The Balmain Effect

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Spring has been teasing New York City. We’ve been going from heavy duty wool coats one day to light knits the next. So I interrupt my normally scheduled St. Bart’s shoot to get a little in touch with what’s happening in NYC. I have lots more fun stuff in store from St. Bart’s, but now I’m in New York city and it’s disappointingly cold.

This weather is depressing, so I try to keep engaged and occupied. No Thursdays spent at home watching Olivia Pope dress up. Instead I try to get together with friends and try out new bars and restaurants when I have free time. I love hanging out during the week. Dinner and drinks with a gal pal . . . MY FAVE!

So what do we wear when it’s cool but not too cold, and it’s the beginning of spring but sometimes feels like winter? For my girls’ night out, I opted for shorts and fur . . . or faux fur, rather.

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This look was heavily inspired by the french fashion house Balmain. Which girl did not fall in love after seeing the way Olivier Rousteing captured so much beauty and detail PERFECTLY in the September 2014 issue of W magazine?

It was Parisian luxury, but from a very modern and intricate perspective. #ABSOLUTELYFABULOUS! 

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Great to look at, but impossible to afford unless it goes on a super sale. This was my inspiration: Capturing a 10k look on a 1K budget.

This was my inspiration: Capturing a 10k look on a 1K budget.

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Take away notes from the Balmain look is to use gold embellishments, leather, fur, rust tones, and sequins to create a very luxurious and glam yet cohesive look. This was my mission to join  this Balmain army.

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In general, it’s hard to pull off a high end look on a small budget. The key is creating a look for yourself, without falling victim to bad knock offs. Yes, I know we all love it on Kim K, but even if we can’t afford to dress like her, it doesn’t mean we can’t look as good as her . . . or better yet AS GOOD AS YOU!

I’m sure these Balmain looks got trickled down into the “insta-market place.” And there’s nothing wrong with buying it if that’s the look that works for you. I personally like to draw inspiration from high-end looks and try to create an outfit with a similar feel. That is, of course, if I can’t find it in my budget on The Outnet or other great online designer discount shops. This is a New York City It Girl Blog . . . Not INSTA-GLAM 101!

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I started this look from the waist up. It all started with the shoes. I purchased these DVF calf-hair ankle boots about two years ago. The strappy leather and gold hardware made them my go-to item for creating my own Balmain look.

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The basic look is just loose leather shorts with a rust or even jeweled tone silk shirt would work. These Zara shorts aren’t even real leather . . . can you tell?  This Zara shirt with the sequin embellished sleeves had Mr. Rousteing written all over it. 

Silk is a very luxurious fabric all on its, own so combined with leather, it has a very glam appeal. From there I just piled on the gold accessories. C Wonder is one of my favorite places to shop for gold bracelets. They have a wide variety and are perfect for stacking together or combining with another fave piece like a watch or leather band. Add a broad leather belt for that cinched waist look, some midi rings and earrings, and you’re well on your way. These Zara earrings are also a fave. I love the one long earring look.

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Last thing you need is a black coat, and voilà! You’re ready to take on the town. Remember this little Altuzarra for Target faux number. Chic and warm all at the same time.

Remember this little Altuzarra for Target faux number. 

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Only thing missing from this look is a smile, because you are looking fantastic without spending gigantic! Plenty of room in your wallet to treat your friends to a round of martinis and cosmos on you. Have fun, girls!  xoxoSB

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GET THE LOOK

Zara silk embellished blouse – similar here

Zara faux leather shorts – similar here

Diane Von Furstenburg calf hair ankle boots  – shop similar here or for a high end options try this or this

H&M wide leather belt – shop similar here and here if you feel like splurging go for this or for a mega splurge  this

Zara gold clutch

Photos by : Alena Soboleva

  

Sunkissed in St. Bart’s

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Hello, my lovies! I know it’s been a while, but posting while away on vacation was a struggle. I found it impossible to detach myself from the magnetism of being in St. Bart’s to stop and text on my phone, much less type on my laptop.

