Seasons greetings! I hope your hearts are filled with joy and gratitude as we prepare for the New Year. If your new year resolutions include supporting more Black-owned businesses, then this post will set you up for success.
I stopped at Ponce City Market about a month ago during my Saturday morning run and visited a new store called the Village Market Retail. I’ve been looking for stylish activewear and was thrilled to find this spicy leopard print outfit by J Dow Fitness. J Dow Fitness was created by Jacqueline Dow, DrPH, MSPH. It’s an athleisure apparel company that promotes “holistic wellness, fitness, and self-confidence among women of color.” The sports bra provides great support and I love the quality and comfy fit, which has been perfect for my outdoor runs and also for lounging around the house.
The Village Market Retail is a concept store that features Black-owned brands. Long before opening the store in Ponce City Market, the Village Market held pop-up shops, or markets, in Atlanta featuring Black vendors and coined the phrase “Support is a verb”. The mission of The Village Market is to “empower entrepreneurs through education, purpose-driven events, and community engagement.”
– Dr. Lakeysha Hallmon / Creator of The Village Market
It is exciting to know that the brands featured in the store will be rotated every few months to maintain a growing list of businesses to support. I consider this store to be a one stop shop for unique apparel, lifestyle, and beauty products. From the camo jackets to the brimmed hats pictured below, there were so many stylish pieces I wanted to purchase. Check out some of the products I saw during my visit and other photos from the store below.
I look forward to patronizing this store in the future and finding additional Black brands to support. You can learn more about the The Village Market here.
Normalize Black-owned luxury
Last month, there was a social media uproar over a comment made about Hermès Birkin bags. If you are not familiar with Birkin Bags, they are the most expensive handbags in the world, costing up to $500,000 and a starting price around $40,000. While Hermès and other iconic brands that are synonymous with luxury have earned their status, there remains a population of Black luxury handbag designers that are underrepresented and under-acknowledged in the fashion industry. Here is my list of luxury Black handbag designers and brands to know.
Brandon Blackwood launched his first handbag collection in 2015. The materials used to make his handbags are ethnically sourced and constructed by craftsmen in Asia, Europe, and the U.S. under fair trade standards. His signature Kendrick trunk style bag (pictured below) is my favorite. I also like his recent exploration of fashion and activism with the “End Systemic Racism” tote bag.
Forbes’ 30 under 30 honoree, Kunmi, began Minku as a bespoke leather goods brand. All items are made in Nigeria and the Eleko Wave™ leather finish adds an interesting floral-like texture to the leather pieces.
Dr. Pachanga’s brand features vegan leather handbags with bold wax print accents, designed by high end fashion designer, Jean Rene Tosomba Onyangunga, also known as Dr. Pachanga. The Congolese designer, based in South Africa, designs colorful handbags with unique styles and in a variety of silhouettes. Each style in Dr. Pachanga’s line is produced in limited quantities, and while in South Africa, I anecdotally learned that each handbag is also named after women in his life. The Vanessa is pictured below.
Cameroonian-born, Wilglory, is the designer behind the brand, Anima Iris. The website states that they are “redefining luxury by including Africa in the narrative, once and for all.” Another sustainable brand with social responsibility at its core, each piece is handcrafted in Dakar, Senegal. Each bag is exquisitely designed and the holiday collection is glorious, including the Zaza bag pictured below, complete with the signature twisted handle.
Whether you are shopping for others during this holiday season or shopping for yourself, I hope you found a few new Black handbag designers to support. Which designer is your favorite?
In so many ways, 2020 has been a year that amplified the social and racial injustices that have been overlooked and unaddressed for decades. The silver lining for me has been to witness and be a part of social actions, both in my professional and personal life that are aiming to bring about change. I have also enjoyed using this time of social distancing to connect in creative ways with others.
