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.

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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.

SPOTTED ON THE RUNWAY

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

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

SPOTTED STREET STYLE

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..

SPOTTED ON THE RUNWAY

Left to right: Valentino

Left to right: Valentino

SPOTTED STREET STYLE

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.

SPOTTED ON THE RUNWAY

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

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

SPOTTED STREET STYLE

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.

SPOTTED ON THE RUNWAY

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

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

SPOTTED STREET STYLE

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.

SPOTTED ON THE RUNWAY

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

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

SPOTTED STREET STYLE

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 Karifbeauty.com)

SKIN PREP

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.

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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.

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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!

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FACE TINGZ


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.

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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.

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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.

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HAIR ME CLOSELY

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.

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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!

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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!

K?
Elsa A.









#OOTD: Snakeskin and Sequins

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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 www.mylivingspree.com or follow her on Instagram @ashleycockrell

Outfit details:

Top: Thrifted

Boots: https://egoshoes.com

Bodysuit: https://www.missguidedus.com

Hat: https://www.nastygal.com

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 scotlouie.com

Courtesy of scotlouie.com

Courtesy of scotlouie.com

Courtesy of scotlouie.com

Courtesy of scotlouie.com

Courtesy of scotlouie.com

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 scotlouie.com

Courtesy of scotlouie.com

What are some of your favorite go-to designers to dress your clients in?

I actually try as much as possible to not pigeonhole my clients into go to designers. I love a wow factor and every designer provides something different. I think switching up designers is imperative especially when building someone’s image

What is your no-fail tip for making any look polished?

Pay attention to fit. A proper fit will always be no-fuss and comfortable. Fit can easily make you look much sharper.

What trends do you forecast that will dominate in 2019?

While it’s a timeless constant I think we’ll be seeing a bigger surge of faux animal use. (Snakeskin; leopard; feathers). Also plenty of tie die and the colors Coral and Marigold for spring.

What tips do you have for a fashion lover who wants to play with trends while staying true to their personal sense of style?

Have a point of reference. I as a stylist always reference another look I’ve loved whether it be from a runway or a old red carpet; music video etc. References make dressing up fun and aspirational.

Stay inspired and keep up with Scot Louie by following his Instagram @scotlouie

PSA Breakups?! Is this a thing?

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With the ease of access to information these days via social media, it’s pretty hard to avoid publicity even just locally. Easy access to the latest tea or private details is a double edge sword. On one hand it can prompt hella congrats on the wins in your personal life but on the other hand it may cause some heavy side eyes!

Let’s face it people are entertained by other peoples business good or bad. People will pry, especially if you went public about something like a relationship. So how do you walk that #relationshipgoals post you posted last season back down to the reality of a toxic or broken relationship. Announce it!

There is no better way to clear the air and kill any assumptions about what may or may not have happened then doing a public announcement. A public announcement is not where you bash anyone out of bitterness or the simp out of sadness. This is where you briefly and effectively announce the end of the relationship and go about your day. In my theory when you go public with someone you should also provide a public recognition that the someone and you are no longer. Being vocal about the dis-attachment between you and a past partner can set clear expectations and save a lot of future explaining and potential embarrassment.
Take it from me sis, the last thing you need are your friends and family sending you pictures of your ex in VIP with his new ting!

5 Apps to Get Your Mind Right for 2019

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We’re on to the next one, and we’ve got a list of amazing apps to bring along with us!

If you slayed 2018 and met all of your yearly goals, the  mantra “New Year, New Me” doesn’t have to be literal. A “New You” can simply mean that your auditing all of the things you achieved last year, and taking the time to reflect on how you can take them to the next level moving forward.

With a new year quickly approaching, there’s no better time to look back at all of the amazing things you’ve accomplished over the past 12 months, and all of the goals you plan to conquer next. Creating a list of goals or a mood board can be a great start, but for many of us, the biggest challenge in making a new year count is ensuring accountability. As a Millenial there’s only one thing in life’s that guaranteed; and that’s knowing that you’ll always have your smart phone in arm’s reach. Give your smartphone AND your new year an even stronger sense of purpose by downloading these 5 apps that are guaranteed to keep you encouraged and accountable all through 2019.

