Bailey Powell

Fashion. Lifestyle. Vignettes From My Dark Comedy Life.

Tag: New York City

A Year and a Half In Summation




One of my favorite pastimes is having juvenile life realizations and, with my self-righteous stock of words, attempting to convey the seemingly profound to any readership I may have. My mind reels, my fingers fly across the keyboard, and I think, “I want this excitement to be infectious, this enlightenment to be liberating!”. Meanwhile my trite discovery already sits stale in the back of every other well-adjusted adult’s mind and I’m over here betting and banking on the hope that you all find this process endearing, if not mildly entertaining. With that being said, welcome back! It’s been a while. (For my next act of self-deprecation I’ll rip into how pretentious I sound in the written word!)

While I’m making a laundry list, another one of my favorite pastimes is referring a facing party to an inappropriate rap or R&B song as musical reinforcement to topics both minor and major, mostly sometimes without being asked. Upon further  reflection I suppose this makes me an unsolicited, tailor-made hype man. For those who I frequently come in contact with, I’m sorry.

Aside from the fact that my music taste has been developmentally stagnant for the past year and a half since I posted in this blog I’d like to believe I’ve had a slew of earthmoving epiphanies that have set me well on my way to becoming the woman I want to be, von Furstenburg style. Posting back up in the writing game has been on my mind for a couple months now, but you know how these things go: life interrupts, inspiration lacks, work overwhelms, and family issues forge ahead. Translation: I don’t have any real problems and just allocate my time poorly, mostly by watching bootleg episodes of Nashville. Unintended personal improvement as a result of months submerged in the depths of self-analyzation all propelled by crappy, unforeseen life circumstances sounds a lot more romantic though, so if you’d like to think that’s where I’ve been that’s okay with me.

Anyway, I’m here now so let’s press on, shall we?



When I came to New York I was immediately gripped by the scramble to The Top. If I’m being honest, I was in it’s clutches before I even boarded that ghetto Spirit Airlines plane to JFK. A flamboyant flight attendant listened with wide-eyed interest as I Regina-George-smiled and chatted about my one way ticket to New York and my securing an internship at Oscar de la Renta from the jump. What he didn’t know is that 1) my internship was a mere week and a half and 2) my mom’s a flight attendant and I had a return flight pass within arm’s reach in the likely case I crashed and burned in NYC. It didn’t matter to me, as far as he knew I was cool. I was cool to someone and that was a high that marked the genesis of what was to be a steep social and professional climb.

In the past couple years I’ve bounded and woven my way through the professional thicket, rubbing elbows and picking up knowledge, oft in the unlikeliest places. An equal-opportunity information sponge, I adopted social mannerisms I deemed necessary after careful observation and meticulous rehearsal. I joined the right club, moved to the right neighborhood, dated the right man, and took the right meetings. I wore the right shoes, went to the right bars, worked at the right fashion label, and radiated the right nonchalance. It bums me out about myself that it took me this long to realize that while none of these “right” people, places, or things are inherently wrong, the perception of them as de rigueur can be crippling. No matter my progression, there was always something I still lacked rendering me unqualified. Wait, unqualified for what? Here’s the part where I’m going to say something trite that you all already know and patiently waited for me to piece together: The thirst is unquenchable because The Top is a nonexistent pinnacle. (My truth bombs are mind blowing, I know.) The rat race we self-employ is exhausting and would be comical if it weren’t, well, such a bummer. I feel grateful that I lost my footing on that analogous steep climb as it caused me to free fall right into a big ole humble pie, equipping me with a new perspective.

It’s easy to find yourself in the throes of chasing unrealistic ideals and unaware that the process and mindset are actually afflictions, just like that brand Affliction that also sucks. From what I can tell life is both long and short at the same time and I genuinely think most people are just out here trying to do their best, which is why it’s so important to be kind and patient with others and yourself. (That sounds offensively obvious but I know I surprise myself with how often I’m in violation of that concept.) In doing one’s best sometimes what’s “right” is mistaken for what’s actually right for an individual. Making a conscious effort to stick to the latter is a challenge well worth the effort because the simple notion that your best is good enough is a surprisingly massive wave of relief. It’s like lifting a weight that no one really needed you to carry to begin with. Put it down, try it out, treat yoself.



