Are Mini Bags a Go or a No?

Source: Harper’s Bazaar

Source: Harper’s Bazaar

At one point or another, we’ve all fell victim to the ‘Mary Poppins effect,’ carrying around oversized handbags with everything we think we’d ever possibly need inside. As extreme as that might seem, the mini-bag trend of the moment may have it beat. These bags, which were initially made popular by Jacquemus when they premiered in their Spring 2018 runway show, are popping up everywhere in different forms -- from being worn around the neck to being worn on the waist as a mini bag belt. It’s even been recently spotted on runways dangling from the finger of models as a comical 2-inch accessory courtesy of the label that started it all: Jacquemus, of course (Come on though -- where they do that at?).

So why are these mini bags’ all the rage this season? Maybe because they’re ironic like last season’s ‘dad sneaker’ trend, or maybe because they’re just so irresistibly adorable! Regardless of the reason, we’re taking a look at the fashion killers who caught on to the trend early and deciding once for all; is the mini bag trend a GO or a NO?

Queen Bey

Leave it to Beyonce to have us second guessing how functional mini bags can actually be. Worn as a belt bag, it looks like an easy option for a quick run or even a concert when you want to pack light. Plus, it’s the perfect pop of color to set off this multicolored ensemble.

Love the Look? Secure the Jacquemus green belt bag here or find a similar option here.



If a trend is in style, rest assured that Rihanna did it first. While we may not be quite ready to start wearing our handbags as necklaces, we’re sold on RihRih’s monochromatic moment topped off with a classic Jacquemus mini bag.

Love the Look? Secure the Jacquemus yellow mini bag  here or find a similar option here

Marlo Hampton

Marlo Hampton has been spotted in the mini bag trend a few times since it’s gone viral, so there’s no doubt that she’s a huge fan. She makes a great case for the trend as an easy option for a day out on the town -- as long as you pack light, of course.

Get her Christian Dior Patent Leather mini bag here or find a similar option here.

#ShopBlack and find a similar option to her chandelier mini bag here.

Lori Harvey

When it comes to style, Lori definitely gets it from her mama. The style maven is always up on the hottest trends and this one is no different. Her pyramid YSL mini bag is a LOOK but what we really want to know is, how much smaller is she willing to go?

Get her YSL Pyramid Box Mini Bag here or find an affordable alternative here.

The Clermont Sisters


Never ones to shy away from a trendy moment, it’s no surprise to see that these bad girls were among the first to be spotted in the mini bag trend. Wearing it as a crossbody paired with dad sneakers and a jersey dress gives it a fun sporty twist, but its functionality is still the ultimate mystery.

Love the Look? Secure the Jacquemus yellow mini bag  here or find a similar option here.


*This article contains affiliate links, which means that if you make a purchase, MILQ Mag may make a small commission.*

How to Live Your Best ‘WANDERful' Life

Book The Trip, Pack Your Bags, & Live Your Best “Wanderful” Life On A Budget

source @thevicstyles

source @thevicstyles

Let’s keep it real -- the quintessential, globe trotting, nomad has long been depicted as white. The perception of Black America is that travel is seen more as a luxury than a necessity.

Well, here’s the budget and the bees: that misconception is DEAD and we’re here to give you the travel tea so drink up, honey!

First of all, reducing expenses does not entail limiting your travel  experience, and seeking out adventures does not mean you have to break the bank. Sure, some people are fortunate enough to fly first class and stay at swanky resorts but babygirl, you can get some bang for your lil bucks and it doesn’t have to mean compromising comfort or fun. It just means get in where you fit in, and take note on a few things;okay, more like 10 things.

Tip #1: Book in advance and know peak vs. off peak travel times.

Sure, Summer travel is always a doozy, but keep heavy emoji eyes on key travel sites like Kayak, Hopper or Airfarewatchdog to help get you to where you’re going. Also, we hear the best deals are going up on a Tuesday. Take note and book accordingly.

Tip #2: Up your resource game and tap  into using points or miles for airfare.

If there’s a travel reward and flight incentive, there’s a way! You can book your way to paradise on next to nothing and cheaper than you think.

Tip #3: This might be a no brainer, but do your research!

Take the time to compare rates and deals to figure out your options for lodging. Whether a hotel, an AirBnB, well known hostel or crashing at a friends, be open minded.

Tip #4: Find a travel buddy.


It can cut down on costs like splitting Uber and Taxi fares. The buddy policy is always the best policy -- especially when exploring new cities.

Tip #5: Don’t eliminate road trips stay-cations and domestic travel.

Paris may not be in the cards right now, but maybe the beauty of Pueblo, Mexico or  the Big Apple is. Just saying, booking alternate forms of travel can end up being the most enjoyable way to get away. Get you some.

Tip #5: Okay, this one might be a challenge but pack light, sis!

Don’t waste your coins paying for extra bags on your flights and if your driving, ain’t nobody got time for a cramped car full of unnecessary suitcases. Choose staple items, layer up, and call it a day, Mmmkaay!

Tip #6: Travel the way the locals do.

Don’t shy away from public or rideshare transportation. There are plenty of apps to download and help you find your way around town by bus, train subway or whatever. It can definitely make sightseeing easy and more cost effective. But seriously, get an app to help be your guide if you’re solo. We want you to get lost in the experience, not literally.

Tip #7: Venture off the beaten path.

Don’t get sucked into the tourist trap; anywhere you visit will have amazing things to see, food to eat and people to meet. All you have to do is show up!

Tip #8: Material things are overrated.

Collecting memories is the real bag. It also makes travel more peaceful, your luggage lighter, and your pockets fatter.

Tip #9: I don't know who needs to hear this but those new shoes you want to buy, skip it.

The Zara sale, just say no. The grande frappes and eating out, cut back. They will all take away from your travel fund. Set that savings goal to align with your pay schedule and get ready to set sail, road trip or jet set on your journey. You got this! P.S., I needed to hear this.

Bottom line, you are not too broke to experience the world around you. Yes, travel comes at a cost but you don’t have to skip out on it all together. It just means that your black girl magic comes with that ballin’ on a budget glow. So shine on, book the trip, pack the bag and live your best “wanderful” life on a budget already! That vacay-get-away slay awaits. Tuh! You deserve it! Because newsflash: traveling while black is totally a thing.

courtesy of @travelnoir

courtesy of @travelnoir

Summer Style Is In Living Color: An Expert Guide with Hanifa

Hanifa Designer Anifa Mvuemba explains why you should transform how you feel about color in your closet

When we think of our ultimate Summer style mood board, Hanifa is undoubtedly the first brand that comes to mind. Scroll through their Instagram feed and you’ll find an awe-worthy compilation of black girls in all shapes and sizes, dripped in the most vibrant ruby and neon hues, playful textures, and curve-hugging silhouettes.

The brand’s colorful aesthetic can’t be credited to trend-watching; since its inception in 2012, color and texture have remained a key focal point of their brand aesthetic. Designed specifically with black women in mind, Hanifa is unafraid to set its own rules  (rule #1: all colors look great on black women, period) and adamantly challenges the long list of fashion faux-pas that we’re conditioned to avoid. It appears that at long last, mainstream fashion brands have finally taken note and caught up to the black owned indie brand, as neon colors continue to be one of the biggest trends on Spring/Summer 2019 runways. While bold colors may be a seasonal fad for many of these brands, Hanifa is making a serious case for how important it is for black women to re-imagine their relationship with bold colors and embrace whatever makes them feel confident, regardless of the season.

We’ve asked Anifa Mvuemba, designer and founder of Hanifa, to share her top tips on how to effortlessly incorporate color, texture, and silhouette to create the ultimate Summer-ready wardrobe (Hint: Break every rule you’ve ever been taught). Whether you’re looking to master this season’s viral neon trend or simply looking to break up the monotony of the neutral staples in your closet, take note of these expert tips from the architect of Hanifa herself.  


Anifa’s TIP #1: All colors look great on all black women

I don’t restrict color choices because I embrace all skin tones on different hues, textures, and colors. In fact, I’m usually inspired by the confidence that black women exude in colors which inspires my palette selections. Look at Lupita Nyong to Tracee Ellis Ross - they range in skin tone and look beautiful in so many colors.
courtesy of shuttershock

courtesy of shuttershock

Anifa’s TIP #2: Don’t hold back on experimenting with neon tones, jewel tones, pastels, bright and dark colors

My favorite color is any color that makes black women feel powerful and special. I think that color is best when it is used to create and to be different.

Anifa’s TIP #3: Be different and be yourself.

