Why Did You Wear That: American Splendor

By |November 17th, 2015|Personal Style, Why Did You Wear That?|

kirsten smith why did blog denim skirtSaturday afternoons during the fall in Manhattan often involve something some lovingly refer to as and others scoff at called “brunch.”  This past Saturday presented me with an especially relevant reason to partake in daylight libations because my oldest (not in age, but in duration) friend was in town for work.  Upon his arrival, we wandered down the street without an actual location in mind– this is an analogy for my life.  Stopping in front of a restaurant to inspect the menu, deeming it acceptable, and ordering a bottle of rosé as soon as our seats touched the chairs (I refuse to believe it’s out of season), we were off to a running start.  I thought myself clever asking for a turkey burger sans bun only to later find out that many restaurants use bread crumbs as a binder in their patties, canceling out all of my gluten free intentions.  We met up with a few friends at a neighborhood watering hole a few blocks down and much to my chagrin, said establishment was out of rosé, so Sancerre it was.  Typically dead on a Saturday afternoon before the evening rush of anyone but locals, the bartenders thanked us for making them laugh and keeping things “interesting.”  As we parted ways with one group of friends, we met up with another at a cash only joint that can almost lead you to believe you’ve been transported from the West Village to Southwest Detroit, almost- the plaid shirts and Patagonia vests are dead giveaways as to your geolocation.

At this point, I was fading fast and knew that the only last glint of hope for me was to order pizza (since I’d already fallen from the gluten wagon).  A few people are privy to the fact that in most instances of ordering pizza, I’ve fallen asleep before it’s been delivered.  Basically, I pay my doormen’s holiday bonuses in literal dough.  But alas, I was still standing when it was time to tip the delivery boy.  Unfortunately, even a Pandora dance party and pepperoni slice could not save my sad, sloshed soul.  I waved my friends on without me- okay, I fell asleep with my arm in the air- and called it a night, all before 9pm.

I sat straight up in bed around 1:30am and realized that I had slept the entire night away and wondered where my friends had ventured off to and whether I should gather bail money now or later.  I didn’t have to wonder for too long before my best pal was haphazardly trying his luck with the key to my door and Smitty all but lost it at the prospect of an intruder.  I rescued him from himself and he stumbled in to tell me what I’d missed (hint: not much).  After a chat session worthy of a highschool sleepover, and a critical dissection of our relationships, he passed out snoring on my couch and I found myself wide awake on Saturday night at 4am watching American Splendor.

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whydid kirsten smith denim skirttop: American Eagle, skirt: American Apparel, sweater: Henri Bendel, shoes: Steve Madden, bag: Chanel, dog: Smitty

Photos by Richard Smith

Why Did You Wear That: American Girl in Paris, La Dernier Chapitre

By |March 2nd, 2015|Personal Style, Why Did You Wear That?|

kirsten smith blog why didIf you’ve been keeping up with my Parisian escapades (parts deux et trois), you’re probably wondering what became of this romantic journey.  Well, unlike most fairytales, this story didn’t have the happy ending that little girls dream of (or massage parlors promise).  However, it did have the life lessons that grow sweet little girls into strong wise women.  In short, what some might have chocked up to be a trip from hell, I was able to extract some very, very important universal truths.  I didn’t fall in love with a handsome French man.  I didn’t buy the perfect vintage coat in Le Marais.  I didn’t even see the top of the Eiffel Tower though it was quite literally a baguette’s distance away.

People then ask, “Well, what did you do?” and I can’t really answer that.  There was no Mona Lisa at the Louvre, I never ate escargot.  I didn’t lock away my love on the Pont des Arts.  I did have lunch at Colette, drank champagne while chatting up a couple of artists at Cafe de Flore, and took a spin on La Grande Roue de Paris.  I made new friends, I reconnected with some I had lost touch with.  Most importantly, I was smacked in the face with my own little life lesson: if you don’t take the wheel, someone else most certainly will.

