Category: Fashion

Mood of the day: oh Boy!

I feel like I am dropping the ball a lot these days. I am sprinting in thousands of direction without knowing if I am ever going to cross ‘The’ let alone a line. Future will tell.

I have reached out recently to many old girlfriends from my London era whom I haven’t talked to in a long, long time for a project I am working on. And Oh boy, it felt good and rather emotional. Thank god for skype: I saw tired but happy women, excited new moms, serene matriarchs, beauty all around.

This whole experience made me jump back to a time and a style I used to sport on a regular basis pre mommy’s curves: the cheap Tomboy.

So, this morning I felt like wearing:
– a plaid shirt with gold studs embellishment, found for $20 in my new digging haven The beacon’s closet, a vintage/sell/exchange clothing shop by the famous Parsons Fashion School meaning that the choice is probably more adventurous than in traditional vintage stores, yeah!!!
– Old Navy boyfriend jeans I recently bought because I needed more jeans but I cannot fathom spending too much on this body that can’t be my final iteration right??? Hmmm ,I am going to have to come to terms about these new curves….perhaps…eventually.
– a stolen battered leather men’s belt previously owned by a then skinny jock stud college boyfriend, now a buff stud daddy aka DH. Somehow, I feel I am going to regret saying to the world that I am wearing my husband’s belt…Women wearing their men’ s shirts = sexy, women wearing their men’s belts = ????!!!! Yeah let’s move on for now to the next accessory
– Converse sneakers (bought 10 years ago near Tottenham Court Road in London)
– and a pair of Marc by Marc Jacobs wayfarer sunnies borrowed from little sis

London ladies, this is a shout for you: I love you, you are an inspiration! And it’s finally fucking SPRING in New York City so I am going to enjoyit  until it gets blazing hot and the deafening sound of AC units around the City gives me a pounding headache …in about 2 weeks time.

On a total random note: I dated a very handsome dude way back, who was kind of an ass to me, while being on a break with DB (Dear Boyfriend, young DH). By coincidence I saw how he looks now,20 years later, and DH is way hotter. It is bad but I felt quite smug about it 🙂 Shush don’t tell anyone…

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Mood of the day: Blah

I had a working session today with a Fashion entrepreneur/Fashion designer. I love meeting with creative people because they are often extremely good looking and being near them is like eating La Duree macarons while listening to Bach. They have an air about them, an halo: is it the fitted cashmere coat, the biweekly facials or the lighting of the places where we meet? Who knows but I often find myself longing after their freshly pressed silk blouses (90% of what I own has never been ironed) or the neat stitching of their cuffs: all evidence of wealth, savvy shopping or at the very least general good taste.

I am enchanted and inspired; their glow touches my face. When I get home, I want to eat Quinoa, I promise I shall remove my make up every day before going to bed to have better skin, and I am adamant about tidying up the book case in my living room which generally looks like trash compactor units piled on top of each other. I am so random, I know. But after 1 hour, I realize that I am truly starving because I had only a faro soup (which really was a broth with some spinach leaves and few faro grains) in a 5 hours meeting when really I wanted to order the burger. I thus end up sandwiching some cheese in between 2 home made cookies baked by Thor…That’s when I know the spell has been broken. Oh well.

Anyway, when I meet with fashion people I tend to be overly self-conscious about what I wear because I know that their professional eye and brain will notice and know everything about my outfit: how many times they saw me with the same pair of boots, what fabric my jacket is made of, which brand it is, etc. It gets worse when these people are women because I am a woman who loves to dress to impress women rather than men. I get stage fright. I thus decided today to play the ‘comfort’ card. If you cannot look nice, look like you are comfortable. People will always envy that 🙂

In the end the whole outfit was kind of meh: partly comfortable, kind of ‘unfinished’, a tad too safe..So bland that even an attempt of a Bowie inspired hair do failed to spice it up. I guess you can’t always get it right.

Cardigan from Joie, Gap body black dress, golden brooch found in a crazy Antiques barn in Barryville (I pinned it on simple canvas tote bag), a golden belt, a faux fur russian hat which ended up not working out (either the hat got smaller -unlikely – or my head got bigger -worrisome) and Celine boots.

