Shopping with friends is fun, but supporting your friends who have their own businesses is an even more fulfilling act. I am thankful for the connections I’ve made with so many different talented people while living here in New York. The (5 closest people in your circle rule) well let’s just say, I have a solid number that I can count on my hand whom are phenomenal bad ass boss women (and men) in their own right. Whether it be their career, their hustle, or just their beautiful and genuine soul; I am super rich in friends.
(Left Tancee @eventsbytancee, Center Ashley @ashleydezarai)
My latest obsession has been shopping with my friends. My girl Skye has Jessie’s Vintage which is a curated shop of vintage finds. I’m not too fond of retail places with a lot of scattered goods but I do love a good find. Her shop always has something that catches my eye and that one piece that somehow I need in my life. It doesn’t make it any better that her prices are super reasonable and budget friendly for my budget.
(Accessories : Jessie’s Vintage Closet )
Lilith and Mary is another retail shop that I recently purchased from. I love the beautiful colors and intricate details of these nippies. I would say these nippies are not just a fashion statement but also a way to honor and celebrate your nipples. My girl Kennie runs the online shop and she is also an amazing writer who’s erotica stories always take me back to high school days sneaking and reading my moms Zane books. Yes she’s that good.
Lilith&Mary nipple covers
T.U.L.I.C hand painted art. My good friend Tahjay is a publicist for new talent and I came across this brand because her boyfriend is the founder. He has amazing talent and can customize any article of clothing you want. The options are endless and it’s a lovely unique one of a kind shopping experience. They work together as a family unit and I love watching them grow more and more their successes.
Support small businesses and even more important support your friends, people you know and can relate to you. It means so much more. The light you give out is also the light you shall receive in turn.
In spring all things bloom. I was born September 24, yes the best sign a Libra, but back to the much lesser point. Lol. Spring is a lovely time of the year because all the flowers come out and make us happy and remind us of all the beautiful parts of life. In New York, the weather is nice but slightly cool at times so don’t leave your jackets at home.
Even not in full bloom these flowers in my neighborhood are beautiful. Spring is also perfect for hanging out at open venues ie. rooftops, outside seating, with a group of friends. One of my good friends had a birthday celebration on a rooftop in Brooklyn. I literally finished up at work on Madison Avenue and trained and ubered (judging) my way to the other side of where I live in Brooklyn.
We had a beautiful time. This is just one of the many photos that captured Ashley’s Bday celebration. The weather was perfect this day and the rum punch was on point as well as the mac and cheese. God bless the cook. I wore my work outfit which was really all alice + olivia with my new silk printed scarf from Fiorucci. Robots are printed on it and I’m kinda obsessed with printed scarf accessories these days. Just not this obsessed. Haha. Come on Mango.
Don’t get me wrong a good sale at Mango and you can find some gems. I find this printed scarf bag interesting and intriguing which I believe fashion should be as a form of art, but lest not lose practicality of functionality here people. This is clearly scarves stitched together. What exactly is this bag holding of mine without it getting damaged or ruined. But I did love the concept.
Fashion is an artistic space. It’s very existence depends on creatives and intelligent people who want to share their message through the art they create. Fashion is an expressive thing and like art translates different meanings to different people. It is important to have diversity and individuality in fashion.
With more and more people interested in fashion, it can become difficult to keep up with the latest trends but what about classics and individuality. Has the true art of fashion died? Is everyone just trying to be someone else? Has it become too complicated and watered down with theories and opinions from people who attend the most prestigious schools and were lectured about the greats and think only their opinions matter? Is the pressure of a volatile retail business trickling up to designers and forcing them to sacrifice their creative ingenuity? Is playing it safe the new fashion? Or has it just become one superficial bubble of social media influencer and celebrity bullshit?
(Sb. I love a classic look but hate sacrificing comfort. This classic midi Delora dress from Alice and Olivia by Stacy Bendet is a must have. It’s a classic style by the philanthropic designer and I now know why. It is the most comfortable dress you could imagine. There’s so many fun prints, colors, and even fabrications to choose from in this dress each season. It makes getting dressed a no brainer! XOXO)
A client exclaimed to me one day that she read an article in The NY Times about tights and that they were for women who took the train and couldn’t afford a driver or a car. Since when? I reassured her that whomever wrote that article was completely outside of the fashion world and was clearly just trying to gain an audience but they would gain none.
