This past Saturday I had plans to attend an art show held in a Manhattan apartment, plans that I, a municipal employee who works in a Queens office with a “bucket truck chic” dress code, tend to find myself underdressed for.  However, a combination of a successful fall shopping trip or two and a cooler-than-usual forecast after a soggy summer left me optimistic.  The preceding months have found me DOA (damp on arrival) so I was very excited to actually look as I’d intended.

Then it rained and was far too warm for the cardigan of which I was so proud anyhow, but that’s actually beside the point. Even had I been the crisp, just-hip-enough vision in denim that I had in my mind, I still would have fallen into a trap that I’ve been victim to before, one which I’m calling – and you heard it here first (if not, link me) – BFMC. Brooklyn Fancy Manhattan Casual.

BFMC is wearing a cardigan to a jacket party. It’s the moment you realize that you are not, in fact, “dressed up” like you thought you were (and would be at the Diamond) but in fact are just barely tolerable and certainly not fooling anyone.

It’s what you wear to the “nice” bar in your rotation when you’re feeling flush and it’s still a notch or two above the Bushwick Uniform (which features black jeans that seamlessly merge into black boots that you change the laces on in lieu of a wider footwear collection) but still leads one to think that when you do make it to yoga you Pay-What-You-Wish and it’s rarely in the morning when you imagine the real grown-ups go.

BFMC is a level of dress that says “I can afford to look awesome, but only one piece at a time.”  That’s at least how I viewed my Saturday ensemble against a backdrop of crisp shirts that likely spend their days under more than a single suit and flag belts that indicate yacht club memberships other than the NBBC.


I obviously write this from a specific perspective, but I’ll bet the phenomenon manifests in every inter-borough community.  What I’m really curious about is whether, on the tail end of a Saturday night in the depths of the Palace Café, one can spot the guy who has finally caved to his friends’ summonses and has done his best to dial Manhattan Out down to Brooklyn In.

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