 

#SelfishBabe App:

New Year Resolution: Stay Positive & Empowered

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 What Is It?

A women's focused app centered on self-love that will remind you how amazing you are with daily affirmational notifications. Created by women, for women, this personal development app is a power-pack of inspiration filled with #SelfishTruth notifications, Audio Affirmations and more to keep you persistent on your goals while reminding you that it’s okay to be selfish when it comes to living your most authentic life.

Cost: FREE

Favorite Feature: #SelfishTruth Notifications - Daily Notifications to remind you how amazing you truly are

 

Albert App:

New Year Resolution: Manage My Money Better

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 What Is It?

A personal finance app that automates your finances and helps you keep better track of your money. It allows you to sync all of your financial information to view a full scope of your finances; from your credit cards, to your monthly bills and day-to-day expenses. You can automate your savings, receive alerts about tax refunds, upcoming bills or unexpected fees, and receive expert guidance to guide you through creating better financial habits.

 Cost: Basic Plan - Free | Genis Plan - Approx. $4/Month

Favorite Feature: Budget Management - The app has a user-friendly interface that displays your estimated monthly income alongside your expenses for the month so that you can stay on top of how much play money you have to spare.

 

Calm App

New Year Resolution: Prioritize My Mental Health & Personal Wellness

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 What Is It?

Calm provides you with action-oriented solutions for your stress, anxiety and restlessness by guiding you with masterclasses on meditation, breathing, and other resources to increase your mental health and get rid of bad habits. Whether you are a novice or expert, Calm provides both resources and tools to address your unique stress points to help you live a healthier, happier life.

Cost: Basic Plan - Free | Premium Subscription - Approx. $12.99/Month

Favorite Feature: Breathing Exercises - When you’re feeling stressed and need a moment to debrief, Calm offers multiple breathing exercise guides to help you re-center and refocus.

 

Fabulous App

New Year Resolution: Create good habits, and stick to them

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What Is It?

Fabulous is an app that makes you more accountable for your daily habits -- both bad and good. Whether you want to eat healthier, be more active, or spend less time on your phone, Fabulous helps you create a dashboard to physically track your productivity while helping you find ways to make manageable improvements.

Cost: Basic Plan - Free

Favorite Feature: Daily Challenges - Fabulous takes its habit tracking to the next level by offering daily 3-10 minute challenges that help you create an even stronger daily structure for your life.

 

Meet Up App

New Year Resolution: Build new relationships and attend more networking events

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What Is It?

Meet Up is the most popular networking & connection building platform that helps you find people in your immediate area that share your interests, from personal to professional. Whether you’re trying to be more social, traveling to a new place, or need to make more professional connections for your career, Meet Up makes it easy to step out of your comfort zone to find people with similar goals. There are some black-owned apps that fulfill the same purpose including Bburb, Mixle or BYP Network, but Meet Up has the largest overall database of groups to connect with (for now)

 Cost: Basic Plan - Free

Favorite Feature: Group Boards - Check out the Group Boards and event boards to get a feel for what they’re all about before you commit to attending an event. You can also direct message members of the group so that you can connect with people before you attend a meetup in-person.

 

How To Slay Self-Love

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How do you bring Self-love to the light?

You start within and go deep, digging to the core and you stay there awhile, sometimes a long while. Until you find what opens up the freedom in your fall so you can look up and stand taller than you were when you started. But it will ache (whatever it is) until you accept and embrace it for whatever it is. Nourish your imperfections and mold those mistakes into gold, solid gold baby girl.

It is then the transition from your setback to your comeback begins illuminating an awakening of mind, body and spirit for the better. Soul much better. You glow differently. You’re taking your L’s differently and winning from the inside out now.

