Ahh East Coast vs. West Coast, a rivalry that many tattooed tears have been shed over. I feel a bit torn between the two coasts and I’m going to paraphrase Dr. Dre here to explain why, “Cali is the state that raised me but New York is the city that pays me” (I took a lot of liberties on that quote). On the one hand I grew up in California, I love the sand, surf, sun, and… car. On the other, New York is where I started my “adult” life. I love the convenience, fashion, and arts in the Big A; especially the fact that you never need a reason to be dressed up. But above all else, I love Mexican food, which California has New York beat in spades, with one major exception: Lupe’s. Of course you’ll find some great fusion Mexican restaurants in NYC, but it’s that Cali street style that owns my heart. My dad is basically the original Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown. Dude knew about food trucks before food trucks knew about food trucks; basically a cheap eats visionary. So needless to say, when he puts on Fleetwood Mac and takes you to the back of an East Palo Alto bodega for lunch, you know you are in for some solid Mexican nosh. Maybe it’s because I grew up on this style of Mexican fare that I consider it to be the superior south of the border option, but to me Lupe’s is a little SoHo gem that settles my longing for the Golden State.
Location: Shelter Pizza, Williamsburg – Brooklyn
Dress: Self-Portrait (similar vibes here and here) | Belt: Gucci (I also like this one and this one) | Shoes: Stuart Weitzman (kind of obsessed with this pair and this pair at the moment) | Purse: Chanel
Personally, I love a patriotic palette and have this weird pull towards clothing items that sport the spirited American Flag. When we go shopping Stephen will mockingly point out every star-spangled piece of apparel he sees. This is a common trait of female shopping buddies, when a mutual friend is missing you’ll pick up items that they always wear with an added, “if Karen were here she would totally buy this.” My love of red, white, and blue doesn’t stop at clothing; I can also appreciate a little flag flare when it’s tastefully done in interior design, another passion of mine. When I was a Girl Scout, you could create your own merit badge – I chose interior design and leveraged my bedroom overhaul as the test space for the badge requirements, very Troop Beverly Hills of me if I do say so myself. My parents would have described my younger self as “precocious,” but when you live in a one TV household and HGTV is on 24/7, you pick up a few tricks of the trade and an affection for mood boards, accent walls, and house flipping. Needless to say, when you combine my loyalty to Team USA and my penchant for a statement wall, I was immediately drawn to Brooklyn’s Shelter Pizza and this corrugated metal flag adorning their rustic facade.
Location: Central Park, NYC
Sweater: Hudson’s Bay Company | T-Shirt: Cole Haan – Pinch Collection (Zara Basics, Aritzia, and Rag & Bone also make great white T-Shirts) | Shorts: Crewcuts (adult version available at J.Crew) | Fur Stole: Karl Lagerfeld (I like this one from Charlotte Simone as well) | Shoes: Sam Edelman | Backpack: Louis Vuitton (Vintage)
Growing up my interest in fashion wasn’t exactly encouraged. I had the sort of upbringing where my parents didn’t ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up, but rather, what kind of doctor I wanted to be. That being said, it shouldn’t be surprising they found fashion to be a wasteful distraction. Neither of my parents grew up with a lot, although they became successful adults, old habits die hard and they remained hardcore savers. Stylish clothing was obviously not an expense they deemed a necessity and for this reason, I’ve had a job since I was 14 to cover these “extraneous costs.” Prior to the freedom of employment, I was just a 12-year-old girl who desperately wanted a pair of flared jeans. I was in the throes of adolescence, that horrible age where fitting in was crucial and having the “right” clothes seemed life or death. Knowing my parent’s attitude towards materialism, I knew I was going to have to approach this topic delicately.
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.
Location: Pietro Nolita, NYC
Dress: Vintage (if you want to splurge try this one) | Coat: Zara (if I were to buy another pink coat it would be this one – currently on sale) | Shoes: Stuart Weitzman (patent leather – ‘Adobe Aniline’ color) | Lapel Pin: hook + ALBERT | Tennis Necklace: Amazon | Gold Necklace: Chanel (vintage)
Did you know there is a color called ‘Millennial Pink’? Well, apparently this is it…it’s hard to be 100% sure though, considering millennial pink is continuously morphing to encompass a variety of shades. Although I am technically a millennial, I’m from the small sliver that still remembers when LIT meant high, “beat face” was an insult, and AF stood for Abercrombie & Fitch. As the second oldest of five kids, three of whom are under the age of 23, I am constantly reminded that I am out of touch with the “hip lingo” (this would probably also explain why I am only now learning the term millennial pink). The day I got Instagram was a real riot in my household, similar to when your parents get Facebook, however, the day I use “on fleek,” not in jest, will be a dark day in history.
