Take a trip to a major city like Paris, New York, Los Angeles or Miami and you’re bound to see the women in each location have adopted that city’s fashion “uniform.” We checked in with women working in the fashion industry in each of these cosmopolitan cities to see if we could borrow a few of their looks.
Paris: Quality Over Quantity
Kristina Dekens is a former Midwesterner living in Paris. She discovered that women there tend to have fewer but better quality wardrobe items. For example, women may wear simple but stylish basics and add a luxury item like an Hermes scarf.
“You’ll also see a lot of straight or skinny pants in ankle length,” Dekens says. “As the fall rolls around, women wear blazer-like jackets they call ‘vestes.’”
Popular shoe styles in Paris include gladiator sandals, Repetto ballerina flats and low boots. Sports style shoes are reserved exclusively for playing sports. And, you won’t see women running errands in Lululemon. Dekens says workout wear is worn only when exercising or for what the French call “cocooning,” lounging at home with a good book or a loved one.
“Parisian women dress conservatively compared to New York or LA in my opinion,” Dekens says. “Women don’t usually wear mini-skirts, shorts or strapless items. In fact, if I ever do wear something like that, my husband never fails to say that it looks ‘so American.’”
Dekens says Parisian women like to have lots of basics in black or neutral tones, and it’s not or uncommon to wear the same item twice within a week or two. She says popular brands include Zadig & Voltaire, Maje, and Ba&Sh.
Los Angeles: Laid-Back Basics
Maria Korovilas is the designer of women’s ready-to-wear line k o r o v i l a s and a Los Angeles resident for 15 years. She says jumpsuits and short rompers are popular in LA.
“Jumpsuits are a little more innovative these days as we’re now seeing them regularly in all kinds of fabrications from lace to silk,” she says.
Korovilas also notes that women in LA have gone back to basics: “Overalls, ‘mom jeans,’ simple shoes and non-descript shaped silhouettes are all right on trend.”
Interestingly, Korovilas says there is not big distinction between what women in LA wear during the day versus at night.
“A lot of it may have to do with the combination of weather and overall laid-back vibe, but most of us are going straight into night from the day,” Korovilas says. “No one really ‘dresses up,’ so to speak, unless required by invitation. It’s also okay to be dressy in the daytime, if that’s your vibe. Chiffon at lunch, sure! Really, just no rules.” Pictured: korovilas Sofia Lace-Trim Bandeau-Neck Midi Dress, $174, Neiman Marcus
New York: Black With Edgy Details
“The winter uniform for the stylish girl in New York is definitely one that is sleek and classic, but updated with some unexpected details,” says Denise Vizcarra, who owns VPR, a fashion public relations firm.
Maggie Gillette, designer of The Giving Bride, agrees that New Yorkers do wear a lot of black, but this season she says they are lightening up—just a bit.
“…This season, grey is probably the biggest color trend,” Gillette says. “Women are mixing it in with their usual black wardrobe or wearing it as a monochromatic look.”
Amy Kalaczynski also works in the New York fashion industry. She has lived in several different cities and says she has never seen as much of a “uniform” as in New York.
“Color is just not happening here,” Kalaczynski says. “Even without color, New Yorkers continue to express their own personalities through clothes. What I feel is becoming more and more of a high priority is good fit and top quality. The fabric is extremely important, and with different plays on texture, black on black can be personal, interesting and unique.”
When it comes to dressing for day to night, women add a print accessory or edgy jewelry to take a work outfit into evening. “Animal prints, especially on shoes, seem to be one of the other strongest trends of the season,” Gillette says. “It allows you to use an accessory to give your wardrobe a fresh look.”
Kalaczynski also sees informal and evening wear blending together. “Casual Soho day outfits can quickly turn into evening wear by changing accessories,” she says. “Here, you need to be prepared for anything so your outfit should be as well.”
While up-and-coming labels are of interest, Kalaczynski says the majority of New Yorkers stick with basics from brands like Rag & Bone, James Perse, Vince|Helmut Lang. “These brands focus on modern, tailored clothes while using luxe textiles,” she says.
Vizcarra says you can dress like a New Yorker by choosing black clothing with embellishments like zipper detailing.
“Lately, I’ve been noticing a lot of black denim, oversize sweaters and coats, over-the-knee boots and animal print motifs,” she says. “If done correctly, these looks are appropriate for both professional and personal occasions, and can be worn confidently from the office to wherever you may be going.” Pictured: Helmut Lang Draped Leather Jacket, $1,125, Nordstrom
Miami: Cool and Carefree
In Miami, anything goes and because it’s warm year-round, so women wear a lot less clothing. Isabella Acker, curator of culture at Prism Music Group, says you’ll see a variety of looks roaming the streets of Miami.
“It ranges from the vacationing beachgoer who is just happy to be wearing shorts and a tank top, to scantily clad yet perfectly primped pool party attendees,” Acker says. “A common trend I’m noticing is the skinny leg destroyed denim in all shades with a pair of heels. Another trend is one side of a shirt or blouse tucked in and the other left out, the ideal blend of well put together and ‘I rolled out of bed like this.’ Not to forget, sunnies, either trendy designer knockoffs or the real deal, are a must.”
Acker explains that daytime dressing in Miami is casual (as you’d imagine for a laid-back beach city). One of her favorite bikini brands is Shlaer, which she says is expensive, but well crafted.
“Oftentimes, locals rock their Lululemon yoga pants with colorful Nike kicks or Havaianas sandals,” Acker says. “To dress up your look, you’ll find Tracy Watts fedoras, beach bags by Flora Bella and a plethora of linen, which is a stylish and breathable match for the humidity.”
When night falls in Miami, Acker says short, tight dresses, heels and clutches come out to play. Locals also glam up their looks with jewelry from Miansai, which she says rivals Cartier as far as the number of people sporting their baubles. Pictured: Ella Moss Flora Vista Romper, $218, Shopbop