April 2013Faces of Black Fashion: April 2013

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Style Crush: Ni'ma Ford

Model and fashion stylist Ni'ma Ford's style is bananas!!! She gets everything right: mixing prints, colors, textures and colors; layering; contrasting; adding touches of funk to her outfits; and owning her look.   I'll simply let her photos speak for themselves. 


Monday, April 29, 2013

Nika Notes: Is There Room for Social Responsibility in Fashion?

 In a Responsible Fashion

I love fashion; there is absolutely no doubt about that. I don’t love it for the mere aesthetics, though I do appreciate that aspect.  I most appreciate the powerful, beautiful and transformative ways in which it engenders self-expression and communication. With fashion you get to see an idea, a mode of expression, a perception, and a story come to life. It is a real and tangible communication of beauty, personal gifts and talents, and creativity. Fashion allows for so many different avenues of expression, the designer creates the design but the wearer  gives it personal distinction.  

Though I love fashion, our relationship is complicated.  I cannot separate fashion from something else that means a lot to me: social responsibility. Fashion does not exist in a vacuum.  Uncovering the beauty, creativity and glam reveals complex quagmires relating to body image, exclusion, selfish indulgence and materialism.  The discord is there - the intermingling of beauty with ugliness, of social responsibility with blind bliss. Do we muddy the waters of escapism that some fashion lovers seek  when we think about these questions aloud?  Even if the answer to that question is yes, I believe that perhaps the waters should be muddied some more.

The truth is fashion helps to shape culture; it affects the way we see and define ourselves.  It is one of the most prominent markers between the “haves” and the “have- nots.”  Fashion highlights concerns about moral and social responsibility including child labor, fair pay, diversity, and wealth distribution. In thinking about these issues and fashion how much responsibility do fashion lovers have and how do we exercise it? I don’t have the answers, but I do ask these questions of myself. Is fashion simply a form of expression or is it more than that?  Like you, I love fashion, and I think we can only begin to find the balance between fashion and social responsibility by being willing to have a discussion. Where do we draw the line?

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Inspired Style: Kerry Washington in Pink and Green

Get Kerry Washington's Look

Option 1

Blouse: HERE
Pumps: HERE
Skirt: HERE

Option 2

Skirt: HERE
Blouse: HERE


Friday, April 26, 2013

This Week in Black Celebrity Style

Joan Smalls at 8th Annual Chanel Artists Dinner

Taraji P. Henson at 8th Annual Chanel Artists Dinner 

Ciara stops by 106 & Park

Vivica Fox

Lala Anthony Shows off Her Abs

Your thoughts?


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Style Profile: Real Housewives of Atlanta's Porsha D. Stewart

Porsha always radiates. Her smile, her love of glam and her appreciation for the details all come together to create a stylish and radiant aesthetic. While I didn't have a chance to follow the show consistently, I do look forward to Porsha's style updates on Instagram. Anyone else a fan of Porsha's style? Isn't she such a Glamazon?


Sunday, April 21, 2013

Nika Notes: Developing Your Personal Style

Looking for a style change? Trying to find your signature style or your style philosophy? Honing your style is a process that takes time. Below I share some tips on how you can develop your own signature style.

Developing Your Personal Style

Assess Your Current Style Profile
What’s your current style profile? What  do you like? What don’t you like? What’s working? What’s not working? Think about these questions and answer them truthfully. This is a great and honest place to start in personal style development. If nothing else, it will help you to eliminate what doesn't work and to keep what does.

Create a style inspiration folder
Start saving style/fashion photos that inspire you. It’ll give you a better sense of what you like and gravitate toward. Over time you’ll notice silhouettes, patterns, cuts, textures and colors that you like, which you can use  to incorporate into your own personal style.

Wear what makes you feel comfortable
It’s almost impossible to hone or own your style if you wear uncomfortable clothing. Not every trend or “hot item” is for everyone. If you feel uncomfortable wearing something, don’t wear it; believe me it shows. Only wear things that help you feel comfortable in your skin.

