Underneath it All

I’ve lived my life in several different versions of my body. If I’m being completely honest, the current version is my least favorite. Worry not, I’m not unveiling some deep seeded body image issues or a story about a time where I was made to feel bad about my body. It’s only my least favorite because frankly, I’m still getting used to dressing it.

I’ve been very thin, I’ve been toned, I’ve been 40 pounds overweight. I’ve been called flat chested in my early 20’s, then celebrated for having ‘ a perfect handful’ and now am the proud owner of ‘big boobs’; I’m a late bloomer I guess.
It’s as exciting as it is confusing- I’m dressing a whole new girl! I’m accustomed to dealing with the curves on my back side, not in the front. Pants, bathing suit bottoms and shorts will forever be a challenge for me. I’ve become skilled at dealing with said challenge. However, buying a top used to be a more relaxed experience, I was always between a small and a medium and could often eyeball a top before buying without trying it on.
Those days are over.
But let’s pause for a second to get a few things out of the way.
1. I love my body, but it’s a complex love. Like less romantic and more like the way I love my younger brother.
2. I’m 100% grateful for my sudden change in cup size, and the fact that it was $free.99, despite my lamenting.
3. Again, I love my breasts and the rest of my body (please refer to items above)

Okay, and we’re back. Nowadays, I have to worry about looking too sexy in a sweater set. Fantastic. As if living in NYC with a full time career, part time blog, husband and dog didn’t keep me busy. New hobbies include: throwing good bras away and not wearing favorite (formerly oversized) vintage tees due to fear of looking like a busty teenager that hasn’t realized she’s developed before everyone else in her class.
Also under new hobbies, I finally experienced real bra shopping. Like the kind where you try on a bunch and NONE of them fit right. It’s not fun, I wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or foe. However, I would recommend Upbra. Full disclosure, when they approached me for a review, I was a bit weary. I’m very particular with undergarments in general and because of my current ‘growth’ in that area, I didn’t feel comfortable just sending my bra size and reviewing whatever came in the mail.
Good thing that didn’t occur. I was instead given a link to their site where I can size myself using my phone. Of all the things I now do with my phone, pressing my breasts against my IPhone was not something I thought was possible. But it was and worked terrifically along with a series of detailed questions; it nailed my bra size. Which is something three women and a few eye rolls at Victoria Secret couldn’t do, so color me impressed.
Once I got my size, I browsed through my options on their site by what I wanted to focus on. I needed a supportive strapless for the warmer weather, so that was my first go to. Then their T-Shirt Bra caught my eye, it boasted comfort, lift and controllable cleavage. When they arrived (quickly) I was very impressed by how both bras fit, and how they provide the exact support that was advertised. They both make me feel supported and sexy, a feeling I haven’t felt from a bra in a long time.

In conclusion to my lengthy diatribe on my new boobs and the feat that is dressing them… I’ve learned several things thanks to Upbra. New found curves are a good thing, the internet CAN be helpful with intimate matters, and my IPhone can officially help me with ANYTHING.

Go here to check out my new favorite bra 

*Editor’s Note: In the spirit of full transparency and empowering my audience to love their bodies at every phase, all photos have not been retouched to hide, minimize, or maximize – because I  believe (even at low points) that our most beautiful selves lie underneath  it all.

XX

J

 

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Women of a Certain Age: What to wear after 30

Now that I’m officially ‘thirty something’ I enjoy hearing and reading the opinions of many women (especially younger) on what I shoud no longer be wearing and where I should no longer be shopping. A month in to being 33, I find it hysterical. So here is a satirical list of sound sartorial habits after 30.

