New York Fashion Week: What to Wear?

Fashion crowd-watching is almost as much fun as craning your neck for a glimpse of next season's looks. Here's to the hassle, excitement, personal wardrobes and personalities of NYFW.
08/31/2012 02:09 pm ET Updated Oct 31, 2012

New York Fashion Week approaches and the big question on every fashion editor's mind is what to wear. Now more than ever, the fashion editor must be photo-worthy. If he or she is not featured on at least one style-spotting blog by the end of the week, serious questions are asked back at HQ. This means the latest looks must be countered with ultra-edgy personal style. No stepping straight off the pages of your publication is allowed. It is fascinating because what the fashion eds and stylists actually wear in real life varies wildly from how they style their respective editorial pages. Space-age warrior queens inhabit their paper alter-egos but down-played, uber-expensive classics rule at home.

Everyone is talking about the forthcoming Diana Vreeland documentary. An undeniable genius of an editor, Vreeland is remembered more for her personal style than her pages. Every fashion editor secretly dreams of Vreeland-style-status and in a similar way to winning the lottery, anyone can potentially achieve it. To do so and win cachet among your fellow editors is a long shot.

Most of the media fashion crowd will go for a hybrid of the latest looks with the odd personal touch. Black will be back but purple and navy will be in the race, ditto metallic leathers and studs. Narrow trousers, pencil skirts, fitted coats with leather details will suffice for the luxe brigade in the predicted balmy weather but expect furry flashes among the more daring. Spindly shoes and booties will also be hot. Never mind the clunky shoes currently on catwalk pages, a straw poll around the fashion eds I know predicts stilettoes for now. Fashion folk are fighting hard to distance themselves from RHONY-Kardashian style, so high-heeled platforms are off the menu. Come Spring, fashion girls will truly embrace the new clunkers from Prada and co., but not yet. I also predict a wave of verging-on-Goth make-up and more than a few punky, tousled hairdos.

This brings me to the biggest NYFW dressing issue for the fashion editor: What handbag or purse to choose. The handbag is more than the icing on the fashion ed's cake, it is her mission statement. With this one accessory, she is pledging designer allegiance, showing her hand and revealing her inner soul to the world. Think I am taking all this too seriously? It's Fashion Week, all normal rules of the universe are suspended. The raging debate is this: Should one just get it over with, call the bank and finally splash out on a Celine Trapeze? The Reed Krakoff Atlantique is a viable contender too, thanks to a less scorching price tag. For the upper echelons, the contest for a new Hedi Slimate for YSL bag is now well underway.

Alternatively, some follow the directive of haute-y fashion queen Carine Roitfeld, who refuses to carry a purse at all. For her the 'it bag' is a vulgar wannabe accessory, strictly for those folk in the world lucky enough to have more cash than style. Fashion editors in this camp may prefer a brown paper bag or, more likely, one of those secret Celines; plain leather, rectangular-shaped, slim straps. Looks like nothing, costs a fortune.

Teen bloggers, fashion interns and students are un-fettered by such concerns. For those with no financial hope of a Trapeze, creativity has to be the order of the day. It's this lot my eyes will be on for the real surprises, chic treats and shocks of NYFW alongside the collections of course. Fashion crowd-watching is almost as much fun as craning your neck for a glimpse of next season's looks. Here's to the hassle, excitement, personal wardrobes and personalities of NYFW.