My tried-and-true chicelegant (spell check nearly imploded with this nonexistent word, but whatevs) aesthetic didn’t change much in 2019. Here are some of my favorite looks from this year, with a bit of commentary.
When it comes to jeans and pants, I’m your typical pull-your-pants-up-every-ten-seconds kind of gal, because I tend to pull sizes a bit bigger than I should. (Le sigh.) But this year was a marked improvement. I went for more jeggings and leggings this time around, which resulted in better fits and just looked way nicer.
Dresses and skirts are my favorite things to wear. They just are.
I wasn’t kidding.
The collaged photo in the middle is from our annual worship convention this year and my theme was skirts. (Anyone else theme their outfits for events? I love doing that.) All those skirts came from Ross–all to the shock and awe of my Mom, who thinks I should be shopping at Nordstrom at my age. If I can score chic and lovely clothes for a lesser price, I’ll be staying at Ross. After loving everything I wore this summer, she agrees with me.
The Blonde Ambition Tour.
And finally, these three. The last photo is from last weekend at one of our worship events. I played around with color and combinations here and I was really pleased with the results. Woo hoo…
‘Twas a good year for personal style and fashion. My goals are to continue to dress for my body and accentuate better, remain chicelegant, and experiment more. As for the revolving door of hair styles and colors: of course.
I decided to change up the ‘do again. No surprise there. As I mentioned to a friend who remarked about the merry-go-round of styles we as Black women are happy to explore, hair is one of the few things in this crazy life that I can control. (Although I’ve long believed that my hair, known as She, controls me.) As you know, I visited the lighter side of the hair color spectrum in January. And I’m very happy there. Which is why, two weeks ago, I decided to go bolder, brighter, and much, much blonder.
Popular questions/statements I’ve received since:
Are you having fun yet? Do you like it? Whoa, you’re brave. Something new for the summer, huh? Wow, you’re always changing your hair!
I love it.
Not just for the summer, no.
Indeed I am.
Here’s to the merry-go-round.
And before I go: leaving you with my favorite song this month. You know how I feel about Emeli Sande (or maybe you didn’t, but the link is yours to see). Here’s her recent single, which I have on repeat. I love it not only for the melody, and her soaring voice, but for the simple message: we’re all extraordinary. Something to keep in mind–for me, for you, for all of us.
Yes, dear reader, after years and years on the darker side of the color wheel, I decided to make a big Year of 40 change and go blonde. My hair is now a honey blonde hue and I love it something awful. Initially after the coloring, as you can see in some of the pics above, it had more of a reddish-blonde shade as a result of my red color before and the repeated lifts to get all the red out. These days, it’s definitely more honey and closer to the shade I was looking for. And I plan on going lighter! Now that I’ve learned that going blonde won’t make me look like a dancer of some sort of cheesy Vegas revue, the blonde is my oyster.
And let’s chat about that for a moment. Upon seeing my hair, my sister said the following: “Why haven’t you done this your whole life?!” Other friends also asked why I had never experimented with a lighter color before. You know me: hair experimentation has never been an issue for me. But sporting dark hair as a woman of color was most definitely a safe choice. I couldn’t imagine my brown skin against an even lighter color. (Even bright red was far more safer in my mind than anything lighter.) Now I’ve been reminded that my brown skin is beautiful against any backdrop. We hold ourselves back, even in tiny, seemingly insignificant ways, don’t we? But none of that anymore. Embrace change, embrace newness, embrace the blonde. Because…
So a good friend of mine threw a beautiful get-together yesterday with a lovely theme: Bloom Where You Are Planted. It was a company of women sharing their favorite quotes or scriptures, dressed or accessorized in a floral theme, ready to swap $3 gifts, and overall gathering together to encourage, uplift, and upbuild. So moving and beautiful. I decided to wear something casually floral and went with a floral blouse, duster, jeans, and booties. Below.