For an island that has only an eight mile radius, there was sooooooo much beauty to fall in love with. Normally in New York City you will not see me waking up at 6am to capture the sunrise, but in St. Bart’s you most definitely did. This sunrise gave me a whole new meaning to Beyonce’s flawless “I woke up like this” . . . REALLY!

This sunrise gave me a whole new meaning to Beyonce’s flawless “I woke up like this” . . . REALLY!

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There was nothing to interrupt me but the crash of a wave on the shore. Tranqulity at its best! While running around the island , dining, sailing, exploring, and guzzling champagne at Nikki Beach, I hardly had the opportunity to just sit and really enjoy the tangerine glow of an island sunrise. Lord knows New York City has no tangerine glow . . . more like crisp, chalky, busy and cold  when I have to get up for work in the morning. So this was a real treat for my skin and eyes.

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Being born on an island myself and loving the beach as much I do, you would think I was a water baby . . . however, I’m quite the opposite. I’m like a cat in water—I’ll swim to save my life but there’s no snorkling, surfing, or deep sea diving for this island belle. Sad to say I’m not a strong swimmer, but this is something I want to improve on before the summer—I’m always on a boat or staying at a beach house in the summertime and I would  really like to enjoy the water more.

I’ll swim to save my life but there’s no snorkling, surfing, or deep sea diving for this island belle.

 

I feel like I’m just a little too shy to join a big adult swim class. Sherece + colored floaties on her arms?

NOPE . . . not The Look! I more enjoy the relaxation part of it all. Laying on a floatie in the pool or if I’m feeling adventurous I may go on a jet ski.  Yep, no real swimming happening here!  I’m like a poolside ballerina, just dancing around the water. 

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Now let’s talk about The Swim Look!

I glimpsed this print in an ad for  Victoria Secret Swim Special and fell in SWIM LVE! For me, the tinier the bikini,  the better . . . but then you add fringe and color on top of making it teeny-tiny . . . GET OUT!  This is not the matching top, but as you already know  I’ll mix polka dots with stripes in a heartbeat. Same goes for vibrant hues and tribal prints. For swim, I think it just makes your look far more fun and interesting.

 

Dare to deviate from the  safe black bikini and be the colorful, sexy, and fun girl.

 

Dare to deviate from the  safe black bikini and be the colorful, sexy, and fun girl. You know she is in there somewhere . . . don’t be shy! Why miss out on the safest place to try mixing prints? When you’re  poolside  or on the beach, virtually anything goes. Another trend you should not miss out on this summer is beach-body-jewelry.  Give new meaning to the term beach goddess and pile on the jewellery to go with the crown.  Don’t ask me what happens when you wear it in water. #StraightPoser

If anyone knows of any waterproof beaded body jewelery or gold plated stuff that won’t rust, let me know. This tribal beaded belly chain was just the accessory I needed to tie the look together. I LIVE for accessories like these. I think I was some kind of indigenous African Indian in my former life—addicted to all things beaded-colorful-tribal-looking!

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One of the things I love about shopping on Victoria Secret for swimsuits is that you have so many options for swim tops in order to find the right look, fit, and support for your twins.  Somehow when I  put the top on I didn’t tighten the neck enough so my girls were just enjoying “hang-time” and missing out on the push up activity this top offered, but it’s okay. Totally having a Baywatch moment.

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There are no real takeaway style notes to being a poolside beauty. The key is knowing your body and shopping for a bathing suit that’s flattering for your body type. This way you are cool, confident, sexy and just having fun in the sun.

The key is knowing your body and shopping for a bathing suit that’s flattering for your body type.

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Dear St. Bart’s, you are too amazing!

xoxoSB

 

 

Victoria Secret fringe brazilian bottom (color: chartreuse dot , yellow with tiny sapphire polka dots )

Victoria Secret bomshell halter ( color: Byron geo )

BCBG beaded rope waist belt

  

Sable + Chanel + Sheer = HAPPYGIRL!

