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Written by Peyton Haahr

Fashion loves the runway - it’s where it’s often at its highest, deftly displaying dramatic, jaw-dropping outfits and looks that leaves the public in awe. There is a sense of magic that radiates from that walkway, where all focus is directed on the details, layering, materials, and fabrics that make up the whole look. But sometimes things can hit a grinding halt when one actually thinks about wearing these looks out in real life, and no longer gracing the runway dimension, but rather our normal world, complete with work meetings, coffee spills, and lunch dates. These everyday occurrences don’t usually line up with runway fashions, and it is often difficult for the average consumer and the fashion-lover alike to know how to pick the right pieces for their closet and lifestyle. We are certainly in the same position. We’re here to help all (including ourselves!) learn how to pick the best runway pieces that tick all the desired boxes and that we’ll actually be able to put on with everyday clothes. 

When putting together their outfits for a runway show, designers aim to make clear to their audience what their aesthetic and vision is. Each brand has its own feel, atmosphere, or signature that makes them recognizable to a wide group of people. In their effort to capture the brand’s identity, their runway looks are often dramatized and attention-stealing - this is largely what makes it difficult to imagine yourself wearing a runway piece in real life.

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Our first tip to achieve runway status is the break the look down. We usually take the entire outfit as a whole, and fail to chunk it out into what makes it up: like a silk blouse, flowing pants, and heels. All of the pieces add up to make a whole, but are ultimately still able to be taken apart and paired with other things. You may see a dramatic matching suit or set that you love, but you wouldn’t dream of wearing the whole set together - the color may be loud or bold, the pattern overwhelming, part of it may be unfit for the current season. Not to fear. Seperate the two pieces and treat them like two distinct options, rather than keeping them linked because you bought them that way. For example, you may have purchased a matching blazer and slouchy pants covered in a snakeskin print after seeing it in a runway show. Now, think about the outfit options for each. That blazer can be the perfect addition to an evening out to keep your warm or accomplish a more professional feel. Pair it over a graphic tee and some high-waisted jeans for a casual feel. With the pants, knot a vintage tee with it or go for a cropped hoodie for a streetwear inspired feel.

Images Courtesy of Sourcing Journal and Who What Wear

Tip number two: know your personal style and make sure whatever piece you’re purchasing fits with it. And this goes for most all fashion you buy, but it is very important when you’re paying the big bucks for a runway piece. With cheaper brands, it’s easier to justify a trendier piece your planning on wearing a few times and then not using for a few seasons. With runway looks, make sure you know you’ll put it on and it fits your style. Save your out-of-the-box fashion moments for things that don’t put a big hole in your wallet. 

Staying updated about trends seen on the runway can give you a good overview of what you’ll be seeing a lot of in fast fashion stores and what also will peak through at high-end brands. Trends are exactly what their name implies - they’re temporary, and will usually disappear after a season. Sometimes you’ll love a trend so much you don’t care that it no longer graces the glossy pages of fashion magazines, and we do the same. But when purchasing runway or high-fashion items, we do a lot more thinking before hitting the ‘checkout’ button - sometimes we just setting for ‘add to cart’. We make sure a) we’ll wear it, b) it goes with more than one thing we already own, c) it fits our personal style and d) we totally love it. You don’t want to be stuck with a closet full of pieces you don’t love or don’t want to put on. Even if you see that reds and pinks are the trending colors, and you know you don’t wear those colors, don’t go for that trend! Pick one that gets you excited and that you’ll look forward to finding the perfect piece for.

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This all connects to our final tip: know that you have things in your closet that will go with that brand new piece. Have you ever bought a piece only to bring it home and find that it doesn't fit with anything you own? And that you have to head back to the mall to find something to complete that outfit? We have. Yet we aren’t discouraging you from finding brand new things to grow your wardrobe - we’re simply recommended you to be smart about it. Have some ideas of what you could style the piece with before you buy it or find some inspiration for how to wear similar pieces on social media. So when you finally get your hands on that gorgeous runway piece you’ve been waiting for, you can have a plan of attack to make it the best look you could dream of.

Image Courtesy of Hypebae & Bag Snob

Runway fashion is a lot of things: amazing, inspirational, influential, dramatic, and beautiful. It also doesn't always work in everyday life. Not all of us look like supermodels and can’t wear the bold, spectacular runway looks when we’re headed to the grocery store or to a coffee shop - it doesn’t quite work that way. Everyday consumers have to treat runway fashions with a different lens - one that takes into account their personal style choices, their lifestyle, profession, budget, and place of living. All of these play a role into how someone constructs their closet and what they choose to add and what to avoid. Tackling what we see on the runways is tricky, but with a few tricks you can make your purchases more secure and more likely to be a home run when you get your own outfit put together.