Swag Talk: Essentials For A Woman’s Wardrobe

We’ll help you navigate the women’s fashion world with a few key pieces you need now.

1. Signature ring/necklace/bracelet – I’m a big fan of wearing one or two pieces of jewelry consistently, no matter what other accessory I may be pairing with my outfit. I wear the same thin gold bracelet and gold Louis Vuitton chain-link ring every day because they have special meaning to me. They’re understated, but I still get complimented on them constantly. Not only do they look nice on, they’re conversation pieces for anyone who asks me about them. I know a few other girls that wear a signature ring/piece of jewelry daily, and like me, they’ve become part of our ‘look.’

2. Nice purse – if you plan on investing money in one wardrobe item, I’d suggest you spend the big bucks on either a nice purse or a nice pair of heels that will transition you from day-to-night. For me, a woman’s shoes and her purse are the first two things that I look at – they’re usually the item that can make or break an outfit. As far as brands go, I suggest to get the best possible bag that’s in your price range – whatever that may be. Go for something that isn’t too overly-trendy (i.e, no fringe, embellishments, etc), instead opt for a bag in a nice size that will last you throughout the different seasons.

3. Flowing summer dress – this category was Kadeem’s suggestion, and I couldn’t agree more. Dresses are so feminine, so flirty (I hate that word but it fits so well), the perfect summer uniform. Dresses have the power of accentuating your best features while camouflaging those you aren’t so confident about. I’m a huge fan of the high-low (or ‘tail hem’) dresses that became hot this spring/summer season, as well as dresses with classy cutouts. I also love maxi dresses (probably not a favorite for the guy population), as they’re easy to wear and can add the illusion of height.

A few dresses I like from Nastygal.com

4. Blazers– I can’t stress enough the importance that blazers play in my wardrobe. I can guarantee that if you were to run into me on the street (especially during breezy weather), you’d see me in either a blazer or some sort of leather jacket. I’m absolutely obsessed with them – they polish off your look and instantly make you look more sophisticated. I have blazers in all different colors and textures (usually from Zara), and basically cannot live without them. When fitted properly and to the length of your choice (I like mine a little longer since I’m tall), they can be very chic and the perfect addition to an outfit. Whether you’re wearing a dress, pants, or shorts, a blazer is always appropriate.

5. Signature scent – ok, this isn’t exactly a wardrobe item, but it’s a must. A nice scent is vital to a good first impression, let alone a lasting one. A person’s perfume/cologne is one of their most memorable qualities for me – Kadeem agrees. My personal favorite is Chloé’s signature fragrance; it’s not overly sweet or strong and doesn’t smell like some dessert topping (gross) – two things I think you should stay away from! I’ve also worn several Dior fragrances in the past, which were also nice but weren’t as “me” as Chloé is. Take your time finding a fragrance that you like and suits you.

6. Heels – I don’t think much needs to be said in this category! However uncomfortable some of them may be, heels are undeniably sexy and a wardrobe-must, especially if you enjoy going out. As I said before, a woman’s shoes and her purse are among the first things I notice about her – make sure what’s on your feet are worth looking at! Stilettos are classic, while platform heels have recently made their way back into the forefront of women’s footwear (just make sure the ones you’re eyeing don’t look cheap, as this can happen easily with this style), and strappy heels are very feminine and great for summer months. Wedges are always a great daytime option, as they’re the most comfortable heels you could possibly wear. Again, as with purses, purchase the best possible heels within your budget…a ratchet shoe can turn a perfectly nice outfit into something not so nice.

Let it be known, however, that if you cannot walk in heels, don’t embarrass yourself hobbling down the street, unable to keep your ankles straight. There is nothing worse than seeing a woman who can’t walk in the shoes she’s wearing. You may need to add either an insert into your shoe to help stabilize your ankle, or opt for a chunkier/thicker heel for added support.

