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Fashionable at all costs

Each of these aggressively stylish New Yorkers makes less than $50K. How do they manage to look different every day?

RECOMMENDED: See all of this year's fall fashion content

Fall fashion 2007, stylish New Yorkers

Photo: Tim Soter
Grooming: Melanie Harris for Oliver Piro; Special thanks to The Park

Ian Bradley, 21
Works the door at 205 and Annex

“I got my sense of style from my grandmother. She was always coordinated: jogging suits with a matching beret, church outfits with pumps to match her skirt and hat. I get a little excessive with the coordination myself sometimes. I’m always shopping­—probably at least five hours a week. God, that’s kind of depressing. I spend about $60 a week on clothes. No, okay, about $70. No, wait, $80. Wait, no. Let’s say $60 for sure. The door gigs pay pretty well, and it’s in cash. Still, I don’t have Internet or cable in my apartment. And I’d be late on my rent in order to pay for something really great. Oh my God, my roommate will kill me.”

“Something should always be kind of witty about the way I’m dressed. Like a funny ballerina pin, or this conductor’s hat. I got it at Screaming Mimi’s.”

“I’m obsessed with plaid right now. I just love it. I think I’m getting brainwashed by my friends—they’re all obsessed with grunge. So this is my way of doing grunge.”

“This is a vintage D&G trench coat. It cost $3 in D.C.”

Fall fashion 2007, stylish New Yorkers

Photo: Tim Soter

Field Kallop, 25
Painter, assistant to Chuck Close

“In the art world, anything goes. There are a lot of people who are pretty out-there. My style is bohemian, feminine and flowy. And living in the city, I try to make it edgy. My bike has changed my life: I can avoid taking taxis and subways, so I save a lot of money that way. Also, my mom has great things in her closet that she’ll occasionally let me steal. When I’m considering buying something, I try to think about whether I’m gonna really be bummed if I get home and I don’t have it. Occasionally there’s that belt or that necklace that I think is gonna be worth it in the end. As I get older, I find that every few months I’ll buy a really nice dress instead of crappy dresses from H&M that I won’t love as much.”

“The vest is from the Kate Moss for Topshop collection. I like that it’s really versatile—great for layering, and it’s a neutral color. Sometimes I keep the clothes more subdued so I can add necklaces and belts and things.”

“I love accessories. Buying nice, big pieces and wearing them to jazz up an outfit is a good tactic. I got this necklace at the Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market. There’s an amazing African-necklace man there who I get lots of big African jewelry from. Sometimes I catch myself putting on tons of necklaces and bracelets and rings and belts, and I try to walk out my door and I’m like, Maybe this is a little too much.”

“I am obsessed with Cheap Monday jeans. I have several pairs, and I wear them almost every day. These I got at Opening Ceremony for, like, $60. They’re amazing—you should know about them!”

Fall fashion 2007, stylish New Yorkers

Photo: Tim Soter
Grooming: Melanie Harris for Oliver Piro

Sara Copeland, 23
Former Heineken promotional model

“Heineken models have to wear really ugly uniforms—I had to dress up as a Heineken secret agent, a Dos Equis cowgirl…all deeply, deeply embarrassing. So I’m pretty pleased about having been fired. I grew up in Kennebunkport, Maine, which was very Ann Taylor–L.L.Bean preppy: I was Lily Pulitzer–ed out at an early age. But I’ve always had a bit more of a progressive sense of fashion. I’m into kindergarten chic—pretty much just how I wanted to dress when I was five: poufy dresses and knee-highs. I rent the smallest bedroom in a railroad apartment, search for open bars when I go out and work shitty jobs that I don’t like—all to save cash for shopping. If I had endless amounts of money, most of it would go to clothes. Um, and charity.”

“This dress is made from some sort of industrial fabric from the ’50s and was hand painted. It was built on a girl with bigger boobs than me, so we had to take it in. I got it from my friend’s store, Mandate of Heaven, which sells only reconstructed one-of-a-kind vintage stuff. The cool thing about having a friend who owns a store is that she lets me pay in installments. This dress was $180, and I’ve been paying it off since March.”

