How to Dress for Fashion Week When You’re Not Invited to Fashion Week

Try a double jacket (one jacket on top of another jacket)

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 08: Models display William Frederick fashions during New York Mends D...
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Dayna Evans

In a different, slightly less apocalyptic time, when all humans had not lost their already shriveled minds, getting dressed every day was a fairly straightforward task. Going to your bullshit job? Here are your bullshit job clothes. First date with a person less attractive than you? Here are your half-hearted first date clothes. Concert? Comfortable shoes. Wedding? A hot dress, but if you’re polite — which I’m not — slightly less hot than the bride. Deli sandwich? Adidas slides. The gym? How should I know! You get the gist. Getting dressed was just easier before.

Now, 400 terrifying years later, we have spent too many days in psychic time-out as punishment for the havoc we have wreaked on our mother, the earth, and we are confronting the question of, uh, hello? What wear now? And, to make it worse, it’s Fashion Week. What is one even supposed to wear to be among the uber stylish? The rules have changed, the events are endless, the variants are evolving, the song never ends and contrary to popular belief, it does not remain the same. Some of us have lost bigger parts of our brains than others and simply don’t remember or do not know what to wear anymore. Lucky for you, I — yes, that’s right, me — can help. Me can help.


Haha okay, nice, we’re off to a good start.


There are very few people who are actually cool — like rubies and Bigfoot, you’ll probably never actually even see one in real life. It’s for this reason that we must pretend to know of cool things, even if we’ve never actually encountered them, by imagining what a cool person would do. I’ll start: I wear one jacket on top of another jacket. Done. Sounds right. Now it’s your turn: just imagine what a cool person might do and do it.


While I don’t smoke and don’t encourage anyone to smoke because it’s bad for you, if you show up at the speakeasy of my mind and say the password Your duck needs a shower, I’ll reveal to you the actual truth, which is that cigarettes are cool. No amount of education to the contrary can undo decades of advertising that made us believe that something that literally kills you faster is amazing and chic. Don’t know what to wear tonight? Put on anything at all and smoke a cigarette.


There is no more powerful word in the English language than “no,” and yet, so few people believe in saying it even when they really want to. For all the events, big and small, that you get invited to this fall, including “going back to the office,” all you have to do is say no, sorry, I can’t. That gets you out of the emotional toll of figuring out how to dress ever again. Wear whatever floats to the top of your drawers and leave it at that. No, sorry!


There is one immensely necessary purpose that celebs fulfill and it cannot be understated. Sometimes you have to look at a celebrity and go ohhh I like that, that looks cool. It’s cleansing. Try it. If you’re struggling to remember how to put one pant leg on, let alone the next, all you have to do is think of one celebrity whose style you like (for example, the inanimate cast of Fraggle Rock) and use them as your north star. Google a bunch of photos and make a little mood board and do what they do until you remember how to do what you do.


It’s been a really long time since we’ve all been in the company of each other — and let me just say, it shows! It’s been so long that your coworker Frank and your favorite bartender Missy don’t even remember what you look like, not even the kind of clothes you wear, or if you have good style or bad style or even worse, completely inevitable and mechanical style. Yikes. One way to get yourself back to yourself is by every single day wearing a new outfit out of the clothes that you already own. Do you feel whimsical today and utilitarian the next? The only rule is you cannot repeat any part of your outfit until you’ve cycled through everything. Notice what feels best and follow that path forever. Throw the rest of the stuff out.


I eat a lot of olives and I’ve never really thought that much about whether olives are actually good for me. I just keep barreling them into my mouth with reckless abandon, never actually getting full. I looked it up recently and it turns out they are high in vitamin E and also could help ward off the effects of osteoporosis, which runs in my family, but they’re salty and fatty so I have to be careful about eating too many, which I’m not. Just thinking about this subject and doing research on picholine olives, the best of all olives, cultivated in France, helped me forget for 25 minutes that I don’t know what to wear tonight. Research can be powerful.


Close your eyes and scroll to a random date in your Google Photos (or whatever image archiving tool you use, perhaps a scrapbook you dork?). Look at what you were wearing during that era of your life — that is what you wear now. Good luck.

Dayna Evans is a writer in Philadelphia.