Brighton Beach Memoirs

I want to feel the sand beneath my feet

June is always a fickle month. It’s not quite summer, but I’m already itching to go to the beach, to feel the sand between my toes, the sun on my back, and to spend long lazy days by the ocean or on the board walk, letting my cares drift away.

Down on the boardwalk

For a June birthday celebration we wove a nautical theme into a Saturday afternoon with clams at Randazzo’s Clam Bar in Sheepshead Bay (offering fried seafood that is, reportedly “the pride of Sheepshead Bay”), a walk along the board walk at Brighton Beach and a stop at Ruby’s Bar in Coney Island. In honor of all things sea worthy I pulled out my old favorite LL Bean tote bag and paired it with a very matching Built by Wendy dress.

This was the perfect outfit to show off my new Ellips shoes from designer Priscille Demanche’s Spring/Summer 2012 collection. She had a 4 day sale on my birthday and when I emailed her and said that I was offering myself a pair of her sandals as a gift she gave me free shipping all the way from France! What a darling! And hurry, she has organized a sale to benefit a charity of your choice on her past season collections just until Friday the 15th. Up to 60% off and a donation to a good cause! Shop your shoes at the Ellips site here (don’t hesitate to email Priscille if you are ordering from outside of France) and vote on which association should benefit here.

See you on the beach and the boardwalk this summer!

Thanks to my friend Heather Donahue for the lovely photographs!

High top sneakers, Killerfemme style

American Apparel t-shirt, Mavi jeans, Ubu ring, Asos “DENY” wedge sneakers. Photo by Danielle.

My latest favorite pair of shoes illustrate that I can never predict how my fashion tastes will develop. In the late 80s and early 90s all the cool kids had Air Jordan sneakers and they regularly shelled out large sums of their parents’ money each season to purchase the latest model. I was immune to this trend. Shod in moccasins, boat shoes or penny loafers from the Dexter Outlet I thought those high tops, with all their extra ankle padding, big tongues and laces were ridiculous.

Hello, beauties.

I have held on to this belief throughout the last twenty years and was never tempted to rethink it until I started seeing baskets compensées on French fashion blogs last fall. These shoes were  inspired by Isabelle Marant who put out some wedge heeled high top sneakers which sent the fashion world into a twitter. Naturally, this trend has quickly trickled down into fashionable retailers with more accessible prices. “Cool,” I thought, admiring les filles prancing around Paris in high comfort and style, “but really, not for me.”

Tough and stylish for the courts of Brooklyn

My resistance crumbled when Stephanie, always a source of fashion inspiration, posted about a “Marant-like” version of these shoes by Asos, and then later showed off several versions of them. Stephanie makes everything look good and wearable even to the less fashion forward of us. I finally cracked, especially because Asos was offering 10% off.

I’m trying my best to imitate an 80s advertisement

These shoes are a complete departure for me because I’ve always been a Converse or Vans sneaker girl. However, my first time wearing them out they drew complements from all over Brooklyn, from hipsters, metal dudes and fashion bloggers alike.

Let’s play defense!

Sometimes when we decide to try a new look we have to risk looking and feeling a little ridiculous.

I’m grateful to my fellow blogger and neighbor Danielle for helping me document these beauties on the courts of Sunset Park. You can check out her own photos on her Tumblr. I was tempted to call this post, “Jouez-vous au basket? Non, pas de tout,” but felt that was just a little too self-referential. What fashion risks have you taken lately? Do you think you’ll fall for the wedge sneaker craze?

I’m sitting this one out with my Kate Spade sunglasses

En Fleur!

Cardigan: Brooklyn Industries, Blouse: Jennifer Glasgow, Belt: H&M, Pants: Zara, Shoes: Soda (from Modcloth). Photo by Christian

There’s a few weeks in April and May that are fleetingly perfect. The sun is out, the breeze blows, you can wear stylish layers, but not overheat, and still not freeze if you happen to forget your jacket. Flowers pop and everywhere you look there is renewed energy, color and vigor. This past weekend was an oportune time to pay a spring visit to the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens where, thanks to a strangely warm spring, the cherry trees and lilacs are in full bloom several weeks early.

Azaleas at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden

In planning my outfit I wanted to dress to match the colors I knew would be in full effect and also dress to around comfortably. Azaleas, lilacs, cherry trees, tulips, and peonies are all in bloom right now…  I knew the color palate would be pink, fuchsia, lavender, magenta and rose, so I put together the hot colors of the season: tangerine and bright pink, with the print of the season: floral. It was the perfect time to introduce my new shirt by Canadian designer Jennifer Glasgow that I bought in Montreal. With transparent tangerine and floral prints its on trend and timeless. Also, do you like how my pants disappear into the azalea bushes? Finally, did you know you can check out the status of the cherry blossoms at BBG on their bloom map?

Photo by Christian

I love the Brooklyn Botanic Garden in any season, but in early spring it is over the top with color and flowers. It’s wonderful for a weekend morning wander with friends and as a word to the wise, if you get there between 10 am and noon on Saturday entry is free! What is your favorite thing to do in spring?

Walking among the cherry blossoms

Lilacs are on of my favorite flowers. Couldn't you just smell them all day?

Cherry blossoms and blue sky. I tend to take the same photos every year at the Botanic Gardens.

Celebrating under the cherry trees. Photo by Christian

Tulips at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Pants, Pants, Pants, Pants, Everybody!

Spring greens and leopard accents!

