Fashion Week for the Every Girl, Part One

*This post is sponsored by Old Navy
A few weeks ago I was asked to pitch an idea for a fashion week story. ‘Fashion week for the every girl’ rolled off my tongue and into an email faster than most ideas that I have. This surprised me two ways; that I thought of a pitch at all and so quickly, and that I was confident enough to not think it through before hitting ‘send’. Perhaps this was in part due to the fact that most of the time my ideas are braver than I am and also, when I pitch an idea it usually gets tweaked by whomever I’m collaborating with. It’s best I don’t get tied down to an idea or stuck in a one-line story. Much to my surprise within a few minutes I get an email back saying ‘perfect, let’s go with this. You’re headed to NYFW on behalf of Old Navy.’ I blinked twice at the response and thought what have I just gotten myself into. 
I’ve been to fashion week a few times — well, let me rephrase that — I’ve been to New York during fashion week a few times. Once for an in-store event and once for a conference I was on a panel for. No shows or parties, just being in the city during the time was enough for me to feel inspired. In fact, I’ve never seen myself as one to have a foot in the door of the world of high fashion. I am happy to consume what designers and artists create, happy to watch and see what others curate and style, and happy to be inspired by whatever I can from the fashion industry from street style to editorials to designers collections. As someone who loves personal style and helping others find their own, I’ve always found the other side of style (fashion) to be intimidating. Intimidation is a cruel but inspiring thing. One way or another I was jumping in because I had a non-refundable ticket to New York and a job to do. No one in their right mind would turn that opportunity down. Thankfully the first night was easy — the Old Navy x Joe Zee launch party. Parties? Oh yes, parties I can do. I didn’t go to college for nothing, did I?  

     OLD NAVY X JOE ZEE PARTY      
(Mr. Joe Zee, everyone. He was so pleasant and nice! Katie Holmes was there too, but I never got around to telling her about my love for Joey Potter. Next time we hang out, I’m sure I’ll get to talk to her and hold her hand and brush her hair. You know, normal things you do with best friends you’ve just met.) 
                       DAY ONE                      
I should have kept a diary of my thoughts during this day as I’m sure it would have sounded like that of a 14-year old girl on her first day of school being dropped off by her dad at a new school. I had my outfit laid out, the address of the show in my phone, and a whole ball of nerves just ready to be wound up tight. I kept thinking all morning — what am I doing here? I don’t belong here, this isn’t my scene — all the way to the show. It was one long taxi ride. With my self-doubt fully in tact, I shyly walked into the show, grabbed my seat before someone could tell me I was an impostor and waited quietly for the Wes Gordon show to start. A few minutes later editors start showing up, people I’ve seen in magazine pages, documentaries, whom I’ve admired from afar, all start showing up and sitting down right before my eyes.  Then before I know it I’m taking notes on style in my phone.  I start looking around and there is style everywhere. In the subtle way a girl wears her braid, in a blazer tossed carefully over shoulders, the perfectly imperfect mix and match of an outfit. I kind of become lost in the crowd of fashion and how amazing it is to see such style in real life. And then the lights go down and the show starts. It’s a constant stream of beautiful pieces for a much-too-quick 5 minutes, pieces that I can hardly remember now. I tried to snap photos on my phone but between the motion blurs and my own excitement, I ended up just watching the show. As the lights come back up, people file in line and out the door faster than you could imagine. I sit there for a second and catch myself. This is amazing. 
I think I’ve always shied away from the idea of fashion and always leaned towards style. I once heard a quote that was somewhere along the lines of style is what we do with fashion. Even when people ask what I do I specifically say ‘style blogger’ and not ‘fashion.’ I’ve never felt worthy enough, I suppose, to say I was a  fashion blogger, as I don’t wear many labels or designers nor do I fancy myself high-fashion. (More like mid-to-low fashion cause that’s a thing right?) But show after show I felt myself warm up more and more to the idea that is fashion. It’s a creativity, it’s an art in how you get dressed. It’s not designers, or money spent, (although it can be I respect that, too), but it’s in what and how you do something. That’s what I kept being inspired by over and over throughout the weekend — seeing style turned into art. 
                       DAY TWO                     

(Old Navy Moto Jacket, J.Crew Silk Dress, Vince Camuto Heels, DVF purse, Old Navy Sunnies (in store))

