I’ve spent most of my life in Los Angeles. Between growing up there and moving back after college, it’s the place I truly call home. If you live in L.A., you know it to be true that practicality of clothing isn’t really a factor in L.A. style. Want to wear sweatpants anywhere? You can do it. Want to wear a dress in the winter? You can do it. Want to stay inside all day and avoid responsibilities when it’s raining? Yep, you can even do that too.
So when I moved to New York in November of last year, you can imagine it was a big shock to both my life and my wardrobe. Suddenly it was no longer acceptable to wear baggy sweats everywhere and I definitely needed to invest in a raincoat and a pair of gloves. Throughout my now nine months of living in Manhattan, I have learned more lessons about style than ever before in my life. For the first time, my style also had to merge with practicality. It took a second, but I think I’ve finally figured it out. I’m sharing what I’ve learned in hopes that it might help you too.
Picture this: It’s February. You just bought the cutest dress ever. It’s a midi dress. It only looks good with sneakers and a light jacket, but you don’t want to wait until May when it’s nice out. So you wear it anyway, right? It can’t be that bad. Or, alternatively, it’s June and you love the sweater you just got from a summer sale, but it’s 80 degrees out. You go for it anyway. BIG mistake.
I’ve made these mistakes a handful of times now, and trust me when I say I will not be making them again. It’s so important to dress for the appropriate weather, because even though you might like what you’re wearing, if it’s uncomfortable due to the temperature, you’re probably going to be unhappy.
I never realized that people really changed their entire wardrobes based on the seasons. Of course now I understand how necessary it is, but before I didn’t really see the importance of having “summer clothes” and “winter clothes.” They were all just clothes to me. Having to swap my wardrobe out as the seasons change has actually helped me clean out my closet, and I find myself holding on to fewer pieces than I did before. Now I can see every season as a fresh start, and I’m way more open to trying new styles for different times of year now.
Since moving to New York I’ve found that, more so than any other city I’ve lived in, nobody on the street is going to judge you for what you’re wearing. New York is filled with busy streets and busy people that are doing their own thing, and there is so much going on here that really no one is paying attention. Accepting this helped me dive deeper into my own personal style. I found myself starting to dress more for me, without worrying that it might look silly or different than what other people in the city are wearing. I let go of some of the personal pressure I’d put on myself to look “cool” (I hate to admit that, but I’ll do it anyway). I love this freedom about New York and I’ll take this personal style lesson with me everywhere from now on.
I love sweatpants so much. Casual clothes take up most of my wardrobe. My mother once told me to stop buying sweatshirts because I had an embarrassing number. I’ve always been a comfort over style kind of girl, which, in Los Angeles, is kind of a personal style within itself since workout clothes and sneakers are acceptable almost anywhere. But then I moved to New York. And in New York, I could no longer just walk out of my apartment with wet hair or wear sweatpants to every restaurant, so I had to adapt. I started putting effort into my morning routine, picking outfits the night before, and found that these little changes in my habits were actually making me feel a lot better. Then I watched way too many episodes of Queer Eye and listened to JVN explain the importance of self-care and realized that feeling like I looked good was actually contributing to my happiness. And I mean this in the least vain way, but waking up earlier and taking the time to get ready since moving to New York has really changed both my style and my thoughts on blow-drying my hair.