Happy Birthday, Grandma! On Sep 14th, we still celebrate you even though you’re no longer here with us. You were the queen of parties — using any chance you get to cook a ton of food, invite all our friends and family, and dance the night away. Among your vast repertoire of talents was sewing and dress-making. I remember watching you make patterns out of thin brown paper, gingerly pinning the outlines onto delicate fabric. The sound of your sewing machine was so distinct…filling the afternoon while I siesta on the marble floor. I used to love it when you’d ask me to string the thread into the needle hole and then compliment how good my eyesight was. You were so proud the first time I sewed my own pair of shorts, even though the hems weren’t as clean and the lines not as straight. You ran your own couture house, creating timeless ensembles for you, your customers, and your family. I would’ve worn your hand-made wedding dress, if I could.
You always had an appreciation for a good outfit (and good bargains), and you were dubbed “Imelda Marcos” because of your undying love for shoes. It’s no wonder I have such a strong affinity for all things fashion, and I go GAGA for an amazing pair of shoes! You were so creative and found ways to make yourself look stunning at any budget.
So in honor of your birthday, I attended New York Fashion Week and challenged myself to come up with an outfit under $50 even you would approve of. Hope you like it!
The theme of the show is street fashion, so I skipped the dress and went for something feminine yet edgy.
The shirt is a vintage Versace-looking men’s silk shirt that I folded at the sleeves and tied at the waist for a more flattering silhouette. I was walking around SoHo for lunch and saw the shirt hanging outside of an antique shop, Olde Good Things. They sell mostly furniture and other tchotchkes, but they happened to be selling clothing that week. I got this and another Gucci-looking shirt for a steal at 2-for-$30! The woman who checked me out explained that they bought all these silk shirts back in the 80s but forgot about them in storage. They recently broke open the boxes, and with good timing since the gaudy chain look is back in style…and I’m here for it!
I got the skirt from Zara a few seasons ago for $29. I’ve been waiting for the right occasion to wear it (it’s hardly an outfit for a baby shower lol), and it just complemented the shirt so well.
The earrings are from my favorite and best kept secret (maybe not so much anymore after this. Doh!) thrift shop, Life Boutique. They have the best selection of both high and low-end wear, and at very reasonable prices. They get inventory multiple times a day so the selection always varies — it’s like treasure hunting but for your closet! They have everything from jewelry, coats, furs, shoes, purses, menswear, furniture, and other home goods. These clip-on tassled earrings were only $5, and are more than worth it because they are so well-made and are super comfortable on the ears.
The booties are one of my favorite staple pair, also from Zara, and the bracelets and necklaces are from my existing collection. So there it is, my outfit for just $49!
The show was put on by Street Fashion Week and was also a pretty good deal, as we were able to watch around seven designers’ collections that night. There was a good mix of high-fashion and wearable designs for both men and women.
I know you would have loved to see pictures and hear stories about Fashion Week..in New York! It’s a dream I never thought I would actually experience, and yet here I am fully immersed in the moment. Thank you for teaching me to appreciate art and beauty in this way. While I am nowhere near your expertise with the sewing machine, I hope you know I still honor you every time I slip on a good outfit, as I imagine myself walking in your shoes. ❤