The Fitting Room Chronicles: Falling for Carmen Miranda

When it comes to fall in New York City, girls think about rocking their finest black, oxblood, and burgundy styles – you know, everything dark and heavy. And trust me, I’m all for that. With all the holidays coming up (candy, pie, and champagne, oh my!), I need to go to the dark side with clothes to camouflage that pooch waving hello.

But sometimes? I just want to throw myself on a pile of palm leaves, not fall foliage.

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When I found this transparent tropical ensemble for less than 20 bucks, two words came to mind: Carmen Miranda.

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Anyone who’s into old Hollywood, thrifting, or just pop culture in general knows a thing or two about “the lady in the tutti frutti hat.”

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Carmen MIranda in THE GANG'S ALL HERE (1943), directed by Busby Berkeley.

The woman made an entire career out of wearing crop tops in banana-hue, headdresses overflowing with plastic fruit, and frilly skirts designed for the samba. And let’s be real here, Carmen made the look completely hers for technicolor films.

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Carmen even reportedly said this: I have never followed what people say it is ‘fashionable’. I think that a woman must wear what fits her. That is why I created a style appropriated to my type and my artistical genre.

Now that’s my kind of girl.

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So for this fall, yes, I’m going to flaunt my black, oxblood, and burgundy. However, I’m also going to show off some flower power, towering palm trees, and even a parrot or two straight from the tropics (print-wise of course). It will be fun way to stand out among a sea of autumnal uniforms and reminisce about past sizzling summers.

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The only thing that should brighten up those dreary days that quickly transition into night? You. And personally, I would heat things up even more by carrying a pumpkin spice latte on one hand. Sure, this dress is pretty, but baby, it’s cold outside.

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…

“Gone With the Wind”

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