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…

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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?

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Indie 500, DC Fashion Week

Can a normal, kinda broke girl rub elbows with the fabulous at a fashion show in DC? She sure as hell can. Here’s how I rocked it.

So, I finally got sick and tired of seeing my friend Eugene’s awesome runway pics on Facebook but not knowing how in the world he was doing it. So, I put on my bubble-gum mint wig and bright teal NY&CO coat, then went to see one of these epic black DC fashion shows for myself. Turns out, I arrived just in time for the spectacular finale of DC’s Indie Fashion Week (Feb. 29-March 6, 2016), the “Indie 500” fashion show.

Over the years, my friend Eugene has given me excellent fashion advice, recounted meeting Lynda Carter, once Wonder Woman at the high tone shoe boutique he works for (they once tricked out a pair of couture pumps with rhinestones and a Hello Kitty homage, then painted the bottom of the shoe hot red), and he told incredible stories of carefully dressing up models only to strip them bare and start the dress-up process all over again while backstage between sets at DC fashion shows. Eugene loves the industry, so he always goes to pitch in along with a team of other fashion-minded volunteers. I always imagined them standing together in their best jackets, slick hats and designer fittings, synchronized in their way and spinning the poor girl around, weave ponytail whipping and all—to go from nekkid to knockout in moments, not unlike a NASCAR pitcrew.

Wish I had one of those.

The Black Fashion Scene in DC is Like… Woah.

So, for years I got this sense there was an underground black fashion world in DC that I was missing out on, and made a vow not to miss the next fashion show Eugene spammed Facebook about. This time, it was the Indie 500 Part Deux (Finale Runway Show).

None of my girlfriends could make it to the “Indie 500” on a Sunday night, so I chose to treat myself to VIP tickets (a good deal at only $32) if I was going to fly solo. But even then, I found ways to be nervous about all kinds of silly things beforehand. I kept telling myself, ‘What if I mess up the red carpet pic when I walk in? Do I absolutely have to wear my best disco ball Betsey Johnson shoes with the turquoise soles to fit in? Those hurt!’ And oh my goodness, I am a worrier, so it just went on and on…

In the end, I was running so late that I had to cab it over to the beyond-elegant Sax Lounge on 11th and H Street. So, the terrifying red carpet moment that I imagined stumbling through and breaking all my legs on in super-tall platform stilettoes didn’t even happen. I really should not have worried about it all. And, more importantly, they’d created an incredible artistic space inside of Sax Lounge.

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How to Work Teal Like the New Black

Sweetheart, if you want more teal in your life, don’t be afraid. You can do it too. Let me show you the way!

So, not only did I have a lot of fun putting together an outfit with strong teal accents recently while messing around in my closet, I chose to wear it to the Indie 500 Part Deux (Finale Runway Show).

The Shopping List:


Gray hair is really in. But I’m not brave enough to go the whole hog and endure a bleach + dye process. So, a wig with bangs dyed white and gray, then frozen to an icy turquoise at the ends might work for you too. (Seriously, it was less than $45 at the back of a beauty supply store in Westfield Mall/Wheaton Plaza for the DC oldheads).

Keep in mind that wigs with black crowns or black accents are more likely to be mistaken for your real/weave hair that’s just been dyed. (I love my natural hair, so I always tell people up front that I’ve got a wig on, though.) This is the kind I got, in Mint/Mint at www.janetcollection.com.


Wear nude makeup with powerful wig colors.And, just the previous day, I sat in Macy’s near the Clinique counter watching a demonstration on how to apply smoky eye make-up, not just in black, but in blue, magenta, any color. If you go with smokey eyes, use nude lipstick.

Go to Ulta in Silver Spring to get any color of makeup you could ever want at great prices. Even some unique British brands are available. Ulta also has a cornucopia of nail colors in every brand imaginable so you can match those too. Don’t hit me for saying this, but I’d pick Ulta over Sephora any day. Ulta has the colors, the selection, better quality products, cheaper prices, coupons, and their store-brand products, like their eyebrow pencils and body sprays, are affordable and excellent.

Continue reading How to Work Teal Like the New Black