2009 brought new style challenges my way — moving to Chicago was a fashion revelation. I get annoyed when those who don’t know better say that Chicago isn’t a fashionable city. Sure there are those who dress down 24/7 (Uggs and sweatpants. Why?) but striding around these downtown streets, there are many women and men who have encouraged me to step my game up. Chicago style doesn’t try too hard, it doesn’t scream “look at me, look at me!” It’s less shrill and more effortless. Thanks to items that I was lucky enough to review in 2009, I felt like I fit right in. These are my favorites from the areas of jewelry, clothing, accessories, and shoes.


1. Peace Images — what more can I say about Peace Images that I haven’t already said? I have never met Camille, but she is totally a friend in my head. Her jewelry is AMAZING. The quality, the look, the creativity – hats off to her, for real. I own a few “peaces” and plan to get more, and thankfully there’s a neverending flow of new items debuting on her Etsy page. Seriously – she is always working on something new, unique, and show stopping. Every time I wear her Coffey earrings, someone stops me to ask about them. Her work with chains is stunning — her shoe chains, body chains, ear chains, joined rings… super fly. And now, for my ladies with locs or twists — hair chains. HOW FLY is this hair accessory?? And how fly is Camille? She’s got a blog now, too! Check her out!


2. Cut It Out apparel. A teeshirt line with a message and a vision that any afrobella would be proud to rock — can you dig it? I sure can! Cut It Out is the brainchild of Brooklyn-based bellas Tirinda & Noricia. Their teeshirts are high impact, inspiring, affordable, and of good quality. I’m proud to rock my Grace Jones homage tee in the summer, and now in the fall layered over a long sleeved tee. I’m excited to see what’s next in store for Cut It Out. Wearable homages to some afrobella inspirations, perhaps?


3. MBT Goti boots. My first encounter with MBT shoes came this fall, as my husband and I were strolling down Michigan Avenue. We passed some kind of orthopedic medical supply store, and I saw a sign for shoes that promised to solve knee and back problems, relieve neck tension, and do all kinds of other marvelous things. I tried them on and walked around the store. These round-bottomed shoes feel crazy at first, but I was immediately intrigued and knew I had to wear them for a longer time to try them out. I got that opportunity this December, and I gotta say — the Goti boots are the coolest-looking MBT’s out there, in my opinion. My only complaint with these boots — they’re a little tight for bellas with large calves. And the zipper looks cool, but I totally got it stuck and couldn’t get my boot off for an hour recently. A bigger, more finger-friendly zipper would be awesome. But despite those minor flaws, I LOVE these boots. They’re funky and attractive in a unique way, and SO comfortable to walk in. When I wear them I feel aware of my posture becoming straighter, and my super-flat feet which sometimes get achy, feel amazing in these. I wear them all the time. It’s enough to make me almost overlook the hideousness of the other pairs, just to have a pair to wear in warmer weather. Almost.


19. Um, Coach. That is all. The biggest giveaway I’ve ever hosted. Coach included me in their Holiday Blog-a-Day, and gifted me with a purse. The prettiest purse ever. I just want to pet it and hug it and call it George. Instead I only take it out for the most special of occasions when I want to feel uberglam.


20. Not Your Daughter’s Jeans. These were my fashion staples all year long. I initially bought my usual size, but I noticed they stretched out. Then when I went to Chicago’s fabulous plus size boutique Viva La Femme, and they clued me in — get one size down. I got me a pair of fly bootcut gray jeans that streamline and enhance my curves in the best possible way. I wear them everywhere. And my next pair of jeans will probably be a pair of NYDJ’s. But I’ve got my eye on those Cookie Johnson’s!

So that’s the best in style. One more category and I can finally move into 2010! Did you make any amazing fashion discoveries this year?



sandra says:
January 8, 2010, 11:57 pm
whew! these artists are smokin and I love these accessories
a.eye says:
January 9, 2010, 12:22 am
Have to agree on peaceimages... each time I wear her items I get so many compliments. There is a lot to choose from and I need to get some more.
Karen E. Duncan says:
January 9, 2010, 12:28 am
That Coach bag is amazing!!! Purple is my favorite color and that bags an awesome shade of purple. Love the shape, just love everything about it. Can I pet it too? LOL. Soooo jealous, wish it was mine but I'll console myself that someone nice like you has it. Thanks for sharing! Karen (aka MakUpDiva)
pets says:
January 9, 2010, 1:03 pm
Will you be adding any new products to Bella's Products?
Gabe says:
January 10, 2010, 6:04 am
Proud of Peace!
LBell says:
January 10, 2010, 9:24 am
Been hearing about NYDJ for the longest...come to find out they carry them at my local high-end department store (Von Maur). I will definitely be checking these out! Thanks. Also, you seem to be adjusting very well to Chicago (where I used to live for many years). I hope the weather isn't giving you (too much) frostbite!
orange peels and lemonade says:
January 10, 2010, 11:06 am
Love the stuff at Peace Images, her stuff is fabulous! I'm going to start buying more bespoke items in 2010, its so much more stylish to wear unique items
bella says:
January 10, 2010, 11:56 am
LBell - it's kind of amazing! I'm not afraid of winter (possibly because I was warned about it by so many and in such dire terms). There's a learning curve in terms of what to wear, but I'm happy to report that I'm doin the damn thang! LOL! The NYDJ jeans are wardrobe staples for me. Love them! Now all I need is some long johns to wear under them and ya girl is set. AND, how about I broke the zip on my MBT boots last night?? Trying to zip them up over a pair of jeans, I had epic boot failure. Hoping they aren't ruined forever =(
SoFrolushes says:
January 10, 2010, 5:07 pm
UGG Boots and tracksuit bottoms especially velour tracki bottoms like the juicy couture or any make are always fashionable. I finally bought some boots from a shop called Evans in the UK they fit by over big calfs, Even when I was slimmer my cals did not fit boots. nice rvw btw
Ivan8!3 says:
January 10, 2010, 11:11 pm
Very nice blog...and that Coach purse is gorgeous! Nothing like a pretty girl with a pretty bag. +8!3
Angel says:
January 19, 2010, 11:33 pm
From reviews on the net,we know that MBT shoes will improve your posture
Bunny says:
September 26, 2010, 6:11 pm
I hate to be a Debbie Downer, but am I the only person who's had a horrible experience with Peace Images? When I got the Zou necklace I ordered, it was too small for my neck and I contacted her to see about sending it back and getting it sized up a bit. Not only did she ignore my email for 3 WEEKS, but she had an attitude when she finally responded. It took another 3 weeks for me to get it back after I sent it...when I opened the package, I saw it'd been extended like I asked, but she'd stuck the big ugly clasp (that wasn't listed on the page) right next to the leopard in the front so that it looks really stupid when I wear it Wish I could've gotten my money back instead


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