Let’s see Wang, Gucci and Wolford to name a few fashion retailers including tights in their assortment. My favorite are fishnet tights decked out in rhinestones. I believe Area produced a fabulous pair but if you are savvy and creative this is a total DIY opportunity.
It dawned on me. Fashion was not only becoming more popular to the masses but even those who had no clue about style and creativity had an opinion. Its not that I don’t think fashion is for everyone. I don’t think fashion should be exclusive. The problem arises when fashion becomes a standard or a theory that people use to try and divide people. Fashion is one of those things that should bring people together like an exhibit at the MET, or NYFW at a cool location, or a benefit dinner that celebrates an icon. Fashion is art and art is for everyone. It is a free space but should also respected as such.
To me fashion has always been therapeutic and somewhat reviving. All the hard work put into creating something so beautiful and the end result making it all the more worth it. Someone scrolling through Instagram at style influencers cannot really tell me much. I guess I’m a more traditional passionate creative.
Cinched tailored waists hit the runway hard this Fall/Winter season 2018. With women’s health awareness at a high, waist trainers get ditched for something less permanent and stylish to wear! Guys can even rock the trend too! Yes that’s right. See Dior double breasted sport coat below.
Designers like Jil Sander, Roberto Cavalli, Michael Kors, and Altuzarra showcased tailored waisted garments on the runway in power suit silhouettes to make their woman feel all the more feminine. It was the perfect juxtaposition of masculinity and femininity for the current trend of increasing percent of women starting their own businesses. This is a look for you boss lady!
This F/W season you can mostly find this trend on sport coats. A piece borrowed from the boys and chiseled away at the waistline. I adore this Cavalli leopard print blazer. It’s super chic and fun with a refined and structured shape. Based on your body type you can rock the trend with cigarette pants and skirts or a fluid trouser.
Any great fashion will speak to the zeitgeist. I think we are seeing this trend with many women who are finding out they can start their own business. They are no longer confined to the corporate office policies and so they want to dress the part but not sacrifice feeling sexy and feminine. Nothing makes a woman feel sexier than instantly shedding a few inches off your waistline by wearing something. I mean it almost sounds like magic but that is the power of a tailored garment.
Belts are a great idea to DIY your own tailored waist. I recently fell in love with the idea of a belt as an accessory for pretty much any piece. Try your favorite chunky cozy faux fur coat with this Free People leather belt to accentuate the waistline for a completely new feminine look.
How about this beauty from &Other Stories . It’s the perfect pop of color and sprinkle of glam. Pair it with an oversized cardigan to let the belt really shine as a statement piece but to not appear like you’re trying too hard.
Chain belts are another favorite of mine and have been around for years. This one from Asos combines the maximal trend with expressive wording across the belt. It’s a super fun piece and a great addition to any wardrobe.
So you see the cinched waist trend is super easy to wear. You can personalize the trend for your lifestyle and that is super important in fashion. How do you plan to rock the trend this season? Let me know your thoughts in the comments. Can’t wait to hear you guys feedback.
As I began to grab inspiration for my next project, I wandered out to enjoy the warm Fall day as the sun kissed my skin and greeted me along the way. I went to the Soho part of Manhattan. I work in the area and know it well but I hardly get to take time and enjoy all it has to offer. It’s therapeutic and stimulating for me to see different concepts and ideas, to allow someone else’s vision to capture my imagination. It was a fulfilling day indeed. The Moncler House of Genius pop up was an exquisite unique retail experience with designer collaborations numerically ordered throughout the span of the 5,300 square foot retail space on the corner of Mercer andSpring Street.
The atmosphere was a retail shopping experience in a creative museum like gallery with small souvenirs available to purchase if the three thousand dollar coats weren’t in the budget. Gem Drops: The visuals are Instagram worthy for sure. If you happen to be in NYC and want to visit the space, they will be there until the end of 2018.