Blouse from H&M (forever ago), Old Navy "Rockstar" jeans, Matt Bernson heels, Squasht headband

Apparently fashion’s new bright, spring colors are helping revive the US economy and sales in retail are up. Though I am on a self-imposed shopping diet (it’s not going very well, does anyone know of a Weight Watcher’s like program to curb conspicuous consumption?) I could not help but succumb to the continued rage for color blocking, helped in part by some bright numbers from Old Navy (of all places!).

A little Frenchie, a little Rock

Zara jacket, Ann Taylor shirt (from Beacon's Closet), Brooklyn Industries Pans, Ana Alamedia heels, Leila Rowe necklace

Perhaps it is the transition between seasons, but I’ve also been enjoying new versions of my classic favorites – slim black pants and jeans – and have gotten my new favorite slims from Mavi, a classic pair of straight legs from Built by Wendy and slim black pants (with zippers on the ankles) from Brooklyn Industries. I’ve even wearing pants of all colors to work (gasp, Killerfemme, really?).

Have you succumbed to the bright spring colors? How do your outfits transition from weekdays to weekends?

Bright and bold

J Crew shirt, Old Navy "Rockstar" jeans, Miista boots

Bold for spring! Yellow pants and stripes!

Outfit details

Spring Accents Part II

Zara jacket, Vanilla and Lace shirt, Old Navy "Rockstar" jeans, Jeffrey Campbell shoes, Squasht headband, necklace bought at Cog and Pearl

Spring accents and lunch time record shopping

Details, with vintage LL Bean tote and newly purchased Grimes record

So yesterday after work I did some shopping. Bye bye clothing diet.

Chicago wrecked my shopping diet

Fluo accents + leopard shoes, ça va?

Mirror in Chicago hostel: Built by Wendy jeans, American Apparel shirt, Old Navy cardigan (with matching fluo chair behind me!), Matt Bernson slippers

Today I am in love with my new Built by Wendy jeans

Details of my Built by Wendy jeans

Black Cat Attack

Photo by Dandy Prof. Charlotte Ronson blouse (I know, again), Urban Outfitters jeans, Jeffre Campbell Lita's, Melville House tote

I admit that when I brought my Jeffrey Campbell Lita’s I had no illusions that they would be the most practical shoes in the world. I secretly asked myself, “How much are you really going to wear these?” And, yet. I find myself wearing them often! Even to work! My co-workers have asked me, “Are you going to wear your cat shoes tomorrow?” And why not? In my opinion, the idea of fun fashion is to bring levity to the everyday. I have found, however, that the cat Lita’s cannot be worn with any other pattern. The supporting outfit has to be super basic, all black, or all neutral. Voila, here are just a few of the ways I’ve worn them.

Black cat attack

American Apparel dress, Hue tights, Jeffrey Campbell Lita's

A little bit of glam makes the world go round

Living the Dolce Vita

My new Carrie Bradshaw-esque escarpins

Life in NYC is not always easy. Sometimes its downright trying and exhausting. And that’s why a girl needs (that’s a relative term) good shoes that support her arches and add a little spring to her step through pretty details. This year I acquired four pairs of Dolce Vita shoes, not bought because of the brand, but because of their looks and comfort. I got them online at Endless.com and Modcloth, as well as at a fantastic clothing store in Bushwick that I forgot the name of (it’s right off the Morgan stop!). I think this brand is on to something by being fashion forward, yet classic, well made, and fairly priced. I may be a long way from Carrie Bradshaw’s endless budget for Manolos and from living in the European capitals I pine for, but at least I have some fancy feet.

Even though I'm working today, at least I have bling on my toes!

Dolce Vita Polly glitter flat

Today: bling of different kinds

Dolce vita Polly glitter flat with Nola bag by Les Composantes, leopard scarf, Brooklyn Industries coat

Like Audrey Hepburn with glitter shoes

Build by Wendy blouse, Gap pants, Dolce Vita Polly glitter flat

Really adore my new Dolce Vita boots.

Dolce Vita Aisha ankle boots

November Neutrals

American Apparel dress, Antoine et Lili scarf, Brooklyn Industries tights, Dolce Vita boots

Primary Time!

Brooklyn Industries blouse, Urban Outfitters pants, Dolce Vita Boots

Summertime Swanky

Petite Bateau dress, Dolce Vita sandals, summer

New York architecture

The perfect NYC summer shoe

Tendance Transparence

American Apparel top, BCBG skirt (from Housing Works), Nine West heels, Leila Rowe Necklace, Asos tights (sadly they have a run in them, so I can't wear them anymore!)

At first I was inspired by Stephanie and her successful score of a Stella McCartney-like black dress with transparent cutouts. Then I read it in L’Officiel. Yep, it’s official, transparent is a trend this season. And with the holiday fêtes fast approaching, why not have something to dress up your formal wear (or just your black everyday clothes, if you are a Parisian or a New Yorker)? While I didn’t think I would be drawn into the trend I found a black, transparent chiffon top in American Apparel that I found very appealing (I swear, I only went in there for tights, and walked out with tights, this top and a watch).

In anticipation of a pre-Halloween dance party I put together this ensemble which I am sure will make it’s appearance at more than a few soirees this winter and is almost appropriate for work. Minus the gold high heels, which I think are appropriate for work, though one of my fashion advisers begs to differ. These gold heels were ordered online in an impulse, but I think they are an okay stand-in for the Miu Miu heels of my dreams for the price (if you ever want to marry me please do not propose with a diamond ring, just offer me a pair of those shoes, thank you). Tomorrow I will show you how this stately outfit was transformed into a costume with a few simple beauty products, but for now, enjoy the sparkle!

Close up of my glittery Nine West heels and Asos tights

"Tendance Transparence" spread in October 2011 L'Officiel