Boston, Culture, Fashion, fashion theory, Feminism, Pop Culture

Boston Bloggers: Boss Ladies

Photos by Elissa Garza of Style-Wire.

I’ve surely mentioned it bitterly a million times before—growing up, I didn’t really have friends who shared my interest in fashion. Between middle school and my three years at college in Florida, I met a lot of people who “loved” fashion as a status symbol, but few who executed personal style as an artistic form of self-expression. Don’t get me wrong. I am lucky to have a circle of loyal, diverse friends, many of whom have been at my side since childhood, and our differences bring invaluable richness to our friendships and group dynamics. With that said, passion is often best enjoyed with company, and my affinity for fashion felt pretty lonely at times. Then, I started Annie’s Fashion Sauce, put together an affiliated Instagram account, and everything changed.

I have encountered so many unexpected perks and exciting experiences since launching Annie’s Fashion Sauce three years ago this month but I never could have anticipated the greatest benefit of all: finding like-minded ladies to inspire and, yes, validate me. As with my fabulous go-to photographer, Miranda Mu, I “met” both Jazzy Roulhac and Nathalia JMag on Instagram, where we quickly became frequent fans of each other’s photos and personal aesthetics. It wasn’t long before we took our cyber-friendships to Facebook, where I discovered that kindred spirits resided behind the photos. Jazzy (the statuesque, retro queen in the red lip), the stylish editor-in-chief of The Beautiful Boston (a.k.a. The Happiness Blog), writer (check out her E-book, HERSTORYhere), and eternal optimist and I are surely the loudest feminists and most annoying social justice warriors on anyone’s Facebook News Feed; and Nathalia, a blogger and up-and-coming fashion designer (and mermaid) soon to appear on Season 15 of Lifetime’s prestigious and infamously grueling competition reality series Project Runway, and I are two Sagittarius ladies who desperately want to know…what is wrong with being confident???

I had only met Jazzy in person once, and neither of us had ever actually crossed paths with Nathalia when we started planning this shoot. While discussing where our three aesthetics overlap and how to style ourselves for the shoot, we decided to pay homage to iconic online shopping websites Nasty Gal and Dolls Kill, both of which have helped create a strong, millennial counter-culture of girls who embrace opportunities to stand out—women who defiantly dress for themselves and have fun doing it. We wanted to capture that spirit, because it’s what brought us together.

Once the photo shoot arrived, we experienced one of life’s most luxurious clichés: making new friends that feel like you’ve known them forever. The three of us instantly clicked, fell into squad formation, and once we wrapped, we took our little party out to dinner, where we toasted to the rare joy of finding people who “get it.” We also gushed about Elissa Garza, one of Boston’s most notable bloggers and side-hustlers, who’s found so much success through her blog Style-Wire, and who graciously volunteered to take these photos in between work and another photo shoot.

I could ramble forever about these boss ladies, but I’d rather you click on the links I’ve included within this post and get to know them and their amazing work, yourself. This surely isn’t the last you’ll see of them on the Sauce, so stay tuned and #StaySaucy. And OBVIOUSLY don’t forget to tune into Project Runway Season 15 on September 15th to watch Nathalia represent Boston’s growing fashion scene.

P.S. Jazzy and I are both wearing customized round, soft-touch sunglasses by REKS Optics. You can get an exclusive offer on your first pair by entering the code TheFashionSauce at checkout. You can find versions of everything else the three of us are wearing in the depths of Nasty Gal and Dolls Kill. Happy shopping!

 

 

 

Standard
Boston, Culture, Fashion, fashion theory, Pop Culture

Concert Daze

Concerts are just about my favorite summer activity, and concert/festival attire has become a highly sensationalized, perhaps pressurized movement in fashion. I, myself, wait with baited breath to see what stars like Kendall Jenner and Vanessa Hudgens will wear to Coachella, and spent a long time curating looks for all four days of Bonnaroo Music Festival, three times over. When it comes to enduring heat, dancing and sitting on grassy lawns or stiff bleachers, all while feeling confident, cute, and occasion-appropriate, denim shorts have proven themselves as the MVP of my concert and festival experiences. Kimono dresses, maxi skirts, and all that jazz just don’t quite measure up for me. Consequently, my collection of denim shorts has grown too large to fit in one drawer, and I find myself hunting for more unique pairs with fun embellishments for more variety. Over the weekend, I rocked two different pairs of embellished denim shorts to two concerts over two consecutive days.

IMG_0044

Mishka ‘Demo Derby Keep Watch’ tee, Maje ‘Ilion’ denim shorts, vintage belt. Photo by Matt McKenna.

For a daytime, Third Eye Blind show out at Indian Ranch, I paired this neon Mishka tee with tastefully bedazzled denim shorts for a look that embraced ’90s nostalgia. I added a Western belt to incorporate a more current and sophisticated trend.

