Category Archives: The Look for LE$$

The Balmain Effect


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.


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! 


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.


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.


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!


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.


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.


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. 


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




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


The Look on Valentine’s Day


Valentine’s Day—where to go, what to wear, and how to celebrate? For most girls, this is the challenge that  Cupid has set out for us. If you walk into  Duane Reade, you’re bombarded with heart-shaped chocolate boxes and stuffed animals, wondering which one you’ll receive as a treat. As ladies, we tend to gravitate to all things pink, sweet, and fuzzy…and oh yes, LOVE—we love LOVE!



It’s only worth having a Valentine if your someone special understands that “the most exciting, challenging, and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. And if you can find someone to love the YOU that you love…well, that’s just fabulous.” – Carrie Bradshaw



“The most exciting, challenging, and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. And if you can find someone to love the YOU that you love…well, that’s just fabulous.”

- Carrie Bradshaw







Now let’s get down to the important stuff: how to dress. Everyone usually thinks red and sometimes pink when they think of the Vday Date. I think it’s great if you can incorporate hints of red or pink in your outfit versus going for the full-on red dress, but you don’t have to. Wear whatever makes you feel pretty. Have fun with it. Don’t restrict yourself! Wear clothes that you love on Valentine’s Day. People will love you all the more in it if you feel confident while wearing it.









I fell in love with this h&m skirt the first time I saw it. The dress version was really my first love, but the skirt loved me back more when I tried it on. I’m actually wearing the front of the skirt on the sides. I liked having the two big pleats on my side instead of in the front and back.

The seam now goes down the front of the skirt, but it’s not noticeable and actually looks as though it were made this way.  Having the big pleats on the outside gave the skirt a more elegant and fancy look.  So instead of looking like h&m, I could be wearing Oscar De La Renta (in my mind, at least!).

Having the big pleats on the outside gave the skirt a more elegant and fancy look.

IMG_0340 IMG_0338


I added a belt to the skirt to cinch my waistline more. I wanted to really show off my big floral pleats and the shape of the skirt. The belt added texture and detail to the outfit and sealed the look right up.






During the shoot, Le Photographerinsisted that I did a shot smelling my roses. However I’m not so much of a smelling-the-roses kind of girl. I’m more the put-them-in-a-nice-vase-with-some-water-and-plant-food type. I tried really hard, and  after about thirty frames, finally got a shot where I didn’t look like  a goat approaching some rose petals! #NomNom  What do you think? How did I do?

IMG_0542Maybe this was a good lesson for me. I need to take the time out to “smell the roses”—literally. Living in NYC, we are always on the go. We seldom find the time to appreciate a lot of things, so we take them for granted. Whether you do some shopping, smell the roses, attend some fashion shows for fashion week, or have a romantic dinner for two at Per Se, be sure to enjoy yourself doing what you love and have a   very happy Valentine’s Day! xoxoSB





 American Apparel turtleneck

H&M skirt

Walford stockings

BCBG belt

Christian Louboutin Shoes - pigalle

 Photos By: Tovah-Marie Bembridge


A Modern Take on Mod



This was my favorite look from my first shoot. I was excited about playing with colored patent leather.  This combination gave me a 60s and 70s feel, so I wanted to play up on that vibe in a modern way.  I knew I wanted to do a crop top versus the traditional big sweater of the mod era, but finding a cropped shirt to pair with this skirt was a challenge.

This Topshop crop top was like a divine intervention—everything from being sheer and black combined with primary colored beading was exactly what I was looking for.  The design of the beading made the shirt look almost like tweed, which for me gave it a bit of a sophisticated spin considering that it is sheer and I am pairing it with patent leather.

Playing with this much color and texture is a bit on the adventurous side, which made me feel very much in my element while shooting. Feeling confident in a NOT-SO-SAFE-BUT-FUN-OUTFIT it is a high all on its own. Do you dare to take this ride on the colorful side?  xoxoSB

















Topshop Top

American Apparel Skirt

Chanel Bag – Jumbo Classic

Christian Louboutin shoes – Pigalle spikes ( similar here )

For a winter take on this look pair the black vinyl mini with a winter knit like this one and black So Kate or Pigalle. If you’re feeling fun and adventurous try these Christian Louboutin Follies.

Photos By: Alena Soboleva


Haute Hippie – Full Frontal Fringe



If you’ve picked up any magazines lately or visited any stores, I’m sure you’re bound to notice the fringe trend. There’s fringe on bags, fringe on skirts, fringe on belts, fringe on shirts, and of course fringe on shoes. I wore this outfit to Milk Studios  in NYC during Mercedes Benz Fashion week in September 2014. So sorry, lovies, but unfortunately you will not be able to purchase these items because they are long gone.  Necessity certainly is the mother of invention, especially in this case. I purchased this embroidered sheer shirt with plans of purchasing an Alice + Olivia box pleat leather skirt, but unfortunately it never happened. I just didn’t have $495 laying around that month. However, I did have a leather skirt from h&m and this fringe leather belt from BCBG. The pair was a match made in heaven because it gave the skirt the appearance of being high waisted and fringed. The belt sat on the skirt as though it came this way, and people did not hesitate to ask where I purchased this haute skirt as I strut through the streets of the Meatpacking District.



