It is officially fall! Even as a lover of all prints, leopard print remains my favorite print to wear. It’s another versatile statement piece that is playful and can create a fun look, but can also be appropriate for the work place. You can incorporate leopard print into every aspect of your outfit, from dresses and tops to shoes and coats. For this post, I am sharing my favorite leopard print pieces from around the web right now. First, a few looks that show how I’ve styled leopard print in the past.
Here are a few of my favorite leopard print looks out right now and tips on how to style them.
If I am not wearing a loafer, my preferred style of flats is a pointed toe. Roxy is an eco-friendly, sustainable company that creates their shoes from 100% post-consumer plastic water bottles. So far, they’ve repurposed over 16 million water bottles to create their products. Customers rave about about the comfort of these shoes as well. Who knew recycled plastic could be so soft? This shoe is made for every day wear, so pair it with your slacks or jeans. It will also add a nice accent to a casual dress.
Push the envelope a little in this leopard print pencil skirt by J. Crew. It’s on my fall fashion wish list. This high waist pencil skirt will look great with a black, red, white, or brown top (as pictured). Style it for the work place with a blouse or sweater, simple black or brown pumps, and pearls for a classic look.
I’ve seen a variety of leopard coats this season, but this faux fur coat by H&M is one of my favorites. The print is gorgeous. Wear it with jeans and a t-shirt to add some glam to a casual look or wear it with cocktail attire for a more formal occasion.
There is something about velvet that is so luxurious. My last pick is a perfect combination of fall prints and fall fabrics. Another look by J. Crew, this velvet blazer will pair wonderfully with jeans and strappy black sandals for an evening girl’s night or date night look.
What is your favorite look? Don’t forget to subscribe for regular updates and more fall fashion!
The end of summer in Atlanta is marked by several annual music festivals. One event I look forward to attending every year is the One Music Fest, a two-day outdoor music festival that features hip-hop, alternative rock and soul, Reggae, and a variety of other music genres. Past performing artists include The Internet, Janelle Monae, and SZA and this year’s headliners included Miguel, H.E.R., Big Sean, and Nas. The fashion scene at these types of festivals is usually bursting with creativity, and for this post, I am sharing the fun festival look I wore to the event.
I fell in love with this quirky piano pleated skirt at first sight. It is made by Samantha Pleet, a Brooklyn-based independent fashion label, whose garments are produced using natural materials at fair trade factories abroad, in addition to, a women owned factory in NYC.
Since the skirt is a statement piece and focal point of this look, I styled the rest of my outfit simply.
My earrings were handmade in Atlanta by a local artist and reminded me of the musical symbol, a treble clef. I added a pop of color to my black and white color scheme with my multi-colored beaded necklace and pink sandals. I completed the look with retro and aviator-inspired sunglasses.
The piano skirt is a perfect look for a music festival and also a reminder to myself to always walk to the beat of my own music.
Love this look and want to discover more indie fashion? Subscribe to my newsletter and receive regular updates and style inspiration. You can also check out the fall collection by Samantha Pleet here.
If there is any Labor Day sale worth shopping, it is one that continues to support and empower the population that makes up the majority of the fashion industry workers, yet bears the burnt of economic inequality experienced worldwide and within the fashion industry, itself: Women. From ABLE: “Fashion employs over 60 million people around the world, and 98% of them are not paid wages that meet their basic needs.” ABLE is working to bring change to the fashion industry by investing in the women that make their products and providing livable wages, fair treatment, and safe working conditions.
Earlier this summer, I had the opportunity to speak with Jen Milam, Director of Merchandise Planning at ABLE, and we discussed how ABLE was started and what it takes to run and sustain this type of social enterprise. With origins in Ethiopia that began with artisan-made scarves, ABLE now employs workers in Ethiopia, Mexico, and Peru to make their products. ABLE has expanded over the years from scarves to offer other products including clothing, bags, accessories and shoes. They aspire to be a one-stop-shop where people can buy everything ethically. When asked about their biggest challenges in running this type of social enterprise, Jen noted that “If it was easy, everyone would be doing it”. However, at the end of the day their goal is to make a difference and that is exactly what this company is doing. As for aspiring social entrepreneurs who wish to work with artisans in other countries, Jen offered the following advice: “Believe that you can do well by doing good. You can be successful in business by doing good”.
The ABLE collections are filled with wardrobe staples. Here are my top picks currently at ABLE, including my picks from the Labor Day sale.
