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Upgrading Your Basics – The White Tee

Within a few months of blogging and a few decades of purchasing clothing, I sometimes find myself asking, “Where are all of the black designers?”. Representation matters within the world of fashion, as in other forms of media and industry. As contributors across the fashion industry in innovation and trends, and far too commonly the victims of appropriation, I want to honor Black women in the fashion industry.

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You may recognize the name Samantha Black from season 11 of Project Runway. Her clothing line, Sammy B., is spunky, fresh, and full of color. Her pieces are for everyday wear with flare and her way with sleeves earned a place in my heart. My first purchase from her collection was the Anita Flounce Sleeve Top – a fitted, wine colored, off-the-shoulder top with exaggerated flounce sleeves. It is as good as it sounds.

It is no surprise that she transformed the simple white t-shirt into anything but basic. Keeping in the tradition, the white tee also has flounce sleeves. The top, which can be worn casually or dressed up, fits perfectly into the wardrobe of anyone who prefers a little flare.

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I decided to dress it up for my Saturday events and wore it with a green pencil skirt and multicolored cloth mule sandals. These shoes are bold and statement shoes, with unique designs and other embellishments, are one of my favorite ways to accent an ordinary or casual look. My accessories collectively tell a story of travels – a pearl necklace given to me as a gift from China, a summer clutch I found at a market with items from Southeast Asia, and a bracelet handmade from African prints. The bracelet is from my sister’s jewelry line, Nani.

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Outfit Details – Shoes: Nasty Gal|| Top: Sammie B.|| Skirt: The Limited

 Who are some of your favorite designers?

As always, thanks for stopping by!

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Make it Work

(Ode to Tim Gunn)

Most people have clothing in their closets that they haven’t worn in years. If this does not apply to you, have you ever received a gift from someone and knew it was something that you would absolutely never wear?  In situations like this, it seems like there are a few choices: Give it away, throw it away, or let it sit in your closet. But, there is another alternative.

I mentioned before that as a teen, I spent a lot of time shopping with my mom. Although my teenage years are long gone and my mom lives hundreds of miles away, it is still somewhat of a normality for me to come home to a delivery box, packed with a few new clothes handpicked by my mother (she is very thoughtful). Recently, she sent me a box with clothes she picked out from one of her favorite stores. Inevitably there were some things that I did not care for. Does this sound familiar to anyone else?

Well, this post is dedicated to making it work. We don’t always need to shop for new things, but should also learn to work with what we have.  It is also evidence that where we shop is just one small piece of the puzzle. Ultimately, how we pull the items together defines the look. All of the clothing in this post were gifts purchased from Steinmart.

Before

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Photos by Kristin Fields

The expression on my face says it all. As is, this is something I would never pick out for myself. Overall, it felt it bit frumpy. The top is a printed tunic. It has gold chains attached from the back of the shirt with tassels on the end. The original outfit was paired with these stretch fit, ankle length pants (I love the color of the pants, by the way).

After

 

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Here is where the transformation began. My mom also sent a stretch fit, pencil skirt. Instead of wearing the tunic with the pants, I opted for mixing prints and paired it with the skirt, which had similar patterns and colors. I did not like the cords/tassels on the tunic or the neckline so I removed them and also altered the look of the shirt to make it off the shoulder. I wore the top tucked in to shorten the length and brought the skirt up to create a high-waisted look. I completed this look with accessories: a pearl necklace, white pumps (purchased a few years ago from Steve Madden), and my favorite summer bag, a blue and white striped clutch from The Limited.

Overall, this look feels fresher and younger.

KSP_0519 (2)You may have things in your closet that you feel are outdated or gifts that you’ve never worn. Try looking through your closet this week for ways to restyle those items. I have cut up old dresses when I loved the pattern and needed to create a crop top. Or maybe its an old pair of jeans that would make a cute pair of shorts for the summer. You may be surprised with what you put together.

Thanks for reading! Have a great 4th of July!