DSC_1044

DSC_1120

DSC_1113

 

 

DSC_1135

Sandro shorts, Out From Under x UO high-neck tank, UO ‘Luke’ lace-up boots, Furla customized ‘Metropolis’ cross body bag. Photos by Miranda Mu.

I love this rich, gold-studded burgundy with a minimal black tank for a nighttime show. I wore this to see Modest Mouse at Xfinity, and, as opposed to how I dressed for Third Eye Blind, went for a more sleek and modern look. These lace-up boots are great for any show, comfortable enough to walk and dance for hours on end. Cross body bags are my favorite in everyday life, but they’re especially great at shows, you know, so I can throw my hands in the air and such. Also convenient for holding a beer in one hand and a hotdog in the other.

I’m headed to Osheaga Music Festival in Montreal for a day at the end of the month, and something tells my I won’t stray too far from my festival fashion formula. Stay tuned to see if I manage to keep it fresh, regardless.

 

Standard
Culture, Fashion

Independence Day: Go Big or Go Home

DSC_0644

DSC_0671

DSC_0688

DSC_0653

DSC_0663

DSC_0678-Edit

DSC_0720

DSC_0700Sandro ‘Eva’ top, Carmar denim shorts, Furla ‘YoYo’ cross body cosmetic case with ‘Lady’ fringe tassel, Jeffrey Campbell boots, Spitfire Sunglasses.

Some people are wary of theme dressing, but I think it can present a fun, creative opportunity. Who doesn’t want an extension on Halloween? Plus, we’re in an election year (it’s a complete shitshow), and America seems to be in this weird, constant flow of milestones and tragedies. If there were ever a year to wear your patriotism, it’s this one. That’s one way I’m coping, anyway. So, for your pleasure, here I am in a red, white and blue ensemble, complete with classic Daisy Dukes and powder blue cowboy booties, the perfect look for a 4th of July BBQ or party of any kind.

My mom recently texted me to ask if I’d left blue suede cowboy boots in her closet a while back, but the description didn’t ring a bell. Then I saw them, and my heart leapt when I saw these bad boys. I remembered buying them just before college…and then promptly never wearing them. How could I neglect such fabulous shoes? While there are plenty of more subtle ways to style these retro booties, it seemed like fate that they’d waltz back into my life just before July. I mean, do you see that star detailing?

Since denim shorts and cowboy boots are a very literal combination for the 4th, if you want to stay on-theme without going too kitschy, try a blouse that includes some red, white, or blue without actual stars or stripes. The red and white crochet collar on my Sandro top (now on sale), plus my luxe red leather bag add a level of maturity to my outfit (but not too much of course).

As you style yourself and celebrate throughout the weekend and this Monday, remember that denim is your friend and that red, white and blue looks great on everyone. Have fun with your look, and stay tuned to see how I wear my patriotism this 4th of July by following me on Instagram.

Photos by Miranda Mu

 

Standard
Culture, Essays

Call Me Crazy, But We Need to Talk About Mental Health Right Now

Like most Americans right now, I’m extremely distraught over the shooting in Orlando, Florida, where I lived from 2009-2012. I’m horrified by how bigotry and hatred played into this act of terror, and I hope we all continue to shine a light on that aspect of what’s happened, because we absolutely cannot tolerate intolerance. I could use this moment and this space to preach about equality, which should always be our first priority, but I don’t believe I have anything new to offer on a subject that should be so obvious; we’re all people, and as Lin-Manuel Miranda put it at last night’s Tony Awards, “love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love.”

Less than two weeks after a shooting at UCLA that, to my knowledge, had nothing to do with sexuality, religion, or race, I personally want to focus on some things I believe we can immediately control in order to effect necessary change. Gun safety is the big one. Everyone’s talking about it: guns are dangerously easy to acquire in the U.S., and the country needs to loosen its ridiculous grip on the second amendment, adjust its policies, and work harder to prevent putting automatic weapons into the wrong hands. I feel like the conversation always ends there, though, and we rarely talk about what we mean by the “wrong hands.” In fact, I feel like a lot of people disgracefully use that subject as a vehicle for Islamaphobia, but religion hasn’t been the common thread tying the endless string of shootings in America together…The discourse on mental illness in America remains severely hushed, and the stereotypes surrounding mental illness are as ingrained as ever, despite the fact that mental illness is extremely common. As someone who isn’t ashamed to admit that I have to take medication every day and visit a therapist regularly in order to avoid manic-depressive episodes and manage my crippling anxiety, I’m curious as to how America plans to confront the role mental illness plays in gun violence, or begin reducing gun violence, if we can’t even manage talk about mental health at length at all. We need to be brave adults and just bust open the dialogue on mental health and de-stigmatize mental-emotional issues, because right now, for many Americans, guns are easier to access than health care and appropriate treatment. Mental illness doesn’t have to be shameful, and it doesn’t have to ruin lives.

