The Fitting Room Chronicles: Dress of Many Colors

I’ve been thinking about David Bowie a lot lately. Actually, I’ve been in mourning, but I don’t like to think of him as gone forever. In my mind, he’s back in his planet.

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As I mentioned in my last post, The Thin White Duke has had a profound effect on me. I still can’t believe he left us. His music has been on heavy rotation and I’ve been feeling quite sad.

Rightfully so, I want to celebrate his life. And in the city he has called home for quite some time now, there are many tribute parties. There’s even a Carnegie Hall Tribute Concert happening, although honestly it’s a bit stuffy for my taste. I would much rather just hit the floor, put on my red shoes, and dance the blues.

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Of course, there are many other events happening here lately, even a sing-along in Union Square Park. But I personally cannot wait for Bowieball. It’s a huge extravaganza celebrating the life and legacy of David Bowie. Even Debbie Harry of Blondie is a fan. I can only imagine that this year’s festivities is going to be one of epic proportions.

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While no official dates have been announced yet, I’m already fantasizing about what I would wear. I received this beautiful gift from Jordan, which came from one of my favorite Etsy vendors, The Braided Bandit. It’s a 1980s floral rainbow dress.

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Photo by Jordan Race

I thought how great this could look with a galaxy-inspired headdress, but it also reminded me of Frida Kahlo. And then of course, I started singing melodies from “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.”

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In other words, I can wear it for many reasons. Best of all, it’s a perfect fit – no tailoring required!

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Whether for Bowieball or not, how do you think I should rock this dress?

 

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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 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.

Getting Glamorous With a Turban

There are several must-haves that every lady should own to both look and feel like a glamour goddess. A fresh tube of red lipstick, some fabulous fur (I prefer faux), pearls, a little black dress – you get the picture.

But one piece that’s seriously a must-have? The ever so stylish turban.

Fellow Dominicana Maria Montez.
Fellow Dominicana Maria Montez.

This chic piece has been a fashion staple for old Hollywood starlets since the era of silent cinema and it’s easy to see why. Turbans add an extra amount of oomph to any wardrobe, they’re super eye-catching (much like a perfect red pout), and they keep your mane in place. What’s not to love?

Hedy Lamarr
Hedy Lamarr
Elizabeth Taylor with Richard Burton
Elizabeth Taylor with Richard Burton
Greta Garbo
Greta Garbo
Lana Turner
Lana Turner

During the 1930s, the turban exemplified a well-traveled woman and as for today, people will certainly ask for the story behind your accessory.

Gloria Swanson
Gloria Swanson
Sophia Loren
Sophia Loren

And if that’s not convincing check out these grand dames rocking their turbans at one of my favorite blogs, Advanced Style. Need I say more?

For a date night with Jordan, I decided to rock my very first turban, which I purchased from Israel-based Craftasy on Etsy. All I can say is, All right, Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up.

Photo by Jordan Race
Photo by Jordan Race

Craftasy sells several turbans, but you can get the exact same black one for less than $9. How sweet is that?

Photo by Jordan Race
Photo by Jordan Race

As for my dress, it also came from Etsy, via Midwest-based Fly Away Vintage Shop. It’s a late 1970s-early 1980s teal satiny secretary wrap dress by Liz Claiborne. The original dress was long in length with equally long sleeves. I had it tailor to better fit my figure, and then paired it with a thrifted wide leather corselet belt.

Dress Before Tailoring Photo by Fly Away Vintage Shop
Dress Before Tailoring
Photo by Fly Away Vintage Shop

For a similar look, here are my picks:

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

For our date night, Jordan and I went to Brasserie Les Halles on Park Avenue South. If you’re an Anthony Bourdain fan like me, then chances are you’ve already eaten at this spot. While Les Halles is known for their French dishes, Jordan and I were craving burgers. Perhaps we made a poor choice as the American staple was rather forgettable. However, the pommes frites was a mouthwatering pairing with cocktails.11709437_10100269604901757_100750542406942018_n

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And reader, I must say, there is nothing more glamorous than savoring a Friday night at a French restaurant in Park Avenue, while devouring a plate of French fries while rocking your turban.

Going Italian (In Greenpoint)

Manhattan girls don’t like to leave the island. We just don’t. From food to shopping, there’s really no reason to visit the other boroughs.

But Brooklyn knows what’s up.

Roses of Greenpoint.
Roses of Greenpoint.

