The Chic List: Why I’m packing some positivity

Fashion columnist and influencer Joanne Hegarty on soaking up the joys of New York.

You wouldn’t think an app that helps you test for Covid could lift your mood – but that’s America for you. The instruction video, full of promises of freedom and buzzy restaurant noises, accompanying the lateral flow kits we bought in a New York chemist, was so upbeat we were all smiling long before we notched up our negative results.

Even under grey winter skies, the best look New Yorkers do is their positivity. And it’s a look I packed into my bulging suitcase when we flew home from our short family break.

Upbeat vibes in the city, wearing a MaxMara coat, leggings by Cos, boots by The White Company. Bag by Celine.

Because nothing makes us look, or feel, better than the attitude that life’s champagne glass is always half full.

And even though the c-word was, as ever, dominating the news during our stay, you’d never have known it from the happy crowds in some of my favourite New York institutions– from Bubby’s diner in Tribeca to Emilio’s Ballato, an old-school Italian in Soho, to afternoon tea at the Upper East Side’s Carlyle Hotel.

When on holiday, I love people-watching – and it’s never more thrilling than in New York. Even the pampered army of Big Apple dogs have their own wardrobes of coats, ribbons and rubber booties.

My other favourite New York pastime is – obviously!– shopping. With every store you could ever want in this city, what sane gal could resist? Again, there’s that wonderful positivity, with shop assistants so much more on their game than at home. At Frame in Soho the choice of jeans dwarfs that in London. I ended up buying a pair the shop assistant was wearing because they looked so good on her.

And, call me a fashion fool, but I love New Yorkers’ uplifting salutes. As their ‘have a beautiful day’ rings in my ears, I want to promise back: ‘I’ll darn well try!’

On New Year’s Eve, I went to Saks Fifth Avenue where history seeps out from the changing rooms. I watched a Park Avenue mum buying the most beautiful white feathered dress for her daughter and imagined their glamorous celebrations that night.

The other thing I do in New York is fantasy house shopping. Some of my favourite haunts are Charles Street and Perry Street in West Village, both lined with dreamy brownstones. The former was home to Sarah Jessica Parker for nearly 20 years. She’s now living around the corner in an even more impressive address.

Meanwhile, Perry Street is still full of tourists taking photos of the fictional home of SJP’s alter ego Carrie Bradshaw. The whole area is like a movie set – and when we were there, there was the added bonus of festive garlands and twinkling trees. So life-affirming. So chic. Just like New York.

Cosy up in bold spring shades. Jacket, £190,

Simple but gorgeous. Necklace, £180,

A chic wardrobe staple. Cashmere jumper, £79,

Team with a black knit or blazer to makea sleek statement. Trousers, £175, Ganni,

Perfect with leggings and a blazer for pavement pounding. Boots, £190,

Brighten up the season in apple green. Jumper, £89,

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