Fashion Trends

Becoming a New Yorker, and Wearing Gingham While Doing It.

By: Jen Shoop

I think I became a New Yorker today.

Well, not a full-fledged one — I’ll need to be able to rattle off subway stations with ease, navigate Fairway without bordering on tears, own a predominantly black and gray wardrobe, and pronounce the word “very” as “vah-ry” to claim true New Yorker status — but I’m certainly on my way, because today, for the very first time, I stood my ground.  Literally.

You see, New York is short on space but big on attitude, and you will be trampled or nudged if you stand in one place for long enough–and by long enough, I mean standing still for over ten consecutive seconds.  I get that.  I’ve understood that principle since before we arrived in the city: if you need to stop and look at your phone, pull over to the side, out of the fracas, to avoid the stampede.

But what I do not get is how, without fail, if two people are walking towards one another on a crowded sidewalk, there will always be one person who moves out of the way of the other, and that one person is invariably me.  I would “get it” if I felt compelled to move out of the way 50% of the time.  I might even “get it” if I moved out of the way 75% of the time, because I consider myself more aware and alert than the average passerby, and I err on the side of politeness.  But 100% of the time!?  Meaning out of 100 possible encounters with a stranger, I am 100% always the weaker link who must move herself out of the way?  Do New Yorkers smell my politesse?  Do they sense I’m not from around these parts?  Was no one else raised by a mother who taught good manners?

I’m not sure if it’s because a technician was an hour and half late for his scheduled visit to my apartment this morning, or because my doctor was an hour late to my appointment this afternoon, but as I prepared to step off the downtown C train at 59th street, a gentleman (gentleman is too generous — but we’ll deal with that later) started stepping straight onto the train, directly into my personal space, as if I were invisible.

The Usual Jen would have ducked to the left.  She might even have instinctively muttered “sorry” under her breath–an utterance she’d letter scoff at with frustration.  (Why does “sorry” roll off my tongue with such ease?)

The New Jen stood still.  The man ran right into me, grumbled something, and then moved out of the way.

It was unpleasant.  I did not enjoy the experience of a stranger’s stinky black overcoat brushing up against my recently-dry-cleaned trench coat.

But afterwards, I was elated: not only had I had been in the right (everyone knows that there’s an understood Subway protocol that permits those on the train to de-train before passengers board), but I had actually taken up space in this bustling city that can often make you feel sub-atomic or downright invisible at times.

Another way not to feel invisible in this city: wear gingham.  Any print or pattern will do, actually, against the sea of black that is New York City, but gingham is v. hot RN (see statement look at top of post!) and I’m all aboard the check express.  And, to be clear, you will feel visible, even though nothing can phase a true New Yorker!

Le Gingham Dress

Cautiously encouraged by the budding spring weather and inspired by the chic peas strutting the runway below, my mind immediately jumps to the Brigitte Bardot sexiness of a gingham dress, something like this interestingly-cut Milly, or this fit-and-flare beauty in the softest buttercup yellow (under $100!), or this ladies-who-lunch Moschino, or this damsel in distress OTS number.  I was also *thisclose* to buying this trendy Alexis style for an upcoming gathering before it sold out in my size (<<on super sale!)

Finally, this shirt-dress style nails the look of the angry-mugged model on the far left below, and I love it.

The Fashion Magpie Gingham 2

Le Gingham Top

I saw a chickadee wearing this top (under $60!; shown below) the other day and thought it looked startlingly chic on her.  Other picks: this statement-making MDS Stripes and this darling asymmetric top in blush, which walks the line between country mouse / city mouse very nicely.

The Fashion Magpie Gingham Top

Le Gingham Accessory

Lust-worthy pick: this Loewe patchwork gingham statement bag in a very of-the-moment shape.

The Fashion Magpie Gingham Bag

More reasonable: this Thom Browne clutch (<<on sale!) or this adorable Mansur Gavriel.

The Fashion Magpie Mansur Gavriel Gingham

Le Gingham Shoe

My TOP pick are these inexpensive slides (under $20!!), which also come in pink or red!  They’d look adorable with an LWD, or with a contrasting color gingham dress!

The Fashion Magpie Gingham Slides 1

The Fashion Magpie Gingham Slides 2

Also love these Paul Andrew heels, but you can get the look for less with these (<<they truly look like a designer shoe!; the heel shape in particular is so elegant!)  I’ve featured this pair in the past, too — but I love them so!  They’d make an LWD or a pair of white jeans look amazing.