Last weekend, I was invited to attend a mural crawl in Atlanta with Black Girl Magic Tours. It was a fun-filled and educational few hours, a complete cultural emergence through art that highlighted the political and social contributions of Black women in Atlanta, while celebrating all things Black Girl Magic. It was also a breath of fresh air to connect with other women, to celebrate and pay tribute to Black women, and to bask in and celebrate our own magic. Continue reading to learn all about my experience on this tour and to see the various murals and sites we explored throughout Atlanta.
I arrived at our pick-up location around 11:30 am to board our luxury tour bus. Each attendee, six total and our tour guide, wore face coverings on the bus. Before entering the bus, we also had our temperatures checked. Black Girl Magic Tours was founded by Tarika Saada, PhD. Tarika is also the tour guide and was very knowledgeable about each mural we visited as well as other historical events in the city. She greeted us with a Black Girl Magic Bellini. Then we were off to our first stop, CamiCakes, a Black-owned gourmet cupcake shop where each attendee received a free cupcake. While I did not have a cupcake during the tour, I have enjoyed my fair share of these delicious treats in my pre-vegan days.
As I mentioned, we spent the tour visiting and discussing the historical importance of each mural. We also stopped by the Freedom Parkway Bridge, one of the most photographed places in Atlanta. Of note, each tour with Black Girl Magic Tours is different, so attendees can enjoy a different mural experience with each tour they book. Here are some of my favorite mural moments.
The photo opportunities are plentiful on this tour, the playlist during our bus ride was the ultimate Black Girl Magic hit list, and my absolute favorite part of the tour was meeting and getting to know the other attendees. COVID-19 rates are again spiking, so it was also a plus that the tour group on the bus was small and that we spent a lot of time outdoors, which of course is a safer option for any type of social gatherings. If you are interested in exploring the art murals in Atlanta (a blogger’s dream, right?), but also would like to learn more about the history of Atlanta, I highly recommend adding Black Girl Magic Tours to your Atlanta bucket list.
Our tour guide began the tour with this question and I invite you to answer it as well.
What makes you magical? Let me know in the comments and thanks for reading!
Well hello! Like the rest of the world, I have been adjusting to telework and virtual homeschooling over the last few months and in the midst of racial injustices and a global pandemic, I’ve had absolutely no inspiration to talk or blog about fashion. It has been nice to take a break, even from creative outlets. I am very excited, however, to share new posts in this season.
First up on the fall list is leather. For me, leather (or faux leather) is a closet staple for autumn and the cooler days ahead. Check out my leather picks to add to your wardrobe now.
1. Leather Joggers
Leather pants are nostalgic and these Black leather joggers are serving 80s style. It’s the high waist and tapered pant legs that I prefer over straight and slim fit leather pants. It’s a look that can be worn casually, as pictured, or dressed up as well. I paired my joggers with snake skin boots, a tan knit crop top, and duster for a chic fall look.
2. Leather Mini Dress
There is something about wearing red leather pieces that makes you feel like a power house. How adorable is this puff sleeve mini dress? The length is flirty and fun and it has a flattering shape. This dress would be perfect for a socially distant date night out (or date night in), paired with strappy heels. You can also wear it with lace tights and black pumps. It is an edgy statement piece and is currently on sale at Anthropologie.
3. Leather Midi Skirt
If you’ve been following my blog for a while then you know that I love a nice midi skirt. It is my favorite skirt length and this cream faux leather midi by Zara is another piece on my fall list.
4. Leather Button Down Shirt
Last, but not least, leather button up shirts are everywhere this season. I particularly like the long shirt look. You can style this look with skinny jeans, leggings, or even Black leather slim fit pants for a bolder outfit.
These four versatile leather pieces can definitely add some edginess to your fall wardrobe. Which piece is your favorite?
I hope you enjoyed this post! Thanks for reading!
On June 19th we celebrate Juneteenth, which commemorates the emancipation of enslaved Africans in the United States. Although the Emancipation Proclamation was signed in 1863, it was nearly two and a half years later when enslaved Africans in the Galveston, Texas were declared free.
In moving towards achieving social and racial justice for Black lives, investing into organizations founded and led by Black people, that are also on the front lines doing the community work, is one strategy to ensure lasting and sustainable impacts in the lives and well-being of Black people.
