By Amy Phillips Penn

“I’m just trying to change the world, one sequin at a time,” Lady Gaga glittered.

New York fashion is like no other fashion in the world.

Whether we wear American, couture, prêt a porter, or Levi’s, what’s fashion without a New Yorker to tell the story of its origin, designer, occasion, and of course if it was “such a bargain.”

That goes for the secure; the less-than-relaxed want you to think that they paid their Goldman Sachs bonus for their cachet.

Many generations ago, my great-great-great-great-grandparents came over from Russia or Poland, depending on who tells the story. They settled in either New York or Pottsville, Pennsylvania (again, remember the source). My quadruple great-grandmother sewed shirts, while her husband sold them to coal miners. Most likely they were just trying to survive in a new country; they had no clue that their shirts would become a household name, adding acquisition after acquisition, one American Dream after another: famous American designers, shoes, shirts of course, and knit shirts with the original status logo (no polo players need apply). A closet full of miracles and a few family lawsuits here and there: we had arrived.

I love fashion, all the wonderful changes, beautiful fabrics, humor, sex-it-up, dream-it-off fantasies that accessorize the pattern.

More than anything, I love to watch little girls dress up in their mother’s clothes and clunk away in high heels that are bigger than both of their feet together.

Fashion has turned itself inside and out then back again. Follow W’s ins and outs, and follow the fashionista road.

The greatest fashion influence of our times was Jackie Kennedy, whose natural elegance made a pair of oversized sunglasses and a Hermes scarf the “mode.”

Then came the “English invasion,” along with the Beatles. Fashion went “mod,” lipstick went white and yellow in glossy Yardley slickers; “poor boys” were shapely ribbed t-shirts hour-glassed over mini-skirts, while short and shiny white Courreges boots and imitations strutted up Madison Avenue.

While most of us want to stand out by looking different, there is a herd-like safety in dressing alike. Think jeans.

I have vivid memories of East Hampton parties, where every woman wore Pucci of some sort: a dress, pajamas, scarves, all intermingled into modern art that oozed summer sensuality.

Featured image courtesy of Chic Muse

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