Here’s a question I get asked ALL THE TIME – “Afrobella, why don’t you ever do outfits of the week?” Or, after I go to an event, “What did you wear? Can you blog about it”?”
I don’t do outfit posts nearly enough and there are multiple reasons why. I am not someone who dresses up all cute and fancy on a daily basis. When I do, I usually forget to bring a camera, or my husband takes a few snaps with his camera phone and they’re never of Outfit-Of-The-Day quality.
I apologize for that and I plan to do better when it comes to outfit posts! I still can’t do them every week, or even every month. My new plan involves doing seasonal fashion lookbooks, where I collaborate with a photographer, stylist, and makeup artist to put together cool outfits using my own clothes – and of course I’ll tell you where to get the look and let you know my insights on each outfit.
My first ever Afrobella lookbook was photographed by Chuck Olu-Alabi – click here to visit his official site, and click here to follow him on Twitter! (And PS – that’s his hand in the middle of this pic, not mine!)
These outfits were styled by Aramide Esubi, better known as The Sassy Peach online! Aramide is not just another amazing fashion blogger – she’s also a professional stylist who has worked with brands and major designers, and is available for hire in the Chicago and Midwest – she’s incredible! Click here to follow her on Facebook and on Twitter.
And now –
Chartreuse coat – vintage Michael Kors, bought at Re/Dress NYC – $80
Burnt orange cowl neck sweater – bought at TJ Maxx – $25
Silk scarf – vintage Diane Von Furstenberg, found in the pocket of a coat purchased at Re/Dress NYC – technically free, but the coat was $40
Oversized earrings – I wanna say I got them at Claire’s, these have been in my collection for years now – for sure less than $12
Jeans – wide legged, dark denim from Silhouettes -$49
Boots – you can’t see them but they’re from One Stop Plus
The fashion lesson I learned in buying these items is – trust your instinct. I bought this coat on my last trip to New York City, when I went for the Bali Shapewear fashion event at the Circle of Sisters conference. I managed to go to Re/Dress for all of 45 minutes (maybe less). Meagan Shea was with me, and it was like Supermarket Sweep plus size clothing edition. I bought three fall/winter coats and a necklace in no time flat.
This Michael Kors coat was originally over $250, but at Re/Dress I paid $80, AND the original tags were still on it. I also bought a fly black belted Jessica Simpson winter coat for $40. Because I was shopping at the speed of light, I barely tried on these items until I came back to Chicago. When I tried on the Jessica Simpson coat and put my hand in the pocket, this GLORIOUS DVF SCARF came out, and I swear a chorus of angels started singing in my head. When shopping vintage, ALWAYS check the pockets of your items! You just might find a treasure!
Blue suede blazer – Jessica London by way of One Stop Plus – $179 – $199
Little Black knit Dress – Ann Taylor (remember this post?)
Boots – Doc Martens, via 6PM.com – under $100
Scarf – Old Navy – I think I got it during their $5 scarf sale last year
This blazer was the CLASSIC example of an item being even cooler in person than it appears to be online. Online this looked like a pretty blazer. The kind folks of One Stop Plus sent it to me for review and I was blown away. In person, this blazer is made from an exquisitely soft and heavy suede and really is quite brilliantly blue, so it’s an outstanding fall-into-winter transitioning piece that’s just undeniably stylish and rich looking. Paired with the $5 red scarf, this is my ideal kind of fashion mix.
To be honest I’m still wearing in these Docs and they’re pretty stiff to walk in. And Re/Dress NYC’s physical store will close forever on November 20, so please make sure you go before they close if you can. I have only ever found great things at their store and while I’m excited to see what the future holds, I’m sad to say goodbye to Re/Dress NYC’s storefront location. Teggings are available online, and they are so stretchy and durable and comfortable and awesome. I may need another pair or two to get through winter!