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Mood of the day: vintage

There is ice and iced water everywhere in Harlem. On Wednesday, DH came back 5 minutes after leaving the house and said: ‘I cannot take L to the day care, it’s like a freaking ice rink out there’. So I had to do a work video conference call with Europe while L was smashing everything in the background and I had to throw breakfast food to L & P while they were watching TV. At this point, it is not multi-tasking. It is insanity.

Yesterday I had to push L’s stroller over mountains of icy snow; the poor chap felt like riding a Winterland roller coaster. Some people were looking at me ready to call Child Protection Services and I was like:‘I am SO going over this block of ice, I am. Watch me’. I am so sick of the snow, I am so OVER it. 

Today to cheer me up, I took out from my ‘magic’ box, aka my accessories drawer, 2 things I love to complement a GAP little black dress and my MK rainboots:

– a feather ornament I made with 2 shoulder pads cut out from a 192os flapper dress and an old sparkling brooch. The pads used to belong this woman whose grandmother was a tap dancer and I got them for $10 via Ebay. Just love the idea of having the spirit of a dancer watching over me 🙂 I bet she kicked ass too.

– a golden thin stretch belt with a lion’s head as a clasp found in a stall at an Harlem flee market for $20. Snow: I am ROARING at you roaaaaaarrrrrrrrr

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J’adooore!!!! Gaultier exhibit

Two months ago I went with BFF Natasha to see ‘The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk’ exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum. The genius and talent made me shiver; it almost made me sick to the stomach. I swear my heart beat faster than when I saw Matt Bomer/Neal Caffrey’s abs in the first season of White Collar. Natasha and I could not help caressing with the tips of our fingers one of the dresses and got (rightfully) scolded by the security guard who then followed us during our entire visit. True schoolgirls in a candy shop or at a boys band’s concert

I have been meaning to share this experience with my readers who cannot go to see the exhibit themselves so we can all sigh together in awe and pleasure. I’ll shut up now and let you enjoy. Apologies for some of the lousy shots and my inability to short list among these wonderful works of art! 

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Mood of the day: Post Apocalypse shorties

There are a couple of things I learnt in the last two weeks:

– the meaning of ‘polar vortex’,  a persistent, large-scale cyclone located near one or both of a planet’s geographical poles. Basically, an almost apocalyptic end of the world during which your brain seems to be freezing while walking and during which opening your mouth on the street could probably kill you if the cold air was getting into your lungs. New York is the worst place for that type of polar cyclone because you can no longer curse bad drivers and have to instead resort to roll your eyes from behind your winter burka.

– my immune system is actually stronger than I thought. How else can I explain surviving through nursing 3 sick children and serving as a human facial tissue for their mucus? I am IMMORTAL. Yeah!!!

This week marks a return to sufferable temperatures so silly me decided to flaunt season appropriate clothing such as…my Calvin Klein black shorties and a vintage light teal blouse hum 🙂 Of course, I ended up adding layers, here a Hydraulic faux-fur vest, a Pea in a Pod grey coat and a black knit beanie, to actually be able to go out. Got slightly over zealous. I also stopped combing my short hair. Jury’s still out on this one.

Note for the future: always check the state of your feet nails when wearing tights in case a sharp nail cuts into the nearby toe, which is atrociously painful. It is especially important if you are wearing a super super super tight body shaper, super super tight tights, super tight leggings, tight shorties…and a belt. That would save you a lot of time and lots of sweating!!!

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Creative mama: Robin

As soon as Fall has arrived and until cherry blossom explodes on the streets of New York, I usually enter into my Feathers and (faux) Fur mood creatively. You might have already noticed this tendency from my last winter’s mood of the day posts.
This year, I also have to be resourceful to fulfill my appetite for new clothing because I still haven’t found a full-time job and I am still have post-pregnancy 15lbs to shed. So I started a sort of wardrobe surgery clinic by transforming some of my old maternity clothing into things that I might actually like to wear rather than have to wear because of my Sharpei like belly and cash shortage.

So here it goes: DKNY simple black maternity dress, brass sequins from the shoulder straps of a worn out Pea in a Pod maternity dress, 2 feather trimmings, black felt and…snaps from Spain (it seems like a random fact but my fashion designer cousin got me these while working for Loewe few years ago and I have yet to find nicer ones… Love them).

