Where I Shop, Why I Shop, How I Shop

My Instagram followers have been asking me about where I shop, so here I am, breaking it all down for you guys.

First of all, I think that we (the general consumer culture) shop too much. Fast fashion stores like Zara, Primark, and H&M have created a culture of the “Friday night outfit.” This is when you go shopping for an inexpensive dress so that you have something new to wear for a party, but then you never wear it again, it falls apart, or you replace it with another one the next week.

This isn’t how I shop, though. I prefer quality over quantity and outfit repeating isn’t social suicide, it’s my normal. When I shop, I invest, therefore I only make purchases about once a month. I’d rather have a small wardrobe of reliable and timeless pieces than a large wardrobe of poorly made, trendy clothes.

So here’s where I shop:

I work at Rue La La and Gilt, which are off-price designer retailers. This is where I can get some of my favorite designer items at discounted prices. It takes a lot of hunting because these sites change their inventory multiple times a day, but it’s so worth it when you find what you want for less money.

Sweater & shoes from Allsaints; vintage Lee Jeans from L Train Vintage; belt bag from & Other Stories

If I’m looking for a pair of shoes, my go-to is Gucci and All Saints. They have the most reliable and beautiful leather goods and incredibly comfortable shoes. My black Gucci Brixton loafers and Princetown slippers are some of the best investments I’ve ever made. Also, I’ve bought the same pair of combat boots from All Saints twice because of how much I loved them.

I also love All Saints for dresses and sweaters. Their quality of clothing is great and their designs are edgy and sexy.

Reformation dress

If you look at my Instagram you will see that a large portion of my wardrobe is from Reformation. Ref is a California-based environmentally-friendly, ethical clothing manufacturer. Everything they create has just the right balance of sex appeal and timeless style (think: silk dresses with high slits, or sun dresses with open backs). I love how I can buy a plain, modest LBD from them but just how the dress falls and moves on the body, I will immediately feel confident.

Lastly, since Natacha Ramsay-Levi became the creative director of Chloé a year ago, I’ve been obsessed with their inventory and splurged on a pair of white Rylee boots. The quality of Chloé is divine and the style is a perfect mix of Parisian-meets-Western-meets Cate Blanchett from Ocean’s 8. It’s a very empowering look.

When I’m searching for my next purchase, I like to scroll through Moda Operandi, Net-a-Porter, and Man Repeller for inspiration. Otherwise, I just head to a thrift store.

If you have any more questions for me feel free to comment below or message me on Instagram @miazarrella.

Examining the “I Really Don’t Care Do U?” Jacket Fiasco

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SOURCE: Andrew Harnik/AP/REX/Shutterstock

I’ve written about FLOTUS Melania Trump’s attire before. The first time was her powder blue Ralph Lauren Inauguration suit. Everything from the choice of an American designer to her Jackie Kennedy-inspired aesthetic demonstrated that Melania was trying to convey the image of American royalty (an image Jack & Jackie had accomplished). It was strategic, as many of her outfits have been. She wore Ralph Lauren that day because she recognized the importance of wearing an American designer as she and her husband were sworn in as the leading family of the free world. It was incredibly calculated.

That’s why I struggle to believe that the jacket she wore to the Upbring New Hope Children’s Shelter, a Texas detention center for undocumented minors, doesn’t mean anything.

At least that’s what her spokesperson Stephanie Grisham claims. When Melania boarded her plane to Texas she was photographed in a $39 spring/summer 2016 collection Zara jacket emblazoned with the saying: ‘I really don’t care, do u?”, and the public was outraged.

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Click to view on Twitter.

According to Bustle, “Grisham denies that there was any message behind FLOTUS’ jacket in an email to Bustle, writing, ‘It’s just a jacket. There was no hidden message. After today’s important visit to Texas, I hope the media isn’t going to choose to focus on her wardrobe. (Much like her high heels last year.)'”

Oh, Stephanie, there is a message, though. According to The Washington Post, at least 2,300 children have been displaced and separated from their parents since the Administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy- a policy which President Trump later changed his mind about as nonchalantly as one changes their mind about ordering a soup instead of a salad. Therefore the message we are getting from your jacket is that you simply don’t care about the traumatized children you’re visiting. It’s not “hidden,” it’s blatant.

Fashion DOES mean something which is why politicians have been using style for years to subliminally communicate with the world. Do we have to mention Hillary Clinton’s power suits and strategic use of the color white, a hue associated with the suffragette movement and purity? Or what about Barack Obama’s dad jeans that proved he was “one of us”? Or what about Michelle Obama’s affinity for J. Crew that showed she didn’t need expensive labels? Oh, oh! And let’s not forget how Meghan Markle’s wedding veil featured hand-sewn tributes to all 53 countries in the Commonwealth.

