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26 Sep

sassy red lipstick’s NYFW guide part I: how to get into shows & what to anticipate.

sarahhhh-68nyfwpt1attending New York Fashion Week has always been one of my lifelong dreams. three years into blogging, i knew this was the year to make that dream a reality. it’s actually a goal i set at the beginning of 2016 so i knew i had to make it happen! after attending, i want to help first-timers and share some advice that might make your trip to NYC a little easier. this guide is to help any blogger who has never been before prepare and also give my experience to my followers who don’t know much about NYFW.

right off the bat, if you want to go to New York Fashion Week, just do it! don’t feel like you need to have a certain amount of followers or have worked with certain brands. before i even booked my plane ticket, i talked with several other bloggers who were either not helpful or told me that because i wasn’t a top blogger that i would only get into small shows. now mind you, these are bloggers who have been only once or twice themselves, so to say i was put-off by their unsupportiveness was an understatement. there’s a lot of blogger politics i’ll go into below, but just know that i’m always an open book and would most definitely support you if you email me and ask about going to Fashion Week. because to be 100% honest, anyone can go to Fashion Week. and i’ll tell you how below!

first things first. there’s a lot of preparation that goes into traveling to New York City for one of the biggest events of the year in the fashion industry. i booked my flight into JFK about two months in advance after watching it for a few weeks on Hopper. robbie was going to come with me at first, but we decided i needed to do this alone {not to mention double the expense}. and by alone i mean with other gal pals {i’ll get to that}. from there, i did a ton of research. i looked up the calendar to see what shows were when in anticipation. i actually booked my flight before doing any of this, so next season i will most definitely make sure to be in town on the first day instead of arriving the night of. i will also leave a day earlier next trip. i had one meeting my last day and it seemed like a waste of a day… not the meeting, but the schedule of the day.

next, i began searching the ends of the Internet {okay Nordstrom, Zara, Topshop, J.Crew, etc.} for my outfits. i did get a few outfits sponsored {Rent the Runway for example}, but i wanted full control of every outfit to really showcase my true style. as you can see from previous NYFW blog posts, this meant lots of pink and red. this is the time where bloggers, influencers, and celebrities alike go all out with their style, which is so fun to see and be a part of. i’m all about wearing bold colors and patterns, but make sure you are the most confident and comfortable in what you’re wearing, as you’ll be running around in it all day and potentially be photographed for street style. so, if you’re looking to go all out and wear bold styles you normally wouldn’t, then go for it! it’s New York Fashion Week! but only if you can rock them with confidence.

i would say that looking for outfits and ordering hundreds thousands of dollars worth of clothing was easily one of the most stressful parts of planning for NYFW. this may sound materialistic and shallow, but you’re going to Fashion Week because you’re into style, so really it’s not at all. just be sure every outfit is very you! also, plan for the weather. this hot pink powersuit i’m wearing in today’s post? it was easily one of the outfits i was most excited to wear. except i only shot it and then changed because a wool suit and 90 degrees in NYC don’t mix. at all. Julia Engel told my blogger babe friend Ashley from Two Peas in a Prada to not dress for fall at the September Fashion Week. well, that was the day before we left {she ran into her at a nail salon here in SF} and i wish i would have heeded her advice sooner. there’s nothing worse than sweating off your makeup before you arrive to shows and literally feeling sweat drip down your back as you walk up because of your outfit choice {gross, i know}. so my best advice for planning outfits during NYFW is to make sure they are exactly your style, however crazy or conservative they may be, and to rock them with confidence! we’ve all heard the common phrase that pain is beauty, but your outfit should be at least somewhat as functional as it is fashionable. i also did quite a bit of mixing high and low. for example, i wore a Zara dress with a YSL handbag. it was the perfect way to be trendy and fashion-forward, while still showing my love for designer pieces.

as a side note, i thought i would be changing 2-3 times a day, so i packed a ton of outfit options. turns out most days i never changed! you really don’t have time to, unless you’re conveniently staying right next door to an event. you get so busy running from show to event to show to event, you barely have time to eat. Julia Engel also told my friend Ashley to splurge on one good meal each day, as it’ll probably be your only meal. so true! however, i am glad i ‘overpacked,’ as i ended up shooting every single outfit i brought!

