The Carrie Bradshaw Rule of Fashion

worst5When you put on something and think to yourself, “am I too old to wear this,” it’s probably one of the most fucked up moments of life … especially if you just turned 30 like I did. Because when did I get to the point in my life when I thought I was too old for ANYTHING

For me, it was when I threw on a black choker. You know … like the ones all the Jenners and Hadids are rocking (sign number one), and the ones I wore in the early-90s? I took one look in the mirror and immediately saw myself as Josie Grosie from Never Been Kissed, pretending to fit in with all the “rad” high school girls … terribly.

Like thinking about the fact that I could potentially wear the same outfits as my 14-year-old niece honestly makes me physically ill. For me AND for her.

But I didn’t take it off. Nope. I kept that sucker on. Mostly because I was mad at myself for even thinking something like that (pshh I’m timeless :::hair flip::: also, where is my Retinol eye cream?), and because I live life by the “Carrie Bradshaw Rule of Fashion.”

What is the Carrie Bradshaw Rule of Fashion you say? Well gather ’round kids. It’s time for a Life Sucks In A Strapless Bra lesson on life. 

Carrie Bradshaw was not some 20-something frolicking around NYC in her Jimmy Choos. Oh no. That bitch was in her 30s for most of Sex and the City (I feel like people overlook that fact). Which is SO refreshing, because now I feel like all we see are 20-somethings living off their parents money and seeing how they can out-hipster one another whilst “figuring it all out” :::cough cough GIRLS cough::: 

Carrie, Miranda, Samantha, Charlotte … all in their 30s during Sex and the City. Which oddly makes me feel so much better about what I have going on and not going on in my life right now.

So back to the Carrie Bradshaw Rule of Fashion … she had no rules. She made up the rules as she went. 

She wore shit like this:

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Oh and did we forget about this:

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And HELLO … the Cafeteria look where she met the comic book dude!?

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Did she look in the mirror and say, “hmm am I too mature to rock a belt around my middriff?” “I wonder if my 14-year-old niece and her friends are wearing the same thing?” NO. She didn’t give a shit. She made it her own, and made it work. Age was never a factor in her outfits. They were fun, creative, and expressed who she was as a person. And dammit, isn’t that what style is all about?

Chokers are fleeting fashion … I know that for a fact. But right now they fit into my style aesthetic. Will I go around rocking mom jeans and white Adidas Shell Toes? Well that is something that just does not fit into my style profile … sorry Hadid- and Jenner-lookalikes. 

So next time you think you’re too old to rock something, rely on the Carrie Bradshaw Rule of Fashion. As long as you aren’t rocking ties over t-shirts a-la Avril Lavigne … I think we are good. Because that shit is never okay.

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Century 21 Philly: Words Of Wisdom

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Photo credit: http://articles.philly.com/2014-10-16/entertainment/55065695_1_flagship-store-eddie-gindi-century-21

When I was in high school, in August every year, my mom and I would trek up to NYC for a few days of shopping and exploring. It was the best. We called it our “back to school shopping trip,” but really we both just loved New York City and knew we could get some really original finds there.

I wish I could say we checked out the Guggenheim Museum, or wondered through MoMA, laid around in Central Park, but we didn’t. How could you have time for that when you dedicate an entire day of your trip to Century 21?

Recently I asked my mom how we discovered Century 21, but neither of us could remember. The first time I stepped foot in there was literally two weeks before 9/11 when I was 14. My mom and I had a croissant at the bottom of one of the towers before going in. Kind of surreal. Even during 9/11 I remembered thinking there was no way Century 21 could still be standing as it was right by the towers, but it was. From that point on, we made it a point to spend an entire day at the store every time we visited NYC.

I like to call myself a seasoned Century 21 shopper, since I’ve been going there for more than 10 years :::hair flip:::. Century 21 isn’t like any other store I’ve shopped. It makes Nordstrom Rak and TJ Maxx look like crying little wusses. If the rumors are true, the Philly store will mirror the NYC store, which means there will be 3-4 floors of insane goodness, which makes me swoon. Literally … I have butterflies like some groupie dork.

You may think I’m being over dramatic, you may think I’m being a little crazytown, but talk to me after your first Century 21 experience and you can buy me a drink for the rad advice I’m about to give you.

Now behold, my words of wisdom to help you get the most out of your first Century 21 Philly experience.

1. Dedicate a day: Especially if this is your first time, give yourself ample amounts of time to shop the store as there’s various floors with various goods: Designer, more affordable shit, accessories … I mean it never ends. It’s so good … it’s all SO good.

