Southampton Fashion Week

Written By: David Taylor

Wherever I go, the first thing I notice is what people are wearing. In New York City, there is so much variety: business men in suit and tie, bohemian women with their flowing dresses and big jewelry, urban guys wearing their hats backwards and their pants down to their knees. There are so many different aesthetics, and the juxtaposition created when seeing one style on the same sidewalk as a completely contrary style is breathtaking. Then there’s Southampton.

Don’t get me wrong, Southampton is a beautiful town filled with beautiful people, but the fashion during the summers when I work there is fairly one-dimensional. Women are all wearing maxi dresses, and men are all wearing polos with khaki shorts. Sure, there are the occasional leggings or white jeans, but everyone is dressed for a beach vacation. For a while, I tried to blend in. I’d wear my polos and my white jeans every week, despite the fact that white jeans attract dirt like a magnet. My outfits weren’t very inspired, but at least I dressed like I was in Southampton to shop, not to work.

That was, until I received my first trunk show gift. Allow me to explain: I work the stockroom of Bandier, an athleisure boutique on Main Street, and every week we have a different designer bring free clothes for the sales girls to wear during our weekly trunk show. I was always so jealous that I never got anything; because the store is technically women’s clothes only. However, that week, the designer sent one too many pieces, and my manager let me take home a beautiful black mesh tee, which was basically a net with sleeves. I had never owned something so edgy and unique; I couldn’t wait to wear it for the trunk show!

The next day, I walked down Main Street with a black tank top under my mesh tee, traffic light red jeans, and black biker boots. I was nervous at first. I was getting a lot more looks than usual, and they weren’t exactly friendly looks. They were more like puzzled expressions. I started to panic. I’m wearing a women’s shirt! What if everyone thinks I look ridiculous? What if the designer thinks I look ridiculous? I took a deep breath. Do I like my outfit? Yes. Am I comfortable knowing that my shirt was designed for women? Yes. Should I care what anyone else thinks? No. I marched into my store with newfound courage, and was greeted with many compliments, not only from my coworkers, but from the designer herself. It was so incredibly encouraging to hear the designer say that she liked how I styled her shirt! It was then that I realized that I was done blending in. From that point forward, I was going to stand out!

And that’s exactly what I’m doing! I no longer abide by the Southampton dress code, and my store has proven to be an excellent source for finding unique, eye-catching clothing. I wear everything from leggings to booty shorts, from mosquito net hoodies to crop tops, and I do so with pride. I still get weird looks from time to time, but the ability to wear what I want without worrying what others will think is liberating! And I have all of Southampton to thank for it: Bandier, for building up my wardrobe; my fashionable friends at Collette’s, for their styling advice; and all of the Southampton dress code followers for giving me a mold to break. In a sense, this town has given me a voice; because for someone as shy and quiet as I am, it helps to have loud clothing to speak for me.