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.

afrobella collage

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!)


My makeup was done by the incredible Bisi Essien, AKA @BisiCrystalEyez on Twitter. Click here to check out her Facebook page!


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 –

Fall/Winter Fashion Trends!

Look #1 – All Bright Everything



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!

Look #2 – Colorblocking the Winter LBD


Blue suede blazer – Jessica London by way of One Stop Plus – $179 – $199

Little Black knit Dress – Ann Taylor (remember this post?)

Black Leggings – actually they’re Teggings, bought at Re/Dress NYC – $20

Boots – Doc Martens, via – 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!

Look #3 – The Classic Peacoat, With a Twist


Black peacoat – Lands End – $164

Purple skinny jeans – Forever 21 – $24

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).

Earrings – 1 Me Naturally – $5

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.


Look #4 – Boot Season, Blazer Season


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.

Look #5 – All Leopard Everything


Leopard coat (worn over leopard blazer) also from One Stop Plus – $59-$69

Jeggings – see above

Knee High Leather Boots – Naturalizer Arness Black Leather Wide Shaft Boots – $149

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?

Thanks and much love to Chuck, Aramide, and Bisi for making this all happen!

Filed Under:


pets says:
November 14, 2011, 8:33 am
Wow! Magazine Cover Girl time! Like the looks and the makeup.
milaxx says:
November 14, 2011, 8:59 am
Ah 'Bella, you about to give up my secret weapon. I shop at Onestopplus for a lot of my wardrobe. I'm on the larger end of plus at a size 26 and they keep me looking stylish to the point that people in my congregation often ask where I get my clothes because they think a big gal can't be fly. You look great in all of these looks. Thanks for the inspriation.
pets says:
November 14, 2011, 9:10 am
I LOVE THE BLAZERS ON YOU. Are they padded? Whether they are or not they are fabulous. I wear shrugs because of my Arthur problem, of course Meiling knows to have little pads put in for me. Voila they look chic. Keep on keeping on my bella.
cassandre says:
November 14, 2011, 9:11 am
love the lookbook idea.. great fashion inspiration for us all.. so sad that redress is closing, i see you have a few pieces from them.. love the leopard jacket..
IrieDiva says:
November 14, 2011, 9:25 am
bella this is SO fab! i love EVERY look. fierce!
Rochelle says:
November 14, 2011, 9:49 am
Peajai says:
November 14, 2011, 9:53 am
Love it all! That leopard coat is fleece?? *adds to cart*
bella says:
November 14, 2011, 10:06 am
YES Mila!!! I love OneStopPlus, and I realize most Jessica London items are awesome quality. Love their range!
bella says:
November 14, 2011, 10:07 am
love you mom!! I knew you would love the blazers - there's a tiny tiny shoulder pad in there. Tiny!
bella says:
November 14, 2011, 10:08 am
I am heartbroken about Redress but here's hoping big new things happen for them! I will miss the store for sure
Rocquelle says:
November 14, 2011, 10:11 am
Such a cute look book!! I love all of the color and leopard!
bella says:
November 14, 2011, 10:12 am
bella says:
November 14, 2011, 10:12 am
RAWR! LOL thank you IrieDiva!
chai says:
November 14, 2011, 10:16 am
this definitely ranks up there with my top bella posts! you look wonderful in all outfits...#3 is my fav...the colors + hair look perfect;)
Jami says:
November 14, 2011, 10:45 am
Trying to find your DocMarten's boots but can't find them. Do you remember the style name or #? Thanks.
bella says:
November 14, 2011, 12:18 pm
thank you!!! Love you back!
bella says:
November 14, 2011, 12:21 pm
Fleece and so comfy and roomy! Great for layering underneath! Get it girl!
L Boogie says:
November 14, 2011, 12:23 pm
Goodness gracious, this lookbook was awesome! I now have to go to ReDress whenever I make a trip to New York (or just shop online), and I'll definitely have to check out OneStop. Awesome idea, and great post! :-)
bella says:
November 14, 2011, 12:24 pm
THANK YOU! So happy to get this response!
bella says:
November 14, 2011, 12:24 pm
OMG thank you Chai!! That means ALOT!
Miss Moon's Musings says:
November 14, 2011, 12:28 pm
A look book is such a DOPE idea!!!! And can I just take a moment to ::drool heavily:: over the double leopard, please?!?! Fabulous!!!
SuperNovaNatural says:
November 14, 2011, 1:03 pm
You look so beautiful and I loved every piece of clothing you wore.
Cheekie says:
November 14, 2011, 1:14 pm
Those pics up there are why folks wanna see your outfits posted! I LOVE your sense of style and you never cease to be adorable, Bella! :D