Due to the popularity of the look I decided to recreate it and shoot  it for my blog.  So TAH-DAH Anyone who knows me knows I’m obsessed with anything embroidered or embellished, so I was dying to wear this Topshop shirt.  At the time I was sporting a short bob so I was getting my life and feeling like Cleopatra …the sheer, the embroidery, the fringe, my hair cut.  Only thing missing were UBER HIGH HEELS. These  six-inch snake print babies are by Schutz. This was my first pair of shoes by them. They make some really comfortable, affordable, and trendy shoes. If you visit their site now, you’ll see tons of fringe options to choose from if you want to get in on the trend.









I had to end this post with a  “TWIRL”  so you could really see the effect of the belt combined with this skirt. In the words of one of my favorite Atlanta Housewives, “I’m gone with the wind fabulous…now twirl, hunnie, twirl!” xoxoSB








Topshop Top

H&M Leather Skirt (similar here)

BCBG Leather Belt (similar here)

Schutz Shoes

Chanel Jumbo Classic

Arm accessories: Michael Kors Watch, Zara Earrings, H&M Midi Rings, Vince Camuto T bar Ring, Vince Camuto Turquoise bracelet, C Wonder Gold Bracelets

Be sure to check out this H&M Skirt with Fringe if you’re in love with the leather fringe look

Photos By: Alena Soboleva


Birthday Behavior


As we grow older, we forget the  power of dreaming and wishing and seldom believe in the law of attraction. Instead, we tend to have more faith in the power of working and doing in order to make things happen. This is why I think it’s so important to celebrate birthdays because it’s the ONLY day out of the year that we are usually forced to take the time out and make a wish for ourselves. Just wishing . . . with hopes that it will come true.

I believe in the power of having dreams for yourself and wishing for something so much and so hard that it just comes to you because you’ve wanted it so badly.

bday6It’s not just all blowing out candles, prayer, and pixie dust. You have to play the biggest role in creating a happy and authentic life for yourself—your life with your stories and events. The thing about reality is that it’s still there waiting for you the next morning…so for me personally, my happiness thrives best on authenticity.


Anyone who knows me knows my birthday is like an international holiday called SHERECE DAY!  It’s a week-long celebration, so the events make up for the lack of originality in coining a term to celebrate the day my mother gave birth to me (love you, Mommy **sends kiss**).  Yes, I’m a grown adult who still believes that birthdays are magical—you just have to play your part in creating the magic.  This year my birthday fell on Thursday,  November 13th, 2014.  Naturally, it kicked off with a little shopping at the beginning of the week.


I worked my way from the top of Madison Avenue over to Fifth Avenue,  shopping until sunset. It was a great feeling  this time in particular because the gifts were all from me. The stores of choice were Chanel Gucci and Giuseppe Zanotti 

All for me, and all from me. #HAPPYGIRL


Unfortunately my outfit is no longer available in stores, but I will be sure to list similar.  It took on a life of its own while shopping. Apart from my girlfriend taking my personal photos, people were stopping me and asking for selfies and even just to take a quick flick because they liked my outfit so much! I don’t think I could have asked for the  day to play out any better than it did, considering it was the start of Sherece Week.

I definitely had my celebrity moment and feeling PRETTY & POWERFUL IN PINK.  Two people stopped me and asked me outright if  I was a celebrity, and when I said no, they asked for a pic with me anyway!  I couldn’t decide if this was the power of my shopping bags or the magic of my outfit. For this blog’s sake, let’s just say it was OUTFIT MAGIC!


Even though I shop a lot, sometimes I’ll sit on things in my closet and not wear them for as long as a year or more after purchasing. Having this blog, however, will certainly rid me of that habit. It’s not that I have so much that I can’t wear it all—I honestly wish that were the case! The real problem is that I’m extremely picky and try to perfect each outfit. Even though this mohair sweater is three years old, I never felt moved to wear it until I purchased this  patent leather skirt in the summer. I had to wait until fall again to wear the outfit , and here you have it.

The day started great and my week ended even better. Take a peek at my Birthday Diary entry to get the deets on how Sherece Week played out. xoxoSB




H&M pink mohair sweater  (similar here)

Topshop pink vinyl pencil skirt (similar here)

BCBG shoes (similar here and here)

Christian Dior bag

Christian Dior sunglasses (similar here)

Photos by: Tovah-Marie Bembridge