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!

 

 

 

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Fashion

Bomber Jackets, Cont’d: Staple or Trend?

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DSC_1052Bomber jacket from LF Stores, Emma & Sam crop top, Sandro jeans, Furla customized ‘Metropolis’ cross body bag in Moonstone and Petalo, Superga ‘Cotu’ snake sneakers in brown, Vanessa Mooney ‘Sun Star’ choker.

Owning two satiny green bomber jackets may seem excessive, so, for my own sake, allow me to justify. It’s not a secret that bomber jackets have become a ubiquitous piece in street style culture. Chic meets chill, they up the ante for so many looks. There are, however, two different categories of bomber jackets, which serve different style services: one is the statement bomber (as seen here on the Sauce), usually involving vibrant colors and embellishments, and the second is the minimal bomber. The minimal bomber, like my olive green one above, is understated, goes with almost everything, and I dare say is becoming the new denim jacket. That’s why I feel confident claiming that while the bomber jackets is “trendy” at this moment, it’s proven versatile enough to solidify itself as a necessary staple—a certified classic—very much here to say.  Also, I die over this olive green and blush combo. As “fall colors” like olive green, clay-camel, and navy pervade our spring/summer wardrobes, expect pastels to continue complimenting those deeper hues going into fall/winter.

Sneakers are the champions of the shoe scene right now, and I just love seeing how the fashion world keeps finding creative new ways to elevate more comfortable styles, because changes like this help to make fashion feel more inviting and fun, allowing for a more diverse street style community. These coated canvas Superga sneakers in a snake skin print are a great option for people who like subtle statement pieces. (No, that’s not an oxymoron. It’s a thing.)

Photos by Miranda Mu

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Beauty, Boston, Fashion, Promotional

OMG! Nice to Meet You!

DSC_0315-15Crop top by The Hanger, skirt from LF Stores, Phillip Lim clutch, Aldo ‘Istrago’ sandals.

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BostonBloggers2015-TheDangerBooth-44(From left): Sydney, myself, Gabby, Koko, & Miranda.

DSC_0331-18Jenny Bird Palm Cili Collar in Silver.

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BostonBloggers2015-TheDangerBooth-96(From left), Stephanie, Neha, myself, Sydney & Lianna.

DSC_0399-30Eddie Borgo bracelet, Michael Kors watch. Rings (from left): Cartier band, Gamine Zofia Ring Set in Silver, Margaret Elizabeth Faceted Cocktail Ring in Navy, Gorjana Gisele Ring. 356 Lacquer Creme Polish in ‘Alimersai.’

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This past Monday I attended the annual Boston Bloggers Meet & Greet at Audubon with my kickass new crew of blogger friends. Between the drinks, the delicious snacks, and the infamous Danger Booth, everyone had a blast—and since the large majority of the group are female fashion bloggers, the event served as glorious evidence that the catty stigmas of fashion culture are so out. With that said, one still feels some pressure when dressing to impress a group of fellow fashionistas…

Unsurprisingly enough, I went to the event in my favorite silhouette: high-waisted bottoms and a cutaway crop top—and in my favorite color combination: plain old black and white. The skirt’s dramatic asymmetrical hem and the sweatery fabric of my summertime top bring new life to my go-to look, and I went with my bright blue Phillip Lim clutch and Jenny Bird collar necklace, courtesy of Rocksbox, to kick things up another notch. I chose a mint-turquoise shade of nail polish to offset the bag, and added a navy cocktail ring for good measure, also from Rocksbox. If you haven’t heard of Rocksbox, it’s basically like the Netflix of jewelry: with Rockbox, you can rent and try fabulous new jewelry by top trendsetting brands like Gorjana and House of Harlow, and you can purchase the pieces you love for discounted prices. All you have to do is fill out a quick but effective style survey, start keeping a wishlist, and expert stylists will send you three pieces per box in a prepaid envelope, so returns are no fuss. You can return and receive as many boxes as you want for just $19 a month, but you can also get your first month free by using the promo code FASHIONSAUCEXOXO.

As for the gorgeous polish, it’s by Somerville-based 365 Lacquer, a vegan and non-toxic polish company dedicated to making fun colors without harmful ingredients, and without testing on animals. I have to admit, I can be a bit calamitous (by which I mean careless), and have therefore stuck almost exclusively to gel manicures for the last two years, so I felt a bit wary of going back to regular polish. But 365 Lacquer promised a quick-drying, long-lasting product—and they weren’t lying. I’ll admit to a couple of chips within the first 48 hours, but they weren’t caused by faulty polish; so many consecutive gel manicures have left my nails in a slightly weakened state, but on my nails that have managed to stay strong, 365 Lacquer has stayed strong, as well. Plus, they just released a neon collection that’s sure to get you even more excited about summer.

Fashion photography by Miranda Mu | Group photos courtesy of The Danger Booth.

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Beauty, Fashion, Pop Culture, Promotional

Rust Belt Americana

Vintage Junkyard Jewelry by Samuel Sloma

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IMG_0134Rust Belt Americana necklace, BDG Rib-Knit Sweater Cropped Tank (brown), Carmar high-waist jeggings, Sandro booties, ‘Lone Rider’ wool hat & ‘Nita’ shades from Nasty Gal, NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in ‘Never Say Never.’