Don’t play it safe and go according to what it seems like is the best color just because you read it or saw it somewhere. You are the expert and know what makes you feel good and look good, so go with that.


Anifa’s TIP #1: Shake it like a tail feather

My current go-to texture has been incorporating fringe and fur accents in my pieces. It makes a big statement while allowing you to be unique and fun.

Anifa’s Tip #2:

The key to mixing and matching textures is balance.


Anifa’s Tip #1: 

I always appreciate silhouettes that are natural and womanly. Staying true and adapting to the body forms of woman overtime will never go out of style.



1. What’s your favorite style era?

I love the fashion revolution of the 1960s and 1970s - those amazing styles from that era have inspired some of my pieces. It was truly the time of style transformation, and set the tone for many of the styles we have today.

2. Who is your ultimate style muse?

Rihanna, Rihanna, Rihanna! She does what she wants, and walks her own path when it comes to style. She’s everything that I want women to be when they wear Hanifa - confident and dynamic.

courtesy of the fashion police

courtesy of the fashion police

courtesy of people mag

courtesy of people mag

courtesy of we heart it

courtesy of we heart it

Celebrity Collections You Need in Your Closet

Rihanna has the entire fashion industry shaking in their boots with the release of her first Fenty Collection, making history as the first black woman to head an LVMH brand. But she isn’t the only black A-lister who is forging diversity in the fashion industry. In fact, a groundbreaking number of celebrity collections have been released this year in partnership with women of color  -- and of course, we’re here for it!

While every celebrity collection isn't created equal, these MILQ favorites certainly are! Here's a roundup of the celebrity collections that we're coveting right now, and where you can shop them!

Zendaya x Tommy Hilfiger


With the help of her fairy God brother Law Roach, Zendaya has become a full fledged fashion icon in her own right. Just in time for Paris Fashion Week, she announced that her covetable style would now be shoppable via her Spring 2019 collab with Tommy Hilfiger. Tapping into the playfully color and expressive trends of the 1970’s, the collection is bold yet incredibly wearable for the everyday woman. During its Paris Fashion Week premiere, the collection was modeled by all-black models in a diverse range of ages, shapes and sizes -- including 70’s icons Grace Jones and Pat Cleveland.

Gab Union x NY & Co


In 2017, Gabrielle Union added fashion designer to her resume when she premiered her debut collection in partnership with New York & Company.  With an average price tag of less than $100 and a wide size range of 0-20, the collab is known to make headlines for its chic designs and easy accessibility.  Her most recent collection is inspired by “busy moms who need easy, cute and comfortable clothes “ for the entire family to match in -- including the dog. It features a wide range of chic & cozy separates, dresses, and denim.

Lala Anthony x Ashley Stewart

LaLa Anthony might be known for slaying red carpets, but she has a sporty side that  she puts on full display in her recent collection with Ashley Stewart. Realizing the lack of options available for curvy women besides “florals and ruffles,”  she designed a capsule collection featuring items that she considers her go-to’s while she’s on the run.

Serena by Serena Williams

Serena Williams is after much more than her 24th Grand Slam  -- she’s after a seat at the fashion table, too! Serena by Serena Williams doesn’t solely  aim to create pieces that are stylish. The Tennis champion also wants to empower women to feel unapologetically confident and authentic when they’re wearing her pieces. Showcasing an incredibly diverse range of models and style choices on her website, the collection is challenging both fashion and social norms simultaneously.

Ivy Park by Beyonce

Sporting an athletic collection from the woman who claims to rehearse for hours then do a lap on the stair master seems like a no brainer -- especially when that woman is Beyonce. Ivy Park was once exclusively owned by Beyonce but recently, she announced  that the brand will be re-launching soon in partnership with Adidas. On its own, Ivy Park was already pushing the envelope of style by seamlessly merging athletic wear with street fashion. Now that Adidas has joined the bandwagon, the brand plans to expand its collection to include sneakers.

*This article contains affiliate links, which means that if you make a purchase, MILQ Mag may make a small commission.*

8 Black Beauty Boss Babes You Should Know

Black women are no longer waiting  for more diversity in the beauty industry. Instead, they are creating brands of their own that are making waves  in multi-faceted ways. In every arena of beauty from hair and skin care to nails, black women are one of the fastest growing entrepreneurs nationally and are showing no signs of slowing up. Catch this list of  black beauty entrepreneurs that are MILQ Magazine approved!

Janell Stephens, Camille Rose

courtesy of color visions

courtesy of color visions

Camille Rose CEO and Founder,Janell Stephens, is a force to be reckoned with. The mother of 5 and former therapist initially created Camille Rose to treat her children’s skin ailments in 2010. After realizing her all-natural products helped her family and friends too, Stephens expanded and launched her company into a recognizable brand of hair, skin, perfumes and candles. Her products can be found in Target, Walmart, CVS and more.

Kimberly Chloe-Wilson, The Butter Bar

courtesy of my butter bar

courtesy of my butter bar

Houston native Kimberly-Chloe Wilson developed her penchant for all-natural ingredients after reading the labels of products and being horrified at what she saw. Unwilling to put her or her family's health at risk, she decided to do her own research and whipped up ingredients of her own. Fast forward and what started in her kitchen is now a full-blown all natural skincare business.

Tracey Golbourne, Fortifyd Natural

courtesy of sheen magazine

courtesy of sheen magazine

Former Financial Analyst Tracy Golbourne is on a mission to educate women about the difference between moisture vs. hydration with her emerging hair care line  Fortify’d Naturals. Her brand is gaining enormous traction for its specialized moisture technology, which treats dry and brittle hair from the roots -- earning her the title as Head Mixtress.

Melissa Butler, The Lip Bar

courtesy of essence magazine

courtesy of essence magazine

Detroit-bred Melissa Butler turned her rejection on Shark Tank into her motivation to reach new heights with her vegan lipstick company The Lip Bar. The holistic and uber in-your-face brand unapologetically advocates for women to celebrate who they are outside of traditional beauty standards. With sexy and sultry lipstick shades like jet-black Night Owl, her lipsticks are all made from healthy ingredients like shea butter and organic avocado oil.

Melinda Herron, 103 Collection

courtesy of 103 collection

courtesy of 103 collection

Melinda Herron is the Co-Founder of vegan and organic lifestyle brand 103 Collection. The brand offers affordable and effective products for beard care, grooming and hair care. Mixing and matching ingredients straight from Mother Nature’s backyard like blueberries and pomegranate, the company is quickly becoming a fan favorite.

Kim Lewis, Curl Mix

courtesy of soundcloud

courtesy of soundcloud

Kim Lewis, who founded Curl Mix with her husband, developed the brand  to assist naturalistas who were eager to create their own DIY goodies for themselves without the hassle. What started as an ingredient-based subscription box is now a full-blown hair care line receiving rave reviews.Fully engaged with their customers, the duo recently transformed the brand in response to growing request from excited customers.

Vonetta Williams, The Truth Bar

courtesy of the truth bar

courtesy of the truth bar

After years of watching WOC deal with skin ailments like hyper-pigmentation, scarring and acne, Veteran esthetician Vonnetta Williams  developed The Truth Bar. The bar harnesses the power of sulfur 8 and glycerin to provide skin with moisture while cleansing and exfoliation.

Sha’Donna O’Neal, Nancy’s Kitchen

courtesy of Nancy’s kitchen

courtesy of Nancy’s kitchen

Sha’Donna O’Neal’s up and coming hair care company Nancy’s Kitchen Products NKP targets women of color with naturally kinky and curly hair textures. Her products focus on achieving and maintaining healthy hair by using high quality ingredients best suited for the kinky and curly hair types.

Celebrity Stylist Jennifer Austin Gets Real About Working with Angela Bassett & Fashion Industry Politics

Photo courtesy of Terrell Mullin @terrellmullin

Photo courtesy of Terrell Mullin @terrellmullin

A few months ago, Jennifer Austin received the 2019 Rising Star Award from Shadow & Act and Blavity in recognition of her work as a celebrity stylist. Take one look at her resume -- from styling some of the most legendary black women in Hollywood like Niecy Nash, Tasha Smith, and Angela Bassett  to working with media powerhouses like Vogue and Style Network -- you’ll realize that it took nearly 15 years for her to become the “rising star” that she is. Midway into the second decade of her career, Austin has overcome the fashion hard knocks to create a portfolio of work that speaks for itself with or without accolades. As proud as she was to accept her recent honor, its less-than-ideal timing adds her name to a list of incredibly talented women of color, including the likes of Ruth E. Carter, June Ambrose,  and Hannah Beachler, whose work took the span of some people’s entire careers to be adequately acknowledged. Their stories speak to a much bigger issue that plagues black creatives in fashion who not only have to fight twice as hard to get their foot in the door, but must work even harder to break the industry’s glass ceiling once they’ve sat at the table. During a deep-dive conversation with Austin, she shared her thoughts with MILQ about the the lack of diversity in fashion, how she’s fought through it in her own career, and how she’s used her platform to put on for fellow black creatives along the way.

