Somewhere around day four of NYFW is when things really start to get interesting. The beginning of the week is all excited hellos and gushing compliments from industry friends carrying impractically small handbags. Enthusiastic catch-ups ensue with NYC blow-ins you haven’t seen since last fashion week—everyone is fresh, on time, and appropriately caffeinated, ready for the week (or month) ahead.
Give it a minute. By midweek, the cracks start to show—presentations run late, meaning more shows run late as models and front-rowers navigate crosstown traffic. New York City seemingly comes to a standstill as Uber fares soar and Escalades with tinted windows barely make an effort to pull over on one-way streets. Smartphone batteries run critically low, dinner plans get cancelled, and even my chill Australian blogger friends grow fidgety as they miss the business-day window for another time zone.
Is fashion week great? Yes. Does it go according to plan? Oh, hell no. Am I too ambitious with my outfit changes? Well, probably, but when else can I try out a look and breezily put it down to “Hey, it was fashion week!”? Daring to dive into this whole visible-bra thing that’s taken over my Instagram feed, I set out on one full day of embracing what’s affectionately been dubbed the “naked” trend. Ride along with me as I take on another overloaded day mid-NYFW and squeeze in four chic ways to put the new Victoria’s Secret Unlined Bras on display for the world to see. (Sorry, Mum.)
Natalie wears Victoria’s Secret’s Wicked Unlined Uplift Bra in Black Retro Romance Lace with Equipment’s Aurora Top, Art Youth Society's rings, and vintage Levi’s 512 jeans from Awoke Vintage.
Fortunately I’m of the belief that moments of sartorial greatness don’t come from a head-to-toe runway look arriving pressed and ready in a garment bag. No—such moments rise from the ashes of regretful emails from once-doting PR showrooms hurriedly explaining that said look is still with the messenger and unfortunately may not arrive on time. Secretly thrilled to get to wear my favorite jeans three days in a row, I reach for my token “I’m a sophisticated, grown-up lady” lace bra and this incredible bow-cuffed sheer blouse (that I somehow managed to dress myself in without catching it on any of my jewelry). Shout-out to my currently super-open shoulders that allow me to tie the bow at the nape of my neck—this is why we yoga.
I catch a glimpse of myself in the window at Sweatshop as I head downstairs to grab some breakfast. You can most certainly see my bra. My coffee is made by a friendly Melbournian guy who doesn’t so much as blink at my see-through-top situation. I eat and send some emails from my phone before jumping into a car en route to the first show of the day, throwing on a podcast to remind myself that non-fashion-related things are indeed still happening in the world this week. Side note: If you’re not starting your day with Michael Barbaro’s super-soothing voice on The Daily, you’re not living your best life.
Email from the front desk: My dream fall coat has arrived a day early! I swing by the Who What Wear offices in Union Square for a lightning-quick costume change. Is it almost 80 degrees out? Why, yes, but that’s not going to stop me from wearing this coat. The exaggerated silhouette looks great shrugged off one shoulder; I knot the belt to keep things in place. A quick bra swap to an on-trend berry hue that teams perfectly with my clutch, et voilà—the exposed strap feels 100% intentional.
I suddenly recall that I recently lifted a bottle of dry shampoo from the Byrdie beauty editors, aka the heavenly angels of free product. I turn myself upside down and empty the bottle on my roots, marveling at the wonder of this godsend. I really have to wash my hair tonight. I make it to the next show in record time, fending off emails like a ninja the whole way there.
It has never taken so long, in the entire history of transportation, to get to SoHo from way the hell over on the West Side (where everyone loves having shows). Honestly, why is there even a part of Manhattan west of Ninth Avenue? Despite my best efforts to channel the calming yogi things I’m supposed to have mastered by now (but can’t remember the names of), I arrive annoyed and late and flustered, and I repeatedly apologize to a door girl, who either couldn’t care less or can’t understand my accent. I stand in the foyer and watch the live stream of the show with two young, wide-eyed PR assistants, one of whom is super stoked to be wearing her headset; the other tells me he likes what I’ve “done with that coat.” As the show finishes, I take a second to appreciate the fact that I’m a human who gets to be here at all.
I grab a super-quick bite in NoLIta with friends from home; having my Sydney crew in town is 100% the best thing about fashion week (hi, Chloe; hi, Carmen; hi, Talisa; hi, Tanja!). After eating more than my fair share of our shared plates, I jump on the subway and head to my boyfriend’s apartment in Chelsea, where my third outfit (and set of lingerie) is patiently waiting for me. I love this, as I’m really into these “head-to-tonal” looks in a fall color—especially carrying it seamlessly from the crop pants of the suit down to the snake-effect boots.
I needed a particularly polished outfit to make such a blatant bra-on-display situation work. The key to keeping it chic? High-waisted trousers and a carefully selected, uncomplicated navy bra like Victoria’s Secret’s Unlined Demi Bra—the slightly more athletic vibe of the V adds a sporty touch to the tailoring. I zip to the last show of the day by train, where I spot two girls dressed to the nines struggling to keep their balance in their socks and stilettos. We exchange a knowing look that says, “Hey, beats sitting in rush-hour traffic.”
Energy levels are low, but I’m very excited about dinner. As always, I have absolutely no idea if everyone will be dressed to the nines or keeping it casual, so I pop home to Williamsburg and throw together something that can safely lean either way. Layering a sheer black T-shirt over an equally sheer bra, I add classic tuxedo separates and boyish loafers to balance out the “hey, sexy lady” vibe. Vintage gold jewelry keeps a simple black outfit feeling ultra-luxe, and my current belt-bag obsession gives it a modern twist.
By now, my hair is beyond the help of any amount of dry shampoo, so I opt for a center part and a low bun to balance out this serious lipstick situation I’ve committed myself to. Aside from the 12 minutes I spend staring at my reflection wondering if I can pull off wearing lipstick, this is a contender for all-time-quickest outfit change. Interestingly enough, at no point do I wonder whether I can pull off this sheer T-shirt situation… Perhaps it just feels conservative compared to my last look, but I suspect this “naked” trend is actually more wearable than I initially gave it credit for.
SHOP THE LOOK:
A whole lot of Italian food and red wine later, I’m finally home. My boyfriend looks up at me when I walk in to his place and says, “Hey, you’re wearing lipstick!” but doesn’t mention the exposed bra. Interesting. I crawl into bed with a huge stack of makeup wipes, turn on The Daily Show, and wince as I open my unread emails. As soon as everything’s under control, I’m sound asleep and ready to do it all again tomorrow.
Whether you’re looking for the perfect lingerie to put on display or just want a super-comfortable bra to wear under everything that shows off your natural shape, the new Victoria’s Secret Unlined collection has you covered (just). Shop Natalie’s picks—plus countless more styles—here.