The perfect denim jacket should be a part of everyone’s wardrobe essentials. Made in Mexico, I love that the Merly Wash denim jacket has a vintage feel and is versatile enough for casual or dressed-up looks.
Circle bags are among my favorite at the moment, and the Mirella Circle Bag is on trend with its shape and the deep red color makes this purse perfect for fall. It’s also a part of the Labor Day sale.
ABLE has a beautiful collection of jewelry that is handmade in Nashville. They offer a personalized collection of jewelry as well. The Galaxy Earrings, pictured above, are my favorite and they are available in gold, silver, and rose gold.
“Made from mini-jacquard jersey crepe, this fabric contains a combination of plain and satin yarns, creating the most luxurious fabric.” – ABLE. I ordered the Rosario Jumpsuit today. This jumpsuit is also a part of the Labor Day sale and is another versatile staple that can be styled casually and also dressed up for more formal occasions.
I hope you are enjoying your Labor Day! Receive an additional 15% off of sale items at ABLE when you shop today with the code “LABORDAY15”.
If there is one trend that I love with no signs of fading out soon, it is exaggerated sleeves. From ruffles, to bells, to puffs – I believe that fashion should be fun and creative. For this post, I am featuring a chic look that incorporates puff sleeves from an indie label I recently discovered. It is appropriate for the work place, so get ready to add some flare to your work place uniform.
The top is made by Petersyn, an indie label based in New York, whose designs are inspired by the “European travels of the “All-American Girl””. The Petersyn collection embodies beautiful silhouettes with a polished flare. I like that this top adds excitement and playfulness to the otherwise mundane white button down shirt. I purchased the blouse from a boutique in my home town of Cincinnati, Ohio, which features new and emerging designers. Since items in this store are stocked in limited quantities, you are likely to find items that will not see anywhere else.
I paired the blouse with a pair of poplin tie waist pants, which created a very polished look. I kept it neutral with my accessories, my circle woven bag and simple flat sandals, both from my trip to Morocco.
Share your thoughts on this look below. Don’t forget to subscribe for regular updates!
Shopping at a thrift store is like going on a treasure hunt and I have found some gems during my thrifting adventures. I shop at thrift stores, in addition to shopping at chain stores and boutiques, because I enjoy finding unique items for a great deal. For this post, I am sharing my tips on getting the most out of your thrifting experience, including what to buy and the best times to shop.
When to Shop
The earlier the better is my motto when it comes to thrift shopping. Second-hand stores, like Buffalo Exchange, place new items out daily. However, in my experience, it is best to shop earlier in the day before the racks have been rummaged through by customers. Earlier during the week is usually better as well, when the racks are newly stocked after the weekend influx.
What I Buy at Thrift Stores
Two words: Occasion Wear. Consider the number of times you’ve worn that wedding guest dress. Unfortunately, people tend to wear dresses purchased for special occasions only a few times before they end up in the section of their closet with all of the clothes that haven’t been worn in years. Fortunately for thrift shopping, this means that when purchasing occasion wear you are likely to find dresses and other formal wear next to new. For example, I spent days searching for the perfect graduation dress without success. I couldn’t find anything I liked and everything looked the same. I decided to look in some thrift stores and found the dress below at a fraction of the cost for dresses in other stores I frequent. It was completely different from everything I was finding in stores and online as well, so thrift stores are also great for finding unique items.
On the other hand, I do not typically purchase t-shirts at thrift stores. It has to be a pretty special find for me to buy it. T-shirts show signs of wear over time and it is easy to find brand new quality t-shirts at a low cost. Sweaters, however, hold up nicely, as well as, jackets/blazers, so these are items I look for in thrift stores as well.
How to Save More
Be sure to bring your unwanted clothes. Stores that allow you to sell your clothes will offer a higher trade-in value for your clothes than they offer in cash (For example, you may be offered 30% of the selling price for your items in cash, versus 50% of the selling price when you are applying the credit towards an in-store purchase). This is the perfect opportunity to clean out our closet (See previous post on spring cleaning your wardrobe). Finally, something along the lines of a broken zipper is an easy fix, so don’t count minor repairs out. In fact, let the store clerk know about the issue and you will more than likely be offered an additional discount for that item.
What tips do you have for shopping at thrift stores? Share them below. Happy Thrifting!
Outfit Details|| Both dresses featured in this post were purchased at Buffalo Exchange in Atlanta, Georgia.
