Soho is one of New York City's most fashion-forward neighborhoods. Short for South of Houston Street, it was once home to a bustling art scene -- marked by lofts, galleries and starving artists. The artsy feel and bohemian spirit still exists today, but in recent years the neighborhood has become more expensive. While it still retains its earlier charm -- the cobblestone streets, the unique architecture -- you'll now find many trendy boutiques and upscale galleries in the area.
The Soho chic look is what you see "on the streets" of Soho -- a style that's a mixture of the area's artsy, bohemian (boho) roots and more modern, urban, elegant and edgy flair. Soho fashionistas combine high-end designer pieces with thrifty vintage pieces to create eclectic ensembles that are both comfortable and mod. Here are the basics you'll need to achieve the Soho chic look.
Every lady needs a little black dress (LBD). It's a staple among Manhattan women (and women everywhere), Soho included, because it's so versatile. But where most women take the LBD and dress it up with expensive jewelry and sky-high heels, the Soho chic lady dresses it down a bit, instead.
How about pairing your LBD with a tailored men's shirt, a fitted jacket, a vintage coat or a cardigan sweater? Wear tights, leggings or leave your legs bare (depending on the weather), then make the outfit street smart by adding some designer label boots or funky flats.
The tailored jacket is an essential piece for the Soho chic look -- again, because of its versatility. You can wear the jacket out and about in the crisp fall weather or on cool summer nights, and it goes with everything. Wear your jacket with your little black dress, or with a tee and skirt. Try it with jeans. Match it with a tank top.
Remember, though, we're talking about a fitted jacket. Don't go with a loose, overly long, or oversized jacket. You'll end up looking sloppy instead of sleek, and it'll take away from the rest of your outfit. Soho chic is definitely about comfort and ease, but it's also about sophistication.
Denim is big in Soho -- skinny jeans, fitted jeans, denim minis and retro denim jackets. The key to wearing denim is wearing only one piece at a time. Don't pair a denim jacket with a jeans skirt, or jeans with a denim jacket. And avoid the ripped, torn up look. Your denim should be neat and clean -- not acid-washed or faded.
Many vintage stores and thrift shops are bringing back jeans jackets. You can pair one with a nice skirt and fitted tee or blouse, along with some trendy pumps, boots or flats. Think about adding a colorful designer scarf for a pop of color. As for jeans, skinny jeans are still trending, but flared are turning up as well. Your jeans should fit you well -- never too baggy or too long. Matched with your tailored jacket, you'll look great running errands in the city or hitting your local favorite haunt for brunch.
You're probably thinking that the pieces identified so far are rather basic. That's where accessories come in. Your accessories are what make your outfit chic and stylish. Think anything from bangle bracelets to designer shoes, a funky handbag to dangly earrings. This is where you get to bring out pops of color and excitement to your outfit.
You can also use your shoes to make a statement. If you're wearing your little black dress with a classic tailored jacket, why not pick up some neon or bright colored flats to spice up the outfit? Or even some fun patterned tights with a pair of trendy boots? Also think about statement jewelry -- bold necklaces or cocktail rings. They go with everything from jeans to skirts.
The biggest draw of Soho is its assortment of vintage shops and artist wares. Women who best pull off the Soho chic look always sport some sort of unique piece, be it a scarf, a pin, a vintage coat or piece of jewelry. You can find vintage shops on Spring Street and Canal Street to whet your appetite, although they're sprinkled all throughout the neighborhood. A quality vintage store will make sure their clothes are clean and free of rips and stains, but you should take a good look at each piece to ensure you're buying something that's in good condition. Finding stylish vintage pieces requires a good eye and lots of patience, so be ready to browse.
To add a twist of your own personal style to your outfit, check out some of the artist boutiques for handmade jewelry and accessories. There's nothing more chic than having a one-of-a-kind piece -- from hand-strung glass beads to funky eyeglass frames to hammered metal bangles. It will attract attention and add an element of the unique to your ensemble.
Squeezing into a tight pair of Spanx can make you look better, if not feel better. Learn about shapewear by reading this article at HowStuffWorks.
- G, Susie. "Street Style Stalking: New York City's Soho Neighborhood Dives into Denim." Stylecaster. May 18, 2012. (June 16, 2012) http://news.stylecaster.com/street-style-stalking
- Stephens, Lydia. "What is SoHo Chic?" Type F. Jan. 6, 2012. (June 16, 2012) http://www.typef.com/article/soho-chic/