I suppose I’ve contradicted myself. I am preaching equality: I don’t think people who suffer from mental illness are treated fairly in America. Many of the people we ultimately call monsters are people we cast off for being different, people we’d rather ignore than assist. At this time, I’m not going to bombard you with a bunch of statistics or clinical facts regarding mental illness; I’m just going to tell you, plain and simple, that stigmatizing or silencing groups of people based on fear, discomfort, a lack of understanding, and general prejudice, leads to unsafe situations, and when we aren’t safe, we aren’t free.

I hope you won’t think I’m being insensitive, or in any way excusing the Orlando shooter’s heinous, homophobic actions, or his affiliation with ISIS. There is no excuse for such bigotry, violence, or terrorism. The shooter is not the victim here. However, as many Americans gear up to place blame and fight hatred with more hatred, I think we should acknowledge that extremism, religious or not, often stems from mental-emotional instability. (The shooter’s ex-wife has stated that he was mentally ill, and cites this as the true root of his actions. She laments how this will affect the Muslim community.) I’m not saying a few therapy sessions or a prescription could have prevented this nightmare. I’m saying that the list of senseless shootings aside from this one is so long, that we must examine these massacres collectively and consider how we address mental illness more carefully. I could go on a million tangents in a million different directions right now, because the way I see it, most of our country’s problems are tightly intertwined, to a dizzying degree. But the bottom line is that we need to listen to each other, we need to accept each other. We need to give each other love, or at the very least, respect. And we need to open our eyes to reality. We need to ask ourselves why America faces mass shootings more frequently than any other country in the world, and and we need to become solution-oriented, instead of just angry and hateful. (I don’t know about you, but I am pretty fucking exhausted from being angry, and I’m certain I’ve exhausted all of my Facebook friends, too.) (…Insert angry rant about people who constantly talk about the Founding Fathers and harp on concepts that are completely irrelevant today…)

I’m sad, I’m scared—but I’m hopeful; and while I understand that a lot of the seemingly (or totally) empty “thoughts and prayers” on social media frustrate those who so desperately want to actively achieve change, I also personally appreciate how social media has created a platform for people to come together, enlighten and uplift each other, and initiate real conversations about real issues. Just think about Brock Turner: a judge may not have had the sense or decency to punish Turner appropriately, but social media has allowed us to rally together to raise his victim’s voice, to see that this injustice does not get swept under the rug, and to ensure that Turner ultimately won’t be entitled to the privileges he renounced as soon as he chose to rape someone. Similarly, in the wake of our country’s most recent tragedy, we can use social media to educate each other, sound off, brainstorm, and demand better protection for Americans and HUMAN BEINGS everywhere.

For my fellow Bostonians who’d like to show their support for Orlando beyond the digital world, a vigil is being held for the victims at Boston City Hall Plaza this evening at 6pm.

Standard
Beauty, Culture, Fashion

Fall Classic: Parisian Inspiration

DSC_0389 (1)

DSC_0377

DSC_0358

DSC_0381

DSC_0395American Apparel spandex turtleneck, Rag & Bone pants, Sandro coat & bag, Jeffrey Campbell ‘Stoppard’ shoes, Oliver People’s sunglasses.

I shot this look, one of a few fall ensembles that I wear in constant rotation, just days before the attacks in Paris and Beruit that have shaken the world. Whenever I shoot an outfit, I start thinking about what I’d like to say about it here on the Sauce, and how I can best explain my process behind the styling to effectively help my readers understand how they might translate elements of my style into their own. As I posed in my cigarette pants and striped fitted turtleneck, I knew I’d write about how classic Parisian style inspired one of my favorite fall outfit combinations. I would hate to seem like I’m trying to capitalize on a tragedy (believe me, an ex-boyfriend tried to use the Boston Marathon bombings to “reconnect”), so I took pause after the attacks to think about how I might discuss this outfit without mention of Paris; but then I decided that to put a hold on declaring Paris’s impact on my style would be to patronize Paris and to give into its attackers, which I simply won’t do. So, let’s celebrate the City of Light, and consider this post my humble tribute to Paris and all of its contributions to the world of fashion.

Though I haven’t had the privilege of visiting Paris, as a lover of fashion and all of the arts, it still manages to enchant me and hold a place in my heart. Being so passionate about their art in every medium possible, and perhaps equally passionate about their cheese, I feel like I owe France so much of the joy in my life. Plus, apart from allegedly being some of the most alive and creative people on this earth, Parisians are devastatingly stylish, and I spend a sickening amount of time pouring over Parisian street style snaps to elevate my own look.

I think what makes Parisian style so special is how Parisian women manage to dress in such a way that can come across as chic, sexy, sophisticated, professional, fun, and relaxed, all at once. It sounds impossible, but the classic French combination of a cigarette pant and striped top is a fool-proof way to cover all those bases. Take the look to the next level by contrasting some menswear-inspired pieces with an exaggerated side-part and rosy lips.

Standard