After a year-plus of wearing sweatpants around the house, some of us may be rediscovering joy in the novel concept of putting on outfits. Or at least, semi-acceptable clothing to wear in public. Styling a look may be intimidating to those of us who see the street style game in the neighborhood — unless you’re in the know, who can compete with Greenpoint’s fashionistas? And that’s where local stylist and debut author Heather Newberger comes in.
Newberger’s new book, How to Date Your Wardrobe: And Other Ways to Revive, Revitalize, and Reinvigorate Your Style, helps readers define their personal style, and best express your inner self through clothing, accessories and all those little treasures you’re tempted to buy from Greenpoint’s plethora of small shops.
Greenpointers caught up with Newberger on her writing process, favorite creative spots in the neighborhood, and how her beautifully illustrated book found its way to the shelves at Word.
Where did the idea for ‘How To Date Your Wardrobe’ come from?
Even though I’ve been writing narrative essays my whole life, I never saw them as something I could combine with my experience as a professional stylist. While I’ve fought to champion all shapes, genders, ages and skin colors throughout my career, it’s mostly been through the casting process, or the way I work with models on set. At the end of 2018 however, I suddenly saw a way my professional and personal lives could support one another.
While How to Date Your Wardrobe is a guide that discusses style, I would never call it a “style guide.” The way each of us engage with fashion is extremely intimate, and no one knows your body better than you do! Which is why How to Date Your Wardrobe was not written to tell people what to wear, but instead, to offer quick and actionable advice that can be utilized by real people on a day to day basis.
What was your writing process for this book like?
I joined the Greenpoint Writers Group in 2016 and still have a very close relationships with its members to this day. Hearing how your work functions from someone who isn’t your mother or best friend is invaluable, and I have WORD to thank for allowing us to be their resident writing group for many years.
While How to Date Your Wardrobe wasn’t a direct product of the group, my experience as part of it did feed into it in many ways. A few of the members were readers, and without my experience as a narrative essayist, would never have been able to write a book that functions as both a tool, and an intimate portrait of the way our relationship with clothing can affect the way we see ourselves. —
Do you have any favorite places in Greenpoint to read, write or brainstorm?
I have a very soft spot for CUP on Norman. Even though the space is small, by not offering internet access to customers, you’re really able to focus on your work, or whatever your reading, without distraction, or a little distraction, should you welcome it. Post pandemic, I’m super excited to start working at the library. It’s not everyone’s style ,but I really like the feeling of being surrounded by other creatives while I’m making work. A/D/O was such a great space for that, and I look forward to the new Greenpoint library filling that void.
Do you have any local style predictions for this upcoming season?
When it comes to spring fashion — which I think of as “post COVID” fashion, even if we’re still living through this dang pandemic! — I anticipate we’re going to see two really strong ends of the spectrum emerge.
In one camp, we’ll have people who aren’t yet ready to start wearing clothes again, which will play out in a lot of intentionally oversized looks. However in the other camp, there are the individuals who have been DYING to wear everything in their closet for over a year. Not only will these people lean into their style, I imagine they’ll be leaning in hard. I’m excited for to see what happens. I think it’s going to be a really inspiring time to walk the streets.
You can purchase How to Date Your Wardrobe at Word. Word will also virtually host Heather in conversation with Tembe Denton-Hurst at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 25. RSVP online.