Later in the afternoon I met with an old friend for some good ole Brooklyn thrift shopping. I had never been to L Train thrift and wanted to since I moved to NY because it seemed like one of the popular places for thrifting. It was a great time and such a pleasure to get up with an old friend. There was a huge selection of stuff to weed through that filled two large floor spaces. There was even an area designated to try things on with a huge mirror in the center floor just so you can come out and have you and your friend judge the pieces. I was really out to get things for the shoot but I couldn’t resist things for myself as well. With prices like $25 for fur coats and $6 chiffon blouses I don’t know too many that would resist. I purchased a sequined evening tank, a purple chiffon top. My friend bought me a corduroy jacket in a stunning indigo color to match his. #youcantsitwithus I can’t wait to wear it with my high waisted oversized trousers and a bootie for a look.
The day ended with us heading to the bar at Dinosaur BBQ. In true fashion we drank beers and I couldn’t resist an order of the smoky sweet wings. It was a lovely day.
Conventionally I am a Libra and so I love Fall. Growing up in the city from DC to New York I always loved transitional seasons whether it be going back to school seeing all your friends or going to some amusement park during spring break. Now that I am older I look to these seasons all the same but for other reasons. I love being able to layer and create personal looks instead of strictly dressing for the weather. As a stylist, I’ve always felt wholeheartedly if you love it and feel comfortable wear it, but Mother Nature always reminds us she is just as powerful and can control what we wear as well. I’ve learned to keep it moving and make the most of my wardrobe especially since I’m such a workaholic. I don’t always have time to put full thought into a look so this is also a reason why I recommend as a stylist that my clients are buying into mostly pieces that are solid colors which suit them and also can work into their existing wardrobe. Prints and statements pieces are awesome but having a strong essentials part of your wardrobe ready to go makes getting dressed every morning that much easier and less painless.
A tailored oversized blazer is a life saver this fall. Commuting on the hot subways to a ice box refrigerator workplace can be quite difficult. This Vince double double breasted crepe blazer is the perfect Fall friendly weight and can pull any look together for a power chic day.
The calf boots are such a divine little number and are a perfect match for all those little pencil skirts you’ve got for each day of the week this Fall season. A leather classic round toe boot should be a staple but once you’ve snagged it, feel free to play around with boot types because they too make for a cool way to take your outfit from 0 to 100. I love suede in Fall it’s such a wonderful texture to play around with and add depth to a look.Like the saying goes, “Give a girl a good shoe, and she can take over the world.”
Speaking of boots, I’m obsessed with cowboy shaped boots. It started with snake print Matisse Caty boots. They’re the perfect height to run around the city and still look chic while getting things done. I never came to pull the trigger but I’ve seen them many of times on random people in the city and they look great. They’re still on my list. It’s funny because every time I’m ready to buy them my size is sold out. I’m wearing here Vince Hayek leather bootie in Jasper. As you guys can see I’m more inclined to a tighter ankle when it comes to a western shape cowboy boot. I think it is more flattering and keeps the take on the cowboy boot new and refreshing. The color is amazing because it can practically match with any other colors you want to wear with them. It’s so rich and dark it’s a great neutral for Fall. The height is good for walking and I need that especially in the streets of Soho, New York.
Cashmere pants are a Brooklyn girl’s best friend. These too are from Vince. The trick to make these work are to make sure they are a tailored fit and not droopy. Apparently that was in at some point, I was never a fan of an invisible diaper and claiming it a fashion statement. There are people with real shit problems that have to wear those things, I think I’ll be grateful for not having to. The camel color wool coat is such a dream because it is oversized and a little unstructured. This is something you can wear a sexy silk dress number under to date night ( or nothing) or if you’re anything like me you’ve borrowed your boyfriends cashmere and gotten real cozy while sipping hot cocoa at your favorite bookstore. Oh how I can taste my way through the season ahead. Drop your comments below and let us know which C$Bstyled look is your fav, Power Chic or Cozy Cashmere?! Can’t wait to hear you guys thoughts! Stay tuned for more Fall fashion style tips.
