When you go out as much as half the people I know in New York do, it’s natural for your style choices to suffer from a lack of inspiration. Whenever there’s dinner and drinks in the evening forecast, someone is always ringing me with the same inquiry: What should I wear? This time of year it’s natural to see PYTs sipping summer cocktails on patios, all wearing the same uniform lifted straight from the latest street-style website. Perhaps it’s time we put down the look-book blogs and turn to the city itself to inspire our nightlife ensembles. Beat the heat by taking a cue from your next Mojito outing at a fiery Cuban restaurant. Get your cocktail, the ambiance, and your outfit just right.
Inspiration: The Mojito. Traditionally made by combining white rum, sugar cane, lime, soda water, and mint, it’s believed to be the world’s first cocktail. Origins can be traced back to 16th century Cuba, where the locals were sipping a cocktail called El Draque, named after Sir Francis Drake, a prominent sailor who, among other things, defended England against the Spanish Armada in 1588—a rockstar of his time. The concoction is believed to have been a way to cover up the unsavory flavor of aguardiente, an early version of rum.
The Look: Tip a fedora to the glamor of Havana. Draw from the vibrant romance of the city that invented the Mojito with tropical shades and breezy summer staples that could be worn just as well on a walk to the green market as they could inside a colorful salsa bar. Add a little drama to a cotton dress with liquid liner and a bold lip. Accent your summer tan with tropical blue-greens, corals, and shimmering bronze nail polish and shadow. And bring along a bit of loose powder to stay fresh amid the searing heat.
Where to Wear to: Calle Ocho (Upper West Side)— Bright, colorful Latino menu and décor syncs with high-energy scene. Havana Central (Union Square)— Latin music, chainified Cuban fare for the bridge and tunnel masses. NitaNita (Williamsburg)— Their Green Tea Mojito + tasty tapas + stiff drinks = good times. Yerba Buena (East Village)— Cuban sandwiches, Peruvian ceviches, Caribbean roast pork, plus Argentine yerba mate sprinkled in for medida buena. Cafe Habana (Nolita)—Scarfing roast pork is so much better when Mary-Kate is watching, longingly. Habana Outpost (Fort Greene)—Enviro chic spin-off of Soho/Smith Street café faves.
What to Wear to: Nordstrom Grosgrain Border Straw Fedora, $28 Kate Spade Wedge Heels M·A·C Pro Longwear Lip Color, $21 Sephora by O.P.I Havana Nights Nail Polish Set, $9 Temptu Retouch Powder To Go in Translucent, $18 Sephora Collection Doe Eyed Felt Eyeliner Black, $12 Nars Duo Eyeshadow in Misfit, $32