The first thing that became clear during our conversation with Jennifer Austin was that her path into the fashion industry was unconventional from the start. Ditching a job in Corporate America to pursue her true dream career in fashion, Austin enrolled at the Art Institute and soon after volunteered at L.A. Fashion Week. There, she met a celebrity stylist who would help her land her first big gig as an Assistant Stylist on the set of Twista’s music video for ‘Slow Jams.’ She worked part time in the industry until she nailed her first client Niecy Nash, which motivated her to finally take the big leap into styling full-time. Once she got in the game, it took time and quite a few tribulations for Austin to boast the client list and credits that she’s accumulated up to this point: one of them being the xenophobia that often gridlocks the potential of black stylists, and black female stylists specifically, to excel in the fashion industry.

“I’m still here by the grace of God. I mean you know, with bumps and bruises and the ups and downs of the life of styling...It’s been an amazing journey. It’s been a tough one, but it’s been amazing.”

Photo courtesy of Terrell Mullin @terrellmullin

Photo courtesy of Terrell Mullin @terrellmullin

Austin’s work puts her in the league of fellow A-list celebrity stylists of color like Luxury Law and Jason Bolden, especially when you consider her role in creating some of Angela Bassett’s most viral red carpet moments to date. As much as they deserve their roses, Law and Bolden are the benchmarks for a nearly unattainable level of styling success within the industry’s current politics, as few slots are made available for black stylists to work with A-list celebrities to begin with. As Austin explains during our conversation, the number of them who gain notoriety, proper acknowledgement, and leverage for their work are even fewer:

“…From my personal experience being a black stylist, it’s hard to break that glass [ceiling]. Once you break it, there’s only a few that have crossed over because most of the time, the “A-listers” have white stylists...And as a black woman, it feels like there’s an even smaller percentage [of us].”

As Austin would learn, more often that not an A-list client still isn’t enough to combat the many challenges that black stylists endure. During a time when award-winning legends are passed up by fashion designers for the “it-person” of the moment, it’s become clear that the benchmark of success for black creatives is calculated on a constantly moving scale both behind-the-scenes and in front of the camera. This, Austin explains,  is one of the harshest realities that she’s had to learn, especially as her work with Angela Bassett began to gain steam.

“When people found out I was dressing Angela...everybody would assume and say, ‘Oh I bet designers are throwing clothes at you left and right,’ but not necessarily. This industry is [often] based on popularity and who the designers would want in their clothing. it's sad and it's unfortunate that still to this day, we have to come up against that.”

These constantly shifting measurements of success often tip the scale of opportunity for black stylists to diversify their portfolios. Austin has always set her sights on conquering every facet of styling. But even with years of diverse experience under her belt, it’s become increasingly difficult for her to land opportunities in editorial --  even though her work often lands her clients regular spots on the “best dressed” lists of these very same publications. Many of these publications, as Austin explains, have their own network of Stylists and Fashion Editors who they exclusively work with and few of them, if any, are black. Considering that Vogue appointed its first African-American photographer to shoot a cover in the magazine's 125-year history only last year, this shouldn’t come as much of a surprise.

“There’s very few magazines that I would say have actually reached out and hit me up as [Angela’s] stylist and spoken to me. As far as the black publications, never...There have been times where they’ve brought other people in and I’ve had to come in and play the side role [during her editorial shoots]. I’d get the chance to pull items from the pieces they bring in, but I won’t get credit for it.”

Some black stylists, like Cardi B’s Kollin Carter and Zendaya Coleman’s Luxury Law, have managed to break through the clutter. Kollin Carter was credited as the Fashion Editor for Cardi B’s March 2019 cover of Harper’s Bazaar, and Luxury Law was credited as a collaborator for Zendaya’s S/S 2019 Tommy Hilfiger collection. However, this hasn’t quite become the industry standard, meaning that these limitations make coveted opportunities only available for a select few.

”...As far as we have come, we’re still battling that. And add that to being a black woman because you have so many men that are stylists. It feels like the circle is growing smaller for us as well.”

And these limitations are propelled within almost every other subsidiary in the industry; from talent management, to designers and the showrooms that house their collections. Many industry insiders, Austin explains, accept this as the status quo and aren’t hesitant to express their surprise when they discover that an A-lister is working with a stylist of color. While there is still some work to be done where black media is concerned, a bond of solidarity is cultivated among black creatives as they realize that the only way to break this cycle is to use their influence to make opportunities for people of color in these impenetrable spaces.

“When I meet other black stylists, we all have this sense of “OMG, yes” especially if they are a black actor or actress who has a black team. We love to see that among each other.”

Austin’s own career is the perfect example of this unspoken solidarity; not only has her rolodex of clients mostly been women of color, but she landed her 5-year stint as Angela Bassett’s stylist by a recommendation from her longest client, Tasha Smith.


“The majority of my clients are black so I always want us to represent that. From our skin tone to every aspect of us.”

Photo courtesy of Terrell Mullin @terrellmullin

Claiming an outright legend as a client was not only affirmational for Austin as a rare victory for a female stylist of color, but it became a full circle moment that brought her back to her first experience in the fashion industry. You can sense Austin’s giddiness as she recalls her journey from asking Angela Bassett for a selfie during L.A. Fashion Week as a fan, to becoming a part of her team years later as a Creative Director. There’s no question that Jennifer understands the magnitude of her role as the fashion visionary for a treasured gem and staple in the black community. And her work has proven to live up to this magnitude as we’ve all witnessed Angela Bassett’s vibrant transformation as a red carpet belle over the past few years.

“I am blessed to say that Angela is an amazing client, she is the model for what you want your client to be as a stylist... Working with her has been one of the most gratifying experiences for me as a stylist. She truly is a muse...The journey and the process that I’ve had with her has been a blessing.”

When Austin speaks about her relationship with Bassett, she emphasizes trust and synergy as the keys to their success as a duo. Once she got the opportunity to get to know Angela Bassett beyond the body goals and legendary acting that we’ve come to love her for, Austin made it her mission to allow the world to see Bassett for who she really is through the expression of her style.She did so, in large part, by making her self-proclaimed “nubian chic” aesthetic a key staple of Bassett’s look.

“I don't dress her as a 60 year old woman. I dress her for the energy and the woman that I know her to be within that...I always put her in vibrant colors because she is the kind of woman that can come into a room and grab everyone’s attention [without] trying to do it. So [I told her] if they’re gonna look at you, we’re gonna give them something to look at.”

Austin lived up to that promise when Angela Bassett unveiled one of her biggest style transformations to date during her Black Panther movie press tour in February 2018. We witnessed the Queen of Wakanda influence Bassett’s off-screen style as vibrant Afrocentric patterns, rich textures, stacks of regal gold jewelry, and a mane of natural-textured hair became staples of her new look. We also witnessed Angela Bassett embrace her blackness through her hair and fashion during a pivotal moment when Black Panther placed black culture front-and-center, both on and off the silver screen.

“ I really wanted [Angela] to be that representation for who we are. Because as an actor and as a fashion stylist, we are at the forefront of influence and we have to set that example of what is made to be acceptable. Because if we don't accept it and we don’t stand for it every time we have an opportunity to do it, that’s what makes the difference.”

Barely three years after Zendaya was ridiculed for wearing dreadlocks to the 2015 Academy Awards, black actresses like Viola Davis and Lupita Ny’ongo were making a statement by normalizing natural hair on red carpets. Recognizing that the Black Panther premiere was the perfect time for Angela Bassett to join the conversation and show her solidarity, Austin transformed her look to take the message of Black Panther to new heights.

