Julia Foti, a recent New York transplant from Passaic County, NJ, is busy.
She wakes up at the crack of dawn — the only time when she's able to savor the calm and quiet of an NYC morning — to write in her gratitude journal (that is, if the urge to scroll through TikTok doesn’t take over) before she tackles a full day of juggling a full-time job with her many side hustles and hobbies. Just before 9 a.m., she makes the 20-minute walk from the apartment she shares with friends to her 9-to-5 (err, 9-to-6), where she works as a marketing associate. But instead of waiting in 30-minute sandwich lines at cafes like the rest of midtown, her lunch breaks consist of running from model casting to model casting for gigs she’ll work into what little free time she has. In the evening, she’s either heading straight from her office to her dance studio (she’s a longtime competitive dancer), or squeezing in a weightlifting workout, or teaching the occasional virtual yoga class — before going home and settling down for the night by 9 p.m. to, inevitably, wake up and do it all over again the next day.
Again, busy. So, when it comes to her day-to-day, “typical” and “mundane” simply aren’t part of her vocabulary, but that doesn’t mean she’s not afraid of experiencing total burnout. One thing that has helped her navigate her packed schedule? Dressing with comfort and versatility in mind.
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“My style reflects my creative spirit and active life, so I gravitate toward things that allow me to move and are very functional,” says the 24-year-old multi-hyphenate, naming elevated basics like T-shirts and bodysuits as her most-worn pieces. “Don’t get me wrong, I love to get dressed up and go out, but for everyday, it’s all about comfort.”
Foti describes herself more as a “pants girl” than a “skirt girl.” And warmth is absolutely crucial, considering that a typical day entails multiple commutes by foot or subway — her first New York winter (see: sans car) is just around the corner, after all. It’s quite fortuitous, then, that layering — both a sartorial trick and an extension of her personal style — also just so happens to be her “thing.”
“Layering plays a vital role in how I get dressed each day because it helps me adapt to whatever situation I’m in,” she says. “I’ve learned to reach for things I can wear to hop between the countless different things I do” — which is why she relies on layering pieces from Cuddl Duds, a brand known for its soft and cozy assortment of layering essentials.
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For her, it’s all about the base — the initial layer that can turn an outfit from impractical to functional. “[Base layers] allow me to transition from work to being active after-hours,” Foti explains. “I need to wear breathable fabrics with the right balance of stretch and support when I dance, so I’ll choose a top that looks good at the office yet is comfortable for rehearsal, which means I won’t have to change while I’m on the go.”
That same philosophy applies to leggings as well. Not only does she like to wear them for everything, from running errands to dance rehearsals and workouts, but she likes to wear them all day — even to the office — as her secret weapon for staying toasty in the winter: “A styling trick I always abide by is layering them underneath whatever bottoms I’m wearing, like a pair of jeans or trousers.”
And even though her wardrobe is made up mostly of basics, she’s adamant that her ‘fits are anything but basic — by working in pops of color, print, a cutout, or an asymmetrical silhouette to add depth, something she considers her “style signature.” At the end of the day, it’s all about practicality — a feat that would prove impossible without having a wardrobe of soft, stretchy, and warm layering essentials at her disposal.