The Devil Wears Prada, that cinematic paean to the magazine world, may have made a few style missteps (blue eye shadow and Eighties Thierry Mugler shoulders, anyone?), but its opening montage of glossy-haired girls approaching their morning toilette with the precision of soldiers preparing for battle got one thing right: Working in fashion necessitates being fashionable from the moment you leave the house. And it is an implicit requirement that can prove exhausting for even the most passionate of clotheshorses.
“I don’t know how people do the shows in Paris. It must take hours to pick out those outfits—it’s like a job in itself,” says designer Charlotte Ronson.
Fashion girls certainly appreciate the art of a well-crafted ensemble—after all, that’s probably how they arrived at their chosen careers in the first place. But when the weekend rolls around, they are faced with a dilemma: how to keep up appearances while giving their Yves Saint Laurent Tributes and Balenciaga sheaths a breather—if they choose to do so. Between trips to the gym, brunch dates and grocery store excursions, that 48-hour stretch is hardly a time for hibernation. Such chic types never give in to fashion fatigue; they push to the Sunday-night finish line—however, often sans stilettos.
“I feel like there are people who are so excited to not have to [get dressed up in their downtime], and then I feel like there are fashion people who never stop,” says designer Shoshanna Gruss, who places herself firmly but chicly in the former category. “When I’m in the Hamptons getting stuff at Citarella on the weekends, I’ll see fashion girls who are in Marni and Lanvin in the daytime and I’m in a Tracy Feith cotton dress, Jack Rogers sandals and a ponytail, and I kind of got fancy to go to town in that.” Of course, only on a fashion-girl-in-the-Hamptons spectrum would an oh-so-adorable Tracy Feith register as off duty. Gruss’s appropriately pulled-together look extends beyond Long Island summers to her Upper East Side residence. Relying on staples like Anlo jeans, a poly-blend American Apparel T-shirt (“It looks very Seventies gym shirt, but it’s clean and crisp”) and ballet flats—replaced by Mayle sweaters and Michael Kors fur-trimmed boots in the winter—she keeps things “super toned down.”
“I think because we work in fashion, you have to look your best and you have to represent, like I have to represent the line,” she explains, referring to her contemporary Shoshanna collection. “So for me it’s such a great break to not have to wear heels and makeup and blow out my hair. But at the same time I always do want to look presentable—it’s simplified.”