Things I Love Thursday

With a looming moving day, bouts of homesickness, and a lack of personal space in general I’ve recently found myself pouting and pointing fingers at reasons that must be to blame for why I’m devoid of inspiration. “A Things I Love Thursday post? Puh-lease” were my thoughts as I plopped down on a bench in Central Park for lunch, Dre coursing through my headphones and my overpriced, “chic” lunch in tow. As I paused Pandora and tugged out my headphones I realized that there was, in fact, no better time than now for a list of gratitude. After all, isn’t handling trials with faith and ultimately grace definitive of your character and a sign of spiritual maturity? That blame-pointing finger needed to make a U-turn right back to me. So, here’s to new homes, being surrounded by good people who love me, and the fact that home home will always be there if I need it.

Now for the list!

White nails and sandy beaches.

Rooftop views.

The teatime spread at Bergdorf Goodman.

Quiet moments in Madison Square Park.

A tulle dress hung and done.

A gift of MoMA membership.

Drag queen bingo. Laying on a blanket watching fireworks in Central Park. McKayla Maroney Appreciation Post. Blue Point Blueberry Ale. “I thought somebody was barbequin’.” Breaking out into a shuffle-ball-change on the train. Chocolate covered Oreos. My nephew being the human toddler version of Gus Gus from Cinderella. The phrase “splitcho wig”. The Ultimate People Fainting Compilation. Clybourne Park. Perfect weather, bottles of wine, and carbicide in Little Italy. Watching Gilmore Girls and sipping coffee in bed with mother. Letters from Italy. Cat tapestry’d shoes. Champagne, vanilla tea, and life-changing scones. “Anybody wanna peanut?” The perfect pink birthday dress. DIY calligraphy. Book stands in the park and patches of light shining through giant trees. Exquisite little tea sandwiches. OPI Alpine Snow. The new Belstaff video and Swim Deep. P’Trique (c’est chic). Velvet everything. Nathan’s mustard (you know I keep that). Designer resale goldmines. And finally… being brave and approaching intimidating people to verbalize what I want and the bonus of a positive reception.

What was good in your life this week? I would love to hear about it.



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Playlist: I Want to Be a Part of It, New York, New York


Whether you love it or hate it, it is inarguable that New York City strikes a definite emotion with everyone who comes in contact with it. The city itself poses as a muse and has inspired thousands of songs created in its honor. The following are, in my opinion, some of the best. No downloading, waiting, or confusing stuff. Simply click this link and press play.

For some visuals to accompany the playlist, find my Nowhere Like New York Pinterest board here.



More Playlist posts:

Playlist: Goodnight

Playlist: It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

In Transit: Your Twenties Are the Junior High of Adulthood

Growing up.


I have these fleeting thoughts, coming and going, going and coming. I try my best to capture them in writing but in New York, this absolute epicenter of innovation, birth of new ideas, trials, errors, and massive successes, thoughts are often gone as soon as they come.

How do I match a coffee table to a rug? How do I file taxes and when? Should I pick up fresh flowers to keep in my apartment? Where is the line between being “myself” and carefully curating my words and actions to accomodate status quo and social niceties? The world’s vastness swallows me  up and the endless options spit me out. Countless books, lists of movies, schedules of art shows, and music recommendations saturate my life while I’m surrounded by the free-spirited, the uptight, and those concerned with the trivial. I’m exhausted by my mind’s massive leaping from things like what Sarah Jessica Parker and my boss have planned for tonight and how the homeless double amputee ended up where he is. I eat homemade peanut butter sandwiches so I can on some level justify wandering through Bendel’s and Bergdorf’s at lunch. I clutch my Kate Spade as I catch the JMZ, passing the stop where a stray bullet hit a seven year old last month.

