Fall is the season of friends and feasting and I thought what better way to celebrate that than by connecting with a few fellow bloggers.
Renee (pictured above) reached out to me about collaborating on a Fall Fashion Lookbook and it was so much fun! She was very organized throughout the process, putting together fashion mood boards and connecting with all of us for input on the final details. The fashion was intended to be “festive & formal;” the type of clothing you might wear to a fancy family meal, and we were inspired by fall trends including burgundy, leather and velvet.
In the end, three of us connected for this collab. Renee, who is a local Bay-lien like me, with a passion for steals & deals in the world of beauty and fashion. On her blog / YouTube channel you can find product reviews and amazing fashion finds. She’s also got a background in modeling and her own fitness page on Instagram! Rolanda (pictured above) is a Bay Area transplant by way of New York. Her style is chic and polished with a touch of funky East Coast aesthetic. She is the fashion blogger behind Leave A Little Sparkle but spends her days working in marketing at YouTube in San Francisco. Be sure to check out their blogs and social channels for the full spill on our collab.
I felt so inspired by these slaydies (slaying ladies) and it was great to take some time away from school and work and just connect with others that have the same passions. We were asked to blog about some of our favorite things about the season, fashion, women of color and more. Read all my thoughts below!
What do you love about autumn?
I appreciate all the seasons for different reasons but fall and winter hold a special place in my heart. All my favorite things happen this time of year: Harry Potter marathons, hot mugs of tea, chunky sweaters and quality time with my loved ones.
From right after Thanksgiving to the week of the New Year, time feels like a perpetual state of Christmas Eve to me. Everything moves in slow motion, and that allows me to take a step back and reflect on the year that has passed, and what is to come in the future.
How would you describe your style?
My personal style is something that has changed and evolved with time. Right now, I would describe my style as tailored with whimsical touches. I love weaving in period pieces such as corsets or trumpet sleeves but the consistent theme is my love for layering and sharp silhouettes.
Growing up, my style was preppy and definitely directly influenced by my prep school’s dress code. And that still carries over now – I couldn’t love a white collared shirt, boyfriend blazer, and horizontal stripes (especially in navy blue) more. But my style has definitely evolved. Since having moved to San Francisco, I wear less color and way more blacks, whites and greys, more sneakers, and less heels [cause these hills are no joke.] So now, I guess classic is a better way to describe my style.
How do you implement your style throughout the season? What are your favorite pieces to wear during fall?
Fall means one thing to me: sweaters. I think sweaters get a bad rap style-wise because they can easily become dowdy or unflattering, but there are so many types of sweaters. I will add some type of sweater to any outfit, whether that be a cardigan, a sweater vest, a pullover or a knit dress. Since I layer all year long, it is easy for me to transition spring and summer pieces to winter by layering tights, a sweater, scarves or hats which adds seasonal flair and doubles-up on the style factor.
What got you into blogging?
I talked about this in a recent blog post, and a little bit on my About Page, but I started blogging about 4 years ago when I found myself with a lot of unexpected free time. I’ve always been passionate about reading and writing, and started off blogging as a way to hone in on my writing style and tone. I realized that I enjoyed blogging about a year or so into it. My generation is full of bloggers, and I think in a world that is so media-focused, a community of people taking the time to write down their thoughts and research things is sort of romantic, even if I’m personally just writing about face masks and mixing prints.
In 2016, I started my Youtube channel that focused on makeup tutorials/ product reviews. I started my blog around the same time to give more in depth reviews along with the videos. When I initially started my blog, I didn’t have a sense of direction and didn’t really know who my target audience was. It wasn’t until my partnership with Google’s marketing team that I really understood how to grow a following and reach that target audience. Although my partnership with Google was an amazing experience, there were difficult moments as well. I worked in a predominately white male space, and with that being said, there were many challenges that arose. As someone that has a background in working with non-profits fighting for inclusion within tech, I thought, why can’t I implement that in my passion for makeup and beauty as well. Many WOC beauty influencers are underrepresented and I wanted to become a voice for the other curvy, Afro-Latina women out there and let them know that they aren’t alone.
