Mismatch It!

“Uh, you sure this matches?” my sister eyed my outfit suspiciously before we went out to snap some shots of it.

Instantly, I was propelled back to my 8 year old self–remembering the feeling I had when my 3rd grade classmates would ask the same question while examining my blue jeans and rainbow turtleneck disdainfully. (Mind you, now I know that such an outfit is a bit outlandish, even for me, but this anecdote goes to show you that fashion risks, no matter how terrible they may be, pave the way for one to eventually unearth their own signature style.)

Despite my slight hesitation to my sister’s comment, I promptly decided I didn’t care.

_mg_0107

_mg_0097

This turtleneck was taken straight out of my mother’s early 90s closet as you could probably tell. I immediately fell in love with the candy striped pattern of the top, knowing that this piece alone could make the most mundane looking outfit whimsical and somewhat eccentric. A common remark I hear from people is that they don’t know what looks good, or how to make their style more defined. My advice is this: Stop scrolling through the monochromatic, selfie ridden, #OOTD laden Instagram newsfeeds for one second, go to your closet, pick up one piece of clothing, and think of at least 5 ways you could creatively wear it.

_mg_0095

The purple scarf was an added touch. An interesting touch, gifted to me by a good friend (Hi Rachel!)

_mg_0121

That’s my secret. Funnily enough, when my mind is bombarded by a bunch of images of other people’s styles, I lose inspiration. It’s usually when I just take an extra five minutes in the morning to stare into the cluttered abyss that is my closet, that I finally figure out something. My motto has always been and always will be that I would rather look like a crazy fool, than a basic Betty. California has a million north face wearing, ugg boot kickin’, pumpkin spice latte holding folks out here. Who has the time? Let me add to the discourse of clothing choices, by giving you something to double take at–even if it’s a doubtful double take.

xx

-A

Follow me on Instagram and Twitter!

Advertisements

Lolita

I am so excited to share with you the photoshoot that I did with my two subjects Santino Lojero and Jei Raby. I’m so used to being in front of the camera, so when they asked me to get behind it–I jumped at the chance!

Styling was directed by Santino, the lovely Blasian with the aviator glasses, and combined with a bit of my creative direction/input, we were able capture their outfits + aesthetic to the fullest extent. Jei, despite not having much experience in the creative realm, was still able to bring a level of class and regality while shooting.

finished

yellow

It’s retro. The color palette is slightly on the ’80s neon kitschy side, but only in the best way possible.

kitschy

 

badass

This is editorial material I’d use if I wrote a feature story on a native LA electro-pop/indie band.

greenery

My favorite part about photography + fashion is that you can capture culture visually. Fashion signifies cultural markers within  society and often exhibits moods through color combinations and textures. Good photography can convey those things timelessly. Looking at these photos evokes a nostalgic feeling within me. Does it do the same for you?

_mg_9685

Pretty proud of this collaboration! If you’re ever down to collab drop a message!

Edited by: Adaobi Ugoagu

xx

-A

Follow me on Instagram and Twitter.

 

 

#OOTD: Don’t Touch My Hair

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie articulated in a BBC interview that hair, particularly a black woman’s hair, is political. (PLEASE WATCH THIS BRILLIANT INTERVIEW).

“Is it?” the interviewer responded incredulously, waiting for her to explain her statement further. She pointed out that the way she chooses to style her hair inevitably gives off unintended statements. For example, she may wear her hair out in an afro because she’s tired of styling it and wants to wear it out freely. In turn, others will see her ‘fro and may coin her as a “sistah” or a “vegetarian” or  “soulful” when it reality, she just wants to give her follicles a break. (As you can imagine, snap-assumptions of this sort can be detrimental for black women when seeking employment. But that is another post for the future). I want to go as far as saying that because black hair is so political in nature, the common response for outsiders is to demand for explanations!