7. Perfectly fitting jeans – you’ve seen the woman with the muffin top cascading over her too-tight jeans. You’ve also seen the woman with the baggy backside constantly pulling her pants up. Neither are good looks. Make sure all of your denim – whether colored, coated, textured, skinny, legging, etc – fits properly. I try to wear J Brand or rag & bone jeans because they have the perfect amount of stretch in all the right places, as well as the best washes/colors and quality. I haven’t found that with other brands that I’ve tried – I tend to need a little bit more stretch in the *ahem* posterior region but a true fit in the rest of the jean – both brands fit me well as-is without needing to do any sort of alteration. Don’t try and squeeze yourself into the size that you’d like to think you are (I’m sure we’ve all tried this once or twice), and make sure to ask a salesperson if the jeans you’re about to purchase have a tendency to stretch or shrink; in that case, you may need to buy a size up or down. When you walk through that door, it’s how you look in the jeans, not the size on the tag.

The Evolution Of The Color Pink

Remember when men wouldn’t wear pink at all? That mentality has changed drastically today. I won’t entirely attribute this dynamic change to Cam’ron when he tried to make pink everyone’s new favorite color by showcasing a Pink Range Rover, a pink Mink, pink cell phone and many other items that were coated in the typically feminine color.

However he was clearly one of the leaders of the pink wave. Some men nowadays may a thing or two to say to you if you’re afraid to wear the color pink, or still have a flawed mentality about this color. It seems as if pink has now become  a way for a man to show just how ‘manly’ he is, or how uninterested he is with the opinions of the masses – but it definitely wasn’t like this before.

Before this revolution had even started, pink was seen as the forbidden color for men to wear. Some people saw it as a color that wasn’t masculine, a color that shouldn’t be worn by the male gender.  To me, all those people who saw it in that light were rather ignorant and insensible with insecurities. Me being the person I am, I was never and will never be afraid to wear any color that I desire to put on.

I feel like some people are just so wrapped up in meeting the standards of a community that they hold themselves back from being who they are – not only when it comes to fashion, but with so many other things. I feel like everyone should be fearless in what they wear if they like something and want it to be a part of their style. In my opinion, when I chose to wear pink garments – such as a button-down or a blazer – I feel like I actually look a cut above other people who choose to wear colors that aren’t really scrutinized by their peers and the public. Sound off!

Trend Watch: Bright, Unnatural Hair Colors

Gone are the days that shockingly-colored hair is reserved for the punk scene. From pastel pink, to purple, to aqua blue, I’ve seen a rainbow of colors atop all kinds of girls’ heads recently. I must say that when done right, I think this trend is quite cool. Just look at the image I’ve posted as the thumbnail! Is that not the coolest hair you’ve ever seen? This girl pulls it off so well, looking effortlessly cool despite the obviously complicated ‘do she has going on.

I’m a huge fan of this trend when it’s done right and on the right person. I recently saw a very fair-skinned girl with an all-over aqua color – by the looks of its messy unevenness, her hair was either dyed poorly or very washed out. The style would have looked really nice had the pigment been distributed more evenly, or had it been reapplied so the color could remain vibrant. I imagine that the blue-ish tone would have contrasted nicely with her fair skin – head back to the salon, wherever you are!

Lana Del Rey looking all kinds of colorful and gorgeous.

Although I think this trend is really cool, it’s not for everyone. It’s quite a bold look that will get heads turning – whether in a good or bad way – in the street, in the classroom and in the workplace. If you’re not one for having all eyes on you, I would pass this look up.

 

If you’re interested in trying this out, I’d start small, maybe trying the ombre color effect or just dying a small section of hair (which is what I did in high school, when I thought I was cool with my eggplant purple strand) – and don’t forget to choose a color/colors that will complement your skin tone.

The Evolution of Socks

Who would ever think that your socks would even play a role in your outfit but to many, your socks’ game being on point is just as important as your sneaker game. I have noticed that just about everyone wears either the black or the white Nike socks, whether they’re ankle socks or calf high socks. I mean socks have gone from being just one color, to becoming elite, cushioned , even anti-blister and so much more. To me it’s rather amazing to see this transformation of something as minute as a sock.

I realized just how significant socks can be after the release of the Galaxy socks this past February. These socks sold out almost as quickly as the Galaxy Foamposites did, and recently the Yeezy 2’s socks made big waves with their intriguing design. These socks were one of the most sought after ones of all time, mainly because of the hype surrounding the sneakers that inspired them. One unforgettable edition of socks that Nike did was the ‘Think Pink’collection, which to me was rather genius as it was for a great cause – the source of all of their attention.

