What’s Up With Otakon? FAQs About DC’s Anime Convention

Hugging a random panda bear at Otakon 2014!

So… Otakon just happened. This blog is all about expanding your horizons and trying things, geek-chic things that you might not really be familiar with. So let me ‘splain-to-you-the-Otakons…

Otakon came stealthily into DC like a ninja and maybe even alarmed some people who weren’t aware of this giant, Japanese pop culture-themed (really, anime is the biggest draw) convention that’s been in the DC-Maryland-Virginia area for a long time now. For years, it was in Baltimore.

Sadly, scheduling didn’t work out for me so I wasn’t able to go this year. Though, if you follow me on Instagram, you know that, at the least, I made it to the afterparty. I cosplayed as who else but Lottie Person from Snotgirl! Not an anime, but I swear that comic has serious anime vibes and is just waiting to get picked up by a major Japanese production group. My version of Lottie involved a Powder Room D wig (thanks for the tip, Onlinekyne!) and some accessories I already had at home, so it’s not an exact match. More of a… if Snotgirl was a geek-chic girl hanging out in DC version.

If you’re unfamiliar with Otakon and it sneaked up on you like it did me this year, I can answer some typical questions about it and cons (conventions) in general to help you get ready for next year…

Continue reading What’s Up With Otakon? FAQs About DC’s Anime Convention

Tetris That: Use Tetris Everyday and Make Life Way More Fun

You remember that one episode of The Simpsons, right? Where Homer loaded up the car with the Tetris theme playing in the background? He moved packages, and later baby Maggie and even folded his tall wife Marge in order to fit everyone into the car.

giphy1

Well, if you do it right (and not break anybody’s neck or long blue hairstyle in the process) there’s some real value in approaching life like that…

You know, like Tetris! *doom music*

If you keep the Tetris theme song and a Tetris mindset close at hand whenever you face a repetitive task, I think it can calm you down and even add some humor to whatever it is you’re doing. Kind of like putting a smiley face sticker, a Hello Kitty, or an amusing hashtag on your real-life moment. (Wait, I hope there isn’t a #real life? Now THAT mess should be illegal; that’s taking hashtags too far…)

Why does Tetris make everything better? Well, other than its cultural context–a super-happy game that almost all people have loved playing for decades, now… Tetris is made for that in any case. Tetris is the original fidget-spinner, the original addicting portable game. People were obsessed with playing Tetris on airplaines and in the office before you could even put games on smartphones. And that was before smartphones or even mobile phones ever existed. You can thank Nintendo (you know, the Legend of Zelda and Pokémon GO people?), for that. Their easy-to-put-in-your-bag Gameboy system made it possible. And then, there was the Tetris-splosion that put Tetris on everyone’s computers… After growing up as a kid in the 90s, an insanely fun game like Tetris is never far from your consciousness.

giphy2

But, flash forward to today… Continue reading Tetris That: Use Tetris Everyday and Make Life Way More Fun

Dowager Countess Brie Burgers

Dill and herbs on a toasted a hamburger with slices of brie.

If Dowager Countess Violet could have eaten a hamburger on Downtown Abbey, this definitely would have been it. Brie, fresh herbs and a toasted bun are so lovely together, you’ll be afraid to add ketchup. In fact, don’t. Just trust me on this one and try my geek-chic cheeseburger recipe. And rather than fries, I’m going to recommend some yummy, posh veggies for you, too.

You can finish this whole dinner in thirty minutes or so. (Don’t tell Mrs. Patmore we fed her family hamburgers, and in only a half hour!)

Where I got the idea

After years of watching Downton Abbey (thank you again, Julian Fellowes! Seriously, hashtag-Julian-Fellowes-right-now) I did not once, not ever think to myself, ‘Hey, this show needs some fancy hamburgers.’ Obviously, the show was great without hamburgers. Though, the many scenes with Dowager Countess Violet, (Aunt Violet to Mary, Edith and Sybil), and Isobel Crawley (Matthew’s mother) did leave me very curious about what they snacked on when they played cards or did puzzles and gossiped together in all those hilarious scenes. And then, we had the unbelievably fabulous family dinners with everyone in spectacular gowns, and the men in incredible suits. Even the servants looking on, watching the Crawleys dine, they looked very good. And that wasn’t just because of the talented casting directors…

downton abbey last supper3
I also sat down for a few hours and made this once, while laughing hysterically. #fangirlproblems

Downton Abbey created a luxurious, refreshing vibe, right in our living rooms for years. And we never forgot we were also looking at a very close, wonderfully warm family seated around the well-appointed table. All that came together so magically.