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3 Ways to Sheer Up

I am pretty sure I have mastered the art of “the switch-up”.  A coworker once told my advisor, “I think Ayanna never wears the same thing twice.” Little did she know, this was at a time where my PhD life was all consuming and I felt like I was in constant rotation of the same few pieces. I didn’t have much time in the morning to think through outfits before taking my daughter to school and driving my 1.5 hour commute to campus, but it is easy for me to quickly mix and match pieces together – “mastered the art of the switch-up”.

 

This post is dedicated to styling sheer dresses. With a little creativity, there are multiple ways to style sheer dresses for those looking to explore the look with a little more modesty. Repurposing items in your wardrobe to create different looks is also a great way to keep your wardrobe fresh, without excessively shopping for new clothing. I started with this black sheer dress, purchased from Nasty Gal, and created three different looks.

 

The Dress
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Photo Credit: Nasty Gal

Look 1.
For the first look, I draped my dress over a pair of stretch fit skinny jeans and paired it with this colorful blazer (another great thrift find). It was perfect for my adventures through the Lower Eastside of Manhattan and a rooftop happy hour. I played up the colors and patterns in my blazer by accessorizing with bright orange sandals and my striped clutch.
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Look 2.
I know we are officially into summer and no one wants to think about cooler weather, but you can also transition this dress into the evening and cooler temperatures. Options. For this look, I took an old sweater dress/tunic and layered it over the sheer dress. The combination of the two dresses transforms an old look into a trumpet-style silhouette.
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(Look 2) Photos by Kristin Fields

 

Look 3.
For look 3, I created a faux shirt dress by layering a crop top over the sheer dress. Underneath the dress I’m wearing high-waisted petal shorts. They are trimmed in lace, which goes perfectly with the dress.
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 Okay…so the concept behind this outfit is similar to look number one, so I just included it as a bonus. 🙂

Photos by Kristin Fields

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Which look is your favorite? How do you style your sheer dress?

 

Thanks for stopping by!
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Romantic Ruffles

Though summer is a still a few weeks away, for most people memorial day marks the beginning of the summer season. And if you are anything like me, you are heading to or dreaming of heading to a beautiful beach in a distant location. Even if an exotic vacation is not in your travel plans for this summer, you can still dress like you are there.

Whether you are strolling through Sao Paulo or spending a night out dancing, a little (or a lot of) ruffles on your skirt are the perfect summer addition.

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Photos by Kristin Fields

I love the layered ruffles on this skirt. The colorful and bold pattern is reminiscent of a childhood memory, watching Bahian women walk through the streets of Salvador de Bahia in their traditional dress. I am inspired by the full, bright skirts I saw in Pelourinho over two decades ago and can still recall the taste of the coffee the women offered visitors as they passed by businesses. Fashion communicates a story in that way.

I wore this skirt with a yellow off the shoulder crop top, which is another style favorite of mine. The skirt and top are recent purchases and were both very reasonably priced. I found my bag at an outdoor market in Savannah, Georgia a few years ago.

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Outfit Details – Lace up sandals: Nasty Gal|| Crop Top: H&M|| Ruffle Skirt: H&M (The skirt and shirt are not listed online, but I’ve seen them in stores in a few different cities.)

Thanks for stopping by! Stay tuned for more summer fashion!

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Owning Your Style

Photos by Kristin Fields
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I celebrated my birthday in part by going to see the Internet perform live. It was a serendipitous chain of events that led to me actually getting concert tickets. It began with me announcing in one moment that I would like to see the Internet in concert. The next moment I was searching online for upcoming concerts, only to find that they would be performing at an already sold out concert in Atlanta the day before my birthday. The story gets better. I scrolled down my computer screen a little further and was surprised to see that not only was a second show added, but the second show was going to be on my birthday and the tickets were going on sell the very next day. Serendipitous.

 

So what does one wear to an Internet concert? A friend of mine jokingly said “I can imagine just the type of crowd the Internet draws” and threw out of few descriptions of their attire. Hilariously, her visualization was quite accurate, but at the crux is the expressiveness that you generally feel in these types of environments. It translates into a style that is less about name brands or trends and more about self-expression. In environments like this you find that whatever you wear, you just own it.