Just Do It
So you’ve been wanting to mix prints and /or colors or you've  been yearning to wear a particularly quirky outfit, but you're afraid. Wear it anyway! Do it afraid.  Stop waiting to express your style out of fearing what others may think. You’ll only start honing your personal style by expressing it. 

What are some of the things that you've done to develop your personal style?


Thursday, April 18, 2013

It's Carnival: Jamaica Carnival 2013

Former Miss Jamaica World Yendi Phillips. I can't believe Yendi had a bouncing bundle of joy six months ago, she looks phenomenal!

Former Miss Jamaica World Sara Lawrence

Loving the headpieces.


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Solange Knowles + Kelly Rowland at Coachella

Two of our favorite ladies rocking out at Coachella

For me, this look is all about the details. I like Kelly's nail polish color and accessories (that emerald ring is the business). This look is completely L.A.,  shorts and combat boots anyone? 

Another reason to love Alice +  Olivia, this is the perfect vintage inspired sweet mod dress. Solange is wearing this entire look very well. 
similar dress found HERE

Monday, April 15, 2013

New York Lady at the Derby

On Saturday I attended my first horse derby ever! Once I got the invitation and was informed I was required to wear a hat, I knew I did not want a traditional hat given my short hair cut. I found this little funky purple number in L.A.'s fashion district. Isn't it adorable?

The dress is from H&M. I had a great time and even won second place in the "Most Creative Hat" category


Friday, April 12, 2013

Introducing Monroe of Fashion Steele NYC

Monroe's blog, Fashion Steele NYC,  was one of the first fashion blogs that I followed. To this day, I look forward to her blog updates in my inbox. Not only is her style amazing,  her blog is extremely informative and filled with tips including blogging your way to fashion week and where to score a sweet deal in NYC. Her blog is a real gem among blogs. I have also had the pleasure of meeting Monroe in person  through her group NYC Fashion Bloggers. Monroe is warm and extremely friendly, and through the group I have had unforgettable experiences such as meeting one of my favorite designers, Rebecca Minkoff.  It is my pleasure to introduce Monroe and her blog Fashion Steele NYC

Tell us about yourself, who is Monroe? 
Well. I am a physical therapist as well as a fashion blogger! I love fashion but in the field I am in I don't get a chance to dress up a lot or where are the girly fashions I want to. Thus I started my fashion blog as a release for all that fashion energy I have built up inside of me. After 2.5 years of blogging I think I've really settled into my style.

What inspired you to start blogging? 
I actually saw in article in the newspaper amNY about the 6 fashion bloggers you should know. it was on the front page. Before then I didn't even know fashion bloggers existed. I devoured the article and it really encouraged me to start my fashion blog.  I started my blog that very day. I didn't have a camera or anything!

Where do you find fashion inspiration? 
I find fashion inspiration mostly from magazines and runway shows. I like to cut out photos from magazines and add them to my inspiration board for styles I'd like to try to make my own. I also get inspiration from people and other bloggers.

What trends are you looking forward to wearing this Spring? 
I'm looking forward to being able to wear skirts and dresses period! The winter here in NY has lasted so long I can barely take it anymore. Its finally warming up and I'm just happy to be able to show some skin and wear less clothing! But I do love the flouncy skirt trend and heels with ankle cuffs.

Anything else? 
I love nutella and old school No Doubt music.