How would you describe the impact and progress that beauty and fashion influencers of color have made in mainstream media? What other steps should we take to break barriers within these industries?
I wholeheartedly believe that the biggest, most influential trends in the fashion and beauty industries were created by people of color and urban culture. Now more than ever I think there is a real voice for where these influences come from and even more than that, there are people of color independently driving these industries and getting that recognition.
Thinking of Rihanna launching her own beauty line for example, she was able to create something that some brands have never done – a wide variety of foundation shades that appeal to all people of all colors. She was able to consider our particular skin concerns – coverage, skin type and skin texture. She was able to, without having a background in beauty, use her platform to recognize our needs and wants in a way that is all inclusive. I think Rihanna and others in the industry that create POC-friendly products are diversifying the industry with some healthy competition, which will have a really positive impact in driving those industries forward even more and providing representation for everyone.
Of course, there’s always more progress to be made, which would come from more people of diverse backgrounds saying to themselves, “what do I want or need that I don’t have,” and creating products that answer that question. Ultimately though, having women/people of color to look up to is where it all starts.
I always come back to this quote by my queen of all queens Michelle Obama- “You simply cannot be what you cannot see.” I quite literally think that just by being, by existing, feeling proud, and continuing to put our faces out there is invaluable. I followed blogs back when you had to comment on the bloggers page to find out where she got that cute top from [I’m talking OG blogger days], and none of those bloggers looked like me. And now, we are so fortunate that we can create our own platforms and elevate our voices, and we have trailblazing queens like Elaine Welteroth and Issa Rae, so that we can be seen and heard. And that, to me, is priceless.
What do you provide for your audience? What advice do you have for women of color that are looking to follow a similar path?
When people visit my blog or Instagram page, I aim to give them honest, relatable feedback (mainly regarding fashion and beauty) based on a few things. First, where I am from. Even though I don’t think about it, being from The Bay Area is a huge influence. Secondly, my racial background as a Black woman/woman of color. And finally, as someone who isn’t exactly…thin, lol.
I am right in the awkward place between straight size and plus-size and to be honest, I feel like a lot of women live in that zone and find it challenging to style themselves when thin bodies or exaggerated curvy bodies are the focus in the media right now. There are certain standards and expectations for what is beautiful and if I can put myself out there and be myself and show others that looking good doesn’t wear a specific size, I think that can inspire others to do the same.
I am relatively new to the “serious” blogging world but if I was going to give advice I would refer back to my comments about POC in the beauty and fashion industries; think of something that you want or need that hasn’t been fulfilled and achieve it. Chances are, there are others out there with the same needs and desires looking for answers too.
My blog is a space where I not only provide some knowledge about makeup and fashion but it’s also a creative outlet for me to document my thoughts and recent events in my life.
Anyone thinking about blogging or vlogging; my advice is if you can think of 5 different topics to create content… then do it! I’m still super new to the game, but the advice I would give myself back when I started is to know what you want your blog or channel to be about. And to stop being a perfectionist! The reason it took me so long to start was because I always got in my own way. I thought I needed the best camera, the best lighting, more high end clothes, my website is garbage, etc. Little did I know, my iPhone, natural lighting, and channeling the thrifty queen that I am is paying off. Being consistent and letting your personality shine through goes a long way. Just know there’s never a perfect time to start; Just start now!
Velvet Moto Jacket – Forever 21
Burgundy Lace Bodysuit – (also) Forever 21 (pictured with basic, black strapless bra)
Skirt – H&M (past season, no longer available)
Snowball Bag – (another find from) Forever 21
Shoes – Aldo (past season, no longer available)
Renee Angelique – link to post
Rolanda Evelyn – link to post
Photography – Sam Hardeman
Styling – Style and Experience