Saturday, 17 December 2016

Empire State of Mind

So I didn’t really mention it beforehand but for anyone that didn’t know I’ve just touched down from five fabulously festive days in the big apple. Ha ok… so from the moment I found out I was heading to the city that LITERALLY never sleeps, I may as well have dangled a pretzel in the face of anyone who would listen (namely poor Saz and Maz)!

Before I knew it I was sitting on a plane in my treasured and dreamily comfortable Kooples joggers and the MINKPINK ‘Some Place’ tee (£28) all set for a magical city that I had only ever imagined with the help of Home Alone 2. Well with the Sex & The City movie playing on my little TV and a glass of fizz in hand I was ready to take notes from Miss Bradshaw on the concrete jungle that awaited me…

Of course I had already done my research on this wonderful city and among the ‘Must see NYC’ and ’20 ultimate things to do in NYC’ guides, there’s countless articles entitled ‘How to dress like a New Yorker’… I find it hard to believe the latter is a guide many refer to, as refreshingly this melting pot of a city doesn’t seem to have any set style rules, but in between bagels and Broadway I noticed a few sartorial standouts…

It’s bloody cold but oh my does New York know how to embrace the chill. This city truly comes into its own in the winter with ice-skating, twinkly lights and the scent of roasted chestnuts filling the air. At the top of my packing list was a warm coat, boring it may be but after merrily bumbling along through our mild British winter in my Rains jacket, I hadn’t quite anticipated how grateful I would be for a down filled number. Of course at every turn you could spot a Moncler or a Canada Goose but without a shadow of doubt, a Vero Moda beauty would have looked just as worthy on 5th Avenue. The Betsie Parka (£84) is filled with a combination of down and sleeping bag technology so it’s not heavy like a full down coat (perfect for packing) yet still traps the air for extra warmth.   The multiple pockets are a must for storing your phone in between snaps, while the faux fur adds a hint of luxe to this functional style.

Pretty much all of the major sights of NY are outdoors and with the thrill of these iconic wonders come photos, but if you’ve only brought one coat then that holiday blues Facebook album will look like you did the city in a day. My top tip is to mix things up with different scarfs to vary your look. I brought last year’s Vero Moda blanket scarf, which not only doubled up as a cosy wrap on the plane but also created a snuggly cocoon when temperatures plummeted. Check out this year’s beautiful pink and grey versions (£26). It can also be a real faff piling winter gear on and off in between the sensations of the city but a lighter number like the Becksöndergaard Sivel (£65) is a welcoming bundle of warmth thanks to a wool and cashmere blend yet without the heaviness of a big scarf.

I noticed that true New Yorkers didn’t seem to be channelling the same Michelin man style layering a la tourists, yet they also weren’t exhibiting any teeth chattering movements either- I mean how does that correlate? Well I assumed prime position at the top of the Empire State to soak up the architecture suss out the street style of these apparently untouchable locals. My findings were blinking obvious really-it is all about clever dressing. First stop is gloves and whether you’re enjoying a fleeting taste of the American dream or you’re living it, you’ll constantly be clutching your phone, albeit for photos or the latest news. Fingerless gloves are a must and these Becksöndergaard dreamboats (£22) are super functional but will gain you major street cred from the multi-tasking moguls of the city.

 From uptown to downtown, leather jackets were never out of place and one thing New Yorkers know how to do when it’s freezing outside is layer!! For an authentic Manhattan look, team your leather jacket with the Scotch & Soda wool poncho, which drapes elegantly across the body. Use the metal star pin to secure this super warm graphic print beauty and to reinstate your super fabulous shape, which can often be lost through layering.  I teamed my MINKPINK Sunday Jacket (£58) with a black roll neck for a morning in Bloomingdales but for optimum layering complete the look with your leather jacket to introduce different lengths to your look. 

 Whether you’re clocking up the miles in Central Park or you’re perusing The Met, you’ll need comfortable footwear. From my NY observations, beauty is not pain and despite what Gossip Girl may lead you to believe the heels aren’t as high as the skyscrapers. Trainers were the most popular choice from block to block and the Veja copper Esplar leather kicks (£82) are a luxe trophy trainer that will gain you the approval of the ultimate Brooklyn babe. 

One thing you’ll never catch a New York woman without is her handbag. The Amette bag (£109) from Becksöndergaard is made from super soft goat leather and also abides by New York’s cardinal style decree that ‘black is the new black’.

I also used the Becksöndergaard Louella Toullier tote weekender (£32) for travelling, which proved to be perfect for holding all the essentials for an eight-hour flight.

The biggest lesson I learnt from this wonderfully vibrant city is that confidence is the secret to style. The pavement is a New Yorker’s catwalk and from the Bronx to Brooklyn, it’s clear that Sarah’s motto of ‘it’s not what you wear, its how you wear it’ is going transatlantic.

Rachel x

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