Outfit Details: Underneath my coat, I wore this A-Line Collared Dress with tights and my biker jacket. While I didn’t initially intend on wearing riding boots, it ended up being the best move for the day because I was comfortable and able to wear thick, cozy socks underneath. Sunnies are Karen Walker [my fav] from Ditto. [Use code SUNFLOWERSSTILETTOS for one free month of renting designer sunglasses.] And, I borrowed this stunning bag from my friend, Maggie!
Attending New York Fashion Week is something I’ve always dreamed about. Even as a little girl, I’d have to have the latest edition of Vogue, Elle, and Harper’s Bazaar and would flip through those pages over and over again, coveting over designer lines and upcoming collections from around the world. TV shows like The Rachel Zoe Project and Project Runway were my life…my obsession. I mean, weren’t they everyone’s??!! Once I entered the blogging world, I started seeing friends and fellow bloggers participate in this magical week of haute couture, which made me want it even more because I knew that it was attainable. Only problem was, I was completely clueless to everything. And I mean everything!
So this year, one of my goals was to attend Fashion Week, somehow, someway. Ideally, I wanted [and still want] to attend September’s Fashion Week because RewardStyle* throws their annual party to all of their members [which I was so bummed about missing last year] AND September in New York is much more enjoyable than February. I hate the cold! BUT – I don’t know what’s gonna be in September with my schedule and didn’t want to miss out on this window of opportunity. Casey wasn’t traveling for work last week so was able to stay home with Harley. Once he gave me his blessing, I went ahead and booked my flight. I was committed. I was going. There was no turning back!
[* For those of you who are not familiar, RewardStyle is an invite-only monetization platform for fashion, beauty, and lifestyle publishers and retailers. In short, it’s a program that allows bloggers and social influencers to make money.]
Now before I get into my tips and share with you a step by step guide to NYFW, I do want to bring attention to something that is rather frustrating and upsetting, but unfortunately something that is very real and many of us will encounter, whether it be in the blogging world or life in general. As a society, we women have finally gotten to a place where we can have it all. We can be the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, we can fly to space, we can run for President! We get so offended when men repress us and don’t give us the respect, opportunity, and acknowledgement we deserve, but men aren’t even half as cruel as women are to women. When I first considered going to NYFW, I had reached out to a few friends [or girls I thought were my friends] who had been to Fashion Week before, and asked them for guidance. I had no idea how to be invited to shows, who to contact, where to start, nothing. As stated before, I was completely clueless! I got nothin’ except for a sugar coated “eff you” and “figure it out yourself.” Women can be insecure, jealous, competitive [for no reason], and downright mean. That’s not how I roll. Other people’s successes and failures have no impact on mine, and I just think that we women owe it to ourselves to support one another and build each other up. On the flip side, I have met some incredible, inspiring, and kind women which I am super grateful for, so if you do encounter someone who is less than helpful, don’t waste your time and energy on them. Focus on the good and surround yourself with positive people. Okay, rant over. Let’s move on and get right into it, shall we?…
The Newbie Guide to NYFW
Step 1: Travel Buddy
Decide who you’re traveling with. I did initially invite one of my close friends to come with me before I booked my flight. She writes a beauty blog and I thought it would be a great experience for her individually as well as something fun for us to do together, but unfortunately she wasn’t able to come. I was more than fine traveling alone because I knew several other bloggers that were going and we had already discussed meeting up and tag teaming on several events [more on that later]. Also, being that I grew up on Long Island, I consider New York “home” and have a ton of close friends and family that live there, so it wasn’t like I was traveling to an unfamiliar city, by myself, without knowing anyone. If you are going to travel with a buddy [which I do recommend if you’re not from New York and if this is your first NYFW experience], I think it’s really important to have a conversation about your plans, your goals, your expectations. Go with someone who will be understanding if you’re invited to a certain show, and they’re not. You don’t want to go with anyone who will hold you back in anyway. It’s easier to travel with another blogger, a photographer or someone in the fashion industry because it will increase your chances on you both getting into places, and hopefully you can each contribute something to the trip. If you really have your heart set on going and don’t have another blogger friend to travel with, that’s totally okay. Bring a friend who’s supportive of you and your blog. Whether blogging be a side gig or your primary career at this point, you should consider this a “business trip” which needs to be expressed to your travel buddy. You don’t want any Debbie Downers or Negative Nancies around. Days can be long and exhausting, so choose wisely!
