Fashion Hunt Like a New Yorker in These Four Key Neighbourhoods

Originally story by Christina Gonzales for Billy, a new kind of travel app from Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport.

The way fashion varies from neighborhood to neighborhood in New York, it’s like an intricate puzzle that outsiders must piece together. From the Nike-ankle-sock-wearing hipsters in Williamsburg to the tailored togetherness of the Upper East Side, each area exhibits a distinct sartorial vibe.

  WARM, Winnie Beattie and Rob Magnotta's Mott Street shop

WARM, Winnie Beattie and Rob Magnotta's Mott Street shop

Many travellers get sucked in by the gravity of the city’s various high streets – namely, Fifth Avenue, Madison Avenue and lately, the increasingly popular Meatpacking District, home to brands like AllSaints, Vince and Diane von Furstenburg (who basically coined the All-American wrap dress).

For those who want to walk on a wilder side, however, there’s Laura Solin-Valdina (also known as NYCSTYLIST), fashion stylist to Manhattan socialites like Diana Taylor (Michael Bloomberg’s long-time partner) and Wall Street CEOs. Solin-Valdina’s everyday job is to sift through the clutter of New York boutiques to find quality clothing and shopping experiences that only a New Yorker would know about.

Here, Solin-Valdina gives Billy an insider’s look at off-the-beaten path retailers and the street style trends in key New York neighborhoods.

Upper East Side

Watch women walk down the picturesque, tree-lined streets of the Upper East Side and you’ll notice a pattern: fitted mini dresses are paired with boxy, cropped jackets (tailored, of course) and chunky stacked heels. “And to complete that look you definitely need a small-sized cross-body purse, which is very on trend right now,” Solin-Valdina says.

Tucked away on 69th Street between Madison Avenue and Fifth is Fivestory, a hyper-curated boutique of women’s ready-to-wear clothing, shoes and accessories from designers including Alexander Wang, Carolina Herrera and Celine. With a shoe department that measures 10-by-10 feet and a hand-picked selection of handbags, shoppers are likely to find their one of a kind – whether it be a statement cropped jacket, pair of leather ankle boots or a patterned crossbody – here.

Meanwhile, no trip to the Upper East Side is complete without the traditional brownstone shopping experience. Find classic yet cool women’s everyday line Veronica Beard at 988 Madison Ave. where sisters-in-law Veronica Miele Beard and Veronica Swanson Beard opt out of the boxy atmosphere of most clothing stores. Instead, they show their line at an apartment, and shoppers feel like they’re like they’ve been invited to a friend’s home.

Garment District and Kips Bay

“The common element between the Garment District and Kips is that they are home to a lot of the fashion and design schools. In the Garment District, on the west side of town, you have the Fashion Institute of Technology and the Parsons School of Design, and on the east side, you have the School of Visual Arts,” explains Solin-Valdina. “They’re both areas where you can let loose and try anything. Some things look good, and some things don’t but creativity is definitely appreciated.”

Think: eccentric designs, unexpected pops of colour and bold accessories. “It could be a classic jacket with an exaggerated shoulder pad or a shoe with an exaggerated bow of some sort,” Solin-Valdina states.

For two retailers that epitomize the creative nature of each district, take Bene Rialto (Garment District) and Dover Street Market (Kips Bay). The former, just around the corner from Lord & Taylor on Fifth Avenue, is a five-floor townhouse, experiential event space and fashion accelerator for emerging local designers. In Bene Rialto’s retail marketplace, you’ll find everything from chunky, bright-red bangles made by independent jewellery designer Ona Chan to gender-neutral totes by Ro Bags.

New York’s Dover Street Market, (which has sister locations in London, Ginza and Beijing) meanwhile, is part fashion-art gallery, part luxury retailer. Brands like Gucci, J.W. Anderson Men’s and Raf Simons create capsule collections for the store that you can’t find anywhere else.  

  Dover Street Market

Dover Street Market

Nolita and Bowery

In Nolita and Bowery, the aesthetic is rock ’n’ roll-meets-boho: “It’s cool and chic rather than proper and polished. You’ll see maxi dresses, layered pants, chunky shoes, hats, accessories, fringe, draping and a lot of black,” explains Solin-Valdina. Just park outside of the Bowery Hotel, New York City’s trendiest celebrity haunt and you might just spot Robert Pattinson walking out of the building in fitted ripped jeans and a wide-brimmed hat.

John Varvatos Bowery studio captures the men’s rock ’n’ roll vibe to a T. It’s located in the old CBGB music club at 315 Bowery, which closed in 2006; the Varvatos team preserved parts of the club by restoring bits of its interior (they even kept the graffiti on the toilets). The ambiance sets the scene for Varvatos’ collection of leather jackets, Chelsea boots, and black velvet scarves.

