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

paris vespa fashion street style

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.

kirsten smith leopard coat

how to wear double denim

denim on denim leopard jacket

jeans and denim shirt

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

Why Did You Wear That: Hot Lips

By |March 27th, 2014|Personal Style, Why Did You Wear That?|

kirsten smith jeremy pennWith one of spring’s hottest trends being a nod to art inspired style, living in a city with not only limited wall space, but also limited funding for original artwork can be downright depressing- especially for those of us with pensions for more than basic black and white Ikea prints.  So, when New York based modern artist, Jeremy Penn, was generous enough to send one of his Hot Lips tanks (recently featured in InTouch), I was not only flattered, but floored.  Sure it’s “spring” here in the city, but it’s still too soon to bare it all in this soft and slouchy tank and since I really couldn’t be bothered to wait to wear it, I warmed it up with patterned denim, a light spring jacket, and colored suede booties- a look perfect for navigating the tourist infested cobblestone streets that I call home.

kirsten smith new york

kirsten smith

kirsten smith jeremy penn

kirsten smithkirsten smith whydidjacket: Diane von Furstenberg, tank: Jeremy Penn (available here- a portion of proceeds go to the Global Fund for Women), pants: 7 For All Mankind, boots: Pour La Victoire, bag: vintage





photos by Brian Schutza

Why Did You Wear That: From the Top

By |January 29th, 2014|Personal Style, Why Did You Wear That?|

crop top day and nightDue to my computer’s inability to function last week, I was unable to finish my three part series documenting how a crop top and pencil skirt could be reincarnated quite easily.  Not that last week was any warmer, but the fact that my face froze off  yesterday afternoon as I ran errands, it seems a little odd to be posting about crop tops.  Especially since the inclement weather has prevented me from prancing ’round town in one, but if Jenn keeps it up, I’m gonna have no choice but to walk around topless… and potentially pantless.

So, how can one dress down a sequined top that is cropped?  Pair it with destroyed denim, motorcycle boots, and a tough leather jacket to look more downtown than bridge and tunnel post Bagatelle brunch.  It’s just that simple.
kirsten smith

kirsten smith crop top11

kirsten smith

kirsten smithtop: Express, jeans: 7 For All Mankind, boots: Frye, jacket: Andrew Marc, bag: Balenciaga, dog: Smitty

I will have another mimosa though.



Why Did You Wear That: Post Traumatic Stress, or Lack Thereof

By |December 5th, 2013|Personal Style, Why Did You Wear That?|

Kirsten SmithSpeaking of evolution, it’s amazing what a difference a year can make.  Cliché?  Yes.  True?  Also yes.  After having scraped myself from my father’s couch and moving back to New York last year, I was ready to put my shattered life back together piece by painful piece.  I had moved back to my old neighborhood (literally across the street from my old apartment), reconnected with my New York friends who hadn’t fled the city for life in suburban wedded bliss, and put my feelers out for new career opportunities and love interests- though only half heartedly on the latter.

I hadn’t been back to California since leaving that last time.  I mean, it’s a long flight, plus I wasn’t sure how I’d feel  about being back there.  However, my dad was long overdue for a visit and the way the weather was looking on the east coast, I was happy to suffer through a five hour flight for a stint in the sunshine.  Upon landing in LA, I immediately felt a bittersweet nostalgia.  Driving through familiar streets in Silicon Valley, I felt eery familiarity and the memories of my past came creeping back.

Kirsten SmithFortunately, I have a friend who is the kind of friend everyone should wish for.  She’s the “ride or die” type and the moment she got my sobbing phone call that I would be moving out of the home I shared with my ex, she was quite literally on a plane to come and help with the heavy lifting and to lift my heavy heart.  Her name is Katie and you may remember her.  Upon arriving at said residence, my ex had been so “kind” as to have already packed all of my belongings (well, everything he didn’t try and pilfer) and arrange them conveniently at the front door.  Talk about adding insult to injury.  But on the brightside, this gave us more time to spend together chatting rather than packing.  Katie having never done so, we hopped in her rental and took a ride down the PCH.  Remembering a must see recommendation from a pal Katie had made on the plane (she’s always making friends), we stopped somewhere along Big Sur at a place called Post Ranch Inn where we dined while taking in the views at Sierra Mar.  The views are quite literally breathtaking and those with acrophobia may want to refrain from venturing out onto the balconies.  I was so happy to be in such beautiful surroundings with my beautiful friend, but halfway through my second glass of prosecco, I broke down into tears.

kirsten smith

kirsten smithI wanted to share this place with people who love me unconditionally and make new memories that were joyful not jaded.  My middle brother, Andy and my dad are two men I know I can always count on besides Smitty and I wanted to take them somewhere I loved.  We hopped in Dick’s tiny sportscar (I generously relinquished shotgun and crammed myself into the backseat) and off we went down the windy PCH on our way back to Post Ranch Inn, stopping intermittently to snap photos at scenic overlooks.  Ironically enough, we were seated at the exact same table where Katie and I sat the year before.  This year, however, I didn’t cry into my garden green salad.  I guess that’s the thing about bad memories, sometimes you just have to face them, make new ones, and move on.

kirsten smith

kirsten smithtop: Free People (similar-and on sale-here), bralette: Victoria’s Secret, pants: 7 for All Mankind, boots: All Saints (similar here), bag: Balenciaga, jacket: Andrew Marc

Don’t worry, I didn’t jump.



photographs by Andrew Smith (my middle big brother- who you should also follow on Instagram)