Most stylish New Yorkers: Fritz and Christina Clare Donnelly

The newlyweds and founders of experimental event group HiChristina adore spandex, sequins and mismatched prints.

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  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    The newlyweds met four years ago at a loft party in Bushwick, Brooklyn. "We saw each other across the dance floor and we were both wearing fishnets," recalls Christina. "Obviously, we moved in together three days later."

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    "These Seraphine leggings have been a standby during my pregnancy," enthuses Christina, who picked them up from Girlcat (380 Atlantic Ave between Bond and Hoyt Sts, Boerum Hill, Brooklyn; 718-643-3863, anyaponorovskaya.com). "I refuse to get any maternity clothing because it all seems hideous, so I just stick to stretchy items." She pairs the basic bottoms with a handmade 1940s lace shirt and a Moschino cropped sport coat purchased in L.A.

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    These silver lace-up boots were one of Christina's many finds from a moving sale held by the Theatre Development Fund's (tdf.org) Costume Collection last year. "My Uncle George is a member, and together we bought a large Chinatown plastic bag for $10 and stuffed as much as we could into it," she says. "I wonder what show these boots were used for."

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    Christina shows off her topaz engagement ring, purchased at the Williamsburg location of the Brooklyn Flea (East River Waterfront between North 6th and 7th Sts, brooklynflea.com; reopens April 8) the week before their June 2011 wedding. It's nestled next to her wedding band, which she says she "found in an old room I occupied when I first moved to New York, long before I met Fritz."

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    "Fashion is a place where the rules of painting, design, photography and performance can all collide," says Fritz, who draws inspiration from computer programming for this particular mixed-pattern ensemble, composed of a Pucci vest from the Theatre Development Fund's Costume Collection sale and a gifted Clotheshorse Inc. shirt.

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    To give the look an even quirkier twist, he tucks his 1980s tie, picked up at Goodwill, into the waistband of his postal-service pants from Williamsburg art-clothing brand Informed Uniforms. "Even if you are wearing ordinary clothes, you can always do it in a distinctive way."

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    These dress shoes belonged to Fritz's dad, who passed away. "He was a Kiwi from New Zealand, and these shoes were shined with Kiwi shoe polish, so these are a tribute to my father," he notes.

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    Fritz and Christina run participatory-art-experience group HiChristina, which they launched in March 2009. "Through working creatively with [Christina], I've learned how much you can say without even opening your mouth," gushes Fritz.

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    "I love this silk, hand-beaded flapper dress," says Christina, who discovered the frock at a warehouse in Chicago. "It was actually made in the '20s and looks good with a big or flat belly!"

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    Christina tops off her look with a leopard-skin pillbox hat from Daha Vintage (175 Orchard St between E Houston and Stanton Sts, 212-388-1176) and accentuates her pout with coral Chanel lipstick.

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    Along with Christina's wedding band, this trio of chunky beaded necklaces was left behind by a previous tenant in the first apartment Christina lived in when she moved to the city. "Gotta love random living spaces in New York City!" she declares.

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    Vibrant striped Crown Vintage wedges from DSW (locations throughout the city; visit dsw.com) provide equal parts style and comfort.

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    "It's nice to combine a 'touch-me' fabric with something less organic," says Fritz of his decision to combine a mesh polo picked up at a Miami thrift store with a velvet vest from the Theatre Development Fund's Costume Collection sale, as well as pants designed by Christina.

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    Christina hand-made this silver bow tie as a wedding present for Fritz, who wore it during their marriage ceremony in Central Park.

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    "These are the most complimented pants I own," gushes Fritz of his velvet bottoms, which Christina modified by adding a white denim cuff. "White is a cheeky color to put down by your shoes." The DIY pant leg also draws attention toward his Rockport dress shoes.

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    Christina admits that she's had a big impact on Fritz's style. "I was the one to introduce him to leggings," she points out. "Sometimes I think, 'Oh my, what have I done? I've created a sparkly, spandex-wearing, feather-boa monster!' That being said, I find our outfits to be quite complementary."

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    Both the puff-sleeved leotard and sequined palazzo pants hail from Miami. The leotard was a thrift-store find, and the pants were scooped up "from some strange garage we passed on the freeway," recalls Christina. "They were at the bottom of a cardboard box filled with really old newspapers and Barbie dolls. Needless to say, it was an odd trip."

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    A multistrand pearl necklace from the Upper East Side Goodwill and Chanel lipstick in Kensington are ladylike touches to an otherwise flamboyant look. The feather hat is from a Miami vintage store. "The owner gave it to me for free because I do performance art in New York," explains Christina. "She seemed to think that New York City was the perfect place for such a strange hat; I agreed."

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    "I swear you can dance all night in these, like you're prancing on a cloud," promises Christina, who picked up these silver platform boots from the Theatre Development Fund's Costume Collection moving sale. "They are so comfortable!"

