HOT NEON IN THE BIG CITY: How to Wear Neon Stuff Without Looking Like a Traffic Cop

Breaking news: New York City is way cooler than Los Angeles. Plus, while I was there, I dropped by the XOJane offices and met a bunch of your favorite ladies.

May 24, 2012 at 1:00pm | Leave a comment

I was on vacation in New York City all last week.  I had such a great time -- I shopped and ate and drank and then shopped and ate and drank again.  I had just worked 21 days straight designing costumes for the 20th anniversary of a groundbreaking comedy TV show and needed a break.

Making walkabout taco and jalapeno costumes for 16 hours a day is wayyyy more exhausting than it looks, trust me.  My boyfriend was going to NYC for work so I tagged along with him, as I needed a general break from life.

At Cat’s suggestion, we played Goodbye Horses by Q. Lazarus and Slayer (my suggestion, duh) repeatedly at full volume in our room at the Standard Hotel.  (Which is a cool hotel and all, but I think the walls are actually made of construction paper. I could hear the people in the room next to us flushing the toilet and arguing about paying for Internet access.) I can only hope our music horrified everyone around us as much as their grunting and moaning horrified me.

While I was in NYC, I dropped by the XOJane offices and met a bunch of your favorite ladies.  Olivia is a little brown-haired doll.  I was a tiny bit nervous about meeting everyone, and she bounced right up from her desk to welcome me like the hostess with the most-est. Madeline is the bubbly blond picture of all-American health.  She might as well have just stepped off the helicopter from Martha’s Vineyard.  

Jane herself is an insanely warm, down to earth person. I instantly felt at ease around her. When she says she loves you guys, she ain’t faking it. She let Olivia snap this pic of us without even checking her hair in the mirror. Now that is mad confidence.

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I just noticed that we are both wearing black fishnet-y items here.  

Julie is a beauty, and very casually downtown glam. I don’t know why she is always complaining about her skin -- it’s  perfectly lovely. Which reminds me, isn’t the airplane bathroom THE BEST PLACE to examine and pick at your skin? The light is brutal and you can see every tiny pore.  Whenever I am on a plane, I spend at least 10 minutes in there picking and scratching like a jailed meth head.  

Corynne is quite angelic, etheral really, but all business.  She had on a proper pencil skirt/kitten heel/cardigan combo in an office where it’s clearly kosher to just do whatever the hell you want -- barf at your desk, dissect a frog, or practice the vuvuzela. XOJane appears not to judge.

I had already met Emily a few months ago when she came out to LA.  Here we are at a bar in Hollywood, not drinking.  Emily is sober, and I was driving. So boring. Totally don't invite us to your next party.

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I'm greasy and Emily is demonic. 

Emily's real life friends are lucky bitches. In addition to having amazing boobies, she is incredibly encouraging and genuine. I would not be writing these words for you to read if it were not for her. So, address your complaints about that matter to Emily@xojane.com.  I also met the lovely Cat. She is tiny, adorable, tres, tres dramatique! and has pretty amazing hair.  

Everywhere I went in New York, there were phenomenally well-dressed girls.  Even the girls I deemed to be dressed ‘boring’ were still well put together. It’s no wonder, as the streets of NYC are a damn runway.

Nobody cares about dressing up in LA.  Even hardcore biker gang dudes end up wearing Birkenstocks here. It’s a badge of honor to go to dinner in your gym clothes. I pride myself on never having been seen outside of my house in sweatpants. A hollow victory, for sure. 

I think that since nobody walks anywhere in LA, we end up having very little reason to dress up. When I do try to walk somewhere, the sidewalk somehow just randomly ends and I find myself jumping over hedges like a fugitive. Plus you are in your personal insulated car bubble at all times. I have driven around LA in my nightgown before, and nobody was ever the wiser.  So why bother trying?

I noticed quite a few girls wearing dazzling neon accessories on the streets in NYC.  I love neon right now, which is probably not very cool of me, as I was wore neon during it’s original go-round. 

We called it "fluorescent" in the 5th grade. I will never forget the girl who came to school one day with neon everything-jelly bracelets, suspenders, hair bow, socks and shoelaces. It was quite a look. Her parents were divorced, and constantly bought her everything she ever wanted in an attempt to make it up to her. I prayed every night that my parents would divorce so I could pit them against each other in order to attain new, exotic clothes and accessories. 

I was too chicken to ask the cool girls I saw on the street in NYC if I could take their pictures so here are some images I stole off the Internet:

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Lauren Conrad's pink ponytail is the stuff that dreams are made of.

I love neon when it has a preppy edge to it. Neon can get garish quick, and you end up looking like a traffic cop. Plus I have secretly always wanted to be an Ivy League co-ed.  Here are some pretty, preppy neon accessories that I want to wear all this spring:

Those New York babes are all about the bags and the shoes.  It’s no wonder. You walk bloody everywhere and have to hump everything around with you at all times. These leather bags by the Cambridge Satchel Company are a pretty sweet way to lug around your worldly posessions.  

They are British and come in many tasteful colors, but I am of course pining for an insane neon green one. Check their clearance items, as sometimes there are bags for half price and they usually just have some sort of scratch. The Cambridge Satchel Company will also emboss your initials on any bag you like for an extra $8.00 per letter.

If you are feeling broke, my beloved Target appears to have a bag that looks suspiciously like the Cambridge Satchel. 

Moon and Lola makes these brilliant acrylic monogram and nameplate necklaces in about 17 different colors. I just realized that these would be a great way to match your team/school/sorority colors. The South is all about matching, you guys.  The hot pink is really the only "neon" color, but I just love monograms so much that I had to put them in here.

 

What else is there to say about these shoes except that they are lime green and patent leather? 

I love that the face of this watch is just like the Cartier Tank Francaise. Cartier named it the "tank" watch in 1917 as a tribute to the allied forces in Europe. See how the sides of the bezel look like tank treads? This concludes today's fashion history lesson.

A skinny neon belt is so ubiquitous.  But that's because it is such an easy way to jazz up an otherwise plain or boring outfit. If you only buy one neon thing, a skinny belt is the most bang for your buck.

Oxfords with colored ankle socks have been a fave look of mine forever.  But what about the spectacular neon sole on these Cole Haan oxfords?! Preppy heaven. You can also customize them with 17 different colors of laces on the Cole Haan site. The laces by themselves are only $7.50, and are a great way to make your old or thrift store oxfords look new and fresh.

This neon ribbon and crystal bracelet is a beauty, but here's a tutorial on how to make your own. If any of you clever kittens successfully makes one, send it to me! send me pics.  (alison@alisonfreer.com)