Most stylish New Yorkers: Nikka Graff Lanzarone

Broadway performer Nikka Graff Lanzarone has a soft spot for sheer clothing, open-back details and wedges.

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Broadway performer Nikka Graff Lanzarone proves she’s one of New York’s most stylish denizens by modeling her favorite high-low outfits. She shops at indie stores such as Pixie Market, Alter and Honey in the Rough, and tends her mane at NYC salons Tommy Guns and Bumble and Bumble.


  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

    “This outfit makes me feel like I’m putting a modern twist on the off-duty ’60s film-star thing,” explains Lanzarone, who pairs high-waisted pants she scored on sale from Urban Outfitters (locations throughout the city; visit urbanoutfitters.com) with a Cheap Monday button-up. “I love the pleats in the back and the fact that it’s just sheer enough to be interesting, but not so much as to get me arrested,” she enthuses of her shirt.

  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

    After searching for the perfect pair of loafers, Lanzarone discovered these leopard-print Kelsi Dagger versions at Century 21 (locations throughout the city; visit c21stores.com). “I don’t have a lot of flats that I wear on an everyday basis, so these were a welcome addition to my shoe collection,” she notes.

  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

    This Kendra Scott Jewelry (kendrascott.com) pendant necklace hails from a Gilt (gilt.com) flash sale. “I have had a love affair with yellow ever since I saw Contact on Broadway in 2000,” admits Lanzarone. “I was so desperately obsessed with the yellow dress [in the dance number Girl in a Yellow Dress] that I even designed my prom dress to be the same hue. It’s a tricky color to pull off, but it makes me so happy!”

  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

    “I use jewelry as a way of marking important things that happen in my life and career,” says Lanzarone. To wit, she purchased the Meetalls (meetalls.etsy.com) stacked brass rings after booking her first Broadway show, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, in 2010 and bought her signature Metal Sugar bar ring in 2009 while working on Peepshow at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas. “It was my first really big contract and the first thing I’d booked with my then-new agents,” she recalls. “There were a lot of firsts with that show.”

  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

    “Nothing I’m wearing here cost more than $20,” declares Lanzarone. That includes her Forever 21 (locations throughout the city; visit forever21.com) pleated skirt and Blue Rain star-print top from Baltimore boutique Francesca’s Collections (francescas.com).

  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

    Lanzarone layers a mint-colored stone bracelet from ModCloth (modcloth.com) over a J.Crew (locations throughout the city; visit jcrew.com) pyramid-stud bangle, picked up at the chain’s outlet store in the Berkshires.

  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

    Not only did this Free People hat (locations throughout the city; visit freepeople.com) cost a mere $19, but its fit is unrivaled. “I have a super small head and very slippery hair, so it was pretty exciting to find a big floppy hat that wouldn’t go flying at the first sign of wind,” explains Lanzarone. She holds up a black-stone necklace that belonged to her mother. “She doesn’t wear silver jewelry, so I stole this about ten years ago,” she says. “She and my grandmother have some incredible silver stuff that I have slowly poached from my childhood home a few pieces at a time.”

  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

    “I’m a wedge hoarder—it’s a problem,” confesses Lanzarone, referring to these striped Lela Rose for Payless espadrilles (locations throughout the city; visit payless.com).

  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

    A Forever 21 fuchsia blazer complements an asymmetrical burgundy Millau top, which Lanzarone “pulled from the wreckage of the semiannual sale at LF (149 Spring St between West Broadway and Wooster St, 212-966-5889 • 150 Fifth Ave between 19th and 20th Sts, 212-645-1334 • lfstores.com).” She finishes the look with cuffed jeans from Topshop. “[The store] makes my absolute favorite pair: the Jamie,” she enthuses.

  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

    Lanzarone holds up a DIY project she’s particularly proud of. “It’s sort of a Franken-necklace, cobbled together from separate necklaces I never wore by themselves, but love wearing together,” she explains. She strung a gold ring from interactive play Sleep No More (sleepnomorenyc.com), a small dagger picked up at the Brooklyn Flea(27 North 6th St between Kent Ave and the East River, Williamsburg, Brooklyn • 176 Lafayette Ave between Clermont and Vanderbilt Aves, Fort Greene, Brooklyn • brooklynflea.com), an N pendant that was a gift from her parents, a Marc by Marc Jacobs key charm and a basic safety pin along an old gold-plated chain.