2. Fuel Up: Eat a meal and drink your fluids (non-alcoholic) before entering the store. Maybe do some jumping jacks … I don’t know. You’ll only understand once you’ve been there, but it takes stamina and strength, my friends, to score the good stuff. You gotta muscle up when we are talking Dolce and Gabbana for close to nothing. Otherwise you will fade fast and some other lady will get the goods, and no one wants that, right?

3. Dress Appropriately: The fitting rooms in the NYC store didn’t have doors, which was a little mortifying at first, but when you have an arm full of insane designer deals, you really don’t care if some random old lady sees your bits and pieces. I have NO idea what the fitting room sitch is in the Philly store, but if you are more modest, wear appropriate undergarments JUST in case.

4. Be in the Right Head Space: If you aren’t at least 85% in the mood to shop, don’t go. This is a marathon, not a track meet. Lots of people, lots of shit to dig through. When I only had a few minutes in NYC to roam Century 21, I would browse accessories, get frustrated by the people and the chaos, and leave. If you’re thinking, “maybe I’ll hit up Century 21, take a cab ride down to the new Nordstrom Rack, maybe hit up Uniqlo … I don’t know, I don’t know if there will be time!” don’t. Just … no. Don’t. You’ll regret it. Century 21 or bust.

5. Have A Strategy: What are you looking for? Do you want high-end designer goods? Shoes? Accessories? Find out what you want the most and work from there. I always did accessories last because it was less to carry (I’m an accessories whore) and you can’t bring them into the fitting room. I started in the more affordable section, then ended up in designer and was able to filter my finds better. And by filter I mean standing by the register contemplating how I cannot pay my rent that month to afford everything.

Century 21 is where I purchased my first Burberry scarf for $50. Century 21 is where I scored my first piece of designer anything, a pair of Catherine Malandrino jeans. Century 21 is where I got the most original looking things that drove my friends crazy. I can’t explain to you how excited I am that it is making its debut tomorrow in Philly. Seriously … I just … yeah. This:

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Side note: Century 21 Philly did not pay me to write this post or bribe me with goods, I’m just a ridiculous super fan of this store. Century 21, if you WOULD like to bribe me with goods, I’m totally available for a conversation. Hit me up, boo.

Style Stud: Bus Stop Boutique

logoAs a tall gal, it has taken me a VERY long time to embrace sky high heels. I would always admire them from the sidelines. Maybe purchase them and just gaze longingly at them in a glass case. But only recently did I rock them with zero fucks given.

But even if you don’t care, standing next to a 5 foot girl, as a 5’9 girl wearing 4 inch heels .. is super awkward. I end up resembling Gigantor and in an effort to make fun of myself before anyone else has the opportunity to, I will stomp around making growling noises (I’m normal, I swear).

My dream has been for there to be a middle ground between amazing stilettos and kitten heels, so I can still feel like I’m wearing big girl heels, but not looking like the damn Jolly Green Giant whilst standing next to my teeny tiny friends. But alas, none can be found, unless you like Easy Spirits … which no … just … no.

Enter Bus Stop Boutique, stage right. We fell in love on Instagram (I feel like I should make up a song about this), when I saw my fantastic friend Sarah (yes I spoke about this earlier this week), rocking a fierce pair of heels that I needed to have. I made her take me to this mystical place where I knew there was just something special about the shoes.

If you live in Philly, congrats, now go to Bus Stop Boutique immediately. If you are looking for a cool pair of shoes, something out of the ordinary and want ace customer service by the lovely Elena (owner of Bus Stop Boutique), bring it on down to Queen Village.

But in all honesty, the reason why I fell head over heels (no pun intended) for this boutique is because it catered to the tall girl. Yes, they have stilettos and insanely cute flats, but they also have the rare and illusive mid-size heel … aka a tall girl’s dream. You can still strut and be sexy, but not turn into a sky high beast.

I would like to thank Bus Stop for treating my tootsies like a queen and for hooking me up with a pair of heels that make my feet feel completely and utterly fancy. Sometimes we need an extra special pair of shoes to get us from A to B … and this is the spot to get um, ladies.

Now indulge with me over just a few pairs of shoes I’m drooling over for fall …

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Style Stud: Lobo Mau

Photo Credit: LoboMau.com
Photo Credit: LoboMau.com

I gotta say, one of my favorite things in life is original, one-of-kind fashions for a price point that doesn’t make your mind explode. When I first came across Philly designer, Nicole Haddad and her clothing line, Lobo Mau in a Philly Mag article, I literally had to stop myself from drooling all over my keyboard whilst viewing her FW14 collection. I wanted/still want everything. And I was praying to the Gods of fashion that it wouldn’t be $500 for a t-shirt. Lucky for me, the fashion Gods heard my prayer. No only is Lobo Mau a brand that every stylish lady should have in her closet, but is one that won’t break your bank and have you justifying not paying your bills. We’ve all had that “I don’t REALLY need cable this month,” moment, right? Yeah … not necessary here.