“I knew at the time when the press for Black Panther was hitting that I wanted to make a change for her and [the Black Panther premiere] was the perfect opportunity for us to do so. When [the film] came out, it was a celebration of who we were as a people, in this film, in the fashion industry. I wanted to bring the tribal drama to it. I wanted to bring the black to it. I wanted it to kickstart a movement when it came to Angela and the look. “

Black Panther created a rare opportunity for the mainstream spotlight to be placed on black creatives from nearly all arenas of Hollywood, from screenwriters to set designers -- and during Black History Month, no less. Staying true to the industry’s unspoken black code, Austin made sure to spotlight Black brands in Bassett’s looks, sourcing pieces from emerging designers all over the world including Darrell Roache, Kashmirviii, Mafishi Doll Co., and Mombasa. Many celebrities and stylists tend to focus on choosing designers that’ be a good answer to the inevitable “who are you wearing” question on the red carpet -- but this isn’t a factor for Austin, or her star client Bassett, at all. Rather than looking at the biased selectivity of high fashion designers as an obstacle, Austin considers it an opportunity to really get creative with her clients while creating more points of entry for up-and-coming black designers.

“All of the [black] designers that I’ve worked with were good to me and have been fortunate enough to work with me at the beginning of my career and later in my career...It’s not always necessarily [about] the high end price points. I’m a stylist that styles with energy and by the feel of what I want [the look for] each event to look like. So I’m always open to [working with] any designer.”

Austin has always been proactive about cultivating strong relationships with black designers -- even long before the recent Gucci debacle made it cool to do so. Embracing her role as a gatekeeper, she’s remained adamant about keeping a pulse on emerging designers of color and creating more opportunities for them in the industry. Although she expresses conviction and passion for forging more diversity among red carpet designers, she acknowledges the challenges that sometimes come with working with up-and-comers.

“ I always want to support us and be here for us and bring back the whole FUBU for us by us slogan so I'm always proactive to go to Black designers to get things. [But sometimes] you can reach out to pull pieces and it can be very hard depending on the professionalism of the designer. That's a problem that we run into.”

Still, Austin emphasizes how much she enjoys working with black designers, who she considers to be essential to her signature “nubian chic” aesthetic of rich textures, patterns and ethnic handmade jewelry. She offers one key piece of advice to young black designers who are still hustling to get that big break;

“I always tell black designers to be ready for the call because you never know when it’s gonna happen.”

As our conversation with Austin came to an end, it became clear that there might have been something to that Rising Star Award she received. When asked where she saw her career going from here, many of her future plans involved charting new territory in the fashion industry -- from starting her own accessories and handbag line to adding to her roster of incredible clients and mentoring the future generation of stylists coming into the industry.

“It’s always a journey to figure out what the next step is for my brand and my career. I’m always looking for unique opportunities to work outside of my comfort zone because I always feel that makes me a better stylist.”

Austin’s drive to constantly push the limits of her career and her nonstop quest to learn more about every facet of the fashion industry makes her a rising star in an entirely new sense of the term. She’s only begun to hit her stride -- and as she continues to break all of the rules and define herself in the big leagues of the styling game, she’s determined to bring all rising stars of color with her along the way.

Your Fave Childhood Trend is Back: Hair Clips & Statement Barrettes


Do you remember back in the day when your mom would make you sit down for hours to deck your hair out with colorful clips and blinged out barrettes? Well it turns out that she might have been on to something! Who knew that in 2019 hair clips, aka barrettes, would make a massive comeback in high fashion? Embraced by luxury designers and indie brands alike, statement clips aren’t just a trend; they’re a form of expression, spelling out everything from the name of your favorite brand to trendy adjectives or phrases. The trend has even been embraced by fashion heavy hitters like Rihanna and Solange, making it a must-have accessory for all unfiltered fashionistas.

It's time to make a statement with your hair accessories. Here are our favorite style mavens who've been spotted in the statement barrette trend, and the black owned brands where you can shop it now.


Humans Before Handles

Lace by Cataleya

The Style Animal

More Places to Shop the Trend

*This article contains affiliate links, which means that if you make a purchase, MILQ Mag may make a small commission.*

The Blackest Moments from the Met Gala 2019 Red Carpet

Let’s be real; The first Monday in May might be the biggest day of the year for fashion, but it’s never been the most diverse. This year that all changed with the amount of sheer blackness that was present on the Met Gala red carpet, topping anything we’ve seen in the event’s 71-year history. 

This year’s theme, “Camp: Notes on Fashion”, refers to the freedom that stems from fashion that is highly exaggerated, theatrical and ostentatious. Needless to say that when it comes to unapologetic forms of expression as a means for liberation, black people can clearly relate. Making room for more black designers than the Met Gala has ever seen and sending subtle nods to some of the most influential black artists of our generation, the biggest black celebs in fashion and entertainment showed up and showed OUT to interpret Camp Culture from the black perspective. With all this blackness present, we’re hopeful that it signals a new era for diversity at the Met Gala for years to come. Here’s our roundup of the best & blackest moments from the 2019 Met Gala red carpet:

Big Freedia & Ciara Twerk to Bounce Music on the Met Museum Steps

If you thought that twerking couldn’t make history, you better ask Big Freedia and Ciara. The Queen of bounce music and the Princess of Crunk kicked off the evening’s festivities with a gold ‘ole NOLA-style twerk session to Big Freedia’s single ‘Play.’  This was a huge moment for the culture in more ways than one, especially considering that camp culture is hugely inspired by Queer P.O.C. who are often excluded from the mainstream narrative. Add in Ciara’s epic afro puffs and you’ve got the blackest Met Gala entrance of all time.

Everything’s Gucci: Dapper Dan Dresses Regina Hall, Ashley Graham & Bevy Smith

IT’S ABOUT TIME! Pioneer of streetwear fashion Dapper Dan finally made his debut on the Met Gala red carpet, swagging out five celebrities in his pieces including Regina Hall, Ashley Graham, Bevy Smith, 21 Savage and Omari Hardwick.

Bevy Smith went ALL black for the occasion, wearing a cape by Dapper Dan, a gown by Kimberly Goldson, shoes by Tiannia Barnes, and a crown by Anthony Maxwell.

Lena Waithe Rolls Up in a ‘Zoot Suit’ by Pyer Moss

Pyer Moss designer Kerby Jean Raymond is never one to be subtle in sending a pro-black message through his designs. This year’s Met Gala was no different, as he showed up with his date Lena Waithe in matching zoot suits. Not only were their zoot suits a nod to a treasured camp staple in African American communities, but their pinstripes were made up of lyrics from their favorite black musical artists including Tupac, Nipsey Hussle, Thelma Houston and Diana Ross. Black jewelry designer Johnny Nelson designed the custom gold sculpture portrait buttons and black power fist cuff links for both suits.

To top it all off, the back of Lena Waithe’s blazer read ‘Black Drag Queens Inventend Camp’ while Kerby Jean-Raymond’s read ‘Fix Your Credit, Pool Money, Buy Back the Block.’ Message, received.

Pyer Moss also dressed Lala Anthony in a money-themed dress that had her in her bag, plus Colin Kaepernick whose look was inspired by Ghanaian, Egyptian and Nigerian traditional garb.

Tracee Ellis Ross Brings it Back to Harlem with her Lorraine O’ Grady Inspired Look

Tracee took the quote "One should either be a work of art, or wear a work of art” literally in the inspiration for this year’s Met Gala. Her look was inspired by black artist Lorraine O’ Grady’s performance piece, ‘Art is,’ where she positioned blackness as art by holding up gold frames to onlookers who attended the 1983 African American Day parade in Harlem.

Lupita Nyongo Lets Her Flow Glow with Gold Afro Picks

There were so many natural hair moments on the Met Gala red carpet, but Lupita’s might have been the most special. Her elaborate fro, decked out with gold ‘black power’ picks, was inspired by a self-portrait created by Lauren Kelley entitled “Pickin.’” The hairstyle, which was executed by Vernon François and hairstylist Sharif Poston, was designed as the ultimate celebration of black beauty.

Aurora James Wants You to Rethink How You View Camp

While everybody else tried to dazzle on the red carpet with gowns made of man made materials, Brother Vellies designer Aurora James came through with an entirely nuanced perspective. In Susan Sontag’s 1964 essay, “Camp: Notes on Fashion,’ she states that nothing in nature can be campy. Aurora James challenged this notion by donning a Swahili-inspired look made entirely of all-natural materials, asserting that Sontag’s notion eliminated black culture -- and specifically groups with limited access to man made synthetic materials--from this important narrative.

Tiffany Haddish & Kelela Walker Play Homage to Black Music & Film

You can’t have a ‘Camp’ themed Met Gala without a Pimp Named Slickback making an appearance. Tiffany Haddish came through and made it happen by donning a self-proclaimed ‘Pimperalla’ sequined  suit and matching hat to the Met Gala red carpet. She fully committed to her character by carrying fried chicken in her bag, trolling us all by playing into this popular (and triggering) black stereotype.

(Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue)

(Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue)

Meanwhile, actress KiKi Layne channeled the Notorious B.I.G. by sporting Gucci leggings that read “Gucci Down to the Socks” under her Gucci gown. And if you’re wondering, yes, she was wearing Gucci socks.

If there’s anything we can learn from this year’s Met Gala red carpet, it’s how integral black people have been to Camp culture. It’s about time we get that credit, and thanks to all of the black creatives who showed out this year, we did.

4 ‘Homecoming' Moments When Beyonce Made Her BLACK GIRL MAGIC Known

In true royal fashion, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter made the world stop on April 17th when she released her Netflix documentary, “Homecoming.” The two-hour long concert film gave us a rare behind-the-scenes look into Beyonce’s history-making Coachella 2018 performance as the first black woman to ever headline the festival which is a #blackgirlmagic worthy moment in itself.

Queen Bey managed to outdo herself yet again with this critically-acclaimed performance as she took us along for a triumphant look back at the highlights of her 22-year career, pieced together with high energy percussions, and unapologetic expressions of black pride. We also got a  look behind the curtains to see not only how relatable she is, but how deeply connected she is to her black identity, and she wants all of us to be, too.

Bey’s performance  put our culture front and center stage while igniting conversations evoking how important it is for us  to celebrate the magic in who we are. Here are our four favorite ways that ‘Homecoming’ made us all rejoice in our Black Girl Magic.


As the documentary jumps from clips of Queen Bey slaying the stage to the nitty gritty of her behind-the scenes rehearsals, we learn more about the true motivations and intentions behind her performance. One of the first things she makes clear is that the number of performers on stage wasn’t solely intended to create grandeur; rather, her goal was to showcase how dynamic, multifaceted, and beautiful black culture actually is.

The amount of swag is just limitless. The things that these young people can do with their bodies and the music they can play, the drum rolls and the haircuts and the’s just not right, it’s just so much damn swag. It’s just gorgeous and it makes me proud.


When I decided to do Coachella, instead of me pulling out my flower crown, it was more important that I brought our culture.

During ‘Homecoming,’ Beyonce reveals that she always wanted to attend an  HBCU, and how big of an impact Battle of the Bands made on her childhood. She recreated this safe haven, comradery, and fraternal spirit of HBCUs by creating her own sorority, Beta Delta Kappa, on the Coachella stage.

I wanted all of these different characters and I wanted it to feel the way I felt when I went to Battle of the Bands because I grew up seeing those shows and them being the highlight of my year.

And she was sure to include so many other forms of black excellence into her performance -- from classic black line dancing songs like ‘Before I Let Go,’ to popular black dances like her sturdy milly rock, and quotes from some of the most prominent black thinkers, leaders and activists in history including Nina Simone, Toni Morrison, Audre Lorde  and Maya Angelou.


Beyonce gets candid about her unexpected pregnancy with her twins Rumi and Sir, her c-section, and her struggles to once again feel comfortable in her own body after giving birth. She also gets real about struggling with work life balance and fighting to give her all to every part of her life, leaving her with little left for herself.

There were days that I thought I’d never be the same, I’d never be the same physically, my strength and endurance would never be the same.

All the while, we witness Beyonce endure over 8 months of rehearsals to produce a performance that doesn’t just speak to black excellence, but to the strength of the undervalued and underrepresented black woman in America.

As a black woman, I used to feel like the world wanted me to stay in my little box...I wanted us to be proud of not only the show, but the process. Proud of the struggle. Thankful for the beauty that comes with a painful history and rejoice in the pain, rejoice in the imperfection and the wrongs that are so damn right.


Using marching bands and sorority & fraternity life as the heartbeat of her performance, it’s evidently clear that unity is the takeaway message that Beyonce wants to tell us. Not only do these groups showcase unity in the synergy of their movements and musical instrumentation, but they show it in the hard work and dedication behind-the-scenes that makes the magic of their performance possible.

I know the importance of us feeling like we’re apart of something, and like we’re being spoken to; like it’s it worth it. We all performed with all of our hearts and we performed with love and connection; and we did it together.

Queen Bey has returned to her throne and is proving why she’s so deserving of it by spreading positive affirmations of blackness through what might be one of her biggest performances to date. It’s clear that her ‘Homecoming’ performance was a direct address to black women and the black community as a whole, and we heard her message loud and clear.

These Black Marketplaces Make #LivingBlack Easy

We can all relate to the hilarious ‘Living’ Black’ episode of Killer Mike’s Netflix series Trigger Warning.

where he pledges to only use and consume products that come from the black community for 72 hours straight. That pledge quickly goes wrong as Killer Mike is left carless, foodless, and sleeping on a random park bench because he can’t find enough black owned companies to fulfill his day-to-day needs. Although his show is purely satirical, it speaks to the very real issue of how tough it can be to find black businesses to shop from, especially beyond the fashion and beauty industries. While black entrepreneurship has consistently been on the rise over the past few years, accessibility has remained a huge struggle for woke consumers who are looking to keep their money circulating black community.  At last, some black entrepreneurs are emerging on the scene to create a solution by launching pop-ups and online marketplaces that make black-owned indie brands easier to support than ever.

In honor of National Small Business Week, here are some of our favorite plugs for discovering and purchasing black owned products:

Her Market

Founded by black girl boss duo Kia Perry and Jazlin Pitts, HERMARKET™ is a platform created for female-owned indie brands. They connect shoppers, influencers, and local retail shop owners through curated experiences like market-style pop-ups, retail experiences and collaborations. Not only do they stay on the pulse of amazing up and coming women-owned brands, but they help them foster strong communities with consumers by hosting monthly panels and social events.

Their most recent pop-up marketplace, which took place in Mid-April, featured a diverse range of black-owned brands across multiple industries including personal wellness brand Project Free Woman and Rosanna’s Dairy-Free Ice Cream. Just a few weeks earlier, they hosted ‘The Working Woman’ panel where guest panelists shared their trade secrets on how  they achieved success in their respective industries.

Black Owned Brooklyn

The only thing more rewarding than supporting black owned businesses is supporting them in your very own hometown. That’s the philosophy behind Black Owned Brooklyn; a platform created by married couple Cynthia Gordy Giwa and Tayo Giwa to spotlight Black Brooklyn’s people, places and products. Since their inception in 2018 they’ve already amassed a loyal following over 27.3K strong on Instagram, where they not only put on on for local black owned businesses, but document the diverse stories and contributions of the people who own them. From local nail shops and juice bars to cafes and pet stores, they’re working to bring massive traffic to some of the most treasured little gems in BK.  

BLK MKT Vintage

Proudly standing as one of the only places where you can buy a vinyl copy of ‘The Boy is Mine’ and the book Images of Black by Jewel C. Larimore, BLK MKT Vintage is redefining vintage consignment shops by collecting items that showcase multifaceted expressions of black cultural identity, all under one roof. Equal parts consignment shop and historical hub, they collect black “collectibles and curiosities” including books, vinyls, artwork and even furniture. Online they host a digital dialogue called ‘Collecting while BLK’ where they explore black peoples’ vintage curiosities while keeping an archive of fun facts about the items they collect for their market.  They also host in-person pop ups and panels, such as their recent #BlackGirlsDoVintageToo event, where they convene fellow black vintage enthusiasts to discuss the importance of our cultural ephemera.


If you like your healthcare as natural as your hair, this one’s for you. Created by professor of public health and natural life enthusiast Dr. Kristian Henderson, BLK + GRN is an online marketplace that curates toxic-free, plant-based beauty products exclusively created by black artisans. The online marketplace carefully curates and sells the very best in black organic health from cult favorites like Black Girl Sunscreen, to newer must-haves like PH7’s Natural Kombucha Tea toner. They also educate black women on how to live greener lives  while creating healthier beauty regimens during their live panels and The BLK + GRN podcast.

We Buy Black

We Buy Black is more than an online marketplace; it’s a movement. Recognized as one of the first well-known online marketplaces of its kind, it’s mission is to help you find black owned businesses that create products for your most essential needs from personal hygiene to home goods. Beyond the items they sell in their online store, they also put the spotlight on black entrepreneurs who are breaking barriers with their highly successful businesses. We Buy Black also has a black owned supermarket chain in the works that will source naturally grown vegetables and fruits from Black farmers in Georgia.