Clothing is a way to speak without using our voices. In this digital age, a photo really does speak a thousand words, so we can’t afford to make reckless outfit decisions. In our FLOTUS’ case, her jacket spoke volumes. It said, “I don’t care about these traumatized families.” Yet, we could argue it actually says, “I don’t care enough to think.”

Maybe the FLOTUS didn’t take a second to think about her outfit decision on this important day, but that would be dumbfounding. This event follows her visit to Houston after Hurricane Harvey destroyed a nearby city. That day she was scrutinized and attacked by the public for wearing stilettos to the site. (She later changed into white tennis shoes, but the public frenzy had already broken out.) So it baffles me to assume she just “didn’t think” about the green parka’s message. After all, she did wear sneakers on this Border visit, so she learned something from past mistakes.

Perhaps our FLOTUS thought wearing an outdated jacket from a fast fashion company would make her relatable (like Michelle). Perhaps she thought it was practical for the day and would go along well with her Stan Smiths, which she remembered to wear this time. Perhaps she thought it was appropriate because it was casual. And even though she put all of this thought into those gritty details, she didn’t take the time to read the fine print. Literally. And that’s what has us all shocked.

It must be difficult having to pretend to care all the time.

Side note: I don’t believe, as the President has tweeted, that this is a message to the “Fake News Media,” nor do I believe the conspiracy theory that her jacket is a middle-finger to her husband.

My Street Style Interview with Boston Magazine

Tap here to read the article onsite.

(Or just skim this screen-grab.)

Photos by: Diana Levine

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My Aesthetic Conundrum


Click here to view on Instagram

I captioned this photo “Italian Vogue circa 1959” because A.) I thought it was funny and B.) I had (rather unintentionally) styled myself in vintage-inspired pieces. The result: This 1950s-era European swim look. From the checkered tin lunchbox (which is a TJ Maxx purchase by the way!) to the straw hat and one-piece, I had transformed into a new retro Mia, as opposed to my usual modern grunge look.

Something I’ve always grappled with is the idea of looking like a certain aesthetic. I used to get embarrassed if a label was attached to me. In high school and college, I was oh-so creatively called “biker chick” and “Grease lightning” because I wore a leather jacket. I used to think people thought I was pretending to be somebody else, which has never been the case. Yet, that’s not to say that I didn’t draw style inspiration from models and movies during my formative years.

In this age of personal branding, I thought it was important to have one clear-cut aesthetic. Some influencers are Parisian chic, while others are goth, and they hardly dabble outside of those style genres. I no longer believe that that is how it has to be. I now have a new perspective on embodying different aesthetics and personas in my wardrobe choices.

I believe that fashion (and style) is derivative, so all designers and fashion icons are influenced by preexisting or historic styles and designs. So, why can’t I be? I’m finally letting myself delve into different style tribes from punk and Parisian to retro and minimalist, as long as my persona and individual style is still there at the core.

So go ahead, call me Sandy.

Style Breakdown:

The swim suit is a one piece with a lovely cutout from Reformation. I bought this straw hat from a street vendor on Long Beach Island, but TJ Maxx has an almost identical version right now. And the shoes are White Mountain espadrilles that feel like sneakers (seriously, I once walked 9 miles in them while on holiday).


Channeling Waterfalls at Chanel

Exploring the waterfall motif at the Chanel Spring/Summer 2018 Ready-to-Wear Show

By Mia Zarrella

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Photo Credit: Chanel.com

At Chanel’s Spring/Summer 2018 Ready-to-Wear show, attendees entered the Grand Palais in Paris and found themselves at the Gorges du Verdon in France. It was difficult to believe that the floor-to-ceiling waterfall flowing behind a winding bridge surrounded by serene greenery was just a set.

As the first model stepped onto the catwalk, 16-year-old  Kaia Gerber, daughter of American supermodel Cindy Crawford, the show’s theme became clear, quite literally.

The models were dressed in transparent plastic knee-high boots, plastic hoods and hats, and long plastic gloves. Other models wore swimsuits and billowing blue and white dresses with designs reminiscent of clouds, blue skies, and waterfalls. Even the classic Chanel two-piece knit suits were elegantly fringed and embellished with glittering threads to mimic the glimmer of cascading water.

Despite the graceful designs, models resembled unhappy, rebellious debutantes on their way to have afternoon tea with Grandma. Their heavy blue eyeshadow and black eyeliner resembled war paint and their expressions were fierce and pouty.




It was extravagant, yes. Is this new for Lagerfeld? No. Last season’s Space Odyssey show showcased models in metallic garments. The season before that, models strutted through what looked like a mainframe computer wearing Stormtrooper-meets-Daft Punk helmets. So, extravagance is expected with Lagerfeld. Yet, the intention behind his shows is up for interpretation.  

