No Need To Get Huffy About Hoffman

No Need To Get Huffy About Hoffman

“The purest and most thoughtful minds are those which love color the most.”
― John Ruskin, The Stones of Venice

If there is one thing I have really come to appreciate during the summer it is swimwear. Hot and humid days have me running for the nearest body of water and the last thing I want to happen is a wardrobe malfunction. It is one thing to find good construction swim suites but it is quite another to find one that fits well, feels good, won’t fall apart after two swims, and makes you feel beautiful with its bright colors and flattering cuts. Mara Hoffman has you covered!

I stumbled across Mara Hoffman swimwear when looking for suits on my recent trip the Dominican Republic. The first thing that drew me in was the pattern. I always appreciate a designer who is not afraid to use bold patterns and colors all while knowing where the threshold is between playful and tacky. Hoffman nails this line. She provides just enough to make it unique without overdoing it.

When I ordered it I really didn’t take the time to look at the back. I was really focused on the front cut which I appreciated because nobody likes an under boob poking out. The tankini cut give plenty of support and comfort while not allowing for any mishaps. But when it arrived, I was pleasantly surprised about the back double strap. The double straps I thought, would cut into my skin leaving all sorts of nasty lines but it actually ended up feeling like I had nothing on at all. It was amazing! She definitely knows how to design for the curves of a female body. Much appreciated!

As if that weren’t enough to love Mara Hoffman and invest in one of her pieces, she goes above and beyond what many traditional designers have fallen pray to. Instead of sitting in her NYC office letting fabric samples come to her, Mara spends a lot of time traveling. She invests time getting to know different areas of the world, the people, the manufacturers, she watches the dying and printing process happen – not out of control but out of genuine interest and respect for the skill. Mara is someone who you could easily have a cup of coffee with no matter the setting, and this zest and ease for life definitely shows comes out in her clothing!

So go ahead! Enjoy the beach this summer in absolute comfort and style!

Outfit Details

Bathing Suite: Mara Hoffman Cami Printed Underwire Bikini

(Same Style Different Print) Net-a-Porter $240

Sunglasses: Target (Similar)

Jewelry: Necklaces Anarchy Street

Rings Larimar Stone Factory, DR

Fernando & Victor

www.fernandoyvictor.com

You can find them on Instagram @santosfer & @vicnicolass

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Let’s Give Triangl A Try

Let’s Give Triangl A Try

“The beach is not a place to work; to read, write or to think.”
― Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the Sea

Sunshine and warm weather mean one thing: bathing suite season! If you haven’t seen them by now Triangl Swim is the latest thing hit the beaches with their neoprene bathing suites in a variety of eye catching colors. I thought I would give it a try on my last trip to the Dominican Republic.

Here are my thoughts:

At first I was a bit skeptical. Triangl Swimwear was starting to make a huge splash on social media right before I was about to leave for my trip. I figured with so much attention they must be expensive. I was incredibly happy to find out they are not! Comparatively to popular bathing suites at Victoria’s Secret which range from $30 – $50 for either a top or bottom, Triangl offers a complete swim suite for $89!

The first dilemma with Triangl is their unbelievable color choices. I would like to own every single one if possible but eventually settled on the Poppy Blue Crush because let’s face it I’m pale and this color is incredibly flattering.

I did hesitate in choosing the size. I took my measurements and you can order different sizes for the top and bottom but still I wasn’t sure how neoprene would actually fit. It was my understanding that the fabric doesn’t have much give. This turned out to be incredibly true. Luckily they have a great return/exchange policy if you find yourself ordering the wrong size. In all honesty I could have sized up in the bottoms as they pinched a little.

Triangl Swim is the first bathing suite manufacturer where I didn’t feel like I had to adjust myself (ladies you know what I’m talking about). Everything was held perfectly in place and no amount of movement changed how flattering this suite is.

So it isn’t all good news! I did have a few issues. The first was when you lie down a gap between your stomach and fabric appears. I know this has happened to other women as well. I’m hoping Triangl will work out this kink. The other consideration is this bathing suite is a bit high maintenance. On their website Triangl mentions in their description not to fold or iron, and to carefully hand wash it in cold water after contact with either chlorine or salt water. If you are the type of person to take off your swimwear and chuck it in your bag I wouldn’t recommend this one.

