2015: My 12 Favorite Dresses

When I started this blog, I honestly didn’t know what to expect. My friends have been telling me for quite a long time that I should write about my love for vintage and all things old Hollywood. I decided to try it out and  it’s actually been great.

Sure, like any other writer, I’ve had my share of writer’s block and feeling a lack of inspiration. But really, I’ve had a wonderful time sharing my experiences with you (yeah, you!).

Here are my favorite 12 dresses of the year, in no specific order:

Dress #1: Just Another Rooftop

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Photo by Francis Rodriguez

Dress #2: Celebrating Marilyn Monroe at Pop!

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Photo by Alexcia Foster

Dress #3: Cheating Death in Central Park

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Photo by Jordan Race

Dress #4: Get Shorty

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Photo by Alexcia Foster

Dress #5: Getting Carried Away

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Photo by Francis Rodriguez

Dress #6: “It Really Was Raining”

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Photo by Jordan Race

Dress #7: Fire Island’s Cherry Grove (Alright, a Swimsuit)

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Photo by Jordan Race

Dress #8: Azul Rooftop at Hotel Hugo

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Photo by Francis Rodriguez

Dress #9: Finding Glamour in Maine (Part 1)

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Photo by Jordan Race

Dress #10: Spending the Day with Keith Haring

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Photo by Alexcia Foster

Dress #11: Christmas in July

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Photo by Jordan Race

Dress #12: “A Grown-Up Dorothy”

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Thank you all for checking out La Vintage Vida! Your support keeps me going. Here’s to a fabulous 2016.

I also want to thank Alexcia Foster, Jordan Race, and Francis Rodriguez. I love you all dearly.

Getting Hot and Heavy for a Cadillac

I’m a New Yawker, so the idea of driving is laughable. Dealing with Manhattan traffic? You can keep that. We have taxis and silver limos (subways) so owning a car seems like an unwanted expense. I know in other parts of the country (and the world) cars are essential, but for now, I’m fine hailing my temporary ride when needed.

I do recall an event that Francis and I attended to celebrate an anniversary for Cadillac and I fell in love. Truthfully, if I were to ever own a car, I would want a pink Cadillac, just like Elvis Presley, or a red hot one to match my lipstick any time of the day.

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Photo by Francis Rodriguez

Of course, I posed with this sizzling vintage beauty. Who wouldn’t?

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Photo by Francis Rodriguez

For this Manhattan affair, I wore a bamboo print dress from vintage-inspired modern retailer ModCloth.com, which I paired with, yes, vintage peacock earrings.

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Photo by Francis Rodriguez
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Photo by Francis Rodriguez

I wanted to channel the glamour of Hedy Lamarr as the character Delilah in the 1949 biblical drama, “Samson and Delilah.”

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Hedy Lamarr as Delilah

While this dress is no longer available, ModCloth.com has plenty of gorgeous options. Here are some of my favorite picks:

And of course, you can’t forget the peacock earrings. Etsy.com has plenty of options.

This event may have been a while ago, but it feels like yesterday. As usual, the bestie Francis and I had a fabulous time. I’m still Cadillac free, but who knows what the future will bring for a dame like me!

The Fitting Room Chronicles: Channeling Ariel (and Failing)

Confession: This entry does not take place in a fitting room.

I know, I know, this can’t be a fitting room chronicle if it doesn’t take place, well, in a fitting room right? Well, this lady here has been quite busy with a move an all, so bear with me.

Have you ever spotted an outfit that looked heavenly, it was on sale, and you thought it would be an amazing fit, when it was a major no? That just happened to me.

Lately, I’ve been stocking up on casual accessories from H&M and lucky for me, they’ve been having a sale. I spotted this gorgeous teal dress that I thought would transform me into Ariel from “The Little Mermaid.”

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Walt Disney Studios
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Walt Disney Studios

Let’s just say it didn’t work out.

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Walt Disney Studios

Sure, the dress below may have looked like a million dollars on, but I felt more like a two buck chuck. I can assure you, it had nothing to do with H&M’s design. However, their sizing was on the super tiny side and my big ol’ butt wasn’t having it.

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Photo by Jordan Race

God forbid I would bend down…or exhale. But while holding my breath, I looked fabulous. Sadly, I really felt like this:

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Walt Disney Studios

Nope, I would not become part of your world with this outfit on. I wouldn’t become a sexy siren for a date night, or any night for that matter. And I was fine with that. I could use those $15 dollars to buy a vintage dress that would indeed make me feel like a gorgeous dame.

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Photo by Jordan Race

My advice to you? If something looks spectacular on the hanger and you don’t feel like trying it on at the store because you’re feeling that lucky, make sure you can return the item back and get a refund. It’s important you try on everything you buy because you’re dressing for your body. Sizes, cuts, designs, and fabrics can all impact your shape and it may not look like the best investment after all. This has nothing to do with you, going on a diet, or avoiding being an Ursula because let’s face it, Ursula’s got major red lipstick game.

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Walt Disney Studios

It’s about purchasing a quality piece you can feel comfortable in and rock effortlessly.

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Photo by Jordan Race

When it comes to buying dresses, there are plenty of fish in the retail sea. You’ve just gotta catch something made for you.