The boho lovers should head to indie boutique WARM at 181 Mott St., where Hawaiian export Winnie Beattie and her husband Rob Magnotta spend their days scoping out clothing and accessories for men, women and children that evoke sunshine, mountains, family and travel. Expect to see a wide range of wares – pieces by British designer Isabel Marant, Parisian skate-casual brand Cuisse de grenouille and swimwear line Solid and Striped.


Williamsburg is home to trend-following under-35s who sport over-the-top vintage accessories. “I always joke that my husband’s architect friends try and outdo one another with their eyeglasses,” says Solin-Valdina. Warby Parker is a favourite destination for hipster specs.

You’ll spot a lot of low-high mixing and matching: fitted boyfriend jeans with lace-up brogue shoes and ankle socks, and flowy skirts with oversized jackets and combat boots. “Williamsburg also has that ‘f--- you’ attitude,” Solin-Valdina explains. “People there are like, ‘I’m going to wear this beautiful white lace dress with some s--- kicker, and I’m going to look great … and by the way, don’t touch anything that I have on.’”

For local Brooklynites, consignment shops are where it’s at. At Eva Gentry Consignment on the trendy Atlantic Avenue strip, you’ll be able to nab designer items at a lower cost. Gentry is meticulous about the items she brings into her store, so expect high-end goods in pristine condition, and new stock – Guidi boots, a Marni belt and Acne jeans, for instance – are posted on the shop’s Instagram daily.

Paris Fashion Week Bling

Now that the dust has settled on that certain Paris heist, lets talk about the real bling seen on the runways -- metallic!  Seriously, who doesn’t like a bit (or a lot!) of sparkle to spice up their wardrobe?  Metallic adds dimension to every outfit and the best part is that it becomes the main focal point, and therefore, your key accessory as well.  The Paris runway shows were draped in metallic, here are my favorite looks...

Milan Fashion Week - Better Late than Never!

Outwear is not just for the cooler months, it is a fashion essential for upgrading your wardrobe during all seasons - so I loved seeing Milan Fashion Week runways covered in classic outerwear pieces, but with an edge added!  For example Versace took the classic leather jacket silhouette and twisted it into a color block leather jacket that amps up any outfit.  Taking a classic item and adding a little something extra to it can really personalize your style. Here are some of my favorite looks:

London Fashion Week SS17

Flower Mania!

“Florals? For spring? Groundbreaking,” this quote from Miranda Priestly on the Devil Wears Prada couldn’t be more wrong. Although not groundbreaking, florals are a trend that have become a classic and don’t appear to be going anywhere soon. Floral motifs adorned almost every runway during London Fashion Week.  Here are a variety of different ways to incorporate flowers into your spring wardrobe and break you out of your winter slump of bulky layers.

Bold is the New Black

Sunday night marked the 68th Emmy’s award ceremony and there was no shortage of brightly dressed stars. I can’t think of a better way to end NYFW than have award season fail right behind. Let’s be honest, the Red Carpet is the best part of any award show and the Emmy’s Red Carpet is no exception.  Here are my picks for the best (and boldest) dressed:

Top Row: Viola Davis - Marchesa, Sarah Paulson - Prada, Priyanka Chopra - Jason Wu, Amanda Peet - Altuzarra

Bottom Row: Emily Ratajkowski - Zac Posen, Angela Bassett - Christian Siriano, Constance Zimmer - Monique Lhuillier, Terrence Howard - Isaia

All images from Vogue and Yahoo Fashion

Tuesday, Wednesday... And Finally Thursday!

Holy embellishments!  As hard as I've tried to avoid being repetitive in regards to texture, pattern and color, it is impossible to omit these looks in all of their gorgeous glory -- separates and suiting alike!  Boxier jackets and elongated trousers are all the rage this coming season.  Here are my favorites from the runway these last three days of NYFW: Ralph Lauren, Nanette Lepore, Ashley Williams.

Style tip:  Trousers are an excellent alternative to denim as they can be dressed up or down and have the ability to flatter every body type.


All images come from Vogue and Fashion Radar GPS

NYFW Spring 2017 - Day6


Stripes were all over the runway yesterday, heading in every possible direction and across all styles imaginable. Fashion has an anything goes attitude and stripes are no exception.

Here are a variety of Day 6 runway favorites to incorporate stripes into your wardrobe. These looks are from Proenza Schouler, Oscar de la Renta, Rag and Bone and Lela Rose.

Style Tip:  Break out of your striped sweater box and bring this bold pattern into your skirts, jackets, dresses and coats for the approaching layering season!