Deets: Duster and blouse from my boyfriend Ross (the store, not um, an actual person); jeggings from Walmart (don’t sleep; I like paying $9-$12 for pants and I’m not ashamed to admit it); booties from Old Navy.
Can I say that I loved my ‘fit? For me, it was the right mix of fun and feminine; chic and casual. I was quite happy with it.
So makeup: I’ve been really focusing on my eyes lately. Eyeliner has become my bestie, basically. I like playing with the natural shape and clearly I like a dark, smoky look.
Eyes: Revlon Liner; Clapback lipstick by Fenty Beauty used as a shadow
Foundation: Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra Longwear Foundation (loving this new find); I believe my Lupita is one of their brand ambassadors
Cheeks: Black Radiance blush; Mariah Carey highlighter
Lippie: Smashbox Matte Lipstick, shade: Girl Gang
That’s the lewk. It was a lovely event and a beautiful day.
Two weeks ago, I decided to make a change to welcome fall. Shall we?
Yes, she’s a redhead now. This lovely shade that I love so will remain until the gray hairs, lying dormant for now, decide to engage in their usual Terminator-like uprisings and rebellion. Until then: I greet autumn with this fresh, new color.
After the first cut, I went back to my stylist and asked for another cut, to even things out, and to color it, as well, since the gray hairs were like all these changes are making us nervous so we ’bout to legit multiply. Here’s how it looked after the second cut:
I went with a wine-y, berry color, which may not be evident in these pics but will be soon. Having been red and brown red and burgundy and jet black, I wanted something in the reddish family, but a bit different than the hues I’ve tried before. Fun story: when my stylist washed out the color, it only lifted on my sides and back of my hair. The middle remained completely unaltered by the color. So…she added a bright purple color all over, hoping that it would aid the lift…and it did. But that bright purple…whew.
So I was happy with the changes.
Or was I?
This past week, I headed home to VA to spend some much-needed time with the Mama and my family. (It was awesome.) While there, I contemplated cutting my hair again. Deep down, although I liked my look, I wasn’t 100% content. Why? What was I looking for?
Stylistically, wedding-y, everything-y, Solange has long been a marvel for my eyes. And I certainly remember my gaspy (new word, just created by me, you’re welcome) reaction to her gorgeous big chop in 2009. It was everything. Do you hear me? Every. Ting. I think she was hiding in my subconscious this whole time, patiently waiting for me to bring her back up and acknowledge that this was the hair destination I was headed to. Because even the other photos I had for inspo were cuts that looked exactly like Solange’s.
Interesting, right? Anyway, the previous cut was fine, but there was a fro-hawk-y nature about that middle part of my head, and as much as I love frohawks, I’ve had that look before. I wanted something different. I wanted Solange. I wanted simple, chic, lovely, even–all of what you see above. So, when I had some time while home, I drove to the local Hair Cuttery and asked for my third cut.
With the color and this new look, dear Reader, I believe we have reached Destination: Solange. Or, more importantly, I can 1005 percent say I love my new look. Check it out.
A few more things:
I need a barber. My stylist is awesome and started this style change rolling, but to maintain this look, I’ll definitely need a professional barber. The search begins.
I love this look.
Have you had this experience? Loved a look but deep down, wanted something more? Shall we meet in the comments below?
December 2012: after eight months of waiting and impatiently wearing two different hair textures on my head (the relaxed ends and the growing, textured, natural roots), I walked into a salon and big chopped my hair. The smile on my face below should tell you how I felt about my decision.
I felt free. At the end of the day, a sense of freedom captured me and sweetly refused to let me go. As the months and years passed, I experimented with my natural hair, as you well know. ‘Fros, tapered cuts, a variety of protective styles–my hair officially became my canvas. And whenever I sensed one iota of boredom, it was time to change the painting.
