News & Runway

Front-of-House Fashion Police: A Beverage Manager and Restaurant Hostess Tell All

Chad Walsh, Beverage Manager at NYC’s The Dutch, and Kirsten Schubert, Hostess at Saxon + Parole, are not only one of the most fashionable couples in food, they also happen to be the culinary equivalent of Joan Rivers and George Kotsiopoulos. Think about it: in a city where dining out is practically a religion, these two see the sartorial good, bad and ugly on a near nightly basis.

Here at tFS, we stay up-to-date on the glossies, check in with the trend forecasters and remain glued to our computers during international Fashion Weeks (or, for the lucky staffers, actually attend), but Chad and Kirsten are truly on the front lines when it comes to what’s REALLY trending in New York right now. I caught up with the real life couple to get their take on good taste – both off the rack and on the plate.

Julie Bensman: What are the top female fashion trends you've been seeing lately?

Kirsten Schubert: By the time February in NYC rolls around, ladies oft fall into two categories: those who are so sick of the cold they bundle up head to toe, and those who are so sick of the cold they've decided to ignore it. From those trying to stay warm, I've been seeing a lot of leather mixed with different fabrics and textures; think leather tops with sweatshirt edges and sweaters with leather sleeves, mixed with fur hats and a Celine tote or two. Those ignoring the wind chill are wearing semi-sheer stockings with high-waisted shorts, paired with an Acne Pistol ankle boot or more casual Doc Marten.

Chad Walsh: One thing I’ve noticed lately is that the most glamorous women coming in all seem to be wearing glasses. We had a TV personality in recently who has a reputation as being beautiful — but more in a Maxim way than high style — wearing some cool, retro frames and she was like a whole new person. It’s not just Warby Parker, although that’s definitely the style.

JB: And for the gents?

KS: I've been seeing a lot of men embracing a real or faux fur collar with their camel coats. I love this trend on those confident enough to pull it off. They balance the possible stuffiness of the fur out with a slouchy beanie. I've also noticed a lot of oxfords with neon or brightly colored soles (a la Cole Haan) and socks in contrasting patterns and colors.

JB: When it comes to fashion, how does the brunch crowd differ from the dinner crowd?

CW: Brunch is definitely a more casual affair, but in some ways, at the risk of sounding vulgar, there’s quite a bit of morning-after romance in the air… There’s definitely an emphasis on accessories, to make simple outfits seem classier, like cool scarves and vintage/statement handbags. I also love it when you get a table of industry kids in ties and dresses, ordering sparkling wine and a seafood tower at brunch. Those are my favorite guests.

JB: When it comes to fashion, how can you tell a tourist from a local?

KS: It's always the shoes! Tourists tend to be wearing footwear they can walk around in all day (I’m also guilty of this when traveling), but a local will be wearing something trendier when eating out.

JB: When dining in NYC, what are your biggest DOs and DON'Ts?

KS: Always arrive on time when you have a reservation! Also, pay attention to the cocktail list – NYC's most popular restaurants have cocktail programs that rival the best bars in the city.

JB: Any recent celeb spottings and if so, who were they and what were they wearing?

KS: Fashion Week is always great for celeb spotting, but a good hostess never tells. ­čÖé