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Like the woman who shops at thrift stores and always looks like she stepped off of a NYFW runway, “You own your style like you own your used car” – Sophia Amoruso. I pieced this outfit together from what seems like hodgepodge of random stores, some that I rarely shop at and others that I frequent more often. These stretch fit jeans, for example, are from Old Navy and were given to me as a birthday present. I have nothing against Old Navy, but I can’t remember the last time I shopped there outside of shopping for my daughter. Owning your style means that you can mix and match items from anywhere, which is great for your budget. It also means you can make whatever you where your own, unique, and for lack of a better term, Fly.

 

In a few words I would describe my personal style as bold, creative, feminine, and versatile. How do you describe your style?

Thanks for stopping by!

OUTFIT DETAILS:

Jeans: Old Navy, Eyelet Shell Top: TopShop, Jacket: Forever 21, Boots: Urban Outfitters
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Spring in Bloom

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PHOTOS BY KRISTIN FIELDS

March is my favorite month of the year. It begins with my birthday and ends with my favorite season. Naturally, spring is a time for renewal. I’m fascinated by all that happens during the spring… flowers blooming, longer days, warmer weather and in fashion it brings lighter colors and an influx of pretty floral prints. But there is more to love about spring fashion, like brightly colored handbags and flowing pieces. Tunics, for example, create beautiful silhouettes and there are a variety of ways to style them. I love that this top is modest in its length and fit, but the slits at the hip add some allure. The overall feel of this look is retro inspired so I wore the top with wide leg jeans. You can create a completely different look by wearing the tunic with shorts or culottes, which I plan to explore in the coming months.

Shoes: Nasty Gal|| Top: Nasty Gal|| Jeans: The Limited|| Bag: Thailand

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Whenever I travel I make it a point to find unique pieces to bring back home and this basket purse was one of my most prized fashion finds during a trip to Thailand a few summers ago. The woven pattern and the color make it perfect for warmer months.

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These tan strappy sandals were a steal, for under $30. They are made from a faux-suede material and I purchased them during one of Nasty Gal’s recent sales.

What are your favorite things to wear during spring? Share your thoughts on this look below and subscribe for regular updates!

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Leopard is the New Black

Photos by Kristin Fields

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As a teenager, I spent a lot of time shopping with my mom.  As I looked over simple staples for more unique or embellished pieces she would always offer this advice, “Buy things that you can wear with everything”. It was  certainly logical advice, as staples like a crisp white blouse and a simple black dress are needed, but I naturally gravitated towards statement pieces, like these leopard print ankle boots. I was on the hunt for the perfect pair of leopard print boots and I was pleasantly surprised when I found these at an unexpected place: Urban Outfitters. They are comfortable, well-made,  reasonably priced, and can transition from day to evening looks.  Everything about this particular look is fun and playful, from the tights to the ruffle sleeves, and it is perfect for a casual day out or date night. The boots also look great with cropped jeans paired with a blazer.

For me, leopard print is a staple. Leave room in your wardrobe for some great statement pieces. You may be surprised by how easily they can be incorporated into your daily wardrobe.

Share your thoughts on this look below!

 

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Simple Layers with Unlikely Pairs

Photographer: Kristin Fields

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Shoes: Wanted (available here) | Sheer Top: Free People | Plaid Blouse: The Limited | Jeans: Urban Outfitters

Simple layers are one way to transition your wardrobe from warmer to cooler months. No surprise there. However, in the past I’ve been told, “I would never put these pieces together, but it works”. There is no secret ingredient to pulling seemingly contrasting pieces together, but I usually like to build on small accents, contrasting textures, or lines and shapes.
For this look, I started with this sheer tulle top as the focal point for creating a quick casual look. I look at this top and I see a lot of potential. It is a unique and flowing piece with embroidered details. During the summer, I wore it over cropped tank tops. A thin belt at the waist can also be added to create a peplum shape. During cooler months it can be layered in a variety of ways.  I usually wear it over a simple fitted and solid color top, but for this look, I thought it would fun to emphasize the lines created by the embroidery and layered the top over a plaid blouse. It’s a casual Friday so I pair it with jeans. The shoes are my favorite flats at the moment and they add another metallic accent to the outfit.
What are your thoughts on this look? Don’t forget to subscribe at the link below to receive regular updates!
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Celebrations in Black