Morocco has been on my travel list for a while now and a flight to Marrakesh, Morocco is just a few hours from Barcelona. While I was in Spain, I could not pass up the opportunity to see Morocco as well. I enjoyed every moment of my time in Morocco – getting lost in the old Medina, drinking endless amounts of mint tea, hiking the Atlas mountains, enjoying a relaxing spa treatment at a hammam, going on a camel ride, and of course, shopping in the souks.
The souks are the outdoor markets in Morocco, featuring all types of Moroccan crafts, goods, foods, and spices. One of the many things I love about travelling abroad is shopping for unique items to bring back home. I make it a point to buy items that I cannot easily find at home, especially hand-made artisan goods, and items that represent the culture of the place I’m visiting. For this post, I am sharing my favorite items brought back from Morocco and some simple tips for shopping the souks.
What to Buy
Rattan and Other Woven Bags. I always find unique bags abroad and purchasing a purse was at the top of my list. These bags are super trendy right now, but I absolutely love them. I had the opportunity to watch a woman making the bags by hand in the souks.
Moroccan sandals. You can get unbelievable prices on hand-made sandals in Morocco. The sandals are comfortable and well-made. I actually hiked on the Atlas Mountains in these shoes
Berber scarf. I bought this shawl from a Berber Village while touring the Atlas Mountains. I was happy to make this purchase because it supported a co-operative of women from one of the neighboring Berber villages. Although my dress in Morocco was modest, it is also helpful to have a scarf handy when visiting the Mosques.
Other Handmade Goods. Wallets, purses, and other handmade leather goods are abundant in Morocco. I bought a few back as gifts.
Argan Oil. How could I travel to Morocco without purchasing authentic Moroccan argan oil? Argan is a more expensive oil and after watching the process to make it, both in Marrakech and during a visit to a cooperative where women make and sell the oil, I understand why. In Morocco, you can purchase the oil made for cooking or for cosmetic use. I am excited to add this to my skin and hair care routine. There are a lot of places selling “argan oil”. We bought ours from a specialty shop that sold argan products and spices, which I recommend.
3 Tips for Shopping in the Souks
1. Take it slow.
My first full day in Marrakech was spent exploring the souks in the Medina. I initially booked a tour to explore the souks with a guide, but it was cancelled. As luck would have it, I befriended another traveller and we explored the souks together. It was nice to get acclimated to the area and become familiar with the different parts of the souks. Have some fresh juice in the square and try the foods (like the delicious olives). There is a lot to take in, so take it slow.
2. Have a Plan
Between the calls from shopkeepers, the amount of people, and the shear volume of items, the souks can also be overwhelming. A little preparation goes a long way, so do some research and decide what types of items you are most interested in finding. It is helpful to ask your hostess, if you are staying in a riad in the medina, for advice on where to purchase those items as well. I also met a few Moroccans who let me know how much I should pay for different items.
3. Never Settle for the First Price
…or second, or third. Though you do want to pay a fair price, bartering, like in many other parts of the world is welcomed and expected. Have a price in mind that you want to spend on the item and don’t be swayed to increase it. Though I badly wanted a rattan bag, it wasn’t until my last day in Marrakech that I purchased one because the prices were above my limit. Even during that last exchange, I walked away several times before the shopkeeper agreed on my final price. So, say “No. Thank you.” and walk away if you have to. You can’t be too eager to purchase when shopping in the souks.
If you have never visited Morocco, I hope you have an opportunity to experience this magical place one day. You can see more of my summer travels on Instagram, @ayannainbloom.
Thank you for stopping by!
Outfit Details: Dress: Nasty Gal || Purse: H&M (old) || Sandals: Purchased in Morocco (featured in Post)
I vacationed in Spain over the past week spending most of my time in Barcelona, but also visiting the neighboring cities of Girona, Pals, and a small town in Costa Brava. For this post, I am sharing a travel look and few of my favorite photos from my visit to these charming Spanish cities.
Although, the weather was a bit milder along the beach, the weather in Spain, for the most part, was hot. For this long travel day, I wanted to wear something light and flowy, that would work well for a day spent exploring and also for the beach. I settled on this yellow crop top and matching skirt set, purchased here, which was perfect for my day of explorations. My sunglasses were purchased at Urban Outfitters (not available online) and my sandals were a souk find in Morocco.
I received many compliments on this look as a travelled throughout the day. My first stop was Girona, a romantic city filled with stone roads and walls, where I explored medieval ruins that are centuries old.
You may recognize the Cathedral of Girona (pictured above) and the Arab Baths (Banys Àrabs), which dates back to the 12th century, from a popular television series. Girona is one of the filming locations for Game of Thrones.