Find Your Inner Cowgirl with the Yeehaw Agenda Trend


Black people have always had the horses in the back; Lil Nas X just made sure that the rest of the world knew that. While history books may tell us differently, black people are deeply rooted and essential to the history of cowboy culture. As the infamous @theyeehawagenda Instagram page will show you, our black superstars have used fashion as a way to reclaim our space in cowboy history since as early as the 1990s.

Lately the yeehaw agenda has experienced a huge resurgence in black culture. Regarded by art critic and writer Antwaun Sargent as “chic and thriving,” the trend has exploded online in large part to black designers like Pyer Moss and Telfar,  Solange’s latest project When I Get Home, and even Lil Nas X’s controversial country hit single Old Town Road. From fashion editorials to the Indio dessert and even major red carpets, black fashionistas are making a cultural statement and channeling their Southern roots by incorporating cowboy aesthetic into their style.

Take some notes from these style mavens on how to put your own flare to the trending yeehaw agenda movement.


Solange Knowles

Kelly Rowland


Megan the Stallion

La La Milan


Make Up Shayla

Aaliyah Jay

Kahlani Barfield

Cardi B & Hennessy

Let It Reign: Metallics & Bold Colors

New York is a world in itself. During fashion week, it becomes the epicenter of all things fashion, style and innovation. This fashion week was all about color, metallics, amazing artistry and DIVERSITY!

My first day of shows began with the Fashion Hong Kong show. The collection that stood out to me most was the 112 Mountainyam because of its use of textures, colors and prints. We know that neon and fringe will be a major trend for 2019, so seeing these two trends being incorporated in this collection had me sitting on the edge of my seat taking notes.

Facebook: @112mountainyam  Instagram: @112mountainyam  Website:

Facebook: @112mountainyam

Instagram: @112mountainyam


We saw inclusiveness with the 11honore presentation with Laverne Cox closing the show in a bold red tulle dress

Picture courtesy of Harper’s Bazaar

Picture courtesy of Harper’s Bazaar

The Chromat show should have been renamed “Curvy Chromat” because it was a study in body positivity, diversity and celebration of all things color and WOMAN. I felt proud to be a woman of color as I sat through this beautiful collection.

Pictures courtesy of

Pictures courtesy of

Picture Courtesy of Teen Vogue

Picture Courtesy of Teen Vogue

Again, we see the neon trend all over the Chromat show. Another Trend that literally went viral was the slogan gowns and slogan clothing all over the runway. Viktor and Rolf had the internet laughing and sharing the ingenious designs he debuted during Paris Couture Week.

Pictures courtesy of Getty Images

Pictures courtesy of Getty Images

I attended the Global Fashion Collective I show and saw this global trend first-hand with the collection by Canadian brand M.E. The collection by Michelle Elizabeth was hyper feminine with a distinct color palette of black and white. She opted to put slogans that made a statement and were thought-provoking

Photos courtesy of Giovanni Giannoni

Photos courtesy of Giovanni Giannoni


Metallics is another popular trend that revives every season. We saw it heavily in the Balmain 2019 show.

Pictures courtesy of Vogue Magazine

Pictures courtesy of Vogue Magazine

Street Trends was a study in bold colors, outlandish accessories and innovative layering due to the frigid NYC weather.

Photo courtesy of Imaxtre

Photo courtesy of Imaxtre

Photo courtesy of Nylon Mag

Photo courtesy of Nylon Mag



Every show was a wonderment in fashion, style and happily more diversity than I’ve seen in most NYFW shows. So, make sure to keep an eye out for vibrant colors, fringe, metallics and a little slogan here and there as you shop for your 2019 wardrobe staples.

Funmi Ford

Instagram: @funmiford


Millennial Duo Creates New Online Beauty Market for WOC


When you visit Coil Beauty’s website and see four fists of color, you know you’re home. In an industry traditionally known for its lack of inclusiveness, Founder and CEO Aisha Shannon-Bates and COO and partner Kethlyn White decided to create an online community and marketplace that caters to the unique needs of women of color. The new e-commerce site carries emerging beauty products for women of color - and it gets better, because the brands they carry are owned by people of color too! The site launched in 2018 after Shannon-Bates became frustrated with her shopping experiences at major retail stores. There was often no one to answer questions, make product suggestions, or give any advice on common beauty woes. Seeing this void, Shannon-Bates worked with White to not only improve the online shopping experience for WOC, but offer a well-curated selection of products to address their concerns. Their growing product selection includes some well-known brands, such as The Lip Bar, Camille Rose and Lime Green. From nail polish to tinted moisturizer, they have products women of color are eager to try.

In a MILQ Magazine exclusive, Coil Beauty Founder candidly discusses the upheavals of creating a brand from scratch, and offers some much needed insight on the value of more African-American women represented in the digital beauty arena.

MILQ: Why do you believe it's important to have a digital space for WOC and their beauty needs?

Aisha Shannon-Bates: We believe it is essential for the beauty industry to have representation and a space for all types of beauty in order to continue to evolve. Our site and social media pages showcase women of color in all shapes, sizes, color and everything in between. Coil Beauty gives us the opportunity to engage with our customers through a variety of platforms: they can email us, they can chat with us on any of our social channels, some of our #CoilBeauties and #CoilKids have made videos we’ve featured on our Youtube channel and our ever present “Hey” button lets customers interact with us quickly.

MILQ: What were some initial challenges that both overcame when starting a business?

Aisha: The biggest challenge I've had to overcome when starting Coil Beauty was not really knowing where to start when starting a business. The first task I completed was getting a logo which I thought was my brand but it was not a brand it was just a logo. Once I sat down with someone who develops brands for a living and went through brand discovery, logo development and creating our voice that was the moment Coil Beauty was born. And, the brand development paid off because now when people have questions about my brand or even when my team and I are trying to work through something whether it’s creating a social media graphic or a discount code we revisit our brand book to guide us and without it I do not think we would be where we are today.

MILQ: What makes COIL Beauty unique?

Aisha: Coil Beauty is unique because it’s a site that was created with the idea of showcasing people of color and making it easier to shop for people of color. Coil Beauty was created to make our customers feel like they are important and not an afterthought; we accomplish this with the products we carry and also they way we choose to showcase so many types of black beauty. Coil Beauty also interacts directly with our customers via email, via social media and our “Hey” button which resides in the top right corner of every page on our website. Questions our consumers ask are typically answered by professionals in the field of beauty. We also attend hair shows and expos always looking to interact with our customers, look for new products and to be educated at these events.

MILQ: What is the vision for the company in the long run?

Aisha: The vision for Coil Beauty in the long run is that Coil Beauty will be the go to place to shop for products for people of color. We want people to say I’m having this issue and I need something to fix it and then to say ‘let me go checkout coil and see what they have for me’. We want brick and mortar stores and we want our customers to know that Coil Beauty is theirs and we welcome their feedback and their smiling faces.

visit and be sure to follow their Instagram @coilbeauty


Celebrity Hair Hacks- Broke Girl Edition

Celebrities have a way of setting the trends we fawn over and styles that we have sacrificed our financial futures for.  

Let me just ask: how many of you have skipped a monthly student loan payment and got $300 curly hair bundles instead? Or have overdrawn their checking account to shop all the new 5 to 10 SheaMoisture products at Duane Reade?

Celebrities may have it all but everything they wear is open to be copied by girls like us who admire them. The following hairstyles were originally worn by celebrity black girl magic but we’ve hijacked it for ourselves. So as you scroll through the list, take note… and take as many screenshots as you can to save for later.

Cost to Copy: $120-$230


Faux Locs like these take 2 to 5 hours to complete, depending on the length. They are however amazing alternatives to crochet braids, individual braids or Senegalese twists, especially if you want the loc’d look without the commitment or maintenance. Scalp care is just as important though, so don’t wear these past 3-4 weeks.

Cost to Copy: $50-$70


This is the most affordable yet low maintenance hairstyle that ultra busy gals like me could consider looking into: the ultra short hair with a fade.  Picture having not to twist your hair every night, sift through tangles or worry about styling every morning! This style may as well be called “Time Saver” because of all the time you will save looking cute and sophisticated without even being bothered to even think about it.

Cost to Copy: $140-$275


Installing a dual-toned short bob wig or weave such as the one Tyra is rocking has got to be a splurge so make sure you shop around for more affordable options. This hairstyle’s length provides a mature, professional appearance that any power woman could make a bold statement with, no matter what room she’s in.

Cost to Copy: Free!

This is a fabulous Updo that is easy to copy, gorgeous and stress-free. It looks amazing on any hair type and is highly customizable. On top of that it’s a nice protective style that is as easy to take down as it is to go up! This is a lazy girl’s prayer completely answered.