At home Gucci booties and Halston clutches line the shelves of a dusty, outdated piece of furniture abandoned by my room’s previous inhabitor. On my nightstand backdates of W are mixed into stacks of temp agency paystubs and internet bills. My phone is on the receiving end of both calls from corporate recruiters and text messages from my peers asking “where the hell [I've] been” and guilt tripping me to “come party!”.  I slide the no-see mouse trap out of the way with my foot in the bathroom as I reach into the cabinet for my Clarisonic. I fall into bed at 10pm as my daily transformation to look the 5th Avenue part begins at 6am sharp. During my morning commute to Manhattan I watch the demographic inside of my subway car become more and more affluent at each stop, pressed suits replacing paint-splattered jeans, Kindles and Nooks phasing out paperbacks. In 40 minutes of transit time I change from the most eyebrow-raising, well dressed commuter to one pair of DVF flats away from not good enough. I go from an iPhone wielding attention-grabber to an afterthought as a busy Tommy Hilfiger breezes past me with a passing glance and sidetracked greeting.

The women I look up to seemed to have transitioned seamlessly from single fashion industry devotees to wives on the arms of hedge fund managers at galas, taking the subway because it’s “chic” opposed to affordable. They pile Chanel and Repetto flats under their desks so they can change into their YSL Tributes and expertly stride about the office, three carat cushion settings sparkling on their left hands.


Some of the disorientation I experience must be credited to my sudden and constant immersion in the extreme juxtaposition of lifestyles existing in New York. My transition into adulthood is magnified by the city and at times I feel aimless, but I assume that’s normal for someone my age. Every “in hindsight” article I read about being in your 20s asserts that it is indeed a challenging time, becoming comfortable in your own skin, severing parental dependency ties, and ultimately figuring out what kind of adult you want to be.

With all the awkwardness I’m experiencing, condescending remarks I’m on the receiving end of, and self-indulgent posts I’ve been writing I feel like I’m in the junior high of big girl world. It’s not pretty. I’m trying to evolve gracefully but my track record goes to show this will be a bumpy ride. I’ve learned that the most imperative thing for anyone to hang on to in this town is perspective. All people are made up the same and look alike on the inside. No person is better than another, despite the desperate attempts made by snooty maitre’ds and shopgirls to convince you otherwise. Things are just that, things, and no matter how many of them you possess there’s always something left to be desired. There is life outside of New York, countries outside of America, and people with much bigger problems than simply being an overanalytical 20-something with a WordPress account.

All I know is that junior high doesn’t last forever, and keeping my mind right will be my saving grace.



Story Time: A Baby New Yorker’s First Weekend Off in the Big City

As soon as I arrived in New York I dove right in to five consecutive days at Oscar de la Renta followed immediately by eight at Donna Karan. In the evenings my remaining energy was spent scouring PadMapper for fitting accommodation and, if I was feeling especially wild, catching an episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race with the friends I was staying with. Although those first two weeks were professionally significant to an incredible degree for me, a proper weekend was simply not a part of the gig.

gorgeous view from the new Oscar de la Renta showroom


beautiful day in the Donna Karan showroom

After market week at Donna Karan wrapped late Wednesday evening I interviewed at a fashion-specific temp agency on Thursday and locked up another temp position for Monday morning (blessed). It was then a bizarre realization came over me: the weekend was completely at my disposal.

Friday brought a steady downpour, tempestuous winds, and a general desire to stay indoors… for most. The overexcitement of my empty agenda won over and off I went on a very important errand: to fetch my father a sweet from Dylan’s Candy Bar.

the stairs at Dylan's

I walked several blocks to the subway where I mistakenly boarded an express train opposed to a local one, leaving me with several more blocks to slosh through before arriving at my destination. Too stubborn to simply hail cabs due to a personal financial review that took place earlier in the day, I got back home two hours later smelling not unlike a big bag of mildew.