_mg_9460

I say this from experience. I walked into my friend’s birthday party a week ago with my new hairdo and upon sitting down, I was immediately DRILLED on questions about how my hair was done, if it was all my hair, and how long it took. In that atmosphere of loud music, dim lights, and alcoholic beverages, I didn’t fully comprehend the impudence of the situation. I didn’t realize how bad it was until a few hours later when a friend of mine came up to me and told me that she loved my new hair, but she wanted to tell me this privately because she understood how the unwelcome attention could lead to me publicly defending the authenticity of my hair right on the spot. Another friend overheard her comment and added that “I was so patient” with the girls that greeted me with prying queries within the minute of my arrival to the gathering.

Which by the way, for those of you that don’t know, if the first thing out ya mouth is “Is it yours???” to a black woman, STOP. Well-intentioned or not, that’s a micro-aggression and it is extremely degrading. Please, a simple compliment will surely suffice.

money

_mg_9550

Since then,  I’ve been hit with a few more unwanted (and a few wanted) opinions on my hair and it has bothered me simply because of the fact that there are so many! This is not to talk of the content of their opinions. Pero, Who. Asked. You?

Do wavy-haired brunettes get the same unbridled speculation on their hairstyles as well? That was the question that darted through my mind when I went through the previous week–somewhat reluctant to go into social situations for fear of being bombarded with another person’s “assessments.” When I first viewed Adichie’s interview a month ago, I ruminated on the assumptions that she spoke of–not really knowing that her declaration would bring me into a higher level of consciousness, making me more aware of the social dynamics took place that night and many other instances before that.  What a curious world to be in as a black woman.

_mg_9492

_mg_9544

Solange’s song Don’t Touch My Hair has also resonated with me for this very reason. Her statement, “Don’t touch my hair” establishes boundaries in terms of physical touch, but I want to add to that conversation by also establishing a boundary around how one speaks about and responds to black women’s hair choices/styles. It is my and many other black women’s “crowns.” It is our personal space and no one has the right to challenge our authenticity, or forcibly digest dispensable judgements. We got to respect that boundary for black women, period.

Comment or message me below if any part of this post resonated with you, if you had an experience similar to mine, or if you learned something vital. Love to hear some thoughts!

Top: Gifted by Modupe Alabi

Shoes: Adidas Originals Superstars

xx

-A

Follow me on Instagram and Twitter for more opinions. lol.

Zipper

golden

Your art will always look different in comparison to someone else’s even if it’s taken in direct inspiration of another’s creation. Your body shape, your hand stroke, and the lens in which you see the world will be uniquely different than anyone else’s strokes, shape, and perspectives. Your experience is uniquely yours.

sway

_mg_9320

Lets not forget that within the fashion blogging sphere! I see way too many flat lay Instagram pics and monochromatic outfit grids taking over this wonderful sector of fashion on social media. I’m over the commercialization of blogging. It’s sad to slowly watch my once favorite bloggers turn into replicas of other ones. The industry puts so much pressure to put out content that content becomes unoriginal. I refuse to fall prey. #imnotcommercialanymore

_mg_9246

clothes-closeup

ballerina

I named this post Zipper because I feel like my lip color pulls the whole outfit together. It gives it an interesting edge. Interpret my outfit, the makeup, and the lighting of these images as you will. There was no particular thought process in putting my ensemble together. My subconscious is sometimes drawn to certain pieces coming together depending on the music I’m listening to, the books I read, and the place that I am in. Draw inspiration from it–your interpretation of it will be uniquely yours. Build upon that.

shoes

Pale Pink Heels: Asos

Lip Color: Zipper from ColourPop

xx

-A

Follow me on Instagram and Twitter!

#OOTD: Serving A Look

Winter in California isn’t brutal compared to other states in the U.S. Of this, I am highly aware.

But being a born and bred Californian, when the temperature starts to flirt with the low 60s high 50s, you will catch me in a wool trench coat. Some say I’m being dramatic. I say I’m serving a look.