Et voila. I like the edge it gives the outfit and even without the feather patches, I could wear the dress with the snaps being visible.

It is called ‘Robin’ because:
A – it’s a bird
B- the kids are currently obsessed by 1970s Disney’s ‘Robin Hood’ or as G would call it ‘Robin the Poop’ so I have to endure it twice a day. It is like brainwashing. It is driving me insane. The worst part of it is that it is supposed to be the story about some guy stealing the bad and rich and give back to the nice and poor. So basically the story of a good dude with compassion, right? So why did my kids become complete pains in the ass since they started to watch this animated movie? I am NICE and POOR!!! Don’t they get it? I NEED compassion.

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Mood of the day: new old me

I finally made the big leap and by that, I don’t mean:
– kicking out L back to his room when he crawls into our bed in the middle of the night and pull and pinch my breast as if it was a a ‘doudou’ (French for anything that calms the baby: teddy bear, security blanket, muslin, padded book etc. In the case of L, it is the breast of any female between 18 and 45 year old)
– submitting my resume to a local restaurant to apply for a waitress job because our debts are piling up
– begging my mom to come and live with us to help with the kids

I chopped my hair. I was tempted by the whole Britney Spears infamous head shaving but did not go through it because a- winter is too friggin’ cold in New York and b-I have a super flat back of the head, as in flat ironed; another thing I used to blame my mom for. She probably let me sleep flat on my back ALL the time. She did have a 1 one year old (my big sis) to mind at the same time so I guess I now understand her and can no longer really hold this against her…It still sucks though.

Anyway, I did not shave entirely but went back to my post wedding and pre children hair style: short and short. People who met me in New York were stunned (most of them positively rather than ghastly stunned) and asked: ‘it must feel…strange?’It actually did not feel strange at all. It feels more like peeling away all the worry and layers built up after 4 strenuous years of fertility treatment, pregnancies, breast feeding etc. It feels more like getting ready for 2014 aka ‘get a job, whatever it is’ year with the kick ass energy of an old friend: the (hair) Bob.

Many people were also freaked out by how much I now look like my daughter, P. Me is thinking (slightly annoyed): ‘Cannot believe that my trademark hair style got appropriated by my 2 year old…Damn it!!!’ Oh well, I guess it is just the beginning…

Today, to accentuate the new bob, I went for: BCBG Max Azria stripes dress, Roberto Cavalli belt, French blue beret, Natasha’s old vintage rabbit fur vest (worn with the skin out), and new Blowfish ankle boots.

P.S: P saw the beret and wants it…

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Creative mama: Toy

The whole week sucked. So I decided to do something creative with my hands instead of punching a wall. I had no idea what to do and started to rant about all the clothes I really need to get rid off because they have breast milk stains…Bingo I was going to make a breast milk patch in leather for a very cheap but comfortable Forever 21 top I used to wear loads while nursing.

I was inspired by my amazing childhood girlfriend Toy who now lives in Ireland. She wore the quirkiest and prettiest dress for her wedding. Her black dress was made magnificent by a stylish and clever accessory by Le Bestiaire Unique . I also thought of her because she has a very very contagious smile and laugh and boy do I miss it today. I also found inspiration in a lamp sculpture I saw in a Chelsea gallery earlier this week (before everything unravelled). I had the sculpture in my mind for the whole day but cannot remember the name of the artist to save my life!!!

I cut circles in 3 types of leathers (different colors, smoothness and thickness), glued them together into some kind of harmonious configuration, glued the male parts of snap buttons in the back and sew the female parts on my top. The idea is to be able to remove the leather ‘patch’ when washing my top.

I am now thinking that I do have a couple of dresses (also ruined by breast milk) that may be enhanced by this new patch. Yippee!

What do you guys think about this?

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‘Ask Away Friday’ with Vanilla Housewife

Very different post for this Friday, folks! I have been ‘dialoguing’ with the  hilarious Jhanis of Fascinations of a Vanilla Housewife for a while now.

The Vanilla Housewife

She lives in the Philippines; I live in New York.  Similar stuff crack us up so when she asked me to take part in an Ask Away Friday, I said: ‘Yeah, let’s do it, girl!