now, let’s get down to the nitty gritty of actually attending events. i started researching contact emails to get invited to shows, and found most brands work with PR agencies who are in charge of said lists. you can pay money at Fashion Calendar to receive all of those emails in bulk, which i didn’t do. some of my girlfriends did, however, and it was effective for them. but, i simply emailed the PR contact email given on most of the brands’ websites. i also called the HQ of a few of the bigger brands and asked for the email or PR company directly. both were very effective ways to get contacts. i did this over a few weeks. however, it took a while for me to be bounced around to the right person. some told me i would be put on a waiting list, others said i would get a confirmation email closer to the show {about a week before}, and a few never responded. in general, you probably won’t get a response or definite yes until the week prior to Fashion Week starting. that makes it hard for planning and is a little unsettling, but it’s the norm and you just have to roll with it. as long as you have the correct email, i wouldn’t fret. this is what i mean by anyone can go to Fashion Week! i sat next to a blogger at one show that had much less of a following than me and went to Tommy Hilfiger {which i was declined an invite to}, which was so cool for her! on the flip side, i also ran into top bloggers like Amber Fillerup, Emily Gemma, and Caitlin Coving who attended the same shows and events as me. as you can see, it’s largely a toss-up who gets to go to what shows/events and there’s no real rhyme or reason to it. it’s all about timing and having the correct contact. i’ll say it again: anyone can go to Fashion Week. as long as you can get in contact with the right person, you definitely have a shot at getting an invite.

now, about those blogger politics i mentioned earlier… some bloggers refuse to share contacts with other bloggers. i however don’t believe in that mentality at all. why would you want to hinder the success of another blogger? in my opinion, it’s up to the brand to decide which blogger or influencer gets invited. still, some bloggers are pretty stingy when it comes giving out their contacts because they think it will somehow affect their success. it’s a very dog-eat-dog mindset that i don’t agree with. now, i understand that a lot of hard work goes into finding contacts and the right person to talk to and giving all that info away to someone who isn’t willing to put in the work for it isn’t cool. at all. i get that. i probably wouldn’t be inclined to share the fruits of my labor with a blogger that i didn’t feel was putting in the effort herself. however, in almost all cases, the best way to helping each other succeed at NYFW is to share contacts with one another. that way, everyone is working towards finding those precious and correct email addresses. make sense? there’s no need to act like an uppity blogger when it comes to supporting other women. that’s my two cents on this topic.

now, what did i send in said emails to be invited to shows? i kept it short and sweet: a few sentences introducing myself, a few sentences explaining how i would cover the show/event, an attached one page media kit showcasing my site traffic and social media stats and previous brands i’ve worked with, and a promise to follow-up closer to the show/event date, as well as a ‘thank you for taking the time to read my email’ conclusion. you have to remember that brands/PR companies are getting thousands of emails from bloggers and influencers wanting to attend, so the shorter the better. just make sure you have something to bring to the table to grab their attention {a solid number of followers, an amount of time blogging, impressive brands you’ve worked with, etc}.

i then waited and waited for confirmation. all the while, boxes upon boxes of clothing started to arrive as i pieced together outfits from the new shipments and my current wardrobe. the second most stressful part of planning for NYFW was finding accomodations. after weeks of emailing and calling hotel after hotel {ask the front desk for the sales team} in the SoHo/TriBeCa/Greenwich/West Village areas, i came to the conclusion that most hotels offer nothing if you don’t have a million followers {okay, a little bit of an exaggeration, but still}. even media rates were few and far and in between. prices would still range in the $300/night category. five nights and six days of staying in Manhattan at that rate {along with every other expense} was really adding up. for this Fashion Week, i was lucky enough to be able to stay with relatives in Midtown. i’ve stayed with them previously and having my own bedroom and bathroom in an apartment in NYC is pretty unheard of, so i jumped at the gracious opportunity. the only downfall is it was a little too far from shows. most events take place in the SoHo area, so an uber was easily almost $20 each time {besides the few times it was $5… i’ll get to that in a bit}. in the future, i’ll be staying closer to where everything is being held and already have my list of hotels to contact {i kept track of where other bloggers stayed during this Fashion Week}.

one expense that blindsided me was transportation. even though i’ve lived in NYC previously and know how the Metro works, i decided to uber while there for Fashion Week. i knew this was the more expensive choice, but also the more convenient {and less sweaty}. however, i didn’t know how expensive. overall, i spent about $400 {including ubers to and from JFK}, which i wasn’t quite expecting. i even shared ubers with my SF blogger gal pal group. they left on Sunday, so for three days i Ubered alone, and that really added up. just be sure that you are aware of that expense before you go. i’ll still use Uber next season, but i’ll definitely budget it in better. {sidenote: using uberPOOL can help with cost, but it also takes twice or three times as long to get to your destination. it was a very frustrating process to me. BUT from 7-10am and 5-8pm mon-fri uberPOOL is only $5 if below 125th street in Manhattan. that was nice when i was traveling during those times.} learn from my experience. the fact that ubers were the most costly transportation expenditure of the entire trip {my roundtrip flights were under $400… and these were literally cross-country} shows that it’s definitely something easy to overlook but can really end up biting you.