Overall impression: I would definitely buy another. I haven’t found a bathing suite that has fit this well in… well I can’t remember it has been that long. I can overlook the high maintenance aspects because I know this will be in my closet and on the beaches for a long time to come!

Triangl Swimwear

Look on Location Shot at Guayacanes, Dominican Republic by:

Fernando & Victor

www.fernandoyvictor.com

You can find them on Instagram @santosfer & @vicnicolasss

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The Look on Location in Barcelona

The Look on Location in Barcelona

“Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say, and not giving a damn”
― Orson Welles

I know I haven’t put up a style post for awhile and that is because I have mostly been sitting behind my desk everyday working on some special projects :). It doesn’t help that the weather has been so gross out either. But, when I was going through a few things I found this quote from Orson Welles and it immediately made me think of Barcelona. That’s when I remembered I hadn’t yet put up the Look on Location from there yet! So here they are!

Here is the thing about this quote and why it made me think of Barcelona: before I left I purchased this amazing hat from Forever21. I’m not really a hat person but style to me is all about experimentation and having fun, so why not give it a try! It was windy, the hat kept blowing off my head, people kept staring and wondering why I just didn’t take it off. The reason I left it on (most of the day) was because I loved it and why should I care what other people think or say. After all, it was my outfit, my style, and my comfort level.

In the end I found out that while I may not like wearing hats on a regular basis wearing one on occasion can truly transform an outfit and how you feel. It really was a lot of fun and isn’t that what fashion is about! There was a laid back elegance to this look which I think would have taken on a different attitude without the hat. The best part though, is that all these pieces can be used for a multitude of looks and definitely work for a daily closet as well as traveling. In the last couple of pictures I tried to show that without the jacket and the hat, the dress is a centerpiece unto itself. Simply adding or taking away one element to this look completely transforms it. 🙂

Hope you enjoy!

Outfit Details

Dress: Club Monaco

Jacket: Vince Camuto Faux Leather from Marshalls

Hat: Forever21

Shoes: ASOS Chelsea Boots

Bag: Halston Heritage from TJ Maxx

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Barcelona: The Time Machine City

Barcelona: The Time Machine City

“I wrote every day between the ages of 12 and 20 when I stopped because I went to Barcelona, where life was too exciting to write.”

-Colm Toibin

I love traveling back to places I haven’t seen in years. The last time I visited Barcelona was nine years ago and a whole lot has changed in those years. As an individual and as a city we have both grown, matured, and yet retained our essential character. It is always eye opening to go back to a city you thought you knew or understood only to find a deeper appreciation for all the nuances you missed the first time. What I remembered of Barcelona was the stunning modern architecture on public display. The parks, streets and even building boldly display bright colors, intricate and complex architecture, and pieces that really make you stop and wonder what the designer’s frame of mind was at the time. On this trip I wanted to spend more time exploring the older parts of the city that have helped to highlight these newer pieces of work.

With over two thousand years of history Barcelona has a lot to offer in the way of architecture. What I admired was that even the oldest of buildings, dating back to the Roman times, were not forgotten in the design of the city. Each element is showcased appropriately. Barri Gotic, or the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona does well to make any traveler feel like they are stepping back in time. I spent two days wandering around the narrow streets and alleyways and still didn’t feel like I had seen it all, or knew my way around. I kept having to remind myself to look up so as not to miss the beautiful facades of the buildings. With very little sun penetrating down to the street level and cobblestones beneath your feet you feel almost like you have stepped back in time. Adding to this time travel appeal is the breath taking Catedral de la Santa Creu which many tourists will find themselves in front of. I happened to find myself on the backside of it after accidentally wandering into its’ rear quart yard. This was one of the most tranquil and inspiring places I visited while in Barcelona and it gives you a great view of the front facade without your view being blocked by a other tourists.

While there is some debate over the authenticity of Barri Gotic (several of the buildings were refaced or repurposed for the 1929 International Exhibition) it is the stand alone churches, houses, and fountains that really showcase an authentic Catalonian history. It is one of mixed heritage that continually proves growth does not have to cover over the past.