If you are shopping today, foremost, consider supporting Black-owned brands. Also, consider these brands that are donating 100% of profits today, or throughout June, to Black-led organizations working to achieve racial justice.
Other Wild offers a collection of goods and products created by artists, jewelers, designers, and herbalists amongst others. The curation of products offered through their retail store are selected with special consideration for sustainability and being made with care. Juneteenth sells will be split between the organizations listed below. The impact of the organizations range from improving black maternal health and addressing maternal health disparities (Black Mamas Matter Alliance) to providing meals and resources to Black Trans People (The Okra Project).
ASAI (Actively Standing Against Injustice)
Asai is selling the iconic Rihanna dress pictured below by personal order through email@example.com. All profits from the sales will be donated to Black Lives Matter and other organizations. I could not access their website, so visiting their Instagram page, @asaitakeaway, is the best place for updates.
Peter Do is donating 100% of net profits from online sales during the month of June to black founded organizations and frontline charities who fight for black equality and racial justice. The organizations receiving donations include Color of Change, The Black Youth Project 100, and Black Visions Collective.
Lady White Co. is donating 100% of sales from the LWC x ROF sneaker (pictured above) to Minneapolis based, Reclaim the Block. Reclaim the Block is an organization that focuses on redirecting funds allocated to police to community led safety initiatives.
Make an economic impact by directly supporting Black-owned fashion brands and Black designers as well. The list below includes Black designers and brands that I have featured over the years on Style in Full Bloom:
Rochelle Porter Design
I hope you take some time today to celebrate and reflect on this important day in history. I also hope you consider ways in which you can contribute to achieving racial justice.
Repurpose. Recreate. Reimagine. Refashion.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. CDC also advises the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.
I made a few masks using scrap fabric leftover from old projects. There are tutorials across the internet with step-by-step instructions for non-medical, reusable cloth masks. It is a pretty simple diy project and you can make them with or without a sewing machine.
Thankfully, if diy is not your preference or if you prefer to purchase face masks instead, there are many options available online. There are also a variety of options if you want to shop sustainably or support businesses that champion a social cause. Whether it’s supporting artisans, caring for our environment, or donating purchased masks to others in need – check out these companies and my top picks for fashionable and sustainable masks that also support a social cause.
For the Pattern Lover – Rochelle Porter (Shop here)
Rochelle Porter Design’s are created using beautiful hand drawn prints. The usual collection features active wear and the company has expanded their collection to include face masks in their characteristic bold print. Like the other products, the face masks are made with organic cotton and printed using eco-friendly dyes, which is important considering that we wear the masks over our nose and mouth. The Mali Mask, shown below, is my favorite. These masks are also a great pick if you prefer masks made with elastic bands to fit over the ears.
For the Versatile Fashionista – Velvet Lamb (Shop here)
Velvet Lamb is a California-based clothing line that focuses on short supply chains, ethical production, and zero waste. Each piece is designed with versatility in mind, so you can wear them in a variety of ways. Their face masks, for example, are designed to be worn as headbands as well. My favorite is the mask below with the cheeky six feet physical distance reminder.
For the Artisan Supporter – Studio One Eighty Nine (Shop here)
Studio One Eighty Nine, co-founded by Rosario Dawson and Abrima Erwiah, works with artisans in Ghana to produce their sustainable clothing line. Their masks are also produced by artisans in Ghana using cotton grown in Ghana as well. I like that these masks are three layers and there is also a pocket for filters.
For the Bulk Shopper – Reformation (Shop here)
Reformation is one of the largest sustainable fashion brands. They offer a pack of five cloth face masks for $25. You cannot choose your pattern with these, but you will receive a variety of masks for yourself or your family. These masks also tie in the back.
