BROOKLYN IN THE HOUSE! So my dear followers, must you know; I am always in search of new ideas and concepts when it comes to the fashion editorials for The Style Watch series. As mentioned before, I always try to think outside of the box and to make sure that I, as a fashion blogger, can tap and widen my creative aspect and vision. For some odd reason (which happens from time to time), I was running out of good ideas until it hit me; I haven't even done any type of feature about Brooklyn yet!
When people think of New York or New York City in general, they only think of Manhattan as it is usually the ones depicted in the movies. However, if you have not been in New York City at all, you must know that besides Manhattan, there are four other surrounding boroughs: Queens, The Bronx, Staten Island and this month's feature: my second home; Brooklyn. Brooklyn is not only the most populous county in the state but also the second-most densely populated county in the United States. I can still remember the old "Brooklyn" back in the days and how it has tremendously changed and became the hip, urban county that it is now and how urbanization really paved a way to this thriving borough. I can definitely say that my fashion sense is a mix of the classic Parisian chic from my French roots and the edgy street wear sense that I was accustomed to spending half of my life in Brooklyn when our family moved to The United States.
I am really excited to showcase and highlight the best, finest and iconic neighborhoods in Brooklyn and how these neighborhoods can have a certain appeal and influence on its residents' and their sense of fashion. This series will showcase four neighborhoods in the borough so do not forget to click on each picture as you can see more details of the outfits and accessories that were carefully curated for the pleasure of your eyes. Brooklyn, thank you for raising me and accepting me when I first laid my foot in Uncle Sam's country, this is my homage to you-- you one of a hella' fine borough you!
Bushwick is a working-class neighborhood in the northern part of Brooklyn. The neighborhood was once an independent town and has undergone various territorial changes throughout its history. Although, I have not spent a lot of time in this side of town, its revitalization in the last decade or so has attracted a lot of young professionals and artists to move in this part of the borough due to its proximity to Manhattan and a more affordable housing options. The first time I came to this neighborhood was early December of last year to watch Company XIV's cabaret show; The Nutcracker Rouge. Not only I have noticed that is has became a mecca of street art in Brooklyn but it has became more visible throughout the years due to its flourishing artist community. The pictures showcasing to what is known as The Bushwick Collective are street arts and graffiti of different local artists' works in galleries, private spaces and streets in the neighborhood.
I chose and selected pieces for this outfit as I wanted it to be in the color hues of black, white and gray but still be on the edgier side. I bought this black and white jersey that has a print of Brooklyn on it and layered it underneath with a mesh semi-turtleneck top and I really wanted to wear this black cargo pants that has a lot of harness on it which gives off that " I don't care" attitude. The accessories also play a vital role in making this outfit stand out: with the wide rim fedora hat, faux fur jacket and sporty-looking pair of booties and a graphic bag and top it off with a mouth mask gave off that graffiti street artist vibe of Bushwick.
CONEY ISLAND CONFECTIONER
Oh how I just lit up when I saw this vibrant color combination! It felt like a cotton candy with a milkshake sprinkled with rainbow-colored toppings! Wait... it sort of sounds like a theme park snack right? Well it is, because I am taking you to Luna Park in Coney Island Beach in Brooklyn. Coney Island is a residential and commercial neighborhood and entertainment area, located on a peninsula in the southwestern part of the borough. Its neighboring communities include Manhattan Beach and Brighton Beach (which was predominantly Russian Jews at that time) was where I grew up, moved around and spent most of my teen years in Brooklyn. I can recall the times when we cannot wait for Luna Park and for The New York Aquarium to open up during spring season. Flocks of local residents and tourists from all over come to visit this area especially during summertime where it is a practical family affair to visit the amusement park and a day at the beach. While its fame has decreased over the years, restoration efforts and project redevelopment of this area has allowed Luna Park and Coney Island to remain as an iconic landmark.
I bought this colorful, pleated "pop art" skirt last month not knowing that it will be of a good use sooner than later! The skirt was my focal point as it is already printed and really meshed well with Luna Park's color scheme. I matched the skirt and did color blocking by adding solid colored pieces: a coral knitted jumper, a fuschia overcoat cropped blazer and a matching fuschia faux-fur coat and ear muffs. Last but not the least, I wanted to have a casual vibe and paired it up with a gold-accent sneakers and an uber cute handbag that was given to me by my cousin Jenna a couple of years back in Paris that just really matched and complimented the skirt... and with that, you can say that WOW is an understatement!