So speaking of serving one, I’m going to showcase my newest addition to my closet: my Zara square toed heel.

number-one

number-five

I have to admit, I was somewhat hesitant buying these because I know that square toed shoes are trending–and when it comes to trends, they don’t last long. I wanted to make sure that I would wear these bad boys to death. And fortunately, I have been. They’re are comfortable to trot around in, and give a nice touch of edge to any outfit that is looking a little blasé.

These particular ones are sold out (I made a good choice then!) However, these are the closest version to them.

Shout out to Modupe for quickly snapping these shots for me. IG: @mo_alabi

Follow me on Instagram. You know where to go by now (well at least you should).

xx

-A

 

 

Fro-Tastic

I’m wearing my afro out. I don’t know it’s because the summertime makes me lazy, or if I’m just becoming prone to caring less about what the world thinks about me. Nonetheless, but I am wearing my natural fro out.

I woke up in the morning, dunked my head under a stream of water and let it dry. This was the result. Sure it’s not “styled” the way natural hair aficionados would recommend, but I was having a “who cares?” day when I got up that morning.  I looked at myself in the mirror and 100% appreciated what I saw. Don’t get it twisted, there is nothing wrong with styling, and taking care of your hair. But sometimes us black women can go overboard with the hair routine. We buy one too many products, we touch it every 2 minutes, we tug, we de-tangle, we just do too much. Sometimes we just need a day to walk outside and just BE. Funnily enough, I got quite a bit of compliments and a lot more stares…but I don’t know if it was admiration or confusion. Anyway, I have learned that I too, can wash n’ go. Well…for about a day then I have to get my hair back on a hot oil treatment.

_MG_8680

_MG_8724

_MG_8764

PRO TIP: My White Choker is DIY’d and I’m pretty excited to share another tip for you choker lovin’ gals out there. Tired of spending $5 a pop on strips of fabric? Cut off the hem of an old shirt or pants and voila! You got yourself a new choker. I cut off the hem of an old white shirt to achieve this look.

_MG_8792

_MG_8842

_MG_8857

_MG_8865

Sandals: ASOS// Overalls: Santee Alley// Black Crop Top: Forever 21

Photographed By: Samantha Lopez

Edited By: Moi.

p.s. Someone suggested that I do a post dedicated to taking care of natural hair. I’m still new on this journey so any advice that I offer would be for newbies like me. Let me know in the comments: yea or nay.

xx

-A

Follow me on Instagram && Twitter.

 

Downtown Pomona

If you asked me 5 years ago, I believed that growing up in Pomona made for somewhat of a mundane and unexciting teenager life. For the most part, what made the city was the people I went to high school with and the drama club that I was a part of (YES! I was a proud thespian back in the day!). But once I graduated and all my friends from here fizzled out with the exception of 1 or 2, the city continued to be as mundane as I remembered it to be.

This is my first time in 3 years that I have spent an extended amount of time back in Pomona, so I’ve been trying to make the most of it by rediscovering small spots in the city that make for a mini adventure. So my friend Sam and I ventured to downtown Pomona and found some really cool spots to take photos at. Take a gander.

_MG_8583

_MG_8610

_MG_8618

My style for the summer is simple: keep it simple. It’s too dang hot here in the valley and while I love the winter months to layer my clothing, that is simply not an option. I stumbled upon this denim dress at Goodwill a month ago and I snatched it so fast, the cashier felt the woosh! from all the way across the store. It’s a timeless piece, very in trend right now, and what even makes me happier about it, is the fact that it was only $10. You KNOW Forever 21 and Urban Outfitters will try to steal your $40 to make you buy a denim dress. Again, take my advice and give up fast fashion!

_MG_8621

_MG_8638

Also, my dusty pink mules have been an absolute lifesaver since I purchased them (before my permanent decision of course). It’s such a beautiful accent to any outfit with it’s light color and square toed shaped. In addition, it’s so easy to slip on off. Anything that is hassle free, I’m a fan. You can check them out here.

