Babushka Chic

The word, ‘babushka’, has its origins in Russian and means, ‘grandmother’. It also makes reference to the manner in which ladies in Russian, use this type of scarf, covering the head and knotting it under the chin. The last reference was taken to name the famous, ‘Lady Babushka’ who was suspect of recording the Kennedy assassination while wearing this garment. A trend that has come and gone, from Audrey Hepburn to the film, ‘Thelma & Louise’, to the Queen of England and even A.S.A.P Rocky, the rapper, has kept this style alive, even breaking boundaries which is something I definitely enjoy doing. And I really wanted to style this in a great setting instead of the usual street style photos we sometimes take. So continue reading to see the complete shoot along with where to shop the pieces in this look today!

I love a good rib-knit dress in a cotton blend. This one is great for spring. Small stand-up collar, short sleeves, and slits at sides, it’s movable and very comfortable. Since the the weather is not quite springlike here in New York yet, I layered the dress with a faux fur coat with contrasted cuffs to bring out a more Russian-feel to the look. I even wore sheer nude tights to also keep with the overall mood of this outfit. I also mixed with the stripe print with an animal one, as snake print anything is super hot in trends at the moment. Don’t worry, they’ll still be around this coming fall/winter as well.

These snake print booties are awfully comfortable too! Super sleek pointed ankle boots featuring exposed zip and sock style fit, you would think 4.5” in terms of heel height would be too much on the feet, but they’re so well-fitted, like a glove, makes it easy to walk around in. I wouldn’t say this if you’re on your feet all day, but for an afternoon or evening will do just fine. I like my shoes to be practical.

So I’ve mixed in animal print with stripes. You’d think I’d stop there, right? Nah. I love playing up on the beauty of print and patterns. There’s something about pushing boundaries like I mentioned earlier in today’s post, I find that when you do, in terms of fashion & style, you can really find out if these rule-breakers work or not. I wore a blue and white floral scarf around my head, a standard must in a babushka chic outfit. :) This scarf in the post is not intended to be a headscarf and is no longer in stock so I linked a very similar one that can definitely be intended for a headscarf/headwrap.

Other accessories featured in today’s look are a luxe burgundy crossbody bag and gold statement earrings. I hope you enjoyed this more stylized editorial shoot! I am working on doing more of this kind of content, but it takes more time, therefore, a longer waiting period. What did you like the most about this babushka chic look? The headscarf? Coat? Perhaps, you’re wanting to see a trend/concept on MaQ + Suz that you haven’t seen and would like to? Drop your messages down in the comment section below!






How to Wear a Maxi Skirt If You Are a Petite or a Short Woman

NYC fashion blogger

Stepping up my game in the styling department this Monday! You know, us, petite girls, need a little more recognition in the fashion world because it’s not easy styling when it comes to being short. Especially when it comes to bottoms: Pants, skirts - you name it, normally anything will need some adjustments. But what if you can’t take it in to the tailor every time? Pinching a few pennies? Why not, “Make it work” as Tim Gunn says? And if you’re a true stylist, you can adapt to anything and yes, indeed, make it work! You know I’m not much of a pink girl, but many of my readers really like it when I wear this color. So on one count, I’m challenging myself to style one skirt in two completely different ways, and two, for the love of my followers. Here you go! Continue reading to see the complete shoot!

When I thought about how to style this skirt, given the fact that the pink maxi skirt (as cute as it may be), it was far too long for me. So what’s a petite gal to do? HIDE THAT ISH. And since it’s winter, I paired it with a loosely fitted black cashmere sweater with #MOOD written on it in a plush red. To accentuate with the top, I accessorized with my new favorite bag that’s got a gorgeous oxblood color with an adjustable gold chain. You can see how I wore it both ways. Even my lipstick and nails are similar to the shades or red, but not exact. And this was intentional. I think it brings more of the pink out in terms of its statement, and it’s quite a ruffly skirt! I may not be a girly girl, but I sure do feel quite the lady when wearing it.

