By Karen Rempel | Fashion Editor

This month’s look is a mixture of old and new, with contrasting textures and colors. The centerpiece is the striking, shiny black PVC pants by Andrea Thurlow of Engineered by Andrea T. I love their sleek edginess. The next step in putting this outfit together was to hunt through my closets for the perfect shoes to match the pants.

It took some searching through four closets, and then I found these slender patent leather Mary Jane “fetish” shoes in the darkest reaches at the back. I’d almost forgotten about these elegant beauties, which I’d purchased on a trip to Berlin to visit my sister, many years ago. They are called fetish shoes for a reason. They are duplicitous, capturing both ends of the SM spectrum. Although only 4.7 inches high, they are virtually impossible to walk in, the slope is so steep—making the wearer helpless prey. But the tiny spikes in the stiletto heels are tipped in metal. The force in the tiny tip is up to 1,600 PSI! These shoes can be formidable instruments of torture! Just saying…

The orange velvet hoodie has a long “elfin” hood with a bell on the end, softening the hard, shiny black impact with a touch of whimsy. I discovered this Black Forest fairytale garment on the same trip to Berlin, at a local designer’s store, but the name is lost in the sands of time, sadly. I couldn’t find anything similar online to look up the designer. The piece is truly unique. If any of you readers know, drop me a line!

Treasures from travelling—don’t you love them? They contain the special seed of the original journey, with petals of memory from subsequent wearings making these our dearest garments. Adorning the outfit with orange-speckled jewelry brings even more memories of friends and friendship. Style can root us in our connections with others, even as it expresses our unique personality.

I invite you to share a personal tale about one of your favorite garments in the comments section, below. I can’t wait to hear your story!


For more stories, style notes, and fun photos, see and connect @karensquirkystyle.

West Village model Karen Rempel blends velvet with PVC and takes a bite out of Bleecker Street. Photograph by Dusty Berke.

Black PVC pants by Engineered by Andrea T. 147 West 35th Street (by appointment only).

Elfin orange velvet hoodie with bell sleeves, rickrack trim, and a bell on the hood. Designer boutique (unknown), Berlin.

Ledapol black patent leather Mary Jane stilettos. Boutique Hautnah, Uhlandstr. 170, Berlin.

Black tank. Pink Penguin NYC, 110 Macdougal Street.

Nicole Lee handbag. Vancouver International Airport.

Orange carnelian teardrop necklace with carnelian beads and orange teardrop bead earrings. Gift from a friend.

Multicolored gemstone bracelet. The Met Store, 1000 Fifth Avenue.

Vintage ’50s amber-colored glass ring. Pippin Vintage Jewelry, 112 W. 17th Street.

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