Most stylish New Yorkers: David Yi

The stylist and writer thinks---and shops---globally to create his fashion-forward look.

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  • Photograph: Donald Yip

    Even when paired with cobalt-blue trousers from H&M and a leopard-print Opening Ceremony button-up shirt, this faux-fur jacket from a Colorado vintage store steals the show. "It reminds me of a '70s rock star," muses Yi. "I love how soft it is and how much it resembles a grimy, stained rug."

  • Photograph: Donald Yip

    "These sunglasses are probably one of my most prized possessions," gushes Yi. "My paternal grandmother passed these on to me; they're vintage, going back to the '60s when she purchased them in Seoul. They are still in style but tell a story through the character that they've acquired."

  • Photograph: Donald Yip

    Red socks pop when paired with gray suede shoes from Alter (109 Franklin St at Greenpoint Ave, Greenpoint, Brooklyn; 718-784-8818, alterbrooklyn.com). "If you think a guy has style, always look at what he's wearing on his feet," says Yi. "If it completes the outfit without being too garish, he sure is a dapper dude."

  • Photograph: Donald Yip

    "This is my L.A. cholo look," reflects Yi of his denim button-up from a store in Baltimore paired with African-print pants that once belonged to his mother. "She got them in the '90s from her sojourn to NYC," he explains. "She had never worn them and was just about to give them away when I had a friend hem the bottom and transform them into harem pants." A backpack from Asos (asos.com) and vintage sunglasses that were handmade in Germany provide the finishing touches.

  • Photograph: Donald Yip

    Yi purchased this two-finger ring at a store on Seoul's Garosu Road. "It says destroy, which I set out to do daily," he says.

  • Photograph: Donald Yip

    "I love street style and seeing so many people create their own fashions," says Yi. "So I took that to heart and created this Chanel necklace out of Legos. It took forever, but I get compliments wherever I go."

  • Photograph: Donald Yip

    These Y-3 sneakers were a present from one of Yi's friends, who works for the brand.

  • Photograph: Donald Yip

    Practically everything Yi is wearing, including his Hongdae polka-dot shirt, powder-blue pants and Gucci-inspired belt, was purchased in Seoul. "It's now dubbed the new Milan," notes Yi of the South Korean city. "Seoul fashion is so sick, I can't wait to shop there again." He accessorizes with platform espadrilles and a briefcase that belonged to his grandfather when he was a business man in Seoul in the '70s.

  • Photograph: Donald Yip

    Yi layers a Commes des Garons Play striped tee over a punchy Band of Outsiders button-up. "I purchased it because I thought orange was such a bold, colorful hue that makes such a statement," he recalls. He cinches black trousers that he had tailored into shorts with a French Connection belt.

  • Photograph: Donald Yip

    A vintage military garrison cap that Yi picked up while he was traveling in Vladivostok, Russia, is an attention-grabbing statement piece. "It still has all of these amazing medallions from a soldier that apparently passed away," he marvels. "I got it for only a few rubles and was ecstatic when I wore it to Fashion Week. Anna Wintour actually told me she and her friend saw me entering a room and loved the look---a moment in my life that I'll never forget."

  • Photograph: Donald Yip

    "These studded sneakers were made by a designer who literally puts together shoes with studs on the streets of Seoul," explains Yi of his fierce footwear, which he swears is comfortable. "I wear them when I need added protection when I'm roaming the Lower East Side. It scares people away."

  • Photograph: Donald Yip

    A Jeremy Scott x Swatch watch and a Louis Vuitton cross-body bag complete the outfit.

Photograph: Donald Yip

Even when paired with cobalt-blue trousers from H&M and a leopard-print Opening Ceremony button-up shirt, this faux-fur jacket from a Colorado vintage store steals the show. "It reminds me of a '70s rock star," muses Yi. "I love how soft it is and how much it resembles a grimy, stained rug."

David Yi, 24, reporter and fashion stylist for the New York Daily News (thinkdavidyi.com); Williamsburg, Brooklyn

His personal style: "I love traveling, and most of the inspirations in my closet are from places far and wide throughout the world. I would say that my personal style is definitely reflected by this and is an eclectic and eccentric mix of such destinations that inspire me: Seoul's Hongdae art scene, Tokyo's wild but effortless Harajuku district, East London's grimy rock, Mexico City and its many colors, L.A.'s street style, New York's dandy culture with a pinch of nonchalant Parisian flair."

His inspirations: "The fascinating characters I meet in the different settings I run into throughout the world."

Favorite stores: "Like many fashion seekers, I love Opening Ceremony (35 Howard St between Broadway and Lafayette St, 212-219-2688 * 1190--92 Broadway between 28th and 29th Sts, 646-695-5680 * openingceremony.us). [Owners Humberto Leon and Carol Lim] have such a keen eye toward what's fashion-forward. Every time I walk into the store, I'm immediately inspired by either the clothing that's styled on the mannequins or the actual people who shop there. Seven New York (110 Mercer St between Prince and Spring Sts; 646-654-0156, sevennewyork.com) also has excellent buyers who seek the best trends and items that are worth splurging on. I enjoy perusing things that I'd never wear but are inspiring, like clothing by Gareth Pugh, Raf Simons or Yazbukey. Oak (208 North 8th St between Driggs Ave and Roebling St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn; 718-782-0521 * 28 Bond St between Bowery and Lafayette Sts, 212-677-1293 * oaknyc.com) has amazing jewelry and always hosts sales that make the items a little easier on the wallet. I love the selection of pants—from harem to comfy jeans by Acne—and the simple slouchy T-shirts from Alexander Wang and Hyden Yoo. I also love In God We Trust (locations throughout the city; visit ingodwetrustnyc.com). You feel a sense of exclusivity but also strangely welcomed."

Favorite salons: "I get my hair cut by Daichi Ishimura at Manish hair salon (231 E 53rd St between Second and Third Aves; 212-755-2623, manishnyc.com). The Japanese are definitely the best at styling something that's unique but quietly so, which I appreciate. My friend Rita Hazan (720 Fifth Ave between 56th and 57th Sts; 212-586-4343, ritahazansalon.com). She is really amazing and I'm obsessed with her."

His signature accessory: "Probably my shoes. I have about 40 pairs, and I mix and match them according to my outfit. Some are statement items, like my 'flatform' Pradas, while others are moccasin-like sneakers. I also have lots of bucks, wing-tips and desert boots for when I'm feeling very New York."

How he describes New York style: "New York is definitely the most diverse place in this nation, if not the world. It's a no-holds-barred, unabashed, brash, yet subtle and unaffected style. It's as in-your-face as its denizens."

How his style has evolved through the years: "It's gone from sweet and preppy young Coloradan—where I'm from—into a style that's definitely become my own. I've taken so many inspirations from people throughout the years, but I definitely believe I've developed my own sense of fashion, style and swagger."

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