My new favorite black winter boots have yellow laces and a rough edgy feel to them. I’d say they’re combat boots and the platform always makes me feel like I can kick ass when wearing them. Ha ha! I’d say this look has a definite punk feminine chic vibe to it. You know me for my edginess & rebelliousness when it comes to my personal style, I really had fun putting together this first look. But wait… there’s the other look. How did I style the pink maxi skirt this time? Definitely has an overall different vibe to it as well!

One of my favorite ways to style a maxi skirt is to wear it as a dress! As a petite and short woman (I’m only 5’3’’) who is always looking for ways to save a few bucks, and also doesn’t always have time to wait in between alterations at the tailor’s, it never hurts to find creative ways to style yourself! And this second look is more for an evening affair. Playful, elegant and still with a little bit of edge, this pink maxi skirt, now dress, is a showstopper. I styled the piece with the darkest color known to man to give contrast to the feminine shade I don’t normally wear, if not ever. I love pink and black together!

The look was definitely inspired by Carrie Bradshaw’s Oscar de la Renta dress from the show, Sex & the City, where her Russian boyfriend gifts it to her right before whisking her away to the ballet. I wanted the same type of feeling when it came to the second look. More whimsical. A touch of elegance. And a look you’ve never seen me do. And just like Carrie, I have a thing for accessories. This unique 100% leather based ball bag with Swarovski crystal stones, silver studs, glow in the dark stars and hand painted detailing is pretty insane when it comes to its details and I thought it was quite the bag to carry with this look! 

I wore black strappy heels to give more of an elongated look as well as keeping with the color scheme. And when it came to styling this pink maxi skirt into a dress, I knew I need to cinch the waist with a belt, to give some shape to the long dress. I just used black satin ribbon, the same one I wore on my wedding day, and snugly tied it in the back. A statement belt, like the one I’ve linked would be just as great, but to style this as a dress it definitely need something to hold the waist in. Thanks for stopping by and checking out my duo-styled post! I truly enjoyed doing this, so let me know if you’d like to see more styling challenges like this one! Until next time… :)






8 Things I Learned From Traveling Solo


photos by: Rowben Lantion 


A couple of weeks ago I traveled solo internationally for the first time in my life. Yes, I've traveled here and there, even to Ukraine with a group of college students and such, but I've never gone anywhere outside the states completely alone. Now, it wasn't anywhere super exotic, as there was no language barrier or extreme culture shock, but I did want to start off somewhere and challenge myself. One of my greatest pleasures in life is doing things people tell me I cannot do. Not to prove them wrong, but to prove to myself that as my dad had always said, "You can do anything you set your mind to." Is this the craziest thing a person has set out to do? Of course not. However, everyone has their own personal journey and going on that road to find whatever it is they are looking for, I think, is courage enough. You see, for one, I have never set foot in London, let alone the UK - and two, it has been a dream of mine to attend London Fashion Week - so to set this into notion and actually have it take place has been a dream within itself. So in today's post, I wanted to share a reflection of my thoughts about what I learned from traveling solo.



More than anything else, what I learned about myself from this trip, is that no matter how hard you may try to not compare yourselves to others, it's inevitable. Especially the digital world we live in, where observing others is constant. I've been making changes since London, and it's teaching myself how to monitor my habits as such. For example, I'm an Insta-Story watching addict. Like Pringle chips, once I 'pop' I can't stop. So now instead of watching them every time  I'm on the app, I only try to watch once during the morning, afternoon and evening. Even to how much time I spend on Instagram, which is an atrocious amount, I am cutting down on how often I check to see what's happening around me. Of course, it's important to know what's going on in terms of trends and current events but I also find it healthy and quite balanced to sometimes stop looking, keeping the phone out of my reach and focusing on my own sh*t. Remember... everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses, and own pace, and it's only when you accept everything you are and aren't that you'll truly get anywhere with yourself. And the more I've been doing this, the better I have been feeling not just about myself but with my work. The creative juices are flowin' and I'm excited and a little nervous to start a few of them! But onward we shall go :)