For the Humanitarian – Zel Haiti (Shop here)
Zel Haiti works with artisans in Haiti to produce medical scrubs. Please note that you won’t actually receive the mask(s) that you purchase from Zel Haiti. Instead, each $5 mask that is purchased is donated to a child or family in one of the remote feeding programs that Chances for Children supports in Haiti. Your mask purchase therefore supports someone who has less resources to buy or make their own mask, while also living in conditions that make it more challenging to remain physically distant from others.
John Hopkins University offers the following information when choosing a mask.
“Look for masks made with at least 2 layers of fabric. It should cover your nose and mouth without large gaps. The mask should have ear loops or ties so you can adjust it. For people who wear glasses, look for a mask with a bendable border at the top so you can mold the mask to fit the bridge of your nose and prevent your glasses from fogging. Professional masks should be reserved for health care workers on the front lines caring for patients.”
I am not sure how long we will be wearing face masks, but I plan to build a fun rotation of masks while supporting others in the process. I hope you enjoyed this post and found some brands to support as well.
These products are essential…
Trader Joe’s is one of my favorite places to shop for groceries. In addition to a pleasant ambiance and a great selection of quality produce, they won my support with their pledge to never include artificial flavors, additives, and GMOs in their private label products. From skin care products to smoothie boosters, my Trader Joe’s shopping list includes these four plant-based superfood products.
First, what are superfoods? Super foods are nutritionally dense foods that contain a variety of nutrients, like antioxidants. Antioxidants work wonders in our bodies, fighting off free radicals, which can cause cellular damage and lead to oxidative stress in the body. My plant-based diet is packed with super foods.
Here is the list of items to try during your next visit to Trader Joe’s.
- Blueberry and Acai Facial Scrub
Trader Joe’s has introduced a number of skin care products over the last few years. I recently tried the microdermabrasion scrub, a few face masks, and this blueberry and acai facial scrub. This scrub is a spa quality product, but it is under $10. It also smells delicious. You’ll feel a slight tingle as you scrub your skin (It’s the alpha-hydroxy acids). I use it a few times a week and it leaves my skin looking and feeling refreshed.
2. Golden Berries
I recently posted about golden berries on Instagram. I have only seen golden berries at farmers’ markets in the past, so I was excited to see them at Trader Joe’s. In addition to their high antioxidant content, they also have anti-inflammatory and immunity boosting properties. They are absolutely delicious and their sweet and tangy taste is a unexpected treat.
3. Matcha Green Tea
I rarely drink coffee, but I have been incorporating Trader Joe’s Matcha Green Tea Powder into my smoothies or other beverages when I need an energy boost. As others mention, I like that matcha does not leave me feeling groggy, like I sometimes feel after drinking coffee. My favorite matcha tea smoothie recipe includes blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, a tablespoon of peanut butter, agave nectar, flaxseed or almond milk, and matcha tea. I call it my Green Light Berry Blast Smoothie. I also prepare it latte style with warm flax or almond milk and sweetened with agave nectar. The Trader Joe’s Matcha Green Tea is also conveniently packaged in single servings. It is a little pricier than the matcha tea I buy at the farmer’s market (about $7), but it is worth it.
4. Hemp Seeds
For a vegan or vegetarian, being intentional about essential fatty acid intake, e.g. omega-3s and omega-6s, is important. Hemp seeds are high in protein and also provide these essential fatty acids. They have a light and subtle nutty flavor. Try sprinkling these hemp seeds over a salad or adding a spoonful to your smoothie for a nutritional boost.
I hope you enjoyed this post and learned about some new super food products to try during your next visit to Trader Joe’s! Happy Shopping!
For the woman who lounges differently…
With all the time spent at home right now, many people are opting for relaxed looks and prioritizing comfort in their every day attire. Lounging comfortably around the house does not mean you are limited to sweat pants and leggings, however. We all have those days when we want nothing more than to stay in our pajamas or work out clothes all day. While it is tempting to exist this way everyday when you do not have to see people regularly, you do not have to get stuck there. There are multiple ways to create chic and elegant looks, without compromising comfort. For this post, I am sharing five essential lounge-worthy pieces from brands that have mastered comfort and style.
