I enjoyed New York Fashion Week this September a lot more than I did last year.
Last year was my very first time going, and I will honestly admit, I was super intimidated and did not feel like I belonged at fashion week AT ALL.
I got a few things stuck in my head when it came to the parties, showroom visits, the street scene, and runway shows that were by invitation only :
- I was a mom of 3 little ones all under 9 years old and too old to be there…most of the models and the fashion bloggers around me felt like I could actually be THEIR mother.
- I’m from Athens, Georgia…aren’t most of these people from big cities like LA, Chicago, Dallas, etc?
- I ran a beauty blog, not fashion blog….which I really only started taking seriously a few years before that so my following wasn’t anything with an Instagram following of 100K plus.
- I only got invited to one show last year. One…that will really do a number on your psyche when you think that no one wants you at their show.
- Also everyone was very concerned with getting their pictures taken by the outside photogs as they left the main tents…this was a huge head trip and made me anxious because everyone would linger around to see if they made the cut. It was almost as if you didn’t get your picture taken, you didn’t exist.
- And I didn’t really own any piece of clothing that was worth more than a car payment. I think the most expensive items in my closet are my nude Jimmy Choo heels that my husband bought for me after winning big at the roulette wheel back in Vegas before we even had children – so those shoes are 10+ years old! So I am not exactly buying and wearing the latest in high end fashion.
(Getting the royal hair treatment by Yojanse at the Tresemme´ salon.)
But with that being said, this year was different.
I didn’t have the mentality anymore that “Oh I shouldn’t/don’t deserve to be here,” but more that, “I have worked SO hard on my blog over the past year and yes I do deserve to be here just like anyone else.”
Age ain’t nothing but a number. So what I was a late 30’s mom of 3 and older than my 3 roommates? Instead of feeling like the old lady, this time I felt more like, “I’m older, wiser than last year, and I am proud of how I look and feel at my age.” I mean, my favorite girl crushes JLo and Gwen Stefani are both well into their 40’s and way cooler than any 20 year olds I know.
My city is a big influence on me. Sure most of the people I introduced myself to had never heard of the city of Athens, but that was okay. Instead I embraced that I was there in NYC representing my city where I graduated with a fashion merchandising degree from the University of Georgia, and now I was doing what I had only dreamed of back when I was in college…to go to fashion week. Athens is one of extreme artistic expression and I have found that through living here, it has inspired me to open up my eyes to all sorts of fashions, ideas, and looks.
(Photograph of me backstage by one of my fave southern bloggers and fellow makeup artist, Dannon from LikeTheYogurt.com – check her out!)
Beauty bloggers absolutely belong at New York fashion week too. A runway show doesn’t happen without the help of hair and makeup. It just doesn’t. The beauty aspect is a very big part of the overall look that completes the designers vision of their collection. I was lucky enough to get backstage at the Tibi show (who fun fact, the designer is also a UGA graduate like me!) and see all of the hullabaloo that went on with hair and makeup! Aveda & Bobbi Brown were in charge of creating both that reflected the Edwardian era inspiration of the clothes by Tibi. The hair was mainly sleek and simple ponytails along with the makeup in a soft and smokey earthy eye with pretty sheer skin. I would say seeing the energy backstage was one of my favorite parts of fashion week.
Oh, and Allen from the Aveda team even gave me a quick hair touchup backstage too!! I even had one of the manicurists tell me to take my shoes off so she could paint my nails for the runway – only to find out that in fact I was not one of the models! Ha!!
Reach out, be proactive, get invited to more. Last year I didn’t realize I needed to actually ASK in order to get invited to things. I guess for some odd reason I just thought people would know about my beauty blog and want to invite me to their soirees and shows! Ha, yeah right. So this year, I got a list of PR companies and brands to reach out to and probably sent off at least 100 emails. I got some rejections, some completely ignored by, but some said YES! This year I was invited to 15 shows and multiple showroom visits and parties. It’s all about networking at NYFW and simply asking the right people and being patient but persistent. Having an extremely busy schedule made this year more fast paced and exciting for sure.
Style doesn’t have to come with a high price tag. “Forget the rules, if you like it, wear it.” I truly believe this. Last year it bugged me that I didn’t own any truly designer pieces to take with me to fashion week. Was I not worthy of being there because I didn’t own the newest “it” bag or a dress by a designer showing in the tents? Of course I was worthy and this year that thought left my head. Because really, unless a brand logo is blatantly printed on the outside of a garment, most people have zero idea who you are wearing.
My entire look here – around $90. The black + white dress – from Charlotte Russe, $29. Those hot black shoes I’m wearing? TJMaxx finds from the Jessica Simpson line, also $29. My clutch was so old, I couldn’t tell you how much it was! But it’s a black clutch, they don’t go out of style. My tan was compliments of my favorite self tanner by St. Tropez which costs about as much as my dress did, around 30 bucks for a bottle!
When it came to lingering around outside of the main venues to see if you could get one of the many photographers to notice you and take a picture of you, I decided that wasn’t going to be me this time around. Because if you live for the photogs acceptance of your outfit by snapping your pic and asking who you are wearing, then you will die from their rejection and basically ignoring you as you walk by. Sure it’s flattering if they stop you, but if they don’t, it still doesn’t mean you don’t look amazing.
So this year I packed my bags for this trip with clothes I could afford and that were comfortable for all of the walking around we were going to do around the city. You know those expensive pieces you buy and all you can think about is what happens if I spill pizza sauce on this or what if I sit on something gross in a taxi cab and it stains?? I don’t really own any pieces like that. Because if I can’t live in my outfit and am constantly thinking in the back of my head that I really couldn’t afford it, then it’s not my style and I won’t enjoy it anyway. I brought with me some Forever21 outfits and older staple pieces I had had in my closet for years, like that perfect leather jacket. Of course I mixed up my look with a few pricier accessories and borrowed some nicer shoes from my roomie who had the same size foot as me (yay!), and you know what, I felt awesome and like me.
And no one ever knew that I was wearing a $25 bodycon dress to the Tadashi Shoji show…
If you are curious about what exactly New York Fashion Week is all about, check out this great rundown article on TeenVogue.com.