Something I often forget but occasionally remember is that you can simply copy an outfit. You can appreciate it, approximate it, and then appreciate it once again on yourself, at least kind of. That this ever eludes me is absurd, given my profession and employer and personal interest in looking at street style. But whenever I’m standing in front of my closet, something emotional takes over and I forget everything I’ve ever seen, saved, or screenshot. At times this experience is fulfilling; other times I change my pants five times and ponder why in the world I’ve ever purchased anything. And that is when copycatting could come in handy, if only I could remember to do it.
Lately I’ve been better though—about ripping off people’s outfits, I mean—because dressing for warm weather is less instinctive for me, and I’m discovering that imitation gets me much further than feeling it out. As such, I’ve been bookmarking more outfits on Instagram lately and have, on an occasion or three, actually used them. Like when I wore this a few weeks after Amy Smilovic wore this. And it was surprisingly effective! (Is this literally the oldest style hack of all time? Humbled if so.)
Anyway, below are six other outfits on my copycat list for these last few weeks of spring that are warm but not so-warm-you’re-sweating-in-anything-but-a-whisper-of-cotton and which are made exponentially less warm by air-conditioned offices. A tricky balance my emotions aren’t always equipped to withstand.
#1: A button-down with trousers and sneakers
Brittany knows her style and sticks to it to an impressive extent. If you’re into minimal, structured outfits, I recommend a follow. Copying this outfit, in my mind, is less about colors and more about fit and material—the trousers need to be tailored but loose-fitted, the top needs to be this oversized and casual, and the shoes need to add the right amount of contrast (this outfit would look so different and boring with, say, brown leather brogues). It may seem like a lot of coverage for a 70-ish day, but I often find button-downs breezier than T-shirts.
#2: A babydoll with a bandana and boots
I don’t wear dresses often, which means styling them doesn’t come very naturally to me. But Ramya (another great follow for style inspiration, although not always easy to imitate) somehow made this dress look like something a little English boy would wear on the countryside. (Lately I’ve been thinking I prefer dressing like a boy who’s breaking gender norms than a girl who’s breaking gender norms, if that makes sense?) Anyway, this look feels very summer utilitarian. I could hike (to Brooklyn) in this.
#3: A summer suit
Paul Binam is one of my favorite style follows; I bookmark his outfits constantly. He really understands how to make a simple and neutral outfit memorable, which is a skill I’m always looking to hone. For me, this outfit conjures the image of a business man before he’s put his suit pants on, running out to get the mail in a baseball hat. An absurd if conceptually familiar scenario if you grew up with a business dad (hi Vance!). The look is composed of items I own — shorts, T-shirt, light trench, hat, brogues — but would never pair together, which is why it’s good. I’d wear it to a dinner where it might get chilly.
#4: Tapered pants with a T-shirt, blazer, and lace-up sandals
Confession: I’ve already copied this outfit (see here), but wanted to include it as I intend to do it again and again, in slightly different iterations. This is one of those looks that, when I put it on, felt so obvious, and yet I’d never thought to do it myself. To return to the point about contrast: wearing trousers and a blazer with casual sandals feels like something rich people wear around their summer homes, a.k.a. it feels great. Trousers aren’t typically a summer staple, but why shouldn’t they be?
#5: A white skirt with a white oversized top and white sneaks
A white cotton tea-length skirt (must be longer than a midi, shorter than a maxi) is quickly becoming a summer staple for me. Mine is from Tibi, and I’m always looking for new ways to wear it. I love how Moonlin (not sure what her real name is, but her account is very good) paired hers with white ankle socks and white chunky sneakers. It makes the skirt feel more utilitarian than “pretty.” I’m also loving the absurdly oversized long-sleeve that’s rolled up around her wrists, although I’d probably go for something more structured and untucked.
Saving for fall: A cream dress over cream pants with cream shoes and an olive jacket
If you happen to live in a chillier climate, this outfit feels imbued with the emotional breeziness of summer without actually being breezy. I think it’s the color combination, which could be approximated with different garments (like green shorts with a cream polo and cream sneakers)—it’s very aprés-hike. I love how the layers add interest without any flourishes or patterns; it makes the outfit feel dressed down and put together at the same time. I’m mentally filing it away for September.
How are you managing the summer/AC balance? And who are you copying these days?
Feature Photo provided by Brittany Bathgate.