I won’t lie, I make sure that I have on some nice pair of socks whenever my legs are showing, and I coordinate them with the rest of my outfit. I should finally stop being lazy and invest in some Nike Elite socks, as I heard they are some of the most comfortable socks that will ever go on your feet. Let me know what you think!

Is the Swag Right: Men’s Jewelry

Forget the watch, forget the 2 Chainz/ Tyga-worthy gold chain (which you may or may not have) – we’re talking about bracelets, rings, necklaces and earrings, people. 

I’ve noticed over the last few years that it’s become common for men to wear more jewelry than usual. Whether it be a rosary, those Virgin Mary/Jesus religious bracelets (now available for purchase at Forever 21), diamond stud earrings, a gold chain or a stack of knit bracelets, the fellas are piling on the accessories.

I imagine this stems (at least a little bit) from all of the accessories that we see on the necks and wrists of rappers. We see them wearing huge, diamond-encrusted chains of the strangest things – just think of Gucci Mane and you’ll know what I’m talking about. They get away with their crazy accessories because of who they are & the fact that their jewelry adds to their image. Designers like Louis Vuitton even sat up and took notice of one rapper’s accessories game – Pharrell’s – back in 2008, resulting in the Pharrell x LV “Blason” collection.

But on regular/ not famous guys, I just can’t approve of a lot of jewelry.

I don’t mind the chain trend (as long as it’s not obnoxious), but I’m on the fence about the rest of the men’s jewelry spectrum. I can’t say that I love men’s earrings because they just seem so played out to me at this point, but at the same time – if I saw the right guy wearing a pair of reallllly nice diamond studs – I don’t think I could say that I don’t like them. I am, however, not a fan of men’s bracelets or men’s rings; they make me think that the guy wearing them is trying too hard to be fashionable.

Clearly, this is just my opinion on the everyday guy. I’m sure some of you out there that can pull off jewelry, I just haven’t met too many of you myself.

What are your thoughts on men’s jewelry?

Swag Talk: Style Inspirations

In the world that we live in today, just about everyone has some style but where does they get it from? People can draw fashion ideas from anything – something they see in passing, vintage styles they see at a thrift store, or they can see other people and take notice of something they’re wearing, and incorporate that into their own style. Whatever way it’s done, style is drawn from everything around us -so why not take a look at some of the people that many see as style inspirations.

Exhibit A: Wale. DC’s very own, Wale has been putting on since the beginning of time. From being the first person to have every new Foamposite that comes out, Wale most definitely has high connections with the right people at Nike. His style is very versatile – he can be seen in Lebron’s, Nike SB’s, Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Jordans and so many others. When it comes to rappers who put it down in this fashion game, Wale is most definitely at the top of the podium with the rest of the higher echelon. He has even resurrected throwback jerseys! I give him much respect for his fashion excellence.

Exhibit B: Stalley. MMG’s other sneakerhead. Stalley has most definitely been in this game for awhile – he even worked at the world-famous Alife store before making it big and getting signed. One thing I respect about Stalley is that he is always seen with his signature Cleveland hat. Stalley is also one of the first to receive exclusive kicks before they even hit shelves and with his recent Olympic campaign with Nike, it seem as if that connection won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.  He can be seen wearing street brands like Supreme and 1o.Deep most of the time. His style to me is very outlandish and stands out a lot.

 


Exhibit C: Kanye West
. I mean I don’t think I have to say much about Kanye when it comes to fashion. The Louis Vuitton Don has seen it all, done it all – he’s worn everything from Bape to Polo, has had his own extremely popular signature sneakers with Nike and Louis Vuitton, has shown his Kanye West Collection at Fashion Week, and has another clothing line ‘Pastelle’ that is soon to hit the public. When it comes to Kanye, he’s in a lane of his own in this fashion game.

Exhibit D: Pharrell. You didn’t think we were going to forget about Skateboard P, did you? Never that. Even though he’s been on a bit of a hiatus, Pharrell has solidified himself in the fashion game in more ways than he probably realizes. Not only has he been tied to BAPE and its founder Nigo for some years now, he’s responsible for the internationally known Billionaire Boys Club and Ice Cream Footwear lines. He’s collaborated on everything from furniture, to sculptures, to a Pharrell x Louis Vuitton jewelry and sunglass collection (‘Blason’). This man has  style and aesthetic vision that’s second to none.


