The Great Fashion Week Divide

Without doubt, the best part of Fashion Week is the street style. It’s always more interesting to see what clothes look like off the catwalk and in the real world, without the lights and the music and Anna Wintour in the front row.

Looking at the street style in Midtown and Soho, I’ve noticed it falls into two distinct camps: the bold (clashing colours and mixed prints) and the minimal (crisp shirts and block colours)….

This difference is also true of normal life outside the world’s Fashion Weeks. I know which one I am: I’m minimal to the core. But the divide particularly comes into play when the camera lenses appear and everyone plays to their strengths.

Margaret Zhang

Margaret Zhang is one of the ultimate bold dressers and her looks at NYFW have only confirmed this. She’s a self-proclaimed expert in onion-ing and loves to mix fabrics and colours. Her looks are never not layered. Bold girls like Zhang aren’t afraid of throwing busy prints and different textures into their outfits. I like to think of them as chefs piling herbs and spices into a pot and producing something unexpected and delicious.

Garance Dore

Then you’ve got the minimal brigade: women like the always chic Garance Dore, queen of the white shirt.  I fall into this camp, the group who have tried and tested recipes that always work. Dore builds outfits around a couple of pieces, relying on block colours and good cuts to create an understated but fabulous look.

What is it that makes us choose one camp and not the other?

I wonder if age is something to do with it (I’ve definitely veered more towards plain colours and classic shapes as I’ve got older) but I think it’s overwhelmingly a question of taste.  Just like food, some of us are better at mixing things up while others prefer minimalist cuisine: simple recipes that produce something delicious.

Which side of the divide are you?  Do you ever cross over? 


by Clare Dane


  1. Maggie A says:

    I love Margaret’s style so much! I also love the coat in the last photo 🙂

    • Karen Blanchard says:

      Agreed! She’s lovely in person.

  2. Lisa says:

    I’m definitely minimal. It’s a time saver especially when you’re standing in front of your closet trying to decide what to wear. The palette is neutral at best (navy, grey, black, white, mint).

    • Karen Blanchard says:

      Good point on the time saving. Makes life easier although I take an evil like pleasure in ‘mistakingly’ putting prints together. Love a good neutral palette though for speed

  3. Caroline Howden says:

    …’onion-ing’? haha 🙂 – I love it! I think in my heart im the bold colour girl. When my friends open my wardrobe the first thing they say is that it’s filled with patterns and colour. I do like seeing outfits with different colours & patterns – that just magically work when put together.

    • Karen Blanchard says:

      I know I love that term. I’m the same, it’s patterns and colors when opening mine

  4. ChainsawKitten says:

    I’m afraid I’m not very brave – I tend to stick with what looks good on me, whether it’s in style or not. I love that today, anything goes, whereas when I was growing up, there were not as many choices – certain things were “in” and that is what you wore. I don’t have a lot of occasions to dress up for, so mostly I wear jeans and I love cowboy boots, even in the summer. It’s my tops and jackets and bags that I like to use as stand out pieces, and they all tend to fall into a somewhat boho category. I have good legs and should probably wear more skirts – but I don’t. Oh well, I feel good in my clothes and that’s all that matters.

    • Karen Blanchard says:

      You just summed it up at the end because that is all that matters – feeling good and being happy in what you choose.

  5. Jasmine says:

    I am definitely not a minimalist and it’s always slightly heartbreaking to limit myself when packing for a trip. My thrifty brain can’t help wondering though, just how much must these stylish women spending on baggage?!

    • Karen Blanchard says:

      ha ha more than you want to know I reckon. Trips forces us to really see the multiple combinations we can get from very little which in a way is a good test that we don’t often get to put on ourselves

  6. BFLYsouljah says:

    I definitely border on the onion-ing side of the fashion spectrum. Just today I am wearing two different types of leopard print.
    I love Margaret’s style and love, love, love your style!!!!

  7. Weight Loss Recipes says:

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