1. Adjust your hemline, mini skirts can make a woman in her 30’s look like she’s chasing her youth.
2. Avoid bold accessories, especially brightly colored ones, grabbing people’s attention with clothing is a young woman’s game.
3. After 30, one should only purchase investment pieces instead of fast trends. $10 sunglasses from the back of an H&M need not apply.
4. Sport at least one designer item at all times, even if you have to max out your credit card. How else will you be taken seriously by other women?
5. Dress to impress only other women and gay men. Who cares if you feel sexy in tighter clothing or skinny jeans. It’s not chic to dress sexy after 30. Especially if you are married or are a mother.
6. At work, trade your flats for heels, especially if the bottoms are red. It is the only way to assert your power and maturity. Pack some bandaids, you’re a big girl.
7. Progressive designers are for cool girls in their 20’s. If a woman over 30 wears a designer bag that no one recognizes, is she even relevant? On that note, when selecting any designer item, the more logos the better, so everyone knows that you’re wearing something expensive.
8. Pick a staple wardrobe and do not deviate. Trends are for young women that don’t have enough money to invest in quality pieces.
9. Cut back on the leather clothing. Unless you’re in a motorcycle gang, wearing too much leather can seem like you’re trying too hard. Trade your moto jacket for a tailored leather trim blazer instead, much more age appropriate.
10. Abort mission when it comes to sheer or mesh tops. Again dressing overtly sexy is for the young and you’re old.


*Editor’s note: After 30, embrace humor in all forms and wear whatever the fuck you want, when you want!

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Changes

While chatting with some girlfriends over wine, I had an epiphany-which is not uncommon when I get involved with the vino. Somewhere between comparing how often we get bored with our bed sheets (often) and my intermittent lamenting about my current ‘boring hairstyle’, I realized that I’m addicted to change.
This may not sound like a groundbreaking discovery, but in my world, it is.
I’m the first born, I’m a loyal friend, and I’m all about doing things for the long haul. I wasn’t fickle in my 20’s and I married one of my oldest friends. Pretty boring right? But reliable and steadfast I think.
I was totally okay with being this person. However, I didn’t realize that being this way in my personal life (very ride or die ), may have caused me to inadvertently develop an addiction to change in other areas of my life. Especially since changing the role I played in my personal relationships was never something I desired.
For instance, when I was a kid, I love to rearrange my bedroom furniture (much to my parent’s displeasure), but kept the same group of core friends despite their awful Nautica jacket phase circa 1997.
But then I would get an itch to cut my hair every 3 months. I would become so obsessed that I couldn’t wait to make an appointment and would grab the scissors myself.
These days, I never order the same thing on a menu, I like moving and owning a home doesn’t appeal to me. I have been at my job for 3 years and that is the longest I have ever been at one job.
This whole time, I have craved and enjoyed change and I HAD NO IDEA.
So here I go again, on the precipice of change. I‘ve a learned at least one thing the last 3 decades of willing change, and that is knowing when it’s time to refresh and reset.
In the coming weeks and months The Flamingo Chronicles will be going through several changes as I figure out the new and exciting ways I want to express myself. Thank you for being such a wonderful and humbling part of my journey. I can’t wait to deliver fresh and exciting content that inspires and provokes thought.
Stay tuned, change is happening.

Xo
J

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How to effortlessly stand out : A Guide

1. Be yourself, always. Seriously.
2. Wear black and a pop of your current color crush (mine is teal right now).
3. Wear your favorite pieces. Who cares if they aren’t new. They’ve survived your closet edits for a reason. Wear them proudly. Mine are my creme pink sunnies from Forever 21. They fit beautifullly and match with everything. I’ve worn them to death over the past 5 years.
4. Bare face, bright lip! Nothing says effortless, like a bold, confident lip and a fresh face. NYX butter glosses are perfect for an easy lightweight lip. My go-to shade right now is Peach Cobbler.
5. Be different, be you! Instead of buying only trends and popular labels, research smaller designers and visit local markets that feature independent designers and brands. I discovered Min Mon last year at Artist & Fleas in Soho and immediately fell in love with their whimsical and chic approach to leather goods. The crossbody I am wearing by them brings me so much happiness. It’s also quite the conversation piece.

