11 wardrobe essentials I always bring to Fashion Week

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Lauren Caruso is an In The Know shopping contributor. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter for more.

Fashion Week is the perfect excuse to wear elaborate, often colorful outfits that seem largely inappropriate for a regular Tuesday morning — even in New York City. As someone who usually sticks to neutral, easy pieces that pair well with each other, Fashion Week is a time to throw out my typical outfit formula and get creative with colors, silhouettes and layering techniques. 

It’s also important to wear outfits that match the vibe of the show I’m attending. A simple oversized suit that would look at home on Peter Do or Proenza Schouler’s runway might not be quite right for a show like Collina Strada or Eckhaus Latta, which usually calls for something a little louder. Sometimes that means a matching pink blazer-and-shorts co-ord set with a fun bra underneath, and other times it’s a fully beaded vintage gown that would feel absurd anywhere else but outside Spring Studios, where most of the shows are held. 

In any case, I usually try out each outfit well in advance so I’m not left scrambling at the last minute if something doesn’t work, but a few sartorial snags are inevitable. Now that I’m based in Los Angeles, that means I don’t have the pleasure of replacing an item that isn’t quite working with anything else in my closet — instead, I have to be strategic about every piece that takes up space in my suitcase. 

Still, I always turn to some variation of the same 11 items that I can mix and match for an outfit that feels special — but also like me. Ahead, here are the hero pieces that make getting ready for Fashion Week so much easier.

1. Flowy Black Pants

Flowy black pants are a fail-safe for after-show events like dinners or parties. Plus, I can always pair them with a similarly oversized blazer and a red lip for a look that feels simple yet striking.

Mango Flowy Straight-Fit Pants, $49.99

Credit: Mango

2. Oversized Blazer

There’s no single item in my wardrobe that gets more wear than an oversized blazer — but my go-to iteration for Fashion Week usually has dramatic shoulder pads, too. 

The Frankie Shop Olympia Blazer, $395

Credit: The Frankie Shop

3. Jeans

Yep — jeans. I almost never wear them in daily life, but somehow, they always end up being the obvious thing to ground an otherwise crazy outfit. When it’s hot and humid, I’ll pair them with a fun bathing suit top and mules.

& Other Stories Dear Cut Jeans, $99

Credit: & Other Stories

4. Comfy Flats

There’s no worse time to break in new shoes than Fashion Week — but I end up with blisters, so I like to be sure I’m wearing flats the next day to give my feet a rest.

Shop Peche Orly Flats, $89

Credit: Shop Peche

5. Fun Belt

The difference between a regular outfit and a Fashion Week outfit is usually an extra detail like a dramatic belt.

LUV AJ Chain Belt, $112

Credit: LUV AJ

6. Oxford Shirt 

An oxford shirt is one of the most valuable pieces in my closet. Even if I don’t have a specific outfit planned, I always pack it just in case.

Everlane Relaxed Oxford Shirt, $75

Credit: Everlane

7.Wildcard Skirt

Usually, by the end of the week, my outfits start to feel a little tired, so I like to throw in a colorful or otherwise eye-catching wildcard skirt that I can pair with a tank or something easy.

Ganni Lamb Leather Mini Skirt, $395

Credit: Ganni

8. Sunglasses

Some mornings I don’t have time to de-puff, so I throw on a pair of sunglasses and call it a day.

Lexxola Jordy Sunglasses, $220

Credit: Lexxola

9. Mules

The mule kitten heel is a divisive shoe, but I love its versatility: The right pair can instantly dress up any look, but they’re way more comfortable than a traditional high heel. That’s a win-win for me, especially with all the walking I do during Fashion Week.

Zara High-Heeled Vinyl Mule, $49.90

Credit: Zara

10. Scarf

On days where it seems like my hair is actively working against me, I throw a scarf on top and pretend it was always part of the plan. I can also style it as a shirt if I’m so inspired.

Diane Von Furstenberg Jella Printed Scarf, $94

Credit: The Outnet

11. Crossbody Bag 

I originally thought this bag would be great for long walks or times when I just wanted to be hands-free, but I didn’t expect it to become my favorite go-to crossbody for Fashion Week. The little pocket is big enough for my phone and ID, and I’m never without my water bottle.

Bottle Bag with Pocket and Bottle, $395

Credit: Officina Del Poggio

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