CROWN HEIGHTS JEWEL
Crown Heights is a neighborhood in Brooklyn which is known as the home of The Chabad. Also known as The Lubavitch which is an Orthodox Jewish Hasidic movement. Chabad is one of the world's best-known Hasidic movements, particularly for its outreach activities. It is one of the largest Hasidic groups and Jewish religious organizations in the world. Crown Heights became the center of the movement in 1940 during the outbreak of World War II that led to the sixth Rebbe (Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak) to move to the United States. In 1951, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson became the seventh Chabad Rebbe. He transformed the movement into one of the most widespread Jewish movements in the world under his leadership and up until today, even with his passing, The Chabad continues to thrive and grow even if Crown Heights has undergone a lot of urban renewal and gentrification resulting to a diverse community that it is at present. Crown Heights also boasts itself to some of the unique kosher restaurants, supermarkets and groceries that any foodie or any traveler with an adventurous taste and curious palette will surely love. As a modern orthodox Jewish woman, I was very happy to be able to showcase this neighborhood and be in touch with my Jewish roots.
In Judaism, there is a group of Jewish laws called Tzniut or Tznius (in Yiddish). These set of laws describes both the character trait of modesty and discretion, as well as laws pertaining to conduct. In modern times, the term has become more frequently used with regard to the rules of dress for women within Judaism. The concept is most important within Orthodox Judaism. So when people who are non-Jews ask me about the specific look or dress code that Jewish women wear, I try to explain that the principal guiding point of Tzniut in regard to dress is that a Jew should not dress in a way that attracts undue attention (or overexposure of skin that could also lead to unwanted attention). As a fashion blogger, as much as I always try to experiment on different looks, I find beauty in simplicity and modesty. It does not mean that you have to dress poorly but there is a truth to the saying that "Less is more". Similarly, it goes for the same concept of Parisian Chic; by dressing elegantly and classy. For this outfit, I wanted to go for the LBD (long black dress) but made sure that my accessories will speak and accentuate the whole modest, simple yet elegant look. I paired the black dress with a black beret and accessorized it with a mixture of patent leather and pearls (from the bag, shoes, the gloves and brooch). Lastly, I had to top it with my Siddur (a Jewish prayer book, containing a set order of daily prayers) to showcase how much of a good Jewish girl I really am. (And I will stick to that truthful statement).
No, you won't see cute, flying elephants in this neighborhood even if I wished I could...but does anybody ever thought why this Brooklyn neighborhood is called DUMBO? Well, if you do not know, it is an abbreviation for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass. The area was originally a ferry landing, characterized by 19th- and early 20th-century industrial and warehouse buildings, Belgian block streets, and its location on the East River by the imposing anchorage of the Manhattan Bridge. Fast forward to present time, this trendy neighborhood's cobblestone streets and converted Brooklyn warehouse buildings are the backdrop for independent boutiques, high-end restaurants and trendy cafes that has been a tourist spot for tourists and locals alike. Near the waterfront, St. Ann's Warehouse, in a former tobacco factory, is the heart of a thriving performance and gallery scene. The north end of Brooklyn Bridge Park features historic Jane’s Carousel as well as picturesque views of the Manhattan skyline. You can literally see the flock of people on this famous backdrop (on the last picture) where everyone wants a piece of that "picture-perfect" Instagram post! I had to say I was strategic and lucky enough to get a good shot without hogging the moment from everyone else.
For this outfit, I wanted to play and focus on this faux fur star-printed jacket I got from Cat and Jack. Yes, I admit that it is a children's brand that carries up to sizes 14-16 y/o which fits me from time to time. And yes, I got lucky this time that this jacket was fitted but not too small enough and I had to purchase it. Color schemes are gray, white and pink which is a good color combination as the pink serves as a pop of color within the monochromatic colors of gray and white. I paired the jacket with a tunic printed top that actually says MERCI BIEN (which means thanks a lot in French) which is sort of my way to giving thanks to Brooklyn as it has been a second home to me for many years and layered it with a silver-sequin bomber jacket I received from my sister for Hanukkah last year. I then paired the clothes with a gray leggings and then finished it off with a white pair of boots to give this streetwear an elevated look (as I was debating either pairing it with a white sneakers instead). Last but not the least, a pink beret to keep my hair in place as it was really windy when we were shooting and to keep it whimsical and in tune with the stars on the jacket, I had to use my plush unicorn handbag...which you guessed it right, from the children's section as well. I am not opposed and I think that it is fun to feel young at heart and dressing young as long as it goes with the whole attire.
I hope that you learned some historical information on each neighborhood of my beloved Brooklyn. New York City, its boroughs and its different neighborhoods have a lot to offer and I am pretty sure that anyone can find something that will be appealing and attractive to their tastes and interests. I wanted to give a huge shout out to my niece, Lauren for taking all these lovely and amazing pictures and my assistant during the 3-day shoot, my nephew; Angelo. You kids totally rock and I am proud of you!
So to end this my dear readers, if you have a chance to visit NYC, do not forget to visit my side of town, Brooklyn. You never know if you will just fall in love with it like I did! And as I always say, no matter what your outfit is, confidence is your best accessory. Until then!