Jenny Zych

WELCOME TO PORTLAND! Chances are you’ve heard that Portland has become THE fashion capital of the Northwest—or at least I like to think it is. With four Project Runway winners, numerous talented designers, and an insane amount of amazing boutiques to fit every style and budget, I’m going to go out on a limb and say my proclamation is accurate.

But how can you, newbie, fit into Portland’s fashion landscape? Just follow these simple do’s and don’ts. I’m choosing to focus on a grander vision of the fashion industry as a whole and not really on trends—but there is one trend I wish would just fucking DIE.

DON’T rely on the mall and fast-fashion chains for the bulk of your wardrobe. Yes, I know these places are great in a pinch or for basics, but that shit is cheap for a reason. They’re poorly made and the price of producing these garments has been passed on to workers who are exploited, the environment, and more often than not both.

DO visit the aforementioned INSANE number of amazing boutiques this city has to offer. They all have websites so you can browse before you go in to make sure their selection and prices are compatible with your aesthetic and budget. I know a lot of these boutique owners, and they literally LIVE to help customers find that perfect outfit. Plus the money you spend goes back into our local economy! If you want to take this notion even further, buy something from a local designer (we’ve got a plethora of those as well).

So you’ve made your way into a local boutique. Good for you! Now you’re on track to becoming a stylish Portlander—but it doesn’t end there...

DON’T loudly proclaim what you’re looking at is too expensive and you can buy something exactly like it at H&M for much cheaper. You’ll end up looking like a total dick.

DO ask questions about a piece you like. Everything you see has been hand-selected by the boutique’s buyer for a reason, and whoever’s working in the shop will be more than happy to give you the lowdown on who designed the piece and the background of the company. If it’s still out of your price range, don’t buy it. Again, no need to be a dick.

So you’ve bought something from a local boutique/local designer. YAY! Let’s take it one step further:

DO Instagram/Facebook the shit out of yourself wearing what you just bought, and obviously mention the designer and boutique you bought it from. Not only will you look awesome, you will also be championing and promoting Portland businesses.

And for the one trend I wish would just DIE: topknots. Please for the love of God—DON’T WEAR TOPKNOTS. I hated this when it first emerged a few years ago, and I still hate it. The only place a topknot is acceptable is the gym or bathtub. It’s definitely NOT acceptable to wear at a show. I’m five feet tall, and your stupid fucking topknot annoyingly voids an extra two to three inches from my already compromised line of sight. JUST DON’T YOU DARE.