It’s deceptively easy to get swept up in the label mania of fashion, especially in a city like New York, where it seems like every person you pass on the street is wielding this season’s hot new bag, shoes, or sunglasses. That’s why whenever we’re in need of fresh style inspiration, we head for the places that are a bit off the beaten path, like Nashville, Tennessee. As a mecca of country music, we knew there would be no shortage of glitz, but we were surprised to find more than a few NYC natives who have departed for a life down South. So when we tell some local friends we’re looking for someone who still revels in the overall fun of fashion, they all recommend the same person: Katie Schecter.
The musician and hot-pants aficionado greets us at the door of the Nashville home she shares with her boyfriend, Nick Bockrath—the lead guitarist of Cage The Elephant—sporting a killer pair of bangs and lazy-chic sweats—the kind you always hope to uncover in a bin at Goodwill but never manage to find. “They’re Hanes kids sweatpants!” she reveals with a throaty laugh after welcoming us inside. Little do we know, this is just the beginning of her thrifty fashion mentality. As we head towards her closet to dig for more treasures, we pass a row of gleaming guitars, a large wooden record stand filled to the brim with EPs, and a classic turntable. There’s no mistaking that this is a space to foster creativity, and once we round the corner and spot the racks of clothing—sparkly tops! ’70s suits! rainbow knit dresses!—it’s clear that her creative energy isn’t just limited to music.
We spend the next three hours gleefully diving into Schecter’s collection of vintage ready-to-wear and accessories, as well as a handful of key designer pieces, and quickly notice she’s just as comfortable pairing fishnets and Mary-Jane pumps with the aforementioned hot pants, as she is wearing tailored snakeskin trousers with a furry limoncello cardigan. There’s a casual fearlessness in the way she assembles her outfits, and while the end result is always enviably cool, the process feels more akin to friends playing dress-up than any pressure to look put together. It’s fun, plain and simple.
In between photos of various sunnies, she recalls what it was like both growing up in New York, and how leaving was ultimately the best thing that could have happened for both her wardrobe and her career. “I think that I was a little more hung up on designers and brands being in New York City,” she muses, throwing on an epic pair of flame-shaped lenses. “Ultimately, having style overshadows having money. People who have good style can literally wear a white t-shirt and jeans and just look perfect. That’s what it’s about. You can’t buy style.” We couldn’t agree more.
Click through to find out Schecter’s go-to outfit for performing onstage, the unexpected brand she swears by for the perfect white t-shirt, and why Elvis’ gold lamé suit is her definition of goals.