1. Wide Leg Trousers
When shopping for cozy pieces, consider the drape of the clothing and the fabric (think soft cottons, linens, cupro or silks, and breathable materials). A cinched high waist with wide pant legs, for example, boasts comfort and is a flattering look on everyone.
2. Utility Jumpsuit
A utility jumpsuit creates an effortless cozy style. It is also an all-in-one, work-from-home uniform look.
3. Slip Dress
There is little the serves classic femininity more than a silky slip dress. The one pictured below is made from Cupro, produced from the waste products of cotton. Cupro is as soft as silk, but is a more sustainable alternative.
4. Matching Pants or Shorts Set
A matching set that can be used to create different looks is essential. While the set below looks like more traditional loungewear, it is a sophisticated alternative to sweats and can also be styled to create a dressier look.
5. Kimono Robe
Last but not least, kimonos exist at the intersection of lounge and luxury. Although I have been wearing my velvet kimono robe over almost everything lately, I like the spin on the tye-dye trend in robe below.
If you value comfort and style, then this post was created for you. I hope you found some new ideas for creating cozy looks. Share your thoughts below and subscribe to my newsletter for regular style inspiration.
Stay Healthy, stay well, and stay home.
Because pearls make everything better…
I have been seeing a lot of fun ways to revamp denim jackets lately. From decorating jackets with words and phrases to adding my favorite glam accessory, pearls, for this post I am sharing a do-it-yourself embellished denim tutorial. It is the is perfect project to work on during long days at home and what a better time than spring to breathe creative life into your old denim pieces.
You can decorate denim jackets or jeans (I added pearls to my daughter’s denim jumpsuit as well). To create this denim jacket look, you will need the following:
-A denim jacket (I used an oversized jacket I purchased at a thrift store.)
For Pearl Embellishments
-Pearl beads (I recommend using assorted size pearls. I purchased this pack at Michaels.)
-Pencil or chalk (to mark the placement of pearls on your jacket)
For Hand Painted Words
-White fabric paint
-Black fabric paint (aerosol fabric spray paint works well for covering a large surface)
First, it is helpful to start with a blue print for your design, so use your pencil or chalk to mark the placement of your pearls on your jacket. After threading your needle, sew your first pearl onto your jacket by pulling your needle from the inside of the jacket through the outside. Pull the needle through one end of your pearl and out through the other side of the pearl.
Next, sew your thread back through the inside of your denim jacket. Create the second hole a short distance away from the first hole you made (as pictured below). Congrats! The first part of the stitch is complete. This is not enough to secure the pearl, however, so repeat this process again, this time bringing your needle back through the same side you just pulled it through. Pull the needle through your pearl again and back through the other side of the jacket (It will be on the side of your first hole now.)
Repeat this process for a total of four times (pulling the needle through the outside of the jacket, through one side of the pearl, out the other side of the pearl, and back through the inside of the jacket). After the fourth time, double (or triple) knot your thread on the inside of your jacket (shown in the picture below) and cut the string. Repeat this process for each pearl.
It took me a few hours to complete the front of my jacket, so plan accordingly to complete this project. The larger pearls also take a little more time to sew on. The finished look for the front of my jacket is below.
For the back of the jacket, I followed the steps below.
Again, I started with a blue print by drawing the design on a piece of paper. I wanted to create a chalk board look, so I used black as the background and painted white letters. To make the black panel, I created the boundaries using scotch tape. This helped me to paint straight lines for the panel and ensured the spray paint would stay within the designated area.
I allowed the black paint to dry (fabric paint dries pretty quickly) and then used tape again to guide the lines for painting the words. I used an excerpt from feminist scholar, bell hooks, as the inspiration for the quote on my jacket. Hand paint your words onto your jacket and then your look is complete.
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial! Share your thoughts on this look in the comments below, or post any questions you may have. If you create an embellished denim look using my tutorial, share them with me on Instagram at @ayannainbloom. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to my blog for more DIY fashion tutorials.
