The Fitting Room Chronicles: Feeling Red Hot (and Blue)

The Pope has been in town for the last several days and all I can think about is Milan Fashion Week. And the It-color to make all the fellas say Ciao, Bella! goes to an oldie, but goodie: juicy, cherry red.

Audrey Hepburn in the 1957 film "Funny Face." Based in Paris, yes, but the sentiment is still the same.
Audrey Hepburn in the 1957 film “Funny Face.” Based in Paris, yes, but the sentiment is still the same.

For Fall 2015, Gucci presented this rich, lipstick-hued gown, but at $4,900 it’s quite the splurge. So, I decided to go thrifting and see what I would discover during my adventures.

I did find this delicious cherry print dress, but sadly, my Dominican curves were not having it.

Ugh!
Ugh!

However, I did find this swinging, saucy little number that made me feel compelled to prance through a vineyard in Tuscany.

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I would like to think that Sophia Loren would approve. At 14 bucks, it was coming home with me.

Sophia Loren
Sophia Loren

Then I found this grand Diane Von Furstenberg dress in a deep sky blue with black roses, all complementing my moody merlot lips. It was an unexpected, but welcoming surprise.

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I have to admit that it felt like giving birth to myself just squeezing into the piece, but once I wore it, the dress felt like a dream. I could even cross my arms and everything! The beau gave me this gown as a gift. And for $40, he too was graced with a deal.

What I wore to go thrifting.
What I wore to go thrifting.

I may not be in Italy this time around, but I’m set on delivering some drama to my autumnal wardrobe. How will you be celebrating the fall season in style?

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The Fitting Room Chronicles: Wiggle Here, Wiggle There

On Facebook, a friend of mine posted this definition of the wiggle dress:

1950s actress Jayne Mansfield
1950s actress Jayne Mansfield

A dress whose hem is narrower than the hips, causing the wearer to walk in short strides with legs close together, producing a sway or ‘wiggle’ of the hips. A fitted dress which enhances an hourglass figure. Every gal should own a wiggle dress or two or ten.

Marilyn Monroe
Marilyn Monroe

Wiggle dresses were extremely popular in the 1950s, when blonde bombshells like Marilyn Monroe and Jayne Mansfield wore dangerously alluring, tight-fitting garments dresses that felt like second skin and flaunted every single curve on their breathtaking bodies.

Jayne Mansfield
Jayne Mansfield

Marilyn Monroe was even known to have dresses sewn directly on her figure. One example that comes to mind is her infamous “Happy Birthday” dress, which she wore in President John F. Kennedy’s birthday bash in New York City’s Madison Square Garden.

Marilyn Monroe in her
Marilyn Monroe in her “Happy Birthday” dress.

I did not find a similar piece and I won’t be impressing government officials anytime soon, but I did find this lovely nude number.

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I believe it’s from the ’50s, and in true classic wiggle fashion, it fits like second skin. Sitting? Ha, that’s just for amateurs. But the best part? It was a mere 18 bucks. Gotta love those thrifting deals.

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Ladies, you need a wiggle dress, whether it’s for date night or a “just because” evening affair involving jazz or cocktails. Most vintage-inspired clothing lines offer them (Stop Staring! and Pinup Girl Clothing quickly come to mind). Or, you can hunt for one while thrifting.

Regrets? I have none.

Lady Love Song

Every lady deserves to have a dress in her closet that accentuates her curves and is guaranteed to make jaws drop everywhere. Who wouldn’t want to have a silky smooth fabric hug your shape like a lover who knows exactly what to do with his/her hands?

May I introduce you to the Lady Love Song Dress?

Photo by Alexcia Foster
Photo by Alexcia Foster

This piece, from vintage-inspired online retailer ModCloth, features a velvety smooth fabric that will make you feel like a seductive pinup. My beau couldn’t get enough of it and well, I felt like the greatest animated seductress of all: Jessica Rabbit.

Jessica Rabbit from the 1988 film, "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?"
Jessica Rabbit from the 1988 film, “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?”
Jessica Rabbit
Jessica Rabbit

Even ModCloth said it best: Who wouldn’t want to croon a ballad when they see you in this sultry frock? In a melodic, shimmering maroon velvet material that caresses your curves, this dress complete with a crossover sweetheart neckline and gentle pleats at the bust, is made to impress. Step into your favorite jazz club for a martini and dulcet serenade!