another tip Julia gave was if given the opportunity to go to a show or event, choose the show. now, at her level of blogging, i completely agree. however, for us small to mid-level bloggers, i would choose the event. events help you network, link up with IG friends, and because most events are still very noteworthy {ShopStyle, rewardStyle, Blog Lovin’, etc.}, being invited to one feels just as good as being invited to a show.

keeping organized is another entire topic of Fashion Week. you have a million shows/events you’re looking for invites to and once you do get invited, you can only go to so many timing wise. GPS Radar can help you keep your show times {along with seat number and actual location} in one place, but not every show is listed in this app. we ended up starting a Google drive document where our schedule of shows, events, photoshoots, and meet-ups with other bloggers was listed with the exact times and addresses. having everything in one place and when to be where was extremely helpful and something i would encourage everyone to do.

lastly, i would highly encourage you to go with a blogger friend or group. besides having the company at big events in an even bigger city, it also makes it much more manageable financially. Bianca from Beyond Casual stayed with me at my relatives until Sunday and we went to shows and events with Ashley and Emily from Two Peas in a Prada. it was so fun having a group of friends to be around and go to everything together! when they left Sunday, it was a little lonely going to events and shows alone. i did go to the rewardStyle event with Megan from Attn to Detail and we even grabbed dinner at Black Tap afterwards {must try one of their over-the-top shakes!}. i’m so glad i had these san francisco babes to hang out with most of the time and we’ve already made plans to coordinate our schedules even better next season.

my NYFW Part 2 will be posted later this week where i’ll be giving you a behind-the-scenes breakdown of what happens at shows and events and what i learned/will do differently for next season! in the meantime, enjoy this pink powersuit i shot in and around Grand Central Station. total #girlboss outfit! xx

read Part II of my NYFW Guide here.

have any specific questions? comment below or email me! xxsarahhhh-46 sarahhhh-56 sarahhhh-48 sarahhhh-72 sarahhhh-67 sarahhhh-60sarahhhh-61bsarahhhh-47 sarahhhh-52 sarahhhh-62 sarahhhh-64 sarahhhh-71 sarahhhh-57 sarahhhh-66 sarahhhh-70 sarahhhh-53 sarahhhh-65 sarahhhh-73J.Crew wild flamingo blazer {also here}
J.Crew wild flamingo pants {also here}
scallop collar lace blouse
gold heels {similar here}
Le Spec sunglasses
YSL pony hair bag c|o Trendlee {5% off w/ code ‘sassyredlipstick}
Sephora Love Test 11 lipstick
Hidden Crown Hair extensions {wearing #2 Dark Brown}

photos by Laurel Creative

lips-150x150

46 Comments
  • Ashley

    THESE PHOTOS!!!! You look sooo gorgeous! And also, that paragraph about blogger politics, you nailed it! So happy we got to experience all of this together. Now, onto planning next season! XooX

    September 26, 2016 at 10:47 am Reply
  • Sarah Hood

    I seriously didn’t even realize that I wanted to go to fashion week as much as I do until I read your post. I just love your attitude on it and I’m so glad that there are people like you to share your “wealth” of knowledge. Thanks so much girl. Tons of love.

    September 26, 2016 at 11:34 am Reply
  • Barb

    Loved reading this Post! I admire your honesty and willingness to help other women! That’s a total girl boss move right there and will come back and reward you in the end. You have an awesome attitude and very empowering for other women and bloggers. 😄

    September 26, 2016 at 11:54 am Reply
  • Mayra

    Being a fellow pink lover I have to say this suit is amazing! I plan on attending next year and love your tips!

    September 26, 2016 at 12:44 pm Reply
  • January Hart

    This is FANTASTIC and you absolutely rock for being so transparent about going to NYFW as a blogger! Thank you so much for sharing all your tips! That pink suit is SO stunning on you!

    September 26, 2016 at 1:15 pm Reply
  • Kara Stone

    thanks so much for sharing- so many good tips for newbies! also, amazing pictures!! xo

    September 26, 2016 at 1:28 pm Reply
    • Irish

      Apeprantly this is what the esteemed Willis was talkin’ ’bout.

