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?
November is always a busy month for me. It is my daughter’s birth month and is also filled with annual travel for conferences in my field (I had four presentations this month in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Minneapolis, Minnesota). My presentations, though all on different topics were connected through a common thread: uplifting participatory approaches and equity in research. “Equity” is a hot topic in my field of public health, but it is more than just term to sprinkle on top of research agendas, like Salt Bae, it is a concept that can be operationalized at every stage in the research process.
Similarly, we can also embody equity and promote social ideals through our choices in fashion. While we typically think of statement pieces in fashion as dramatic and eye-catching, I believe that wardrobes should also include social statement pieces as well. For my last presentation, I wanted to embody the principles I was discussing through my outfit. For this post, I am sharing what I wore to make my social statement, including how I scored these designer pieces at lower retail prices.
My skirt is made by the ethically produced fashion brand and social enterprise, Studio 189. Studio 189 was cofounded by Rosario Dawson and Abrima Erwiah and the collection features high-end, artisan-made, and African-inspired clothing produced in Ghana using recycled and natural fibers, like organic cotton and lyocell. My skirt was made using natural indigo dyeing and clothing by Studio 189 features other traditional craftsmanship techniques, like batik dyeing. In addition to creating beautiful and well made pieces, I love that this company focusses on elevating traditional craftsmanship, creating job opportunities and skills training, as well as education.
I paired this skirt with a blouse made by one of my favorite designers, Mara Hoffman. While Mara Hoffman’s designs feature a signature celebration of patterns and colors, I was happy to find this white blouse, made from organic cotton, with this accent bow tied across the front. In 2015, Mara Hoffman committed to more sustainable practices and the brand exemplifies responsible and transparent production practices, fair trade employment, and they also use organic and recycled/regenerated materials.
I completed the look with an old pair of brown over the knee boots. I restyled the blouse and skirt below for a more casual look, by layering the top with a grey cropped sweater and platform oxfords.
As I mentioned, I purchased these designer pieces at sale prices from a website called, The Garmetory. The Garmetory has become one of my go-to sites for discovering indie designers and also exploring ethnically made clothing and accessories from boutiques across the United States and other countries as well. I sometimes find great deals on designer pieces listed at sale prices. I recommend this site for anyone looking to discover ethical brands and indie fashion designers.
I hope you enjoyed this post and learned about some new social statement pieces to incorporate into your wardrobe and where to buy them. Have a wonderful week!
Tis the season for chunky knits, layers, and textures…
I traveled to West Virginia earlier this week and the beautiful foliage I was surrounded by resembled paintings of fall trees with rich brown and deep orange hues. It was a subtle, but definitive declaration that is was finally fall. I adore fall fashion and for this post, I am sharing my fall essentials with everything you need to transition into cooler weather and where to buy it.
First, here is a fall inspired #ootd.
Check out the list below of my top fall essentials.
Wrap Front Skirt
The wrap front skirt is one of my top picks for fall. It was a popular look for summer, but can also be styled with blouses, sweaters, as well as more casual tops, making it a versatile piece for fall as well. The skirt below is available through H&M’s Conscious Collection and is made from Lyocell denim. I love that Lyocell is an eco friendly, but also affordably priced, alternative material.
Balloon Sleeve Sweater
Sweaters are an inevitable stable for any fall wardrobe. The balloon sleeve is my favorite style, however, because it adds a dramatic, yet chic, accent to a traditional cable knit. The J. Crew sweater below pairs well with high waist jeans for a casual look and would also work well with patterned trousers for the work place.
Here is a sustainable option from H&M’s Conscious Collection that also provides a balloon sleeve look that is a bit more exaggerated.
I shared this look on a previous post, but leopard is a must have print on my fall list. I am particularly excited by the slip skirt interpretation of the leopard print trend.
Velvet Midi Skirt
From pants (like the pants I am wearing in this post), to blazers, and skirts – Corduroy is always on my fall list. This year, I am most looking forward to wearing cozy corduroy midi skirts, like this pick from Anthropologie by Maeve.
V -Cut Pumps or Mules
My list would be incomplete without my top pick for fall shoes. This season, my favorite style of shoes are V-Cut. Whether mules or pumps, the v-cut makes a chic and sophisticated statement. Charles & Keith has my favorite shoes in this style.
I hope you enjoyed this list of my fall essentials. Which fall look is your favorite?
There are a variety of plants, like avocados and even onions, that can be used to create organic dyes for clothing. The indigo plant been used for centuries to dye fabrics.
Last weekend, I attended an indigo dyeing workshop during the Slow Fashion Symposium in Atlanta. During the workshop, l learned all about the process of preparing indigo leaves into a usable vat for dyeing and dyed a garment using the indigo.
The instructors for my workshop grew the indigo we used themselves. After the indigo pigment is extracted from the leaves of the plant, it is used to create a liquid dye solution, or the vat.
You’ve probably observed a range of patterns on fabrics dyed using indigo. I started with a white shirt I’ve wanted to refashion because of a large permanent stain it has on one sleeve. Dyeing the shirt was a perfect alternative to discarding it. There are a variety of ways to create patterns, including wrapping and binding the fabric with bands and clips. I used clothes pins to bind the shirt and to create the square-like patterns that resulted.
After creating my pattern, I began the dyeing process by soaking my shirt in the bucket of water to make it fully porous to receive the dye. The next steps included soaking the top in the vat bucket for a few minutes and then removing the shirt from the dye, allowing it to sit for few minutes. As the shirt sits, the dye oxidizes and the color changes from a green to the blue hue. With each dip into the vat, the color becomes darker, so I repeated this process about four times until I achieved my desired shade of blue. Working with indigo is a very hands-on process. While my shirt was soaking in the vat, I gently moved it around in the bucket and massaged the dye into the fabric.
I was amazed by the beautiful blue hues and patterns created by everyone in my workshop. My own creation is below.
Working with the indigo dye was relaxing and it was also fun to transform an old top into something completely new. For this causal Friday look, I styled my shirt with high waist jeans and accessorized with green pieces, including a green beaded necklace, bucket purse, and shoes.
I hope you enjoyed learning about indigo dyes, as a natural way to dye fabrics. Thank you for reading and subscribe to my newsletter for regular updates.
See things differently.
Hello readers! I am back with the final post in my three part series on South African designers. The company featured in this post has an ethical approach to creating fashion, but also experiments with innovative uses of materials. While I saved this company for last, they are certainly not the least favorite among the South African designers I learned about this summer.
While exploring the Watershed artisan market in Cape Town, it was the stylish sunglasses and “Sustainable Gangster” tee that first caught my eye in this store. Ballo creates their handmade eyewear from recycled or upcycled wood, hemp, and African fabric materials.
You may be wondering how wood could be manipulated to make a product comfortable enough to wear as eyewear (I certainly was curious). Well, Ballo created a material they call, Eyewood. It is a combination of wood veneer offcuts, sourced from local furniture producers, bio-resin and recycled paper. The result is durable and stylish eyewear with a comfortable fit.
Ballo started in 2013 with eyewear, but has expanded over the years to offer other unisex goods, which are made locally to support job creation. Here are my favorites from their slow fashion collection.
Ballo makes jewelry as well, like the wood and African print earrings I purchased below. Unfortunately, the wood earrings are not yet available online, but the other items in this post are available for purchase on their website.
I hope you have enjoyed this series on South African fashion and discovered some new designers to add to your wardrobe. It is the end of summer in the states and I’ll be sharing my fall staples, including a few new indie designers with ethical clothing lines.