6. Have a signature piece of jewelry. Whether it’s a family heirloom, an artisanal find, or costume jewelry. Find a piece you love and never want to take off- then never take it off. My middle finger ring is a retired piece from Tiffany & Company
7. Wear it like YOU would. Between ads and social media, we are constantly bombarded with images on what things SHOULD look like. I say, if you’re buying it, you should wear it the way you would and not worry what everyone else is doing
8. Again, be yourself, always. It’s the best way to stand out!

XX

J

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Dawn of 2018

Even for the most eager risers, dawn can be a fuzzy time. The dawn of 2018 has been particularly fuzzy time for me. 19 days in and I’m still rubbing my eyes, arms reaching for furniture to hold on to while I wake up.
I can’t decide whether I want to run a mile or eat my weight in pita chips. I have been wearing variations of the same outfit for weeks because it’s been so bloody cold in NYC. To say I’m entering 2018 a little wobbly is an understatement and I’ll admit a bit foreign to me.
So instead of getting anxious and worried about the resolutions I’m supposed to be making and the new planner I need to be writing in. I’m just going to get through the beginning of this year by putting my pants on one leg at a time- as if there is any other way.
Speaking of clothing, I’m keeping it simple stupid for this ‘wobbly’ stage. It’s freezing and the holidays left me exhausted. These days I just want a fool proof winter look that is polished and keeps me warm.
My secret:
turtleneck + coat + beret = my winter look

Oh and pants are a part of that too, again it’s freezing here, we can’t go bottomless.
A light colored turtleneck is key, it provides a nice contrast with dark colored outwear, I love my blush one from Uniqlo. Keeping the head warm is also important and you don’t have to keep wearing that skully that once belonged to your ex. Jump on the beret bandwagon, you’ll like it, it’s fun and feminine! Definitely opt for a wool beret, like my Kangol, for optimal warmth. Next, pick a stretchy pant that can comfortably fit a fleece leggings underneath – perhaps your favorite stretch denim. Finally, throw on a tailored wool coat for structure and you are done!

That’s it, that’s my only strategy for 2018 so far -clothing or otherwise. That’s all I got ! I’m starting to acquiesce to the fact that I can wake up to 2018 slowly and maybe even fumble a bit. I don’t have to have it all figured out, no one needs to. It will all fall into place as it should, and as it always has every year prior!

Hope your new year is off to rocking start Birds, thanks for staying with me!
Xx
J

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Dear Sweater Dress

Dear Sweater Dress,

I’ve really waited too long to say this but, I love you.

I remember the early days, back in the fall of 2006, when I first moved to New York. I was so excited to live in a place that actually had a winter and even more thrilled about what that meant for my wardrobe. I bought 18 versions of you. From basic black to stripes, I was a girl obsessed with the effortless warmth and style you offered.

You make me feel like I am swaddled in a giant knit blanket, while allowing me to fool others that I’m stylish (not lazy) when I pair you with tights and an over the knee boot. I can be on trend AND seasonally appropriate while not wearing any pants. You’re the ultimate style hack, a fashion ninja, and lately… my new soulmate.

We’ve already have made some great memories this season, pairing you with a fur vest or under a soft teddy coat. I’m so excited to take you ice skating in Central Park, Christmas parties, and even holiday shopping. Because with you, there is nothing we can’t do. Well that is… err…till Rosè season; but you’re used to being the object of a seasonal romance anyway.

let’s just focus on the present, shall we?

love,

J

Hat: Bailey’s of Hollywood

Sweater Dress: Tobi 

Vest: Old Navy

Boots : DSW

Bag: Kate Spade

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In Between

I have never talked about my body on here. Ever.
I’m not embarrassed to discuss it and I DO think it’s important, however the situation has never presented itself before, till now, so here goes.

