Fabu Fashion Monday: Poncho, Please.

Let me tell you about the last time I wore a poncho, which was sometime in the early 2000s: quite unnerved by the lack of actual sleeves, I wore it once and stuffed it somewhere in my drawer after ripping it off at the end of the evening. Yes, folks, my name is This Square Peg, and I openly admit to being freaked out by the non-sleeves of a poncho. But that was then. Girls become women, and non-sleeves grow less terrifying.

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I snagged this poncho a week ago at Rugged Wearhouse, a local store I’m newly obsessed with and mentioned here. Despite the unfortunate store name (rugged? wearhouse? just no), this place has some of the chicest finds in all the land. And dare I say it, that poncho above, with its faux leather lining and those patterns, had me drowning in le chic. I wore it a ladies lunch that I was invited to and paired it with black skinny jeans and a pair of clunky boots. By the way, have I mentioned how much I love a twistout and red lips?

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Black, white, twists, and red. Can’t beat it.

Anywho, I fell so in love with the poncho that I took it along with me this past longish weekend to Arizona, where I headed to visit my beloved cuzzo. After she informed me that the weather there was actually cool (no kidding; while we shivered in the cool temperatures, it was 75 degrees here in Somewheres, VA), I threw that thing right in my suitcase and wore it again for an evening out in Phoenix.

All in all, good times were had with my dear new poncho, and there was hardly a non-sleeves panic attack in sight.

Are you a lover of the poncho, too?

Protective Styles and the Impatient Naturalista.

I can patiently wait in line for tickets to see a Broadway show.

I can patiently wait in line at the grocery store. (Especially when I have literally one item and the woman in front of me has 26, even though we’re in the 12 items or less lane.)

I can patiently wait to meet the man that will one day become my future. (Well, with some grumbling while I wait, but you get my drift.)

What I cannot abide by, what causes me to fidget and side eye my own self, are protective styles. If you’re not a naturalista, protective styles are ‘dos that protect the ends and keep the hair tucked away and protected from the over-manipulation that can come from constantly styling, washing, and generally having our hands in our hair. Braids, twists, wigs, etc., are the various choices one has when wanting to protect their natural hair. Personally, I tend to stick to the two-strand twist side of protective styles when it comes to my own hair. But when I want to protect the whole giant head for a longer period of time, I tend to choose individual braids, kinky twists, or Senegalese twists, which I am currently wearing and have been since late September.

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When the twists went to Europe.

Late September. It’s now mid-November.

You understand me, don’t you? Certain protective styles drive me crazy. After a number of weeks/months, I long for my ‘fro the way I long for that piece of bread on your plate. I long for my strands the way I long to ask Idris Elba why, as husband and wife, we’re still not living together. Yes, these styles force me to remain patient and stick to my yearly goal of protecting my hair in the autumn/cold months. But I can’t be patient. I simply can’t. It’s recommended to keep braid styles in for no more than 8 weeks. I stick to that recommendation like glue. And when the 8th week comes, I nearly cartwheel down random hallways in excitement for finally having my hair back. Because I love my natural hair. I love sinking my hands into it and feeling the coils and the curls. Essentially, I’m the kind of gal who needs to abide by protective styles because of how much I touch this hair. But I’m working on leaving it alone, not being all up in its biz so much. Baby steps.

Anyway, the braids come out this weekend, thanks to the efforts of my long-suffering sissy, who has agreed to take them out for me. I can’t promise that I won’t hold a parade as a result.

Naturalistas out there: how do you handle the wait when your hair is all nice and tucked away? Or am I the only one who needs to attend a 12-step program for this issue?

Hair Lessons and Hair Love.

We’ll go with the love first. Naturally.

So I rocked Senegalese twists for the past month and a half. ‘Twas a great protective style, but the feeling of taking them out and finally getting to place my hands into my scalp was divine.

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Them twists.
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Twists be gone.

Since a deep–and I mean deeeep–conditioning was necessary, I headed to the salon and got that done as well as two strand twists.

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“Notice the use of shadow and light.” Nah, I just point and selfie. And bonus if you got that Saved by the Bell reference.

Can I profess my love for this low key style? I find two strands so low maintenance and convenient, especially for mornings when I’m running late for work (which is all of them) and don’t have time to spend on my hair. And better? Better? How much I love my ‘do when I separate the twists and get all curly. After I wore the twists for a few days, this is how it looked.

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Same face…
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Same face…
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Same face…
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Same face…
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Boom. She turns.

Yesterday, I washed and conditioned the tresses and re-twisted. When my weird, non-professional fingers twist, the results aren’t nearly as bouncy and loverly, but they still look ok.

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OK, now for the lessons. Being a year and a half into my return to natural hair, I fully expect to continually learn the best ways to feed, nourish, and take care of my beloved fro. During the visit to the stylist and yesterday when I was getting a trim, both stylists mentioned the breakage around my edges and the fact that the front section of my hair, around the sides, is weaker than the back part of my hair. I got great advice, as well, about remembering to moisturize my hair as much as possible, but definitely to focus on that front part. Admittedly, when you hear words like “breakage” and “weak,” it’s kind of a blow. Nevertheless, I pushed past all of that and decided that, along with everything else in life, these are all lessons. Specifically:

  • Peace. No more braiding/twists (other than two-strand with my own hair) for the foreseeable future, if ever. Until those delicate edges and sides grow back like the lawn in our backyard (the one my brothers pretend they don’t see), I’m leaving ’em alone. No styles that involve pulling, grasping, manipulating. The stylist who did my Senegalese did a great job, in that I didn’t feel like my medulla was being pulled out along with my strands of hair. But the edges and the sides need peace.
  • Hydrate. Seriously, I need to water the plant of my hair more. I have my daily moisturizing regimen, and I have my wash days, and I have my deep condition days. But I get lazy. Not anymore! I will drown this hair. Well, not really, but you get my drift.

There’s more, but the bottom line is my effort to 1) embrace the merry-go-round of constantly learning about my hair, and 2) make the needed improvements. So far, so good though. Love my fro.