I mean I think we can all agree on the fact that knowing exactly what to wear during an important week in the fashion industry is slightly anxiety-inducing. Therefore I will be the first to say — I did not know what to wear. I just knew what I liked and what would make me feel comfortable. And I have to say — this is a good formula to go with. Especially when in a new situation feeling comfortable with what you’ve got is good, in fact, I’d say it’s key. By the second day I was feeling good in my own skin again. My anxiety of the unknown had turned into excitement of the new. All of a sudden I wanted to go to all of the shows just to have the runway high again. I found myself looking at the professional photos after the show, reliving each style piece by piece figuring out how I can make that work for me — for the girl who doesn’t walk a runway everyday but an un-level sidewalk to work. (Don’t worry, I made notes to share with you more tomorrow.) Turns out, it is possible to be inspired by something you never even thought you’d ever relate to.  Perhaps that’s the best inspiration around. 

                        DAY THREE                      
My last day in New York was met with seeing old/new friends I’ve only known through email or blogs. (The internet is a great way to meet people, by the way. They should make a dating site for that and name it Match or something clever like that.) After the last few shows / presentations, I felt like I had the routine down. What to wear (heels), what not to wear (heels), and what to look for in each show and on the streets for inspiration to take back home. I realized that the week had a lot less to do with me (and what I was going to wear) and had a lot more to do with the business of fashion and the art of style. That even though I was nervous of the unknown, there was no reason to be nervous but excited.  I started the week out feeling like I was an outsider who didn’t belong and I left feeling inspired to look at my closet again as art and a source of creativity, not so much concerned about where I belonged in the grand scheme of things. I’m not an expert in the industry, but I feel like that is a job well done. 
_______________________
And tomorrow, as promised, a post about how to take the trends I saw at Fashion Week and make them work for you now and next spring. It’s going to be life-changing. Maybe. It could be. We’ll see.  
(PS: sorry for the truncated post, this was just SO long!)
_________________________

This post was sponsored by Old Navy. Check out Old Navy’s latest fashion lineup in store or online at oldnavy.com.

66 Notes

Leave a Comment

  1. Natali says:

    Oh my!! All of these outfits are one of your best outfits ever!! It's so hard to pick just one, but if I would have to, it would be 2nd to last! It looks so chic, even a bit futuristic and bit "away" from what we're used to see on your blog.

    http://lartoffashion.blogspot.com

    09.10.14 · Reply
  2. Kelsey Wilburn says:

    this is really awesome, kendi. thank you for sharing and every-girl's perspective on the shows. they're a huge mystery to me. and this actually makes them seem accessible.

    http://www.ladiesinnavy.com

    09.10.14 · Reply
  3. Jessica says:

    And this, Miss Kendi, is why I love you. You rocked fashion week in affordable outifts that looked like a million bucks.

    26 and Not Counting

    09.10.14 · Reply
  4. I LOVE this post!! Thank you for being real and sharing:) Day 3 outfit is amazing by the way!:)

    09.10.14 · Reply
  5. Blue Labels Boutique says:

    Great outfits! I loved the all burgundy with the leopard printed clutch!

    http://www.bluelabelsboutique.com

    09.10.14 · Reply
  6. Michelle says:

    Thank you for giving us a "keeping it real" perspective on fashion week! Looking forward to tomorrow's post. Keep it up, Kendi!

    09.10.14 · Reply
  7. Melissa says:

    Kendi! What an awesome experience!! I've always imagined what fashion week would be like and I loved that you described it so naturally. I appreciate you being so honest too. I think I would be super intimidated, so it's nice to know that even someone with as much style and beauty as you felt a little intimidated too. For the record, you looked beautiful and had no reason to be nervous. Thanks for sharing your time at fashion week and for always being such a real person. Amazing!!

    09.10.14 · Reply
  8. I love this post! I feel like I would have been just like you at the first show. Fun to get "the everygirl's" perspective.

    Kristina does the Internets

    09.10.14 · Reply
  9. Agi says:

    You look amazing!!!! Love that cobalt dress. Stunning. It's on my bucket list to be in New York for fashion week!!!! Great post.

    Agi:)

    vodkainfusedlemonade.com

    09.10.14 · Reply
  10. graceatwood says:

    Loved seeing you, Kendi! I ordered your neon jacket from Nordstrom. πŸ™‚

    09.10.14 · Reply
  11. Sasa Zoe says:

    Love these looks for NYFW. You look great, Kendi<3

    http://www.shallwesasa.com

    09.10.14 · Reply
  12. This is SO great! You look rockin' in each shot, and I think you represent the Old Navy brand so well! Also, high fives all around for future Katie Holmes hair brushing moments…let's make it happen! πŸ˜‰

    09.10.14 · Reply
  13. Rach says:

    You look fantastic during Fashion Week! LOve how you make casual, every day wear look so chic!

    http://www.rdosbsessions.com

    09.10.14 · Reply
  14. Joanne M says:

    What a great opportunity for you, congratz! This was a great post and it sounds like you had a great time! I love all of the outfits you decided on, especially the Day 2 one! Can't wait to read tomorrows post!!

