5 Tips for the Newbie New York Fashion Week Attendee

New York Fashion Week. Have four words so beautiful ever been uttered together? Twice a year the tip top designers, stylists, editors, buyers, bloggers, models, celebrities and general fashion slaves assemble to watch the reveal of the coming season’s trends in the reigning fashion capital.

In a wild twist of fate, yours truly was fortunate enough to experience this event and let me tell you, each realization this Midwestern T.J. Maxx shopper came to throughout this week of bliss was every bit as cliché as you can imagine. Prepare yourself.

Only one word can best summarize the experience: mesmerizing. Addicting. Surreal. OK, there are lots of words; but for a week surrounded by some of the biggest names in fashion, how could you expect anything less? Instead of throwing out endless adjectives and making you unequivocally jealous, I’ve compiled five must-know tips for the newbie New York Fashion Week attendee. Read them; memorize them; and make them your new mantra if you ever dream of fitting in with the fashionistas at the famed event.

1) Dress to impress

It doesn't matter if you're a new blogger or the 91-year-old fashion icon Iris Apfel. When you are at one of the world’s most highly-regarded fashion events, you best take extra care when dressing yourself. This is your chance to take all those fashion risks that are just a bit too much for your campus commute.  This includes, but is certainly not limited to, poofy faux fur, wide brim winter hats, 80s rock star leather pants and patterns galore. And while labels are what everyone is there to celebrate, the great part about the current era of fashion we live in is you don’t have to be decked out in head-to-toe Margiela to be deemed fashionable. Affordable fashion makes an appearance at even the poshest parties in the form of vintage finds and trendy treasures from saviors like Topshop and H&M. After all, Alexander McQueen said, “It’s a new era in fashion - there are no rules. It’s all about the individual and personal style, wearing high-end, low-end, classic labels and up-and-coming designers all together.” However, even when a snowstorm named after a famous clown fish wreaks havoc on the city, your wildest, most couture-esque heels better still make an appearance.

2) Walk like you mean it

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week estimates they host at least 100,000 guests throughout the week of high-end heaven. It is every one of those guest's goal to be snapped by a fashion blog, magazine or fashion photographer. This means even if you styled a rad outfit, if you don't own it while you walk through Lincoln Center and up the steps to that hallowed tent, nobody will give you a second glance. You're walking amongst fashion greats, so you should strut like one too.

3) Chat it up

Unless you have memorized a Miranda Priestly-esque little black book of everyone in the fashion biz, you never know who might be sitting next to you at the Chado Ralph Rucci show. The only way to find out? Ask! Use those small talk skills you've honed at frat parties. Surrounded by rude fashion folks? That’s not a problem; other potentially more friendly contacts are a dime a dozen around these parts, and opportunity lurks in every couture-clad corner. Those sour show-goers are probably just grouchy from their Fashion Week liquid crash diet anyway.

4) Shyness need not apply

Everyone who is anyone in the world of fashion attends Fashion Week, and you're not going to catch their attention by being a timid bystander. If there ever were a time to break out of your shell and be fearless, it is now. This isn't a license to act like you own the place (because we all know that deed is in Anna Wintour's name), but fear will get you nowhere on these stiletto-covered streets. Don't be afraid to compliment folks on their fab bags, strike up a convo with the sponsoring brand representatives (if they like you, you could score free stuff!) or most importantly, ask questions!

5) Be cool, kid

Expect to see lots of A-list celebrities, lots of intimidating fashionistas and lots of fancy pants DSLR cameras snapping. In the wake of it all, do your best to reach a happy medium between fangirling over your Lauren Conrad sighting and being just another fashion week snob. There’s nothing worse than letting your incredible ensemble and great personality be overlooked because you lost your marbles over Rachel Zoe, giving her beloved phrase “I die” a whole new meaning.

Above all else, the most important thing to remember is this: have fun and relish in every moment. 

There are people all over the world who dream of going to New York Fashion Week and instead watch it unfold via Nina Garcia’s Instagram account. Whatever your reason for being there, enjoy it because you’re one of the lucky ones, darling.

Did you follow New York Fashion Week this season? Have a favorite designer, show, look or moment? Tweet it to us! @CollegeGloss

By: Brittany Redden | Images: Brittany Redden at the Chado Ralph Rucci show

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