Nicole is definitely a creative soul that everyone needs to chat with. Her dedication and eye for style is something to be admired …  And it is just an extra added bonus that she is from my favorite city in the entire world … Philadelphia.

Enjoy getting to know Lobo Mau and Nicole as much as I did!

1. Where are you from originally?
My father is from Brazil and my mother is Italian-American. I’ve spent most of my life living and traveling between Brazil and Philadelphia.

2. Where did you study design (if you did)?
I have a Master’s degree in Fashion Design from Drexel University. Prior to that I earned my BA in Art History and Italian from Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY.

3. What inspired you to become a designer? What inspires you in general?
In Brazil it is very common to have your clothing made for you by local seamstresses or designers. Ever since I was a child, I’ve been taking my ideas to seamstresses and having my clothing made for me. Eventually I just thought to myself “Why don’t I just learn to do this mysef?” Also, my great-grandmother and grandmother on my mom’s Italian side were bridal and evening wear designers in Philadelphia. They were very successful and designed dresses for celebrities such as Grace Kelly. So I grew up with that influence in my life.

4. Have you always designed or did you go down a different career path at first?
I have always designed, but for a while I was interested in Academia. I thought for a few years that I would become a scholar and art historian writing books, publishing journal articles, and lecturing to college students … but then I realized I needed to lead an artistically creative life, so I went back to school for design.

5. What year did you design your first collection?
I graduated design school in 2008 and then started my line. My first collection consisted of digitally-printed fabrics that I created in Photoshop.

6. Where is your studio located?
My studio is currently in the basement of the designer co-op US U.S. I have been a part of this co-op shop for 3 years now, and it has been a really supportive environment for me to grow my business.

 7. Who do you look up to designer-wise?
I look up to Alexander Wang for building such a big business based in salable clothing. I look up to Mary Katrantzou and Manish Arora for their crazy amazing prints and use of color. I love designers like Jil Sander for her beautiful minimalism. I’m obsessed with Dries Van Noten’s FW2014 Collection.

8. How do you view the Philly fashion scene, and what made you design here instead of in LA or NYC?
The Philly fashion scene is growing a lot, but it still has a long way to go. I am currently working with a group of dedicated individuals who want to change the manufacturing situation in Philly. There aren’t many places for a designer here to manufacture, which is a shame because it was once the #1 place in the US for garment manufacturing. I love this city though, and I have built a life here. My family is here, my husband has a great job here, and I’d like to continue living and working here.

9. Describe the girl that would wear your most recent collection.
The girl who would wear the FW2014 collection is fashion-forward, but also classic.

10. Where can people buy your pieces and when will your most recent collection be available?
I sell to about 12 stores all over the country. In Philadelphia, the latest collection will be sold at US U.S. Designer Co-op in Old City and Style Camp in Chestnut Hill.

11. What are your price points?
Anywhere from $50-$100

12. Are your garments American made? What fabrics do you work with?
Everything is made in Philadelphia right now, although my fabrics come from LA.

13. How did you come up with the name “Lobo Mau“?
Lobo Mau means ‘big, bad wolf” in Portuguese. As a child I loved the story of Little Red Riding Hood and I thought it translated well into an idea for a clothing line. I’ve always liked bold fashion, and the name fit well.

14. What’s next for you and your brand?
I’m going to keep growing my business and work on getting my web store really up and running. I’m going to be dressing some celebrities this summer, and working on a capsule collection with a singer from Brooklyn, Denitia, from Denitia and Sene. They have been named Nylon Magazine’s favorite artist this month.

15. What is your advice for aspiring designers?
Be prepared to work hard and to keep persevering. You are going to knock on hundreds of doors and sow hundreds of seeds, and if you keep at it long enough, you will make it. Also, having a niche product is helpful.