“These are from the Cynthia Rowley for Keds line from the early ’90s. My friend bought them in the wrong size and then sold ’em to me. They’re lower than the heels I usually wear, which is great.”

“I buy knee-highs at Duane Reade—it’s ten pairs for $5. I’ve been wearing them for a long time, and they’re coming into style now. Not that I’m taking responsibility for that, per se.”

Jenna Flanagan, 30
Radio news producer at WNYC

“I like to create an entire look around a theme. I try to keep it not too costumey, but I’ve been told I cross the line sometimes. One day this summer I had on a yellow ’50s-style dress and a tulle skirt under it to make it really bounce. And I had on big, rounded sunglasses and tie espadrille shoes with polka dots. I could have stopped there, but then I thought, No! I’m gonna put this white scarf over my head. Yeah. And that was when someone was like, ‘Um, are you an extra from…?’

“I probably spend a full weekend shopping for every season. I go when stuff is on clearance. You have to be willing to dig. I’ll spend between $300 and $500. I sacrifice time more than anything for fashion: I’m notoriously late because I’ll be at home trying on earrings or something. Many people have spent time waiting for me. And there’s no such thing as overpacking in my world, though I’ve really been working on it. It’s like trying to stop smoking. The thing is, my outfits are ensembles from head to toe, and not to have one piece will wreck them. I can’t wear the swing jacket without the long opera gloves. Can’t do it. It makes for a packing challenge. I’ll go for weekends with a full suitcase. And I mean full: The zippers are screaming.”

“Oh my God, this sweater is from that teenage-girl store, Delia*s. I try to stay away from that teen-fashion thing, but every so often I’ll find a piece on their sale rack that I can work with. Most of the time, I try to do it online to avoid the shame of going in there. Because seriously, it’s just me and the 12-year-olds.”

“I bought these tights from Strawberry on the way here.”

Fall fashion 2007, stylish New Yorkers

Photo: Tim Soter

Suzanne Szuba, 25
Administrative assistant to the VP of programming and production at Music Choice

“I don’t really have enough money to go shopping, so I’ve learned to not go crazy and not buy on impulse. I’m that annoying person in the dressing room who tries on everything and only buys one thing. It has to be a good price, and it has to work for lots of seasons. I spend about $40 per month on clothes. I always layer, and I always keep it colorful. I don’t like accessories: Somehow I always like something in the store and then bring it home and hate it because it’s too much. I’m not trying to be all pop-princess superstar or anything. I’m just trying to dress for work!”

“The vest was about $10 at H&M. I got it small because I’m so tiny I might look lost in a bigger one.”

“This is actually a skirt that I hiked up over my chest. I got it at J.Crew, like, four years ago. My body shape never changes, so I’ve kept everything I’ve ever bought from high school on. The whole skirt-up-to-my-chest thing is kind of a new look for me. The vest holds it up because I don’t have much of a chest.”

Fall fashion 2007, stylish New Yorkers

Photo: Tim Soter

Adam Davidson, 26
Designer at Sage and Coombe Architects

“As a kindergartner, I wore a bow tie to school every day, I think because I was obsessed with penguins. I grew up in in Puyallup, Washington, which is full of tacky people. They don’t really recognize the good things when they see them, so the vintage stores are always full of good finds. Since I got to New York, I’ve been into mixing high and low fashion. I like to sew some of my own garments—I sometimes pick up clothes from the street and alter them. It’s something I’ve tried to curb since the bedbug epidemic, but you can find some really good stuff. I probably spend about six hours a month on shopping and altering. To save cash for clothes, I’m a member of the Park Slope Food Coop, and I cook at home a lot. I don’t have a television—so no cable—and I steal my Internet from the neighbors. How much do I spend on clothes? Hm, probably—God, this is scary—about $1,000 per season.”

“I got these Rogan jeans at a sample sale. My ex-boyfriend John tips me off on sample-sale schedules, and sometimes even holds items for me. I cuff the jeans because they have a selvage edge, which is nice to show off to the knowing eye. It gives them a more playful look.”

“The shirt is Yves Saint Laurent from a Washington State thrift store.”

“This is my father’s high-school ring. My parents met in high school in Panama.”