A visit to Spain is not complete without time at the beach and Costa Brava, which translates to the rugged or wild coast, has some of the most breathtaking beaches in Spain. My favorite beach I visited was Sant Roc, a small beach cove with crystal clear water in Calella de Palafrugell. The views of the beach are postcard worthy and I also enjoyed the most delicious vegetarian paella at a restaurant that overlooked the beach. I ended my day trip here, laying in the sand for a bit and enjoying the sun, before travelling back to Barcelona.
I hope you enjoyed this post and seeing some of the beautiful locations I experienced in northern Spain. You can check out more of my travel looks on Instagram (@ayannainbloom). Where are your summer travels taking you?
Summer is officially here! During the summer months, crop tops and high waist shorts are staples, but this post features another style I adore and the outfit I wore to celebrate the beginning of summer.
I cannot imagine summer fashion without one shoulder tops. They have been a guilty fashion pleasure of mine since my high school days, a test of time that this style is always on trend. I appreciate the versatility of asymmetric tops. Whether styled casually, like with jeans, or dressed up with skirts and heels, they add sophistication to an outfit.
For this look, I paired my top with a blue and white wrap skirt. I chose accessories that matched the color scheme, a striped clutch and beaded necklaces (made in Ghana). I finished the look with red pumps. This outfit is perfect for a date night and the colors make it a perfect option for a fourth of July celebration as well.
I rounded up a few of my favorite one shoulder tops from the web.
What is your favorite summer style? Share your thoughts below and subscribe to my newsletter to receive regular fashion inspiration. Thank you for reading!
Outfit Details: Blouse, Skirt, and Purse from The Limited
The fashion revolution will be live.
Hello everyone! I can not believe it has been a month since my last blog post. There are a lot of exciting things happening in my life right now, including recently graduating with my doctorate degree in Public Health (Health promotion and Behavior)! It is a surreal moment. Also, Fashion Revolution Week was from April 23rd through April 29th, and it aligns with a project I am developing. For this post, I wanted to reflect on what a Fashion Revolution means for me and my work as a public health professional. It is also a great time for me to introduce myself to my new subscribers and to share an exciting project that I am developing. Read until the end to see how you can provide some input!
A bit of background information. I am a public health professional and most of my work centers on women’s health, maternal and child health, and nutrition. After a few medical mission trips to Haiti to provide medical care in the Central Plateau, I realized that while we were bringing necessary services to communities who have limited access to health care providers, without the infrastructure (health and economics), the work we were doing may not lead to meaningful progress or long term improvements within the lives of people we served.
That’s why organizations like Partners in Health are critical. They support communities, not only through charity services, but in building the infrastructure through which they can make long term impact. Income along with other social determinants are related to health. Unfortunately, income inequality continues to grow worldwide with a smaller portion of the world’s population holding the majority of wealth, thus preventing the acceleration of human development among a large portion of the population. I understand the value of charity, but I also believe that more than charity, we need to dismantle oppressive systems and recreate sustainable systems that allow for economic resilience among our most vulnerable populations. This process further requires participatory and culturally relevant approaches with stakeholders providing input at each stage of the process.
More than charity, we need to dismantle oppressive systems and recreate sustainable systems that allow for economic resilience among our most vulnerable populations.
Back to fashion. I longed to create intersections between what at first seemed like disparate passions, in public health and fashion, especially in a way that connects my love for working on issues related to women’s health and empowerment. I delved into this topic in a previous post, Shopping with Change, but seeing how companies are using fashion to create meaningful impact on the livelihoods of women around the world to me is the best of both worlds.
We know that lack of income, lack of access to resources, and poverty are issues that lead to cascading and generational challenges. Furthermore, income inequality can reinforce inequalities experienced in health, education, and work. One of the tenets for the Manifesto for a Fashion Revolution is that “Fashion lifts people out of poverty, creates thriving societies and fulfills aspiration.” When we invest in the social and economic development of women, like artisan women and other workers in the fashion industry who make our clothes, women are able to invest in the health and education of themselves and their families.
One of the tenets for the Manifesto for a Fashion Revolution is that “Fashion lifts people out of poverty, creates thriving societies and fulfills aspiration.”
I am developing a project to improve the livelihood of artisan women and would greatly appreciate your feedback! You can access my brief survey HERE.
I hope you have enjoyed reading this post! Thank you for reading! Share you thoughts in the comment section below.