Cost to Copy: $50 to $100


This Updo requires additional hair to achieve the robust bun at the top and a pro may be needed for optimal results. However, it can’t be all that difficult for you or a friend to install it if you have the right amount of bobby pins keeping it all together. This style can be an everyday go-to or a last minute up-do to a fancy dinner or event. Pull it all together with bold jewelry and watch the world collectively turn their heads when you enter a room.

Cost to Copy: $85-$125 (haircut + color)


Now, very few women can pull of any Rihanna look, much less a hairstyle, but if you’re brave and looking for a drastic change don’t be limited to a mohawk with red hair (just sayin’). The sky's the limit as far as how bold or muted you’d like it.

Cost to Copy: Free - $50


The space buns Janelle Monae is wearing are messy enough to do them yourself and get away with! Make sure you leave some stray side hairs to frame around your face for an ethereal look and 25 to 30 light-colored pins to decorate each bun with.

These hairstyles were not only once worn by celebrities but they are also easy enough to recreate and make your own. Whether or not you use a stylist is up to you; most of these looks can be done with the right tools, additional hair and arm strength. *wink*  Enlisting the help of some friends could actually be helpful, plus you could use the time spent to catch up with gossip or watch the latest episode of Grown-ish.  Once you’re done, act like a celebrity and post those selfies girl!

Happy hair- hacking!


Elsa A.

Black Face Is Not A Trend: High Fashion's Struggle With Cultural Awareness

It isn’t breaking news that there is a blatant lack of diversity in the fashion industry. But this fact becomes even more painfully apparent every time a designer releases yet another problematic design featuring inappropriate, culturally insensitive imagery. Gucci is among one of the most recent brands to face a firestorm of criticism after they released an $890 ‘balaclava’ black-knit women’s sweater featuring a pull up turtleneck with a design that closely resembles black face. The offensive design was only heightened by its horribly timed release during Black History Month, alongside the simultaneous leak of photos showing Virginia Governor Ralph Northam in black face in his medical school yearbook.

Photo cred: Gucci

Photo cred: Gucci

In response to the controversy, Gucci removed the sweater from shelves. President and CEO Marco Bizzarri explained the misstep to be the result of “ignorance.” In reality, this ignorance is part of a much deeper-rooted problem in the fashion industry, which is its blatant lack of inclusion and a stubborn unwillingness to create seats at the table for a more diverse range of designers and creatives. When everyone in the boardroom and design studio looks the same, there’s a limited scope of cultural awareness that allows seemingly harmless ignorance to spiral into acts of hate that are allowed to pass as a fashion statement.

Gucci isn’t the only fashion house to recently be under fire for using black face in their designs. Just a few days after the Gucci controversy took wind, Katy Perry Collections made the decision to discontinue a pair of shoes that were released last Summer featuring large red lips, a wide triangular nose and blue eyes which came in nine different colorways, including black. In 2016, Moncler has to pull their “Malfi” jacket and shirt from shelves, which featured a similar black-face design.


Last December, Prada also faced extreme backlash for their ‘Pradamalia’ line, which featured characters depicting monkey-like figures with black faces and large red lips resembling black face. They immediately halted circulation of the line, which included branded keychains, cell phone cases, clothing, jewelry, and various leather goods. Just days after the Gucci controversy made headlines, Prada announced the launch of their new diversity council aiming to "elevate voices of color within the company and fashion industry at large” with Ava Duvernay and Theaster Gates appointed as chairs.

Prada’s appointment of a diversity council is the most extreme response thus far to the black face controversy, with most other brands simply opting to discontinue the products and issue an apology. Although it's a step in the right direction, it wreaks of a publicity stunt rather than a genuine desire to better understand how to properly navigate culture sensitivity. Ava Duvernay has no connection to fashion, however she is a highly revered film director with enough respect in the black community to immediately capture our attention and make headlines. There are plenty of black designers and creatives within the fashion industry who may not have Duvernay’s platform, but possess the talent to contribute great ideas beyond just ensuring that the brand makes socially responsible decisions (*calls up Brandice Daniels*). The internal structure of these companies is what needs to change, rather than them simply implementing a separate entity that sounds like its only purpose is to create the illusion of politically correctness.

This impenetrable glass ceiling for creatives of color in fashion has long existed, as a vast majority of heritage fashion houses are of European heritage. Generations later, few of them have branched out to diversify their internal teams. In fact, it was only a year ago that Virgil Abloh made history by becoming Louis Vuitton’s first African-American creative director and one of the only black designers to ever be appointed to lead a heritage fashion house. Just last year, Gucci regained the good graces of the black community by releasing a capsule collection in collaboration with style icon Dapper Dan. But these slow steps towards progress aren’t enough to combat the cultural gap that needs to be bridged in the fashion community. With black people being among the biggest consumers and possessing the largest buying power in the U.S., it’s simply unacceptable that we are still fighting to break this long-existing glass ceiling in the fashion industry that leads to such poor, culturally insensitive decision making. Intentional or not, it’s a form of profitable exploitation that validates ignorance and intolerance in pop culture.

Spring/Summer 2019 Trends To Wear This V-Day

With the season of love coming quickly upon us, there’s no better time to pull out those flirty & fun staples from the back of your wardrobe. Whether you’re planning to have date night with your beau, single girls night out with your mains, or an evening of wining and dining yourself, the Spring 2019 Haute Couture runway shows in Paris showcased plenty of romantic and flirty looks for you to get some serious inspiration. This year swap out your little red dress for one of these high fashion runway moments that are just as flirty as they are trendsetting!

Ruffled in Love

Long gone are the days of associating ruffles to your favorite childhood frock. As flattering as they are feminine, there is an almost regal quality to ruffles that explains why they always find their way back into style. They’re also incredibly flattering, drawing attention to focal points that you want to accentuate while concealing parts that you don’t. To achieve a dramatic evening look for a romantic night out, opt for a ruffled dress paired with subdued jewelry.


Left to right: Valentino, Ralph & Russo, Alexandre Vauthier, Balmain, Ralph & Russo

Left to right: Valentino, Ralph & Russo, Alexandre Vauthier, Balmain, Ralph & Russo


Flirty In Floral

Valentine’s Day may not be during the Spring season, but the overwhelming feeling of love in the air makes it okay to pull out your florals a little early. Many of us opt for red as the go-to color of choice for the season, which is among the list of colors that are a match made in heaven for a good floral pattern. Try a sheer floral blouse, a cute floral accessory, or mix trends with a ruffled floral number; all of these are perfect options for a first date where you may want to keep things light and casual..


Left to right: Valentino

Left to right: Valentino


Tons of Tulle

There’s not a single girl in the world who didn’t yearn to walk the streets of NYC in a tulle skirt after watching the intro of Sex and the City for the first time. This Valentine’s Day is your opportunity to relive that iconic Carrie Bradshaw moment by wearing a dramatic tulle skirt of your own. It’s playful, comfy, and easy to dress down for an edgy look; the perfect option for a girlfriend’s night out on the town.


Left to right: Giambattista Valli, Giambattista Valli, Jean Paul Gaultier

Left to right: Giambattista Valli, Giambattista Valli, Jean Paul Gaultier


Left to right:  @iamminglee ,  @s4de_u ,  @jackieaina

Pretty in Pink

Red, move aside — pink is the color of choice for Valentine’s Day this season. Not only does it pop on melanin skin like no other, but it’s quintessentially feminine, making it the perfect color to wear if you’re trying to show your sweet side to your beau. Keep it mellow with a paler shade of pink, or add some finesse with a bold fuchsia.


Left to right: Giambattista Valli, Valentino, Valentino, Balmain, Antonio Grimaldi

Left to right: Giambattista Valli, Valentino, Valentino, Balmain, Antonio Grimaldi


Fierce in Feathers

Airy and ethereal, feathers add an effortless grace to your look by complimenting the natural flow of your movements. They’re also a throwback flirty favorite, seen prominently worn on some of our favorite fashionistas of the 90’s (anyone else a fan of Clueless?). For Valentine’s Day, seek out a look featuring feathers if you’re planning an action-packed night of dancing, sightseeing, or anything that will allow those feathers to add an extra pep to your step.


Left to right: Balmain, Valentino, Valentino, Giambattista Valli, Ralph & Russo

Left to right: Balmain, Valentino, Valentino, Giambattista Valli, Ralph & Russo


9 Beauty Products That Will Make You Happier Than A Relationship

Your Unofficial Official Valentine's Day Guide to Beauty

Being in a relationship for 4+ years has taught me that relationships are A. hard; and B. take a lot of patience.