She asked me questions, I asked her questions, and now we link up. A little like Reddit ANA (Ask Me Anything). I did have a fantasy of appearing on the David Letterman Show (either as a guest or as Letterman himself) so this post might be the closest thing to a Letterman interview that I will ever get, so yeah!!!  We also decided to go for a ‘quote me something’ theme to support our answers. You can read Jhanis’ answers to my questions here.

I loved doing this with her because not only I got to know her more but I saw how supportive bloggers can be to each other! She basically wrote the ‘grab my button code’ (still makes me laugh, sorry…) for me. Thank you Jhanis, you are a rock star!

My answers to her questions are below.

1. You have a very very interesting “About Me” page, now if you were to choose a song that would best describe you as a person, what would it be and why?

Hand in my pocket by Alanis Morrisette  because every single sentence resonates with me. OK, except the one about ‘playing the piano‘ because not in a zillion years, I could play an instrument. I am tone deaf and my brain is just not wired for partition reading. I get dizzy just looking at one. Anyway, I remember when the song was first released I was 20 and I was like: ‘I want to be that girl in the song‘ and I hope that I have become her. I wished I was a wealthier version of her though..sic.

I’m broke but I’m happy
I’m poor but I’m kind
I’m short but I’m healthy, yeah
I’m high but I’m grounded
I’m sane but I’m overwhelmed
I’m lost but I’m hopeful baby
What it all comes down to
Is that everything’s gonna be fine fine fine
’cause I’ve got one hand in my pocket
And the other one is giving a high five

2. And because I thought your question to me “Who would you Kiss, Shag, Kill, Marry (in an alternative reality)?” is really interesting, I’m gonna ask you the same question BUT let’s pretend that you are a man. 😉

Kiss Rachel Bilson or Chloe Sevigny

Shag Gwen Stefani

Kill? I am so regretting asking you this now because I am not of the murderous type (I think). However,  if anyone raped one of my children I would get into a blind rage and go out for a kill…while hoping someone sane slaps me hard to get some sense into me.

Marry Matt Bomer from White Collar. Whether I am a man or a woman, this does not change my answer. He is perfection.

‘What you waiting
What you waiting
What you waiting
What you waiting
What you waiting for!?

Tick tock
Tick tock
Tick tock
Tick tock

Take a chance you stupid whore
Take a chance you stupid whore

Like an echo pedal, you’re repeating yourself
You know it all by heart
Why are you standing in one place?
Born to blossom, bloom to perish’ 

What you waiting For, Gwen Stefani

3. Where in the world have you been? (map your footprints across the globe).

So many countries missing …Sic

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4. I know how strongly you support gay rights. What developed this passion?

Apologies for the long answer but when I start on this issue I cannot shut up. I think my journey as a gay rights advocate started way before I even heard the word ‘gay’. It is somehow closely  tied to my stance on women’s rights. As a kid, I would feel absolutely enraged when some of my boyfriends were being bullied for showing off ‘feminine’ traits or tastes. I was like: ‘why is it a problem to act like a girl? Why is it weak or dirty to be like a girl?’

All my life I had Alpha type males  whom I considered as some of my oldest and closest friends. I thought I knew everything about them until they came out as gay. In 2000, I had my first come out confession.A very close friend took me aside during a party and said with tears in his eyes: ‘I have to tell you something, I am gay’. I asked: ‘What does it mean?’ He replied in shock: Well…I like men’ And I remember vividly saying:’ OK. And?’ Because I actually had no idea back then what ‘liking men’ would imply in the way you live your life, the way you were treated in public and in private. I just thought:’what’s the big deal with this? Why the fuck is he crying about it?’

Gradually I started to understand a little more about the issues and then,  there was a tipping point. I was walking on the street in New York with Thor on a very fun Halloween night. He got harassed by a group of men calling him ‘faggot, pussy’ and other anti-gay slur. And I snapped. BIG time. I almost started a brawl, I was violent, girl. Thank god, DH and a girlfriend pulled me out but that’s when I realized I could not be easy going about gay rights because some of the world around me surely was not. Since that night, I got a little more vocal.

Judge Garrett: In this courtroom, Mr.Miller, justice is blind to matters of race, creed, color, religion, and sexual orientation.
Joe Miller: With all due respect, your honor, we don’t live in this courtroom, do we?