Downton Abbey didn’t need hamburgers. But if they did need hamburgers on the show, then they’d need these herb brie burgers.

And, as a huge fan of the show, when I first made hamburgers using some odds and ends of dill and brie I had in the refrigerator, loved them, and wanted to find a good name for my posh cheeseburgers that captured the sophisticated, yet yummy homey flavor… my mind leaped to the Dowager Countess. The fanciest, most poshest dame I know.

Continue reading Dowager Countess Brie Burgers

Something Old, Rad, Borrowed and Bad

Blue embroidered mesh dress hanging beside yellow Rachel Roy dress with chain strap

I thought it would be fun to hook people up with some trendy, throwback, or otherwise awesome things going on in the world of geekdom and fashion. Here are my favorite finds for July…

And, I suppose… nice girls who are getting married look for something that is old, something that is new, something borrowed, and something that is blue. Well, I know that saying but… I don’t care. 🙂 🙂 🙂

Something Old

Bright chartreuse green cover of Snotgirl no. 1. Lottie Person stares ahead in a lime haze.
Jesus… I want to be so green.

Snotgirl is hardly old, but it did first come out last year. I am completely obsessed, OBSESSED, with this comic book from the creator of the Scott Pilgrim series and Leslie Hung (you *must* follow her on Instagram, by the way, her artwork is so le sigh… fabulous). Snotgirl is a beautiful fashion blogger with horrible allergies. Seriously, when that was explained to me in the comic book store, when I regularly deal with stupidly horrible allergies and keep up sort-of-a-fashion-blog (What blog? You’re reading it now), I thought I’d been bodysnatched, in… comic book form? Seriously though, I met a few other women who could relate to the social and emotional struggles of the green haired fashionista lead.

Continue reading Something Old, Rad, Borrowed and Bad

Glamour in Pokémon Go: How to Dress Your Avatar for the New Update

How to look rad in Pokemon GO

Glamour and glitter… fashion and fame! No—this could have easily been yet another reference to Jem and the Holograms on this blog, but it is not. Instead, believe it or not, for both fashion conscious, gear-head gamers and, you know, normal upstanding people, there are some serious opportunities to trick out your avatar in the new Pokémon Go anniversary update.

I’m talking about the cooler, far less challenging aspect of the Pokémon Go anniversary update that has nothing to do with egg timers, raiding or rare spawns. It’s the part of the game update that no one is talking about: the chance to be the very best, that no one ever was… looking good at all angles in that gym! Have you seen the new, improved gyms?! Gorgeous! And your headshot deserves to be right up there, looking better than even the Gym Leader. I’m telling you right now, anyone can do it.

Here’s more on the anniversary update and how to get your trainer looking good…

First of All, What Anniversary Update?

Trainer in blue stands beside his menacing Rapidash. His eight seconds of fame on the big screen are nearly up.
Never has a fiery unicorn been more manly. And another cool guy’s matching his jacket and Magikarp hat has got a great pose going on in the background, too.

If you’ve been able to download the big update (please don’t get frustrated, locked out of your account, then turn back like I almost did… it totally is worth it), then you’re seeing rounder looking gyms with cool team flags hanging from them, and when you click to see if the inside is any different—surprise! It is! It is completely different. Not only can you see all the Pokémon lined up in a gangsta posse pose, like they’re the magnificent seven, you can see their trainers standing beside them if you click on each. And then, in the background against the dome is a pretty baller looking action shot of each trainer, posed, ready to fight. That’s right, if you make it into a gym, your avatar’s face, at some point, will be freeze-framed in what looks like a mini high-def plasma screen behind all the battling critters… I think you’ve got about eight seconds before it fades to white and it’s the next trainer’s turn on the runway. Continue reading Glamour in Pokémon Go: How to Dress Your Avatar for the New Update

Eugene Simms: Fearless, Peerless Style

Model in colorful ethnic prints and gold facepaint. Styled by Eugene Simms.

