Brandy & Melville: Italian boutique brings breath of fresh air

Inside Brandy Melville

I recently discovered this boutique after moving to Westwood. Like everyone who comes here would agree, I fell in love. I’ve been there a few times and never fail to witness shoppers exclaim at how “cute” the clothes are and how much they are “obsessed” with the store.

The fabrics are extra soft and light-weight

From Italy with love: Brandy Melville was started 30 years ago in Italy and spread all over Europe. It only opened in the US since 2008 and currently has four locations. One is NYC’s fashion district SoHo while the other three are in California (Westwood, Santa Monica and Newport Beach).

The appeal: Vintage, minimal and sexy sum up the irresistible appeal of Brandy Melville.
If I have to pick, the store’s vibe is closest to that of Urban Outfitters. It is unique with loose, over the shoulder tops, sheer tanks and nautical stripes. Even though the clothes are all one-size fits most, there are still body-con dresses with strategic cut-outs and criss-crosses.

Who wears it: Brandy Melville has been a big hit among celebrities, including Olivia Palermo and Anna Paquin. Nevertheless, it is totally affordable. For $15 to $30, you can own one of its cute items.

Where to buy: With only four physical locations in the US, Brandy Melville is also retailed through Nasty Gal and Revolve Clothing.

Check out the pictures and decide whether you’re a fan!

Off-the-shoulder top is a Brandy Melville signature

... so are stripes

Brandy Melville is not without more body-con pieces like this cross back dress

The clothes have a youthful, beachy vibe to them

Brandy Melville's signature sheer top. The brand also retails on Nasty Gal and Revolve Clothing

Inspired outfits: DKNY Spring 2010 RTW

These are some of the outfits inspired by Donna Karan’s recent collection. I like to work with separates and try to incorporate floral prints and relaxed, casual suit items. 

1. Vintage floral shorts: 

I pick the floral print shorts first, which are naturally paired with an oversize black boyfriend blazer. The top is a simple lingerie-looking light pink body suit. The gladiator heels add boldness and strengthen the whole look.

2. Graphic tee: 

Geo Photo Tee, $24       BDG Schoolboy Blazer, $78       Kimchi Blue Floral Full Short, $38

The focal point in this outfit is the graphic t-shirt that comes in a bright shade of yellow. I pair it with a pair of shorts that have a humble shine. The blazer and open-toe pumps are very cute in structure but lay low in terms of color. 

3. Asymetric cardigan: 

Asymmetric Ribbed Cardigan, $28       Etienne Aigner Vivica, $69        UO Wildflower Scarf, $28

These khaki pants represent well the casual slacks in the collection. I add a strapless velvet bodysuit in a deep royal red. This asymetrical cardigan makes the outfit all very hip and maintains comfort. The open-toe slingbacks simply match the color of the pants, while the scarf caters to the floral vintage feel.

Runway looks for less: DKNY Spring 2010 RTW

Items inspired by DKNY Spring 2010 RTW, mostly clothing from Urban Outfitters and Charlotte Russe.

1. Casual suit: blazer and pants/shorts

DKNY Spring 2010 RTW

This is my first attempt on interpreting runway looks and it takes a lot more time than I imagine.

The collection is Spring 2010 Ready to wear by DKNY. It definitely sparks my interest because I’m a fan of comfortable clothes that look effortlessly stylish. Here’s some background information about the designer that sets the theme for her collection.

Donna Karan, formerly head designer of Annie Klein, launched her own line in 1985. She invented the legendary Seven Easy Pieces, which include: 1. Bodysuit  2. Coat 3. Jacket 4. Blouse or turtleneck 5. Pants 6. Wrap skirt 7. Something fancy for eveningwear.

This collection contains pieces like jumpsuits, blazers, tailored pants/shorts and wrap dresses that reflect the comfort and versatility of her design.

1. Casual suit and blazer:

Casual suits mean a blazer/jacket that is worn with casual pants that are roomy in the hip area, tailored shorts or skirts. They are paired with plain button-down shirts or colorful blouses/tank tops.

2. Jumper/jumpsuit:

The shape of these jumpers/jumpsuits is emphasized by a delicate tie of the same fabric at waist. They are an updated version of the 70s, 80s jumpsuits in that the pants are harem instead of bell-bottom. They are also paired with blazers for a more formal look.

3. Tie/wrap dress:

These are minimum, shaft-like dresses (with the occasional exception of a looser, more flowy top) whose waist is emphasized by ties, cinching and draping. 

4. Prints:

There is a combination of sophisticated metallic floral prints and bold abstract prints. Some of the pieces appear to carry a vintage floral feel.

5. Graphic tunic dresses and tees:

The oversized tunic dresses have a consistent abstract floral prints. These long-sleeve tees are extra comfortable and laidback. Note that color biker shorts are discretely layered under shorts and skirts.

6. Swimwear:

These one pieces can be interpreted to have the same build as bodysuits.

Photos: Marcio Madeira/