This time last year, I up and moved. After three years at the magazine you’re currently reading, New York City beckoned. Waiting on my visa to be processed and my Big New Job to materialize (minor details!), I was limited in what I could haul over the border. Half of my belongings were sold or bestowed upon my parents. The rest I put in storage until I had my papers. I stuffed one hockey bag—how Canadian—with my best pieces and a ration of just six pairs of shoes. Along with me came my boyfriend (handsome Englishman, wildly supportive). When customs questioned the obesity of my baggage, I stared them down and said, “New. York. Fashion. Week.” They backed right off.
After the runway hoopla was done and my two pairs of stilettos had been sent for repair, I realized I might have a bit of a problem finding things to wear for the other 51 weeks of the year. Moving to a new city, especially New York, required serious style introspection. Heretofore, I had been subsisting on a diet of extreme silhouettes and statement pieces. In a form of fashion anemia, I didn’t own a single pair of blue jeans, or a sole white T-shirt. I had given my sister my last pair of Sevens seven years ago and never looked back.
But as I took in my new surroundings, my eye was drawn to a particular breed of no-nonsense New Yorker. They stormed sidewalks in a refreshingly simple mix of denim, layered cotton tees, knit pullovers and sneakers. An all-weather jacket and a nice handbag did the heavy lifting. I marvelled at how they looked so great while just getting on with it. By comparison, my things—say, a galactic-print dress, or a gold-pleated mini—were, well, a little loud. They had served me well on fashion interviews, but they were hardly suitable for my new in-limbo life—one part freelance editor, one part “lady of leisure,” as my boyfriend teased.
And so I did what any New Yorker would: I went shopping. He and I both stocked up on true-blue jeans, chambray shirts, U-neck tees and sporty kicks (tweed Vans for him, black Supergas for me). When it started getting chilly, I turned to J.Crew’s stadium blanket peacoat and tucked a rose-tinted New York Observer under my arm. The only time I broke cover was when I accidentally held the door for someone, or needlessly apologized. You see, while I had successfully calibrated my style to reflect my new, more southerly surroundings, my disposition still pointed true north.
1. Elizabeth and James ring, $214, shopbop.com
2. Joe Fresh wool-blend jacket, $149, joefresh.com
3. Saturday Surf NTC wool sweater, $160, saturdaysnyc.com
4. Superga shoes, $65, superga-usa.com