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    "This is a classic HiChristina show outfit," says Fritz, who wears American Apparel (locations throughout the city; visit americanapparel.net) purple leggings, a gold lam women's blouse from Housing Works (locations throughout the city; visit shop.housingworks.com) and a sequined bolero from Sweden that originally belonged to Christina. "She had all of this men's clothing that she didn't know what to do with, and it all fit me. Ours is the gender-reversed Cinderella story."

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    Fritz demonstrates how he knotted a skinny purple tie from Kmart (locations throughout the city; visit kmart.com) over a vintage silk version to create his layered accessory. "It's great to combine cheap and expensive, silk and polyester, high and low culture in an outfit," he states.

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    "Being pregnant has certainly affected my style," admits Christina. "Sometimes I forget about the big belly and try to squeeze into some tiny unitard! I've needed to be extra creative to make my tummy look posh and fun."

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    "I was recently on tour in L.A. playing with [singer] Alexa Wilding (alexawilding.com), and we stopped into a vintage shop and found two---that's right, two---of these jumpsuits," says Christina. "One pink-and-black, one mint-and-black. I just had to get both---perfect pregnancy wear!"

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    A simple emerald-studded heart necklace that Christina inherited from her Grandma Doris is all she needs to accessorize her showy one-piece.

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    This patchwork outfit was made with love: The green suede pants were part of a tuxedo that Fritz created with his mother for his high school prom, while the multifabric shirt is something Christina refashioned from several button-ups Fritz had but never wore. "It's a great example of making the best out of the worst," he says.

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    "Some people---including Christina---think this snake is hideous and offensive," admits Fritz, who received it as a gift from Swoon Magazine (swoonmagazine.com) founder Anya Ferring. "But it makes a great scarf and doubles as a pillow, plus it has some odd sexual implications." The Christian Dior polka-dot tie from a West Coast thrift shop will likely ruffle less feathers.

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    These once-pristine Dexter buckskin lace-ups were a gift from a friend of Fritz's Uncle George. "Of course, the first day I wore them, I spilled olive oil all over them," he laments. "It's great to wear the shoes anyway. We have such a clean-obsessed culture that it's nice to show some dirt from time to time."

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    "People often give me an unworn, wild article [of clothing] from their own closets," says Fritz. "It's as if my outfits are a magnet for even more funky stuff. I like wearing gifts or homemade things more than mass-produced items."

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    Christina says that this flashy stretch sequined dress from the East Village Salvation Army has been "ideal for a performer's pregnant tummy."

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    "You know when you're at Century 21 (locations throughout the city; visit c21stores.com) and have found nothing, but can't go home empty-handed because five hours is a long time to be hassled by tourists and crazy shoppers, and going home with nothing would be so depressing?" asks Christina. "That's when I found these boots. I just had to have them. Kind of because I think they're cute, but mostly because I'm afraid of failure---the failure of leaving without a single purchase."

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    The patterned Ivana Helsinki (ivanahelsinki.com) cotton pants, which were a gift from Finnish designer Paola Suhonen after the couple hosted a HiChristina event in her pop-up store, and a button-up shirt handcrafted by Christina may be eye-catching on their own. But Fritz's choice of outerwear is what actually steals the show. "The gold cape gets me into clubs when I'm not on the list," he says. "I once showed up at Hotel Chantelle (92 Ludlow St between Broome and Delancey Sts; 212-254-9100, hotelchantelle.com) in the 'flasher's jacket' with a friend in his fishing boots and yellow parka, and another friend dressed like a desert refugee. We were ushered in like movie stars. The film we were in must have been Midnight Cowboy meets Steve Zissou."

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    Fritz isn't afraid to carry Christina's oversized LeSportsac tote, which she scored at a sample sale listed by Elysa Lazar (lazarshopping.com). "I think everything we wear doesn't always need to be about us, or reflect on us as individuals," he explains. "So the bag is a kind of friendship link between the person carrying the bag and the person who owns it."

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    "No animals were harmed in the making of this hat," swears Fritz. "This raccoon was run over crossing a highway, and its body was collected by an eccentric fellow who dries road-killed animal hides. My Uncle Buzz gave it to me for Christmas, someone else gave me the hat, and a third person, as a gift, combined the two."

Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

The newlyweds met four years ago at a loft party in Bushwick, Brooklyn. "We saw each other across the dance floor and we were both wearing fishnets," recalls Christina. "Obviously, we moved in together three days later."

Fritz Donnelly, 29, "performance artist/sculptor of fun social experiences" (tothehills.com); and Christina Clare Donnelly, 29, "vintage slice-and-dicer and conceptual-art fun-time maker for HiChristina" (hichristina.com); Williamsburg, Brooklyn

His personal style: "HiChristina chic! I wear anything I can dance in or run in if I'm late. I wear clothes that break the ice and create conversations or excuses to play."

Her personal style: "A mishmash of different fabrics and styles that together make a single unified piece. I try to do this with every outfit I wear, and with every design I come up with. Wearing clashing yet somehow complementary patterns and textiles together takes a certain sort of, say, insanity. Sometimes it's high fashion, other times it's yikes."

