“We play cricket in the afternoon and have wines out on the patio—it’s very different. Sometimes we go to the beach in the afternoons.” It’s not a description of quaint times from decades prior, but how New York City-based influencer Charlotte Bridgeman explains her traditional holidays at home in Melbourne, Australia.
“It’s so different in Australia. It’s all about being outdoors, a lot about seafood…,” she muses. “The weather here means you can’t really go outside.” Beyond needing to invest in a totally different outerwear wardrobe after arriving stateside three years ago (“I brought all my coats from Australia and thought, ‘I’ll be fine!’—it was freezing”), she’s dived headfirst into the way New Yorkers celebrate the season.
Even if her personal holiday memories are beachy as can be, the pop culture that permeated the season was all about snowflakes and such. “It’s such a novelty! Americans do holidays really well and kind of go way over the top. In Australia, they still put out snow decorations even though it’s summer there. Everyone dreams of having a white Christmas.”
French Connection Sweater, $148; DL1961 Jeans, $199; On tray: Acqua di Parma Fragrance, $155; Cartier Fragrance, $145; Harlem Candle, $45; Gorjana Necklace, $55; Kiehl’s Lip Balm, $25; La Mer Créme de la Mer, $325
Bridgeman’s favorite part about this time of the year is the casual weekend stuff—”going around the city and seeing all the decorations and store windows.”
Style-wise, she relies on a uniform of jeans, chunky sweaters, and a warm coat. East Coast weather has made her realize the value of an insulated puffer, but she’ll reach for a cozier teddy coat if she wants to feel a bit more stylish. Her secret-weapon accessory is a mood-specific perfume.
“I have three or four favorite fragrances I’ll switch between—two that are more ‘day’ and two that are more ‘night,'” she explains. For day, she prefers a floral scent like Gucci’s Bloom that reminds her of summer (and, therefore, her past holidays Down Under).
The scents she’s earmarked as “evening” are richer and feel just right for winter. Tiffany & Co.’s Eau du Parfum is a perfect example—with woody patchouli and musk it feels mysterious and multilayered. With a job that requires creating content and socializing plenty, the holidays become a scheduled-to-the-max period—giving her ample opportunities to dress up and spritz on one of her favorites.
“Work definitely gets crazy this time of the year. I could literally go to a holiday party every night if I wanted to,” she says, listing the brands, showrooms, and clients who reliably send out invites to celebrate the end of the year. On top of work parties, there are personal ones to RSVP to as well, and overseas visitors who want to book trips during this time of the year to try and bottle some of the NYC-at-Christmas-time magic.
In short, every December weekend is a doozy of the variety that makes a girl want to crash on her couch and kick off her heels.
Beyond the cozy weekends at home and glamorous evenings, Bridgeman’s schedule includes a lot of work. For her, that can run the gamut from meeting clients to taking photos to sitting down for interviews.
With her success tied up in her Instagram feed (and its curation of inspiring-but-accessible looks), style is seriously important. What she wears depends on the day’s schedule and who she’ll be meeting.
For polished in-office appointments, she finds herself drawn to printed suits, long skirts, heeled sock booties, and sweaters.
For the evening socializing that’s so major at this time of the year, she has a few outfit formulas she’ll switch between.
“It’s a case-by-case thing. Sometimes I’ll do a simple pair of black jeans with a sparkly top or a black turtleneck with an embellished belt. I’ve got some outfits specially selected for this time of the year too, like a leopard print suit and a velvet two-piece skirt and jacket combo. I love anything with a little sparkle during the holidays.”
For work, weekend, or cocktails, the very last element she thinks about might just be the most important.
“I pick the outfit first—fragrance is the final finishing touch. I feel naked without it,” she says with a smile. “If I go out and realize I didn’t put it on, I think, ‘Oh crap! My outfit’s not complete.'”