With the modernization of any city comes visionaries who truly want to transform it, not just for practical reasons but also to allow the mind a sense of curiosity and freedom that is all too frequently only afforded to children. There is no question that the names Barcelona and Gaudi are synonymous. His creative genius can be seen throughout the city and although, I was only able to see a few of his works, it is obvious that his imagination has helped to create the city today that we call Barcelona. Classified as a Catalan Modernist architect and it is hard to find any building around the world that so distinctively emanates such complexity and beauty. La Sagrada Famiglia is one of his better known works. Possibly, because the project is still going on long after his death. You have to wonder if this is what Gaudi has imagined. While it may not be precisely what he had in mind I would have to imagine he would hold an immense amount of pride for its’ current design as it causes the visitor to float between reality and a dream like state when in its’ presence.

I personally spent quite a few hours just admiring the stained glass windows and the way the light bounced off one wall as if to represent heaven and earth while the opposing wall of hell. With the two forces meeting in the middle it was the closest representation I came too as the center aisle being a life choice that was up to each individual.

Barcelona exudes an architectural energy that made me, and I can imagine many travelers, feel as though they are traveling back in time while also floating into the future. Perhaps I can classify it as a “time-machine city” with the ability to offer up sites and sounds that make you question what is the precise date.

While I have been fortunate to visit Barcelona twice now, I can only hope there will come another opportunity to visit again. With so many surprises around each corner I don’t feel like I will have ever explored the city in its’ entirety. But, I can appreciate that as Barcelona continues to grow and be on the cutting edge of architectural development I never will.

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San Juan: Floating in a Turquoise Sea

San Juan: Floating in a Turquoise Sea

“She would be half a planet away, floating in a turquoise sea, dancing by moonlight to flamenco guitar.”
― Janet Fitch, White Oleander

Here is my tip on packing dresses for travel: make sure it has doesn’t wrinkle! Wrapping up the last of my Caribbean trip with this post I wanted to share with you one of my all time favorite dresses from BCBG. Firstly, the color is simply amazing for a place like San Juan. The vibrancy of the city made me want to wear something on par without overdoing it. This particular BCBG dress has been in my closet for a couple of years now and comes on almost all my trips. The weight of it is heavy but surprisingly gives way to even the slightest breeze which definitely helped in San Juan. It’s made of Spandex Jersey which means even if I ball it up and throw it in my bag it won’t wrinkle! And, for anyone who lives in warm climates you know how quickly traditional materials, such as cotton, wrinkle.

This dress is also fabulous because I can dress it up for nighttime or, like I did in San Juan, pair it with ultra comfortable Ralph Lauren sandals and Tom Ford Sunglasses and it is perfect for day wear! The wrap effect the tie gives it is also ultra flattering without being clingy. This dress definitely gets two thumbs up!

Because, I bought the dress so long ago I have listed another dress from BCBG made from the same material that comes in Raspberry and White. I am currently lusting after the white one and may or not be wearing it very soon! 😉

Where to Buy:

Dress: BCBG (Similar in Fabric)

Sandals: Ralph Lauren 

Sunglasses: Tom Ford Saskia 

Bag: Mossimo Cross-Body from Target

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Land Ahead! Puerto Rico and My Great Expectations

Land Ahead! Puerto Rico and My Great Expectations

“Expectations were like fine pottery. The harder you held them, the more likely they were to crack.”
― Brandon Sanderson, The Way of Kings

The funny thing about expectations is they almost always disappoint. Not to be confused with ideals or goals, expectations often assume we know the behavior of others or places. We assume they will act according to our own sense of history and being. And while I try not to expect anything from the places I travel and the people I meet, shaking off one owns projections is a daily struggle. So here is the thing about Puerto Rico – I expected it to be different. But, let’s start with how I got there.

Originally the plan was to stay in the Dominican Republic for three weeks but when staying on a sailboat you go where the wind and seas take you, at the time determined by only them. So, off to Puerto Rico we went! I have sailed before as a child up and down the coast of New England and am accustom to overnight sailing but, there was always land very near. Here, we would be crossing through open waters on a 26 hours journey from island to island. I couldn’t wait! If you have never night sailed or sailed at all for that matter I highly recommend it. At night I find especially powerful the feeling of helplessness. Sure, the coastguard is out there somewhere but really when you cannot see the wind, the waves, or even the clouds you finally grasp the feeling that you are only a small collection of atoms in an inconceivable world. Now, I know that may sound a little to0 nirvana-esq but feeling at the mercy of mother nature is actually a pretty freeing experience.