Eugene Simms, chief style curator of ESA Style, LLC is a fearless stylist who weaves empowerment into his down-to-earth fashion advice and creative consultations for companies right here in Washington, DC. We chatted about everything from how to wear silk crepe pants, chic spring-weather layering and his favorite local tailors. Eugene even knows some very cool vintage boutiques in the city. There is a reason why I can’t stop talking about Eugene on this blog. Eugene has worked his own way up, at first self-taught and now expertly trained. He is fighting for his dream and has made himself peerless.

(And I have to be very for-real with you, our excellent dinner at Purple Patch in Mount Pleasant definitely helped frame the chic conversation.)

“Lead the pack, don’t follow it.”

That’s Eugene.

“Style is effortless; it shouldn’t be forced or contrived.”

Yep, that’s Eugene again.

“Each and every day you have an opportunity to make many first impressions.”

I love this theory of fashionable reincarnation.

“Your closet should always make you happy. If something doesn’t make you happy, let it go.”

Simply karmic.

“Style is everything that you are.”

And effortless style is also everything that Eugene embodies.

Eugene is slim, tall, and certainly no stranger to fashion and all that flourishes from its elegant touch. You can tell that fashion has touched Eugene in his life because he always wears something that I’d call wow-some: His outfits cause you to stand up, shake his hand right away and smile. When we met at Purple Patch the other day, Eugene was wearing cobalt blue twill pants which smouldered in the golden lighting, a high Nehru collared coat with fine embroidery and warm rose socks. His glasses were rimmed with just enough metallic cobalt to polish off the look for a posh-ish Sunday evening dinner. I say ‘posh-ish’ because Purple Patch is a wonderful Filipino-American restaurant with high-tone dishes, but the soul of Mount Pleasant in northwest Washington, DC is also alive inside the space, so things are intelligent while affordable, multicultural and very chilled-out. I’m a Mount Pleasant native, I should know.

Eugene wearing a high-collared, embroidered blue vintage blazer

I immediately asked Eugene what he was wearing, because this is a great outfit… Continue reading Eugene Simms: Fearless, Peerless Style

How to “Win” at Shopping

Here is how to shop and ensure that you’re getting exactly what you want, and at the best price too. Brought to you by the Posh Ranger.

Bright stars ignite the world "POW!"

You don’t realize it, but you’re holding your shopping bags on a battlefield. The other shoppers have those netted camo World War I helmets on, they’re lying in the trenches between long aisles of dresses on their hangers, and they’re holding their purses in both hands like rifles. Every time that some woman buys a blouse, or worse, a whole outfit, marked up to 200 percent or 1,000 percent of the price it cost to produce it, there’s a deafening explosion, debris flying and some banshee wail off in the distance somewhere. Even when things are on sale, you aren’t getting a deal; there’s carnage. Then, when we go home and sit on the bed, look down at all our shopping bags, the smile fades for a time. Our eyes get wide and we ask ourselves ‘What have I done?’ ‘Does this sweater really cost this much?’ Or the dreaded, ‘God, I’ll have to pay that LOFT card off in a week…’ Then, you dart into the bags that crackle like birthday wrapping paper, snatch off the tissue paper and finger your catch, feel the gently clinking beads or suave fabric of the dress until you feel better. Like Gollum.

Continue reading How to “Win” at Shopping

Crystal City Couture: Fun at Our Friendly Neighborhood Fashion Show

My sister and I had so much fun at this year’s dreamy Crystal Couture Show and Sale in Arlington. A quick ride on the Metro from DC for this was so worth it. Here are our favorites from Saturday…

The evening was exotic and quixotic!

This coral dress from MB Design Gallery would have charmed the fins off any glamorous mermaid. The skirt flowed and fluttered through the air. I was able to catch it just in time.

coral-dress

And these sophisticated gowns were fresh, breathtaking.

I’m going to be completely biased here and tell you that the designs from Fordam Rowe below were my favorite.  Continue reading Crystal City Couture: Fun at Our Friendly Neighborhood Fashion Show

Consigning Over Your Soul

Shopping bags of clothes stacked up on the counter at a thrift store.
Selling clothes for consignment at Crossroads. Bags of clothes are piled high!

Today, I had my first experience with selling clothes to a consignment or thrift store. Let me tell you exactly what goes down at consignment stores and give you some good tips for a couple stores here in Washington, DC. And a little warning, if you’re a fashionista, ‘going on consignment’ can feel like playing roulette with your soul.

