How To Dress When You're Hungover AF

by Zara Barrie
Erika Astrid

On a dehydrated, hot mess of a Sunday morning in 2011, I first discovered that I'm at most my CHIC when hungover.

I woke up with my head pounding outside of my brain, my mascara-adorned eyes stuck together and a sweet but savory taste in my mouth (the aftermath of Fireball shots and a 2 am pizza binge).

I looked at my iPhone. It was 11 am. F*CK. I had to meet the boys for our weekly Sunday brunch in a f*cking hour.

I was hungover as hell, and all I wanted to do was hide under my Egyptian cotton sheets and watch "Seinfeld" for the day. But I knew that as tempting as that looked, it wasn't an option. I'm a notorious flake for Sunday brunch and I was determined to rid myself of this bad reputation I had cultivated.

I threw on clothes without even looking in the mirror, placed some mega sunnies over my swollen eyeballs, sprayed my body with a hefty dose of designer fragrance, painted my lips bright red and took a taxi downtown to BRUNCH. I arrived at the restaurant early and ordered a Bloody Mary, feeling smug and pleased with myself.

Then, the bitches walked in. And when I say "bitches," I mean "the chicest group of gay men you've ever laid your young, feeble eyes on." Josh, Eduardo and Erik breezed through the doorway with the unabashed entitlement exclusive to celebrities and fab gays.

"I bet that slut doesn't even show UP!" I overhead Josh say.

"Nope, the bitch is actually here!" Eduardo said as he waltzed over to the bar and demanded a glass of champagne.

"Let me see the outfit!" he demanded. "Get up, turn around."

I slipped out of the bar stool and twirled for the boys.

"Amazing! One of your best!"

Eduardo gives compliments only when he really means it, so I felt the lovely little tingle of validation spark up my hungover little heart.

Josh and Erik nodded in solidarity. Damn, I thought. This was a big deal. These are the boys who are forever telling me that my lipstick is "three shades too dark" or my floor-grazing mock turtleneck dress makes me look "Mormon" or that I "need a tan, girl." To have the three of them approvingly gaze at my outfit felt like Christmas morning (I'm Jewish, but I can't think of a better way to drive the point home).

I looked down at my outfit: I was wearing a tribal print maxi dress, a black leather jacket with high-fashion pointed shoulders, spiked Jeffery Campbell boots and heaps of haphazardly-chosen statement necklaces. I had to say: I looked effortlessly chic.

"You look effortlessly chic," Josh said, reading my mind.

"Hangover chic," I said. I folded my arms, pleased with the witty phrase that had just come out of my heavily lipsticked lips.

"Hangover chic," Eduardo said, looking off into the distance, taking it all in. Eduardo loves a fashion moment more than any style queen on the block.

And that is how the term "hangover chic" was coined. At a hungover brunch with a bunch of fierce boys.

So what exactly is hangover chic, and why is it so, well, chic? Hangover chic is when you play up the hangover instead of resisting the hangover.

When you're hungover, you throw on whatever you can find and don't overthink it, which is the key to looking like a naturally stylish person. You are more inclined to go for the drama so you can distract from how ratchet and awful your face looks after a night of drinking.

Hangover chic is a great look for everyone, even when you're not hungover. But since you're probably going to be hungover this weekend, I'll take you through my favorite weekend-hangover-chic looks:

Hangover chic on a Saturday


I never mean to go out on a Friday night, because I want to "enjoy" my Saturday. But it always happens. An after-work drink can easily lead to champagne confessions at 4 am in the West Village. However, it's worth getting out of bed and getting your hangover chic on on a Saturday.

Saturday is the day to dress how you secretly WANT to dress all the time. It's the time to do all the office don'ts: Distressed denim. Exposed bralette. Scuffed Converse. Wild lipstick. Hangover chic on a Saturday is all about channeling your inner rocker chick.

Keep it badass. Let the world know you went out last night by prancing around with big obnoxious sunglasses and messy hair. But make them extra jealous by looking f*cking COOL in your fearless, ripped attire. The world will collectively seethe with jealousy at your seemingly cool rocker lifestyle when you're dressed like this.

KEEP IT CHIC by adding a designer bag. You could be wearing cut-offs and a stained white tank and still be the chicest girl in the room if you're rocking those sexy interlocked C's.

Hangover chic on Sunday funday


OK, so you swore you wouldn't go out on Saturday because you were so f*cked from Friday, but you HAD to stop by your coworkers birthday party for ONE DRINK. I mean, it would be rude not to. But it's never just one, is it?

Now you have BRUNCH to go to. A CHIC brunch.

Don't worry! Sunday brunch is all about being bohemian, and there is something inherently bohemian about being hungover, anyway. Don't you think the great poets and artists of the beat generation were hungover all of the time? Of course they were; they were all fabulous drunks. And they rocked the look in their boho attire. So can you.

There is nothing more soothing than a loose-fitted, flowing maxi dress or skirt. Don't be basic and obvious by pairing it with flat gladiator sandals (hangover chic is all about wild juxtaposition). Throw the masses for a loop by strapping your feet in some black boots, which will highlight your badass-ness (because I'm sure you were a bad bitch last night, so show it off).

KEEP IT CHIC with gold jewelry, loads of designer fragrance (to hide the booze stench), over-the-top, jewel-adorned sunnies and an over-the-top phone case (phone cases are now an essential part of every outfit).

Hangover chic at work


The vicious cycle has once again repeated itself. Sunday brunch bled into the depths of the night, and now you've got to go to WORK.

The trick to mastering hangover chic at work is to OVERDRESS. You want to overcompensate for your dull brain and bleary eyes by wearing something FAB. Try a prim fit and flare dress that's so innocent it's almost fetish-y. Add cat-eye glasses, even if you don't need them, to help mask under eye bags. Wear lots of PEARLS. No one questions a woman in pearls.

Also, a bright red lip is imperative for power in the workplace. And when you're hungover and vulnerable, you need all the extra power you can get.

You also need to invest in platforms. You need height to make you feel STRONG, but you can't teeter in stilettos with a hangover. Hangovers require steady ground.

And then, of course, to f*ck with 'em a bit, add a funky pair of printed tights. Because what's the fun of fashion without screwing with mundane people's heads by adding a weird SURPRISE accessory?

Happy hangover, baby!