Philadelphia, 1993

5. To say that I love your fashion sense is an understatement and I would love to see 3 of your most favorite look.

Thanks for the compliment! The aesthetics of my style can be borderline schizophrenic, to be honest. However, for an outfit to feel right, it needs to make me feel fierce, current, positive and be as comfortable as possible. I have never been into the romantic, ingenue, ethereal aesthetics which, considering my age now and the 3 kids in tow, is probably lucky. Anyway, here are my top 3 looks.

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6. One thing that you and your husband would like to do within the next 5 years.

Visit Japan. Obsessed with it. My obsession started with mangas when I was a child, then the authors (Mishima, Murakami), the food, the style, the weirdness…We MUST go there!

The other thing would be learn how to dance the Tango. Last time we tried, we really, really sucked at it so we need our bruised egos to mend first before getting back on the horse.

‘I sometimes think that people’s hearts are like deep wells. Nobody knows what’s at the bottom. All you can do is imagine by what comes floating to the surface every once in a while’.

 Kafka on the Shore, HARUKI MURAKAMI

7. What do you love about New York and what don’t you love about New York?

Before I give you my list of of love/don’t love, I need to say that coming to live here was a dream come true. I thought I knew everything about this city from the movies, TV shows and to some extent when I first arrived, everything seemed very familiar. After 4 years, I now realize that what I love the most about it is that it keeps surprising me. It keeps me on my toes. It keeps me alive.

What I don’t love about New York:

– if there is no tip, customer service is non-existent. For example, public transportation service is particularly bad. I mean, I get that you don’t have to be spoon fed like a baby when taking the subway (like you are in London for example, missing the Tube staff!!!) but trying to slash passengers on purpose by closing the train doors without warning is simply cruel.

– the way people curse or talk on their cell phones super, super loud. I am all for self-expression but I really don’t need to know about strangers ‘ sex life especially when it is not very educative and mainly mysoginistic.

– the amount of plastic surgery in the +50  female population of Upper East Side. On a scary day, you walk around and you start wondering if you have seen the same woman again and again but in different fur coats.

What I love about New York:

– you strike conversations with strangers in restaurants, in the subway, on the street that often change your views of the world or your own prejudice. I feel very privileged to get my assumptions challenged on a daily basis.

– most side streets are little peace havens away from the madness of main avenues. New York can be more quiet than you think. I like that this quietness is unexpected. You run, you yell and suddenly you turn a corner and you see cherry blossom trees and you can no longer hear anything. You look around wondering if you have stepped onto a movie set seconds after the director said ‘1,2, 3…Action’. And sometimes you actually have!

– the food: so much choice, so good. The number of restaurants by square mile is absolutely unbelievable.  A swanky restaurant serving Lao food even recently opened  in TriBeCA with lots of success. When I told my mom how much they charged for a tiny bowl of Tom Khem (Lao caramelized pork stew), she almost packed her suitcase to move here and open a Lao diner.

– the amount of rooftop bars where you feel like floating above the urban jungle while sipping a martini. They are breathtaking.

Here’s one of my favorite spots the Press Lounge

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– New York is way more connected to nature than people think: Hudson river esplanades, all the parks, the Highline, etc. but also easy access to sandy beaches and mountains for hiking and skiing. So it is an endless playground for the urban addicts like me and the nature freaks like DH.

– New York is like a music box; full of eclectic rhythms, beats, melodies. It’s never boring and I do believe everyone can write their own music here, even tone deaf people like me 🙂

Banksy, the elusive street artist chose the streets of New York for his one-month ‘artists residency’ and said:

“New York calls to graffiti writers like a dirty old lighthouse. We all want to prove ourselves here,”.  “I chose it for the high foot traffic and the amount of hiding places. Maybe I should be somewhere more relevant, like Beijing or Moscow, but the pizza isn’t as good.”
Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/banksy-interview-with-village-voice-2013-10#ixzz2hLTOC2a8

8. What are your dreams for your children?

It is going to sound completely sappy but here’s the list:

be happy. And I think it is a very hard thing to achieve. Someone dear to my heart once said to me: ‘I am not equipped for happiness’. It was heartbreaking.

love themselves. Self-hatred is a very dangerous curse.

– and I would absolutely love the 3 of them to be really tight and supportive of each other. I would love them to have a ‘I cannot go by a week without talking to my brother and sister’ relationship. I don’t think we can really engineer this as parents but I hope that’s what is going to happen.