MsXpat says:
November 14, 2011, 1:21 pm
Well you certainly made up for all the times did post your outfits! I'm too jealous of these outfits. Your look is smokin'.
bella says:
November 14, 2011, 1:25 pm
I will do my best to find out, I wanna say they're the 20 eye boots...
bella says:
November 14, 2011, 1:26 pm
ReDress closes forever on November 20, so visit ASAP!!! Or shop online. The online store will stay open (whew!)
bella says:
November 14, 2011, 1:26 pm
here you go!
zenzele says:
November 14, 2011, 1:49 pm
Beautiful shots, and I love your fashion sense! SO in love with those Doc Martens, but I don't see them on Amazon in red. :( Hey, I wonder if they have them in purple?
Stylin' & Profilin' says:
November 14, 2011, 3:14 pm
Looking lovely and stylish, Patrice!
nolagirl says:
November 14, 2011, 3:22 pm
Great looks, and Bella you look Beautiful. Great to see the person behind the wonderful blog! Now to try and find some of these for the 3 days its will be cold in New Orleans this winter.
goldenstar says:
November 14, 2011, 4:49 pm
Congratulations! You are rockin' the looks. And your team worked it, too! Can we vote daily for the People's Choice award?
bella says:
November 14, 2011, 6:26 pm
so glad you like it!! I plan to keep it coming!
bella says:
November 14, 2011, 6:29 pm
thank you very much :)
bella says:
November 14, 2011, 6:29 pm
thanks, Cheekie!!!
Sherry Blossom says:
November 14, 2011, 6:48 pm
LOVE the look book!!! And I love Dr.Martens boots! I haven't bought a pair yet because I want them all and can never just buy one! I plan on going on a shopping trip and finally getting at least 2! Also a leopard cardigan or blazer is a must!!
justice fergie says:
November 14, 2011, 7:16 pm
i love these looks! and what a great idea to showcase your outfits. your smile is contagious ;)
tami says:
November 14, 2011, 8:25 pm
I have soo many looks that Iike hmm? I will say #4 and #1 is a close second! You look very pretty! xoxo
Natasha says:
November 15, 2011, 12:55 am
Absolutely fantastic post - you were ROCKING all the looks. Funky, chic, comfy and FAB.
Ardean says:
November 15, 2011, 7:09 am
LOVE the first outfit, seeing as anything green I'm drawn to! Love color for fall and winter.
Beauty Is Diverse says:
November 15, 2011, 8:06 am
Love the blue blazer.
Ticlos says:
November 15, 2011, 8:38 am
I had to come here and leave a comment! You are gorgeous!! I wanted every single outfit! Absolutely breath-taking and inspiring!! I am really looking forward to future installments.
Dee Dee says:
November 15, 2011, 3:45 pm
Awesome, awesome and awesome! So glad everyone is enjoying the looks! Had a wonderful team and a wonderful Patrice to work with ;)
Jami says:
November 15, 2011, 8:55 pm
Thanks! Love Look #2 the best. Peace.
foodfashionandflow says:
November 16, 2011, 1:40 am
I love all of these looks! You look so stylish! I think this is one of my favorite posts!
warrior11209 says:
November 16, 2011, 6:27 pm
Great look book!! Well worth the wait. So glad to read your review of the peacoat - I have been eyeing it for a couple of weeks and now it is a def sale. Hmm hard to pick a favorite look - love them all!! You look fab in the blazers - moms always know best. lol
Sherry says:
November 17, 2011, 9:48 am
Hello Bella--The green is striking on you and I also like your hair pulled up that way!
Sherry says:
November 17, 2011, 9:50 am
Hello Bella, You look fab in that green and I love your hair pulled up that way! P.S. Check out, they have wide-calfed riding boot around $99-$139.
kia- yummy411 says:
November 17, 2011, 10:31 am
you look amazeballs and this was an awesome idea that was executed fabulously. loved that you teamed up with sassy peach! love her!
b_baby says:
November 17, 2011, 3:32 pm
Hey Bella - I'm at it again using company time to check out your worth it:-) It was great meeting you at the Treasure Our Tresses event. You look fantastic in these photos, my favorite is the ones with your hair up. Thank you so much for such a great and needed site. Barbette
Dad and Mom says:
November 17, 2011, 10:19 pm
Happy to see you doing your thing. You are beautiful and you look great. Love, Dad
Shones says:
November 21, 2011, 3:23 pm
oooo i'm way late but this is a FANTASTIC idea and you look fabulous. Love the color combinations. I get stuck in a blue, black, and gray rut sometimes. It's to the point now where my husband has basically forbidden me from buying any more gray. *sigh* So thank you for the breath of fresh color! I look forward to more!
Seleema says:
November 21, 2011, 11:14 pm
You look great in all of them, but my absolute favorite is #1. You are so photogenic. Keep rocking it girl!
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