Street style has become personal again. At least I think that’s what is happening. It’s only natural that if fashion is cyclical, those who wear the clothes go through similar motions.
Here’s my hypothesis of what happened, and it’s unscientific:
2008/9/10: Rise of the blogs. Rise of me-focused photography and the lens pointing inward (but in a flattering way, not like the bad flip-angle where you shock the shit out of yourself on Snapchat), which shed light on the fact that it wasn’t just editors who had an opinion on fashion.
Around that same time: Civilians with an eye and a camera realized that people on the street dressed pretty cool. That fashion was happening in real life — off the runway — and it wasn’t all designer or all expensive or all the newest trends. Like the blogs, this was personal.
And then those guys made blogs, too.
2011-2012: Personal style bloggers, street style photographers and notoriously well-dressed editors coincided. New York Fashion Week became a playground for all, and play they did.
This sounds like a bed time story. But it’s not!
They played so much that the fanfare became a bit much. Everyone started trying to outdo one another in outfits. Or outfit-outdo themselves. Industry vets missed the way things were, and who could blame them: the fact that BIG STYLE, LOUD STYLE, who-the-hell-would-actually-wear-that-style became the front-and-center focus meant that personal style was all a farce. (Remember Amy Odell’s MR story?)
And then, the retaliation: let’s call late 2013 the beginning of normcore. Everyone had had it. To hell with bright colors. To hell with trying, because trying meant trying too hard, and nothing is more uncool than that. Right?
So in 2014, white sneakers were the shoes. Levi’s were the jeans and your mom’s camel became the coat.
By the end of 2015, of course, we declared this all so very boring and spent a lot of time being big mopes.
“Blah, blah, blah, fashion.” The Snapchat caption heard ’round New York.
And then…toward the end of the year, because of that forgiving cycle — nature — we hit our authentic stride. The weather stayed weirdly warm. Maybe it was giving us a pass — a last-ditch attempt to get us to put in some effort because if not to say the absolute opposite of blah, then what is the point of getting dressed?
And by February 11, 2016, New York Fashion Week show-goers stopped overthinking the whole damn thing, looked in their closets and said yes.
Yes to weird coats, but not for the sake of the shot.
Yes to jeans but because they’re good jeans, and not because they’re on-purpose boring.
Yes to heels — if you want.
Yes to flats if that’s more your thing.
Yes to logos because everyone deserves some credit .
Yes to knits without labels, because everyone loves a “find.”
Yes to having your picture taken! What a compliment.
Yes to blending into the background instead. That sounds cozy and nice.
Yes to dressing in a way that makes you happy and feel good and feel bold and powerful, because what a concept.
Click through the above. This city’s always had personal style. It’s just that finally, it got its groove back.
Photographed by Krista Anna Lewis.