The first time I wore a flower crown, I looked like a dinner theatre version of Carmen Miranda. The head adornment was robust, round and ridiculous. I wasn’t singing a bad version of “Chica Chica Boom,” though; I was modeling a bright orange, Grecian-inspired Spring dress.

The next time was a little more pleasant. I was voyeuristically checking out other fashion bloggers on Instagram when I stumbled onto Maria Tettamanti’s page. She’s called “The Wordy Girl” in the fashion world. In her profile picture, the loveliest flower crown engulfs her head. She looks radiant. I started following her immediately.

Six months later, I was on my way to interview Roberto Cavalli when I had an “I feel fat and bloated” breakdown. Not exactly how you wanna feel when you’re about to interview the King of All Things Beautiful and Excessive. I asked Tod, my “Shireen’s Favorite Things” fashion photographer, if we could make a quick fashion emergency stop on Lincoln Road. He’s always up for an adventure, so we hightailed it over to Bebe.

That’s where we grabbed as many Cavalli look-alike dresses as possible. In less than 20 minutes, we styled the whole kit and caboodle: a dress, earrings, ring, shoes and purse. Just as we were about to breeze out of the store, I spotted what I thought was a beautiful belt. It was a dazzling display of what appeared to be silk flowers, delicately strung together with a dark brown leather band. The potpourri of petals were subtly accented with spectacular clusters of tear drop crystals.

While I oohed and ahhed over it, Tod shot me an impatient look and said: “No way, we don’t have time.” The entire moment reminded me of the whole “wrap-it-up box” skit comedian Dave Chapelle used to feature on his Comedy Central variety show. You know, the one where the guy and the girl are “getting it on” and she’s fully making a grocery list, having thoughts about changing the drapes and thinking about what she’s going to cook for dinner. And, it’s …

Not because she’s having pity sex with her husband, either. It’s more like, pity marathon sex (a pity for her, because a girl doesn’t have all day.) As the woman patiently gets poked and prodded (for what seems like hours,) she finally reaches under the bed and cleverly pulls out the “wrap-it-up box.”

After she aggressively slaps a button on the top of it, a Def Con type alarm starts going off, along with a strobing red light. The box proceeds to flash, on-and-off, “WRAP-IT-UP!” The guy, of course, finishes straight away. He literally “wraps-it-up!” (Insert smiling emoji here.) I know I digress, but it’s so funny you have to google it. Anyhow, just as Tod shoots me the “wrap-it-up box” look, I quickly wind “The Garden Goddess” belt around my waist. It was fetching.

Now imagine, while I’m already fully wearing my new outfit, Tod is grossly flanked with shopping bags filled with my prior clothing, his camera (because you can’t leave one of those expensive snappers in the car) and some other random equipment he couldn’t part with and I’m trying to add one more thing to our fashion emergency moment. He wanted to kill me, but…

I smiled at him cheekily, needing his approval (after all he’s one of my closest BFF’s) and said: “What do you think?” Just as the last word slipped from my mouth, the Bebe salesgirl screeched from the back of the store: “Oh, no honey! That’s NOT a belt, it’s a flower crown!!”

Of course it was! Tod and I agreed profusely. So, we bought it, I wrapped it around my waist and we laughed our way out of the store. “Flower crown?!” We both exclaimed in unison as we giggled, locked arms and bounced our way toward the car. After all, Roberto was waiting for us! Actually, I bounced; Tod sauntered in the most manly “I just helped dress you in that entire outfit” way.

A few months later, something else was also waiting for us: The flower crown trend. I called Tod immediately; I thought it best he hear it from me first. I chirped softly into the receiver: “You’re never going to believe this, but it’s really happening.” What?” He said anxiously. “Did Shireen’s Favorite Things finally make it big?”I chuckled under my breath and replied: “Well, not yet, but the flower crown trend has and I think we should dedicate a blog to it.” He sighed as if he’d just been released from serving hard time in prison. “Well,” he said, “The Garden Goddess it is then.” Hence, the title of the blog.

And let me tell you, it was freaking tough finding the right flower crown. I looked everywhere and I do mean everywhere. They were either too gauche or too 70’s flower child-like. Finally, when I was on assignment in London for Tom Cruise’s new movie, “Edge of Tomorrow,” I spied a plethora of flower crowns at Primark, on the West End of London. It’s a horribly cheap, but spectacularly fashionable store. Just don’t walk by an open flame in your new purchases.