Be well ❤
Serving sleeves because sleeves are the secret sauce 😉
I was watching a film set in the 1800s recently and was captivated by the costume design. The full and delicate sleeves on the dresses from the Romantic Period were breathtaking. I then realized that the sleeves in the film looked similar to the sleeves on many blouses in my own wardrobe today. It seems like the possibilities for creating statement sleeves are endless. Sharp lines and exaggerated sleeve lengths, for example, can create a futuristic feel, while soft puffs can create nostalgic silhouettes. From classic ruffles to bishop and flounce sleeves, statement sleeves are trending.
I purchased this oversized puff sleeve top here and styled it with an old wrap skirt, combat boots, and fish net stockings. It is a little vintage and a little rock.
Check out my top picks for statement sleeves that you should try in 2020.
The Puff Sleeve
The Cut Out Shoulder
The Bishop Sleeve
Exaggerated Sleeve Lengths
And last, but not least…
The Bell Sleeve
Which sleeve style is your favorite? Thanks for reading! Subscribe to my newsletter and receive regular style tips on the latest in fashion.
Style is a way of communicating without words.
I love putting creative looks together for the work place and for this post, I am sharing some mixed prints style inspiration for your work place wardrobe.
Sleeves are the secret sauce for adding flair to ordinary tops. I am excited that some of my favorite styles of sleeves, like balloon and peasant sleeves, are popular styles right now. The balloon sleeves on this oversized top, for example, instantly transform the look of a plain white blouse. As I mentioned, this is a great look to transition to after work affairs. The top can be styled in multiple ways, including tying a knot in the front for a more casual look.
I paired the top with mid waist plaid pants. These pants provide an upgrade to my typical work place trousers. During colder months, try pairing your ankle length trousers with boots or booties. I decided to add a dramatic contrast to this look by styling my pants with my snake print boots, which have the same color scheme as my pants.
To complete this mixed prints look, I wore my cozy leopard print coat. It is another contrast, but again the colors are complementary to the overall flow of the outfit. A leopard print coat has also been on my style list for the season and I purchased this one at 40% off of the original price.
I hope you enjoyed this post and found some ideas for your work place looks. Stay for a while and subscribe to my blog to receive more style inspiration and style tips. Also, share your thoughts on this look below!
Hello there and Happy New Year! Snake skin has always been a hit or miss style for me, with a lot of misses. While I am not typically drawn to this print, the overall design makes a huge difference and, depending on how it is styled, snake print can create a chic look.
For example, I put this casual look together with a pair of mid calf snake print booties by Vince Camuto. I purchased them with a great end of the year discount at DSW. The color scheme is neutral, so I paired them with high waist jeans and a super comfortable puff sleeve sweater by H&M Conscious.
Are you interested in incorporating snake print shoes into your wardrobe and looking for ways to style them? From pumps to flats and sneakers, for this post, I am showing my top snake print shoe picks in five diverse looks from around the web.
Pointed toe flats are versatile, classic, and pair nicely with jeans for a casual look. You can elevate this casual look to business casual by pairing them with a neutral colored blazer. These shoes would also compliment a sweater dress during the cooler months.
Are you looking for a more subtle way to incorporate snake skin? If so, an accent heel is a great choice for those desiring to still make a statement. These pumps, with the velvet upper, would pair well with a cocktail dress for an evening look.
I love the versality and comfort of loafers. These snake print flats are another bolder choice, but still appropriate for the work place. For a work place look, they would pair nicely with slacks or a pencil skirt worn with a blouse or sweater.
You can obviously style these sneakers by Puma with joggers and other casual attire. Sneakers are not limited to traditionally casual pieces, however. Try pairing these shoes with a slip dress or silky slip skirt for a carefree and stylish look. The satin bow on these shoes add a feminine accent as well and another reason to pair them with a contrasting dressy piece.
Snake print can be tasteful in colorful patterns as well. Last but not least, if you are looking for a colorful choice in snake skin sneakers, look no further than this high top pair by Vintage Havana.
I hope you enjoy these styles as much as I do. How do you feel about wearing snake print? Which look is your favorite?