26th Feature on Independent Fashion Bloggers!

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Learning à la Mode

The thing I love most about fashion blogging is that it’s rarely only about clothes. It’s about the cultural traditions behind an outfit, using your creativity to create a whole new look, or to discover the real personalities behind style icons. This week’s roundup is enlightening in so many ways. We learned that Nigerian women really know how to do it up for weddings, that two skirts worn together can look very chic, that Anna Wintour is lovely during an interview (and might even tell you your second-hand dress is pretty), how to survive a shopping break… read on for these educational tidbits and so much more!

Links à la Mode: March 26

SPONSOR: Shopbop: Spring dresses, Nude, and Black Wedges, Black Booties,Peep Toe Booties, Ankle boots, Knee High boots, Leopard Flats, Red Pumps & Wedge Sandals

Capitalized Fashion

Originally, I didn’t want to come to Washington, DC.

I thought the Washington Semester Program that American University offers would consist of “all-politics-errthang.” I was pleasantly surprised that that was far from the case.

The Journalism & New Media program is finely tuned to your interests! And you all know what mine is. Uhuh, fashion.

In my writing class, I’ve had assignments to go out and interview sources that would build my stories. My most recent assignment that I’m super proud of is my project entitled “Capitalized Fashion.” In that piece, I sought out to prove that fashion surely exists in our nation’s capital. It not only exists, but it is flourishing in this political-driven society.

Here’s my intro:

Clear, stainless glass protects timeless pieces of American history’s most prominent women in “The First Ladies” exhibit at The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. One after another, dress after dress and piece after piece are shown in an attractive collection of class and wealth. In the center of the dimly lit room beckons First Lady Michelle Obama’s very own inaugural gown that she wore to President Obama’s first Inaugural Ball in 2009. A light shines from the top of the display, romanticizing the delicate, one-shoulder dress designed by Jason Wu; accentuating the glittering, stacked bracelets; and highlighting the signature and seemingly comfortable Jimmy Choo shoes.

You want more, huh?

Well, the paper is entirely too long for a blog post (6 pages+) so I won’t share all of the details. However, I’ve gotten some valuable advice from those I interviewed and I’m here to share with you some of their quotes that I utilized in my piece. The list includes Fashion Washington’s co-editor Janet Kelly (a publication initiated by the Washington Post), blogger Krystin Hargrove of Be Loud Be You, blogger Ashley Chew of Ashley Tenise, the founder of the DC Fashion Foundation Christine Brooks-Cropper and student assistant Mary Vanidiver of DC Fashion Week.

Time for a little Q&A. (PS: The photos I’m using are from my visit from the “First Ladies” exhibit at The Smithsonian!)

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25th Feature on IFB!

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Style Conscious

Believe it or not, the fashion industry is the second most dangerous industry to the planet. Between the (leather) tanning, gold mining and dye industries, fashion may look great on you, but not so much on “Mother Earth.” This week we have links to bloggers who are looking into what it means to be a kinder consumer of fashion. And of course, we’re all still gossiping about that Oscar’s red carpet too.

Links à la Mode: February 26th

SPONSOR: Shopbop Half Off Kobo, Tai, TB Swim, Merz, Prabal Gurung, Jet Set Diaries, Harris Wharf, Simkhai, Apiece Apart, Emerson Thorpe & Studio Pollini

DC Fashion Week Events!

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Wherever you are, find out what your niche is doing and partake in the festivities! I spent a couple hours scrounging for fashion events in DC and found that they have their very own Fashion Week. I got to participate in the Macy’s event with June Ambrose, Johnetta Boone and Tai Beauchamp! (I posted about here.) And there were plenty events I discovered! Since I’m juggling seminars and my internship, I figured three more back to back wouldn’t do me that much damage. Boy, was I wrong! After the hectic week, I was exhausted and stayed in my apartment the whole weekend to recuperate! Imagine what it’s like for NYFW with fashion influencers going to shows back to back. Shudders.

I’d still love that, though. Haha.

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Dear Black People, You Are Your Hair. Love, America.

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I’ve gone through countless, cultural lessons in light of the 20 years I’ve lived. It’s only right to share. You know, so we’ll all be culturally versed together.

Lesson Number 1: Black people don’t have long hair.

This lesson was first taught to me in no other than the institute of learning. In my elementary years, my classmates challenged the legitimacy of the hair coming from my very own follicles. Because my hair reached past my shoulder blades, it was fake. Duh.

