As with everything in life, my style has evolved over time. Now I am so much more discerning with my fabric choices. I know the general shape and cut of the clothes that look the most effortless on me. That’s what I’m looking for – effortless style. My main goal is comfort and ease. I want clothes I can slide into and dance in and go for a long walk in a park if the opportunity were to present itself. I don’t want anything I have to iron, steam, fuss over or worry about that much — not for my day to day style choices. I love versatility, I love a dress that can go from day to night with. And I found a brand that represents everything I’m looking for. Bellas, check out Leota – a woman-owned clothing brand that intentionally makes the kinds of dresses I love. Easy, breezy, pretty, unique, and timeless. They’re available online, as well as at stores like Bloomingdales, Nordstrom or Nordstrom Rack in both straight and curvy sizes (for those of us who like to try things on first)!  And if you read to the end of this post, there’s a 20% off discount awaiting you!

Leota’s creator, Sarah Carson, worked on Wall Street as an investment banker before founding her fashion line. She was looking for a dress that could transition easily and effortlessly from work to cocktail hour and more, a comfortable dress that didn’t require ironing or dry cleaning. Necessity became the mother of invention and that led Sarah to NYC’s busy garment district, where she found the design partnership she was looking for. According to that article, “today she is paying NYC’s factories back with her loyalty; making 200-thousand pieces a year all NYC-made.”

Together with her team, they create unique patterns and prints with set silhouettes, so if you know what you love then you’ll keep seeing it in new prints and patterns. For example, I love a fit and flare. I love a sleeveless dress with a higher neckline. I now have Leota dresses I can look for by name, in future prints. Because I LOVED how these fit!



Here I’m wearing the Mindy shirred dress in wild cat chili pepper. Click here to check it out in sizes S-XL and in plus size.

There are so many things I love about this dress!

It’s saucy, spicy, fun, unexpected. And it’s a deep red and purple leopard. Who would have thought? Not me! Plus I love the cut of it. High neck, midi length, a wrap-around belt that’s comfortable. It feels elegant, modern, chic and perfect for all kinds of occasions.


The Mindy dress comes in their crepe knit blend, so that’s 94% polyester, 6% spandex. You can wash this in your machine in cold water and it will come out just perfect. Love!

Leota also offers heavier fabrics from fall into winter – their holiday collection is super cute and includes sequins and velvet! Right on time.

Earlier this summer I rocked this one you may have seen on my Instagram.  it’s the Eve dress in jungle jacquard. SUCH a spring, summer, even resort season print. Leota designs their own prints so this isn’t a leaf print you’ll easily find elsewhere. I love the fit of this dress. Swingy, chic, fits me perfectly.


I do wish it had pockets, but we can’t have everything. If I were to co-design a Leota dress, it would have pockets. IJS. I have ideas! Call me, y’all.

Click here to check them out at —  and you can enter the code “AFROBELLA20” to get 20% off your entire order (valid for one use per customer, code valid until May 1, 2020)! Visit Leota New York on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.


My dresses were provided by Leota New York. All opinions are my own! All photos by Chuck Olu Alabi.


Sarah says:
November 6, 2019, 1:19 pm
Thanks for putting us on. I'm a fan of a dress that can transition. Can we talk about those flats, tho? The cap toe ones are bomb. Deets, please ;)
Petal Furlonge-Walker says:
November 6, 2019, 6:39 pm
Lovely vibrant colours! Excellent fabrics! Yes you could codesign. Love those shoes too!