Photo credit: http://www.phillymag.com/shoppist/2014/04/07/philly-designers-lobo-maus-latest-collection-is-amazing/
Photo credit: http://www.phillymag.com/shoppist/2014/04/07/philly-designers-lobo-maus-latest-collection-is-amazing/
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Photo credit: http://www.phillymag.com/shoppist/2014/04/07/philly-designers-lobo-maus-latest-collection-is-amazing/
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Photo credit: http://www.phillymag.com/shoppist/2014/04/07/philly-designers-lobo-maus-latest-collection-is-amazing/
photo credit: http://www.phillymag.com/shoppist/2014/04/07/philly-designers-lobo-maus-latest-collection-is-amazing/
photo credit: http://www.phillymag.com/shoppist/2014/04/07/philly-designers-lobo-maus-latest-collection-is-amazing/

Kardashian Konfession

rs_604x1024-140520095320-634.kim-kardashian-shopping-parisI don’t understand the craze with the royals, never have. Now, don’t throw stuff at me when I say this, but I find Will and Kate ridiculously boring. Oh she shops at J.Crew? Riveting. Oh, she wore the same thing she did last week? Welcome to my typical Wednesday. I mean, yawn. Down right, yawn.

But what I’m about to admit is painful for me … and slightly embarrassing, but I have to get this off my chest. :::Sigh::: Okay, here goes … I’m … quite obsessed with Kim and Kanye. No I won’t refer to them as “Kimye” … but yeah, I find them so ridiculously intriguing, if I could sit in front of my TV and watch E! News updates on them all day, I would. Now … go ahead, judge me. I deserve it.

I’ve been a Kanye West fan for years. People think he’s crazytown, I see him as an artist. Kim? Well … yes, I’ve pretty much watched every episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians (because sometimes I just want to put my brain on an invisible shelf and drool), but I’ve always found her to be a little … oh, I don’t know, full of herself? Is that the right way to explain her?

But this Kanye West rebrand of Kim Kardashian (because that’s what happened … they fell in love and he rebranded her) is epic and completely fascinating to me. She went from this Herve Leger, hoop earring, Phantom riding, lip liner, extension rocking, party host in Vegas to this silent beauty with such style and class in everything she does. Like she isn’t just known for her big ass anymore, she is actually known for her style. What?

And Kayne didn’t just rebrand Kim, he rebranded the entire family. I wish I could have been a fly on the wall during that conversation. “Yo, listen. No wearing colors. Only rockin’ french brands. No more eating. No more blowing off the gym. Everyone gets a waist slimmer instructor. Kendall … I’m going to call up my boy Marc so you can walk in his show.” He probably had stricter demands, let’s be real … but he totally curated that family. Who curates an entire family?!

The issue with all of this that I’m having is I find myself on the train to work, drifting off in my imagination, thinking about what kind of plastic surgery Kim got (seriously though, what did she have done … she looks effing amazing). And what will her wedding dress will look like. And if all of this will be televised so I can get all of my questions answered. Why wouldn’t I be thinking about my to-do list for the day, or my goals in life. No. I’m pondering what Kim’s diet regiment is and how I can get on it. Sick. Sick sick sick.

I’m not saying Kim and Kanye are the American version of the royal family. Absolutely not … I refuse to be that guy. I am saying my obsession with them is slightly frightening. Not like I’m going to fly to France and stalk them frightening, just a little unerving. It’s like staring at something shiny. I just can’t turn away. Slash her style is insanely on point. Every outfit she has been rocking in France this week … I need. Now. (See! The fact that I even know about all of her outfits in France is kind of vom-worthy. Am I right? Who AM I?!)

Now all I need is a Kanye West to come into my life and rebrand me. Any takers?

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Style Stud: Smak Parlour

sp-homepage-1-10-14For those of you not from the Philly area, well … first of all I feel sorry for you. But I also feel sorry that you don’t get the opportunity to enjoy one of my fave boutiques in the city, Smak Parlour. It’s not just because every time I walk in there I want to step up my style game and reinvent myself, it’s also because of the owner’s, Abby and Katie, who are two bad ass chicks that set their minds to something and turned out leaving a lasting impression in the world of fashion as well as on the city of Philadelphia

I had the ultimate pleasure of speaking with them and getting the lowdown on the parlour itself, their inspiration, and what we can expect from these fantastic ladies in the future.

What was the inspiration behind Smak Parlour? How did you come up with the name?
We met when we were 15, bonded over fashion and worked towards having a store together ever since then. Smak Parlour has been a lifetime in the making. We had a wholesale line of deconstructed and embellished t-shirts called “SMAK by abby and katie,” that we sold to boutiques across the country before opening our store. After finding our Old City storefront, we had tailors sewing SMAK in the back (in our sewing parlour). We were making SMAK in the parlour and just days before opening, “Smak Parlour” came to be.

Where are some chic places we can catch the Smak Parlour fashion truck in 2014? What is the best way to find it?
We recently just drove our truck into the Convention Center for the Tattoo Convention. We will be vending at The Porch (30th St. Station) on Fridays through the spring. We are vending at the Suburu Cherry Blossom event in April. In addition, we are booking plenty of fun private shopping parties! We will be posting our events on Facebook and Twitter. We will also have an event calendar on our website.