This isn't something new to me but still felt the need to share the importance of this. Sometimes getting away is the best thing to do when feeling unsure about things. Since traveling as a kid, I found that the ones you miss the most while away are the ones you truly love. Being apart makes me appreciate what I have with others and also always reminds me of what's important and who is important. Especially when traveling alone, it gives you the time to reflect and shows you what and who really matters in your life. It's like how the French say, "Tu me manques" which literally translates, "you are missing from me", and that's exactly how I feel to those while being away from home.



As much as I still love to share with you guys more and more about my life, there's a time and place for everything. I'm not one to show all my cards up front. Because the more involved I become in the blogging world/public eye, of course, I am aware that life may not always be as private as it once was. People love to talk, rumors get spread, and yes, many are nosy. And that shouldn't get in the way of sharing my life with you, but I think leaving a little to the imagination never hurts and quite frankly protects you from those that do want to cause harm to you. I have always kept my inner circle extremely close-knit. When others ask me what I'm up to these days, I'm rather brief. Why? I'd rather show you than tell you. 



I'm telling everyone my new secret remedy to feeling unconfident. Just go somewhere alone for a few days. It doesn't have to be overseas, but it should be to an unfamiliar place or includes something you've never tried doing because doing it alone will not just build that self-esteem, you'll learn to discover something about yourself while doing so. Never have I challenged myself did I end up with a disastrous outcome. It may not always go the way you imagine, but if you stand strong and get through it, you will be better from it. And traveling is one of the best ways to learn and grow. I definitely feel like me again and I have never felt more confident than I do now!


Keep calm and carry on? You betcha. I sometimes tend to get anxious but what I definitely learned while traveling alone to London was how better off you are if you keep your cool and stay focused on the problem at hand. If you freak out, you'll just make the problem worse. Easier said than done to others I'm sure, but to someone like me who's impatient and a slight-control freak, it's not. A more subdued manner in one's self while being aware carries a certain sophistication. I definitely find this more apparent than in America. 



Try not to plan your itinerary right down to what time you get up to when you're having dinner. The best part of traveling is no plans, no map and wandering... getting lost and discovering new hidden gems that you'd probably never cross paths with otherwise with a plan of any kind. And with traveling, something can always go awry so be prepared and be willing to go with the flow because not being in full control is something one has to face when traveling, especially alone. And the more accepting you are of this, the better the experience your trip will be too!



I think what freaked me out the most was attending my first Fashion Week overseas with no assistant or helping hands of any kind. I was all by myself. So of course, when you’ve got to figure everything out yourself, you may feel anxious. Maybe you’re nervous about talking to strangers; maybe you’ll feel awkward by yourself in a restaurant or museum. From little fears to big ones, once you decide to face them, the truth shall set you free! Things quickly become less frightening once you step up to face them and will quickly realize there's not much in life to be afraid of. 


It’s true. You will build new relationships on your journey, even if you’re shy. It doesn’t take much. A friendly smile. A helping hand. Or a shared fear. Indeed, nothing brings people closer than fear. You'd think people in the fashion world are not the nicest people, which can be true to a certain extent, but overall, even just sharing a commonality like sleep deprivation while waiting in line for coffee or to a show can spark a wonderful relationship. It could be friendship or a building working partnership, or both, either way, I find traveling to be one of the loveliest ways to meet new people. 


How about you guys? How many of you have traveled solo? I'd love to hear your experiences so don't forget to drop a comment down below and share your thoughts. Lastly, if you're ever in need of a street style photographer while in London, please go check out Rowben with whom I shot this look with while there for Fashion Week. He is an absolute sweetheart with some serious skills. Rowben, darling, please come to New York soon! As always, you can directly shop my look at the end of each outfit blog post. Don't be shy to leave any questions about this look too! Catch Y'all soon!







