Designer Brand To Emulate: Wardrobe NYC

With its clean lines, crisp separates and clever capsule concept, the fashion world has long celebrated cult label Wardrobe NYC. Here, we take a deep dive into why it’s one of the most influential brands around…

The Concept

Created by street style favourite and Vogue Australia Fashion Director Christine Centenera and Josh Goot in 2017, the brand set out to create luxury capsule wardrobes without the fuss. Think slick, smart separates that can be purchased in bulk – collections of 8 or 16 pieces were the original foundation of the brand. This has evolved over the years, however, and styles are now available to buy separately alongside the ‘total look’ concept.

The Founders

The aforementioned Centenera was a fashion icon in her own right before founding the brand. Her role at Vogue, alongside her omnipresence at fashion weeks, made her a street style photographer favourite – indeed, her front row looks can now be seen as a premonition of things to come. Her deference to blazers, split hem pants, oversized coats and towering heels were an early indication of the Wardrobe NYC aesthetic. Her co-founder, Josh Goot, also has a rich fashion history – the Sydney native launched his own eponymous label in 2005 and, in the brand’s ten-year lifespan, showed frequently in both New York and London.

The Aesthetic

The brand is part of a wave of minimalist aesthetes – think The Row, Jil Sander, Ann Demeulmeester. It’s about clean cuts, hard-working separates and a pared-back colour palette – the early collections included the perfect boyfriend shirt, a ‘le smoking’ inspired suit, an androgynous, angular coat and a simple silk blouse. It’s a clever balance of borrowed-from-the-boys dimensions and feminine silhouettes – and that balance is struck in the styling. Look at their campaign images for inspiration – a boxy shirt will be paired with short shorts and bare legs, an ankle-skimming trench with towering heels, a tailored suit in head-to-toe white.


The Trends

You may not know it, but Wardrobe NYC are responsible for half the trends you’re lusting after right now. An early advocate of the split hem legging, it’s still a key feature of their collections – the brand is in the ankle-length camp as opposed the alternative, also popular floor-scraping look. The label can also be credited for the mass popularity of cycling shorts, working them seamlessly into a capsule wardrobe alongside sharp shouldered-blazers and billowing trench coats. Finally, the pump is back, and Wardrobe NYC’s latest campaign presents a masterclass on how to style them. The key is a towering stiletto, aggressive pointed toe and, of course, in white or black only.

The Relevance

Why all the fuss about a three-year-old brand? Well, it’s the latest collection – and most importantly, the styling of it – that has the SL fashion team swooning. The brand has, sensibly, toned down its designs to incorporate a more practical, off-duty aesthetic – leggings, hoodies and Birkenstock-style sandals have slotted into the wider collection for a very 2021/lockdown-appropriate twist. Their latest lookbook is the perfect example of how to do cool, off-duty dressing really well – and, crucially, in a grown-up way. It’s possible head-to-toe sweatsuits and Diana-inspired athleisure isn’t for you. If that rings true, turn instead to this polished take on capsule dressing, where smart, considered pieces will work just as hard once you’re back on the grind as they will during the next few months at home. 

The Look

The brand isn’t comparable to the likes of The Row and Jil Sander in style alone – it also comes with a hefty price tag. However, thanks to the simplicity of the core pieces and their characteristically layered style, you can rely on the high street to replicate the look. Whether it’s oversized shirts from Arket, Free People cycling shorts, Mango tailoring or Zara leggings, a few key, trend-led pieces will instantly inject a bit of the brand’s signature feel into your wardrobe. 

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