Exhibit E: Rihanna. 
Never one to shy away from controversy is our girl RiRi. She’s known for wearing some pretty outlandish things and borrowing a thing or two from the boys – from snapbacks to Jordans, Manolo’s to Calvin Klein, Rihanna is one of the few women than can kill anything that she’s wearing. Her confidence and self-assuredness is definitely something that all women should pick up on, let alone her fashion sense.

Exhibit F: Beyonce. Ah, if it isn’t Queen Bey herself. She’s the better looking (and better dressing) half of the power couple that is Jay & Bey, and new mommy to baby Blue Ivy. She’s come a long way since her Destiny’s Child days, trading in her old duds for some of the biggest names in fashion – Stella McCartney, DSquared, and Christian Louboutin. I’ve always loved how comfortable she is with herself, how she loves her amazing body, her alternation between street clothes and high fashion names, and how she always manages to look ladylike.

Exhibit G: Kim Kardashian. Kim K is arguably one of the most influential women in the world at the moment. Her reality show has catapulted her fame and business ventures to heights no one thought she would reach – clearly she has something going for her since her 15 minutes of fame clearly haven’t passed yet. Fashionably speaking, Kimmy K’s style has been all over the place since she first popped up on the Hollywood scene. Even though it’s a little unpredictable – as we’ve seen – one thing that’s for certain is that she always looks great in what she’s wearing. Whether sexing it up in curve-hugging dresses or wearing a style straight off the runway, Kim always finds a way to flaunt her perfect hourglass figure in a confident and ladylike way. She works closely with her stylist – Monica Rose – to create luxurious, on-trend styles, making her a fashion icon for what’s hot now.

Exhibit H: Iggy Azalea. Newcomer Iggy is taking over the fashion scene in more ways than one – with her recent signing to Wilhelmina Models, we’re bound to see the rap goddess in quite a few magazine spreads soon. Her penchant for flashy, body-conscious clothing, bright makeup, and beautiful golden hair reminds me of an old Hollywood screen siren – just with a whole lot more swagger. She’s a badass nice girl who isn’t afraid to show some skin and challenge you to a rap battle – what more could we ask for?

Swag Talk: The Perfect Leather Jacket

One of my favorite foolproof fashion staples is the leather jacket; it’s the perfect mixture of bad ass and chic.

It took me awhile to finally find the perfect leather jacket within my price range. It seemed like every style I liked had too many zeroes in the price tag – I’d look around in other stores and see the same dingy looking, pleather jacket, or a real-leather one that didn’t feel all that great. I ended up buying many jackets that looked leather-y but weren’t, all in the same motorcycle style. Eventually I’d get tired of them, finding myself with a growing pile of jackets that didn’t quite meet my expectations.

I’ve been eyeing some of the leather jackets in Aritzia for what feels like forever – we’re talking 4 years or so. After getting a sizeable paycheck from my job at the time, I was deciding between buying a lamb skin jacket from them or a Louis Vuitton bag I had seen and loved. I ended up with the purse because I thought I could find another great leather jacket in my shopping ventures – four years later, I finally have! A $600 lamb skin leather sold at the pre-season price of $200.

In my quest along the years, I’ve learned:

1. Go for quality: don’t make the costly mistake I did of buying several non-leather jackets in the hopes that they’d satisfy my need for one great leather one. You’ll quickly learn – one, two, three jackets later – that they’re not what you’re looking for. Save all that money and put it towards one made of quality, buttery-soft leather.

2. Pick a versatile style & color: I’m a huge fan of the classic black motorcycle jacket (that’s what I ended up getting) – it goes well with pretty much everything I own. I’ve seen deep burgundy leather jackets look absolutely amazing, as well as brown and off-white. Pick a color that will fit in seamlessly with the rest of your wardrobe so you’ll be able to get the most wear out of it.

3. If you’re spending a lot of money on one, stay away from anything too trendy: if I were you, I’d reserve the big $$ for a jacket that will look stylish no matter what trend is in or out. In a few months, that studded, multi-textured jacket may have you regretting the hundreds of dollars you spent on it. Those jackets are great and very purchase-worthy; just don’t blow your really-nice-leather-jacket budget on them. If you’re living in Rack City, go right ahead.

