We’ve highlighted the real salaries of fashion editors in the past, and many of you said the actual numbers were much lower than you expected. With that in mind, what can fashion editor salaries actually get you in New York City (where the majority of the industry lives)? Well, we did some digging to figure out just what you can get in NYC at different career levels.
We used reports from Glassdoor to find the average salaries of anonymous Condé Nast employees, used Prime Pay to figure out what those salaries are after taxes, and turned to the site Credit Counseling to determine that you should spend roughly 30% of your salary (after taxes!) on housing, 15% on food, and 5% on clothing. (Note we did not take into account transportation, utilities, and savings into this consideration for this specific piece).
Below, scope out our diagrams that show what an editorial assistant, associate editor, editor, senior editor, and director can spend per month to live in the Big Apple. The numbers may actually shock you. (Note that the suggestions for how editors should budget are general and just rough estimates).
Keep scrolling to see what it’s really like to live like a fashion editor. And ask yourself—how did Carrie Bradshaw live in on the Upper East Side as a freelance writer? Plus, go a bit further to shop items NYC editors would love.
If you have just over $600 for rent, you're going to need roommates—a few. According Zillow and Craigslist, for $600, you would need to share a room in Manhattan in places like the Bronx or have at least one roommate in places like Woodside, Queens. Since the food budget is tight, lavish meals are out of the question—perhaps one nice $50 meal per month. The rest of your budget will be spent cooking easy meals for yourself and bringing an affordable lunch to work. With only a $104 clothing budget, brands like Forever 21, as well as the abundance of NYC thrift stores, will make up most of your closet.
While $1000 per month on rent is a nice increase from the editorial assistant budget, it's not quite enough to live by yourself in most of Manhattan. However, according to Zillow, there are one-bedroom and studio apartments available for $1000 above 138th St., as well as in parts of Brooklyn and Queens. With a $505 food budget, you're able to eat out more than you were before at cute bistros and eateries that have a $$ price listing. Bringing your lunch to work daily is still your smartest move. Think about it: If you spend $10 on lunch daily, that's $50 per week or $200 per month on just your weekday lunches. In terms of clothing, Zara is your best bet to stay in that $167 range. For larger purchases like coats and boots, H&M is a strong option too.
If you're at the editor level, $1300 seems like a nice amount for rent—and it is. If you're looking to live by yourself, you'll be able to find studios in spots like the Lower East Side for this price if you want to stay in Manhattan. If you're looking for a larger space in the city, a roommate will still be necessary—but you'll be able to find two- and three-bedroom apartments to split in areas like the Upper East Side, Midtown West, and Chelsea. Interested in Brooklyn? East Williamsburg will have a few studios and one-bedrooms in your price range, but you can find bedrooms open among other roommates in North Williamsburg, for example, with this budget. In terms of food, eating out for lunch every single day is more realistic (if you stick to about a $10 per day maximum), and brunch every weekend and a few nights out per week with friends is more doable. With $224 to spend on clothes, you're still not able to buy designer—but can find those contemporary finds easier to stomach (on sale) at sites like Shopbop and can fill in the rest of your wardrobe with finds at brands like Mango.
With $1747 to spend on rent, the best spots in Manhattan are in Midtown—especially Midtown East—where you can snag a one-bedroom apartment for as low as $1600 per month, according to Zillow. While it's a safe bet to eat at home when you can, roughly $200 per week on food will allow you to eat out when you really want to. In terms of clothing, you'll be able to grab one higher-end item you really at somewhere like Sandro and build more of a wardrobe at places like Finery London.
Good news: $2193 is more than enough to rent your own space (either a studio or one-bedroom, depending on the area). It's your best bet to look for spots on the Upper East Side, Upper West Side, and the East Village if you want to stay in Manhattan. With over $1000 for food, you have about $250 to spend per week, which means you could eat out for every meal if you wanted to, but only one or two times on fancier meals of about $75. You also have more of an opportunity to shop contemporary labels like Tibi for one or two must-have pieces. Additionally, you could save for a few months to get a larger designer item from a brand like Marni.