Oh, I have a right to be dramatic. For starters, I took a $120 never-used bebe purse down to Crossroads thrift store on U Street and got offered about $15 dollars for it. But I’d better start at the beginning… Continue reading Consigning Over Your Soul

Are You A Punky Brewster? Brew Up Punk Looks of Your Own

LEGO girls dressed in punk clothes with cute accessories

If you’ve been following along all month, you’ve got your mad-pretty choker from one of the special choker hot spots in Washington, D.C., and you’ve got some great punk lip colors lined up. You’ve even mastered the ancient art of ombre. Here are a few more clever lipstick extras if you’d like to break the mold wide open. So then, on with doing the nineties fashion scene your way, much like a very independent freckle-faced orphan girl we all loved…

Continue reading Are You A Punky Brewster? Brew Up Punk Looks of Your Own

Speed Friending: The Next Hot DC Trend?

Lauren Ferrell and Jazmin Childress on the mic at Policy.

This may be a fashion blog, but let me tell you—nothing is more fashionable than a trendy Washington, D.C. hotspot full of inspired women determined to make positive connections. (We were also encouraged to “slay” in our best outfits, because ‘the friends who slay together, stay together.’) I went out to have fun, but the event was so outstandingly brilliant in concept and execution, I just had to write about it: “speed friending.”

The event, aimed at empowering Black women, was dreamed up by girlfriends Jazmin Childress and Lauren Ferrell just three weeks before. I briefly chatted with Jazmin about her goals for the event. Women, especially women of color, need more chances to meet and bond, not just network. So, why not create an event where we sit down, just like speed-dating, and then take turns chatting and moving around the room to see who we can connect with? Lovely concept.

Continue reading Speed Friending: The Next Hot DC Trend?

Get Yo Ombre On

Fake rainbow lipstick with words "omg how do you ombre?"

No, there’s no special ombre lipstick out there… unless you have mad Photoshop skillz like I do. Instead, find out how you can get creative with layering to create ombre and other wildly fun lip looks.

Girl, don’t get me started about some ombre. I saw a woman on the 50 bus wearing the best denim sundress with bold purple lipstick with hot pink lipliner. And, she had blended it well. I also want to mention that very attractive plus-size sista with a dead-on sense of style. She was amazing. Another example of what you can do: at American Apparel in Georgetown, another Black woman, who unlocked the dressing room for me, had the best scarlet ombre lips I’d seen in the 90s or in 2016. The red liner seemed to blend into her nude lips, and I’m in a little panic right now that I have no idea how she did it and can’t imagine how I’ll figure it out. Dang, I should have just asked!

Get the Tools You Need

First, Make it Bright

Well, at least for solid rather than nude ombre lips, I can suggest some tools to help. Again, being kind of a wild-child, I saw Maybelline’s COLORsensational in Wickedly White and, long desperate to try white lipstick, I grabbed it. Now, I’ve tried it on, and white lipstick is definitely not everyday wear, and it might maybe be club wear but I’m not even certain of that… Continue reading Get Yo Ombre On

Smouldering Lips

Other than nineties chokers, dark lipstick can be the centerpiece of any outfit you have, if you want to try the nineties trend this fall. Which is also so very nice for your budget. All over DC, I found deep sapphire, plum, glowing emerald and other clever colors, which are almost better than so many savage shades of burgundy.

And this time around, you can get away with being a little glossy, or you can keep your lips looking velvety soft with this year’s matte lipstick trend extending on into the fall. And then, there’s the magic of ombre lip color. If I can find my old Sam Fine makeup book specifically for women of color, I will be sure to share his ombre lipstick tips, fresh from the 90s, with you here on this blog…

But, oh, the sultry lipstick! Girl, let’s get started.

Continue reading Smouldering Lips

Punk Out Yo Boy: Finding 90s Styles for Men

Stack of leather punk blue and ebony men's bracelets with silver anchors and clasps.

After writing about finding punked-out chokers for women, I realized I know of one excellent spot for men to rock 90s styles this fall: where else but ZARA?

ZARA Man has some great sophisticated-while-edgy styles for both genders, but I’ve noticed they have some serious punk vibes pervading the meat and potatoes of every man’s wardrobe. This season’s shirts and jeans at ZARA are brave, but understated with their punk undertones. And definitely check out the accessories section at ALDO for clever leather bracelets. I know, I know — I may sound like a commercial, but I swear, I’m just a huge and sincere fan of this store. And, a fashionable male co-worker of mine revolutionized the wheel for me when he explained that ZARA is always very good to men too.

