RED Hearts: Dressing Russian

RED Hearts are guests posts on I Heart Daily from the authors of RED: Teenage Girls in America Write On What Fires Up Their Lives Today. Today's RED Hearts post is by Charlotte Steinway , 22, reporting from New York City on Russian style by way of the Big Apple:

Although I've been feeling particularly inspired by the arctic chill that has graced the eastern US, it wasn’t until a birthday party last Friday night that I discovered an actual antidote to sub-zero temperatures: dressing Russian. And I’m not talking about Thousand Island’s condiment cousin.

When my friend sent out the invitation, I expected the evening to follow the implicit NYC birthday recipe: dinner with close friends, followed by a larger gathering with the dinner guests, plus extraneous Facebook friends. However, I was thrilled to find out she was hosting a highly original themed party -- a Russian birthday celebration to take place in Brighton Beach, the part of Coney Island largely populated by immigrants from the former Soviet Union.

And, while I did have a stomach full of pierogis quelling my chill, I do believe it was my clothing choice that kept me lively on that nine-degree night. From there on, I’ve pledged to combat the cold by mimicking Moscow style.

Traditional Russian costume is comprised of decadent fabrics -- think embroidery, velvet, and fur (go faux to save you from debt and PETA altercations) -- and large doses of rich, tsar-ish hues like purple and red. Headgear is a must, and topping my mid-winter most-wanted list is a faux fur halo and Pokemon-esque ear accessories (pictured). Either or both would pair nicely with the $7 floor-length burgundy velour dress I found at my neighborhood Goodwill. Add a pair of chunky booties like these or these and I’ll be set, chicly swaddled and oligargh-awesome.

Now all I need is a first-edition Tolstoy, a jar of caviar and a set of nesting dolls to get me through February.


RED Hearts guest poster Charlotte Steinway is an author of  RED: Teenage Girls in America Write On What Fires Up Their Lives Today, now    available in paperback.