His inspirations: "Christina is my biggest inspiration. Next to her is the person on the street. I like when clothes make things fun, light and evoke curiosity. I like an outfit that represents different things to different people but is always something strong. And I like wearing clothes that say and do something counter-normative, such as when Jeff Stark of NonsenseNYC (nonsensenyc.com) clothed 100 Occupy Wall Street participants in suits and ties."

Her inspirations: "Whatever is around me, from the big pile of trash on the corner to a ritzy, glittery storefront on Madison Avenue. There is inspiration and love to be found in anything and everything."

His favorite stores: "When I first met her, Christina ran a [now-closed] clothing boutique on the Lower East Side called Slip. It featured her vintage reconstructions. There are still stores down there run by young ladies who feature local designers. Werk (9 Clinton St between E Houston and Stanton Sts; 646-476-9100, cantspellit.com) is one such emerald of local culture. Another cool vintage boutique is Isobel Arnberg (280 Mulberry St between E Houston and Jersey Sts; 646-823-9071, isobelarnberg.tumblr.com), where inspiring fashion designer Alisha Trimble hosted one of our HiChristina variety shows. But my favorite store is outdoors. It's a piece of sidewalk on Ludlow Street between Rivington and Stanton Streets where a lady regularly hangs clothes on a metal fence. This is a free store and fun to browse at midnight on weekends." Her favorite stores: "The Salvation Army (112 Fourth Ave between 11th and 12th Sts; 212-673-2741, salvationarmyusa.org) in the East Village. You've got to dig, but sometimes you'll find a treasure there. The Goodwill (1704 Second Ave between 88th and 89th Sts; 212-831-1830, goodwillny.org) on the Upper East Side has crazy designer hand-me-downs. I also make a lot of clothes for myself and others, so I also like digging around my own Williamsburg studio."

His signature accessories: "Leggings and sparkles, although it's an evolving script."

His favorite designer: "Christina's clothing is vintage reconstruction, and the majority of my men's shirts are from her line, Christina Clare. I think this is the one item that men can be expressive in regardless of their job: long-sleeved, collared shirts."  

Her favorite designer: "I really admire H. Fredriksson's (hfredriksson.com) creations. Flowing and feminine, [designer Helena Fredriksson's] work is simple yet somehow amazingly intricate."

His New York style icons: "I like unintentional style icons, like the man who roller-skates and sings in a pop-can suit. I think evening wear is about what's under your clothes, and daytime wear is about your activities or profession—what you do. If you work at night, you work naked."

Her New York style icon: "Iris Apfel. Her distinctive glasses and playful wardrobe looks good at the grocery or gallery."

How his style has evolved: "In grade school, I wore camouflage. In high school, I went barefoot and wore doctor's smocks and carried my books in an external-frame backpack. In college, I wore boots and a cowboy hat and jeans when herding cattle or bucking bales. After college, I went to China and wore white suits, but couldn't find a laundry, so I never washed them; I just gave them away when they got dirty. I came back to America and wore a bus operator's sweater and old-man pants, alternated with a Mao shirt and homemade shorts. When I arrived in New York City, my style started [to transition to] sparkle and spandex. The summer wool pants gave way to sequined leg warmers, and the straight-collared shirts began to mix and mesh [into one another]."

How her style has evolved: "Less overalls, more heels, I'd say."

His favorite salon: "I go to the Russian & Turkish Baths (268 E 10th St between First Ave and Ave A; 212-674-9250, russianturkishbaths.com) on my birthday. I like to cut my hair with an eye toward options, possibilities, mistakes: DIY haircuts as part of a social experience. So I'll take a midnight haircut under the lamppost outside the venue, or on a high stool in the center of the party. Christina cleans up whatever mess I come back with; she's good at shaping the hedge."

Her favorite salon: "Sometimes I go to an old friend, Daniel Rechelbacher, at his private salon, 2b (80 Nassau St between Fulton and John Sts, apartment 2B; 917-597-8614, salon2b.com). Or, I'll cut off a piece here or there if left to my own devices!"

How his career influences his style: "The wilder I dress, the easier it is to believe in what I say. My job is a catalyst for fun social experiences, and combines suspension of disbelief with the power of suggestion, so the outfits are a kind of an aphrodisiac for my work."

How her career influences her style: "As a performance artist who frequently hosts shows, I feel absolute freedom to wear a few items that I may think twice about wearing otherwise. For instance, my 'kitchen supply' outfit that consists of sponges, plastic wrap, two conspicuously placed cupcake tins and a small cookie sheet. And there are more sparkles at work! Which means a lot, because there are already tons of sparkles in my daily attire."

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Schultzy b
Schultzy b

If you plan to go lower cost go with empire waist or smocked dresses. For the women searching for plus size, you just have to know what to look for in maternity clothes! Sometimes an XL will gladly fit an 18. You want the spandex content to be at least 3% for maternity clothes. The more spandex, the better the give. Cute plus size maternity exist, stores do not buy it because they do not have a high enough demand for plus size. 

Schultzy @ http://www.mommyliciousmaternity.com/