A Milwaukee native and New York City implant, a Parsons graduate, a designer, a creative for sustainable fashion, and Virgo among many other admirable benchmarks and fun facts, NYFW designer Elena Velez gives us some insight to her world as if we couldn’t catch her at a more busier time. She was just selected to show her collection at the VFiles runway show presented by Sprite. We find out that sustainability is not a gimmick but the foundation that her brand stands firm on. She has a valuable eye and passes along history and knowledge of how real life tragedies affect us all. The beautiful irony of her collections is that it shows us as a humanity how we can ethically and sustainably recover and evolve.
C$BNYC: Happy 24 years of life! How does it feel to be a year older? What do you plan to do differently or more of to grow yourself now that you have experienced so much from the previous year alone. How do you plan to top that? Congratulations to you!!!
Elena Velez: Thanks! I celebrated a birthday between NYFW and LFW. Growing older has been kind of a scary thing for me. When i was a child i received a lot of attention as a designer for my unprecedented age and i think it’s given me a bit of a complex that I’ve had to work through growing up – that my professional success isn’t directly related to my young age…
C$BNYC: You grew up in a very different environment than where you are now in New York. There’s no place like it. Tell me how has your childhood and upbringing influenced who you are now as a woman, as a designer, and where you want to be short term and long term?
Elena Velez: I grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, as the only child of a single mother who worked as a ship captain. My childhood was spent in spaces that were very industrial and utilitarian – ship yards, docks, engine rooms… I’m sure it has influenced my aesthetic. My mom is a woman who has had to command respect from men as a profession. She also had to assume the role of both mom and dad when I was growing up. Her strength, independence, and unconventional femininity have really inspired me as a person and a designer.
C$BNYC: How has New York changed you if any at all?
Elena Velez: New York has shown me unprecedented opportunity, immense disappointment and instilled me with a very true sense of realism. It’s a place where a walk down the right street or a chance encounter can change your life.
C$BNYC: Tell us about Machine Shop and how that came to be and your intentions for the project?
Elena Velez: Originally my film Machine Shop was to be a short fashion film released with my collection but once i began to cast talent and realized what an amazing group of multidisciplinary artists i had access to, i wanted to widen the scope of the project to allow for their talents to shine through as well. Ideally I’d like to do an extensive project like that in my hometown with the launch of every new collection.
C$BNYC: What made you pursue design and what makes you stick to it?
Elena Velez: I’ve been interested in design as a hobby since childhood. Professional ambition is only a recent development. It’s an outlet for me to develop personal skills like entrepreneurship, self awareness, critical engagement, and storytelling while making something tangible, useful, and potentially corrective in an industry in need of serious rehabilitation.
C$BNYC: What do you think of the influence of social media in society today? What are some pros and cons and how do you think they should be addressed? This sort of virtual vs reality world is very tricky especially for someone who is looking for guidance or inspiration in their own life.
Elena Velez: Content is king. Instagram is probably the ultimate advertisement channel. Everything is manufactured and a production: It takes a team of people to compose an image. Instagram is the LinkedIn for creatives in the visual arts industry and followings and engagements become essentially your professional endorsements. It’s nice to be able to have a curated, accessible, one-stop landing for people to engage with your brand, but it also makes the experience one dimensional, glossy, and formulaic.
C$BNYC: In a world that’s always looking for the new or next best thing, how do you plan to keep this idea and concept of sustainable fashion fresh and new? Right now I think you have really hit the sweet spot because you’ve tapped into history and so people generally want to learn but also you’ve created this sort of real life scenario of how fashion and normal lives are affected by a tragedy like war. So is it a continuation of that or do you have completely other different ideas for where you want to take your brand?
Elena Velez: The sustainability component of my brand is not a sales pitch or a special feature. It’s an essential and non negotiable reality of creating a product in the world today. Treating the conversation on conservation and sustainability like a trend is irresponsible and out of touch with reality. What I’d like to do with my brand is to continue to interpret sustainably ingenious techniques applied during other aftermath industries into design for today and tomorrow. I imagine each collection as a discovery of a new bank of techniques that roll over into the next season and ultimately become the codes of my brand. Each body of work is a progressive culmination of its predecessors, evolving and expanding as my brand grows. It’s important to me to offer something of merit to the industry and not to enjoy a comfortable yet self congratulatory career as someone who simply makes pretty things for rich people. •