The problem was, after schlepping at least five full flower crowns back to the states, they looked nothing short of ridiculous during our blog photo shoot. It was like I was wearing a cornucopia gone massively wrong or better yet, it was like I had fully snatched someone’s Thanksgiving day center piece and tried it on for size. It was even worse then my aforementioned Carmen Miranda impersonation. Out of sheer desperation, I messaged Maria, “The Wordy Girl” about her fabulous flower crown and casually mentioned how much I admired her festive forehead.

She sweetly and openly directed me to Michael’s, a craft store in Aventura. That’s the thing I love about fashion bloggers; especially, Maria. For the most part, they’re open, lovely and affable. They genuinely want to help other bloggers succeed.

Unfortunately, because of time constraints, I wasn’t able to make it to Michael’s. Instead, upon Tod’s urging, I tied that Bebe belt that was really a flower crown around my head. If you don’t believe me, go back and look at the “Oh, So Roberto!” blog pictures. The belt that was wrapped around my waist is this week proudly wrapped around my head. Voila.

It’s okay to be a little bit afraid and a little bit in love with the flower crown trend. It’ll keep you honest when you’re trying to style your own look. What I mean is, even though the flower crown is steeped in tradition (one that historically signified the coming of age, marriage, fertility, children, even royalty,) wearing it in everyday life isn’t as easy and practical.

So, how does one wear a budding botanical garden as a crown without looking silly or ridiculous even? Well, first of all, you have to have an occasion to wear it. It’s just not the kind of thing you can slap on to make a run to Publix. Although, I’m fully okay with that or a wedding, garden party, or a dressy brunch. Even an outdoor cocktail party is ideal. And, size does matter…

Go big or go home. The flower crown trend is better bigger. Yes, BIGGER. It just doesn’t come off as well when you’re wearing it dainty, unless, you’re a bride or a flower girl (under six.) It’s a fashion commitment anyway, so don’t just half-crown it, you’ll look prepubescent. Own it. The key is …

Finding the right crown. You must, must, must try it on. I wish I had taken my own advice in London. “The Garden Goddess” should sit comfortably in the middle of your forehead and wrap its way into a lower position around the back of your head. It’s also important to fake it until you make it..

Real flowers are great if you have time for that, but I prefer fake flowers because it’s easier to find the right fit. You can find them at craft stores or trendy boutiques, like Bebe or Primark. A real crown is a major commitment. You need to measure from the middle of your forehead directly back (to the thickest part of your skull) and what’s more, you need to be present when your florist starts to create it because…

Remember, big is good; gigantic not so much. Your head garden should bloom, not sprout. If your floral artist gets carried away, it’ll be what we call in television “jumping the shark” (too much of a good thing turned hokey.) Also, fake flowers don’t necessarily have a shelf life, real flowers obviously do. The only danger with fake flowers is coming off as funereal, so add bright colors to your crown.

“The Garden Goddess” look should be easy and effortless, so keep your hair wavy, and relaxed. If you choose to wear it up, tousle it don’t tame it. After all, it’s a natural look, that takes a lot of unnatural effort to get just right. The flower crown is about looking and feeling soft and pretty.

I paired mine with a beautiful flowing dress and wrapped a few of my extra experimental crowns (I ended up with about eight) around my waist and wrists. It’s a different look for me, but one (thanks to the help of Tod) I definitely enjoyed blossoming into. You could say it’s one of my crowing fashion achievements and that’s why “The Garden Goddess” is one of my favorite things.

Blog dress & Jewelry: Tiki Boutique – North Miami Beach – IG
Blog hair-tie/used as bracelet: Primark – West End, London
Blog Flower Crown: on Lincoln Road, South Beach

Have a fashionable idea? Contact me:

Twitter @ShireenSandoval
IG @ShireenSandoval

photography by tod p/t4twophotography
Twitter @todp_t4twophoto
IG @Tod_p

Hair & Make-up by Odette Hernandez
Twitter @Odettehernandz
IG Odett_Herndz

Editor: Matthew Auerbach

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