The Budget Babe | Affordable Fashion & Style Blog

Ask BB: Feeling Intimidated by Fashion

So my friend and I are taking a long girls weekend in NYC in February, and I'm SO intimidated by the "fashionista" status of that city! What should I wear so I don't feel like a fashion dud? More specifically, how do I look stylish going out (but also warm?!) —Mackenzie

I can totally relate because I feel the same way nearly every time I head into the city. Those city dwellers have it so good: The world of shopping at their fingertips, from luxury labels to the best thrift stores. And inspiration surrounds them, the architecture, the art, the PEOPLE! New Yorkers are schooled in style every day of their lives just by walking around and looking around with their eyes. And when they gather, whether at work or with friends, the learning process continues..."Where did you get that?" "Oh, look at what she's wearing!"

So how can we keep up? The good thing is that style is not uniform in New York so don't think you have to look a certain way (ahem, like Olivia Palermo). You can totally be yourself. But of course you want more concrete information than that.

What I've noticed about really stylish people, especially NYC bloggers, is that they rely on certain statement pieces - especially during the winter - to do the work for them. Think faux fur, eye-catching shoes and fabrics, and unique silhouettes. Just a single where-did-you-get-that-piece can pretty much carry you through any situation.

Let's look at some examples. Take this coat from Topshop (a store you will absolutely want to visit when you're in town!) - that bold fur collar and designer cut will do all the legwork for you, just have the confidence to wear it!

Here's another easy to wear piece that still makes a statement - a cheetah print sweater from Forever 21. Just toss it on with skinny jeans and boots and you're good to go.

Trekking around on your feet all day? Forget the Carrie Bradshaw heels. Most New Yorkers wear flats. These sneaker wedges keep things fun:

Another foolproof look? Print pants. The bolder the better. Just keep the rest of your look simple (black sweater, or white tee and blazer).

Statement jackets are my standby when I want to stay warm but look cool. I don't like the styling in this photo, but this brocade sleeve jacket from Bar III has serious potential:

No matter what your style, accessories will be key. New Yorkers always wear chic layers - a chunky scarf, leather gloves, or moto boots will pull it all together.

For inspiration that won't make you feel inadequate, browse Pinterest, save your favorite looks and then experiment to see what works for you.

Do you ever feel intimated by fashion? What advice would you share with Mackenzie? Give her moral support in the comments!

{Shown above from left: You can never go wrong with a leather jacket. / Borrow from the boys with a cool topper and menswear oxfords. / A bright red scarf and chunky docs say classic-with-a-twist. All photos via The Sartorialist}
Two words: thermal underwear! Get the sports kind (breathable). It should be form fitting, so you can wear it under skinny jeans, etc. It really helps! February is very cold.
#1 Deb on 2013-01-02 22:20 (Reply)
Also, if you are going to be sight seeing...

Wear boots, preferably waterproof, (Marshalls has a lot of really nice snow boots that don't look like snowboots, super sleek). You don't want to step ankle deep into a pool of half melted freezing slush wearing those high-top sneakers... sure way to get your socks the hem of your pants soaked

just as an example...
#2 Deb on 2013-01-02 22:39 (Reply)
My advice is...don't worry about it! There are tons of unfashionable people everywhere, even in NYC!
#3 Lang on 2013-01-03 03:02 (Reply)
I think it's totally normal to feel intimidated when heading into the city - this happens to me too (and I'm a fashion blogger who lives in NY!). But I've learned the hard way to dress practically. Pick comfortable shoes (since you'll be doing alot of walking) and dress in layers so you'll be warm enough while out & about, but can remove some of those pieces & still look cute (coat, scarf, hat) when you're dining indoors or shopping.
#4 Penny Pincher Fashion (Homepage) on 2013-01-03 07:20 (Reply)
First of all, your best accessory is confidence!

If you feel awkward wearing it, then you will look awkward.

I also think that you need to pay attention to the polished details. Don't wear scuffed shoes, pilled sweaters, etc. Get your roots done, get a decent mani right when you arrive - don't look like you don't care. Obviously you DO care, or you wouldn't have written in.

If I need inspiration, though, I go to and visit we heart outfits. There are some great ideas there.
#5 Clare on 2013-01-03 10:15 (Reply)
I live in NYC and, honestly, most New Yorkers dress like homeless people, so there is no reason to be intimidated!
#6 Rachel on 2013-01-03 10:55 (Reply)
All of these ladies have given such great advice. I have to agree with Clare about getting your hair done and a manicure. Wear confidence from the inside out and you will look fabulous! Glossy hair and a great shade of lipstick will draw people to your great smile. And make for the best photos. Stay warm and dry and have a fun trip!
#7 Andrea on 2013-01-03 12:16 (Reply)
The thing about NYC is that nobody notices you unless you are bat-sh**^ crazy or a supermodel/movie-star. So, providing you are neither of those things you will likely go unnoticed. No offense as I am sure you are fabulous. Also, make sure and bring shoes you can WALK in and if you are coming in february avoid exposing any skin anywhere near your feet as that is how you get frostbite and hate your life! Lots of walking. Lots.
#8 cameo on 2013-01-03 14:58 (Reply)
BB and commenters: THANK YOU! So so helpful! Even though I'm certain I'll stay anonymous in the city of thousands of people, at least I'll feel cute (and warm and comfortable) thanks to your advice. Much appreciated :-)
#9 Mackenzie on 2013-01-05 12:20 (Reply)
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