Okay, so after 26 hours of amazement sprinkled with nerves and very little sleep the sun came up and soon there was land on the horizon. At first, you have to wonder if this is how one feels in a desert. You are not quite sure if it is land or a wave, but stare hard enough and move a bit closer and sure enough the greens of Puerto Rico start popping up! After finding an anchor spot and sleeping for several hours I made my way to land to what looked like a small fishing village. The cove itself (Puerto Real) used to be an old Slave Ship Port but any sense of that history had long since been sold away with the construction of newer homes, small restaurants, and a few convenience stores. As a lover of learning and in particular history I was disappointed the areas history was not peeking through.

Expectation 0: Reality 1

After securing a rental car we drove to a mall and on the way we passed Home Depot, Cold Stone (which I definitely stopped at!), Sears, Wendy’s, Batteries Plus, and a whole other slew of what I consider traditional American Strip Mall essentials. I wanted an island experience. I was expecting a non-mainland charm that I couldn’t find anywhere. Although a store called “Condom Palace” definitely possessed a unique quality; for the most part I could have been back at home driving around.

Expection 0: Reality 2

So, what to do when you have clearly established a non-sensical expectation for an area? You throw the guidebook, the GPS, and any notion of a plan out the window! The best thing to do is talk to the locals. I met one guy who recommended a few sights, one of which was Ponce in the South of Puerto Rico. Known for the biggest Carnival on the island, with the most elaborate masks, I thought why not? So off we went!

Ponce Pueblo (Historic Ponce) is a beautiful contradiction. The buildings are pristinely painted and at first glance look meticulously cared for. Charm is everywhere! But, what lurks behind the doors for many of the buildings is something I’m not sure anyone could expect: they are vacant. While a large sum of money was invested into the historic area placing hundreds of buildings on the National Registry of Preservation, it seems that no one ever moved in. Even the old Intercontinental Hotel that once was the glitz and glam place to be in the 50’s is now vacant and only holds memories of such grandeur. It seemed like a ghost town everywhere outside of the central square where small preparations were being made for the upcoming Carnival.

So here is the thing: Ponce captured me. It made my mind curious with possibility. What was behind each door? What were its’ secrets? Who would live here in the future? Who use to live here? Why so much attention to exterior beauty but let the insides rot away? It is places like this that make travel worthwhile and while you can’t fill a day with travel excursions in this particular area, you could certainly fill a week or more in reflection. It is places like this when expectations are non-existent and there are no “plans” that inspire me the most. There is something utterly beautiful in the simple complexities.

Expectation 0: Reality 3

So at the end of it all I’m glad reality won. I was happy to let go of any preconceived thoughts and just go with the flow. I got to explore Ponce; a place I had never heard of until coming across it. I also was able to indulge my nerdy side while visiting the Arecibo Observatory, examine stalactites and stalagmites at the Rio Camuy Cave Park, and possess child-like amusement by driving high into the mountains throughout the West Coast of Puerto Rico which is nothing like the East Coast.

What I learned: Stop expecting, get rid of any plan, talk to locals, amuse yourself with your own questions and sense of imagination, don’t always seek perfection or an itinerary and always make time to self-evaluate.

Happy Traveling! I would love to hear about your adventures and expectations or lack there of when traveling!

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Small Mouth: Big Appetite – A Closer Look at Boca Chica, Dominican Republic

Small Mouth: Big Appetite – A Closer Look at Boca Chica, Dominican Republic

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”
― Mark Twain, Mark Twain: The Innocents Abroad/Roughing It

I know I spend a lot of time talking about fashion but when I started this blog I also wanted to cover the people and places few rarely meet or see when traveling. A kind of behind the scenes, honest look at the world we currently live in while withholding personal judgment if possible. I have been fortunate to spend the last several years traveling and have enjoyed every moment of it. Even when situations are not ideal or sometimes down right dangerous I always come away with an important lesson; a deeper understanding of the people/community/city/country. So this is my first real post looking at a particular local.

As many of you know I spent two and a half weeks split between Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. My parents retired a couple of years ago and now spend their time sailing around so I joined them in the Caribbean. Flying into Dominican Republic at 3am I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. My first impression was – well underwhelming. The tour books promised sunshine, palm trees, smiling people, and fresh coconut water. While the books weren’t entirely wrong they always leave out what life is like off the resorts. Driving the 15 minutes from the airport to the Marina, where I was staying, even in the early morning hours revealed an area of the country that was incredibly impoverished – houses built of corrugated steel, dirt roads, guns everywhere, general lack of infrastructure, and prostitution all out in the open. Let’s just say I was happy to get to the Marina but also looking forward to exploring further.