‘Keep it together in the family
They’re a reminder of your history
Brothers and sisters they hold the key
To your heart and your soul
Don’t forget that your family is gold’

Keep it together, Madonna

9. Tell me about a time when you really lost your cool, what did you do and what happened.

It’s weird because growing up I was losing my cool for absolutely everything and anything. I had a permanent frown on my face, I swear. Then as a young adult, I worked hard to let go of my anger. Plus I lived 11 years in London, England and it really turned me into an ‘ice cool’ chick. British composure is not a legend, it’s real, people. And now, the combination of New York’s abrasive and gutsy personality and me being a stay at home mom with 3 kids has woken up the volcano!!! The beast is back. I talked about it in a post about how I went mental during my vacation. More recently, the kids turned into tween brats and started to sulk refusing to clean up their toys.  I don’t know if it was G pretending not to hear my request, or P dragging her feet and pushing her toys with her toes very slowly to pretend she was cleaning or L doing the exact opposite of my request by emptying the toy chest…but I exploded. I started to throw some of their toys in the trash can. It felt really really good 🙂

10. This one is my favorite question each week. What’s in your bag? (Take a photo of your bag contents and no cleaning!) 😊

OK, that’s embarrassing but here it goes:

– The gadgets: Macbook Air, iPhone and headphones

– The glasses: reading glasses and sunnies

– 3 pens (?)

– 2 notepads: one for my business coach freelance job, and one for other ventures, ideas for start-ups, rambling etc. I usually have a 3rd for drawings or creative ideas. Talk about a mad head.

– a A3/A2 white paper sheet in case my ideas’ mapping does not fit on the standard notepad page. Very mad head, I am telling you…

– a pair of scissors. I am not sure why they are still in the bag but they are usually for cutting stuff from magazines. I guess, always useful for self-defense too 🙂

– The medication cabinet: anti hay fever tablets, anti-bacterial gel and paper tissues. I recently discovered that I I developed extremely uncomfortable skin rashes because of the pollen and the sun. I thought I was getting allergic to my kids because it always happened when I was taking them out all day…

– The delusion: receipts from restaurants or cafes because one day I will have a proper money management system in place. I will. And one day I will go to Shrine, a must go to music venue in Harlem. That is why I have been carrying their business card for like probably a year now.

– The beauty set: a hand mirror and a red lipstick 🙂

Anything that surprised you in this Q&A? Have a great week end, everyone!

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Mood of the day: the Frenchie

Very strange weather. Last week I was boasting about New York’s Indian Summer to all my European mates and this week is a mix bag of rain, thunderstorms and tornados alerts, Fall breeze, hot and sunny afternoons etc… As the French say, ‘c’est n’importe quoi!’ (It’s anything…and everything). So I decided to just mix Summer and Fall:

– my favorite summer jumpsuit from United Colors of Benetton. It is as comfy as pajamas. And it has helped me a lot to hide my bump in the early days of my pregnancy with L, after I gave birth to L and …now.  Yep, it is kind of the same bump, and it looks like it is here to stay, the kids even named it. They call it ‘LE BEBE’ (the baby)…

– my mint pumps from Nine West

– a scarf by Day Birger et Mikkelsen

– and my most precious item of clothing: a trench coat from Louis (Vuitton) that I literally snatched away from some skinny gal during a sample sale (back when my cousin was working for LVMH). I am not proud.

Every fashionista has read at least one article or two about French women’s (supposed) natural and effortless chic. My little brain went French woman + scarf + trench coat = BINGO. Except that how effortless chic can you really be when you can no longer freaking close the trench coat???? Oh well…

On a side note, I met up for a coffee with Lou, a childhood friend from France, who was visiting New York with her hubby. We haven’t seen each other in about 18 years and it is was shocking how easy it was to just pick up the conversation and run with it. Great feeling. It was also funny to talk to someone who knew you as a child and as a teenager but then missed your adult years because they say things like:

‘It’s hilarious because I would not have pictured you with a husband and 3 babies. You were so adamant about not getting hooked up with anyone, so independent!

-‘Back then you already seemed rather unaffected by shitty stuff that would happen around you, like floating above the crap.’

I guess I did change but not so much 🙂

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