There is no better time than spring to declutter your space, including getting rid of unwanted clothes. What do you do with your unwanted clothes? I learned in the Netflix documentary, The True Cost, that much of the clothing donated to donation centers, although well intended, never gets reused and eventually ends up in landfills where it contributes to pollution.
So, what are some other options? For this post, I am sharing some options that can bring new life into your unwanted (or unneeded clothes), or earn you some extra cash.
Barter and Trade
There are a variety of second-hand and thrift stores, but Buffalo Exchange is one of my favorite places to take unwanted clothes, especially when I am interested in trading my pieces in exchange for new styles. I purchased the dress below, made by French Connection, for a fraction of the listing cost after bringing in clothes to sell. I recommend taking clothing here for a few reasons. First, they have a great selection of funky styles, vintage clothing, as well as, staples. Secondly, sellers receive 30% of the selling price in cash or 50% off of your in store purchase. I also like that, in place of shopping bags at check out, customers are given a token representing five cents, which is used to donate to one of three local charities selected by the customer.
In my experience, Buffalo Exchange is pretty selective in the clothing they accept, buying items in styles that are currently selling well, so clothing is less likely to sit on racks. I recommend bringing your more stylish pieces here that are in excellent condition, as well as, staples like denim. I also suggest bringing your items for the upcoming season in advance, as they typically prepare for the next season a few months before the season begins.
Not a Buffalo Exchange in your area? Check out their sale by mail program.
Resale your Retail
For gently worn items that are still in great condition, another option is to sale them online through platforms, like Poshmark. From the app, users can list their own items for sale within a few minutes by taking a photo of the item from their phone, creating a product description, and listing the selling price. Poshmark provides the shipping label for free and receives 20% of each transaction over $15 ($2.95 for items priced below $15). It is a great option for selling unwanted clothes and allows sellers to get more monetary value from their items, in comparison to second-hand stores where sellers receive a percentage of the selling price. I have a new Poshmark account and you can follow me at ayannainbloom.
Recycle your Clothing
Did you know that as part of their sustainability initiative, H&M has a program that provides customers with a percentage off of their in-store purchase when they bring in clothes to donate? H&M partners with I:Collect to separate donated items into clothing that can be sold at second-hand stores and clothing that can be recycled or reused.
Recently, Miami-based fair trade store, Nomad Tribe, implemented a clothing drive and collected donated garments that were used to launch their first collection made of 100% recycled cotton. The collection includes pieces like the jumpsuit below. They are currently collecting more donated clothing for this recycled collection. Details are available here.
A plus for these recycled clothing initiatives is that your clothing does not have to be in great condition. You can donate items that are discolored, torn, etc. and they can be repurposed into new items.
Refashioning & Upcycling Clothing
For me, this is the most fun option. Old clothes still have a lot of potential! Upcycling is taking old products, like clothes or waste products, and repurposing them into something new and useful. I’ve created shorts from old jeans and crop-tops from dresses I no longer wanted or needed. The trick here is using as much of the fabric as possible, however, so you don’t waste the rest. I’ll be sharing some refashioned clothing projects in future posts!
I hope you enjoyed this post and found some options for getting rid of your unwanted, or unneeded, clothing. Have you subscribed to my newsletter? Click on the link on the right before you leave to receive regular updates!
Thank you for stopping by! Happy spring cleaning!
My favorite month of the year is upon us. It’s my birthday month and over the weekend I threw a party to bring in my golden birthday and to celebrate successfully defending my dissertation, the last step along my journey to becoming Ph.D. Inspired by Woodstock and the hippie movement, it was a psychedelic celebration with outdoor seating, vegan food, a tie dye station, and fashion inspired by the era.
I enjoy dressing for themes because it allows me to be more creative. I’m always intrigued by costumes curated for historical pieces, like films and plays, and one of my bucket list experiences is to style an event, play, or even a film (The magic of thinking big, right?).
I wore a bohemian look to execute the party theme. I wanted my outfit to be both glamorous and casual, so I wore this maxi chiffon gown with beaded embroidery and thigh high splits (Ode to glamour!). I paired it with a velvet dark floral kimono (it’s actually a robe) and pink satin slippers to keep the look casual. It is a fun look to wear for a date night or girls’ night.
The accessories completed the bohemian aesthetic – wooden guitar earrings, a DYI flower crown, and a pearl necklace.
It was such a fun event and friends from near and far came to celebrate these milestones with me. I feel fortunate to have discovered passion and purpose at a young age and each day is a step towards fulfilling the vision. I am excited for the year ahead!
Thank you for stopping by!