Continue reading Punk Out Yo Boy: Finding 90s Styles for Men

Getting Punked: Chokers and More

Blue wig, purple lipstick, crystal aqua ring

Oh snap! Whether you’re ready for it yet or not, looks from the nineties have come back into fashion this fall. Yes, combat boots and plaid shirts may be involved—but I’m most excited about the 2016-meets-1995 unreal chokers that are bad-girl or bohemian while they seem to defy the laws of physics, and the dark, vampire-bitten lips in unbelievably creative sultry shades. You can cultivate these centerpieces of your “old school” outfit, and, actually, punk lips and chokers can save you some money too, if you pair them well with the clothes you already have.

This month, I’ll tell you where to find the clever chokers and smouldering lipstick right here in DC. First up… chokers! Continue reading Getting Punked: Chokers and More

DC Shopping Gems: Let’s Talk About “Wheaton Plaza”

Black jumpsuit from Olive Ole.

Don’t skip the small stores at Wheaton’s Westfield Mall the next time you visit. You almost exclusively see Black women wearing these urban-chic styles as they stroll up and down U Street, queue up for Marvin’s, or lean over cocktails at Park and 14th downtown.

First, Lemme Break It Down

What is “Wheaton Plaza”?

Westfield Mall in Wheaton, Md. has gone through a lot of transformations since the first big facelift that I can remember: the arrival of Old Navy in the 90s. (I know you’re laughing at me and the throwback; it’s okay.) Back then, everyone was excited about this store with the clever ads and inexpensive, super-comfy clothing. If you visit this Maryland mall today (and it hardly feels like you’ve gone to Maryland if you’re coming from DC, when the Metro-bound folks can walk there in minutes from the subway), you won’t find an Old Navy; that’s long gone. But you will find other mainstream stores like Express, New York & Co, DSW, Macy’s and its Sephora counter, ALDO, H&M, Victoria Secret—all typical mall fare. Even better, though, are the brilliant little stores that have arrived in Wheaton, packed with brilliant, affordable styles that you can’t find in any of the big-name places.

I call these hidden gems since they may be the kinds of stores you wouldn’t go into precisely because they aren’t big names like H&M or Forever 21. Also, the mannequins are wearing strange things in the windows. I’m warning you now that the super-punk, downright scandalous raver clothing is pretty damn freaky!

Continue reading DC Shopping Gems: Let’s Talk About “Wheaton Plaza”

Big Poof, Little Purse

Small pink purse with large fuzzy purse charm.

I’ve been assaulted by blaringly bright fuzzy poofs at the mall, on the METRO, and dangerously distracted by them while crossing the street—women are clipping these fun charms onto their purses, even their work bags. But now, purse charms are bigger and crazier than I’ve ever seen after living in DC for decades. (And I survived the burning neon and blinding gold trends of the 90s!)

I was crossing busy North Capitol street recently and saw a young Black woman who’d paired a gigantic (okay, so about the size of your open hand) poof charm with a small shoulder bag. The comic juxtaposition was also clever—I recommend you try it too if you’d like to put your own twist on things.

So, where do you find the most slick, goofy or poofy purse charms in DC?

Continue reading Big Poof, Little Purse

High Cheekbones and Catseye Glasses

Black woman with high cheekbones, nice shirt and fancy glasses.

Another magical METRO moment happened this week when I noticed a Black woman in her 40s who’d paired her striking ethnic features with even more bold catseye glasses. Work those cheekbones, girl!

In a world where Black celebrities who’ve “made it” still get flack for being ‘too Black’ (think the negative reactions to Beyonce’s Black Panthers tribute), or a choice to wear dreadlocks at the Oscars unfairly earns comments about pot smoke (think Zendaya), Black women may feel pressure to downplay their best ethnic features at school and work.

ELLE magazine’s article about Zendaya was fantastic, by the way, if you want to know more about her other beautiful hair adventures (April edition, p. 252).

And then, unfortunately, when some Black women do become accomplished and are more accepted in mainstream society, we sometimes hear comments going in the other direction…

Continue reading High Cheekbones and Catseye Glasses

How to Mis-match Your Nails to a Floral Purse

Flower print bag with blue, pink, yellow and green nail polish options.

