What I Would Actually Wear From New York Fashion Week (And What I Wish I Could Wear)

Although Fashion Week gets a lot of clout for being elitist and exclusionary, the truth is that the event is now more accessible than ever to the general public.

Back in the day, the only way you could glimpse new designer collections was if you were a fashion editor or an actual client of the designer. Basically you had to be invited.

Nowadays, thanks to social media, we can get virtual front row seats to every designer at every Fashion Week around the world – through Instagram posts from influencers, high-definition photo slideshows published by online magazines, and even from full-on livestreams that brands themselves host on Instagram Live or Youtube.

As Fashion Week becomes more and more open, the question remains – should designers continue designing just for the elite, or should they try to make their designs more relatable to the everyday shopper?

I consider myself your average, everyday American. The majority of my clothes come from H&M and ASOS and if I buy anything designer, it’s from a sale at Nordstrom. In the past, I never thought of the designs at NYFW to be anything I would actually wear – more like an avant-garde art exhibition where designers could peacock their skills.

But gradually, I’ve seen Fashion Week shift into more pared-down, street-style designs and girl, I am HERE FOR IT.

Scroll down to read my thoughts on NYFW’s Fall 2020 Ready-to-Wear shows, as I cover which designers’ clothes are ones that I could genuinely see myself wearing and (because I couldn’t resist) which ones I still consider to be aspirational dreams.

What I Would Wear Everyday For the Rest of My Life

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If I had to choose a favorite show based on “would I actually wear this everyday”, that award would hands down go to Brandon Maxwell.

There are some designers where you see their shows and think, “Wow that’s beautiful but that would never translate to my actual wardrobe”. That was absolutely NOT the case with Brandon Maxwell.

Every outfit that in this collection garners a reaction of “I would totally wear that” or “I want that in my closet NOW”.

Maxwell takes classic styles and silhouettes that generally look good on every woman and updates it with a modern youthful edge – a well-made leather jacket but nipped at the waist with a belt and paired with a miniskirt, a slinky high-waisted wrap skirt but in glossy tortoiseshell and paired with a casual tank, a buttery-soft cashmere and alpaca coat thrown over a curve-hugging denim jumpsuit.

Every fabric looks luxurious and rich – like it would actually feel substantial against your body and wouldn’t need to be replaced after a few months of wear (which is something that can’t be said for the H&M pieces that have cycled through my closet).

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Simkhai seems to have gotten the memo that if I am ever going to stray from my typical all black/white/neutral/denim outfit and veer into the unfamiliar territory of color, then I’m more likely to go for a muted or warm tone – like burnt orange or a pale gold.

Simkhai also seems to have gotten the memo that I can’t resist a well-tailored leather anything. That one-shoulder, leather pleated dream of a gown in the third snapshot is something I’d find an excuse to wear to every party. And can we talk about that orange- fur-lined aviator jacket? Obsessed.

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Simkhai also plays with more unexpected elements as well – a panel of leopard print running down a classic trench-coat, a paisley handkerchief dress with a hint of rock-and-roll fringe – and in a way that actually feels wearable. Shoot, he’s definitely got me thinking of the next saloon-themed gathering I have to go to so I have an excuse to wear that dress.

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Michael Kors’ Fall 2020 Collection is all about layers.

I think by now it’s pretty obvious that if you do neutrals well, you’re likely a favorite in my book.

Kors does a fantastic job of piling on the layers but styling them in a way that doesn’t drown the model. Masculine-style blazers get cinched with one, two, sometimes three belts and large furry denim vests get paired with thigh-high slits.

He also got me with that gorgeous buttery tan leather dress – have I hit you over the head enough with much I love leather???

What I Would Wear If I Wanted To Go Out of My Comfort Zone

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Nicky Zimmerman’s aesthetic is one that toes the line between what feels comfortable for me and what would be like playing full-on dress-up.

Zimerman’s pieces are far more feminine and flirty than my neutral sensibilities would normally go but something about this collection brings out that side of me that wants to be extra girly and frivolous.

It makes me want to prance around in frills and star-patterned tights and lace-up boots in jewel tones and pastels. By balancing her pieces with tougher elements, like the thigh-high lace up boots and velvet suit jackets, Zimmerman ‘edges them up’ in a way that feels wearable and not too frou-frou.

Although that all-plaid mauve jumpsuit and similarly patterned coat are both pieces that I would normally purchase without hesitation – just thrown over an all-black or all-white outfit to tone them down a bit.

I will say this – I’m definitely going to start wearing thigh-high lace up boots more often with my long dresses. And after finishing this post, I’ll be Googling all over to figure out how I can get one of those jewel-toned fringe bags in every color.

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What I Wish I Could Wear

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Refinery29 described the Rodarte show as “so pretty it hurt” and that pretty much hits the nail on the head.

I try not to use the term “haunting” loosely but there’s something about Rodarte’s 2020 collection that just makes me feel things. 

Designers Kate and Laura Mulleavy cited the Sophia Coppola adaption of Dracula to be their source of inspiration and it is evident in the designs. Galactic sequin patterns, bejeweled spiderwebs, delicate pale-white embroidery on whisper-thin lace dresses, all paired with a dramatic dark lip, making the wearer look as if she walked off the set of Snow White or Into the Woods and straight into a runway show.

As for me, I’ll be over here pondering if it’s too much to wear a galaxy-themed sequin two piece pantsuit as my next clubbing outfit.

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Christopher John Rogers’ 2020 show is pure NYC pride – taking inspiration from underground ball culture which originated in 1920’s drag clubs. To make it even more New York, Rogers and his team the pieces right in his living room in Bushwick, Brooklyn.

Everything about his collection is full on glam and drama – sumptuous fabrics like satin, silk and velvet, vibrant hues of red, purple, yellow, green and orange, oversized shoulders, dramatic capes, bulbous peplum waistlines. Rogers is a designer who’s city roots show clearly in his work and you can’t help but admire and respect his artistic vision.

Also talk about a final look – can we saw showstopper??

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Not to be corny but the Carolina Herrera show absolutely took my breath away.

The choice to hold the show in the newly opened Shed space at Hudson Yards was nothing short of brilliant. The pieces looked almost ethereal as they floated down the elegant white walkway, surrounded by glass and illuminated by natural light.

The phrase that comes to mind when I look at Wes Gordon’s collection is “balanced exuberance” (don’t ask me, I’m not sure where I come up with half of this stuff).

While Gordon plays with bold punchy colors and supersized sleeves, he tampers them down with minimal streamlined fabrics and solid color-blocking. Nothing ever seems too over-the-top or too busy. It shows both expression and restraint. Fashion often imitates nature and the artfully sewn ruffles and pleats on some of Wes Gordon’s designs almost look like delicate flower petals or colorful fronds.

It is truly a testament to the skill of a designer as well if he gets me to legimiately consider wearing an outfit that looks like a cross between A Handmaid’s Tale and an orange highlighter.

~

And finally, although I wasn’t a fan of his entire collection, I cannot end this post without making the statement “GOOD GOD – COULD SOMEONE PLEASE BURY ME IN THIS TOM FORD DRESS?”

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What were some of your favorite looks from Fall 2020 Fashion Week? Comment below!

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