The Marina I stayed at was Zar Par just down the road from Boca Chica town and beach, which, was connected; after passing through a security checkpoint to the Marina, by a coral path along the water. The path was filled with adorable yet dilapidated tables, chairs and palm umbrellas. I would have been tempted to sit down and enjoy the view but hustling of tourists along this path was some of the most intense I had ever seen. I expected to pay for the privilege to sit in one of these chairs but obviously being a tourist marked me as someone to potentially steal from. A further note on that path and the area in general: the Dock Master of Marina Zar Par had strongly warned me not to walk alone, not to show any valuables, and to never-ever walk at night. While I chose to follow his caution my parents and friends decided to walk to dinner late one afternoon only to return, as it got dark. Taking the path along the beach there are no lights and next thing they heard was a motorcycle pull up alongside them. The military police stopped them and tried fanatically to explain not to walk ahead and turn back. Not understanding any Spanish my parents and friends had no idea what was going on until, the MP officer made the symbol of a gun, pointed down the path, and then said Bang Bang! Point made. They turned around and took the much longer and equally hazardous road home. It was my impression that crime against tourists is not conducted during the daylight but if opportunity presents itself, under the cover of night, why not try to get away with it?

The path between the Marina and Boca Chica beach also had other unique characteristics. Small shacks sat up on the hill (I think this is where you had to pay to sit at a table). Some of them, I think although I am not certain, served as prostitution houses. While it wasn’t exactly advertized, prostitution was everywhere. Mostly, observing much older white males with very young black women often accompanied by an older woman. What struck me odd about one of the shacks on the path was the name “La Romance”. It seemed a little too obvious with a middle-aged man sitting on what I suppose was a porch while a couple of women of all ages stood at the entrance; a couple with babies on their hips. A little later in my trip I noticed the Military Police conducting a search of this building. I don’t know the outcome as it definitely wasn’t smart to hang around and watch.

Downtown Boca Chica presented some interesting studies. In general the locals wanted and often asked you to take their pictures. While they didn’t ask for money I suspected they may have wanted some – I didn’t oblige. The food stalls smelled amazing but the lack of sanitary conditions left me hungry. Boca Chica beach was quite another thing: prepared to be hassled and hustled! The water was amazing but I later learned the locals say the water makes you itch from all the trash and who knows what else that stays in the stagnant reef area. Twice we saw a condom and human waste floating around. Walking onto the beach you are immediately descended upon by locals whom I think work at the local business around. Did I want a chair? To order lunch? Why couldn’t I just walk on the beach? In half English, half Spanish I learned I must get a chair which would cost me nothing. So I got a chair and sat on the beach for some time being asked if I wanted a foot massage, a blow-up water float, necklaces, artwork… it just kept going and while incredibly interesting to observe took away from any relaxation I had planned. When I left the beach things really got interesting. I was asked for money for the chair. Wait, I thought the chair was free. No, the chair was free if I ordered lunch and like I mentioned earlier there was no way that was happening. After a few words back and forth I walked away without paying. I’m not sure who was right, if it was a hustle or a mere misunderstanding but either way I felt uneasy about the situation. That was the first and last time I went to Boca Chica beach but I did go back into the center a couple of times.

Now, it’s not all bad. Everyone I got to know – mostly the guards, boat boys and staff at Marina Zar Par were sincerely nice and patient with my attempts to learn and speak Spanish. I drove by several shops on my way to Santo Domingo that I would have loved to explore. Not trinkets but stores where people made chairs by hand, molded cement decorations, wove straw hats, and huge stone yards. I wanted to visit these places and get to know the people who labored. But, due to the lack of transportation, translator and a local who could successfully navigate me through some of the dangers of the town I wasn’t able.

