Avant Garb: From Past to Presence!

This past week I attended an art show at The Copy Cat put on by Baltimore-based artist, Bartosz Tararuj. At the show, I spotted one of his close friends, Taylor Casalena. Her outfit perfectly fit the mood of his art – both were flowy, soft and mesmerizing. I had to know more about her style. And if you’re digging Bart’s art, you can find more of it on his Instagram, West_Orange.

Here is what Taylor had to say…
“I would describe my personal style as edgy, vintage and a bit romantic. I find thrifting is the best way to seek out and create your most authentic style, so most of my wardrobe is thrifted. I’m inspired by 60’s French pop, 70’s glam rock and the 90’s. I wear a lot of pink. I love pussy bows. And I feel naked without earrings.”
I was especially intrigued by her light pink duster that she thrifted from a local Goodwill. What a great find! The duster instantly gives her look that artistic and romantic feel that she spoke of. And she’s styled it in a way that makes it look very current and effortlessly cool. You get the feeling that she’s not interested in wearing what everyone else is. She’s someone who enjoys outfits with a bit of flare, uniqueness, and shimmer. Her style feels both feminine, edgy and empowering. And I love that it’s not overly styled or accessorized. Plus, it perfectly fits the occasion and venue. She looks almost as if she is part of the art, with the same color palette and vintage influences.

Taylor said she also thrifted her vintage belt and earrings from a local thrift store. Also great finds.

The belt feels very Art Deco and the gold chrome perfectly accents the gold of her 70’s dangle earrings.

She’s also incorporated some more modern pieces like her boots from Forever 21 and her high-neck black top from H&M. The top feels timeless and versatile, while the shoes feel edgy and modern. The thick wedge heel of the boots and the ripped knees in her jeans add a bit of toughness and ruggedness to this look. Almost as if she’s incorporating a bit of 90’s grunge into her ensemble. It’s balanced out with the gentle feeling of her delicate pink duster. Overall, the look is interesting, eye catching, and perfect for the occasion. Taylor’s style feels like a true reflection of her interests & influences, while still feeling authentic and effortless.

Lamont Bryant was spotted at a friend’s wedding in Baltimore. He’s hard to miss with an outfit this extra. I had to know more about where he got such unique and interesting pieces, and how he went about styling them in such an intriguing way.
“My style is eclectic, classic and a mix of high and low,” he said. “My eye is trained for textures, color, expression and a sense of timelessness that isn’t boring. Growing up with little means in Brooklyn, New York during the 1980’s and 90’s, I was taught early on that money can buy you fashion, but it cannot buy you style. Fashion is an overall expression of who and where we are as a society. On the other hand, style is a very intimate and innate understanding of yourself. No one can teach you style, you simply have to hear your inner self and trust it.”

First off, let’s take a moment to appreciate his 1970’s vintage velvet smoking jacket that he thrifted. The jacket was originally from JC Penny. This piece is so special, and Lamont has managed to make it even more stunning by pairing it with a women’s faux fur scarf from Target. He also got the jacket locally tailored, and you can tell. It fits him perfectly, and looks luxurious and elegant. His satin bow tie from Ralph Lauren and his fan make the look feel even more luxurious and aristocratic.

His opal earrings also caught my interest. And no wonder – they are one of a kind. And they look fit for a king. Lamont explained that they were custom-made by Stellarium Jewelry. Morgan Phillips, a designer, created a custom design using Australian “fire opals” that came down from the grandfather of his partner, Jaimes Mayhew. Stunning! His blue velvet embroidery Noble Loafers from Journey West feel fanciful and European. The dark blue is fun and playful, without feeling costume-ish. The loafers make this outfit even more unique. While most are choosing to go with normal leather dress shoe for a wedding, Lamont has chosen a pair of shoes that no one else will have. It’s a daring fashion choice that can be appreciated, and he’s pulled it off perfectly.

Overall, I would say Lamont is someone who truly thinks outside of the box with his fashion choices. He’s managed to take interesting pieces and style them in a way that elevates them, making them look even more high-end and unique.

You can find everything from flowy, floral dresses and skirts, to bathing suits, bodysuits, and some killer shoes. It’s the perfect place to stop in if you’re looking to grab some new strappy sandals, and stylish sun glasses for Summer time. And what does every girl need for her trip to the beach? A hat. Personally, I love baseball hats. They’re perfect for the girl who doesn’t want to come off as too girly and feminine and enjoys rocking a more boyish style once in a while, while still looking cute.

These were my favorites. They are so fun, and perfect for a beach trip, festivals, or just hanging out by the pool. They are cool, current, and functional. Plus…the logos are funny and you’re sure to get a compliment or two. They’re sure to be a fun conversation piece, and they look comfortable – at $28 each. And the ripped edges give it a worn in look that adds to the coolness factor. Stop in to Brightside to get summer ready.

About Elizabeth Massing

One look at Elizabeth Massing and you see her fabulous sense of style and artistic self-expression. She combines old and new, classic and trendy, luxurious items and vintage steals.  “Fashion and what you wear should be a statement of who you are and how you feel. You shouldn’t be scared to take risks. It should be fun and make you feel good, no matter your budget or fashion experience,” she says. For Elizabeth, fashion is a way to tell her story.  “I like my stories full of fun and excitement, history and romance, and - from time to time - a little drama. Bold fabrics give me a thrill. Couture makes me swoon. Daring pairings are a magnetic force I cannot overcome,” says this B-more native. Elizabeth also loves to see the “stories” other people tell, which may come from her work in publishing and media as HR Director for The Agora Companies, where - she says - creativity and originality is always encouraged. Now, she’ll be relaying some of those stories to us in her column, “The Haute Find.”  “It’s about finding style on the street, in homes, and out-and-about. It’s an adventure looking for textures, fabrics, and how people add layers of details and interest to their wardrobe.” So, ramp it up, Baltimore. Maybe Elizabeth will be “telling” your story!

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