Step 2: Flight & Hotel
Supposedly, the best time to book airfare is on a Tuesday, around 3pm and midnight, approximately 8 weeks prior to your trip. And while I am being so serious about that [as ridiculous as that may sound], I don’t think it’s an exact science and I’m sure it varies depending on where you’re commuting from. I recommend using a credit card that gives you airfare or hotel points.
I had enough True Blue points to use on Jet Blue so luckily didn’t have to pay for my flight this time around. I booked about 3-4 weeks before my travel date and the flights from Fort Lauderdale to JFK at that time were very reasonable. I have a habit of traveling in and out of JFK versus LaGuardia, but LaGuardia [LGA] is the closer airport to NYC, therefore will cost you less in cab fare.
If you are flying in from JFK, keep reading this. If not, skip on over to the next paragraph. You can certainly take a cab from JFK to wherever it is you’re staying in the city. It is probably the easiest move if you’re not familiar with NYC public transportation and if you have a lot of luggage. It’ll cost around $60. Should you want to avoid that, you can take the AirTran [which costs $5] from JFK to Jamaica Station. Once at Jamaica Station, the majority of the LIRR [Long Island Railroad] trains headed West stop at Penn Station, which is the stop you need to get off at to be in Manhattan. It’s the last stop on the train, so you don’t have to worry about getting off and making a connection beforehand. The train ride will be around 15-25 minutes, depending on the number of stops being made. If you’re not sure what ticket to buy on the machines, you can go inside the Jamaica Station and purchase your ticket from a teller/live person. Just say one-way to Penn Station. It’ll cost either $7.50 or $10.00, depending if it’s an “off-peak” or “peak” time. Should you forget to buy a ticket in advance, you can pay with cash on the train for about $6 more. Once at Penn Station, you can either take the subway or a cab to your hotel. If you plan on taking the subway, map out your route on google maps beforehand so you know exactly what trains to take and what stops to get off at. If you prefer to take a cab, exit Penn Station by 7th Avenue and 32nd/33rd Streets and you will see a cab line right there. You’ll be right next to Madison Square Garden and across the street from the best Macy’s in the world! I know it can sound very intimidating to take public transportation, but it really is very simple. Again, if you’re nervous or just don’t even want to bother with it, just take an uber or cab so you don’t have to stress!
As previously mentioned, I have a ton of family and friends in NYC, so had plenty of options on places to stay. If I was traveling with someone, we probably would have gotten a hotel, but since I was by myself, I figured it would be best to save money and stay with friends. Since this was my first experience and I didn’t know any better, I stayed on the Upper East Side. While I love that area and really adore my friends’ apartment, it wasn’t ideal for the commuting I had to do. The majority of the shows were held at the Skylight at Moynihan Station, Skylight Clarkson SQ, and MADE at Milk Studios. I would suggest staying in Soho, Meatpacking, Chelsea, Hell’s Kitchen, or West Village. Staying relatively close to the events will save you a ton of time and money!
There are a gazillion hotels in Manhattan. Okay, maybe not a gazillion, but there are probably close to 700 hotels, so you shouldn’t have a problem finding something available that fits your budget. A lot of hotels actually offer discounted press rates in exchange for promotion on your blog or social media channels, so reach out to as many places as possible and send them an email pitching a collaboration. Be friendly, be brief, and attach a copy of your most updated Media Kit [because it looks more professional]. Don’t have a Media Kit? Don’t panic. While I do encourage you to have one, it may not be necessary unless someone asks you for it. If you have any questions about your Media Kit [or anything at all], feel free to email me at email@example.com. I do plan on starting a Blogging 101 Series in the near future that will cover Media Kits and all things blogging related. I’ll be sharing tons of FREE tips and advice, so sign up HERE to be notified as soon as it’s live! Anyway, getting back to this topic…the more places you reach out to, the better your chances of getting a “yes” response.
Now that you know who you’re traveling with and have made things official by booking your hotel and flight, stay tuned for Part Two to learn how to get access to the shows and events! Sign up for my newsletter here to make sure you don’t miss out on Part Two and other blogging tips!
Read part two here.