  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

    “The leather is so buttery soft, it’s like magic,” gushes Lanzarone of these Zara wedges (locations throughout the city; visit zara.com). “I can wear them for days and barely notice the height, that’s how comfortable they are. They feel like dance shoes.”

  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

    This Season JS silk tunic dress, purchased from e-tailer Need Supply Co. (needsupply.com), is Lanzarone’s version of the perfect little black dress. “It shows just a little too much leg on the side, but I have worn this everywhere from hot summer days [out] to fancy opening nights,” she says. “It really does work dressed up and down.”

  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

    Lanzarone punches up her basic black outfit with a sparkling statement necklace from Madewell (115 Fifth Ave at 19th St, 212-228-5172 • 486 Broadway at Broome St, 212-226-6954 • madewell.com), delicate stud earrings that were a 21st birthday gift and Shiseido lipstick in #RS320. “It was a special gift from legendary makeup artist Dick Page,” she explains of her lip color. “He designed the makeup for Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, a Broadway show I did in the fall of 2010. He bestowed this shade on me and made it my signature during our first photo shoot for the show. It makes me stand a little taller every time I wear it.”

  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

    Lanzarone scored these Robert Clergerie for Opening Ceremony peep-toe booties during the final days of a Barneys Warehouse Sale.

  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

    “I find myself becoming more fearless with weird sheer pieces,” says Lanzarone, who wears a crocheted skirt from Urban Outfitters over Sneaky Fox kneepad stockings (sneakyfox.com). “I’m trying to work up the nerve to wear those tights in public. Until I do, they will float under that skirt like a secret.” She counts the H&M (locations throughout the city; visit hm.com) spaghetti-strap tank as one of her wardrobe staples. “I buy them in multiples and wear them for everything, with a few reserved for dance class and rehearsals.”

  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

    This intricate body harness is a custom creation by Merl Kinzie of Clyde’s Rebirth (clydesrebirth.etsy.com). Lanzarone commissioned it as a birthday gift for herself.

  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

    Another Gilt purchase, these Seychelles (seychellesfootwear.com) wedges boast serious longevity. “They’re comfortable and they’ve lasted a long time, especially with the amount of walking we all do in the city,” she enthuses. “I’m really hard on shoes, and these [have held up].”

  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

    “This outfit is probably the best example of the high-low style I go for,” notes Lanzarone. She layers a Rodarte for Target lace cardigan over a Doo.Ri (doori-nyc.com) tank scored at the biannual Barneys Warehouse Sale. Kushyfoot (kushyfoot.com) tights from Duane Reade (locations throughout the city; visit duanereade.com) help winterize Forever 21 knit shorts.

  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

    Another discovery plucked from Lanzarone’s mother’s jewelry box, this beaded necklace belonged to her late grandmother. “She passed away when I was little, so I love being able to carry her with me through her jewelry,” says Lanzarone. “It makes me feel like I’ve gotten to know her better through her style.”

  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

    Lanzarone treated herself to these Marc by Marc Jacobs booties from DSW (locations throughout the city; visit dsw.com) for her birthday last year. “I wear them at least four days a week,” she swears. “They are perfect in every way.”

  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

    A faux-leather jacket from Express (locations throughout the city; visit express.com) serves as the ideal transitional piece for fall weather. “It feels and has broken in like a real leather jacket,” marvels Lanzarone. “I’ve had it for about three and a half years, and it has lasted beautifully.” She throws an American Apparel (locations throughout the city; visit americanapparel.net) circle scarf around her neck for added warmth.

Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

“This outfit makes me feel like I’m putting a modern twist on the off-duty ’60s film-star thing,” explains Lanzarone, who pairs high-waisted pants she scored on sale from Urban Outfitters (locations throughout the city; visit urbanoutfitters.com) with a Cheap Monday button-up. “I love the pleats in the back and the fact that it’s just sheer enough to be interesting, but not so much as to get me arrested,” she enthuses of her shirt.


Nikka Graff Lanzarone, 28, Broadway performer and “sometime stylist” (nikka-graff-lanzarone.com), Morningside Heights

Her personal style: “Bargain eclectic. I’m a mega sale hunter and I like staples with a twist—an open back, enough sparkle to keep it interesting, lots of jewelry, stolen vintage from my mother and absurd shoes. There’s a story behind almost every item I wear.”