As I grew up, people have always wanted (and even attempted) to touch my roots, checking for extensions. I’m not mixed so all this hair couldn’t possibly be mine.

Lesson Number 2: Black people should hate their hair. Oh, and Black people should perm their hair, too.

As a child, I didn’t like wearing weave because I was afraid people would think I didn’t have any hair. Saddening, huh? But once prom came around, I fell in love with extensions and couldn’t see myself without it anymore. To be beautiful meant to have bundles of hair flowing down my back.

Part two of lesson two:

Due to the fact that our hair is untamable and wild, we must permanently straighten it to look acceptable in society. If we don’t do so, we may miss possible job opportunities that we probably could’ve gotten if our hair was straight.

Lesson Number 3: Darker skin + big hair = more problems.

I’ll never forget my senior year of high school. My sister and I were two of the very few Black people casted in our school’s huge production: 42nd Street. Our excitement was quickly squashed when we noticed we weren’t included in our favorite scene. As we sat out and watch them rehearse, we noticed something. Every girl lightly dancing around in tutus were fair skinned with silky, long tresses. I couldn’t help but tear up at our “misfortune.”

Asides from that scene, along with everyone else, we had to wear wigs. It was easy for the directors to find one for me because I had a perm but it was difficult to find one for my sister because she was natural. Again, yet another problem with us.

Lesson Number 4:  “Ethnic hairstyles” on us looks…trashy. (So basically, we should stray away from not just wearing our hair out, but from braids and dreads, too!)

We’ve seen this when Kendall Jenner was accredited for an “epic”, new look: cornrolls. And now we see it with Giuliana Rancic saying that because Zendaya wore dreads, she must have smelled of “patchouli” and “weed.”

Anyone who knows me, knows that I absolutely, positively love Zendaya. She’s a poised, stylish and reputable young woman. And so her response to Giuliana Rancic made me adore her even more. It moved me to the point where I had to create this post, to shed light on the expectations America has on African-Americans.

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Lesson Number 5: Black people, America says: “Contrary to your belief and India Arie, you are your hair…and you are your skin, too.”

When you consider hair, you consider color. We deal with the color of our skin, and within the color, we deal with the shade. We deal with the texture and we deal with the length of our hair. Our hair represents who we are to society, as stereotypical and racial it may be.

I do not consider Giuliana Rancic a racist. That comment was ignorant, yes. And we will hear a lot more of degrading remarks in this life, but do not confuse racism with ignorance and do not allow negativity to cause you to seep low with ignorant comments of your own. Handle with regality, with grace, with poise.

Heck, handle it like Zendaya.

* Photo Credit: Adriana M. Barraza/WENN.com

Loving Love

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I love love! So whenever Valentine’s Day comes around, I can’t help but wear the typical pinks, reds, and purples and be in a gushy, giddy mood. Even when I was single, I was never a VDay hater lol maybe it was my upbringing in my faith. No, not maybe – definitely! I’m surrounded by love daily and I’m constantly reminded of the Ultimate Love of all:  sweet sweet Jesus! Get it? Sweet? (Yes, I chuckle at my own jokes.)

I traveled back to Jersey to celebrate the holiday with my hunay. It was a long bus ride (about 4.5 hours) but it was soooo worth it. I haven’t seen Paul in over a month! *cues tears* It felt surreal to be not just with him, but my family. I missed them so much!

On to the good stuff. I spent the first half of my VDay with my mom. The quality time was much needed and we appreciated each other’s company (I’m a momma’s girl, guys.)

The second half of my day was spent with Paul! I had no clue what he was planning until we reached the stables.  Yup, he surprised me with a horseback lesson!!! Mind you, he didn’t know I used to collect figurines of horses as a child. The experience … took my breath away. Both, literally and figuratively.

IMG_1085Afterwards, we went to dinner at a perfect Thai restaurant. It was the perfect  ending to a perfect day with the most perfect people.

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IMG_1054 IMG_1061 IMG_1079I guess now’s the part where I tell you about what I’m wearing, right? All ASOS errthang!!! Haha no seriously, everything is. Except for my pants. They’re from The Gap. If you guys don’t realize, the “shirt” I’m wearing is actually the dress I wore for my birthday! I folded it up and voila.

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It doesn’t matter that it’s two days after Vday, Happy Valentine’s Day, Adorners! And if you haven’t heard it lately, I love you all ;)

* Photography by my good friend Domonique Boss! Thank you, girly!