7 Things I Always Wear After Living in NYC, Paris and L.A.

I've been lucky enough to live in some of the most incredible cities in the world, at least in my personal opinion—NYC, Paris and L.A. Each city is a unique place to live with its own local cultures and customs, and similarly, each place has its own take on fashion. Living in each place has opened me up to what makes each spot known for fashion in its own right, and I picked up some ideas about how to dress along the way—with plenty of personal outfits to share.

In L.A., I discovered how to style casual pieces like jeans and athleisure looks that are core to every Angeleno's wardrobe. NYC is where I learned about practicality. Before living there, I never had to dress for a cold winter, so I found out firsthand how New Yorkers manage to look chic while also shielding themselves from the elements—and how to maximize small wardrobe space. In Paris, I really mastered how to build out a wardrobe of great basics and investment items that I'll wear again and again, a method of getting dressed that felt very common among the most stylish Parisian women I met.

Ahead, I'm diving into my editor wardrobe that was crafted after picking up style lessons in these fashion capitals, including the key pieces I always wear and the ones I learned to skip.

Skip: Layers as an Afterthought

Wear: Tailored Outerwear


(Image credit: @kristenmarienichols)

New York was the place where I really learned about the importance of layering, and I grew my collection of pieces like tailored blazers and coats. They're practical items to transition throughout the seasons, but they're also key items for pulling together a look.

Shop my picks:

Skip: Mismatched Athleisure

Wear: Coordinating Workout Sets


(Image credit: @kristenmarienichols)

I used to throw on whichever T-shirt and leggings were sitting at the top of my drawer, but nothing looks more pulled-together than a coordinating athleisure set. It instantly feels intentional and polished. Plus, getting dressed couldn't be easier than throwing on a matching set. In L.A., this is practically a uniform that can be dressed up with pieces like blazers and cool sneakers.

Shop my picks:

Skip: A personality-Void Wardrobe

Wear: Elements of Fun


(Image credit: @kristenmarienichols)

While I can easily get stuck in my comfort zone of just wearing basics and neutral shades, I think it's so important to remember to add elements of fun to your wardrobe—whether it's an unexpected colour or a cool trend that's a bit outside of what you would normally wear. This is always something I'm inspired to do when I see all of the cool, experimental looks on the streets of L.A.

Shop my picks:

Skip: It Shoes

Wear: Go-With-Anything Shoes


(Image credit: @kristenmarienichols)

If shoes become too *It*, they tend to feel dated pretty quickly. To avoid this, I tend to buy shoes that feel like they have a shelf life that will last past a season and can be worn with a lot of pieces in my closet. Walking around Paris, I noticed that most French women followed this rule for shoes, and it really stuck with me.

Shop my picks:

Skip: Cheap Basics

Wear: Quality Basics


(Image credit: @kristenmarienichols)

I always regret when I buy poorly made basics because I inevitably have to retire them after a few wears. Instead, I look for well-made basics that I can throw on again and again. It doesn't always mean making an expensive purchase if you know what to look for.

Shop my picks:

Skip: One-Wear Accessories

Wear: Versatile Accessories


(Image credit: @kristenmarienichols)

In the past, I was often tempted to purchase accessories that served a very specific purpose and then just sat in my closet. New York wardrobes, however, are very small, so I had to make smarter decisions about the accessories that took up precious space.

Shop my picks:

Skip: Overthinking It

Wear: One-of-a-Kind Pieces


(Image credit: @kristenmarienichols)

It was during my many visits to vintage shops in Paris that I learned the importance of scooping up cool one-of-a-kind pieces and taking some risks in my wardrobe. Whether a vintage find or a unique piece from an emerging brand, those are usually the items I love most in my closet.

Shop my picks:

Next up, the biggest autumn/winter 2021 fashion trends to know. 

This piece originally appeared on Who What Wear U.S. 

Associate Director, Special Projects

Kristen Nichols is the Associate Director, Special Projects at Who What Wear with over a decade of experience in fashion, editorial, and publishing. She oversees luxury content and wedding features, and covers fashion within the luxury market, runway reporting, shopping features, trends, and interviews with leading industry experts. She also contributes to podcast recordings, social media, and branded content initiatives. Kristen has worked with brands including Prada, Chanel, MyTheresa, and Luisa Via Roma, and rising designers such as Refine and Tove, and her style has been featured in publications including Vogue.com, Vogue France, WWD, and the CFDA. Before Who What Wear, Kristen began her career at Rodarte, where she worked on assistant styling, photo shoots, and runway shows, and at Allure, where she moved into print and digital editorial. She graduated from the University of Southern California, where she studied art history and business, and currently lives in New York.