Black peacoat – Lands End – $164
Chain of Ferocity – purchased at Re/Dress NYC – $30
Headband – Missoni – $150 (a gift. A fabulous, fabulous gift. Click here to find similar on Net-a-Porter).
I’m currently obsessed with colored jeans, and while I don’t 100% love the quality of denim in these Forever 21 skinnies (a little Lycra would go a long way), I do love the price and the color range! I’m about to pull the trigger and get these bad boys in red, too. This Lands’ End peacoat was sent for review, and it is heavy, warm, and made to last. It’s the kind of timeless winter coat you’ll turn to time and time again, and it comes in a great range of colors well beyond the black I’m sporting (love the orange!) A peacoat can steer a bit too traditional/classic/preppy for my personal taste, so I love jazzing up the usual with colored jeans and an unexpected necklace. The Chain of Ferocity is made by Re/Dress shopgrrrl Afrotitty and is for sale via her Tumblr blog.
The Missoni headband was a totally unexpected gift, and I’m so addicted to the button earrings from 1 Me Naturally, I may need to go to some kind of Etsy rehab. Her earrings are so cheap and so chic and so durable! I’ve got three pairs so far, and I want at least three more.
Leopard blazer – Denim 24/7 via One Stop Plus – $60 – $74.99
Black metal sequin tank top (kinda like this one, kinda) – Calvin Klein via TJ Maxx $25
Dark blue denim jeggings – Calvin Klein via TJ Maxx – $30
Boots – Comfortview Ida studded wide calf boots via One Stop Plus – $139 – $144
Bracelet – Forever 21 – $4
When I had just graduated from high school my mom tried to tell me – “honey, you should wear a nice blazer sometimes, with little shoulder pads! It makes you look more pulled together.” And of course me being me, I was like “..shoulder pads? NO WAY! I will NEVER wear a blazer!”
And yadda yadda yadda, mother knows best.
Now I’ve come to realize that not only does a blazer make me instantly look more stylish and put together, but blazers don’t have to be boring at all! You can go thrifting for a vintage colorful blazer – I just saw a straight-from-the-80’s style purple blazer retailing for over $300, so finding a vintage blazer at a thrift store really can be the way to go. This blazer was sent to me thanks to One Stop Plus and it’s become a wardrobe staple, already. Speaking engagement? Blazer time. Going to a business lunch? Blazer time! Heading out to a fashion event? You already know.
Oh, and these boots are my new fall favorites! Don’t be discouraged when it comes to finding cute boots for wide calves, bellas. They’re out there. These also came via One Stop Plus and they’re studded and chic but they’re also super comfortable for walking in, which is all that matters to me at the end of the day.
Jeggings – see above
Let it be known – leopard isn’t a trend. It is FOREVER. A good leopard print is a neutral to me. I get annoyed when people talk about the “animal print trend,” because to me trend implies it’s going away soon. Leopard is going nowhere, bellas. Love it, embrace it, wear it and get used to it.
I love this coat so, so much. I’ve had it for a year now and it remains as comfortable, soft, warm, pill-free and fabulous as ever. It’s for sale at One Stop Plus for a very reasonable price, and added bonus – skinny women ask me about it all the time and then I get to tell them “I’m sorry, I don’t think this is available in your size.” Here I’m rocking it with dark rinse denim jeggngs and knee high leather boots, but I would definitely jazz things up a bit when I have the option. I want a pair of dark, bold red skinny jeans to rock with it, and I’m looking for the perfect, comfortable pair of OTK leather boots that can withstand the upcoming winter weather. Often OTKs are comfortable and look cool, but have thin and weak soles.
These Naturalizer boots fit really well, and the soles are great for fall. But for winter I need more tread and grip to my boots. I’m one of those people who are super paranoid about falling down on ice, so I slow to a crawl in the winter anyway.
Those are the looks in my first ever fashion lookbook! What do you think, bellas? Do you see anything you LOVE and would totally rock this season?