How To Dress Designer On A Budget

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Ever since I was old enough to spend my chore money on Vogue, I’ve been in love with designer fashion, and after studying and working in the industry for four years, I’ve found an even deeper appreciation for the creativity, craftsmanship, and talent that goes into high end fashion.  

These clothes will last for years and years, and they’re more ethically and sustainability made than their cheap, fast fashion counterparts.  

The one downside is, of course, the price tag. For those of us (like me!) who live on a pretty strict budget, it’s hard to justify retail prices. But I’ve been able to curate a pretty decent closet of designer items, and today I’m spilling all my secrets.  

In case you need proof, here’s the breakdown of the outfit in this post: 

Sandro Suit - Retail $800 - I paid $130

J.Crew Tank - Retail $50 - I paid $20

Reebok Sneakers -  $80 - I paid $55

Cushnie et Ochs Handbag - Retail $1600 - I paid $80

Convinced now? Read on 

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Sample Sales

Sample sales are without a doubt the #1 way I snag designer items. If you live in NYC, you have unparalleled access to designer sample sales every single day. 260 sample sale has locations in NYC and LA (see their calendar here) and you can pop your favorite brands sales into your calendar! I always go the first morning at about 8:30 to make sure I get the best stuff! 

You can also find out about smaller ones by following the brands Instagram account! Most smaller designers host them in their own showrooms, and will announce via social media! 

And if you don’t live in NYC or LA, check the calendar if you’re visiting, or find a sample sale in the city closest to you! Big cities like Chicago, Dallas and more will all have them if you do a little research!  

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Vintage & Consignment Shops  

If you’re willing to do a little treasure hunting, vintage and consignment shops are gold mines for finding designer pieces at amazing prices. Check out ones in your city, or some of my favorite NYC spots:

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Online Re-sellers

If you’re looking for something specific, online resellers like EBay and Poshmark are great places to look! I’d be a little weary of buying bags on here, but clothes are generally authentic (get tags if you can!). 

If you just want to browse, TheRealReal is an easy place to filter by your size and favorite designers. They tend to be a little more expensive, but you can ‘heart’ items you like and watch them! They also have a pay in installment system which is very handy! (Dangerous though...) 

Rent The Runway

If you’re super new to the world of designer, or just not into the hunt, Rent The Runway has services to rotate designer items through your closet for a monthly subscription fee! The downside is that you don’t own the pieces, but if you fall in love with an item, you can keep it at essentially a sample-sale price! 

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Happy designer hunting!

xoxo,

Audra

QUIZ: Which Spring Trend Should You Try?

QUIZ: Which Spring Trend Should You Try?

The first blooms of Spring are finally here, and it’s time to shed those heavy winter coats, and break out the sundresses and sandals! Spring is one of my favorite seasons, because there are always fresh and exciting new colors, textures, and styles to play with after a long winter of sweaters and scarves.

I’ve curated inspiration and some of the best pieces to shop around four of my favorite current spring trends, and created a little quiz to pick the perfect trend based on your personality!

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6 Ways To Kickstart Your Creativity

audra koch

All creative types will know that there are times you seem to be exploding with ideas and creating like there’s no tomorrow, but there are other times when you can’t seem to think of a single thing, or everything you do just doesn’t feel right. 

So for anyone who may be stuck in a creative rut, here are 6 proven ways to kickstart that creativity back into gear:  

6 ways to kickstart your creativity

BOOTS / JEANS / TOP / HEADBAND / EARRINGS

 Change Your Scenery | The easiest way to get out of  rut is to just change your space! Whether that’s taking a walk around the park, or working from a coffee shop or co-working space instead of your home. Switching up your surroundings can do so much to spark both creativity and productivity.

Take a Breather | Sometimes we can put too much pressure on ourselves in the moment, so just take a short break. Write in a journal, take a walk, draw / paint / color something without aim. (I love this Color Me Stress Free book) Taking ten or fifteen minutes to do something relaxing but still creative may spark inspiration!

6 ways to kickstart your creativity

Collaborate With Others | Find someone in your field, or a similar one, and work together on a creative project! Their point of view will enhance your own, and make you see things through a different lens. Collaborating with other creatives is in my opinion, the best way to reinvigorate and push yourself to be the best you can be!

Sweat a Little | Exercise gets your blood flowing, and releases endorphins and adrenaline that may push you out of a creative rut! If you’re not into a hardcore workout, try some gentle yoga or meditation.

6 ways to kickstart your creativity

Unplug From the Internet | This can be such a difficult thing to do, especially if you’re a blogger/influencer whose job literally IS the internet. But take even a few hours, or one day and just create or search for inspiration without using a screen! Unplug all the tech, and lose yourself in books, art, museums, nature, anything that inspires you!