    Joanne | http://www.fashion-oh.blogspot.com

    09.10.14 · Reply
  15. Diana says:

    Awesome post, I would love to be in New York during fashion week just to absorb everything fashion.

    xoxo, Diana
    http://www.TheNeonFactor.com

    09.10.14 · Reply
  16. Ana Aguilar says:

    I love this! can't wait for more πŸ˜€

    09.10.14 · Reply
  17. All great looks!! So chic for NYFW.

    http://www.eyelikefashion.com

    09.10.14 · Reply
  18. I'm all about personal style not so much runway looks! Love all your looks especially the blue dress-has some NY attitude!
    xo Adri
    http://www.adrilately.blogspot.com

    09.10.14 · Reply
  19. So gorgeous and chic. I love day 3's outfit. Haha at your comment about katie holmes. I'm sure you guys would be BFFs! πŸ™‚

    xo, Yi-chia
    Always Maylee

    09.10.14 · Reply
  20. lavieenliz says:

    all the looks are really nice

    http://hashtagliz.com

    09.10.14 · Reply
  21. I love hearing about the experience of NYFW through your eyes/ears. It's a nice change.

    09.10.14 · Reply
  22. bklover says:

    I just need to say, I think you are my favorite fashion blogger – and yes I said 'fashion' because you ARE worthy enough! Love this post. Love the looks. Love your blog!

    09.10.14 · Reply
  23. Tori says:

    LOVED this post and could totally relate to all of it πŸ™‚ I just had the conversation with my friends about how I feel I am a "style" blogger versus "fashion". But, this post totally changed my mind a perspective. And you are rockin all your looks!

    Tori
    FashionBlingGirlyThings

    09.10.14 · Reply
  24. Valerie Barber says:

    Loved the Kayjay booties!!! I'd love something like that, but with a much lower heel. Looks like you had a grand time. Good for you!! Thanks for the continued inspiration. ~Valerie
    fastfrugalfashion.blogspot.com

    09.10.14 · Reply
  25. I actually picked up a few things from Old Navy yesterday! I love the clothes there right now! I actually bought the plaid white top you are wearing, I'm going back to get it in black. Great post, love your style.

    Jade
    themillenniumhalcon.blogspot.com

    09.10.14 · Reply
  26. Lucky you! Love all your outfits!

    Liz @ ShoppingMyCloset.com
    Come by! Weekly Style Me Wednesday fashion blog link-up

    09.10.14 · Reply
  27. i love all your outfits! especially the blue dress, I absolutely love how you take a simple dress like that and they way you accessorize it makes it into a great outfit!

    http://www.footnotesandfinds.com

    09.10.14 · Reply
  28. I love that last look… the color combo is so unexpected but works so well! Love that neon tweed jacket!!

    http://chelseascollection.com

    09.10.14 · Reply
  29. Erin says:

    Thank you so much for writing this. I can't tell you how many blog posts I've read this week by bloggers who go to Fashion Week and then write only about themselves, how much their feet hurt, what they're Instagramming, the party-hopping they did, without even giving us a hint of the fashion they are seeing. It's so refreshing to have someone admit that they feel intimidated, that they "don't belong", that they don't know what to wear. Your style vs. fashion is something that I myself always try to work with. While I love fashion, it's not my everyday life. Sure, it's inspiring, and I can steal ideas to make it work within my own style, but it's not me. So, basically, thanks for being honest and for being you.

    xo
    Erin

    09.10.14 · Reply
  30. Jillian Wetherell says:

    Your outfits are all so fun! And I love that it is all budget-friendly. I can actually buy the pieces you're showing us- not run out crazy trying to find a cheaper version! I have to say though, I love the sweater and bucket bag in your "Day 1" look- but I would love to jazz it up with a statement shoe with some color or print. These red studded sandals are hot and won't break the bank, which makes me love them even more!!

    http://www.chineselaundry.com/cl-by-laundry/brandee-4169

    09.10.14 · Reply
  31. nikki says:

    love your outfits! love how you stayed so "you" during the week!

    xxoo,
    nikki

    http://www.dream-in-neon.com

    09.10.14 · Reply
  32. Melissa says:

    I love this post! I love your style and how real you are and how we can all relate to you in some way πŸ™‚ thanks for keeping it real Kendi πŸ˜‰
    Ps. Looking forward to your hair styling post in the future!

