, and it’ll make the week’s festivities a lot more fun.
12. Color-coordinate your outfit
Whether you’re a minimalist or a maximalist, assembling an outfit in a single color is always a good—and head-turning—move.
13. Wear a power suit
Power suits are no-fail options for any event—but especially for fashion week. Paired with simple heels or a sneaker (stay comfy out there!), your power suit will look sleek, eye-catching and perfect for any fashion week event.
14. Experiment with textiles and textures
Shape, size, color and print aren’t the only elements worth playing with this fashion month. Textures, metallics and embellishments also offer avenues for sartorial play.
15. When in doubt, rely on all-black-everything or all-white-everything
Effortless. Timeless. Chic. What more can you ask for?
16. Remember your go-to matching set is there for you
Low-maintenance to assemble and with a seriously head-turning payoff, matching sets are the move during fashion week—especially if you’re struggling to figure out what to wear.
17. Find a sartorial uniform, and stick with it
Tons of industry people have a uniform (think: Anna Wintour’s printed dresses and tailored coats), and establishing one is a pretty good strategy. It cuts down on the amount of time you have to spend thinking about what you’re going to wear, and allows you to look great without overwhelming yourself with options.
A version of this story was originally published in August 2018.