Be sure to visit Monroe's blog HERE.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Nika Notes: Looking Fabulous on a Budget: My Guide to Vintage and Consignment Shopping

There's something about vintage clothing that remind me of my style icons from the past. Women like Zora Neale Hurston, Audrey Hepburn, Josephine Baker and Jackie Kennedy whose photos I use to sit pour over during my college years. These women embodied style that complement, but did not overpower, them. I believe one of the reasons they are so widely admired is that they skillfully used clothing to express their individuality. So I went on a search to emulate what these women portrayed and discovered vintage.
I discovered vintage shopping on Ebay in my last year of college. NYC had become the incubator that nourished and developed my personal style, but I hadn't yet discovered its plethora of  vintage stores. Eventually my search led me to Ebay. Over the years, my love for vintage blossomed into a love for consignment shopping. I have spent seven of the last ten years as a student, so while I adore fashion and clothing (a bit too much), my student status required budget friendly purchases. Through trial and error, I've narrowed down my favorite picks for vintage and consignment shopping. Enjoy my guide below. 

Today Ebay still remains my number one go-to for budget friendly shopping. Ebay has a plethora of everything: vintage, gently used consigned items, and new stuff for a fraction of the cost.  The key to shopping Ebay is finding the right sellers for you. Ensure that you read reviews and look at seller ratings before bidding on items. Also feel free to err on the side of caution by asking sellers questions about sizing, shipping or anything else. Most sellers are happy to answer questions about listings.

Consignment Shops
These are the perfect places to find gently used (or even never worn) designer and vintage pieces. More importantly, you get a chance to try before you buy. A lot of consignment shop also allow you to sell your gently used clothing for store credit and/or cash. How’s that for striking a win/win deal. Here are some of my favorite consignment shops broken down by city:

New York City
Beacon’s Closet - Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Tokyo Joe’s - Manhattan
Buffalo Exchange - Manhattan and Brooklyn

Washington, D.C./Maryland
Rock It Again – U Street, Washington, D.C.
A Second Chance – Bethesda, Maryland
Mustard Seed – Bethesda Maryland

Los Angeles, CA
Crossroads Trading ( I spend A LOT of time at the Old Town Pasadena location)
American Vintage
Buffalo Exchange

Boston, MA
Second Time Around – Newbury Street, Boston

Goodwill/Salvation Army
Doesn’t it feel good to shop and do something good for others at the same time? I have found some of my best vintage blazers and belts in these stores for alarmingly low prices.   You will probably have to dig a bit to find great pieces, but trust me it will be worth it. Also you can donate your gently used items and pass on those goodies to someone else. Both Goodwill and Salvation Army stores have special sale days where you can get 50% (or more) off already low prices. Keep an eye out for those sales!

While the above are my personal top choices, I have also snagged great items on Etsy or other online vintage websites (check out Jacque who I featured HERE). A lot of bloggers have created personal online shops/boutiques with great bargains. 

Tips for shopping and wearing vintage and consigned items:
1. When shopping online, if you are unsure about a size, ASK.  Vintage sizing tends to be different from modern sizing, so it helps to get exact measurements
2. When shopping in store, closely examine items you choose for damage, and make sure to try before you buy.
3. Sometimes certain items will have small imperfections, don’t be alarmed. It’s usually something that can be fixed at the dry cleaners or by a tailor.
4.   Mix your vintage pieces with the modern pieces in your closet.
5.   Have fun wearing vintage and expressing your individual style!


Saturday, April 6, 2013

This Week in Black Celebrity Style: Global Edition

Former Miss Jamaica World, Yendi Phillips, attends event in Jamaica. Yendi Phillips is such a fabulous new mommy.

 Nigerian actress Susan Peters and actor Alex Ekubo attend wedding in Dubai

Former Ms. Universe Ghana, Menaye Donkor, in London 

UK Songtress Alesha Dixon

South African actress Kgomotso Christopher at South Africa's Soapie Awards

If you are a reader who lives outside the U.S. and would love to see your favorite celebrities from your home countries represented on the blog, please send their images (or links to images) to iriechic1@gmail.com


For more from Nika visit
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Thursday, April 4, 2013

Introducing Yvonne of Pink Dollhouse

 It's my pleasure to introduce Yvonne, a D.C. fashionista and Editor of the blog Pink Dollhouse. Read more about Yvonne and her fabulous blog below: 

Tell us about yourself, who is Yvonne?
Lovingly sarcastic shoe addict who carries Harpers Bazzar in her handbag like it’s the New York Times. Trendsetter perhaps, but I don’t realize I am on trend until I see it in the magazines and go “oh yeah I have that”. I can be thought of as a risk taker, I took a risk starting a blog, and that blog ended up being the best resume I could have ever created. Secret lover of reality tv and 90’s sitcoms, overall fashion social media junkie who couldn’t imagine leaving D.C.

