New York is known as one of the fashion capitals of the world, so it makes sense that as I've been working in New York this summer I've had plenty of time to notice other people's outfits.
Sometimes I see clothing that I wouldn't dare copy, like tube tops with 7-inch heels. But I've also seen many people sporting looks that I've admired. I try not to shop too much, especially when I'm not looking for a particular item, but I just might have to shop my own closet and mimic some of these trends that I've observed.
1. Wearing dresses with cute sneakers instead of flats
I've already done this look a few times to work, and I'm a huge fan. It's a great way to show your feminine and sporty sides at the same time, and can make a nice dress feel a bit more casual.
2. Block heels instead of traditional stilettos
Based on how many pairs of these shoes I've seen around NYC, this really seems to be the summer of the "brown suede block heeled shoe." I love them because the sturdier heel is dressed up, yet much more practical than stiletto heels. With these shoes, you'll never have to worry about your heel getting stuck in a particularly gnarly subway grate ever again.
3. Wearing backpacks instead of shoulder bags to work
Since I've been bringing my lunch to work every day, I've found that it's much more practical to wear a backpack instead of a shoulder bag to work. Luckily, I have plenty of company, as I constantly see people on the subways and streets sporting very fashionable backpacks as they presumably stroll to their fabulously enriching jobs. Backpacks have officially made it outside the schools and campuses and invaded the streets of New York, and I hope they're here to stay.
4. Frayed, not ripped, jeans
I've never been a fan of jeans with ripped legs because I never saw the point of buying clothes that were pre-destructed. But now I keep seeing these frayed jeans everywhere, and I like them better because they still give off that distressed vibe without looking too torn apart. They also look kind of hippie-ish, which goes to show that clearly the 60s never left.
5. Buttoned-up A-line skirts as a wardrobe staple
This skirt also looks very retro to me, and I have it in a couple of different colors. I love this style because it is so versatile and goes with pretty much any type of shirt. Depending on the length, these skirts can go straight from a casual office environment to a fun post-work dinner with friends faster than you can say "this was only $15 at Target!".
6. Wider-strapped sandals
This may not be a new trend per se, but I have noticed that most people around me seem to be wearing sandals with wide leather-looking straps, rather than the skinny-strapped flip-flop cousins that I've seen in years past. I generally prefer the look of sandals with skinnier straps, but I do love how wider straps can ground an outfit a little more and give clothes an earthier, more natural vibe.
7. "Cold shoulder" tops that aren't just for middle schoolers anymore
I used to make fun of these shirts, for some reason. I guess I thought they were too young-looking. But recently I've noticed a bit of a resurgence in cold-shoulder tops made for adult women, and I've changed my view. Cold shoulder tops are great to wear in hot weather and help you show a bit of skin in a more creative way. Plus, depending on the sleeves and how much volume they have, cold shoulder tops make me feel like I'm wearing a shirt made for a princess.
8. Wearing plain t-shirts with culotte pants
I had no idea culotte pants were so popular in the real world until I started working in Brooklyn this summer. At least every other block, and frequently in my own office, I see women wearing plain t-shirts with wide-leg culottes and looking effortlessly stylish. I tend to shy away from pants and skirts that are too voluminous, but this look in particular looks so fashionable on other people that I'd love to try it for myself.
9. Roomier cuffed shorts for women
In a world that refuses to put real pockets in women's pants, I'm glad that designers have started making cute women's shorts that aren't skintight. What's great about shorts like this is that they look more dressed up than normal shorts and can substitute for a skirt when necessary. This style of shorts seems to be echoing a time when the only women's pants available were literal bloomers, but I'm glad that the fashion world has found a way to modernize this look and remove several pounds of fabric from women's pants.
10. Those handbags with the faux-leather handles I keep seeing everywhere
I wasn't fully on board with these purses until I realized that they were waterproof. From the amount of times I've neglected to protect my purse from the rain, I would definitely tote around a cute bag that happened to repel the summer showers. I don't know who makes these or how they've managed to conquer the "cute everyday tote" industry, but these bags are definitely both fashionable and functional.
Fashion is constantly evolving, though most trends these days seem to give at least a small nod to the past. I like noticing what other people wear because it helps me break out of my comfort zone a bit and try new things. I may not opt to spend top dollar on the absolute most stylish version of a trend when it first comes out, but you can bet that I'll be looking for that trend in Target a few months after its heyday has already concluded.