If you could look past the apparent poverty, trash, and questionable situations, Boca Chica has a lot of charm. As I already mentioned in general the people are incredibly warm and welcoming, the views are stunning from the color of the water to the uniquely painted houses, and even the ruble of what once was an old fishing village is aesthetically beautiful. The ear splitting music (I mean about six enormous speakers in the back of pick-up trucks from about 5-8 different cars) begins to wear you down into actually liking the music. I got hooked on two different songs that have now become part of my playlist. The beach which during the day is host to lots of laughing children and families gathering and cooking together transforms in the early morning hours and gives way to locals sweeping up the trash, men blowing up their water floats to sell for the day, and baptisms. It is a sensory overload that I don’t think should be missed even if you only have a few hours.

Would I go again? Absolutely! I like stepping outside my comfort zone and wouldn’t want to stay on a resort. I want to meet more people, understand how the community works, why it operates the way it does, and understand some of the things I saw as dangerous: are they really dangerous or is it my misunderstanding? I want to take a closer look at the numerous bribes that seem part of the culture in order to get anything done and I want to find a cleaner beach. I met some wonderful people and wouldn’t hesitate to go back! Now, I know not everyone wants to be that adventurous and if looking for a resort area where one doesn’t have to wonder if they are safe or not I would recommend the Punta Cana area. It looks wonderful, and while I was not able to get there this time, provides some of the best beaches and amenities on the island.

I hope this post didn’t scare you away from traveling! I think the point of travel is not only to uncover something about the place you are visiting but also about yourself and to push the boundaries of comfortable.

Happy Traveling!

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Traipsing Through Santo Domingo

Traipsing Through Santo Domingo

“The larger the island of knowledge, the longer the shoreline of wonder.”
― Ralph W. Sockman

So I am finally back from my trip to the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico wasn’t originally scheduled but when staying on a sailboat you go where the winds and sea take you :). Because, I left the Dominican early I missed Carnival. Guess that means I will just have to take another trip!  Maybe next year? In an attempt to make up for the lack of Carnival pictures I did my own Look on Location shoot in Santo Domingo.

First, about Santo Domingo:

From where we were staying Santo Domingo was only about 30 minutes away by car. A few people had told us not to go for three days that one day was more than enough. At first, I thought maybe they were right but really you have to peel back the layers of any city and step away from the tourist attractions and that’s when magic appears. The old part of the city is unbelievably charming with fantastic architecture, wonderful food, and incredibly friendly people. I spent the first day strolling the tourist locals but then decided to step off the beaten path and explore a bit more of Old Town. It was unbelievably quiet and the houses were gorgeous – many in stages of repair. It is obvious that the DR government is investing quite a bit of money to make Old Town a true gem.

The Outfit:

It was hot out and light colors and fabrics were my go to. I absolutely love this shirt from Haute Hippie. At home I would probably wear it with just a bra underneath but given that it is see through and I was a visitor in another country I decided while out shooting to layer it over a simple tank-top. The back of it is absolutely adorable and super conducive to catching a much needed breeze! And, who doesn’t love delicate flower details that aren’t overly feminine (I do!). The skirt from Nordstrom is and has everything I could want. Let’s talk about the pleats for a minute. Love that there are only four – two in the front and two in the back. It is perfectly crisp without being overly fussy. Plus, it has pockets! In a light blue shade it really works perfectly in any season. Keeping my accessories simple I chose a ring from Forever 21, Joie A La Plage Sable Slip on Sandals in Mustard, my favorite sunglasses from Tom Ford and a bag from Target. Accessorizing should be about fun and not breaking the bank :).

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Pattern Play in London

Pattern Play in London

“Paris is a woman but London is an independent man puffing his pipe in a pub.”
― Jack Kerouac, Lonesome Traveler

While I can quite describe London as having a soft side I can say that it does possess a certain delicate nature. One that is imbued with the utmost tradition and protocol while not hinting of the faintest staleness. I think Kerouac said it accurately “London is an independent man puffing his pipe in a pub”. The quaintness this image brings to mind is almost too nostalgic to bear, even for anyone who has not been. The traditional influence of London continues to criss-cross the globe centuries later. This can most evidently be seen in fashion. Look at the riding boot trend that has had the States in a craze for the past couple of years – the British! Or, how about those acid wash jeans that are slowly making their way back again – take a trip to Camden Square, London. Let’s not forget about hats – pretty sure the Brits do it best and a lot of us try to draw some inspiration from Kate Middleton’s wedding. Not just the hats the guests’ wore but that dress!

