Learning The Hard Way

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Photos by Lisa Richov

Express Trench Coat // Express Top // Express Leather Leggings
Burberry Scarf // Chanel Bag

Happy Monday everyone! I’ve been so excited to share these photos with you. You know those days when you actually really like your outfit and it kinda makes everything else that day go great as well?  Well that was the kind of day I had when I wore this look & took these shots. I’m telling you, never underestimate the power of an outfit you love! Before this one, I had actually never owned a trench coat and I really have absolutely no idea why I thought this was a good idea!? This cream one is, hands down, my new favourite coat in my wardrobe and is from the brand new petite collection by EXPRESS. The fit, the style, the colour and just it’s overall touch of ‘classic’ has made me fall in love!! There’s nothing I love more than when a brand introduces a petite section – it makes my life SO much easier. Im 5’4, so I’m always on the search for well-fitted pieces and EXPRESS have introduced such a great collection. Everything is designed for us girls who are 5’4 & under & each item is perfectly proportioned to fit & flatter our frames.

I showed this trench coat to you guys already on my Snapchat (@retroflame1) and you all seemed to love it too, so I couldn’t wait to share more photos. This whole look (apart from the accessories) is actually from the EXPRESS petite section. I actually went to one of their events a few months back and have been keeping an eye on their site ever since as they have some great pieces. Unfortunately for my European readers, right now they just ship here in the US, but if you do live here in the states – definitely check them out! The trench coat, the leather-look leggings and the black top are all from this brand. I’m already getting so much wear out of the leggings too and how cute is the detail on the top? All really versatile pieces to have in your wardrobe!

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“Maybe the journey isn’t so much about becoming anything.

Maybe it’s about unbecoming everything that isn’t really you,
so you can be who you were meant to be in the first place.”

Monday is always a funny one isn’t it? It kind of makes you analyze everything in more detail – well me anyway. I remember when I was working full-time last year in here New York, I seriously did NOT look forward to Monday’s. I wished and wished that instead of going to work for somebody else, I could be getting up to work on Retro Flame. It’s a feeling that has kind of always stuck with me because it’s one that taught me a huge lesson. The lesson being – sometimes by doing things you don’t want to do, you learn A LOT about what you DO want to do.It may be the harder way of figuring things out, but trial & error is better than not trying at all.

As I was walking back from a meeting on Lexington Avenue this morning and waiting for the green light to cross the street, for some strange reason, I got a flashback to the Summer I lived in Astoria in Queens. It was my first Summer in New York, I was living with 6 guys in an apartment over one of those hookah bars and let’s just say, things were FAR from glamorous. I was interning at a fancy fashion PR company in the city, so each morning I’d make my way in on the subway. I really don’t know why, but my walk back from the meeting this morning reminded me of my walk to the subway in Queens that Summer 4 years ago. On my way to the meeting, I won’t lie, I was a little stressed. All I could think about was all the things I had to do today and I guess, in a way, just didn’t even notice or acknowledge my surroundings. But something clicked on my way back. For a split second, while I wasn’t looking at my phone or worrying about the next thing on my to-do list, it clicked with me where I was. It was Monday morning, I had woken up in New York City and I was lucky enough to be working for myself on a brand I had built myself & couldn’t love any more if I tried. And just like that…all the other worries disappeared and it brought me back to those days when I was on my way to my first fashion internship in New York City. It brought back that same excitement I felt then.

Now even though I loved that internship and the excitement of it all, it did actually teach me that Fashion PR was NOT for me. I had always thought that I wanted to work in Fashion PR – I just had a feeling it was for me. But after 3 months of learning the in’s & out’s here in NYC, I knew from the get-go that it wasn’t something I wanted to do forever. So even on those mornings where I was happy as could be en route to my internship, I knew in my heart that this experience was just a stepping stone to where I wanted to be in the long term. It was one of the many lessons I would learn along the way.

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Every single thing you do teaches you a lesson and I truly believe the lessons you learn about things you don’t like are the very best lessons of all. Every single job, internship, guy I’ve gone out with, friend I’ve made has taught me more & more about myself and what I want in the long term. Of course, they’ve all shown me things I do like but more importantly, they’ve made me realise that sometimes you just ‘think’ you know what you want. There is a lot of trial & error to be done, so you have to keep going.

That walk to the subway in queens and that internship in Soho were just the start for me. But I also believe today’s walk back from that meeting was also a start. I’m fully sure that in 4 years time from now, I’ll have a lot more lessons under my belt. We’re always learning, we’re always discovering new things and we’re always reinventing – that’s the beauty of the journey.

So if you woke up this morning feeling anything but excited about the day ahead, please don’t worry but also please don’t ignore it. The job you’re in right now may just be part of your stepping stone to better things, but if you don’t take action to keep making changes and trying new things, you’ll never get to the stage that’s truly right for you. So let’s go! No more waiting for things to just happen. Learn your lesson from this experience you don’t love, move onto the next one and don’t stop until you’re walking down the street on a Monday morning feeling 110% happy about where you are and where you’re off to.

You only get one go at all of this!

Happy Monday,
Erika x

*Huge thank you to EXPRESS for partnering on this post.


  1. Audrey Leighton

    6 February

    Your hair and that coat is a dream combination. Triple win with iced coffee in hand.
    Oh and the chanel, you are the only gal I know who invested in the one with gold hardware and it’s really my favourite of the boys! I don’t like the distressed silver.

  2. Ioanna

    6 February

    Such a positive message! I wasn’t happy all day, but at least you made my night! It’s really difficult to start your own business especially in a new country. Your post made me realize how lucky I am to have a supportive family and friends! Oh and by the way your outfit is amazing. This trench coat suits you perfectly!




  3. Liv

    6 February

    So trendy!



  4. Meghan

    6 February

    Love this trench on you, E!

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