Meanwhile, my seasoned New Yorker (AKA dry) roommate was putting his culinary skills to use, whipping up a delicious batch of mushroom lasagna and a blueberry pie for dinner.

dinner time

After the table was set and I noticed an extra place setting, I found out we would be having a guest. A bespectacled man arrived with a dog and bottle of wine and, after inquiring about and listening to my unoriginal career plan, revealed to me that he was a producer of small time movies such as The Ides of March and then offhandedly mentioned he was nominated for an Oscar. (Although that nomination unfortunately did not turn into a win, it’s not every day you nonchalantly dine with an Oscar nominee.) After the dessert plates were cleared things dispersed fairly quickly in the name of Friday night plans. Due to the previous obligations of the others I soon found myself alone in the apartment with a glass of wine to keep me company. The rain kept on, and the rest of the evening was quiet.

Saturday brought my very first NYC brunch, which seems to be the life blood of this city. I met my new friend Sarah in SoHo and chatted over a meat-free eggs benedict, life-changing truffle fries, and mimosas. I now understand the fuss about brunch. My bank account is not so understanding. After she and I parted ways I made my way to Betsey Johnson, where I basked in the hyper-femininity and indulged a bit in the fabulous sale happening.

The remainder of Saturday was spent planning out the limited amount of time my mother and I would have together today. On Sarah’s recommendation I snapped up two tickets for Love, Loss, and What I Wore, an intimate off-broadway production that is much like a chick flick in theater form. My enthralling evening was capped off with a nerdy yet oh-so-delightful viewing of PBS’ New York: A Documentary Film. What can I say? That’s a good time for me, folks.

Early this afternoon my mother arrived in Manhattan bearing a big smile and a bag filled with my stationary, mail, left-behind shoes, magazines, thoughtful Texas treats, and things of the like. After stuff was dropped off and mother viewed my apartment our day began, filled with ultra girly destinations such as BG Restaurant, Bendel’s, Magnolia Bakery, and Martine’s at Bloomingdales.


caught in deep menu concentration

Seated with a view of Central Park, we satiated ourselves with a late lunch composed of unreasonable things such as mini baguettes, lobster mac n’ cheese, mango covered lemon pancakes, a bloody mary, and tiny butter cookies. We were just as interested in the divine fare as we were in the Harry Winston rock sitting to my right and the Chanel coat to my mother’s.

beautiful (s)mother at BG


view from our table

After oohing and ahhing at the world-famous Bergdorf shoe salon we made our way to Bendel’s to take a gander and hopefully pick out a birthday gift or two for friends and family, and birthday gifts did we find! A conveniently-timed sale was underway and lovely things of the unnecessary persuasion were tucked away in brown tissue and striped bags for celebrations to come.

Our last stop before the show was Bloomingdale’s, where we satisfied our sweet tooth by way of dainty caramel-filled chocolate pianos from Martine’s and a red velvet cupcake from Magnolia Bakery. A bit under-slept and department store’d out we hopped in a cab and made our merry way to Westside Theater for the show that I had unintentionally bought front row seats for. Five beautiful women varying in age came onstage donning black clothes, shimmering shoes, sparkling jewelry, and impeccably applied lipstick. (Bonus: One of them was the actress who plays Dorota on Gossip Girl!)  They took turns telling stories about, well, love, loss, and what they wore. As Sarah said, it was the perfect show for mothers, daughters, sisters, girlfriends, etc. The conclusion of the play marked the end of our short day and I accompanied mother to her train at Penn Station, gave her a big hug, and made my way back uptown.

I must say it was a lovely, lucky first true New York City weekend. Although I’m looking forward to many more like it I am refreshed and ready to get back to real (working) life in the morning. Until next time, shows, brunches, and designer shoe gazing!



More “Story Time” posts:

An Intern’s Afternoon Being ‘Somebody’ at an Elie Tahari Event

‘Poor Me’ and Other Selfish Stupidity

A Broke Girl’s Rendition of Fashion’s Night Out


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