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Walt Disney Studios

And really, why should I be Ariel when I can be Stephanie? I hear she’s quite the catch. Yes, I’m speaking in third person (well, writing). Fin.

The Nightmare Before Christmas

Unpopular Opinion Alert: I’m not a fan of Christmas and I don’t really celebrate it.

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I’m a mean one…

Yes, I had a wonderful childhood, filled with memories that are as sweet as freshly baked sugar cookies. I remember staying up until midnight so I can attack a pile of presents, eating plenty of pernil, and just basking in the glow of my family’s Christmas tree lights while watching “The Nutcracker.” It was a magical time in my life.

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Over the years, things changed. I remember my family struggling to spend money on gifts, just so that the holidays could seemingly be joyous. Visits from relatives became less and less. The holiday became quickly associated with going in debt and just sitting in front of the TV. The excess commercialization became unbearable and the financial stress was unwanted. When I finally became an adult, I chose not to celebrate it.

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Now? I’m pretty happy. I spend the day treating it as if it was Halloween, my most favorite holiday. This involves watching scary films and real-crime documentaries. It’s quite fabulous.

Speaking of Halloween, I was in the middle of moving, so I didn’t check out the Village Halloween Parade, a long tradition of mine. I still wanted to dress up, so I came up with my own costume: Alice Cooper in Wonderland.

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As you’ll soon see, I channeled both “Alice in Wonderland” and shock rocker Alice Cooper for one costume.

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Welcome to my nightmare…

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Photo by Jordan Race
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Photo by Jordan Race
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Photo by Jordan Race

The piece is a 1960s square dance dress that came from one of my favorite Etsy vendors, The Braided Bandit. With the help of my tailor, I removed a lot of the extra ruffles and popped out the sleeves to give it a more modern look for day or night wear. The lace rabbit ear band also came from Etsy, via ShopGinaMichele.

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Photo by Jordan Race
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Photo by Jordan Race

I had a blast becoming this character for Halloween! As for Christmas, I’ll be wearing my Sid Vicious mugshot shirt with yoga pants, while watching a murder mystery or three. Happy holidays!

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Selfie by me.

The Fitting Room Chronicles: Going for Flower Power

I’ve have a long fascination with the styles from the ’40s and ’50s. However, during one brief moment in my life, it was all about embracing my inner hippie.

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Janis Joplin

At one point in college, I thought about living in an actual community farm in California where I can grow my own vegetables, listen to Janis Joplin all day, as well as wake up every morning with flowers in my hair and tie dye on my skin. As you can imagine, this phase was, well, just a phase.

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I also wanted to be a cast-member of the 1973 rock opera movie “Jesus Christ Superstar” – AND I STILL DO.

But my love for flowers? Well, that’s been a lifelong affair. Nearly my entire closet is a massive bouquet. I need floral prints in my life to feel alive, to feel like me. I have no explanation for it, I just do it.

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Who wouldn’t want to look like Lana Turner?

One day while shopping for some accessories at H&M, I spotted this floral mini dress on sale, which reminded me of that one brief moment when I was going to go by Gardenia (my favorite flower) and live on the fruits of my labor.

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Although it was a breezy $15, I decided not to take it. The dress just didn’t do anything for me. I wasn’t excited. I didn’t imagine swanky parties, boozy brunches, casual get-togethers, or exhilirating nights to rock this dress. I was just left with a reflection of something that was no longer me. So I left it behind. My wallet was thrilled.

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Like that random moment in my life, this dress came and went, but ultimately, it just wasn’t for my closet.

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However, you best believe I will never give up on Janis Joplin. True love never dies.

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So tell me, have you ever had any random fashion moments in your life?

Christmas in July

The holiday season is officially here, and with that comes the blistering winter temperatures one could except in December.

Oh, joy.

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Winter is coming.

Now before you call me a Grinch, hear me out. I may have been born and raised in New York City, but I am a woman of the tropics, someone who is at peace with rising temperatures and is truly myself at the beach.

So when we suddenly had some 70-degree weather, I was like a kid waking  up to Christmas morning. For the occasion, I decided to look back at one steamy day from this summer.

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Photo by Jordan Race

For a stroll down the Village, I wore this thrifted one-piece with a paisley print by Madewell. Normally, I’m not a fan of the print, which was en vogue during the late ’60s and throughout the ’70s, but I do appreciate this subtle earthy tone.

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Photo by Jordan Race

I paired my mini dress with a gold chain featuring Roman coins, which I also thrifted, along with simple sandals and my navy Longchamp purse. I adore Longchamp and I would score a bag in every single color if I could. They’re perfectly versatile and wonderfully chic for any outfit.

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Photo by Jordan Race

As expected, my outfit is thrifted, but I do have some recommendations if you’re looking to capture some of that retro bohemian spirit:

No sizzling hot day would be complete without cocktails, right? Well, there was La Isla Escondida, a Mexican speakeasy in Little Italy that’s part of The Mulberry Project. They may be closed for the winter, but I highly recommend it for some refreshing libations.

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As for the rest of winter? Sadly, I might be hidden in coats for a while, but who knows…we might get an unexpected heat wave one of these days. Here’s to hoping.

Happy holidays!

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Photo by Jordan Race

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