One way to New York Cheugy

By Erica Crompton

Photo: Johnny Holden Photography

In 2002 I booked a one-way ticket to New York City with no plans to return. I took a job at the late Santa D’Orazio’s photographic agency and spent my time eating Burritos in Brooklyn by night, while chugging photographic portfolios around magazines based in Lower Manhattan in the day.

With my neon-pink Phat Farm vest and mismatched Marc Jacobs kilt in navy and green, what I didn’t know in my Bloomingdales-bargain-basement look is that I was onto a look that would soon by haled on-trend.

Cheugy – pronounced ‘Chew Gee’ is the new ting. Think Miu Miu sandals with Chanel socks: it’s a mix of knowing brands mixed in a not-woken-but-woke way.

According to The New York Times definition: Cheugy is not quite “basic,” which can describe someone who is a conformist or perhaps generic in their tastes, and it’s not quite “uncool.” It’s not embarrassing or even always negative. Cheugy can be used, broadly, to describe someone who is out of date or trying too hard. And while a lot of cheugy things are associated with millennial women, the term can be applied to anyone of any gender and any age.

Today I’m looking back on memories of my own blend of NYC style for inspiration: a cherry print teamed with leopard; sportswear worn with a Cuban cigar to a cocktail party. A wedding dress with plimsoles for the supermarket. Or luxury maxi-print, silk PJs with a big, beige trench thrown over and black leather Mary Janes to go to the office.

It’s a fun look if you fancy trying it – mismatch, do your worst, anything goes! Celebrities who’ve got it right include Bjork slipping on a Swan for the Oscars and Lady Gaga wearing slabs of meat at a star-studded event.

You don’t even need to put any clothes on! As a fashionista told the New York Times: “One of my friends said Lasagna is cheugy.”

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