Years ago before I moved to New York City, I lived in L.A., and when I made the move from the West Coast to the East Coast, I started to look for content creators based in New York City who could act as my digital guides to the city. I wanted to find creators who loved to document their favorite spots in the city so I could find inspiration for locations around the city to take my own photos and inspiration for outfits. Of course, I also wanted to know about the best restaurants to go out on dates and out with friends and the bars worth venturing out to on a Saturday night.
On my search for creators whose content I actually liked and who felt authentic to me, I stumbled upon another former California girl turned New Yorker, Ella McFadin. What first grabbed my attention when I came across McFadin is her overall vibe and aesthetic. To me, she doesn’t feel like she’s trying to be anyone but herself, and she has amassed the following she has by showing off her life in New York along with her great sense of style. She has a separate Instagram account called Art of Foods, where she shares NYC restaurant recommendations. If you live in the city and don’t follow it, you’re missing out. She has gone viral for making the cutest videos around the city showcasing her different looks, even making videos that can sell out whatever she’s wearing from major retailers like Free People. After following McFadin for a few years, I figured it was time to pick my NYC style guru’s brain about all things fashion and personal style.
When I met with McFadin, she was just as you would have expected—wearing lots of color (purple and green to be exact). Immediately, we started talking about where we like to go around the city and how we cannot wait for NYC summer. McFadin spilled some of her favorite looks she wore last year, described her personal style, and gave me some advice on what to spend my money on in 2023.
Keep scrolling to read our conversation, hear about some of McFadin’s favorite outfits, shop some of the looks, and get even more shopping inspo.
How would you describe your style?
The first word that comes to mind is carefree. I don’t have a specific type of style. I wake up every morning and dress so differently than the day before. I’ve always been super obsessed with color. I definitely think growing up in Southern California has had a huge influence on my style. I still have a beachy, “West Coast L.A. girl” type of style, but now, I’m living in New York. I think those have kind of come together and create how I dress now.
What brands are your current favorites?
I just got this top from Orseund Iris that I am obsessed with. I think every piece that they create is so, so good. I have a lot of my classic pieces from them. I love Anine Bing. Their blazers are my go-to. If I ever need to wear a blazer, it’s from them. They fit oversize. It’s so perfect. I also love Ganni. They’re one of my favorite brands for boots. I have a new pair of Ganni boots every season. I wear them until they die. I love them so much.
What are you most looking forward to wearing in 2023?
I think I’m saying this because it’s winter right now, but wow, I’m missing summer. Looking back at the photos I shared with you … I am missing it. I’m so ready to be back in midi floral skirts with little tops and loafers coming from spring into summer. I love wearing chunkier boots with a minidress in the summer. I definitely like to pair more tomboy things with more girly things. That’s how I’ve really created my style. I would never wear a miniskirt with little heels or something. That’s just not me. I’m really looking forward to styling spring and summer. I’m such a midi-skirt girl. I’m so ready to put that on, on a Friday night and get on to the sweaty subway.
Where do you pull fashion inspiration from?
I pull a lot of inspiration from Instagram. I follow all of the Hailey Bieber and Elsa Hosk fan accounts or style accounts that post their outfit details, and I always like to look at those. Whenever I’m going through Instagram and see a photo I like, I immediately save it. Even if I’m not going to pull exact inspiration from the look, just looking at something and feeling inspired from these photos on Instagram will get me to a place where I say to myself, “Okay, I can put something together.” So even if I’m not pulling direct fashion from them, Instagram inspires me. Then I can go and put something together. I also feel like just being in New York you see so much inspiration walking on the streets. I’ll see someone wearing a denim skirt with tights or something. I think to myself, “I literally never would’ve thought to do that, and that girl looks so cute,” and I go home and try it out or try and put my own twist on it or something.
What is one piece of style advice that you would give someone who wants to be chicer in 2023?
When you’re shopping (this is also a good way to be efficient and save money), … think of pieces you can wear multiple times. Shop for pieces that you can see yourself wearing to an event or to a party or to a birthday dinner or something, not something you will only wear once. When I pick something out—if I’m doing gifting, if I’m shopping on my own, if I’m going to a store—I actually think of three outfits that I could wear that piece with that are completely different for different events before actually thinking about keeping it in your closet. Your closet is precious space here in New York. You have to think about maximizing your space and getting versatile pieces.
Actually, behind this photo, this outfit is a TikTok I made. [It was] just a video getting ready in this outfit, and it went viral. By the time I posted this photo on Instagram, the romper had completely sold out from my video. I think it’s because it looks like a dress, but it has shorts and is actually a romper, so you’re super comfortable. It’s flowy, which made it feel so much cozier. In the summer when it’s sticky and you’re walking around the city, having on something flowy is key. I was like, “This is the most comfortable outfit ever.” And I love wearing knee-high boots with a small dress when you’re transitioning between seasons.
I was meeting my friend from L.A., and we were going to get coffee, and I got these hot-pink little shorts from Revolve. And I paired it with a lime-green-and-pink top from Blanca. I was walking through the West Village. I remember I had my headphones on, and I was like, “This look is so cute.” I don’t think I could get away with wearing these little shorts if it wasn’t like 100° out. I paired it with this vintage Chanel pink necklace and these little white daisy earrings. I just love this outfit. I love color and coordinating looks like that. I think it’s so fun. Obviously, lime green and pink are a statement, but I felt like they just matched perfectly. And I wore the look with Vans sneakers.
I told you, I love a floral midi skirt. When you ask me what I’m excited to wear this year, this is the outfit that came to mind. I’m excited to wear loafers with a floral midi skirt and a cute crop top. I remember this day, I know it looks like a daytime outfit but I actually was like going to a friend’s birthday and it was like a night time thing. So this outfit looks so cute and I got so many compliments on it.
This look is the easiest go-to look for a night out. You wear a hot corset, you wear some cute jeans (these were low-rise), and I tied a little necklace around my neck. You’re gonna see half the girls in New York wearing [this] out anyway, and it’s just such an easy go-to for me. I feel good in it, and it’s comfortable.
I’m a “midi skirt and a crop top” type of person. I think I know my body type and the way it’s going to look the best. I have a smaller waist and bigger hips, and when I wear a midi skirt, it shows that off. If I was in a miniskirt right here, I would feel really uncomfortable, but because it’s a long skirt, I felt great, and that’s just so easy. You can throw that on and feel good instantly, and that was a little beach cover-up. I have even worn this look with a little bikini underneath and that skirt with a T-shirt and wore it to the beach. So super versatile and so easy to prepare with anything.
These Cult Gaia pants are so flattering. I definitely was working out all summer long, and I was like, “My body looks great, and I’m so excited to be wearing this.” I was on the brand trip with Hampton Water, and they asked us for something pink. I found this top on Revolve and thought, “Wow, this top goes perfect for it.” I just feel so confident in this look, and I loved it, and I got so many compliments. So that was definitely one of my favorite looks of the year.
When you’re in the Hamptons, you’re drinking rosé for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You have all the blue from the ocean, the greens, all these houses there, and the homes in East Hampton have the most beautiful florals. I remember when I got this set, I was like, “I cannot wait to wear this in the Hamptons.” I also wore this in Italy, and it was so beautiful there. I always like to just gravitate toward two-piece sets where I’m wearing a long skirt and a crop top. I just feel super confident and comfortable in them. This one just felt so fitting for the Hamptons.