Tell me about any new designers/collections you will carry in the new year.
We are super excited about a jewelry line we just brought in from a local Philly designer named Angela. She handcrafts rings and necklaces featuring a range of images from iconic pop figures like Audrey Hepburn, Abe Lincoln and Darth Vader to animal-themed pieces with dog and kitten portraits.

If you could give advice to young girls starting out in the fashion industry, what would it be?
Fashion and retail is less glamorous then you think, it takes dedication, lots of time, hard work, and LOTS of creativity. We love it and feel if you have passion for what you do, you can overcome the hurdles!

How did you both get into fashion? What are your inspirations?
We both shared a love for fashion and have worked in retail since we met in high school. We grew up designing our own clothes from thrift store finds and safety pins. We went to Drexel University for Design and Merchandising. Our shared tastes have always been in the vein of a little bit girly meets rock ‘n roll.

Why did you decide to open your boutique/fashion truck in Philly?
We worked in New York’s garment district after graduation and realized we needed to be doing our own thing to be happy. Being from Philly, we wanted to open a shop in our hometown! The truck came 8 years later. It was a no brainer .. .going mobile is the future. We bring the best of Old City directly to our customers!

How would you define Philly style?
Philly style is very eclectic. There is a grittiness to it, which works perfectly with our brand. We have a definite edge to our style.

I’m in love with the design on Smak Parlour … how did you come up with its look?
We are inspired by Japanese Culture, Pin- up looks, Tattoo Culture, and Downtown New York in the 70’s and 80’s. We love using non-traditional ways to merchandise, such as glittering cinder blocks! The combination is truly unique and feels like a doll house.

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Hey! Philly Does Fashion Week, Too!

CaptureNew York City. Meh. London. Uh huh :::files nails:::. Paris. Yawn. Milan. :::Epic eye roll:::.

It is all about Philly fashion week, people! We got style, yes we do … even though most of the nation thinks we are extremely fat jerks who stuff our faces with cheese steaks and soft pretzels (only a quarter of the time is that true, a thank you very much).

But yes, I am proud and confident enough to say that Philly is turning, slowly but surely, into one of the most fashion-forward cities in America. Will you see Anna Wintour front row in any of the shows/boutique events? Probs not, but I would like to warmly invite her to do so on behalf of the City of Brotherly Love.

And talk about a hipster’s dream come true! Years from now when a more chic and exclusive car company that doesn’t even exist yet is sponsoring Philly Fashion Week, you can proudly scoff at all the labeled-out fashion editors stomping out of the Four Seasons and into the tents at City Hall (yes, this is how I imagine Philly fashion week to look in a couple of years) and say, “pssh I was attending Philly fashion week before these ladies even knew Philly was on the map.” Oh yeah … it’s happening.

But until Anna Wintour arrives and before the fashion world realizes how truly unique and stylish our dear city truly is, we will remain “underground chic,” which I personally think is pretty damn cool.

So for those of you who would like to be “underground chic,” here are some of the most fun and fashion-forward events from some of my favorite designers and boutiques that this city has to offer.

Vintage Designer Pop-Up: Join Fashionaires as they share their designer vintage collection at Palomar Hotel for one day only. Let’s talk about McQueen, Valentino, Oscar de La Renta for up to 80% off the designer store price tags … swoon.
Date: Friday, September 20th starting at noon at Palomar Hotel

The Philadelphia Collection (Okay, take a deep breath because over 60 fashion shows, events, and parties will be happening during this monumental week … here are just a few of my favs).

Hope Chest Undressed: SPANX is here, ladies … what, what! Have some cocktails, enjoy some entertainment … mingle, and oh yeah … get those unruly bumps smoothed!
Date: September 19th, 4-7 p.m., Hope Chest

Rittenhouse Row Fall Fashion Crawl: Boutiques, like one of my favs South Moon Under, will be bringing their fall fashion a-game for an evening of events, cocktails, and pure style.
Date: September 19, 6-8 p.m., Rittenhouse Row

Dressed To A Tea With SA VA: Time to act like proper ladies, which means it is totally cool to faint over fantastic fall fashion from local designers Irina Sigal, and SA VA. Can’t promise that a dapper gent will be there to catch you and fan you back to life, though, so faint at your own risk.
Date: September 21, 2-4 p.m., Sofitel Philadelphia

United By Blue Grand Opening Celebration: Let’s welcome this community-focused boutique to Philly the proper way. I mean come on, every product you buy not only rocks but helps remove one pound of trash from oceans and waterways. Our aqua life thanks you in advance.
Date: September 25, 6-9 p.m., United By Blue