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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Hemingway Got It Right

Hemingway Got It Right


“To go to bed at night in Madrid marks you as a little queer. For a long time your friends will be a little uncomfortable about it. Nobody goes to bed in Madrid until they have killed the night. Appointments with a friend are habitually made for after midnight at the cafe.”
― Ernest Hemingway, Death in the Afternoon

I think Ernest Hemingway said it right. Bed seems to be a foreign concept in Madrid or it at least appears that way. Having spent my first time in Madrid last month I was not prepared for the daily, or should I say, nightly routines. It is typical to go out for dinner at 10pm only to finish around 2am or so and then stay a bit longer. As long as conversation is flowing and friends are being made there really is no point to going to bed. I have always enjoyed the general European attitude to personal time which I think is greatly lacking in the United States. This idea that family and friends are equally if not more important than work. Madrid highlights this most accurately.

After spending several nights out at dinner and with friends until 3am or later I was too tired to make early morning appointments but made sure to get up and explore the city hoping maybe it would be quiet and I could have it all to myself. I was wrong about this: Madrid never sleeps. All hours of the day cafe’s are filled, business are bustling, shops are frequented, and inspiration can be found everywhere. The buildings, personalities, and conversations match this vibrancy. I loved that the buildings were in various shades ranging from pastels to vibrant oranges and when there was a lack of color graffiti helped to correct that. Even the graffiti was done in bright colors instead of the traditional black and white tagging that is often seen elsewhere. Clothing is equally bright but sensible. Sequins, red glasses, whites, geometric patterns, bright yellows, and everything else invoking a sense of youth and playfulness can be seen throughout the city. In such a creative atmosphere it is no wonder people enjoy every moment of it even late into the night. I know I did!

Overwhelmingly I find myself enjoying the places I am at and forget to take pictures. Thankfully, while in Madrid I took a day to remind myself so that I wouldn’t regret it later. Below are a few highlighting the diverse architecture, clothing styles, and then just a few personal favorites. While I hope you enjoy the photos, Madrid truly is a city to experience, not see, experience! I don’t think pictures can do it justice!

Enjoy 🙂

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Madrid Doesn’t Care

Madrid Doesn’t Care


“After the cafes of Paris with their exquisite wines and creamy fromages, crepes and steak tartare– screaming Adore me!– Madrid was these store-bought hunks of unyielding cheese and brick-hard baguettes, consumed in leafless Buen Retiro Park.ll Madrid, dressed as it was, tasting as it did, prideful as hell, didn’t care what you thought about it on your junior-year backpacking trip. That was your problem.” 

Michael Paterniti, The Telling Room: A Tale of Love, Betrayal, Revenge, and the World’s Greatest Piece of Cheese

Michael Paterniti said it best: Madrid doesn’t care what you think about it. It’s a city marching to its’ own beat, begging you to join in while at the same time taunting your inability to keep pace. It is a city with a history steeped in opposing forces. While there has been much effort to shed this past, its’ duality is still evident in the attempt to place emphasis on family and friends all while trying to secure itself as a business epicenter. One is left to wonder what is more important? Madrid doesn’t care. It is happy to straddle the line. It will keep you up all night with friends while demanding you innovate at work. One is exhausted just thinking about it.

If Madrid doesn’t care, Malasana doesn’t even notice. It is the creative nerve center of the city, home to artists’ lofts and studios, fashion designers showrooms, PR firms, photographers, and the general hipster. It is the place to see and the place to be seen. This was the backdrop for the Look on Location Madrid. The graffiti walls and varying building shades compliment any fashion which if you take a moment to sit at one of the outside café’s you will see an overwhelming amount. Everything from designer labels to homemade wears looking like they belong on the runway pass through Malasana. If you want to be inspired come here.

I wanted to capture the essence that is Madrid, the dichotomy between industrial yet grounded in personal interest. I also wanted to highlight Malasana and all that it has to offer. It may not have been paying attention to me but I certainly wanted to acknowledge it.

To highlight the hard edges of Madrid I chose to stay mostly with blacks. One of my favorite things about European fashion is the way black is worn in varying shades and styles. Madrid is not immune to this. But, there is more to Madrid and certainly to Malasana so it would have been wrong to stop there. I chose details that were flirty and playful with small pops of color while not overcomplicating things with accessories. In a city that seemed so industrial you only have to look a bit closer, watch a bit longer to realize areas like Malasana offer up their personalities to those who take the time to notice.

This is what I tried to achieve by choosing a BCBG Max Azria shirt that from afar looks structured but on closer look reveals lighthearted feathering with hints of purple against the grey and black. The faux leather skirt is laser cut to reveal feminine details while not adhering to the traditional coyness you would expect. I chose the BCBG shoes because let’s be honest I wanted to be comfortable but, also wanted to keep the same structure going throughout the outfit while giving way to an innovated take on a traditional chunky heel. The Vera Flap bag in Rose patent by Salvatore Ferragamo was just enough to bring the architecture and colors that is Malasana into the forefront.

I hope you enjoy!

Shirt & Shoes: BCBG Max Azria

Skirt: The Limited

Bag: Salvatore Ferragamo Vera Flap in Patent Rose

Sunglasses: Gucci

Watch: Marc Jacobs

Photographs by: Anna Fawcus

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