Photo by Alexcia Foster
Photo by Alexcia Foster

Another woman who would appreciate this piece? Rita Hayworth, 1940s “love goddess” of Hollywood, who also served as one of the inspirations behind Mrs. Rabbit.

Rita Hayworth (in black and white)
Rita Hayworth (in black and white)
Rita Hayworth (in color)
Rita Hayworth (in color)

I wore my merlot-hued dress for an evening with loved ones at Hotel Indigo, a posh hotel in Chelsea where you can easily spot a model or three making her way to the Meatpacking District for a stylish Saturday night out.

Photo by Alexcia Foster
Photo by Alexcia Foster

No martinis were involved (I’m more of a gin girl), but you could savor tantalizing cocktails at equally posh Mexican hot spot Tijuana Picnic on the Lower East Side. It’s a fitting tribute considering Rita Hayworth, whose real name was Margarita Carmen Cansino, rose to fame in Tijuana clubs in Mexico as a dancer.

Tijuana Picnic in New York City
Tijuana Picnic in New York City
Sizzling Chicken Wings at Tijuana Picnic
Sizzling Chicken Wings at Tijuana Picnic
Delectable Churros at Tijuana Picnic
Delectable Churros at Tijuana Picnic

Expect luscious libations, such as the Grapefruit Gringo (poblano infused-vodka, grapefruit, Thai basil, and sugarcane), Mi Casa Margarita (featuring loads of tequila and mezcal), or the Mayan Michelada (a spicier take on the Bloody Mary).

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Love the Lady Love Song dress as much as I do? Make it a forever dress in your closet in Merlot for the wine lovers out there, along with Olive, Black, or Ruby for $89.99. I would just recommend going up a size for a comfy fit without losing the hip-hugging effect.

Photo by Alexcia Foster
Photo by Alexcia Foster

Being an ’80s Baby at Culture Club

I’m not really a big fan of the ’80s. The fashion was, well, loud. The makeup was, well, loud. And aerobics was very, very loud.

Jane Fonda and her leg warmers.
Jane Fonda and her leg warmers.

But I don’t loathe the ’80s completely. It gave me a lot of things I adore. Like the music. All of it.

Madonna's "Dress You Up" single was my first record.
Madonna’s “Dress You Up” single was my first record.

Blast some Duran Duran, Boy George, Poison, Quiet Riot, Queen, A-Ha, or anything from that decade and I’m hitting the dance floor. I’m going to sing my lungs out. I’m going to be a hot sweaty mess.

But I adore it.

Photo by Francis Rodriguez
Photo by Francis Rodriguez

Therefore, it made perfect sense for bestie Francis and I to hit up Culture Club, Manhattan’s former official dance club to all things 1980s. Sadly, Culture Club has since closed and no place of its kind seems to exist. Such is life in NYC.

Photo by Francis Rodriguez
Photo by Francis Rodriguez

For the occasion, I wore a vintage Rebecca Minkoff bejeweled red dress that made me feel like a groupie on the Sunset Strip.

Photo by Francis Rodriguez
Photo by Francis Rodriguez

You’ll have to go easy on me because finding this exact same dress online was near impossible. Besides, do you really want to hurt me?

Pre-party selfie.
Pre-party selfie.

I found this piece at a West Village thrift store and I couldn’t find too much info on it. However, discovering pieces from the 1980s is pretty easy online as it’s a relatively recent decade, in comparison to older eras, like the 1960s and anything before that. That’s why I have some other ideas that I would totally rock…and you should, too.

Photo by Francis Rodriguez
Photo by Francis Rodriguez

For a sizzling look from the ’80s, try these: channel your inner Pretty Woman with this extravagant ball gown for $69.95, be a glamour goddess with this cut-out number for $20, flaunt your big…hair with this curvaceous dress for $59, or get physical in plenty of lace for $125. Or, you can have fun on Etsy or even eBay finding lots of other fiery ensembles.

Photo by Francis Rodriguez
Photo by Francis Rodriguez

Hasta la vista, Culture Club! You were a blast to party with on a star-studded night.

RIP Culture Club.
RIP Culture Club.

Azul Rooftop Bar at Hotel Hugo

If you’re new to my blog, here’s one thing you should know: one of my besties (Francis) and I are big rooftop fans. We’ve made it our duty to visit every single one in NYC.

On top of Hotel Hugo.
On top of Hotel Hugo.

So when we learned about the new Cuban-inspired Azul at Hotel Hugo between SoHo and the Hudson, we just had to check it out.