4. Buy the right size: if you’re going to be wearing the jacket in areas where layering clothes for warmth is key, do yourself a favor and buy a size up. Squeezing sweaters into a jacket that fit you perfectly without all of that added bulk will do nothing but stretch out the jacket and look unnecessarily unflattering.

Why Are Timberland Boots Still Relevant?

Other than being utilized for winter conditions, I don’t see why people  choose to wear a pair of Timbs on a regular day. In my opinion, they’re really heavy and bulky and very tough to walk in. I’ve only had one pair and I didn’t enjoy the shoe but I’m not like everyone. Some people have different likes and they may just love that shoe, and I can’t knock that, but still it puzzles me.

Another thing is I never understood why celebrities choose to wear them to an event, to a concert, in a music video or a party. They have so much money and to see them in a pairs of Timbs to me, it’s somewhat a downgrade. It’s like you’re given a Lamborghini to drive but you choose to pick a Ford truck; maybe I don’t see what they see in the shoe. Maybe it’s more than just a shoe to them, maybe it represents a certain aspect of their culture, or where they grew up it maybe symbolized something. This may be the case as Wale represented for his city with the Nike Boots anthem a few years ago.


It surely brings out a very edgy, gritty and rough side to someone’s style and it can definitely add some unexpected flair to an outfit ala Kanye West back when he had a handful of Amber Rose. This I must agree with for sure.

Maybe one day I can get to interview someone such as Fabolous or even a Jay-Z and tap into their mind about the phenomenon of these shoes, until then I will keep on searching for the answer. Sound off!

Two Sneakers That Should Never Be Released

With so many successful sneaker releases this year so far, there are so many rumors going around pairs that haven’t been released yet and I just want to give my opinion on a few that I believe should never see the light of the day. You ask why? Well for one these sneakers have already created a high buzz when their initial photos surfaced and also I think that if they were to be released they would assist in taking away from the sneaker game even more. Another reason why is that with such hype around these sneakers already, a release would cause mass pandemonium for every sneakerhead out there.

 

Exhibit A: Nike Lebron 9 Low Lebronold Palmer. As much as I would love for these to release, it would just be another opportunity for the resellers and hypebeasts to camp out to get their hands on such a beautiful sneaker for the wrong reasons. I would hate to see just a bunch of pairs just floating around sites such as ebay.com, solecollector.com and seen on the shelves in a Flight Club store.

 

Exhbit B: Nike Air Yeezy 2 “Kobe Bryant”. Only one pair made and specifically for the Black Mamba himself, this shoe is nothing short of a masterpiece. Knowing Kobe’s connection and friendship with Kanye himself, it wasn’t a surprise to see this creation. This is surely the best color way of the Yeezy 2’s but we will need it to be only for Mr. Bryant himself. Releasing this shoe would take away from the essence of the shoe and also its legacy.

Swag Talk: Ciaté Nails

Probably the most forward-thinking and unique brand in the nail polish biz is U.K brand Ciaté, who’s responsible for both the caviar and velvet nail trends.

Probably like most other people, I discovered Ciaté at the nail polish section of Sephora. I was blown away by their take on nail art, offering such creative styling that I would have never though of on my own. Their Caviar Nails manicure set ($25/each) has been a huge success since it hit shelves – the concept takes nail designing to the next level, having tiny beads sit atop the nail. The multicolored/pink version reminds me of sprinkles, and I’m in love with the black and white versions.

Ciaté’s latest foray into the creative nail business is the Velvet Manicure, also being sold at Sephora ($19/each). So far they have three colors – a rich burgundy, a pale grey, and a deep blue. Rita Ora is already a fan of this velvet nail trend, and after seeing it done in person, I have to say that I love it too. The finish is really soft and delicate, and the colors are gorgeous.

Ciaté has an array of regular nail polish colors as well, priced at $15/each – about the cost of a decent manicure. I haven’t seen their regular polishes in stores, maybe I missed them while in shock over the Caviar & Velvet Nails, but they’re definitely available at Sephora’s online site. I’m really impressed by this brand’s innovative nail techniques, and the fact that you can achieve such an intricate manicure at home without having to go to the nail salon.

What do you think of these nails? Let me know in the comments section!