What New Yorkers actually dress like

Participants of SPU’s fashion study away program share tips on how to dress like a real New Yorker

Photo courtesy of Anna Farrell
SPU senior Mckayla Seiber currently studies Fashion Business Management at New York City’s Fashion Institute of Technology.

If you’re anything like me, nearly all the advice you’ve received on dressing like a New Yorker either came straight from the mouth of Carrie Bradshaw or from Vogue’s coverage of New York Fashion Week. While television and magazines may give us a glamorized version of what residents of the Big Apple wear, real life likely looks a little different. Not everyone can hail a taxi in six inch heels or wear Prada to work.

So what better way to learn about NYC style than from real New Yorkers?

Each year, junior and senior Apparel Merchandising and Design students have the opportunity to study away for a year in New York City at one of the nation’s top fashion schools, The Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT). The program allows students to earn an associate’s degree from FIT, while still working on their bachelor’s degree here at SPU. Studying in one of the world’s fashion capitals means access to big name internships and opportunities to attend events like New York Fashion Week.

To learn a bit more about the truth behind style in the Big Apple, I recruited the help of three members of the FIT Study Away program, seniors McKayla Seiber, Stephanie Taylor and Nicole Erickson. The three all explained that studying away at FIT was their favorite part of their college experience. Being surrounded by millions of creative people allowed them to explore their individual style and take fashion risks they never felt comfortable taking at SPU. Each wished they could bring a bit of New York style back to campus to spread the confidence and individuality that New Yorkers pride themselves in.  

Here are three essentials in every New Yorker’s closet that translate well to the SPU campus:

  1. Sneakers that are both practical and fashionable are a must.

While we may be able to take advantage of a small campus, New Yorkers spend a good portion of their days walking, and it’s no secret that heels can’t go the distance. Nicole Erickson explained that she first began pairing sporty sneakers with business casual looks when walking to and from her internship.

In NYC it is perfectly normal to wear your blazer with your gym shoes.

“Living in New York really made me grow up and challenged my individuality on both a style level and a personal level. Looking back, I see how much I grew in all areas, and my style really became my own,” Erickson said.

Try pairing a flowy spring dress with white sneakers to get that laid-back cool that New Yorkers always seem to have.

2. New Yorkers love their neutral colors.

“Actually, there’s a running joke at FIT that everyone only wears black,” explained Stephanie Taylor.

Neutral colors like black, grey and tan are staples in every real New Yorker’s closet. Why? They go with everything! Limited closet space in dorms and tiny apartments means that New Yorkers must maximize their wardrobes. Essential pieces like a camel trench coat or a black leather jacket pack a lot of bang for your buck. Go all out and opt for a monochromatic look by sticking to one neutral shade, like black or camel, from head to toe.

3. A little black dress (LBD) goes a long way in NYC. McKayla Seiber explained that New Yorkers love to focus on one great statement piece in every outfit, and what goes better with something bold than a great little black dress?

“I would say that New Yorker style is effortless, polished and always includes a bit of an edge. Since NYC is a major fashion hub, people aren’t afraid to dress up. I wear more simple looks now because I care more about fit and quality of my clothes,” Seiber said.

Invest in one staple LBD to pair with your favorite statement pieces this spring. While we can’t all live in New York, at least we can dress like we do.

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