I don’t need to tell you how Brooklyn (at least some parts of it) are the playgrounds of hipsters, or how everything cool is somehow made in the BK. And if you watch HBO, chances are you know about one particular show where its setting happens to be Brooklyn.

But I really don’t go to Brooklyn unless I absolutely have to. And when I found out about this massive warehouse where you can find tons of vintage pieces for affordable prices, you know I was making the trip down under.

I know, I know.
I know, I know.

For my visit to Greenpoint, specifically Dusty Rose Vintage, I wore this sheer 1970s label-less dress I thrifted many moons ago in (yes) Manhattan.

Photo by Jordan Race.
Photo by Jordan Race.

I paired it with a (more modern) sparkling matching floral cardigan from Topshop that I also thrifted. The pearls are also vintage, and I kept the lipstick more natural looking, all thanks to Milani’s Color Statement Moisture Matte Lipstick in Naked ($5.99). I felt like I was in the streets of Italy. But I wasn’t. I swear.

Photo by Jordan Race
Photo by Jordan Race

For a similar look (all Etsy.com):

Photo by Jordan Race
Photo by Jordan Race

I adore Dusty Rose Vintage in Greenpoint. It’s a true shopping haven for thrifters who relish on the hunt. Make sure you reserve some hours just to go through bins and bins of clothes from various eras. There’s even a “Goth Witch Noir” bin(!).

Photo by Jordan Race
Photo by Jordan Race

Jordan was trying to find a leather jacket, but he wasn’t as lucky. Perhaps we’re due for another visit sooner than later!

Jordan was attempting to find a leather jacket.
Jordan was attempting to find a leather jacket.

I wish I could tell you NOT to visit Dusty Rose Vintage, only so I can have this whole place to myself. But seriously, this place is the bee’s knees. Every thrifter should make a visit to Mecca. So make your way to Greenpoint and shop until you drop!

Fin.
Fin.

Spending the Afternoon with Frank Sinatra

Nothing puts me in the right mood quite like ol’ blue eyes.

Frank Sinatra: The One and Only
Frank Sinatra: The One and Only

Night and day, summer or winter, I’m all about feeling like a glamour goddess while New Jersey’s finest Frank Sinatra croons of his greatest love, and one of my favorite old Hollywood stars, Ava Gardner.

Frank Sinatra and Ava Gardner
Frank Sinatra and Ava Gardner

So when the New York Public Library in Lincoln Center was hosting a special exhibition dedicated to the beloved singer and star, appropriately titled “Sinatra: An American Icon,” you know I was attending.

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It was truly a celebration of Sinatra’s life, featuring his wardrobe, awards, and even personal artwork he created for his grandchildren. It was an exquisite feast for fans and I was incredibly honored to be a part of it.

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There were even other treats on display, like Billie Holiday’s furl shawl and Ella Fitzgerald’s gorgeous emerald dress.

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Artwork created by Frank Sinatra for his grandchildren.
Artwork created by Frank Sinatra for his grandchildren.

For the festivities, I wore a vintage Joni Blair of California red plaid swing dress that I purchased from Etsy vendor TempleKatVintage of Pennsylvania. She’s one of my favorite Etsy vendors and I was excited to receive such a beautiful, seasonal piece for the fall and winter months.

Photo by Jordan Race
Photo by Jordan Race

And while the look and style scream 1950s, would you believe it’s actually from the 1980s? But that’s my little secret.

Photo by Jordan Race
Photo by Jordan Race

For a similar dress I have some recommendations. Vintage-inspired retailer Lindy Bop has a near replica for $46, except it’s so popular that most sizes are sold out. However, you can request for the vendor to notify you when the piece is back in stock, giving you some time to save your coins. Unique Vintage has a 1950s style red tartan swing dress designed by pinup star Bernie Dexter for $154 that’s downright breathtaking. If you’re looking to add some wiggle to your step, Unique Vintage also has this green tartan dress by Stop Staring! for $178 that will hug every single curve you’ve got, making the fellas break a sweat. And finally, Etsy vendor maybel57 has a wiggle red tartan dress from the 1950s available for $115.

Photo by Jordan Race
Photo by Jordan Race

Missed the Frank Sinatra exhibition? You’ll definitely want to try the Interactive Sinatra Walking Tour where you can visit some of his favorite hot spots and performance venues throughout the city he famously sung about. Or, you can even go on a short trip to Hoboken, New Jersey and learn all about Sinatra’s childhood home.

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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.