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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Let’s just say it didn’t work out.

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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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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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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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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.

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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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The Fitting Room Chronicles: Getting Snuggly (Like Jane Russell)

I’m not a fan of winter. At all.

You can keep your snowy winter wonderland, mugs of hot chocolate, and endless holidays (alright, I’ll take the hot chocolate). Me? I prefer being a beach bum somewhere on a tropical island.

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It’s bizarre, I know. I’m a native New Yorker, born and raised. Winter should be as natural as swearing, hailing a cab, or caw-fee. But I’ve never been a fan of the cold. By the time fall comes, I’m already depressed. During the winter months, I want to hibernate all season long. In springtime, I’m skeptical, but then summer? Party every day!

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Jane gets it.

Unfortunately, I cannot completely escape the winter this year, so I might as well make it as stylish as possible. So when I found this oversized, super cozy Karen Millen cardigan at a thrift store, I was delighted. I felt warm and stylish. It’s a winter fashion miracle!

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It got me thinking about Jane Russell, the brunette beauty from the 1940s and 1950s. While she was a sizzling pinup on the big screen, she didn’t shy away from sweaters and other wintry looks. And while her pieces could have easily made anyone else look like a swollen potato, Jane Russell made them look fabulous?

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Her secret? Sure, she’s got great genes, but Jane also plays up her face. This means that no matter what she wore, her makeup was always immaculate. From lush lashes to a red hot pout, Jane always looked camera-ready for any occasion, even if it was as simple as cozying up with a good book, hot chocolate, or lover.

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Winters will always be here and, depending on where you live, you cannot avoid bundling up unless you like the feeling of frost bite. But, that doesn’t mean you should toss aside your personal style. If you must wear something that’s normally not a piece you would go for, make sure you pair it with something that makes you feel, well fabulous. It can be a pair of rhinestone earrings that you always save for a special occasion, a red lipstick that always makes you feel like a bombshell, skinny black pants a la Audrey Hepburn, fake eyelashes to make your eyes dazzle – whatever. Just take it out and flaunt it. Not only will you feel more confident, but it will always be a unique way to showcase your personal style. And one big perk? You won’t freeze.

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Sure, I was pant-less in the fitting room, but nothing makes me feel as good in the winter (or any season for that matter) as wearing red lipstick. And I think this winter coming up, I might have to stay warm in this piece, all while wearing my red lipstick.

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Thanks Jane Russell for the inspiration! Now I feel like watching “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.”

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Oxblood Obsession

Most people associate me with wearing bold floral prints. It makes perfect sense as, after all, I am a big advocator of adding color to my life.

But sometimes, I like to go to the dark side. And that doesn’t instantly mean grabbing the nearest little black dress (actually, that can be pretty complicated in my closet).

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Photo by Jordan Race

For quite some time now, I’ve been a big fan of moody oxblood, a rich, wine-infused shade that’s dark, luscious, and wonderfully chic for the crisp fall season.

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Photo by Jordan Race

For a weekend at the Henry Norman Hotel in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, I wore a Victorian-meets-1920s oxblood dress that I’ve had for years. Most people think it’s vintage, but would you believe I actually found this back in college at Forever 21? I was young and broke, so the retailer helped me at the time feel fashionable. These days, I prefer thrifting, but I still to my modern classics, like this dress.

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Photo by Jordan Race

As expected, this dress is no longer available at Forever 21, but here are some authentic vintage picks I really like:

If black is your go-to color, shake things up this autumn by falling for oxblood (see what I did there)? It’s a runway-ready hue that flatters everyone and it’s a great way to brighten up your wardrobe just a tad bit.

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Photo by Jordan Race

As for the Henry Norman Hotel? It was delightful? Imagine having an entire apartment all to yourself. That’s what one of the rooms felt like.

Tell me, what do you think of oxblood?