London Fashion Week AW 18 Full Recap

All photos & edits by: Suzanne Spiegoski


Known for his deconstructed fabrics and feminine silhouettes, Xuzhi Chen's was born in Shenzhen but is based in London. Chen studied foundation art in London, then fashion in 2010, graduating in 2015. Having done internships with menswear designer Craig Green and J.W. Anderson, he's now part of that booming hub of designers based in Dalston in East London. Also, a semi-finalist last year for the prestigious LVMH Prize and Asia finalist for the International Woolmark Prize proves his wizardry when it comes to fabrics. Chen looked to Jane Morris, wife of the textile designer William Morris and the lover of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, who is one of the most recognised faces in art history for her famous pout, as well as the relationship between artist, muse and now, designer, which he states in the show notes in the relevancy of #TimesUp. The collection is filled with painting references, with the ankle length skirts and coats featuring a waxy finish, which mimics the sheen of oil paintings, while Chen’s yarn-braiding technique has been developed to make the fabric appear to have a brush stroke effect, and the deconstruction effects to the tailoring adds a textural element when paired with wide-leg trousers and pleated skirts. Definitely, a designer to watch out for - Xu Zhi will be a household name in the very near future. By far one of my favorite presentations during London Fashion Week.


Emerging designer Amy Thomson poses the question: What do a princess, baker and a hairdresser look like from a child’s perspective with her playful autumn/winter 2018 collection ‘Chasin’ Dreams’. With the models standing amongst floating clouds, the eight oversized pink outfits really brought the idea of fantasy and dreams - each showcasing the profession as seen by a child, with also the help from the designer’s larger-than-life hand-rendered drawings that produced charming prints, motifs, and illustrations to form the narrative of the collection, ensuring that no two garments are the same. Metallic based textures created a sparkling performance. Feminine silhouettes, with giant bow ties and illustrative frills made for a fun slumber party feel. The use of silks, faux fur, and leathers using a palette of fuchsias, baby pink, hot pink that contrast with the royal blues and lilacs. Illustrations upon metallic fabric are layered and stitched on the faux fur. Thomson also collaborated with headwear designer Katie Hamlett from Sassy Freak featuring a range of tiaras of iconic childhood toys such as Barbie heads and My Little Pony. Commenting on the collection, Thomson said: “Telling a narrative and connecting with an audience is very important to myself as a designer. Chasin’ Dreams is based on real muses, real stories and my own and there is no story truer than the one you are living.”


What do you get when you combine glamour with destructed textures? A dramatic yet opulent range. Debuting her collection in London at Fashion Scout's Freemasons Hall, Claire Tagg brought her inspiration from her travels as an air hostess. A graduate of University of Creative Arts, Rochester, Tagg was awarded the New Designers Hainsworth Statement Award, as well as being named the runner-up in the prestigious womenswear award at Graduate Fashion Week. Her AW 18 collection demonstrated Tagg’s signature layered aesthetic using digital printing to create rich textures of ripped paper alongside a cherry blossom print and elaborate embellishments, which were all placed by hand. There were structured jackets and blazer style dresses juxtapositioned with oversized full skirts and ballgowns created from Duchess Satin that really brought out sophistication and elegance. The accessories were also prominent with colorful earrings and fabric belts with plane seatbelt fastenings. Cute.   


I found it extra cool being able to visit the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) during London Fashion Week (LFW), where also the UNDERAGE AW18 present took place. The designer, Ying Shen was born in Beijing China, where she initially studied graphic design, using multimedia techniques from film, to animation and 3D modeling before moving to London to pursue fashion design studies at Central Saint Martins School of Art & Design. The collection transported us to the underground punk movement from the 70s and late 90s. The UNDERAGE AW18 collection titled “Riots of Our Own” comments on the rebellious and social disruption of the era – and what that means for someone of a similar mindset today. A celebration of self-expression, independence, and nonconformity, acknowledges the makers of change from the past and applying it to a personal, modern-day fight for the future. Real eye-catching presentation.