Celebrations abound after reaching another a major milestone in my PhD journey: the successful defense of my research proposal! If I can be honest, January was somewhat brutal. It was filled with late nights and diligent work towards finalizing my proposal and preparing to defend it to my dissertation committee. There is something about sharing your own original ideas and defending them that makes you feel particularly vulnerable. Yet, this experience is another reminder to trust in your journey. You have all the tools for success. I’ve taken some well deserved time over the past week to pamper myself galore with spa treatments and stay-cations (New Glow. Who Dis?!).

This little number was a part of the festivities.

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Temperatures in Atlanta dropped just enough for this shaggy faux fur (swoon!). I paired it with a vegan leather pleated skirt and caged pumps. I haven’t worn all black lately (I go through my phases), but something about this look feels so regal. The coat and skirt are both from  Zara (and they are having an amazing sell right now). My shoes are from Nine West.

Cheers to February!

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Color Pop

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Photos by Kristin Fields

I recently came across a statement from a clothing line stating that a woman’s clothing should be the least interesting thing about her. The company is a clothing line that creates professional workplace looks for women, which I think is an ingenious idea, by the way. That statement, however, caused me to pause. I am sure it was well intended, but it is loaded with underlying assumptions that are somewhat offensive and reinforce stereotypes about fashion. It implies that in all of the important decisions we make throughout the day, our wardrobe is certainly not something we can be concerned with, a subtle nod to antiquated views on what successful working women should look like and care about.

It is absolutely fine for women to care less about fashion, and not only women who are climbing the corporate ladder, but all women. However, it is also fine to enjoy fashion and to have your personal style appropriately reflected in professional settings. In my opinion, there is room for vibrant and creative personal style in the workplace. What are your thoughts?

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Blouse and pants from The Limited (closed temporarily). A similar blouse can be purchased here.

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Shoes: BCBG

I expanded my wear to work pants collection beyond brown, navy, and black and these red pants provide the perfect pop of color. Aside, I think my workplace wardrobe is pretty fabulous and I would still like to think that is the least interesting thing about me. Style in Full Bloom.
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Lights, Cameras, Magic – NYE 2k16

Second to my birthday, NYE is my favorite occasion to get dressed for. Here are a few looks I’m considering for tonight. The embellished bustier from Nasty Gal made all of my pearl dreams come true. I am in love with the details. I wore this top on my birthday and I have been patiently waiting for an occasion to wear it again (and again) …Sidenote: I love the pieces that I purchase and how wasteful to only wear things once :).

I look forward to spending this day in reflection and bringing in the new year with my loved ones. Happy New Year!

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Pants – Bill Hallman, Ruffle Top – H&M, Shoes – Betsey Johnson

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Top, Skirt, and Coat – Nasty Gal

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Counting Down to the New Year!

It is hard to believe that 2017 is just a few days away!  The last quarter of the year always seems to pass by quickly. In 2016, I decided to push myself beyond my comfort zone by pursuing a few new creative ideas, including this blog. I spent the year taking more “fashion photos”, but continued to wonder if I was ready to actually launch a blog. The moral of the story: Just do it! I started this domain in January 2016, with plans to make my first post about NYE. In honor of what was planned as my first post, I decided to reflect on a few of my favorite looks from 2016, beginning with NYE 2015. This is a snap shot of things that I LOVE (tulle, fringe, patterns, and leopard print).

The end of the year does not only have to be a time to plan for things to accomplish in the coming year, but there is still time to wrap up unfinished projects…or even start new ones :).

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Thrifted Printed Blazer, Dress – Cherry Bomb Boutique

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Fringe Skirt – The Limited, Thrifted Jean Jacket, Sandals –  BCBG

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Leopard Pants – The Limited (online), Lace-up Flats – Steve Madden

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Pussy Bow Top and Vegan Leather Skirt – The Limited; Booties – BCBG

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