Take a walk down memory lane with me…
Deep down, though? Real talk? That inner Square Peg longed for that feeling. The feeling that took over me when I got back into my car on that winter’s day in 2012. When I gazed in the mirror and felt that indescribable sense of freedom and beauty and satisfaction. As that revolving door of style changes continued to open and close, I really think that I was trying to re-capture that moment in the car, when it was just me and my ‘lil fro.
Fast forward to last Saturday. It had to happen. I had to go back.
Back to square one, dear reader. Back to the beginning. (And even shorter than the previous big chop, ha!) I sat in my stylist’s chair and I told her what I was thinking and despite her “we’re cutting it again?” response, I showed her the picture of what I was thinking and she took out that razor and got to work.
Look: after years of twist-outs and Bantu knots and braid-outs and all those lovely looks under the sun, here’s the truth: this is my look. This is the style for me. I think, with my previous cuts just a few months ago (here and here), that I was subconsciously moving in increments, slowly heading back to the start. And here we are. Finally.
A few fundamental truths:
Short hair almost automatically influences your style. I found myself wanting to ensure that my earring flow was on point; that my red lippie was on point (and a bit of purple, too, as you can see); etc. It’s almost organic the way it happens.
This is a big one for me. (No pun intended as you read on.) I had head issues. For various reasons, I thought my head was just way too large. Even when I big chopped in 2012, there was always a voice of doubt in the back of my mind concerning this head of mine. And as my stylist was razoring and cutting last Saturday, I almost panicked a bit, wondering if I had made a completely ridiculous decision. But look at that round head! It’s delicious!
Barring a wig or weave if I feel like it, the short hair life is the life for me. When winter comes, I plan on wearing tons of hats and head wraps to keep the cool air from freezing me out, and could allow the ‘fro to grow just a bit, but the short hair look is mine to keep.
I am not my hair, as India says. My hair is an accessory that can be shaped and created into whatever strikes my fancy. For me, the inside needs to be shiny and lovely first, followed by the accentuating of the inside. In all honesty, that’s what happened in 2012: the outside finally matched the inside. Openly, visibly, plainly: me.
Mine was delicious. Not only because of the food I ate (and yeah, I keep eating like my metabolism is 16 years old and not close to a brand new decade; we will discuss later), but because Texas gave us two beautiful, sunny, warm, breezy days that were just delectably good. With the bipolarity around here, you take what it gives and when it’s fantastic, you engage in praise hands and enjoy it immensely. (Knowing that in a week or too, monsoons will likely be a-coming…) Here’s what I wore:
Saturday. Brunch with some of the lovely ladies in my life. Two good friends of mine co-hostessed about 30 of us at a wonderful restaurant in our local area called Tupelo Honey (doesn’t the name just evoke visions of lemonade and wide verandas??), where we talked and laughed and reconnected and enjoyed the moments given to us. As usual, I had no idea what to wear; I did envision a long summer dress and pearls because, again, Tupelo Honey, but decided against that when a friend mentioned that she planned on wearing jeans. So jeans it was. I paired my boyfriend jeans with a blouse, blazer, and black heels. (See the photo; sadly, you can’t see the heels but trust that they were bomb, mmkay?)
Jeans and Blazer: Old Navy Blouse: Somewhere I don’t recall
Sunday. I had the pleasure of attending a spiritual conference this past Sunday, and it was certainly the faith-strengthening boost I needed. What I wore wasn’t the most important aspect of the day, of course, but looking my best was still part of the plan. Regarding what I wore: I shopped in my closet. Huzzah…
Real quick: the skirt had pockets. Don’t ask me while I held my hands that way when my skirt had pockets. Le sigh. But pockets! Yes!
Blazer (navy blue): Girl, I can’t remember Blouse: goodness, see above. I think Dress Barn? Years ago? Skirt: New York & Company The shoes of life: Jessica Simpson, from Macy’s
Didja notice something different with my hair?
I cut it!