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Hey lovies, I hope you all had a fantastic week. I believe we  saw the last of snow for winter 2015 . . . finally! I had a love/hate relationship with the snow this year. On some days I liked it.  The snow created a fluffy white cloak that covered the city  streets and made NYC seem a little less busy and a lot more lovely. The hate part of the relationship arrived when the snow turned to slush.    . . .Not to mention if the slush then turned to ice and you’re indefinitely banned from high heels.

The day I did this shoot was clearly one of the days I was loving the snow. I was barely able to find any frames where I wasn’t smiling. Freezing temperatures yes, YET smiling nonetheless.
IMG_1339So remember my last post when I spoke about my fur-less-ness and  how obsessed I was with the Dennis Basso sable coats? I finally got my little paws on a sable of my own. Not Dennis Basso, but no less luxurious nor beautiful, NOT TO MENTION COZY!

I finally got my little paws on a sable of my own. 

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After a bitter winter I wanted to capture some of the beauty of the snowfall, and the park in my neighborhood was the best place to do this. This is the only place on the Upper East Side where most of the snow was untouched with the exception of the paths for walking.

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I got these boots  and purse as a Christmas gift.   I feel like I’ve seriously neglected the boots over the winter. I love them.  But I just did not get the opportunity to wear them as much as I would have liked to.  What’s not to love? They’re Chanel-leather, with tons of gold hardware  and over-the-knee. Pretty serious stuff.

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The few times I wore them, I paired it with leggings and skirts or a long dress, which masked the added appeal of them being thigh-high. For this shoot I was exploring how a  winter glamazon  would rock them with shorts.  The result would either be fearless and fancy or crazy . . . lol.

The result would either be fearless and fancy or crazy . . .

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We’ve all had those nights: when it’s snowing yet you still feel like going to the club, or you can’t wear heels but you want to be glam and sexy. Kind of like every New York City girl’s mantra this winter. This look is perfect for all of the above.  If you’re not the subject of a Dolce  & Gabbana ad, this is a way you can capture the sexiness of the black sheer dress without an overdose on trampiness. Style your sheer dress with shorts, a turtleneck,  and low heel or flat  over-the-knee boots.   #AllBlackEverything!

Style your sheer dress with shorts, a turtleneck,  and low heel or flat  over-the-knee boots.   

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No necklace nor jewelery needed. However I could not resist including these fun fringe earrings. They added that fun partygirl element that you need for a nightime look.

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Even though my fur coat is short, it’s UBER warm. Paired with my over-the-knee boots, everything was balanced, temperature wise, plus I also got to show off my legs in the middle of winter.

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Fearless and fancy? Nightclubs, get ready.

Fearless and fancy? Nightclubs, get ready. No Prada nor heels necessary. This little devil serves in sheer and  Chanel. xoxoSB

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Chanel Paris-Dallas Over-the-knee boots

Chanel boy bag

 Custom  barguzine sable coat

Topshop Boutique silk organza babydoll ( in pink )

American apparel  turtleneck

American apparel high- waisted shorts

H&M fringe tassel earrings

Photographer : Tovah-Marie Bembridge

  

The Gridlock on Fur

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This winter, fur was a huge trend. Whether faux or real, you saw it on everything from shirts to sandals. This made me actually start to shift from my strict love for faux fur only and start to explore purchasing a real fur coat. I looked at it this way: the winter was brutal, and honestly the warmth you get from a fur coat just did not compare to any Moncler jacket I owned.

 

Whether faux or real, you saw it on everything from shirts to sandals. 

 

I was very excited to attend the Dennis Basso show because he’s top tier when you  talk about fur connoisseur.  The exciting part was that he now started to shift from strictly working with fur to  gowns and other pieces. I wore a faux fur coat to the show because I did not own a black fur coat.  This little Altuzarra faux number paired with some leather gloves added the right amount of warmth to my fit.