    09.10.14 · Reply
  33. It is difficult to choose which look I love the most! You look simply amaying!

    XX

    Miri

    http://currentlywearing.com

    09.10.14 · Reply
  34. francesca says:

    those mules are everything! love this style also

    FrankVinyl

    09.10.14 · Reply
  35. Awesome post, Kendi! Somehow you made NYFW–something that can be so intimidating–super relatable. Also, the blue shoes you wore to the Old Navy party are magnificent. Love!

    http://www.southbynorthwestblog.wordpress.com

    09.10.14 · Reply
  36. Elizabeth Hawn says:

    love these outfits! perfect idea for a blog post- 'fashion week for everyday girl'

    http://www.atlantastateofmind.blogspot.com

    09.10.14 · Reply
  37. Sarah H. says:

    By far my favorite recap of NYFW from a blogger. Thank you for being cool enough to admit how in awe and excited you were, because that's how most of the rest of us would feel! I alllllllmost made me feel like I was there too πŸ™‚

    ~Sarah of Sarah's Real Life

    09.10.14 · Reply
  38. Love this post! So nice to hear about NYFW from an "every-girl" perspective! I feel like so many bloggers are way to into being "high fashion" and forget to connect with their readers still.

    Day 3 was my favorite outfit:)

    The 20-Something Project

    09.10.14 · Reply
  39. Lauren W. says:

    You nailed the "every girl" prospective for sure! I feel like many of the style/fashion bloggers I religiously follow have fallen completely into the world of high fashion and forget their loyal, regular ol' every day reader. Their posts become cold, intimidating and unrelatable, and sadly it begins to turn me off. They end up making me feel like I'm not good enough or I'm not fashionable because I can't afford that Carolina Herrera skirt, those Prada shoes or that Chanel bag and I don't stick my nose up in the air when I walk around in my designer clothes. I have always felt like you were someone who could be a friend (maybe it's cuz we're both Dallas girls). When you write about your style your tone is so genuine and you always stay true to your style and exactly who you are. I so admire and respect that quality. Reading about your NYFW trip was so enjoyable! Keep up the awesome work!

    09.10.14 · Reply
  40. Marisa Zerby says:

    Loved reading every word of this! Your relate-ability is oh so comforting and you are for sure, one stylish lady! xx

    09.11.14 · Reply
  41. Mel says:

    Great outfits! Love that green jacket
    Mel

    http://girlandthepolkadot.blogspot.com/

    09.11.14 · Reply
  42. What a great post! I have always thought fashion week would be a BLAST to go to, but anxiety-inducing as well! Haha! I thought you worded that very well. Can't wait to see what you have coming this week and to get a glimpse into fashion week πŸ™‚

    Mimi
    http://thisdomesticateddiva.com

    09.11.14 · Reply
  43. Love those ON sunnies!

    09.11.14 · Reply
  44. Stephanie says:

    Love your look at the Old Navy X Joe Zee Party! So chic and clean! Plus, great color.
    StephanieLists.com

    09.11.14 · Reply
  45. Kimi says:

    I love this recap! I think I would feel the same way as you did if I were to NYFW. Excited to read tomorrow's post. Thank you for keeping it real!

    I haven't been blogging nearly as long as you have, but I also refer to myself as a style/personal style blogger and not a fashion blogger. I correct people when they call me a fashion blogger, haha.

    xo Kimi
    http://www.twentysomethingsimple.wordpress.com

    09.11.14 · Reply
  46. sue says:

    I think designer clothes are not affordable for everyone, especially when money goes on day to day living expenses, but hey, if you got it, go for it. I love old navy cuz they are affordable and trendy and I can save my money for my future. Yes! How you dress is an art. I got me some cute clothes at great prices. Makes me feel good.