Here is how I interpret London through clothing. I like the femininity of the city which is played out through delicacy. Just imagine ladies at tea: skirts, hats, soft edges while upholding every ounce of tradition and protocol and not clamoring for any particular attention. The beauty that is London and London fashion is its’ modesty while still pushing trends further into the future. This is a fragile balance few attempt or even succeed at. I can only image what makes the city of London so good at it, is the years of tradition, culture, and influence. Few outside can ever hope to capture its’ intricacies so precisely.

In order to capture what is London fashion while still remaining true to myself I chose soft fabrics that easily moved. The neutral pallet meant to harness the modesty of traditions while the playfulness of the mixed patterns gave way to the edginess and youthfulness of the young developing London. So where does my personal style come in all of this? The shoes and necklace with pops of gold and hinting at a certain boldness that could be associated with rebellious attitude, with how they are paired is all me! 😉

London, in all its’ complexities may be one of my favorite cities and I was lucky to call it home for a year. But, even with a year under my belt it keeps its’ true nature close to the chest that few including myself are slowly trying to pry open. I can only hope that with more visits I will gain a deeper understanding of all that is London.

 

Outfit Details:

Shoes: Dollhouse

Skirt: French Connection

Top: BCBG Max Azria

Bag: Sarah & Bred

Necklace: Louis Vuitton

Photographer Information:

Silvui Doroftei

www.silviudoroftei.co.uk

contact@silviudoroftei.co.uk

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Steel & Lace

Steel & Lace

“He who contemplates the depths of Paris is seized with vertigo.
Nothing is more fantastic. Nothing is more tragic.
Nothing is more sublime.”
― Victor Hugo

Hubert de Givenchy, Jean Paul Gaultier, Hermes, Rad Hourani, Pierre Balmain, Coco Chanel, Christian Dior, Paul Marciano, Christian Louboutin, Jeanne Lanvin, Christian Lacroix, Rene Lacoste, Louis Vuitton, Yves Saint Laurent, Sonia Rykiel, Nini Ricci, Thierry Mugler…. Honestly this entire post could just be a list of names!

It is no wonder that designers from all over the world come to Paris to study and work: There is inspiration to be found everywhere and it pays off!

About a month ago I was lucky to spend a week in Paris. October is my favorite time to be there. Most of the tourists have gone, the weather is perfect with the occasional rain storm, the city is starting to decorate for the holiday’s and fashion week has come to a close which means everyone is still hungover on high-fashion. While fashion week in any city certainly brings out the best outfits from the closet, it is the mix of couture and street wear that defines Paris throughout the year. I think this has greatly been influenced by the city’s regal buildings while also being a city of the people.  The Eiffel Tower captures this style eloquently: it is steel and lace. There is a softness in its’ utility and design. You don’t have to look very hard in Paris to find this duality. Behind each unassuming door is a beautiful courtyard filled with greenery and intricately laid flooring. But that’s just it, on the surface Paris is unassuming, easy, but laced with complexity. It is a city that is defined by a notion of love and is looked upon through those glasses only.

In my opinion the designers who can take off the glasses of love and look at Paris for all its’ complexities are the ones who have made it. They use the greyness of the buildings, unassuming doorways, the air of the people, the the certain je ne se quoi attitude, they borrow from the vibrancy of the Jardin des Tuileries, the geometry of the Louvre, the senses overload from a simple baguette, the smoke from the cafe, and the casual citizen reading Voltaire on the street side. All these experiences which are typically exposed one at a time to the casual tourist, are combined into what we have come to call Haute Couture. We can point out its’ individual features but what makes it undeniably overwhelming is its’ combination of the immeasurable.

And while Haute Couture is something to admire let’s not forget about what the person sitting next to you at the cafe or walking past you on the street is wearing. Their style has every bit of influence on the runways as the intricacies of Sacre Coeur. Typically dressed in varying shades of black, grey, or navy every piece is assembled with the greatest of care and the keenest of eye. Boutiques cater to the fashion of the day while maintaining a sense of timelessness and this shows throughout the city. It comes at no surprise that there are hundreds of books dedicated to the way French Women and Men dress. They seem to have it all right.

So what to wear when in Paris? If you have the bank account I say splurge on haute couture but for most of us this is not the case. Keep it simple. Pack pieces that can be mixed and matched without being overly complicated. Here are a few of my suggestions incase you find yourself in Paris or just want to do as the Parisian’s do.

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