When you board a bullet train, keep in mind it can be derailed just as quickly as it can get you to your destination.  My friend arrived on the morning of my birthday.  We started the day off without sleeping and a bottle of champagne (champagne tastes better on an empty stomach).  By the end of the day, we had a cute French boy singing “Happy Birthday” (Joyeux Anniversaire) with his guitar and buying me a birthday card from a pharmacie with an age on it that might not be my own.  The evening included dinner at L’Avenue (which we lucked into as we hadn’t made an earlier reservation and Paris was still empty) and cocktails (read: more champagne) at Le Bar du Plaza Athénée.  There was no cake, there was no singing and this was the beginning and prologue to a very long week.

To fit all that occurred into one or two more paragraphs would not do the journey justice and ironically, some parts of my personal life should probably stay private.  A few notable moments did include spontaneously regaining a grasp of my French, learning that you can bring your dog just about anywhere (including the grocery store), champagne showers at couture week after parties at Hotel Costes, and actually losing weight while eating bread.  By the end of the week, I was exhausted both physically and emotionally.  The universe did me a solid by canceling my flight home due to Juno (sorry, New York) allowing me a few more days in Paris on my own.  While the only physical souvenirs I arrived home with were some French books from the airport and sweets to share with friends at home, the real gifts were the lessons I learned about myself.  (And Hemingway was right).

I didn’t go to Paris with someone I love as I’d always imagined, but there are some mornings I find myself longing to awake in the golden morning light of that magical city.

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why did kirsten smith blog parisRomper: Cameo the Label Man Down Romper, Tights: Emilio Cavallini, Shoes: Sam Edelman, Bag: Malini Murjani, similar by Salvatore Ferragamo here, Lips: Makeup Forever Rouge Artist Natural in No. 50 Aubergine

Why Did You Wear That: An American Girl in Paris, Part Trois

By |February 18th, 2015|Personal Style, Why Did You Wear That?|

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Right before I left for Paris, one of my favorite clients (I moonlight as a social media and branding consultant) read my chart for me.  I had never had someone read my chart and finding out what time I was actually born from my parents was harder to find out than unearthing my ex boyfriend’s grandmother’s maiden name.  As she informed me that I couldn’t be more of an Aquarian if I sold all my belongings and moved to an ashram, she also mentioned something that I’d heard a time or two before in horoscopes for my sign.  She told me that the man for me would be foreign or that I would most certainly meet him while traveling.  She also mentioned he’d be a little older and then she suggested something I’d never heard– he, too, should be an Aquarian, because as I’ve experienced, very few men can even begin to understand me and it might take meeting someone just as free spirited and strange to fully appreciate all of my quirks.  I still figured all signs pointed to Lenny Kravitz and carried on with overpacking and planning for Paris.

As I walked home with my Parisian pal, he questioned why I had opted for a slicked back bun, barely a trace of makeup, and a somewhat buttoned up look.  I explained to him that getting gussied up was the easy way out.  Almost any woman can pour herself into a tight dress and push up bra, layer on liquid eyeliner and hide beneath a bonnet of big hair.  As a matter of fact, that used to be my go to going out attire.  Eventually, I realized that this look attracted a certain type of attention and many of the men who I had attracted were totally confused when they realized that I was a lot more of a challenge than removing a bandage dress.  My friend digested this statement for a moment and then nodded in understanding.  If I’m being completely honest, a little bit of my appearance was due to jet lag, dirty hair, and an uncertainty as to what was appropriate attire for a Monday night in Paris.

After crossing the Seine and strolling down the Avenue de la Bourdannais, he swore we’d get into a bit more trouble before he had to fly back to New York for another job on Thursday.  My girlfriend would be arriving very early the next morning and I wanted to be well rested to greet her, though I would have liked nothing more than to linger in the moonlight and golden glow of le Tour Eiffel.  Right before the sweetest kiss goodnight, he informed me his own birthday was only a few days away.