I think we’ve all tried matching our nails to the bag we know we’ll be using frequently. It helps amp up the color. But mis-matching your nails to a floral purse is sassy, and another way to go punk and help along an unusual floral print if you’ve just bought one. I recently got this Steve Madden quilted tote bag that has black leather punk accents and many earthtone or light-colored flowers.

Quilted tote bag with white, blue and pink flowers.

Use this walkthrough to inspire your own brave mis-match combinations.

Continue reading How to Mis-match Your Nails to a Floral Purse

Beauty and the Beast: Flowers and Studs

Nude studded shoes with spring flowered bag.

It’s a tale as old as time… looks from the 90s are coming back: shoes with studs and grommets, and this spring’s floral prints will be “quirky, irreverent, and a touch subversive” according to Allure magazine. Men and women are getting more options for punk shoes and floral patterns, and you can already see it happening on the streets of DC.

Dark Beauty

Floral print bags are really in, but the darker versions are irresistible. I have a huge BCBG navy blue tote bag that I love, and that my sisters hate because it errs on the side of ghetto fabulous and tacky… I use it for work anyway. But I recently ditched my favorite, spacious solid navy blue dream purse for another bag I’ve fallen in love with. I found this Steve Madden tote bag at DSW, in the clearance section. I liked the flowers, but was sold on the black zippers and other punk details.

Continue reading Beauty and the Beast: Flowers and Studs

Red Valentino Hair, CHANEL and L.O.V.E. Letters… Let’s Accessorize!

A Black woman with an adorable red bob haircut and matching lipstick.

Now that we’re at the start of real spring weather and on the razor edge of winter, the Black women of DC are wearing some very creative styles — and I’ve noticed. Here are a few precious spring finds, and one local store that has insane winter deals if you don’t mind going back, to stock up for the future.

Your Spring Flings

Red Valentino bag and matching hair

I saw a very cute artistic couple strolling on their way to Adams Morgan. The young woman had, no lie now, a beautiful bob cut that was the exact same color of this bag she was toting. WOW. That is so very difficult to do, but this girl nailed it. A wild, metallic paprika shade! I saw the big “V” on the bag and was able to track it down later with that much information.

Metallic red Valentino bag.
Red metallic Valentino bag at 6pm.com

CHANEL pearl glasses with matching shoes

First, before I explain what I saw while on the Red Line, here’s the extreme version on Rihanna, at the Victoria’s Secret Fashion show.

Images of Rihanna wearing pearl CHANEL sunglasses.
Google image search did not let me down at all on this one.

Well, in real life, some lovely person thought to grab some conservative CHANEL shades for her on-the-way-to-work-wear with just a hint of those pearls…

Continue reading Red Valentino Hair, CHANEL and L.O.V.E. Letters… Let’s Accessorize!

The Beauty of Boutiques (Part Two)

Screenshot of Alexandria, Va. boutique district website.

Venturing out of your go-to stores can be scary enough when you have curves. And, being really, very honest—for a long time, I was nervous about being the only brown girl, stranded and unable to fit into anything, in an expensive boutique. But I was wrong; boutiquing is fun and there are some great reasons to buy and even sell your own clothes at vintage consignment stores.

So, if you’re still not convinced, in this part two of Curve-Friendly Boutiquing, I’m going to tell you a little more about consignment stores to help you shake off the last of your fears.

You won’t be ‘the only one’

Many already know this, but for the rare folks out there who don’t (like I used to be) — boutiques are for everyone. Whether you’re on U Street in northwest DC, or on King Street in Alexandria. Consignment clothing stores get most of their inventory from the general public (a general public of fellow fashionable women) who once loved, but can no longer keep their clothes. And those women come in all shapes, colors and sizes.

Trust me, you’ll go, everything will be cute, people will be superwoman-nice and you’ll have fun.

It’s like having a backstage pass

New clothes are new. Great. Good for them. But this is about access. This is about being exposed to brands and designers you’ve never heard of before, this is about finding something you’ve heard about but you thought was impossible to still get. This is about enjoying ridiculous discounts when you do find something you love, and it is in your size, and it is not from any store you’ve heard of before in your whole life. Do you see what I’m doing here? I’m giving you the Xzibit version. (You’re going to boutique ontop of your boutiquing, ontop of your boutiquing!) Normal shopping is bilateral: you and what’s on the hanger, or what the store has to offer you. Boutiquing yields all kinds of new benefits and sensations.

