new york beauty and fashion

NYC Style File: The Latest Looks Rocking the Big Apple

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High fashion or New York chic is not part of the average New Yorker’s daily routine. Hardly. Step out onto the streets of New York City on any given day, and you’re bound to see some of the most fashion-forward people in the world. Whether you prefer browsing the latest styles in designer boutiques uptown or all across town at funky downtown thrift shops, New York is a city that inspires from head to toe. Big or small, designer name or no name, it’s not what you wear but how you wear it. From Harlem to TriBeCa, and all across the city, we took to the streets to find the latest styles that define New York City fashion, find out what real New Yorkers are wearing, and figure out what drives them to choose the looks they sport. New York, as a fashion capital of the world, is really a city of awesome style that takes our breath away each and every day, and here are a few people who are making our days just that much more fashionable in their continued pursuit of chic.

Overview of New York City’s Influence in Beauty and Fashion

Beauty and fashion rules actually being used by those who work in both industries are of central importance to the topics. Both deviate from industry norms in response to the same factors that control consumer preference, changing visual product features to satisfy customer preferences without overinvesting. For example, while beauty magazines continue to write about new services and customers certainly can request fancifully described offerings, a typical women’s haircut still most often involves the cutting of long hair, accompanied by a variety of processes such as drying, straightening, curling, and complex colorations. Similarly, undergarments and accessories may add touches of runway flair to wardrobes, but the vast majority of women still dress themselves primarily for comfort, role suitability, and appropriately recognized attractiveness, generally choosing styles Dan Rice referred to as Just What the Ladies Want. In these essential aspects, beauty and fashion preferences intersect and depend to some extent on the same building blocks. As a professional barber reported hundreds of years ago in an appeal to wealthy customers and exemplary aim for professionals today, “I would have them take great care to preserve what doth naturally become them.”

The problem New York City plays key roles in both the beauty and fashion industries. It is home to the headquarters or corporate offices of many of the world’s largest beauty and fashion firms, and it is the location for hundreds of annual runway shows for top designers. Furthermore, New York City provides a setting in which the beauty and style trends of both professional and ordinary people are clearly visible. Over 35,000 beauty and haircutting establishments can be found in the 5 boroughs, and wherever they are located, there are no purveyors of personal style better than New Yorkers. Store windows and actual sightings on city streets provide seemingly unlimited opportunities to learn about the multitude of products selected and combinations chosen to reflect current preferences and to present interesting statements of attitude. By writing the September NYC Style File and inviting comments on its subject matter, the principal authors and advisees hoped to learn about new developments creating novel treatment opportunities.

Historical Evolution of NYC Style

The change from European to American dominance began in the late 19th Century when parts of New York began to compete as important economic links of the world of fashion. The city thus attracted clients and trade shows and harbored a location for new business ventures. The concentration and centralization of ‘higher fashion’ throughout New York strengthened throughout the century and received a further push forward after World War II. The American façade on fashion was concealed and restricted by Parisian couturiers between the 1920s until World War II. The post-World War II era fostered exciting improvements in New York’s garment industry. As dress became democratized, New York designers managed to interpret Parisian culture in such a way that new demands on cut and fabric design were satisfied at moderate prices. New sources of income and a growing American way of life work together. Before World War II, only seven designers were members of the exclusive Chambre Syndicale in Paris. From the 1940s to the present, the number of designers whose names represented the cream of fashion swelled to sixty, not to mention the many other talented designers who did make a breakthrough in the American garment world. The chiffon and evening wear labels of such designers as David Hayes, Jason Wu, Adrienne Herald, Frankie Welch, Catherine Walker, and Carolina Herrera firmly established their positions in the fashion world, especially after the world of fashion also experienced industrial strength. Following its “Golden Age” (1963-1964), Seventh Avenue’s garment industry was deemed the best producer of fashion clothing in the world. From the 1980s to the present, New York was the first of the “ready-to-wear” pavement shows: shows made for real-time wear, not public displays of “haute couture” designs. The Big Apple was frequently referred to as an authentic and democratic fashion window in parades alongside the “Golden Age” brands. Even Time published fashion cutbacks asserting that American designers had moved the gilded farewell to Paris.

