As many of you know, three months ago I left Chicago for the glitterati of New York City. Now that I’m (somewhat) settled into my new life here, the one thing I have left to do (besides constantly remind myself that there are no alleys here and that trash goes on the curb), is solidify my effortlessly cool, New York style. Not that it’s that different from my Chicago style; people here appreciate the same things as they do back in the Midwest when it comes to fashion’s finery. But perhaps it’s the staggering populous of New York city that causes an inherent desire to stand out. People in New York push the envelope more, take more risks and make their own rules when it comes to personal style. And in honor of that, I’ve handpicked some statement pieces that I believe will bring me closer to my true New York self, who I’ve just been dying to meet.
Might as well start off with a bang, right? As New York’s famed chef Emeril says, “Bam!” There it is. The most scintillating, jaw-dropping, semi-dangerous piece of jewelry one can find these days. It doubles as a wowzer and a weapon (which can come in handy in New York) and represents one of the most alluring meeting of minds in recent past — Lady Gaga, Erickson Beamon and Barneys New York. Brands that make up the very essence of New York’s style scene and what it’s capable of. Do I want to look as good going as coming? Yes. And this piece does the trick. Do I want to make my fellow New Yorkers jealous? Tough feat but again, this may be the thing to do it. Ooo over it, ahh over it, just don’t get too close. Like a taxi I hailed first, I am not gonna want to share.
Another name synonymous with New York’s cutting edge design scene (though he originally hails from the West Coast), Alexander Wang’s distressed pieces are for the cool girl I hope to someday be. But wearing his clothing requires a panache that I need to work up to (I’ve only been here three months, after all), so I thought I would dip my toe in the pool with one of his stylishly signature bags. This washed lambskin hobo fits all the New York traveling essentials like a magazine (or five), water bottle and extra pair of shoes. It even comes with the bonus of bottom hardware so if you had to (but you still shouldn’t), you can prop it on the subway seat next to you and not have to worry about the fabric being tainted for life. Overall, it’s the perfect marriage of polish and edge.
What’s a holiday wish list without two covetable bags?! My A. Wang was more of a daytime fantasy. For evening, you have to put on the glitz. This is New York, the city that never sleeps! Every woman needs an evening bag that shows she’s up for wherever the night takes her and Anya Hindmarch does not disappoint. This multi-glitter envelope is big enough to sneak in all your must-haves for a fun evening, and small enough to toss into a bigger bag should the need arise. The dark hue comes off as black (so it will go with everything I own), but in the light it shows off all of it’s dazzling charms. Just like me :).
One of the most interesting anthropological studies I’ve done since living in New York is observing the boundaries of work wear. With some of the most important companies in the world operating out of the city, many people take their day time uniform very seriously. Others, the forward-thinking visionaries, don’t believe in a dress code at all. But one thing I’ve learned is that, like everything else, your work wear in New York is an individual statement. So I’ve picked this eye catching bow blouse from the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund runner-up Prabal Gurung and J.Crew, a great example of today’s trend of high street fashion.
A key component in the formula for creating New York style is mixing high and low end pieces. I, for one, will NEVER spend money on a pair of sunglasses because I will always inexplicably lose them. Few things I will tolerate as knock offs but sunglasses are one thing I can stand to own as a fake (as long as they’re decent looking). Some of the most on trend styles can be found at fast fashion chains, such as these sleek cat eye frames from Urban (I love the pin up girl red!). And at that budget-friendly price, I won’t be crying into my breakfast the morning I wake up and found that they’ve mysteriously disappeared. Maybe I’ll ask for a few pairs…
Everyone always says you’ll never forget your first New York apartment. Already I’ve been regaled with horror stores of vermin and pests and loud neighbors and noisy streets, each having been populated in or around some New Yorker’s first apartment. I’m actually quite happy with my residence, and, in choosing space over a prime location, forfeited my chances of living in the ubiquitous New York closet. On the contrary, I have more space than I know what to do with. The problem is finding furnishings to fill it up with, and the one thing I desperately need is a good printed rug. I love the graphics on this one from Chandra Rugs and though it may be a pretty penny, I bet I’ll never go rug-less again. And as a bonus, the dark color doesn’t show stains (for when my grandchildren are running around on it).
Miu Miu Crystal-Heel Suede Pumps, $597 (on sale!)
The final piece in this perfect puzzle of presents has to be the long coveted, long admired, long awaited addition of the shoe. Not just any shoe however; I’ve been dreaming of these since I saw them grace a fall ’11 preview runway back in the spring. I was mystified by them during New York’s Fashion’s Night Out at the Miu Miu boutique party. And then I saw them again in a contest for the year’s best shoe. These are the things dreams are made of and I will keep dreaming of them until they are mine. They’re just like a New York girl: sassy, sparkling and standing out from the crowd.
—Alia Rajput, Second City Style Senior Editor and Columnist: Runway To Real Way
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