The Fashion Magpie Gingham Heels 1 The Fashion Magpie Gingham Heels 2

Le Gingham Swimsuit

I love the bows on this steal (shown below; on super sale for under $30!), but I’m also very into the low back on this situationThis retro style is also intriguing to me right now.

The Fashion Magpie Gingham Swim

P.S.  The “It” bag of yesterday that I’m still craving today.

P.P.S.  How comfortable are you airing your dirty laundry in public?

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17 thoughts on “Becoming a New Yorker, and Wearing Gingham While Doing It.

  1. GAH, I relate to this so much. I remember one time when my boyfriend and I were first dating, we were disembarking from a subway car in NYC and a man started to shove his way onto the car before the few of us could step out. I said, while standing my ground, , “OR you could let us OFF the train!” Hahaha. It was so uncharacteristic of me to say anything, but it felt so good.

    P.S. Love your gingham picks, especially that beautiful Milly dress! I recently scooped up a long-sleeved gingham dress for Easter and am excited to wear it — I figured I had better go conservative (temperature-wise) since early April in Boston can be quite chilly.

    1. I know – at this rate, it will be snowing in May…BLA! Love that you stood your ground in front of that bozo!!!

  2. Re sidewalk bullies: This isn’t all whether you are assertive. Start paying attention to the gender of the people doing it. I saw a quip along the lines of ‘I stopped moving out of the way for men and so far today have run into 20 men’. Once you start noticing it, it’s everywhere.

  3. I just got shoved by a snowbird at Costco!! Thought that would bring you a chuckle— they do it even at the beach!

    1. Lord have mercy — you’re on VACATION, people! Although — I will say, Costco can bring out the worst in all of us. People act very strange around free food…

  4. Haha I can sooo related to this. One of the funniest things that used to happen to me when I first moved is that I used to always wish good morning to the two people I sat next to on the subway, and they would look at me like I was INSANE and not answer. Two years later, I’m in their shoes – I’d freak out if a stranger randomly smiled or said hi on the subway, even though it’s so common where I am from.

    Totally separate from this, but I would lovee to see a post/small feature on cute white jumpsuits/dresses… I love your style so much and having a hard time narrowing down what to wear to my engagement party.

    Hbd to mini!!

    1. HAHA! I can imagine that; people must have thought you were on something or trying to swindle them in some way. HA!

      I will put some thought into white jumpsuits/dresses for your engagement party and get back to you BUT I just drooled over these two items recently and thought how perfect they’d be for a bride:


  5. I’ve lived in Manhattan for nearly five years and I’ve never related to a post more. My quandary is that I’m forced to move out of the way when I’m on the RIGHT side of the sidewalk. It’s the same rules as the road people! I now challenge myself when walking, and especially on the subway, and forced myself to utter “excuse me” only when I truly invaded another’s space (stopping myself from saying the alternative “sorry”).

    1. Totally — I am having the same personal pep talks nowadays: “you CAN take up space!” “stick up for yourself!” Haha. I need to somehow disabuse myself of my always-at-the-ready “sorry” reflex, which is proving harder than expected, though. xo

    1. So adorable! I love it — makes me very ready for warmer weather. [Written as a nor’easter barrels its way towards New York.]

  6. I feel your pain! You will appreciate that I am from the Deep South and my husband is from D.C. During my first Christmas in D.C. with my in-laws, I was shopping for wine at Rodman’s with my father-in-law and my husband. As I was casually perusing the wine, an impatient shopper shoved me out of the way. My husband and FIL thought it was so funny but were confused why I did not stand my ground. I, on the other hand, was confused by where this shopper’s manners were!

    1. FIRST — Rodman’s?! Only a true Washingtonian knows about Rodman’s. That grocery store is particularly narrow and particularly highly-frequented by surly shoppers, so I can totally see why Rodman’s would have been the scene of such unpleasantry!

  7. Ugh sidewalk bullies are THE WORST (we have them in Chicago too). You can see them coming, huffing and puffing, elbows at the ready, to shove people out of their way. I just don’t get the entitlement and generally take the kill them with kindness approach, or I’ll occasionally use the passive aggressive, post-collision, “excuse me???” But I totally agree with your sentiment, every once in awhile it is empowering to stand my ground, just because I’m wearing I have blond hair and a coral coat doesn’t mean you can push me around!

    1. HA — Jen, that reminds me that when Landon holds open a door for someone and they decline to acknowledge him / thank him, he’ll say, very loudly: “Oh, you’re welcome! No problem!”, and with a huge smile on his face that usually baffles and then embarrasses the person walking through the door. Haha!

      And, you’re so right that it comes down to entitlement: “my space is more important than your space”; “my time is more important than yours”; etc; etc.

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