Photo by me.
Photo by me.

In typical fashion, we met up after 5PM for cocktails and decided to first explore the tranquil Hudson Square neighborhood. I love it because it’s quiet and picturesque, yet just blocks away from bustling, supermodel-loaded SoHo.

Photo by Francis Rodriguez
Photo by Francis Rodriguez
Photo by Francis Rodriguez
Photo by Francis Rodriguez

Remember when I was channeling my inner Golden Girl in the fitting room? Well, this is the dress.

Photo by Francis Rodriguez
Photo by Francis Rodriguez

The piece is a v-neck ensemble from H&M featuring a soft rayon fabric and a gorgeous jungle print. It’s currently on sale for $20.

Photo by Francis Rodriguez
Photo by Francis Rodriguez

I completed the look with gold jewelry, like this panther necklace, also from H&M. It’s no longer available, but I would have also worn this decadent chunky gold chain, also from the popular retailer. Of course, vintage cat-eye sunglasses, black pumps, and one of my signature reds, Sephora’s Cream Lip Stain in Always Red, also made an appearance.

Photo by Francis Rodriguez
Photo by Francis Rodriguez

When we finally made our way to Hotel Hugo, we first explored Bar Hugo, the rooftop bar below the rooftop. With cocktails like Giggle Juice and Lavender Daisy, it was quite the crowd. We briefly stopped by to enjoy the view, but soon quickly went upstairs to see Azul.

Francis channeling her inner Marilyn at Bar Hugo.
Francis channeling her inner Marilyn at Bar Hugo.

Imagine escaping to a breezy, sun-soaked island where the beats of hip-swiveling salsa greet you at the door.

Azul Rooftop Bar at Hotel Hugo
Azul Rooftop Bar at Hotel Hugo

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You’re then welcomed with slushy passionfruit mojitos to quench your thirst.

Photo by Francis Rodriguez
Photo by Francis Rodriguez

It’s a brain-freezer, but its sweetness is well worth the pain and packs a major punch for a tantalizing, downright delicious drink. Don’t just get one, trust me.

Photo by Francis Rodriguez
Photo by Francis Rodriguez

You can relax with a laid-back crowd and savor all of downtown Manhattan from sunset and beyond.

Photo by Francis Rodriguez
Photo by Francis Rodriguez
Photo by Francis Rodriguez
Photo by Francis Rodriguez

We soon decided to hang out by the pier to watch boats and yachts float by.

View from above at Azul.
View from above at Azul. Photo by Francis Rodriguez.

Bagel, anyone? This is NYC after all.

Bagel art in NYC.
Bagel art in NYC.

Hope you’ll join us at the next rooftop outing!

Photo by Francis Rodriguez
Photo by Francis Rodriguez

The Fitting Room Chronicles: Take it Off

Have you ever found a perfect vintage piece while thrifting, but you weren’t in love with the sleeves? Perhaps they were too tight, too puffy, or just so not right?

Here’s an idea: take it off.

You read that right, sweet cheeks!
You read that right, sweet cheeks!

Look, I get the fact that not too many people are super confident about their arms (I know I’m not). We all can’t be First Lady Michelle Obama.

Really, Michelle?
Really, Michelle?

But seriously, who cares? Your so-called flaws deserve to shine and the right outfit can make you both look and feel like a star. For some of my dresses, I have the sleeves remove to give the piece a completely different look, all while being able to still wear it with ease. And for those sudden chilly days or nights, I simply pair it with a cardigan or shawl.

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I recently found this bright purple kimono dress from the 1970s-80s featuring a fan print. While the dress itself was a comfortable fit, the sleeves were attacking my bulging biceps. What to do? I took the dress anyway and I had my tailor removed the sleeves. The result? You’ll have to wait and find out!

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Don’t be afraid to give a vintage piece some new life. Whether it’s removing sleeves, trimming it in half, or doing something completely different to enhance your personal style, I say do it. It’s a great way to have a custom-made piece that’s meant for you and you alone. Not only will you give your thrifted piece a new chance to be shown, but it will present a new angle that’s never been seen before – until you decided to make it happen.

So, have you ever altered your vintage piece to make it your very own? I want to hear all about it.

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And for some ideas, read up on how I took a Hawaiian dress and made it look super brand new by taking off the sleeves.

But wait! Here’s a sneak preview:

Photo by Alexcia Foster
Photo by Alexcia Foster

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