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dress: Kimchi Blue Bethany Linen Apron Dress, tights: similar by Falke here, boots: Pour la Victoire, similar by Proenza Schouler here, bag: borrowed, similar by Whiting and Davis here, lipstick: Makeup Forever Rouge Artist Natural in No. 50 Aubergine

Why Did You Wear That: American Girl in Paris, Part Deux

By |February 5th, 2015|Personal Style, Why Did You Wear That?|

kirsten smith paris why did blogErnest Hemingway, my sometimes emotional doppelganger, has been quoted as saying, “Never go on trips with anyone you do not love.”  Well, this is lesson one in WhyDid’s Guide to Paris.  Years ago, when I was dating my first boyfriend in New York and first real love as an adult, he took me away for my birthday to Puerto Vallarta.  I was nervous, but excited because while it’s one thing to spend time together over fancy dinners and attend occasional sleepovers at each others’ apartments, it’s another thing entirely to be bound to one another in a foreign country.  While there were some mishaps along the way, a meltdown over a missing watch, a diverted flight leading to a night spent exploring Mexico City, the experience was an overall positive one– thanks in large part to my easy going nature, and ability to keep calm in a “crisis.”  He deemed me the ultimate travel companion (I’d nominate Smitty) and from then on, I’ve had similar experiences… except for that one trip a couple of summers ago…

While being “go with the flow” has its obvious benefits, in a city like Paris, it is important to come in with a game plan or else you’ll find yourself still in the apartment past noon and wondering where all the time went by the end of the week.  Upon arriving in Paris, people spoke to me in French, which I’ll take as a compliment, until the look of disgust appeared upon their faces as I butchered the phrase, “Anglais, s’il vous plait,” while sipping my champagne and batting my lashes.  Madame Cook, my highschool French teacher is somewhere mortified.  Most people in Paris do speak English, but if you even attempt to call and make a reservation at one of the upwardly trendy restaurants, they will without fail respond with, “Booked.”  We found it easier to show up and luck our way into a table, but I can’t guarantee that would work everywhere or for everyone.  When attempting to tell someone the address of your destination, just show them on your phone because they will pretend they have no idea what you are saying.

In any case, during my first days wherein I was alone because I couldn’t be bothered booking a flight that wasn’t direct, I wandered the streets of the 7th arrondisment, where we were staying, and as luck would have it, a Parisian friend from New York, happened to be on his way to the city of light as well.  He picked me up one evening and we went to the Park Hyatt, which is allegedly a celebrity favorite, for a drink and to catch up.  He was surprised to see the place so empty, and when another friend of his, a model, of course, who lives full time in Paris arrived, she informed us that it had been quite quiet following the Charlie Hedbo incident.  She also added that it was unusually cold for Paris.

After people watching for a while, we decided to liven things up by heading to Hotel Costes.  Known for being a place to be seen and to bump into the beautiful people, we were surprised to find the soundtrack that evening being provided by crickets.  In hopes that it was just still a little bit early, we camped out in a corner table and had another cocktail.  Things never really picked up and true to form, I fell asleep sitting up, which I blamed on jetlag, but anyone close to me knows this is a rather common occurrence.  After toasting to my birthday, it was after midnight in Paris afterall, we decided to fold and my friend walked me home and that’s when the real adventure began.

kirsten smith why did blog

kirsten smith whydid blog

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paris street style fashion blog

paris kirsten smith why did blogsweater: UNIF Lisa Funnel Neck Sweater, jeans: 7 for All Mankind, shoes: Adidas Originals Stan Smith, bag: Balenciaga Classic Velo, sunglasses: Chloé, coat: Andrew Marc

Why Did You Wear That: American Girl

By |January 25th, 2015|Personal Style, Why Did You Wear That?|

leopard coat and jeansWhen I was little, American Girls were introduced.  As luck would have it, one of these dolls was named Kirsten.  There was no way on Earth my mother thought I should go one single day without having a Kirsten doll of my own.  Eventually, she got a best friend named Samantha.  Having spent the past week in Paris (much more on that later), I’ve learned quite a bit about what French men (and women) think about American girls.  While I didn’t stand out like a sore thumb with a money belt and massive camera, once I spoke English, the French were very intrigued to ask us about our President and who we thought would be the next.  (Their guess is Hillary Clinton).  The style here is much like New York, except they aren’t afraid of a full length fur and even those dressed down have a bit more polish and panache than their American counter parts.  While I blended in nicely, I do suppose wearing the outfit in this post would have been a dead giveaway of American descent.

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coat: vintage, similar by Rag & Bone here, shirt: Scotch and Soda, jeans: 7 for All Mankind, shoes: Pour la Victoire, bag: Louis Vuitton, belt: vintage: similar by B-Low the Belt here, bracelet: , lipstick: Clinique




Photos by Michael Stiegler