If you’re not in one, you shouldn’t be in a rush, really. We could spend Valentine’s day in the arms of our lovers, staring straight into their eyes while munching heart-shaped chocolates OR surrounded by our girls drinking wine, twerking and in no rush to fill society’s demand for women to “find someone”.

It doesn’t matter which boat (or Uber) you’re in, here are 9 beauty products that requires less from you than a relationship. (All products can be found on


Bask and Co: brown sugar cubes
Start rubbing, it’s probably what you’ll end up doing by the end of the night anyway *wink*. These brown sugar cubes are fortified with a ton of yummy ingredients that break down the rough layers on your skin for the perfect base.


Or if Face scrubs aren’t your thing try a: Kale face mask

Kale face wash doesn’t just carry minerals that you can also find ingesting a bowl of kale, it’s soft enough for all skin types, including sensitive ones. It’s an all powerful, organic super food that provides super skin when use topically. Prepare for all the ‘wow’ facial expressions you’ll have all evening. You’re welcome.


Finalize with Kaike Frosting
This cupcake smelling frost is the closest thing to having your cake and eating it too. What makes it even more special is that it’s all natural, vegan and preservative free. With all that moisturization going on, your face is set to bake!



Zanzi Beauty foundation
If you loved Fenty Beauty, you’ll love Zanzi’s foundations. Created for black and mixed-raced skin tones, this foundation accurately understands the concept of warm and cool undertones on dark skin, unlike many of their mainstream counterparts (Morphe, I’m not talking about you).

Marena Beaute Tarou blush
Blush and bat your eyelashes with the perfect companion: the entire Marena Beaute Tarou Blush Line. These shades were formulated with sophistication for darker complexions. You won’t find bright pinks and red based blushes here, but these rusted oranges and reds make all the difference.


Lipped and highly favored
Kiss your beloved with these shades on your lips Evil Twin, First Class and Private Jet.  On the other hand, show your wild side with shades 1978, ZiSe and Unbothered. No matter which look you for, you can be guaranteed that these shades are 100% cruelty and paraben free.


For a Mattier look, Oowie is the perfect hook
Oowie is the name of the brand I’m suggesting next, and accurately what your date will yell when they lay their eyes on you. These mattes are luxurious and transfer resistant. You can have several glasses of wine without the constant touch ups. I can’t say if it will hold up against constant kissing (get a room, love birds!) but I’m sure one of you will let me know.



Natural Roots Detox wash

With detox being popular in beverages and food, I’m so happy that a detox is now made for hair. Prep the weekend before Valentine’s Day with this detoxifying cleanser that is gentle on hair strands but harsh on oils, butters or gels that make hair brittle and unmanageable. All safe ingredients.


Long lasting coil control
Do you have any idea what makes Valentine’s Day special? Your hair, of course. This Curl Control Jelly from Crowns and Contours sweetens up the whole night with Honey and Agave to do everything from maintaining your edges to holding up those juicy curls till the evening. This is the kind of gel that does not flake so there is no need to worry about that!


When it comes to beauty, we certainly don’t want to deal with the unpredictability or struggle that comes with relationships. We know that looking and feeling gorgeous makes everyone feel unstoppable. So remember that this Valentine’s Day you will give yourself a gift first and then to others. Don’t forget to take those selfies!

Elsa A.

#OOTD: Snakeskin and Sequins


Snakeskin is still ruling the concrete jungle as this season’s statement-making favorite and sequins are still a sure way to shine day or night. They’re both considered statement pieces in their own right, but you can definitely break the rules and rock these trends together. Let me show you how to pull off a trend-setting look that will break the Internet. Get ready to experiment and let your own personal style shine through!

download (2).jpg

First, I took this black sequin over-sized Donna Karan top I purchased from a second-hand store years ago. I love this top because it’s SO versatile. You can wear it off the shoulder, tie it up in the front for a cropped look, or wear it as a t-shirt dress. I chose to wear it as a t-shirt dress with a short bodysuit underneath. This was the perfect combination because I could wear the top off the shoulder and also have the appearance of shorts below for extra coverage.

download (5).jpg

Next, I added these snakeskin over-the-knee boots from Ego. The boots SET IT OFF! Here’s why it worked so well. The neutral snakeskin boots complement the black sequin top. Some may assume that it would be “too much” to rock these textures at the same time. But when it’s in a black and white colorway, the print can be mixed and matched with anything. If done in a bold color, the snakeskin print would definitely be the main statement piece. Remember: complement, don’t compete. You can also rock these boots with a similar snakeskin print dress or blazer in a tone that will compliment each other well.

download (6).jpg

I added this trendy leather newsboy cap from Nasty Gal and the infamous “Migos” glasses that I picked up from the local beauty supply. Holy Chic! I was ready for whatever wearing this look—walk the streets in style, hit the runway, photo shoot for an album cover, and even attend a trendy late night function. You will seize the day or night in this fit!

This look was so dope because it was all about experimentation. Sometimes you think things may be “too much” and it ends up being just right. My best advice is to never shy away from risk-taking. You can rock the trends in a way that don’t fit in. Remember, be unique. But, most of all, BE YOU!

Keep up with Ashley on My Living Spree by visiting her blog at or follow her on Instagram @ashleycockrell

Outfit details:

Top: Thrifted




Glasses: Local beauty supply

Photographer: @jp.hanney

Stylist: @thefashionchase

2019 Style Tips with Celebrity Stylist Scot Louie

courtesy of Scot’s Instagram @scotlouie

courtesy of Scot’s Instagram @scotlouie


Behind every fashion forward celebrity is a stylist with a keen eye and a pension for aesthetic. In the case of young mavens including Ryan Destiny, Kehlani, and Elisa Johnson to name a few, that master of style is none other than Scot Louie; one of the industry’s youngest rising stars. Louie got his start in the industry at only 15 years old as a styling assistant on the sets of reality television shows. Now more than 10 years later, he’s created his own lane in the industry, known for taking young talent and helping them harness their own signature flare.

Sharing his glitzy work on his personal Instagram account, he boldly proclaims the phrase #FashionNEEDSMe with every post —and we must say that we agree. From red carpets to editorials, Scot Louie has truly done it all and along the way, he’s picked up a sixth sense on how to stay ahead of the pulse of what’s trending in mainstream fashion.

To kick the year off right, we’ve asked Scot Louie to dish on his best tips for cultivating a distinct sense of style while staying up on the latest trends

What was your favorite and least favorite trend of 2018?

I loved seeing a lot of the western from Fall 2017 carried over into 2018 especially from Calvin Klein. I’m a sucker for those Fendi cowboy boots for women.

Personally I don’t have a “least favorite” I’d definitely like to see less of the illusion nude and overtly sexy dresses on the red carpets. I love smart and timeless dressing personally especially when it comes to evening wear

Can you tell us a trend that will never go out of style in your book?

Women in suiting will always be timeless in my eyes. You can put a woman in suiting for everything; press looks, street style, red carpets, dinners. Suiting is so transitional.

Who is your ultimate celebrity fashion crush and why?

For the past like 8 - 10 years it’s been Rihanna and still is. She is so versatile with her effect. Always unexpected and noteworthy. I’ve also always loved Tracee Ellis Ross as Joan Clayton but these past two years she’s been killing the scene with her personal style.

In your opinion, what is a quintessential item that every person should have in their closet?

Forget the little black dress; the black blazer is a must. You can do so much with a black blazer. Go for sexy with no bra and no top. Go for studious with a fitted turtle neck. Go for street with jeans and a loose fitting tee.

Can you name a look that you think any body type can master?

I think the effortless “sexy tom boy” look has become easy for all body types to master and is something all my clients mention. There’s a huge surge of women who are tapping into their more masculine side and find more comfort in that realm. Most sexy tom boy looks feature a fitted item and a looser fitting item and every body type needs proportions

Courtesy of

Courtesy of

Courtesy of

Courtesy of

Courtesy of

Courtesy of

What is the key to mastering the power suit aesthetic that has become a signature look featured on your clients?

The key to the power suit more than anything is to have fun with it. Suits have a stigma for being a “serious” look. Have fun with it. Add some hardware (a strong earring, a bold ring, a belt). A burst of color or texture is fantastic with a suit. Try a colored shoe or a mock neck top for an additional layer. Also pay attention to the fit. An oversized suit can easily go from chic to sloppy if it’s too oversized

Courtesy of

Courtesy of