Every six months, New York Fashion Week hits, and suddenly my calendar is booked solid for seven straight days. Fashion editors like me work 12-plus hour days that consist of nonstop content creation and networking, all while assigning, editing, and writing stories on the go. All this happens, of course, during the limited down time between hectic runway shows.
It’s exhausting, yes, but it’s also the highlight of my year. Networking means lively dinners with industry friends and co-workers, content creation leads to some fire ’fit pics, and runway shows supply sartorial inspiration that sustains both our editorial calendars and personal wardrobes for months to come.
The biannual weeklong event is centered around style innovation, after all, so each year I take it as an excuse to take fashion risks — even more so than usual. Last September, that meant wearing the dad-approved sunglasses I once hated. For the Spring/Summer 2024 season, however, my outfit lineup was all about utilizing my favorite pieces in new and unexpected ways.
I wore sleepwear as daywear, gym shorts with heels, and a bodysuit over a dress (which was actually a nightgown) — and somehow still got compliments from some of the industry’s most respected players. Want to know how I did it? Keep reading.
Ahead, peruse the visual diary of my wildest, most daring New York Fashion Week looks — and hopefully take away a bit of inspiration yourself.
I started off the season with a slew of parties and events. In one night, I hopped from a Pandora parking lot party, to an AG Jeans x Emily Ratajkowski cocktail hour, to a celeb-packed soirée with Victoria’s Secret. Dressing for the latter, I leaned into the lingerie theme with rose-printed, fishnet tights that mimic the intricate weave of a lacy undergarment. The punk rock staple goes hand-in-hand with leather of any kind, so I added a longline skirt and the crown jewel of my closet: the platform Maison Margiela Tabi Boots I got at Woodbury Common Premium Outlets for almost $540 off.
Dedicating fully to the theme, I reached for a sheer top that showed off my (also sheer) bra — specifically, Reformation’s Lindy Knit Top, which I own in multiple colors. Even with the mix of textures, it still felt a little boring — for Fashion Week at least — so I finished with some tough-girl accessories. First, I grabbed a fishnet bag (told you I love a theme) and a pair of mirrored sunglasses, then converted a silver bag chain into body jewelry by slinging it across my chest crossbody-style. By this point, my look felt sufficiently dramatic, so I ran out the door to my awaiting car, a courtesy from Blacklane car service.
In order to get through the all-day, all-night marathon that is NYFW, you have to take some days off. So I kept it low-key on Thursday so I’d be prepped and ready for Friday’s back-to-back shows and presentations. Kate Spade New York was among them, so I channeled the brand’s feminine, preppy vibe — a 180 from the gothic boudoir look I was serving the night before.
I started the way any artist does: with a blank canvas. In this case, it was an ivory accordion dress, which I layered under a years-old pajama top I wear as a blouse. Pulling from the “stealth wealth” starter pack, I completed the look with loafers and pearls — plus creamy sunglasses and a floral-print fan that accompanied me to every show during the sweltering week.
The official forecast for the week was “climate change is real” hot, so I wore the least amount of clothing I could get away with in a professional setting. Mind you, it was a professional fashion industry setting, so the standards for work attire are much different from your traditional office.
I’m obsessed with how the girlies have been styling gym shorts in unexpected ways, so I tried my hand at the trend. That meant wearing my lace-trim pair with a sequin and tweed bustier top and a pair of heeled sandals in a zebra pattern for a little print-mixing moment.
Accessories are always the final pieces I pick out when getting ready, so I went with white sunnies to bring more white into the outfit. Then I stacked my neck with layers of chains and pearls, which matched my white details and played into the top’s Chanel-inspired vibe. Two birds, one stone.
I asked my Snapchat AI what I should wear to Fashion Week and one of its suggestions was a “fashionable suit” and, TBH, it wasn’t wrong. This baby is perfectly oversize and dripping in pink and green crystals. The powdery lime shade has dominated my closet in recent months, so I added a few of my favorite pieces in the same vibrant shade (read: a ribbed tank and platform sandals).
Though the safer styling choice would have been a white tee and sneakers, Fashion Week isn’t about playing it safe. Silver accessories — my metal of choice for the week — polished off the look with a much-needed dose of shine.
If my earlier outfits were daring, they were simply a warm-up for Monday’s look. And I mean that literally, because as Fashion Week goes on, I always get inspired by the runways, street style, and my own unusually outlandish ensembles, which brings me to take even more fashion risks. This confidence led me to wear a combination I’ve never before seen in my eight years of fashion: a bodysuit over a dress.
Part shirt, part undergarment, bodysuits are supposed to be worn beneath your clothing. But this vintage Dior number, which I found at a flea market for $35 (humble brag), deserved to be the whole moment. Once again channeling the lingerie aesthetic, I popped it on over my favorite silk nightgown, which is chicer than any slip dress you’ll find on the market. Checker-print Mary Janes and black lipstick completed my ’fit — because if you can’t wear black lipstick at New York Fashion Week, where can you?
Despite the extreme heat warning, I remained dedicated to my commitment to serving a look. So on Tuesday, against all better judgement, I stepped out in a vintage leather Harley Davidson corset top I had procured only days earlier (kismet!) from my Brooklyn vintage destination, OMNIA.
I wanted to style it in an unexpected way, so I ignored my first instinct to pair it with a leather skirt and, instead, went for office-appropriate trousers — another terrible choice, given the weather. Thankfully, Blacklane took me to and from shows — Wiederhoeft, Pamela Rolland, and Tanner Fletcher — in an SUV full of New York City’s crispiest air conditioning, single-handedly making my wild fashion choices tolerable on an 80-plus degree day.
Playing into my corset’s probable Y2K origins, I packed on nostalgic accessories, like clear sunglasses (another vintage Dior find), barbed wire-inspired necklaces, and a chunky pants chain. The finishing touch: my precious Prada bag, embellished with silver pyramid studs — the hardware of choice from my emo adolescence.
Happy Luar day! At 8 p.m. on the last day NYFW, I attended my very first runway show for the designer, whose Anna bag was the star accessory of last September’s Fashion Week. Though most attendees wore leather to the industrial venue, I had effectively depleted my stock earlier in the week, so I went in the opposite direction, reliving my J.Crew era in a pinstriped button-up, eyelet midi skirt, and leopard clogs.
Though I’m far past that chapter of my fashion history, this combo ended up being one of my favorite outfits of the week. To make it feel more like present-day Kelsey, I purposely mismatched the buttons for an artsy, asymmetrical look and topped with a vintage silk tie I got for $3 at an antique mall. Famed hip-hop stylist June Ambrose complimented the ensemble, so I’d call it a win.