Make a List | Maybe more for the type-A people out there, but make a list of different ideas you have for projects, and then keep adding to it! Go back and add details to those ideas, keep thinking, keep writing whatever pops into your head, and you’ll end up with a full page of amazing ideas to explore and develop! The key is to write down everything, no idea is bad, just keep going!

 

Xoxo, 

Audra

Trending Tuesday: Slip Dresses

Trending Tuesday: Slip Dresses

Slip dresses are one of my favorite pieces to own because there are endless ways to style them! They can be very casual with a tshirt and a denim jacket, or you can wear one by itself with heels for something very formal! They’re flattering, they’re chic, and they come in tons of beautiful colors other than just your basic black (though nothing is more effortless than a black slip dress!).

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How to Dress Like a Paris Fashion Week Girl

How to Dress Like a Paris Fashion Week Girl

Twice a year, the world’s most fashionable people flock to Paris for Fashion Week, all dressed to the nines in the latest trends. But Parisian women, long regarded as the most stylish of them all, still keep a few styling rules which keep them looking chic from dawn till dusk. If you want to dress like the effortlessly chic Parisienne, here are a few guidelines:

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Fashion Week FW19 Show Reviews

Fashion Week FW19 Show Reviews

Another Fashion Week has come and gone, and I can honestly say that the collections this year were outstanding. There was so much life and color on the runways this season, which is something that hasn’t been seen in New York for a long time. Many designers played around with the juxtaposition of traditionally male and female details and silhouettes, and brought them in rich jewel tones and bright yellows and lilacs.

I had a blast attending some of these amazing shows, and seeing videos/photos from ones I could not attend, but here are my favorite shows from Fall / Winter 2019 New York Fashion Week: Yuna Yang, Bibhu Mohapatra, Cushnie, Veronica Beard, Kate Spade, Adam Lippes, Jonathan Simkhai

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NYFW February 2019 Recap

Wearing Cushnie Resort‘19 and Fall’18, Pose Inspired by  @Tezza

Wearing Cushnie Resort‘19 and Fall’18, Pose Inspired by @Tezza

Cushnie FW19 Backstage

Cushnie FW19 Backstage

Friday

I have been lucky enough the past three seasons to help backstage at the company I work for, Cushnie, so Friday was completely consumed with our show! As much as I love attending shows, working ours is always my favorite day each Fashion Week. There’s something about seeing the hard work of your team and yourself come to life, and there’s no adrenaline rush like the moments before the show!

I wrote a full post on What It’s Like To Work NYFW, because despite the flashing lights and hoards of celebrities, it’s actually not as glamorous as you’d think! (but so worth it!)

Saturday

Saturday I was up bright and early for the Yuna Yang show! The presentation was held in a beautiful bookstore in Flatiron, with a live jazz ensemble playing as the models glided down the center isle. Yang’s collection can only be described as sporty meets spring in the Hamptons, and I am here for it. Yuna Yang was one of my favorites this year, and I’m dying for her fuzzy-sweatshirt / lace skirt / hoodie look!

Photos via Fashion Week Online

Next up was the Oxford Collective Shows. These are groups of designers that show all at once as opposed to having thier own show, because these shows are extremely expensive to put on, and smaller designers have a hard time affording them. The best part about these shows is being able to find up and coming talent that hasn’t been discovered yet!

My favorite from this show was by far Ron Ramos. His equestrian / utilitarian looks were all topped off with the chicest hats, and his entire collection made my heart sing. Plus, as a fellow FIT alumnus, I’m pulling for him to get discovered and take off! Watch his full Fall/Winter 2019 collection here

Sunday

Sunday I took it a little easier and opted to just attend the Nolcha shows in the afternoon. I met up with my good friend Sophia to attend with! Sophia is an eco-friendly style blogger with an amazing talent for makeup! check out her Instagram and Website!

Photos via Just Call Me Sophia

We also met some amazing other bloggers while we were chatting between shows, and a photographer, Drew Podwal, asked to snap a group shot of us! One of my favorite parts of Fashion Week is the ability to meet other bloggers in person rather than over a screen! These girls were so sweet and I’m so glad we got the opportunity to connect!

Monday

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Monday I had class in the morning (the joys of being a student!) but I played hooky from my second class and headed over to Spring Studios to attend the Bibhu Mohapatra show! This collection was by far y favorite of any I attended this NYFW. The intricate laces, vivid colors, and delicate florals had me swooning the entire show, and there were several gowns fit for a modern day Marie Antoinette. My kind of collection!