Her inspirations: “My obsession with turning into an eccentric old lady à la Advanced Style (advancedstyle.blogspot.com); New York City; the knowledge that we are always evolving as people, so nothing sticks around for too long; and humanity in general. The fun thing about my job is the research I get to do into time periods, people, dance and music—that, of course, also worms its way into my wardrobe in so many ways.”

Favorite stores:Pixie Market (100 Stanton St between Ludlow and Orchard Sts; 212-253-0953, pixiemarket.com) has really cool pieces in a variety of price ranges. I especially love the droolworthy dresses. The girls that work at Honey in the Rough (161 Rivington St at Clinton St; 212-228-6415, honeyintherough.com) are the sweetest and not snobby at all. The selection is beautifully curated, and the jewelry is to die for. I can rarely afford anything, but if I do get the chance to splurge, it’s there. My boyfriend introduced me to Alter (109 Franklin St at Greenpoint Ave, Greenpoint, Brooklyn; 718-784-8818 • 140 Franklin St at Greenpoint Ave, Greenpoint, Brooklyn; 718-349-0203 • 407 Graham Ave between Jackson and Withers Sts, Williamsburg, Brooklyn; 718-609-0203 • shop.alterbrooklyn.com) through its blog. He used to live nearby, so it was a frequent stop on weekend walks. For vintage, I mostly buy from my friends. Maresa Ponitch runs Dusty Rose Vintage (dustyrosevintage.etsy.com) and she’s one of the most fun girls I know—always getting into the greatest kinds of trouble. I used her stock when dressing Sherie Rene Scott for the 2010 Tony Awards. The American Vernacular (theamericanvernacular.com) is one of the coolest vintage websites I’ve ever seen. It’s run by my childhood friend Bryn Lander. She travels around the country, scooping up amazing finds and styling them in today’s context. She’s pretty brilliant.”

Her signature accessories: “My vintage Coach bucket bag is the perfect staple piece. I sourced it on Etsy (etsy.com) after being jealous of my friend Maresa’s for so long. It holds absolutely everything and still looks amazing. The second is my silver bar ring, made by the incredible Melissa Cohen of Metal Sugar (metalsugar.com). I wear it every day—it’s an extension of me at this point—and it makes me feel just a little badass. It’s my armor.”

Favorite NYC designers: “Loyalty and Blood (loyaltyandblood.com) for its simple pieces with graphic shapes and beautiful materials, and Erica Weiner (173 Elizabeth St between Kenmare and Spring Sts; 212-334-6383, ericaweiner.com) for her sheer ability to make something that everyone can love, no matter their style—that’s a rare gift. My good friend Elise Dee (elisedee.com) is a beautiful designer—her clothes move like none other. She also does awesome custom work.”

How she describes New York style: “It surely runs the gamut. It celebrates the individual. You can wear anything—even a gigantic Elmo suit—and nobody bats an eyelash. There is a freedom to dressing here that I’m in love with. When New York style is good, there’s nothing in the world like it. When it’s not, well…”

How her style has evolved: “It’s taken some time, but I know what looks good on my body. I know my favorite colors, I know my go-to items, I know what speaks to me. I’ve seen enough trends come and go by now that I can really get a sense of what works and what doesn’t. I’ve become a little more fearless and less worried about what other people think of my looks. I grew up in Los Angeles, where it’s harder to carve out individual style, plus the weather rarely changes. I truly found my sartorial self when I moved east.”

Favorite salons: “I get my hair cut by Jenna Brauer at Tommy Guns (138 Ludlow St between Rivington and Stanton Sts, 212-477-1151 • 85 North 3rd St between Berry St and Wythe Ave, Williamsburg, Brooklyn; 718-388-8288 • tommygunsny.com). She is the genius behind the hair in Chicago on Broadway and the only person I trust to cut mine. Grato Longoria at Bumble and bumble (146 E 56th St between Lexington and Third Aves; 212-521-6500, bumbleandbumble.com) does my hair color. He is the sweetest man on the planet—he also rescues animals and was featured in The New York Times for his amazing work. I’ve been loyal to him for the past seven years, and he’s truly worth [the cost]. I’m not huge on the spa scene—I’m very much a corner-nail-salon kind of girl—but acupuncture by Tripp Hanson (230 W 38th St between Seventh and Eighth Aves, 12th floor; healingperspective.com) is an absolute must.”


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