Continue reading The Beauty of Boutiques (Part Two)

Curve-Friendly Boutiquing (Part One)

Current Boutique shopping back with dresses.

Should you avoid buying vintage clothing, just because you have the jelly that yo momma gave you?

A lot of women love to go to boutiques to find vintage clothing and I’m definitely one. However, when I first started visiting boutiques in the DC area, I got a little discouraged by dresses and pants that were in my size, but when I tried them on, they did not compliment my curves.

If you are a woman of color who avoids going to boutiques because she fears this kind of harrowing experience, definitely read on. You really don’t have to be afraid. I’ve picked up some great tips over the years.

1. To pick something that fits: Know your brands

I’ll use myself as an example to start with. I’m short, with a smaller bust, larger hips and derrier. The epitome of pear-shaped. I am very picky about where I shop normally (I almost get angsty about it), so I’m alright with going to Ann Taylor for a size small or extra-small shirt, but I do usually avoid buying my pants from Ann Taylor, no matter what kind of new ‘signature fit’ they’re promoting. Instead, I go to Ann Taylor LOFT or NY&CO for my pants and skirts. Sound familiar?

We all love the vintage looks you can hook out of the one-of-a-kind boutique shopping experience, but many of the popular stores in the area, such as Current Boutique (U Street, Alexandria, Bethesda, Clarendon), Mustard Seed (Bethesda) and Frugalista (Mount Pleasant) also have a range of your favorite brands. You can save a lot of frustration by homing into your size section and even then, homing in on your favorite brands. At that point, you may ask, ‘Why go to a boutique, then?’ But, these stores take clothes on consignment—which means you are still getting a great deal on something that has been gently worn, even something spectacular that a fellow fashionista needed to relocate out of her closet. Continue reading Curve-Friendly Boutiquing (Part One)

Why Cole Haan Shoes are the Shiz

Ladies, this one is for the gentlemen. Today on the way to work, I saw a very fine brotha who seriously sparked my attention with his ebullient shoes.

Why? Because, though he was dressed well in a subtle red-check shirt (fine gray lines), a skinny navy blue tie, gray sport coat and pants, his sophisticated, sharp shoes were mesmerizing. I could not tell, for the life of me, whether he was wearing really nice sneakers or really sly oxfords on his way to work.

I really didn’t know what in the world he had on his feet and for a fashionista, that’s kind of exciting, a ‘you’re driving me up the wall!’ feeling. (A close cousin to the ‘kiss me, quick, you handsome bastard!’ feeling.) I tried but couldn’t spot the brand name. Later, I had to look them up on my cell phone…

Continue reading Why Cole Haan Shoes are the Shiz

Electric Purple Lips?

On my way to work, I keep seeing women with hypnotic purple lipstick. Time to figure out exactly what they’re using!

So the thing about having a black DC fashion blog is that if you see several women of color wearing electric purple lipstick all of a sudden, and you’re seeing this going on for weeks, for months on your way to work—you can’t exactly Google “purple lipstick DC” and expect to find an explanation.

But Why Do It Have to be Burnin’ Purple, Young?

This is about right now, what Black women in DC are instinctively craving when they put on their makeup in the morning. Trends rarely happen in a void—purple lipstick has been popular for a few years, and friends tell me that purple hair is popular in California right now. People also see things on television or hear about them and then they want to try it too. And then, in the black community, there’s real joy in individualism, taking something and making it totally your own. But when things stick in the black DMV community, I still have to wonder what’s doing it?

lips search

And, I have to wonder why it’s not just purple, but it’s this fiery shade of electric purple, even fiery royal blue that I keep seeing burning on the lips of dark-skinned women walking to the METRO. I mean, they may have on their dead-eyed METRO faces like we all don when interminable train delays and crowd congestion await us underground—but those lips are bright and smiling even if they don’t feel like it.

Well, setting the derivatives of the trend aside (because I really doubt the depressing subway system is making us resort to happy colors), the fact is, that black women in DC are trying out hot purple lipstick. So, where can you find some for yourself, and how do you wear it?

Continue reading Electric Purple Lips?