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I  got the inspiration for this look from one of my favorite women Queen Bey  herself back in October 2014. She attended a London art fair in an outfit with a  similar play on black and white prints. Saw it, loved it, and knew I had to try it!

Saw it, loved it, and knew I had to try it!

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I’m a huge skirt gal.  I’m not just saying this because it’s International Women’s Day Whether mini or midi, count me in!  I am, however, not a big plaid or stripe person. Polka dots yes, stripes no, not so much. I had the option of pairing this grid midi skirt with a polka dot shirt but I decided to go full on grid . . . why not? The easiest way for me to wear similar prints is to blend different shades from the same family. It’s also great if you work with a smaller print and a bold, more defined one—they pair perfectly.

I’m a huge skirt gal. 

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As I watched those sable coats glide down the runway, I had a Dear Santa moment. 

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All the pieces were beautiful and elegant. I was not in the least bit shocked when Beyonce’s “Flawless”  started playing.  Click here to see my live peek at the show.

The designs, the models, the looks, the music . . . everything was just that—flawless!

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The take-away message from this post is that there are no rules to fur. Whether faux or real, wear pieces that you love. Stay warm! xoxoSB

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Altuzarra for Target faux fur jacket (sold out, but you can probably purchase on eBay)

Topshop grid print shirt (similar here)

Topshop grid print bonded midi skirt

Salvatore Ferragamo Belt

Wolford sheer stockings

Topshop black lace trim socks

Christian Louboutin pigalle

Photographer: Tovah-Marie Bembridge

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My Culotte Made The Cut

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I’ve been so excited to wear these new trousers since I bought them last November. Upon purchasing, I envisioned myself wearing them with an architectural crop top in the summer . . . but summer was too far away.  I decided that I should not let Fall Fashion Week go by without partaking in this new pants trend, the culotte.  Unfortunately for me I chose the last day of Fashion Week, Feb 19, 2015, which was also one of  coldest and windiest days of the year in New York. Temp reading 27°, but the windchill made it feel like 8!

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When I first saw these pants, I was like “is wah kinda short pants dem dis” (in ma Jamaican voice).  Nonetheless I wanted in on this look.  My waist is tiny, so I’m attracted to anything that’s high-waisted.  I also love garments that have a lot of structure, and these sturdy polyester culottes set a tone all by themselves. Not to mention they were pink.  Well maybe not exactly pink, more like a peachy blush, but close enough for me to LOVE! 

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A turtleneck was my only option because because of the weather. I wanted to play with more texture since we were in the middle of winter. I piled on as many fluffy things as I could find. First thing I grabbed was this fringy jacket, then I tossed in a very cool oversized faux fur clutch. Usually nude pumps would be the go-to option for these hues; however, your silver stilettos can function the same as your nude pump. Silver and blush tones had a marriage circa 2014. Try it! It will give your outfit a very NOW look.

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Keeping the look neutral with all the same pastel tones but playing with different textures made this an eye catching outfit at Lincoln Center. I was interviewed three times and the photographers kept on coming.   This was when I knew that my culotte made the cut.

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After all the interviews and shooting, I was excited to go inside and warm up before the show.

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I even got a chance to go into the MBFW Star Lounge, where all the MBFW biggest clients go to hang out. You can have cocktails at the bar or sit on the couch and conduct an interview. The decor was  amazing . . . beyond pretty.

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I was sad that it was the last day of Fashion Week, but I could not have picked a better ending, thanks to my pretty-peachy-pink pants.   The culotte is a big trend this summer. So  whether you are big, small, short, tall . . . get in on the look like I did. Don’t unpack those summer “battyrider” shorts just yet!   xoxoSB

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Zara turtleneck

Zara fringe jacket

Topshop culotte ( similar here and here )

Topshop fluffy clutch (similar here)

BCBG silver pumps (similar here )

Photos by: Tovah Bembridge

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