Yes, I was growing it out. Yes, I planned on holding on. But y’all: the scissors and the long for change are just too powerful. I detailed my haircut journey in my latest submission for The Maria Antoinette. When it goes live, I’ll link it here and we’ll talk about the cut in depth. Just know that I’m very happy with it and the myriad of styles that came along my way. And that was the point. Variety continues to spice up my life. Cue the music.
After a year of red hair (which was my third time being a slight redhead), I went back to black–jet black–this weekend. She got colored and also received a much-welcomed shape-up/slight haircut.
As much as I love making color changes to my hair, here’s the main reason why black wins every single time:
Had to do it.
Anyway, for me, black hair:
Makes red lippy pop from here till eternity.
Is shiny and lovely.
Is great with my skin tone.
Is just chic, y’all.
As far as the slight shape-up, my goal remains to grow my hair out, but I’d like the growth to take on a particular look as it happens. Believe me, I wanted to chop it all off (as I always do), but we’re holding on for now. Tiiiight.
That was my weekend. What moves did you make these past few days?
Hey y’all. I had the pleasure of attending the nuptials of two dear friends this past weekend and wanted to share what I wore, what I did with Her (my hair, as you know), and other tings. Let’s, shall we?
What I wore: So I suffer from this problem I’d like to call “forgets that she has clothes in her closet.” I think it’s genetic, because my mother has shown symptoms of the same issue. Anyway, when it’s time for a special event, something happens to me. My brain
freezes, I come down with a case of hardcore amnesia, and I hit the stores for new outfits as if I don’t already have a closet full of lovely frocks and ensembles that could easily be worn. Happened this time, too. A wedding?! Oh, no! What’ll I wear? Panic ensues. And then the day before the wedding, I was gazing in my closet and I saw that blue number hanging there, side eyeing me like, “I was here the whole time, princess.” (Yes, I totally called my own self princess. Please do the same.) I tried it on and was like, uh, yeah, wearing this. The other dress I bought is lovely in its own right, but I wasn’t truly feeling it. This dress made me happy. I combined it with a simple cardigan I had grabbed from Macy’s, my Jessica Simpson pink high heels, and it was a wrap. You know me: I stick with feminine, simple, and understated chic. I think this ensemble achieved all three.
Accessories: Peep the gold bracelet and the cute ring. (More about my earrings further below.) On the other wrist were more bracelets. Did you know that I’m a lover of bracelets like nobody’s business? Plus, as the years go by, the desire to pull everything off has certainly diminished. Thank the heavens.
HER, Face, and Them Earrings Though: First, don’t you love those earrings?? So lovely and unique. Snagged them from Target.
Foundation: Fenty. Pro Filt’r Foundation in 450. (Soft matte and longwear, and the latter is not an exaggeration. After dancing my bad knees off all night, my makeup still looked intact. All hail.)
Concealer (used under my eyes and above my eyebrows, bridge of nose, and chin): Fenty Match Stix Stinstick in Suede.
Eyeshadow: Morphe 350 Eyeshadow Palette in a variety of colors.
Blush: Black Radiance in Warm Raspberry
Highlighter: MARIAH CAREY collection MY MIMI extra dimension skinfinish
Lips: My beloved Ruby Woo with MAC lip liner in Currant
Eyeliner and Mascara: Maybelline
Whew, right? But it took me less than 10 minutes to put everything on!
HER: She’s been in an interesting mood. After several months of protective styling and braids and such, she came back a bit temperamental and needing lots of love and extra care. I wasn’t sure how I wanted to style her for the wedding, but deep down,
I knew I’d go with a frompadour. And that’s what I did. Moisturizer, 1,000 pins, a few hair combs, and a quick prayer that she wouldn’t rebel against my fingers. My colleague described it as a Gibson Girl look and with my love for all things vintage-y, especially hair: mission accomplished.
A fun day was had. Bottom line: so happy for my friends who symbolized their love with an elegant, lovely, fabulous wedding day.