All images from Vogue

NYFW Spring 2017 - Weekend Wrap Up

Good thing that you can never go wrong with black and white because this weekend's shows were all about the contrasting "colors".  And since black and white never go out of style, finding a beautiful print and silhouette can really set your outfit apart.  No matter where you are going, day or night, black and white looks have the ability to streamline your outfit more so than even the boldest of colors.  Here are some of my favorites looks from over the weekend:

Top row, L-R: Banana Republic, Prabal Gurung, Altuzarra, Jenny Packham                                                                                                                 Bottom rom L-R:  Beyond beautiful looks by Carmen Marc Valvo

Style Tip:  On those days when you just don’t know what to wear, pairing black with white is an easy match.

NYFW Spring 2017 - Day 3

Texture is the new accessory whether it be appliqués, fringe, knits or lace. These textures need no assistance in making a statement and regardless of the season, texture is a versatile way to add a twist to any outfit.  These four looks from Novis, Jason Wu, Akris and Tanya Taylor are my Day 3 runway favorites!

Style Tip: Be sure to keep accessories to a subtle minimum to avoid competing elements -- and looking over styled.

NYFW Spring 2017 - Day 2


During day 2 of NYFW, printed midi's owned the runway. Midi’s are a great staple piece for any occasion, they are so effortless, yet have the ability to give off a clean polished look.  I love these four midi's in particular, by Supima Design, Brock, Ulla Johnson and Marissa WebB -- the airy fabrics and soft prints evoke feelings of vintage femininity.

Style Tip: Take these midi's from day to night by layering on jewels that are as light in weight as they are in color so as to create a tone on tone shimmer.

Images from Vogue and Fashion GPS Radar

NYFW Spring 2017- DAY 1

In anticipation for what’s to come this New York Fashion Week, I thought I’d start my list of daily favorites -- and kicking off the list are jumpsuits which have superseded the long standing maxi dress trend and transformed it to something a bit edgier.  Jumpsuits can be just as versatile as your favorite pair of jeans or your LBD. My personal favorites from Day 1 of NYFW are by Nomia, Escada, Trina Turk and Rachel Comey. 

Style Tip: Jumpsuits are great because they can be either casual or dressy. My favorite way to dress down a jumpsuit is to wear it with a great pair of flatforms, sneakers, booties or wedges and my favorite way to dress up a jumpsuit is to pair it with a killer heel and a long silk tassel necklace.

All images from Vogue


Summer is the time to liven up your wardrobe by taking advantage of the beautiful colors and patterns!  It is important to push your boundaries a bit by adding elements that make you stand out  - especially those of you whom revert to the same old neutrals in your wardrobe. 

And while the summer months seem to be drawing to a close the heat isn't going anywhere soon! With that being said, I wanted to recap some of my summer favorites, from sunglasses to sandals, and give you a guide to follow when pondering what to wear through Labor Day Weekend. 

Speaking of LDW, I will be lounging at Gurney's in Montauk Friday, 9/2 - Tuesday, 9/6, and am available to book time styling looks, accessorizing outfits and to help with any fashion emergencies. 



 CHLOE, $395

CHLOE, $395

 PRISM, $340

PRISM, $340

On the left are Chloé's 'Isidora' sunglasses in rose gold. The brown degradé lenses are transparent enough to showcase the eyes while shading them as well. PRISM's Venice sunglasses, on the right, are inspired by the 50's cat-eye shape with a multi-colored pattern accentuating the acetate frames. This shape is most complimentary on a round face.



 ERES, $520

ERES, $520

 MISSONI, $530


I have always been a fan of Eres swimwear and lingerie as their fabrics and silhouettes flatter the body in the classiest of ways. This beautiful hunter green in particular would be stunning on any skin tone.  And Missoni's two-piece on the right is the perfect summer bikini. The colors within the chevron pattern in the crochet-knit fabric give off a classic bohemian feel that I love.




 ELAN, $54

ELAN, $54

 LA PERLA, $828

LA PERLA, $828

You can find this flirty crochet cover-up on for an extremely affordable price, in both black and cream. I personally love the mix of textures and how it will showcase any swimsuit underneath. The La Perla satin cover-up in an optical print and color-blocked handkerchief hem creates a sophisticated look that can easily be carried into sunset cocktails at the beach bar.


summer dresses





Zimmerman's 'Roza' dress is the perfect white summer dress. Pair with sandals or wedges in neutral tones and natural hair to create an effortlessly relaxed look. The gorgeous floral printed dress is from Free People. Its over sized silhouette makes it the perfect dress to throw on with sandals and walk out the door.  This dress can easily be carried into the fall season because of its darker tones.



 PRADA, $875

PRADA, $875



These Prada block heeled sandals are the quintessential "Laura shoe". The gold hardware and crisscrossing solid black leather make them a classic staple for any wardrobe.  On the contrary, the stunning yellow and black croc-embossed leather of these Rachel Comey rounded heel sandals will automatically amplify any outfit -- including a solid summer dress.