And that’s Fashion week wrapped! Check back Saturday for my full show reviews with shoppable trends! Or subscribe to the newsletter to have posts delivered straight to your inbox!

xoxo,

Audra

What It's Like Working New York Fashion Week

CUSHNIE FW19 Backstage

CUSHNIE FW19 Backstage

One of the questions I get asked most often is what it’s like to work New York Fashion Week. While as a fashion blogger, and am lucky enough to attend some smaller shows, my primary job is working in luxury women’s fashion, currently for the brand Cushnie, and so the bulk of my ‘fashion week’ is dominated by getting ready for, and working our show the day-of!

Spring Studios Rooftop Party after SS19 runway

Spring Studios Rooftop Party after SS19 runway

This is my third season working the Cushnie show, and I have worked several other designer shows in my four years as a student at FIT, so as my father would say, ‘it ain’t my first rodeo’.

So from a relative Fashion Week veteran, here’s what it’s like to work the shows: 

CUSHNIE SS19 Runway

CUSHNIE SS19 Runway

You prep WEEKS before | Even a month out from the show, the PR team is already casting models, and finalizing celebrity guest lists and creative concepts. The design team is still recieving and rejecting samples, and curating what from the collection will end up walking the runway. The fun part about being at such a small company is that even though I work on a different team, I’m often pulled to help with PR, design, or any department that needs an extra hand that day! 

It’s a lot of late nights | Especially the 2-3 nights before the show, samples need to be altered or fixed, and everyone is rushing to finish everything before the show! Last spring, I spent two nights re-beading two samples that had to be completely altered. It was tedious work, but watching those two pieces go down the runway was so worth it

CUSHNIE SS19

CUSHNIE SS19

CUSHNIE SS19

CUSHNIE SS19

You’re on your feet ALL day |  The day of, you’re up early and on your feet from dawn till dusk (and often in heels). You’re running to find a table for camera crews to set up, trying to find a missing accessory that was supposed to be in Look 12, or even just standing and waiting for the next order to be given. Either wear flats or pop some Advil. 

You also probably won’t eat all day | I’ve learned the hard way to eat a BIG breakfast and carry snacks! You run on adrenaline all day, so if you aren’t careful and set phone-reminders to eat, you’ll look up and suddenly it’s 9pm and you’ve had nothing that day but coffee, water, and champagne.

CUSHNIE FW18 Backstage

CUSHNIE FW18 Backstage

The hour before the show is madness |  There’s always one model who shows up obscenely late, something that goes missing, some celebrity who refuses to enter through a main entrance, you never know! The hour before is always running around trying to put out seven fires at once!

The seconds before the show are gut wrenching |  The lights start dimming, the music starts playing, and your team’s months of hard work culminate in this 8 - 12 minutes. Anything that’s gone wrong, you now have to drop and hope that it’ll all be ok.

CUSHNIE SS19

CUSHNIE SS19

When you watch it walk, it’s magic | Whether you’re backstage watching the monitor, or sneaking into the press booth for the best seat in the house, there is nothing like those magical few minutes when you forget all the late nights, all the flaws, and you see it come to life under the runway lights. You see Vogue editors, bloggers, and celebrities ooo and ahh at something you helped create, and that feeling will push you through to the next fashion week!

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 And of course a huge thank you to my amazing CUSHNIE fam for working hard, creating something truly beautiful, and being some of the best people I’ve ever worked with!

xoxo,

Audra

What its like to work New York Fashion Week, NYFW

How to Intentionally Curate Your Style

How to Intentionally Curate Your Style

Have you ever looked in your closet and thought, ‘Nothing really goes together…’ You may have cute clothes that you love, but not much of it really matches, or it just doesn’t really excite you.

I definitely used to think that way about my closet, but there’s actually some pretty simple steps to organize your closet, and your mindset (both while getting dressed and while shopping) that will make your closet more cohesive, and more YOU. Here’s how:

List Your Adjectives 

What describes you? Are you sporty, minimalistic, active? Are you whimsical, colorful, bold? Make a list of 10 adjectives that describe you / the style you want to achieve! But always remember to make them YOU. Pick things that you love and not what you feel you should be. 

Find Inspiration 

What brands / designers are described by these adjectives? Are there any bloggers with a similar style? Write down 5-7 brands and 5-7 bloggers that have the same vibe! Then, give them a follow and pin some photos from them to a Pinterest board so you can go back later! 

Some of the photos on my board are below!