When fashion is viewed within the wider context of cultural and stylistic activity, its relationship to historical, economic, and social events signifies that the prevailing image of the fashion industry (as perceived by consumers as well as by those who study both the product and its context) is the tip of a very large iceberg. Certainly, America’s fashion image is often portrayed by, and most frequently associated with New York. It is New York that is the commerce center, the publicity nexus, and the image source for American fashion. Historically, New York’s function as an international fashion arbiter is significantly different from other major fashion centers due to (i) the American way of dressing that emerged after World War II and (ii) the consolidation and reinforcement of American economic power. As a result, America and New York’s role in fashion expanded in ever-new ways.

Fashion Icons Through the Decades

We’ve come a long way from the days of looking to socialites like the little, flirtatious “Gibson Girl” and the popular, sophisticated star of the silent screen, Theda Bara, for fashion guidance. Progress rapidly set in with the jazz age, when the bold flapper girls, like Clara Bow, elevated the world of short hair and short skirts to a status symbol. Fashion after fashion built on the influence of popular personalities from Prohibition through the Great Depression, with famous film costumes becoming leading style indicators. Today, open any glossy fashion magazine, or go online and click through the collections of the top designers, and we’re back in Manhattan, watching models parade the latest looks. NYC has taken a slight sidestep, however: it is now the models themselves, not actors playing iconic movie roles, who are making the strongest fashion statement. The fashion world today has kind of come around full circle – just like NYC: Manhattan’s young fashion forward are becoming stars of the screen. Classic.

Walk up just about any street in Manhattan, and you’ll easily find the New York look: simple, fashionable, and confident. It’s a spirit that thrives in the busy, energetic city since the turn of the century, when entertainers with fashion flair became the U.S. first true style icons. Introduced to the masses through vaudeville, variety and later on the silver screen and the television, fashion trends were soon picking up pace. Not far behind in introducing more free-flowing styles was popular jazz music – along with the Jazz Age fashion icons that lived and entertained in NYC. Then came Marilyn Monroe and her love of New York, of modern styles and elegance, and later the street chic of the Warhol Factory Superstars in the 60s, the funky style of the 70s, the bold power fashion of the 80s, and the casual-cool of the 90s.

Key Elements of New York Beauty and Fashion

Also, it’s important to remember that New York looks are, indeed, spread across many, many different looks. New York is rich and diverse, with all the cultural influences that make our American melting pot so great. So while we can all recognize classic NYC style, where a woman in tight black pants and a crisp white shirt with ballet flats is always in good taste, there’s also a world of other city-based looks here. The downtown girl dresses grunge, the Upper East Side glam types cannot live without their designer duds and the cute college student in New York University’s Washington Square Village dorm lives in bohemian skirts. With all this in mind, here are some key elements of beauty and fashion associated with New York City women.

There are several themes bubbling beneath the surface that inform the Big Apple’s style. One: This is a city with millions of women who are working fast-paced, high-stress jobs. They need fashions that keep them looking polished and professional from day till night and from Uptown all the way to Brooklyn. Fabrics that go the extra mile are key, as are beauty and makeup products that can keep up.

Street Style Trends

 Sneakers (Converse, Especially): Fashion is all about comfort this season and fashion peeps are no longer limiting their plain white kicks to Comme des Garçons and Chanel runways, switching it up for Converse, Vans, and even Adidas Shell Toes.

 Subtle Crop Tops: Spotted on women of all ages, these subtle, cool crop tops are perfect for the busy women who don’t have time to hit the gym, yet can’t resist a trend.

 Black and Blue: Whoever said you can’t pair navy and black together clearly haven’t been people watching outside the fashion shows this week. Some of our fave fashion folk are all about pairing navy pants with long black jackets!

 Long Coats: It’s all about the longer, the better. Floor-grazing toppers are a favorite among this week’s fashionistas.