I'm not one to wear gowns, but if I had to (yes, how painful) I'd definitely go with San Francisco-based designer Mimi Tran. Her AW 18 collection consisted of a color palette with uncommonly rendered icy tones of gold, cool blue and dark pink among others. She is known for her artisan hand beading and the use of colors to full effervescent effect, the detailing of cutting-edge dimensional patterns evoked depth and with graceful movement. 


I never thought I'd attend a secret Zen garden during my time in London a couple of weeks ago, but I did for Edeline Lee's presentation. Inspiration from holistic practices of the East infused within her collection with technique draping and most especially, my favorite, tassel trimmings that were similar to Ayurvedic robes. It refined a traditional cape coat with subtle sophistication. There were even gong players to immerse guests and a set dotted with serene topiary-style sculptures. Dark floral jacquards were in respects to the Garden of Eden, naturally along with Pilgrim collars, origami pleats, and an overall monastic tone. This collection is very appealing for those looking for a modest option but with a fashion-forward slant. Just lovely. 


Self-taught, Taiwanese-born designer, Malan Breton, demonstrated strong and seductive pieces in his AW 18 collection titled, 'Omega.' His unusual colors, textures, and silhouettes pair a playfulness with drama - a consistent love of contrasts like my favorite: Hard leather silhouettes pressed up against soft Taiwanese florals. Plum, navy blue, and bright orange colors stuck out, especially a men's patent leather orange jacket. Think lavish splendor with theatrical fashion. Breton's numerous awards, including the FGI Rising Star Award 2016 and the Taiwan Tourism Award for contributions to Fashion and Media, along with some pretty impressive showbiz credits, including costuming Breaking Bad and MTV’s VMAs, speak for themselves. 



steventai’s AW18 presentation brought the neon streets of Macau to London Fashion Week with a unique digitally augmented experience. Created in collaboration with San Francisco film tech experts ILMxLAB (Lucasfilm’s immersive entertainment division), the presentation carried us into a hyper-real world inspired by the ‘Las Vegas of the East’. Models dressed in softly structured velvet and corduroy pantsuits and flowered dresses with trench coats, and my favorite, the accessories such as clear grocery tote bags and clear umbrellas, elevated the workwear with luxurious detail and lavish material. Among the models was an avatar, generated with real-time CGI and dressed in digitally formed garments as part of the collection. Perhaps this is a new way we will see and shop fashion in the future?


Aadnevik is a London based luxury label directed by Hila & Kristian Aadnevik renowned internationally for their characteristic feminine, opulent, alluring designs. Presenting their new Swan Lake inspired collection at London Fashion Week AW18 in an opulent historical setting of a grandiose library at One Whitehall Place, the collection is inspired by the classic story of Odette and Odile, where light and dark contrast each other, like good and evil, and romance and tragedy. A woman can be strong and soft at the same time and makes no difference when it comes to undying love. And you can sense this form of unconditional emotion through the pieces, intricate beadwork with silver metal and pearls, delicate French lace was adorned with black and red hearts, beads, crystals, stars, feathers, and flowers. Sensual yet ethereal. Hair by Moroccan Oil, makeup by Bellápierre Cosmetics, nails by Candy Coat. 


Paul Costelloe presented to us, volume and print for this year's AW 18 collection. For his collection, he used quite neutral colors like shades of browns, greens, greys and a pop of colors like the yellows and pinks. A variety of fabrics like tweed looked terrific in a cinched-in jacket over floaty layers of chiffon and also in a flattering A-line dress with a contrasting top with peplum. Striking yellow and blue fabric in the generous oversized formal skirt which stood out from the 60s-look show.


