Location: Souvlaki GR, NYC
Dress: WAYF | Belt: Nike Country (for Western style belts with a little edge I really like the brand B-Low The Belt – check out this one, this one, and this one from Coach 1941) | Shoes: Stuart Weitzman (patent leather – ‘Adobe Aniline’ color) | Scarf: Rebecca Minkoff (Indigo color)
I hate my name. It’s not that I hate the name ‘Annamaria’ itself, I hate that for some reason people find it extremely difficult to say, with 90% of attempts landing on AnneMarie as if that is somehow a more common name. AnneMarie is such a frequent substitution that I’ve given up on correcting people and just go with it. When you factor into the equation that I can never find my name on one those “custom” gas station name trinkets (that I would never actually buy but find irritating on principle…) it’s a frustrating situation. Ironically, my entire family has always just called me Maria, so I’ve always gone by Maria, leaving me to explain to people during roll call and graduation that NO, Maria is not my middle name. Once I entered the workforce I decided to just go by Annamaria from the get-go, to cut the confusion and because the entertainment industry seems to encourage unique names (probably because SAG only allows one person in the Guild of each name, which is why you see so many middle name users like Sarah Jessica Parker or Michael J Fox — this is your fun fact for the day). I immediately regretted this decision upon realizing that every time I introduce myself I am greeted with “what do you prefer to go by – Anna?” Maybe I’m illogical but wouldn’t you assume I go by the name I introduced myself with? Either way, the domain names have been purchased so Annamaria it is. On our honeymoon, Stephen and I traveled around the Mediterranean, from Venice to Mykonos, and to my surprise my name was actually very common, widely accepted, and be still my heart – pronounced correctly without correction. In fact, when we pulled up to our hotel via the Grand Canal, we docked right next to a boat named, ‘The Annamaria’. This shouldn’t have been a huge surprise to me considering my mother is very Italian, very Catholic, and picked a very Italian/Catholic name in accordance. As you’ve probably determined by now this blog is heavy on the stories and imagery, light on the fashion critique, but ultimately I think clothes tell a story and can remind you of places, people, and feelings; so hopefully I’ve hit the right balance of “Love, Loss, and What I Wore.” How many times have you come across a dress or a hat from the depths of your closet and immediately recalled memories of a time you wore it? The same feelings can arise when you picture places you would wear it. I get vibes from clothing and often use analogies to express these vibes, it’s a trait most people who have ever shopped with me know very well, as I’ll often describe outfits in this manner (e.g. “Is this trench coat too Scruff McGruff?”). That’s why it’s important for my shopping partner to be familiar with retro and current pop culture references. The vibe I got from this dress, especially when you combine my hair and an off-the-shoulder ruffle, was the Mediterranean…and/or Esmeralda from The Hunchback of Notre Dame. I love the Mediterranean, especially Greece, not just because my name is widely accepted but because it is stunningly beautiful, kind of makes you wonder why more countries don’t opt for an all white, blue roof motif. Our trip to Mykonos was in the off-season so we practically had the island to ourselves, we rented ATVs and explored the deserted beaches and white alleyways surrounded by bougainvillea and crystal clear water. Souvlaki GR is a tiny slice of Mykonos on the Lower East Side, so it was the perfect backdrop for this WAYF Kiera Off-The-Shoulder Ruffle Dress. I bought this dress mostly for the statement sleeves, although the bodice is very loose fitting (typically not a selling point for me) chambray is such a lightweight fabric that it belts well (I’m also a big fan of dress clips in this scenario). I like unique things, I married a ginger after all, and this belt is no exception. You might think a country-western belt is not a particularly notable find until you realize it’s by Nike, a brand that has never really ventured into Western wear. The back of the belt is also branded with the word Oregon in a traditional Western font, another unique twist. Oregon is where Stephen and I met and will always be a special place for us, so added style points for sentimental value. I can’t take credit for this find however, it was originally Stephen’s, literally “borrowed from the boys,” but he’s a good sharer so he’s pretty much let me have it (and make a hole in it so I can wear it at the small of my waist). I steal a lot of his accessories, but what can I say the kid has good taste. I tied this Rebecca Minkoff scarf to the belt because I felt like the overall look was missing something. Scarfs have been my new jam lately, they can add a pop of color near the face and they eliminate the metal allergy situation that is a constant with necklaces. Since I get on kicks, I’ve been adding them to my belts, braids, bags, and wrists. The latest scarf resurgence is another example of how cyclical fashion is, almost every decade has put their own spin on it – Grace Kelly, the Pink Ladies, Bret Michaels… My generation probably remembers them best worn as belts with a denim mini from Abercrombie or American Eagle…or bedazzled and worn by Justin Timberlake. Throughout life you’ll encounter all sorts of interesting individuals. At Saks, I met an old lady who told me, “you can always tell if a woman has a sugar daddy if she has expensive jewelry and cheap shoes, because men buy jewelry and women buy their own shoes.” I came away from this conversation with a few thoughts a) WTF b) this old lady has seen some sh*t that this saying comes up in her day-to-day and c) feminists would have a field day with this thought process. Luckily, snuffing out sugar babies isn’t a huge concern of mine, I frequently purchase my own shoes and jewelry, and have a penchant for quality footwear, so I think I’m safe from being labeled a hussy. I think shoes are one item worth spending more on because the quality difference is huge and because you can wear them with multiple outfits; whereas dresses and tops are harder to recycle in a short time span. Since I practice what I preach, I’m re-wearing my Stuart Weitzman ‘Nudist’ sandals that I talked about here. Having said that, this dress can actually transform really easily by switching out the accessories and belting it in different ways, so I’ll probably get just as much use out of it as I do these shoes. Don’t be afraid to style the dress with darker colors or take it dressier, although it seems summery and beachy, chambray is as neutral as denim, so go nuts.