 Boyfriend Jeans: Best worn with ankle boots, statement coats, and footwear from couture shoemaker Aperlai.

 Culottes and Gauchos: Always spotted on Fashion Week street style pros and often paired with crop tops, chunky shoes, and vintage-inspired bags.

Street style at New York Fashion Week served up some seriously cool fashion trends for the cool kids, proving that anything goes this season. Here, a few street style trends we loved.

Innovative Designers and Brands

Pusei Young is designing the ladies’ accessories collection Pusei. At 26, Young is the youngest of New York City’s new wave. His bags are made in the Philippines rather than New York, and he is looking for more action in Europe, especially Germany. He reports that German buyers make on-the-spot decisions.

Ralph gave up a lucrative career as a mechanical engineer when he developed ideas about incorporating music into a line of sportswear he named Polar-Ralph. He conspired with a rock group called Polar-Tapes, and before he graduated from school, the clothing-music collaboration had caught the eye of a French manufacturer.

Innovative New York designers set trends in the wholesome sportswear market. New York City has a dynamic fashion industry, including designers, manufacturers, design studios, showrooms, and specialized fashion services. The city is also famous for launching the careers of many creative designers. We profile Polar-Ralph and Pusei, two of New York’s newest young design talents.

Emerging Designers to Watch

Another innovative emerging designer to watch is Matthew Ostrowski who, despite being very influenced by the Puerto Rican styles featured in his neighboring stores, creates distinctly “uptown” designs. His vibrant colors, intricate construction, and exclusive detailing are deserving of their own niche and a separate outlet in higher-end midtown boutiques. Keep an eye out for more of Ostrowski’s designs as he is very much an emerging designer in the same vein as established designers Miguel Adrover and Limi Yamamoto.

Despite the numerous designer boutiques lining Madison and Fifth Avenues, a different kind of style is permeating the New York shopping scene. Be sure to check out the boutiques and purveyors of streetwise styles that are all the rage throughout the city. Harlem’s boutique scene is growing fast, and an increasing number of designers are setting up shop in this lively borough. Michelle Townsend, a former DKNY model and freelance stylist, set up Styles By the Blk (137th St., between 7th and 8th Aves.) to cater for the vibrant street style that can be found in various T-shirts she designs and refers to as “street couture”. The boutique also fits in with the refurbished and reinvigorated neighborhood that has newer, smaller boutiques, lively music, and a real sense of fun.


The bottom line on NYC style is to let your imagination be your guide. Whether you try the new grunge trend or take a stroll down hip hop fashion row, New York style is all about attitude and having fun experimenting with different looks. NYC style is a veritable melting pot of diverse and eclectic looks. It remains the barometer of city style; a global thermometer for street trends. The New York girl is a true reflection of the urban spirit that’s constantly changing and often outrageous.

Impact of NYC Style on Global Fashion Trends

The mix of ethnicities and styles in NYC is unmatched, with influences from traditional cultures, new age creativity, and iconic American innovation blended together with lasting effect. The stylistic impact of a multicultural New York City makes it the ideal city in which to live, work, shop, and connect. Given that New York City is where many international fashion trends are first created, it is unsurprising that NYC products and trends continue to be sought after by consumers around the world. With monthly visitors to NYC’s shopping and style websites numbering in the millions, it is clear that NYC has a significant online influence too, so be sure to keep up to date with which looks are trending on your visit to New York City!

When talking about fashion leadership, New York City plays an influential role in promoting fashion as a lifestyle, inspiring not only New Yorkers but people around the world. NYC sets global fashion trends and also stimulates the city’s economy. By being host to the world’s finest fashion and beauty firms, the city strengthens its competitive advantage in these areas, as well as the industries that support them. Unique NYC brands will continue to grow and develop new collections, further establishing their pioneering status. One of the reasons we will always be able to count on NYC for setting the pace in the fashion stakes is the vibrant mix of people from all walks of life that make up the city. New York City attracts high numbers of creative, diverse, and energetic individuals who all dress in the latest trends, creating an exciting array of looks that are truly unique.

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