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Chris Luttrell / © Culture Trip
Chris Luttrell / © Culture Trip
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Dress Like a New Yorker with Styled By Phil

Picture of Jill Di Donato
Fashion Editor
Updated: 2 August 2018
New York stylist Phil B. Gomez is known by fashion industry insiders as Styled By Phil. Here, he shows you how to curate a stylish New York look using DIY, thrifted, and repurposed statement pieces.

“The more uncomfortable you feel in an outfit, the more you are forced to build confidence,” says Gomez on how to raise your sartorial self-esteem New York style. “Whenever you’re doubting yourself, go crazier with your look and do something unexpected.”

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Stylist Phil Gomez with his dog Warhol

Creating the unexpected requires talent, eye, and what can only be called style alchemy.

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Gomez in his Bushwick studio | Chris Luttrell / © Culture Trip

While most stylists rely on pull letters to get the hottest labels and most on-trend statement pieces to make editorial fashion, Gomez is a master of DIY creativity.

Fresh off shooting editorial with Rose McGowen, Gomez has worked with Nelly Furtado, Amanda Lepore, and Susanne Bartsch. His work can be found in Paper, NYLON, Vogue Italia, as well as Posture (print) where he was a founding fashion editor. This stylist’s eye for the offbeat has helped him carve a niche in the New York fashion scene.

“I needed tiger striped shoes for a shoot, so I bought some tiger striped tape and made these,” says the stylist, whose ability to improvise is an asset in an industry where anything can happen, and usually does. In a world ruled by logo mania and influencer endorsements, Gomez’s DIY attitude is not only refreshing; it sets him apart from the crowd.

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Gomez models a pair of DIY heels | Chris Luttrell / © Culture Trip

Producer Sylvia Fargo argues that today, the stylists that succeed are those who work dynamically with fashion designers. In an article for the Business of Fashion, Fargo says,”Today, I think a stylist is more of a creative collaborator with a designer. They have such integral roles in creating looks. Panos Yiapanis‘ role as a stylist [at Givenchy] was almost like a designer in its own right. He is so confident and knows what he wants.”

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Gomez outside his Bushwick studio | Chris Luttrell / © Culture Trip

Gomez’s relationship with indie New York labels like Chromat, Bond Hardware, I Still Love You NYC, Músed, and Whatever 21 is what attracted Nelly Furtado as a client. “She wanted to wear an emerging brand … I knew exactly what to put her in. For our first meeting, I brought the outfit she ended up wearing, and one other look as a backup. She was expecting racks and racks of clothing, but ended up loving what I’d picked.” Since then, the two have worked together on several projects, developing the kind of personal relationship that makes for dynamic fashion.

🦄 @nellyfurtado for @cosmopolitan #styledbyphil

A post shared by Phil Gomez (@styledbyphil) on

Three styling tips essential to creating a New York look

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Fashion editor, Jill Di Donato and Gomez play around with Styled by Phil statement eyewear | Chris Luttrell / © Culture Trip

Says Gomez, “a great coat is very New York and it’s essential. A great shoe: New Yorkers go crazy for shoes. Accessories like a hat, scarf, belt, an earring—any sort of embellishment” are essential to give an outfit personality. “You can’t go wrong with good eyewear.” Hero sunglasses are always a fabulous investment.

“Go simple and classic with an aviator or cat-eye, or super embellished and extreme,” says Gomez. “Sunglasses are accessories that can go either way. They’re the ideal accessory if you want to go incognito or can totally elevate your look.”

How to organize your closet like a New Yorker

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The Built by Phil styling closet | Chris Luttrell / © Culture Trip

Although the city boasts spectacular architecture, New York’s real estate is infamous for scant closet space. Gomez keeps the goods in a room-turned-closet complete with three clothing racks, two shoe racks, a sunglasses station, and jewelry display. Dress forms are layered with showcase pieces.

Inspiration is everywhere and drawn from everything. Bright lighting is essential, as is impeccable organization—even if it seems like organized chaos to the untrained eye.

The lowdown on DIY fashion

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Gomez shows off a bird fascinator inspired by Sarah Jessica Parker | Chris Luttrell / © Culture Trip

The beauty of DIY is that everything becomes personal. “The whole DIY deconstructed, reconstructed fashion, or recycled trend is happening more and more in streetwear within New York,” says Gomez. “New York designers are now favoring the DIY aesthetic that’s DIY. There’s some work there that is genuinely done and not mass-produced.”

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Gomez pulls a look created for Nelly Furtado | Chris Luttrell / © Culture Trip

“I like to find a personal touch to bring to my work that, which is when I know I’m at my best.”

Thrift for wares at premium vintage like Beacon’s Closet, after finding international fashion inspiration from Dover Street Market, where Gomez suggests you “spend a few hours and shop floor by floor. You can find unique brands there. It’s the only place in New York to get your hands on certain things.”

To achieve Gomez’s “whimsical with an edge aesthetic,” the stylist suggests “shopping with intuition to look for pieces that provoke emotion.” Be prepared to enter the zone where you teeter on the edge of comfort to elevate your style, and go beyond trends.