In a Vogue US interview, Lagerfeld said, “I don’t make explanations of what I design. I am not a philosopher who leaves notes on seats. You watch; you can see what you want.”

This runway was more than just an ode to waterfalls. Presented just after Hurricane Maria and Hurricane Irma’s devastating effects on Puerto Rico and Florida, this collection celebrated both the beauty of water and its ferocity.  

The models’ dramatic, war-painted eyes, the glaring stares, and borderline snarls, were daunting too.  Wearing the dreamiest of dresses and lightest of pastels, models stood strong, and glared into the camera, as if to say: “Don’t mess with me.”

In a Fashion Network article, Lagerfeld is quoted saying, “There is no life in the world without water.”

Climate change is becoming an increasingly discussed topic, as well as an increasingly vital threat. In order to keep the world inhabitable long enough for our children, our children’s children, and so on, there needs to first be a greater appreciation for nature. The child model in this runway show reminds us of who will be living with the messes that today’s adult generation leaves behind.  

Perhaps those “Don’t mess with me” looks translate as “Don’t mess with nature.”


A Demonstration of Britishness at Burberry



By Mia Zarrella

England’s most iconic brand is provoking Brits to take a deeper look at their capital’s culture. Inside the Old Sessions House at 7 p.m. on September 16, Burberry’s Autumn/Winter ‘17 collection was a far cry from the billowing Victorian ruffled blouses and tassled blazers from last year’s A/W show. Instead, Burberry’s collection borrows fashion queues from the working class and the posh, creating a gritty representation of what it means to be a Brit.

A spectrum of Britishness, which Burberry CEO Christopher Bailey and collaborator Gosha Rubchinskiy strived for in their designs, was demonstrated outside of the runway show, as well.

Swarms of people gathered outside of the building’s entrance covered in fake blood holding stuffed animals covered in red dye to show their distaste for Burberry’s use of animal fur. Protesters held signs that read “Compassion before Fashion” as they chanted “Shame on London Fashion Week,” all while blaring an audio recording of animals squealing while being slaughtered for their fur.

Because of the demonstration’s aggressive nature, attendees like Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell, and other industry professionals, were escorted into the show by policemen in neon green reflecting jackets. Some guests were spat on, others were shamed for their outfits through a megaphone. The protest stripped the high-profile event of its glamour and instead depicted the dissonance between the fashion world and everybody else.

Inside, attendees couldn’t escape the grit of the streets. Instead, taking influences from the upper class, the working class, and “chav” fashion, Bailey’s female models wore Burberry-tartan caps, colorful transparent trench coats, and argyle socks with bold heels. One model wore a pink, drawstring jersey skirt with gold heels, pink argyle socks, and a tartan hat, while on multiple occasions female and male models displayed their bare chests underneath their trenchcoats.

The collection represents a combination of past and present Britain, posh and chav, and so did the set design. Photographs of 20th century Britain by photographers like Brian Griffin and Roger Mayne hung on the walls in the bare rooms of the Old Sessions House. These images, which inspired Bailey’s collection, were selected with the help of photographers and curators Alasdair McLellan and Lucy Kumara. The exhibit, which is still available for viewing, depicts documentary photographs of cultural events and various social classes in England.

In an on-camera interview last week, Bailey told UK Vogue Editor in Chief Edward Enninful that this A/W collection was exploring “the difference facets of what Britishness means.”

Bailey said, “The new collection is a little bit of an eclectic mix of everything that I love about Britishness: the highs, the lows, opulence, the working class, the difference sides of ceremonies, of pomp, and traditions, and fashion and clothes through the ages.”

As the show commenced on Friday evening, inside the top level window of the Old Sessions House, in the glowing yellow light, a man in a tailored suit looked down upon the swarms of protesters outside raging against the fashion industry. Meanwhile, inside at the catwalk, the most glamorous in the industry snapped photos of styles evoking Britain’s distinct cultural and social influences.

The most blatant distinction that night, however, was between those inside the runway show and those on the outside.


What to Wear When You Escape To One of the 7 New Planets:

Consider: Christopher Kane’s new AW 16 collection, SPACE.

It seems as though these astronomers discovered potentially inhabitable planets right in time. On Feb. 6 2017, the products were launched into space from Ashbourne, Derbyshire and made it back to Earth three hours later, reported Fashion Windows Today. The yellow bag and shoe reached 38 km above earth’s atmosphere and were experiencing temperatures as low as minus 64 degrees Celsius.

The Space line is functional, fashionable, and has made history as the first luxury bag and shoe to enter space.

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His safety buckle “Devine” shoulder bags and safety buckle sneakers come in six colors: Solar Sun, Venus Pink, Mars Red, Planet Blue, Moon Dust, and Pitch Black.

And in case you were wondering, no Crocs have entered space. Yet.