What can readers expect to find when they visit your blog?
I write the way I speak. If you can’t hear my voice then it is not authentic. My blogging style is Joan Rivers meets fashion, and considering she is the host of Fashion Police makes me love her even more. I am a real girl in a blogger world that is fluffed often by reality, you won’t find self posed pictures while randomly looking over my shoulder. I didn’t even want to post pictures of myself until my blogger friend Ashley of I am Ashley Gaga encouraged me to show readers my personal style.

Where do you find fashion inspiration?
Everywhere, from the magazines to a girl (or guy) wearing something kick awesome on the street. Like Coco Chanel ( who is my fashion go to) “Fashion is not simply a matter of clothes; fashion is in the air, born upon the wind; one intuits it… it comes from ideas, manners, events…"
What trends are you looking forward to wearing this Spring?
I am loving the graphic trend black and white together is so classic but with a pop of color gives it a rocker chic edge. I am also loving the soft pastels with floral trend, I already bought a pair of silk floral printed pants from Nordstrom Rack of course!

Anything else?
I would tell your readers to take a risk and step outside of what is expected. I graduated from college during the recession where job opportunities were a dime a dozen or you were expected to work for free. Instead of making excuses I made the best of it, and sought out opportunities that eventually lead to better ones. Never close an open door because that could be the doorway to something better.

Check out Yvonne's lovely blog HERE

Monday, April 1, 2013

Nika Notes: Skinny Black Girl

I come from a legacy of small women, but I did not always accept and embrace that legacy. It’s one of those things that you don’t talk about openly. These kind of conversations are reserved for trusted girlfriends or family members, until someone disrupts your security blanket with the all too sarcastic “oh shut up” or “cry me a river.” What right do you have to complain when mainstream society says your body type is the ideal?  Are your feelings valid when well-meaning folks around you tell you that you’re so lucky that clothes fit you easily and that they “wish they had your figure.”

The truth is none of those niceties mean a thing if you’re a skinny black girl. Supposedly you have the ideal body – thin. Yet countless people in your community admonish you to “get some meat on those bones, ” because “men want a little something to hold on to,” just in case you were wondering. Sometimes your community consists of the people in your own home, so the messages are inescapable. It’s also not uncommon for some brother to loudly voice his displeasure about your lack of ASSets. Oh, and don’t forget the false but in your face concerns about a possible eating disorder. How else do you eat so much yet stay so small? You are to shoulder these and other criticisms with nary a complaint, because it’s the norm to unload such venom on the “skinny b**ch.”

So when you develop body issues, you stay quiet and silently consume Ensure, protein shakes and anything else that promises weight gain. No one knows that you’re displeased with the body you see in the mirror, they don’t know that deep down you wish for curves and that you are hypersensitive to comments about thin celebrities looking “sickly,” “like little kids” or like “crack heads.”  Deep down you wonder if those are the things they think about you.  Later on you may recover through weight gain or self-acceptance, but you might not recover at all.

Today 53% of American girls are unhappy with their bodies.  We live in a world where globally women face media onslaughts on their body and self-image,  often comparing themselves to unrealistic and unattainable standards of beauty. This is further compounded by other cultural standards at play.  Now more than ever, women need each other to develop and maintain positive self and body images. So the next time you are tempted to make a disparaging remark about another woman’s weight, think again. Choose instead to celebrate her unique beauty.