How to Get Fashion Buzz from the Streets
As I hurriedly rushed to my next appointment the other day, dodging slow walkers and trying not to trip on the uneven pavement in my slightly-too-high wedges, I spotted her. A petite girl, couldn’t have been more than 20, confidently strutting out of the coffee shop in an outfit that made me stop in my tracks. An oversized graphic tee was tucked into a satin midi skirt that screamed haute couture. Unphased by the dreary weather, she topped it off with a bright yellow faux fur jacket and coordinating eyecatching sneakers.
In that moment, I forgot about everything else and stepped to the side, not even caring that I might be mistaken for a street stalker. I had to study her unexpected street style from head to toe. The clashing colors, textures, and patterns somehow worked together in an unexpected harmony. She looked simultaneously cool and comfortable, trendy yet timeless. As she disappeared into the crowds with what I can only describe as a strutting sashay, I glanced down at my own polished business casual ensemble feeling rather basic and boring. I knew then that I had just witnessed true street fashion in action – unexpected, creative, and bold.
After 25 years in the fashion industry, you’d think I would be on top of the latest trends. But working long hours styling models and prepping magazine shoots leaves little time to simply watch the world go by. It took this impromptu sidewalk sighting to remind me that street style will always emerge organically from the ground up, not the runway down. From suburban malls to urban alleyways, everyday fashion is being created on the streets while our heads are buried in the elite fashion bubble.
As I continued on to my meeting, I mulled over the encounter for style takeaways I could incorporate into my own look. Her carefree layering of textures was genius – maybe I could pair my trusty leather jacket with an airy chiffon blouse? The juxtaposition of the feminine skirt with the graphic tee balanced beautifully. My mind raced with ideas of how I could take risks melding styles from my closet that I wouldn’t normally think to mix.
The thing about street fashion is that it encourages experimentation from all fashion fanatics – not just models and designers. It sparks our imagination beyond the limits of trends and teaches us to define our own version of style on our own terms. In many ways, it speaks to the democratization of fashion in today’s connected world. Style inspiration is literally at our fingertips, flooding social media feeds and surrounding us on the streets of our neighborhoods. We have access now more than ever to see real people mixing high and low end, customized pieces, vintage finds, and handmade goods.
As I approached the tall glass doors to my building, I took a last longing look at the stylish snippets of self-expression peppering the urban landscape. I decided then and there to challenge my own boundaries. I vowed to carve time out of my crowded calendar to explore my city streets with fresh eyes. To wander local boutiques, thrift stores, and pop up shops letting real life style spur my creativity. And to document it all not for work, but to inspire my personal looks.
My meeting ended up getting cancelled anyway. So I headed straight to my favorite local cafés and shops to people watch and gather inspiration. I struck up conversations with a barista wearing customized denim, a musician with a perfectly patched jacket, and a student making beaded jewelry. With each interaction, my mind expanded and vision sparked. I browsed racks pulling pieces I wouldn’t normally gravitated toward and spotted clever styling combinations on mannequins.
In just a few hours, I felt creatively recharged and connected to the pulse of fashion culture right in my own community. Of course, I won’t be able to transform my wardrobe and style overnight. But the streets offered just the dose of inspiration I needed to shake me out of my style rut. My advice? When you’re feeling uninspired, head out into the unexpected places and spaces where personal style comes alive. Let the creativity of everyday fashion from real people ignite your passion. Consider it a splash of color for your imagination and you just may find yourself stopping in your tracks for the right sartorial surprises.