      October 26, 2016 at 7:21 am Reply
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  • Caroline B

    Amazing post! I would absolutely love to go next season, and I appreciate all of your tips! Also, love your pink outfit! xo

    September 26, 2016 at 1:58 pm Reply
  • Macey Flowers

    Ashley,
    I cannot tell you how much reading this post meant to me. I went to my very first NYFW this month and had the time of my life. I reached out to multiple “too cool” bloggers to get advice prior and either they didnt respond, or deflected the questions and basically just said “have a great time! ” THANK YOU for being genuine, real, authentic, and most of all approachable. I respect that more in our business than any amount of traffic, followers, or analytics. We all started from somewhere and your stats shouldn’t suddenly make you forget that! You encouraged me today <3 keep up the great work beautiful! Also YOU LOOK STUNNING in these outfits. What a power suit!

    September 26, 2016 at 2:02 pm Reply
  • Macey

    Also I just realized I put Ashley on my comment instead of sarah! HAHAHA I was talking to my friend Ashley at work while writing this and wrote her name instead of yours hahahaha Here I am thinking I wouldnt get caught reading blogs at work….

    September 26, 2016 at 2:03 pm Reply
  • Lauren Nakagawa

    Sarah, I think this is such a fantastic post. You’re a generous, insightful, and insanely inspiring gal :) We’ll have to grab a coffee if you’re open to it in the city sometime, I think we have lots to talk about!

    xx
    Lauren
    http://www.shoesandsashimi.com

    September 26, 2016 at 3:42 pm Reply
  • Paulina

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience with us! As a blogger I’m still trying to figure out the in’s and out’s of it all and having all that info in one post, is truly priceless! It also gave me a lot of confidence that I can do it next year, so thank you so much!

    xoxo from Napa Valley!

    Paulina
    http://www.shenska.com

    September 26, 2016 at 9:12 pm Reply
  • Bita

    Ashley, thank you so much for this post!! I started researching going to NYFW a few months ago and planning to go in a few years and reading this post made me realize it’s actually doable. Big ups to you for supporting other bloggers in their journey. Truly an inspiration 😘

    September 26, 2016 at 9:53 pm Reply
    • Bita

      *Sarah Sarah Sarah!!! I read a comment with the name Ashley and wrote it when I did my post. So sorry!

      September 26, 2016 at 9:54 pm Reply
  • Jenessa Sheffield

    I seriously appreciate your character so much. I cannot tell you the struggle I have had in this community with trying to figure these sort of things out. I’m so grateful you created this post!! Loves Jenessa

    September 28, 2016 at 10:44 am Reply
  • Tori

    Wow. I’m totally shocked that you shared this with us. So so nice and really helpful. It gives a newbie like me hope to get there too. I’m also amazed you rocked that pink suit for those pics. You look gorge! If I didn’t live here and didn’t know it was a bajillion degrees then, I would have never known. I don’t think you’re even sweating! Can’t wait for installment two!
    Oh, I do have a quick question — how did you make your blogging buddies?
    Thank you!!!

    September 28, 2016 at 11:02 am Reply
  • Jade Newman

    Wow. this was an amazing and really well thought-out/put together post. Def following as a new blogger! :)

    September 28, 2016 at 11:22 am Reply
  • Drea

    Truly enjoyed reading this post and the more I continued to read, the more I agreed with you! I too have always dreamt of attending fashion week, and although NYFW was short notice for me when I decided to take the leap of faith, I decided to take it to an even bigger challenge and go to London…alone..for the first time ever in Europe.. for LFW. It’s refreshing to hear other bloggers like yourself, who share the same passion and honesty as myself. I’ll be sharing my experience soon over on my blog but I love love love this post! Thanks for keeping it real, XO!

    September 29, 2016 at 11:48 am Reply
  • Jaqlyn

    You look so amazing! This guide was literally like nothing I have ever read before. You broke it down perfectly and I really appreciate your honesty. I got to work NYFW and actually introduced myself to you at one of the shows! I wrote about my experience here. Definitely a little different from yours, but hopefully one day I can get to experience the real deal (and def going to keep all of these tips in mind)! Thanks for all of your inspo! – Jaqlyn

    https://overdressedandopinionated.com/2016/09/22/front-row/

    September 29, 2016 at 1:18 pm Reply
  • Yana

    Thank you for sharing! I went to one of the shows alone and wish I was with a friend!

    November 13, 2016 at 10:16 pm Reply
  • Jamie Beckham

    Thank you so much for taking the time to write this post! One of my blogging goals is to eventually go to NYFW (still a total newbie)

    Your post was so encouraging, and I love how in depth everything was! Super helpful.

    It’s so nice to read that there really isn’t one set criteria for someone to get invited!

    xx, Jamie
    Theblonderlife.com

    January 2, 2017 at 7:55 am Reply

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