I’m going to New York! I’m going to New York! Bring on the marching band! Pour me a chocolate malted and put a bagel in my face! But what in the name of Gunther do I wear?
I have never been to New York before. I’ve never been to America, in fact. I’ve only got as close as Canada, which as telly would have you believe is about as close as going to Luton airport and saying you’ve seen Big Ben. So because I’ve been waiting a full quarter century of my life to finally take a bite from the Big Apple (and by ‘apple’ I mean ‘baked goods’, and by ‘big’ I mean, “is that a doughnut or a dinghy? Oh well too late I ate it.”), I’m putting a lot of pressure on my outfit choices.
Of course, all of my New York style fantasies until now involved tailored coats, snow, maybe an enormous fur hat or two – I didn’t imagine I’d be schvitzing my way round the concrete jungle in 30 degree heat. But air con-willing, I’ll still be able to reference some of my favourite New Yorkers from TV and film – and not a Manolo in sight.
We will truly know that fashion, like childbirth, erases painful memories to allow for its perpetuation when the 90s revival makes us start wanting to dress like Elaine from Seinfeld.
I’ve already felt the first twinges – fancying a pair of black and white platform brogues, poofing up the front of my hair into curly brown halo, craving a Big Salad despite barely liking small ones – but maybe this holiday is the time to really let rip. I could buy a floral-sprigged skirt and enormo-shouldered suit jacket, or a suede waistcoat to wear with some stonewashed Mom jeans. But I’ll beware the lying mirrors at Barney’s, naturally.
The Working Girl
I recently watched Working Girl for the first time, and I’m not sure how I ever lived without it. I want to ride the Staten Island ferry across the Hudson with the wind in my perm while Carly Simon sings Let the River Run with a gospel choir. I want to apply purple eyeshadow up to my eyebrows and be best friends with Joan Cusack. And while none of those things are likely to happen, I can at least rock a pair of vaguely terrifying drop earrings like these, £2.50 from Primark.
As we’re staying in Williamsburg and it’s basically the only show in my arsenal that makes New York look fun in the height of summer, Girls will be my primary reference point. I’m aiming for a strategic blend of 50 per cent Jessa, 20 per cent Hannah, 15 per cent Marnie and 15 per cent Shoshannah (entirely hair doughnuts and croissant purses).
The biggest regret of my chaotic pre-holiday packing process is that I haven’t had time to find a pair of shorteralls like Hannah Horvath’s. After all, nothing says ‘summer in the city’ better than a confident crotch-to-leg fabric ratio, and I never could resist draping myself in a nice portmanteau. Ideally I’d want them to be flimsy cotton in one of those prints that look like flowers, then when you get close-up you realise it’s actually tiny alligators, eating their young – but failing that, this Aztec playsuit by Goldie at Topshop will do the trick nicely.
Diane as in Keaton, one of the finest actresses ever to grace a pair of wide-legged slacks (see also: Katherine Hepburn). Were I going in cooler climes, I’d be running round London right now trying to find tweedy Oxford bags and a tie to create a look I’d lovingly think of as ‘Annie Hall: the busty years’. But as it is I’ll have to be content with her tennis outfit, crisp white shorts, shirt with turned up collar, topknot, socks. That and hunting out Kate Spade’s La Dee Da bangle on request of my co-editor Daisy.
I’ll also state for the record now, when it comes to hair I will be channelling Meryl Streep in Manhattan for as long as I can… before it all sticks to my neck like a merkin in a steam room.
Friends was not a clothes show. It was a hair show. We all know that. Never has a feature on the caffeinated sixsome started with a breathless, “the outfits!” followed by a treatise on Monica’s v-necked t-shirts, and it was probably all the better for it.
BUT, cast your mind way back to the early seasons and there are a few gems to be scavenged. Rachel’s crisp white t-shirts, jeans and tennis shoes; Phoebe’s penchant for crushed velvet smocks; Monica’s leather jackets… ok, no. It was a hair show. I’ll just shut up now and start packing.