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A fashionable New Year’s resolution

Valerie McPhail  


Looking into the New Year with a fresh perspective on fashion requires a perspective beyond the trends. Each year the quest to finding my personal style is always my New Year’s fashion resolution. Even though my perspective stays consistent, time after time I learn that how I express this perspective is evolving. Part of this evolution involves a review of the stylistic decisions I have made: an old work uniform of silk printed button downs, oversized boyfriend jeans and block heels, jazzy and bedazzled sweaters has since drastically flip flopped into a uniform of black sweaters, dress pants and blazers.

Simplified to a few staples, I rely on these minimal pieces as reference to recycle outfits interchangeably. The reason for such a move involved contemplation over my lifestyle and environment. Most of my time in New York is spent at work, a large, clean, pristine photo studio in the downtown trendy part of the city. A simple, black and white style regimen – and I will quietly admit splashes of gray, come through at times - finds it’s perfect place. I add personal touches to make it feel less of a strict burden by investing in pieces from brands that I admire —collared blouses and topshop double-breasted blazers are some of my favorite.

The following brands are those stirring a new tide in the fashion industry. While the glamorous Fifth Avenue shops dominate the fashion world, these brands cultivate a sharp perspective, cutting like a cold winter breeze; their perspective is ordinary enough to find relatable.


This New York City brand is making deep changes in the approach to shopping and dressing. Hence the name wardrobe, the brand is shoppable online only, in sets of 4 and 8 for woman and men. The pieces are sufficient enough to build a wardrobe of leggings, t-shirts, skirts and coats for women. The men have selections almost identical, with the alternations of trousers and a hoodie.

This style of branding and fashion is called "anti-fashion," for it goes against the grain of anti-maximalist style that has dominated fashion perspectives in the last year. In offering a black and white uniform of structured pieces, there is a traditional approach to fashion. WARDROBE NYC views such a business model with luxury and pristine. It allows fashion to be simply fresh and modern.

Faustine Steinmetz

Heralding from great PR representation and interest in practical fashion, Faustine Steimnetz is becoming a young female designer with a large legacy for the adornment of practical fashion. Specializing in denim, the Parisian designer has created gold in the trending denim season of fashion. Decorating denim with distress technique, tye-dying and color treatment, Faustine Steinmetz has proclaimed a brand identity by making fashion from everyday design.

Shop her styles to find, denim jackets, belts and pants. The difference between these and classic Levis or trendy J Brand is that these pieces are created from their design. When you look at a pair of Faustine Steinmetz denim jeans, you find a recreation of denim made within the pair of trousers. Steinmetz takes attributes of denim to generate a new creation.

Suzanne Rae

This Brooklyn-based designer and self-titled brand not only services the fashion community with a strong feminist philosophy, local production and sustainable garments but also creates fashion built on the principle of practicality over hype and rapid trends.

Designing clothing in themes of life – desire, XXX and XX, Rae brings a relatable feeling, perspective and point of view into the production of her clothing. As a result one will find simple turtlenecks, beige overcoats and printed jumpsuits in the DNA of her designs. These are not only conversations had among women, but feelings and experiences that go into production, and as a result, women can connect with the clothing. Suzzane Rae carries the brand with a lot of close personal thought, allowing a staple element of practicality to drift into the verging line between practicality and statement fashion, created for the sake of aesthetic and looks.

The brands with archives of historic accomplishments are relevant despite their repeating presence each fashion week. There is a need for the old(er) and wiser brands greater than the standards they set with trends and social media followers. For these brands reveal success stories, Coach as a brand of the 1940s finds itself in the season of rebranding itself, as Gucci continues to spread a universal language of fashion and Kanye West reinstates the meaning of 90’s sportswear in mainstream fashion.


Before Creative Director Stuart Viver’s appointment in 2013, the label had fallen to competitors with similar fashion branding. In sadness, the sneaker and Coach tote bag quickly became old news, whereas new labels such as Michael Kors and Calvin Klein tipped interest.

This remains a memory of the past, for the brands’ standing store on Fifth Avenue thrives with activity of artistic expression, animated and engaged with cultural references such as emoji buttons, collaborations with artist Keith Haring: all flirty fashion statements that keeps the brand thriving. The old childhood favorite brand is on the path to restoring its title.


Rainbow platform oxfords, electric blue knee high boots and plain white graphic t-shirts all define a brand beloved by the world of clothing design. Not only are these classic designs of Gucci, but statements that have enabled the brand to reach the masses, Creative Director Alessandro Michele defines what fashion means within and outside the industry.

Hitching alongside the maximalization style of dressing: layering and ornamenting style of clothing, jewelry and enlarging the scope of what it means to wear clothes, Gucci maximizes fashion statements with adventure, fearlessness and glamour. The Italian label has held cultural reference. To say "that is Gucci," translates to "that is good." Gucci fashion stands at leading ranks by meeting the fashionable needs of the young, old, mature and wise. Gucci has lit a spark to the flame of those fashionable at heart.


Kanye West has built an empire brand based on minimalist, athletic –meets undergarment clothing with 1990’s stylistics appeal. Popular for his brand name Yezzus sneakers, fans wait on sidewalks and corner streets hoping to go home with a new pair on the day of product drop. The talent of the hip hop rapper carries into fashion. Along with his French terry sweatpants, cotton and elastic crewneck dresses there has been a resurgence of aestheticism in the fashion industry.

Alongside Yezzy, brand names like Champion, FILA and Reebok have regained fame in the fashion world. The resurgence comes with stylistic looks over practicality.

The best way to turn fashion into a New Year’s resolution is to make it personal. Consider your sense of style and the way you dress. It then becomes necessary to look back at hold habits of dressing for your everyday. Such reflections will help catapult a conversation to changes for the vision of this year. In the same way these brands, the new, up-and–coming labels journey to challenge the way a culture and industry considers clothing. The trending standards, those topping the charts with devout followers must be considered in order to compare the change of status quo.

Read other articles by Valerie McPhail