To be honest, I’m not much a of a jewelry person. I’m always searching for niche pieces that are somehow both simple and strange, which can be hard to come by. But when Rust Belt Americana jewelry designer, Samuel Sloma, and I stumbled upon each other on Instagram, I knew I’d found something truly special. Sloma, a Midwestern picker, hand makes unique, rustic jewelry and watches with vintage materials he collects from old warehouses, five-and-dime stores, and various other unconventional locations. Sloma’s creative mission is “to celebrate American authenticity on a modern stage where the implied and tangible harmoniously collide,” and “to help men and women self-identify with bygone moments in time.” These sentiments, along with Sloma’s promise to send me “something bizarre,” solidified my immediate fanhood.

Sloma’s design aesthetic has this badass, yet elegant quality, making all of his beautiful work extremely versatile. I was so excited to receive my first original Rust Belt Americana necklace, which features a copper piece stamped in 1950 for musician Pat Boone, who charted second only to Elvis Presley during the late 50s. The piece on my necklace reads, “Always your boy, Pat Boone.” My father is a musician, and having been raised on older music, it felt like a cosmic coincidence that Sloma selected this piece especially for me. After years of struggling to find jewelry that suits my style, I’m thrilled to have Rust Belt Americana as my go-to source for cool, one-of-a-kind accessories.

Photos by Rebecca Browne and yours truly

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Boston, Essays, Pop Culture, Press

Boston Globe: “My Instagram”

IMG_2021I’m so excited to announce I’m in today’s Arts Section of the Boston Globe! Staff writer Christopher Muther does a weekly “Instagram Fashion” Q&A with a stylish Bostonian, and this week, I’m the featured Instagrammer (@thefashionsauce)and he also featured one of my favorite shots by my faithful photographer and best friend, Amanda Rosen. Since the interview was condensed, I’d like to take a moment to elaborate on my last answer, in which I discuss how people often discriminate against and underestimate fashion enthusiasts. Muther included the whole story of my harshest encounter with this particular kind of condescension, but left out my feelings on the subject. In the full interview, I said, “It’s ironic how some people who identify as intellectuals can be superficial and ignorant enough to assume another person lacks depth based on appearances alone.” I think the notion that style and intellect are inherently separate can be extremely harmful, and I strive to diffuse that stereotype. I started this blog not just because I love writing and fashion, but also to demonstrate the artistry of personal style, because fashion is many things, but first and foremost, it is art. Yes, the story I tell in the interview was, in fact, “a major blow to my academic confidence,” but my story didn’t end there. I went on to find that confidence in college, where I had the opportunity to work with Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, whose name you may recognize from her amazing literary accomplishments, and/or because Beyoncé sampled Adichie reading a feminist speech in the song “Flawless.” In 2012, I participated in a writing internship/workshop with five wonderful authors, and Adichie was one of them. Considering her résumé, I think it’s safe to say that my fellow interns and I felt particularly intimidated by the idea of working with Adichie. What could we possibly say or offer to this young woman who’d earned a MacArther Genius Grant? When she arrived to her welcoming reception, I was, honestly, relieved to see her wearing an adorable printed dress, beautifully complimented by a printed headscarf (I believe it’s traditionally called an ichafu in Nigeria)—mixing prints is difficult business! Still, I couldn’t quite work up the nerve to approach her, so I chatted quietly with a few other female interns. I was telling them about a pair of killer five-and-a-half-inch platforms I had just ordered, when suddenly, Adichie’s head popped into our circle. She said, “Are we talking about shoes? Because that is, like, my favorite subject.” As you can imagine, we bonded instantly, and I was overjoyed recently to see a personal essay she wrote titled Why Can’t A Smart Woman Love Fashion?” trending on Facebook and Twitter. Our time together, and her essay, continue to give me so much hope and validation. Times are changing. No one should have to forgo their passions or self-expression to be taken seriously, so wear what you love, and wear it with pride.

IMG_1556My signed copy of The Thing Around Your Neck, complete with a drawing of me in my platforms.

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Uncategorized

Stirring up a Fashion Feast…

Oh, hello! Though I’m still pulling together all the ingredients, I shall soon be posting outfits regularly. I hope you’ve read my “About the Sauce” page, but I want to say a little more about the recipe for this blog. I’m a normal person (mostly), so I never buy something, wear it once, and then retire it to the rafters of my wardrobe in fear of being a “repeat offender.” You’re going to see me wearing a lot of the same pieces—some of which I’ve owned for a long time—but worn in various contexts. Fashion Sauce is all about maximizing your wardrobe so that everything you own can be a part of your unique self and dynamic lifestyle.

I don’t think my personal style fits into one specific category, although I suppose it is a bit more “street” than it is polished. The best part of being alive and loving fashion right now is being able to draw inspiration from all your surroundings and finding ways to add your own flavor. My taste has endless influences from the past and present—movies, TV shows, musicians, countless designers, various cultures, and men and women of all ages. (I have quite literally taken fashion cues from six-year-old girls and elderly men.) I also hope to feature some of my fashionable friends to add a bit more perspective. We’ll share our unique views on hair, makeup, what to wear on a first date, to a job interview, to a bar, and so much more.

Fashion Sauce is a celebration of self-expression and having a good time getting dressed. Join me by enjoying being you!

P.S. Don’t forget to dip into the sauce on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, & Tumblr.

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