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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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.

South Street Seaport

The last time I’ve been to South Street Seaport was when I was 16. I still remember the sickly sweet stench of Abercrombie & Fitch cologne, a sea of “I Love New York” t-shirts being sold by vendors looking for a quick buck, abandoned centuries-old buildings displaying loads of graffiti tags, and broken-down streets leading to cluttered highways.

It wasn’t a pretty sight.

Photo by Jordan Race
Photo by Jordan Race

So you can only imagine my surprise when I recently went down, all the way downtown, to South Street Seaport, only to see a brand-spanking new neighborhood. The historic harbor highlights cobble stone streets (great if you’re not wearing heels), quaint coffee shops overlooking towering ships, and a massive beer garden leading to streets of seaside restaurants. There’s also the Smorgasburg, a foodie paradise where ramen burgers and massive grilled cheese sandwiches overflowing with oozing fromage are readily available to one’s mouthwatering delight.

Needless to say, I was a fan.

Photo by Jordan Race
Photo by Jordan Race

I re-discovered the South Street Seaport as a native New Yorker wearing a piece from one of my favorite Etsy vendors, The Braided Bandit. It’s a super comfy 1970s black maxi dress by American brand Choon California.

Photo by Jordan Race
Photo by Jordan Race

Finding a vintage black v-neck dress on Etsy is pretty easy, but here are my picks: There’s this 1970s/1980s gown that’s super similar for $60, a gorgeous cocktail variation available in plus sizes for $39.90, a 1970s sheer variation for $50, and, if you’re willing to splurge, a 1970s Givenchy creation for $498. Just don’t forget to keep your size and measurements in mind before ordering.

All you need is a wide leather waist belt to cinch the waist, creating instant Morticia Addams vibes.

Photo by Jordan Race
Photo by Jordan Race

To jazz up a plain black dress, I added a giant vintage butterfly brooch, but any brooch of your choosing will do. A lot of beautiful pieces can also be found on Etsy.

Photo by Jordan Race
Photo by Jordan Race

So excuse me while I enjoy a local espresso and shop for stuff.

Cheating Death in Central Park

“There are always flowers for those who want to see them.” – Henri Matisse

“Canadian Geese in Central Park” – By Me

Nature and I are serious frenemies. I love escaping the concrete scenery of New York City for something green and lush. Nothing makes me happy like finding a beautiful blooming flower to photograph. And fluttering butteries or even the occasional rabbit hopping around fills my heart with joy.

I’m also allergic to pollen-mosquitos-pretty-much-every-bug-and-plant-alive-outside.

I like turtles.
I like turtles.

As you can imagine, parks aren’t always my thing because well, walking around with a swollen face isn’t fun. But on one sun-soaked Sunday, I was compelled to drag Jordan to Central Park. Sure, there were tourists everywhere and good luck creating some sort of great  Exodus for insects, but in the words of Rhett Butler…

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For the outing, I decided to channel my tropical roots. I wore a red floral midi dress from the 1970s, which was purchased from Colorado-based Etsy shop, The Braided Bandit. Its vibrant red shade just screams summer, don’t you think?

The Braided Bandit
The Braided Bandit

As you can see, the dress originally came with long sleeves, but my bulging biceps just weren’t having it. My tailor, also known as my fairy godmother who always makes me go from drab to fab, suggested I remove the sleeves completely. This was the end result:

Photo by Jordan Race
Photo by Jordan Race

The idea was actually a brilliant one. Not only does it look more weather-appropriate, but I was still able to make use of a new piece. If the sleeves of your piece just doesn’t fit the way you would like, consider removing them completely or at least making them half-sleeves, depending on the fit. You will completely transform your outfit and it will fit you so much better. Any tailor can easily do this, but if you’re more of a DIY gal, YouTube also has some great tutorials on sleeve removal.

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Photo by Jordan Race

Because we were roughin’ it, I left behind my heels (in my purse of course) and wore more comfy ballet flats. Per usual, one of my many corselet belts made an appearance. I paired them with golden chandelier earrings from H&M and wore Relvon’s blazing “Hot Coral” lipstick. It’s an incredibly moisturizing lipstick, so I didn’t have to worry too much about reapplying during the day.

Photo by Jordan Race
Photo by Jordan Race

And in case you’re wondering, I survived. Jordan and I celebrated at Flatiron District’s Marta, the new It-pizza stop where wine flows freely and massive pies are served to your liking.

Classic Pizza Margherita at Marta. Yum.
Classic Pizza Margherita at Marta. Yum.

See you next time when I attempt to cheat death!

Photo by Jordan Race
Photo by Jordan Race