-A

xx

Follow me on Instagram && Twitter!

Autumn in the Summer

As I was going through the photos from this shoot, I realized that a lot of my clothes reflected my favorite season (if you can call it that in California) of the year. Autumn. My clothes reside in the warm, brown, and orangey range that complements the typical colors of autumn leaves around that period. Never been a summer kind of girl, really.

The first look is inspired by the longstanding 70’s off the shoulder vibes that has inundating my Twitter and Instagram feed since last year. In the beginning I paid no attention, and then subconsciously my mind began to register that it was a look that I must emulate. Boom, this top ended up in my closet. No regrets.

Of course, I had to pair it with my signature high-waisted mom jeans. A quick note I wanted to make about mom jeans. As you’ve probably read in my the last post, I’m off of FF (fast fashion) permanently. But even prior to that decision, I absolutely refused to buy “mom jeans” from a FF retailer. Why? Because they’re not the real thing. Real “mom jeans” are made out of real denim.  Currently, jeans from FF stores are usually made of this stretchy jegging/polyester material that wears out in 2 years. By then, the color fades and the material starts to loosen (especially if you have skinny jeans). You’re lucky if you get a 3rd year out of them. There is a reason why the jeans from your mother’s closet has lasted 3 decades. Trust me on this–bite the bullet and thrift your jeans.

4633b

4614

4649

4650b

4666b

Mules: ASOS (I still own FF items so the transition will be slow)

The second look was built around this corduroy skirt I bought from Topshop way earlier in the year. I was wandering around the store and saw this sticking out of the sale section. It was love at first sight. Again, the skirt has an autumnal 70s vibe that my subconscious can’t seem to shake! Damn you, StyleWatch. It will be interesting to see how my style will evolve from here on out since I will no longer will a part of the massive hysteria surrounding seasonal trends.

4757b

4776 (1)b

4887

4915

Shoes: Zara // Corduroy Midi Skirt: Topshop

All the credit goes to Photographer, Karlo Morcilla who shot and edited all these photos. Check out his Instagram here!

xx

-A

Follow me on Insta && Twitter.

Ethics + Aesthetics

Two posts in one day! Woo, I’m on a roll here. But I felt the need to explain a few things.

For one, I am changing the way that I view fashion and how I want to use this platform that is called my blog. Aside from styling being a hobby, I want to become more intentional about the messages I send, since I am a “fashion blogger”. I don’t want to be the messenger of over-consumption, unsustainable habits, and unreal, manicured depictions of who I am.

So what does this mean for my blog? Not sure yet. But as I go along, the ideas will keep coming to me. I’m learning to trust the process.

the true cost

For one, I have a resolution that I silently made many months ago, but was afraid to publicly come out and have my audience hold me accountable. And that is to no longer being a shopper of fast fashion retailers. I watched a documentary called The True Cost and I was really challenged to think about my spending habits and what sort of industry I am supplanting. As a believer of Christ, my views are that people are made in the image of God and therefore deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. From what I could understand in the documentary, my cravings for a new pair of shoes from Zara, directly affected the lifestyles of a many poor citizens in Bangladesh and other countries these suppliers outsource to. So if anyone knows a bit about this interesting journey with Christ, you know that “dying to your flesh” is a major key alert. And I had to implement it in this area of my life so that I can learn to built more sustainable habits when it comes to purchasing apparel.

Hows it been going? So far, so good. I’ve been an avid thrifter since high school so it’s not as difficult. Although, I’m little nervous about how I’m going to be shopping for shoes, not a fan of used shoes…but luckily I already have 20 pairs to juggle and style around. What would be really wonderful is if you guys could comment below or message me with amazing thrift stores in LA. Now that Depop and Poshmark will be my only “online” stores I will be shopping at, I need some in-person stores to balance it all out!

xx

-A

Follow me on Insta && Twitter!