I have always been petite with curves, and stayed between sizes 6-8. Shopping for bottoms has always proved to be difficult because I have a small waist, large hips and I’m under 5’3 with long legs. Most things don’t ever fit just right, I need to tailor most of my pants and jeans have always been an issue. My body has changed a bit lately and I wear a lot of size 10’s. Working in retail and apparel for many years, I know how fickle sizing can be, so a size on a tag doesn’t really affect me. I won’t cry in a fitting room over the number on my pants, but I just might if I can’t find something that fits.
My ‘in between’ size or ‘bridge’ sizing is weird. Some designers/brands go up to size 10 (which aren’t always available on the rack) and some consider anything over an 8 plus size.

There’s that word. PLUS SIZE.

Am I plus sized? I don’t really care. I just want some thing that fits, and anything branded as Plus Size EVER fits me. It’s always swimming on me, and I’ll occasionally get a ‘ you don’t belong here ‘ look by the sales person who will say something like “Are you sure this is is your size?”
When I started blogging most clothing brands could care less what size I was (thankfully) when it came time to collaborating, but I wouldn’t have a ton of options in my size, which would discourage me, as I didn’t want to review a brand that didn’t represent my body type.
Then Universal Standard approached me to collaborate.
Their philosophy attracted me, but their aesthetic was the ultimate sell. Edgy, modern silhouettes in a variety of sizes and color ways that don’t hide curves, but accentuate them. I immediately found pieces I loved on their site, and loved them even more when they arrived. The quality and fabric of my items were impressive and I can not say enough about the fit. Not only were my items true to size, they fit like a dream. I felt comfortable and confident in their curved teal cardigan and black ponte pant with zipper detail. The cardigan is purposely over sized, but my sleeves are the appropriate length. SCORE! The pants hug my natural waist and show off my curves while not being incredibly long. HOORAY!

Both items have honestly been on non stop rotation, because I feel great in them.
Universal Standards’ pieces aren’t trying to be flattering versions of fast trends. They just produce well made clothing that fit many different body types, well. It’s that simple. Don’t know why it took so long for a brand to execute this fairly simple concept but I’m just glad they did.
Thanks Universal Standard, for reminding me that being “in between” is not a bad thing.
Check them out here birds, I highly recommend.
XX

J

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Black and White Series Part 3

Look #3 : Love and Lace

I may be a romantic at heart, but when it comes to dressing, I’m a realist. Clean lines, versatile silhouettes and bolder textures are my jam. Leather, chunky knits and faux fur are staples in my closet, especially when the temperature dips. Lace is something I’ve done cautiously, and ruffles have just never happened for me. While others get swept up in the romance of it, I strategically settle for simple black lace details that paired well the edgier pieces I already own. Needless to say, white lace had never even occurred to me. My own wedding dress didnt even have lace, so it was very unlikely that I’d fall for any white lace piece. Or so I thought.

Alas, we should never rule anything out, especially when it comes to matters of the heart. I fell head first in love with this white long sleeved blouse when I first saw it online. My heart skipped a beat as I wondered how it would look on. There was a lot going on, ruffles and thick, white lace flowers… usually not my speed. Will I look like a wedding cake? While I waited for it to arrive, I had fantasized about what I could pair it with it, ( heart racing of course) black skinny jeans or a leather mini… the possibilities seemed endless. It was such a departure from anything I’m typically I attracted to that I did have my doubts.

The day finally came when it arrived, it was even more gorgeous in person. It fit beautifully snug and made me feel so chic. The details made a bold statement with out being over the top. My doubts about it being too frilly or fitting with my personal style were all quieted. I decided to simply style it by pairing it with black high waisted, wide leg trousers and lace up shoe booties. This look was so much simpler than what I envisioned, but it worked so well. I felt pretty, comfortable and kind of Parisian  as I finally let myself fall in love with lace.

Never say never birds,

xx

J

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Black and White Series: Part 2

Black and White looks can make a splash with minimal effort, just add some imagination.

Look 2: Rooftop Pajamas

So the pajama trend is in full force, and my approach is:

Wear pajamas.