Location: El Luchador, NYC
Skirt: Old (similar here, here, and here) | Sweater: Zara (similar here, here, and here) | Necklace: Chanel (vintage) | Boots: Stuart Weitzman 5050 boots | Skateboard: 5boro NYC | Jacket: Express (Similar here, also love this one, vest version here)
There was this brief moment of clarity when it was 15 degrees outside and I looked at Stephen and said, “who the F decides to start a fashion blog in the middle of a NYC winter.” I swear, every winter I decide I’m moving back to California. When people talk about the East Coast they always say, “but you have the seasons, I love the seasons,” well…if you mean it’s freezing all winter, ridiculously humid all summer, and nice for about three weeks every fall, then yes we have “seasons.” But alas, I drank the NYC Kool-Aid and despite the inconveniences, crowdedness, and astronomical cost of living I can’t imagine living anywhere else. Luckily, NYC winters bring with them unpredictability and brief patches of 50-60 degree weather. I think it’s sort of interesting how SoCal residents will bundle up during this type of weather, whereas New Yorkers practically throw on shorts and decide outdoor seating is an option again. This day at El Luchador was one of those days.
Location: New York Transit Museum – Brooklyn, NY
Dress: Zara | Beret: H&M – old (similar here I also like this one and this one) | Shoes: Stuart Weitzman | Belt: Gucci ( I also love this one) | Purse: Gucci | Necklace: (worn as bracelet) David Yurman
Guys are interesting; believe it or not, out of all the dresses I own this is Stephen’s favorite. It’s not by any means my “sexiest” dress but, without fail, whenever I say I don’t know what to wear he fishes this number out, because I look “hot” in it. Maybe he has a thing for uniforms…but who can blame him, personally I love military inspired fashion. I’ve had this dress for years, a classic piece that seems to morph with my ever changing taste; probably because the leather piping and gold buttons on the collar and sleeves add interest while remaining muted, allowing the dress to transform with different accessories without the risk of clashing.
Location: North River Lobster Company, Pier 81 – NYC
Blouse (old): Nasty Gal (similar here and here) I also love this one, this one, and this one | Sweater: Zara | Skirt (old): Zara (similar here and here) | Chain Belt (old): Nordstrom (similar here and if you want to splurge I love this one) | Shoes: Sam Edelman (wearing Sangria Velvet color ) | Cape: Belle Fare | Brooches (old): Chanel | Purse: Chanel | Tail (similar here)
I’m just going to come right out and say it, I rarely wear pants. This truth is best illustrated through the following example: Stephen was planning a surprise “date day” – since I’m not fond of surprises I pressed for details, at least on the outfit front. The only clue he gave me was “you have to wear pants” to which I responded “so….horseback riding.” Stephen said I am the only person in the entire world for whom “pants” would be such an obvious clue. Needless to say, NYC winters are not the best fit for someone with a strained relationship with pants. I survive by utilizing the ‘just add tights’ rule of thumb, combined with heavy outerwear and Uber of course. I actually find tights to be pretty warm, I’m not sure how they provide any warmth at all, but for me they are an essential winter layer. I prefer tights to be on the sheerer side so you can still see the shape of the leg, solid/opaque tights are too reminiscent of leggings or Under Armour for my taste. In my downtime, I essentially live in leggings but it’s not a great look under skirts. The Holy Grail of sheer tights for me are fishnets, if I had to give one point to support fishnets it would be that they don’t rip. I gave black nylons a shot for a while but they ripped, without fail Every. Single. Wear. So now I am a born-again fishnet supporter and haven’t looked back.
Location: Fort Tilden, The Rockaways – NY
Dress (old): Self-Portrait (similar here, I also love this one) | Shirt: Thomas Pink | Dinner Jacket (old): J.Crew (I also like this one from J.Crew) | Grosgrain Bowtie: Saks Fifth Avenue Collection | Smoke Bombs: Enola Gaye (Red Color)
A while back I had the flu and decided I was going to binge watch the entire first season of Scream Queens (I know late to the game on this one). That is where I first laid eyes on the Self-Portrait ‘Frilled Column Dress’ and decided to make her mine. Since I am not an early adopter when it comes to television, the dress was no longer available in US stores AND I missed it going on sale on ShopBop. Luckily, like Jason Mraz, I wouldn’t give up on “us” and became hell bent on tracking down this dress in my size. Something to know about me is that I will go to great lengths to track something down; I once learned how to say “can you put these earrings on hold” and memorized a style number in Italian, via google translate, in an attempt to purchase a pair of earrings only located in a Chanel boutique by my brother’s study abroad housing (they wouldn’t ship to New York so this was my only option). I realize a lot of people would consider this behavior to be manic, or superficial at best, but I am a collector akin to a comic book or art aficionado, and one does not pass up the perfect collection rounding piece.