Hollywood glamour can be badass too. A sensually powerful collection, Paula Knorr's AW18 Collection was full of body-hugging lamé and seductive sparkles. With clashing fabrics and dramatic shapes, the looks drastically push the boundaries of evening wear into abstract realms, all the while keeping the looks as glitzy and glamorous as Hollywood’s elite. From emblazoning flares with an abundance of sequins to layering block color on block color fearlessly (hello, to the power of red), to even bringing back sheer materials, the collection was vibrant and unforgiving. And what brought it all together was Jazz singer, Laura Totenhagen, who set feminist poetry to music, using her voice and a loop pedal, made it an exceptionally atmospheric experience.


The catch of the day. St. Ives, Cornwall inspiration // plush fisherman vibes with traditional technique and a touch of rugged romanticism. By far one of my favorite collections of London Fashion Week, Korean-born designer Eudon Choi, translated the relationships between these Cornish artists and their environment to create a collection that pays homage to St Ives as a muse to so many artists and a place of artistic pilgrimage. He celebrates the abstract art and Cornish light as well as paying homage to the brave fishermen who worked the harsh sea and the tin and copper miners who were once such an important part of the Cornish way of ilfe. Since launching his eponymous label in 2009, Eudon has become a regular fixture at London Fashion Week. He has received numerous accolades for his work, most recently support from the British Fashion Council and the Fashion Trust through the Fashion Trust initiative, for the second time. Hair by Stephen Low at Neville for L'Oréal Professional // Makeup by Lucy Bridge for Streeters and the MAC Cosmetics Pro Team // Nails by Jessica Nails. 


NYC lifestyle blog



An Alexander in London




When it comes to working with photographers, I'm quite selective. There's really only been one person aside from myself that photographs street style for me, and that is my husband, but when I had to travel to London and he had to stay behind, I needed to find someone reliable and with quality (which my standards can be very high... eek!) but when a new friend of mine from this year recommended someone she had worked with, I took a look at her Instagram and was immediately open to her style and vibe. But like any first encounters, they can be a bit awkward, even nerve-wracking to some, but Elena and I had commonalities such as a passion for photography, both Eastern European, and same headstrong go-getting kind of attitude. We broke the ice quickly. 


But when the time came to shoot, her camera suddenly was not turning on. At first, we (I know a thing or two about cameras) both thought it was just the battery/sensor that had a small dust or something on it and we tried to clean it. Nothing. We took out the memory card and restarted the camera again, and tried many other crazy things one photographer will try to get the camera to work (this is definitely part of the problem in the digital world, yeah?) again, but to our dismay, nothing was happening. We finally ended up at a camera repair shop about a five-minute walk in central London.


 When we arrived, Elena saw a man with a Canon body similar to hers, and immediately wanted to test his battery on her body. He was happy to do so, but it still didn't solve the problem. Her camera was still not turning on. A technician in the shop finally assesses her body and battery and can confirm that there is something wrong with the body. She was disappointed as everything was fine that morning (as I know me, myself, a photographer will check to make sure everything is working before even leaving the house!) and on top of working with me, she had 3 more clients that day. She tapped away into her phone before the man with the Canon, named Alexander, popped in once more.


Overhearing she had to work for fashion week that day, Alexander, 'Alex', straight up offers his camera to her, with no expectations. At first, Elena refuses, even at some point offering money herself to borrow his camera. He says no and then asks for one thing in return. If she ever needed an assistant and just had the time to give him a few tips, and he was not a professional photographer, that would be the next best thing. I honestly have to say that meeting Alex and his friend Amelia the way that I did was something you don't have happen to you every day. What are the odds we'd all be in the same camera repair store in the heart of London on some random weekday in the middle of the afternoon and for this to occur? It's as if as just when I start to think that the world is just crazy and that's that, an angel descends down to earth and I mean... wow. I am still so touched by one person's kindness. All thanks to an Alexander in London, my first shoot was a success! 


Photos by: Elena Gola