I love being comfortable and I happened to have really cute pajamas so I fail to see the point of purchasing pieces that look like pajamas when I can just cleverly style my own. Case in point, my lovely sheer robe from Adore Me, doubles nicely as a kimono/wrap dress  and is so light and comfortable. The black lace sleeve detail paired perefectly with plaid crop trousers creates a head to toe pajama look that is still appropriate for running errands, attending brunch or lounging on a rooftop with your dog. The black and white plaid give the look structure and elevate a trendy look.

You know that feeling when you’re not sure a look is going to work? I get that feeling all the time, a sort  of happy anxiety. I definitely like to experiment with my wardrobe, however when I do … I find that I’ll do a playful silhouette ( like a robe with detailed sleeves) in a neutral color … like black or white. I will actually test out most trends in black or white first, and this blog is proof. From silk joggers to cheeky graphic tees- all b & w. Not sure if a part of me likes to play it safe or keep something about a look timeless, but with this look, my habit worked. I was able to incorporate the pajama trend, classic black and white, and comfort in one effortless look!

I added a pop of color with a mustard head scarf and my adorable pup for a bit of fun!

Keep dressing fun and exciting birds,

xx

J

 

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Black and White Series: Part 1

Look #1 : Audrey goes Punk

Once upon time, TFC started out as a blog about a bird (me)  that stood out in her sub-tropical, pastel colored backdrop (Miami) by wearing – almost exclusively- black and white. Times have changed, as has my location and personal style. Being the contrarian that I am, I now rebel by wearing color in my concrete jungle. It’s my nature to stand out after all. However, my heart beats a bit faster for anything black and white. The simplicity, the timelessness of it- the way it sends a bold message without being loud are all too much to just forget about. This 3 part series is all about making a strong statement with with black and white staples that may already be in your closet.

Audrey Hepburn and rock star edginess are two imperative parts of my style DNA, and have been for a long time. I love the classics: crisp white button downs, big black sunglasses and pearls. Are all indispensable staples in my wardrobe. My other side however, can LIVE in black tulle or lace with chunky chain linked jewelry, and I often do. So what do I do when both sides are calling my name?

Wear it all at once.

These 4 staples helped  achieve this cool look in minutes. Here’s what I did with what I had:

The Button Down: White, Wrinkle Free and $29 bucks at Uniqlo. I wear it for work and play and I probably should have at least 3 for when one gets dirty.

The Tulle Skirt: Black and slightly above the knee, I wear this skirt more than any denim I own. It adds a bad ass element to any top and I feel glamorous in it with out feeling uber girly. It is by far one of my favorite pieces in my wardrobe and it was $20 at Forever 21 like 5 years ago, shop a similar one here.

The Pearls: You may have not guessed that this edgy bird owns a pearl suite ( earrings, strand and bracelet), but she does! I have had it for over a decade and wear it to death. No I’m not the usual, preppy pearl wearing gal, but pairing pearl studs with trendy statement dress  or layering a strand of pearls with chunky costume jewelry never gets old for me. It’s a nod to vintage style and an unexpected classy touch. Pearls ( like diamonds) are the little black dress of a jewelry box and can often be found found at accessible prices (like here) , not mention ANYTHING adorn with pearls is the hottest trend right now, so you may as well adorn yourself with them!

The Sunglasses:  Nothing says “fabulous” quiet like large, black sunglasses. They often make me look like some sort of insect, but I’m okay with that. I own about 30 pairs of sunglasses – #floridagirlprobs – and I wear these the most, because it’s the easiest way to elevate any look.  Rounded, with wide stems are my favorite, these are from Wyeth and are incredible.

 

I’m sure you aren’t surprised to find out that all of the elements of this look are older pieces.  It’s all about creating looks you love with the pieces you love, and most of the pieces happen to be black and white!

Stay tuned for Look #2 very soon,

XX

J

 

 

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