Make it Physical  

Remember those photos above? If you’re a super visual person like I am, go grab a foam-core board from any office/craft store and print all those photos out and collage them all on! Youll be able to see it everyday when you’re getting dressed or online shopping and can visually see what you’re aiming for 

Do a Cleanse  

Now the hard part. Take that board into your closet and go through item-by-item. Is it relevant? Can you style it with other pieces to look like “your style”? Consider donating or selling pieces on Poshmark that just aren’t you anymore 

Make a Shopping List  

Now that you’ve made a little room, make a list of pieces that might be missing in your wardrobe. Do you need more dresses? A good blazer? Make a physical list of key pieces you need, and you can purchase them gradually when the perfect match comes along! This ensures that you’ll be on the lookout only for pieces that you really need and not just buying cute cheap clothing without an aim.

Don’t Be Too Strict

If you see a certain top that doesn’t fit “your style” but you love it, buy it! Wear it! All this is just a general guideline so that your closet looks cohesive and is easy to mix-and-match, but always feel free to experiment!  

How To Plan Outfits For NYFW

How To Plan Outfits For NYFW

One of the best parts of Fashion Week is checking out all the amazing streetstyle around the city! It’s a full week where everyone brings out thier best, and you can pull inspiration from each persons unique style. If you plan on attending NYFW this season, here are a few things to keep in mind so you don’t pull a major fashion faux pas:

Research Trends

While I highly encourage personal flair, it might be helpful to research some current trends and plan outfits around those, just to provide some general guidelines. For example, last season some of mine were menswear inspired, monochrome, and playing with proportions. From there, you can build outfits that show your own personal style!

Some good places to research new trends are articles like these from Vogue, Harpers Bazaar, The Cut, and WhoWhatWear.

Check The Weather

Standing in a pile of snow in stilettos and a tank top is never fashionable, or fun! Neither is getting caught in a downpour with no umbrella. Dress for the season and check the forecast before you go!

February - It’s COLD and often snowing. This is the week to break out the fashionable coats and your favorite boots or booties, and play around with dressing in layers! See if you can rent or borrow some statement coats so you’re not braking the bank!

September - You have a whole lot more room to play around during this week. The weather is usually pretty nice, but prone to the occasional random downpour. Plan on having a more medium-sized bag that can fit a small umbrella just in case! Also be sure to add some layering pieces so you can adjust in case it’s a little warmer or cooler that day!

Keep It Practical

In New York, you will be outside and waking A LOT. You can definitely still bring the style game, but don’t be in pain for the sake of the look. If you want to do heels, make it a block heel that’s not crazy high. Believe me, it’s way more enjoyable, and you’ll look so much better if you make sure the look isn’t insanely uncomfortable. (to stay in for 8+ hours)

How to plan outfits for NYFW

Make It YOU

Make sure your own personal style comes through in your look. The best part of Fashion Week is seeing everyone’s completely different styles, so don’t be the 100th girl wearing a Baker boy cap, thigh-high boots and a Gucci logo belt (circa the last two fashion weeks)

If you have an idea for an outfit and you’re unsure if it’s ‘too weird’ or ‘not cool’, WEAR IT. That’s how trends are started and that’s who streetstyle photographers are going to want to snap! The more unique and personal your style is, the better!

Borrow, Don’t Buy

Putting all these outfits together can cost a pretty penny if you purchase everything you’re wearing. Instead, borrow the clothes! Here are two fairly easy ways to do that

Rent The Runway - Especially if you’re first starting out, Rent The Runway is an amazing tool to borrow designer pieces for Fashion Week! They have an Unlimited plan (Which you can totally use for just this one month, although it’s addicting) Plus, they have a showroom in NYC where you can go swap out pieces if you want to!

Brand Contacts - If you have a relationship with a particular brand or PR rep, you can always reach out and ask to borrow clothing for fashion week! Most brands love doing this, since they know it will be highly photographed, both on your feed and by streetstyle photogs. Even if you don’t have an existing relationship, there’s never a better time than now to start one!

You can get a free pitching template on this blog post which easily adapts for this!

Take Photos / Lay Them Together

Once you’ve finalized each outfit, snap some photos on your phone of each one, and if you’re traveling, lay out everything in groups together at your hotel so you can easily grab a pile and throw it on! There’s nothing worse than running late for a show, and not being able to find those little things like tights or earrings, then running around like a madwoman to find them!

If you still need help with those pitch emails to get you invites, check out my post on How To Get Invited To NYFW with a free email template!

xoxo,

Audra

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Trending Tuesday: Midi Skirts

Bored of wearing nothing but pants with tights underneath from the cold? Switch it up and try one of my favorite recent trends: Midi skirts. They’re not just for summertime anymore. Grab one in a bold color, leopard print, or fun metallic, and style with a pair of high boots! You can wear tights underneath for additional warmth!

xoxo,

Audra