    09.11.14 · Reply
  47. Grace Vu says:

    I love your take on NYFW. It's so refreshing to see an in depth and realistic look on how NYFW impacts someone attending the numerous shows/parties. I feel I would go through the same wave of emotions as you did. I'm glad you ended up loving Fashion Week and I hope one day I'll get the chance to attend it also! Thank you for sharing your experience!

    http://lapetitegrace.com

    09.11.14 · Reply
  48. The slow pace says:

    I love all of the looks, but I think the first one is my fave!
    xx,
    E.
    http://www.theslowpace.com

    09.11.14 · Reply
  49. I absolutely love this post! And I really get the feeling you have of 'not belonging'. I like fashion, I really do. And I also love to watch the pictures of the shows and discover the trends and then translating those trends to everyday wear. But I would feel the same way as you if I was dropped at NY fashion week like that πŸ™‚

    09.11.14 · Reply
  50. Dawn Lucy says:

    What a great post! I would LOVE to do NYFW some day!

    Dawn Lucy

    http://fashionshouldbefun.blogspot.com

    09.11.14 · Reply
  51. I just bought some Pixie Pants from Old Navy and I am completely in love!!!! So great that they sent you to NYFW!! You looked amazing!!!

    09.11.14 · Reply
  52. I feel a little behind, but I am just recently discovering your blog. This post was so wonderful. As a began reading it I was thinking how freaking nervous I would be and what would I wear. It was so nice to read that your felt those things as well πŸ™‚ You looked lovely and your looks were attainable. I look forward to more posts.

    09.11.14 · Reply
  53. Jessica says:

    Thank you so much for keepin it REAL about NYFW. It's so refreshing to hear what's actually going through someone's mind while they're there!
    Jessica
    http://www.thebellevoyage.com

    09.11.14 · Reply
  54. Johanna O says:

    So awesome! Thanks for sharing what fashion week is like for the rest of us! I can imagine myself acting just the same surrounded by all that prestige, drama, lights, and Fashion!! So excited for your next post!

    09.11.14 · Reply
  55. So cute! Loving the Old Navy stuff, especially the moto jacket.

    09.11.14 · Reply
  56. Erica says:

    I love all of your looks! Especially the cobalt dress. NYFW looks like so much fun!

    xo, erica
    sweet-endeavors.com

    09.11.14 · Reply
  57. Tara CW44 says:

    I love all your looks. You've got an eye for style and it shows.

    -Tara
    http://threewishesstyle.com/

    09.11.14 · Reply
  58. Style Me Thrifty says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for being so real! I had to take a break from Twitter and Insta during NYFW because it was just too much — too much bragging, too much talk about how people's feet hurt, too many designer names I didn't know. I loved hearing your "every girl" perspective, I wish there was more of this online! Glad you had a wonderful time, can't wait for the full recap! ~Madeline

    09.11.14 · Reply
  59. I absolutely love this post! I love checking out blogs from fashion week to see the inspiration, but in the past it has intimidated me as well! But now, I think I know myself well enough to know what looks I'd like to recreate in my own way and instead feel inspired. It's a dream of mine to attend NYFW some day! I attended events for LA fashion week before and loved it and would love the experience to do NYFW!

    09.12.14 · Reply
  60. Maria Smith says:

    Its basically all about trendy accessories and that is what women bother the most which is a good thing because fashion should be the one that is in trends.

    leather apparels style

    09.13.14 · Reply
  61. I love all of the looks above and I adore your blog and how you write is just amazing. Good job Kendi. You are amazing πŸ™‚

    http://myfashioncabin.blogspot.com/2014/09/taking-stock-03.html

    09.13.14 · Reply
  62. Cassandra says:

    Loved outfit #2… You look amazing! And if I was at fashion week YOU would be the one I'd want to run into haha. Love your blog!

    http://www.afitgirlsguide.com

    09.14.14 · Reply
  63. amy says:

    I like the outfits, but don't get most of the comments saying they love how affordable her style is. I disagree. I can afford the old navy and target stuff, but designer stuff, no way. Just a modest school teachers income, but very proud at that too! πŸ™‚

    09.14.14 · Reply
  64. Holly says:

    i love your perspective on the idea of fashion meeting style. i couldn't agree more. attending fashion week in New York is one of my life dreams, yet to live out, and i too think i would be super nervous and feeling very out of place. but, now when that day, hopefully, comes, i'll heed your words of wisdom and be an excited sponge, soaking in all the inspiration around me. i'm awe-struck already!

    09.14.14 · Reply
  65. Belal says:

    I like the clothing, but don't get most of content saying they love how cost-effective her design is. I don't agree. I can manage the old fast and focus on things, but developer things best deal vancouver furnished rental get your now

    09.16.14 · Reply
  66. Marry David says:

    Today Fashion become a passion of life and those picture really great and specially your dress so much beautiful.

    Fashion Accessories

    12.17.14 · Reply