As I sat at the Maryam Nassir Zadeh show on Monday, the sun beating down the guerilla runway set up in Sara D. Roosevelt park, I found myself wondering why I had chosen to wear a full-body spandex suit in the oppressive heat. Every September, I make the same mistake. As someone who loves summer (and is possibly learning to like everything else too), I find that the only way to accept the arrival of fall is by tempting myself forward, like a pony to a carrot, with a new cool-weather garment. However, when I watched MNZ, champion of year-round swimsuits, send out a pink-and-white trifle of textures for spring/summer 2020, my heart was sent aflutter. This particular look toed the line of seasonal transition with grace, bare-shouldered and ephemeral on top and thickly layered at the bottom. As I watched the outfit bounce away, unavailable until next season, I knew I had to have it sooner—and I was certain I could recreate it the very next day.
Coasting on the thrill of fresh inspiration, I approached this craving with the precision of a nuclear physicist, breaking down the components of the outfit I saw and figuring out how I could approximate them with what I had on hand:
I’m not ready to wave goodbye to my summer sundresses, and I love MNZ’s idea of layering a longer skirt beneath one to lend it a bit more warmth and formality. I borrowed this vintage one from my sister’s closet weeks ago so I hope she was ready to wave goodbye to it (I’m guessing it’s too late to ask for her permission?).
I found this pink crinoline on Etsy in the beginning of summer, and I actually hadn’t used it as an underskirt until now! It lends great volume to the look.
The boots I paired with it are nowhere near as fabulous as the white snakeskin ones I saw on the runway, but they do firmly ground the look in fall–sandals would send me straight back to August.
I was delighted to see several of yesterday’s models holding tote bags, since at 30% of life seems to involve schlepping things from Point A to Point B and this reality is not always reflected on the runway. I’ve already crammed a sweatshirt, a donut, a fistful of napkins, and several important documents into mine shown here.
I wore this outfit to run errands, which is actually my favorite time to dress up because it makes the whole ordeal feel less boring. While stopping in a restaurant supply store to purchase bottles for some homemade kombucha (spoiler alert: didn’t end well), I chuckled at the revelation that the combination of pink and black in my outfit made me feel a little bit like a Lower East Side Avril Lavigne. Alas, as the day wore on, the silkiness of the dress and the stiffness of the skirt were not always a cooperative pair, and one or the other kept slipping out of place. I hate feeling like my outfit is fussy, and I was irritated by the fact that I kept having to readjust the straps of my dress all day. I was comfortable sitting at lunch with friends, but it seemed like the second I began walking anywhere the look would decompose. This is, I suppose, the friction between runway outfits (where garments are pinned, taped, and adhesive-sprayed into place) and real life endeavors (where I am trying to buy oat milk at the deli without exposing a nipple).
The fact that I was able to piece this one together fewer than 24 hours after I saw it saunter before me still made it feel like a triumph. Not only because I was neither hot nor cold as I puttered around town all day—a sensation that has escaped my grasp for months (maybe the secret to transitional dressing is cherry-picking looks from seasons yet to come?)–but also because it awakened my conviction in New York Fashion Week’s purpose. Unlike the shows in Paris, it may not crack open my mind and rearrange what’s inside, but it always leaves me with something–a styling hack, an outfit idea, a DIY challenge–something that makes me itch to return to my own closet, to reacquaint myself with the infinite possibilities that already live inside.