One day at a time, you begin picking up all the broken pieces and the rebuilding begins. You went from being a whole snack to becoming a whole meal. A masterpiece, who has mastered peace. You are an edifying entrée and the world will come for you desiring every bite of your light in all of your worthy glory if you let them. Don’t.

Hold fast, to owning the light that is all your own. You earned it!

Enduring the process, and honoring your progress will have you looking and feeling like self- love is Bae all day. The time is now to treat yo’ self, relish in your truths, and release toxic energies. Know that there is no ceiling to the evolution of a woman rising and representing into her most authentic and higher self. When looking in the mirror, affirm you are a force to be reckoned with and manifest those feels to the fullest. You can and you will vibrate higher, stronger and wiser.

There is joy in your journey, sis. May you stay shining your light on everything you are instead of everything you are not. Because the growing and glowing struggle is real, but a Queen who has readjusted her crown through it all is the realest!

Now grab your go to gloss, throw your favorite stilettos on and stunt a little bit. Maybe even a lot of bit.

Wink, wave and slay on self- love slaya!

5 Looks That Are Perfect For New Years

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There’s more to it than glitter and sequin; but they’re both a great place to start!

It’s the time of year that we’ve all been waiting for -- party season! For the everyday girl who’s always on the go, this is the one time of year when we all have an excuse to do the most and pull off our best glam #InstaWorthy looks. While sequin has become a staple trend for this festive time of year, there’s no harm in switching it up, going against the grain, and letting our own signature style shine through. From bold metallics to fiery animal prints, there’s plenty of sequin alternatives that’ll make you shine just as bright this holiday season. Here are our favorites, styled by some of our go-to style inspirations.

Metallic - For the Girl Who Wants All Eyes on Her

Shine, but not too bright! Opt for a sleek, subtle alternative to sequins that still stands out. Bold yet understated, a metallic piece can be the perfect statement for your New Year’s Eve look that you can easily transition into a permanent item in your wardrobe.

Animal Print - For the Babe Who’s Spicy & Sporty

The verdict is in; animal print is officially the new black. From a neutral snake print to a flirty cheetah print, there are countless ways to style them -- especially if you’re attending a more casual event, or looking to make a statement while staying comfortable. And yes -- mixing & matching animal prints is MILQ approved!

Crushed Velvet - For the Hopeless Romantic in Search of a Midnight Kiss

Crush velvet, not hearts in a bomb look that’s playfully understated in all the right ways. Crushed velvet brings volume and depth to any look, especially when it is paired with a rich jewel-tone that compliments your melanin.

Business Suit - For the Girl Who Clocks in Early & Clocks Out Late

Take your business mentality beyond the boardroom and head to your holiday party in a head-to-toe look that screams boss. Opt for a plaid pattern to add some extra spice, or wear a monochromatic suit topped off with fur to really steal the show.

Monochrome - For the Fashionably Fearless

Keep it cool in a monochrome look that’s easy to pull off, but hard to ignore. Add some extra flair by mismatching your accessories, or incorporate some sequins to show off your holiday spirit.

Tips To Hydrate Your Skin This Winter

Images Courtesy of Pure Beauty Skin Bar

Images Courtesy of Pure Beauty Skin Bar

I’m not fortunate enough to have glowing skin all year around *shrugs*. Honestly, when I feel my skin getting dry during the colder months I find myself using wayyyyy more moisturizer than typically needed through-out the day to cover those dry spots. Just because it’s winter ladies, doesn’t mean our melanin has to suffer. Your skin should be glowing just as amazing in the summer as it should in the winter months. Plus, the more we take care of our skin to provide that pure glow the less makeup we’ll need.

Let’s be real, who knows our skin better than a woman of color? It was only right that I ask the lady who I consider to be an acne and all-around skincare expert; Sylvia Brownlee from Pure Beauty Skin Bar on how to keep our skin glowing this winter. Here are five skincare tips Sylvia advises along with a few products to keep your skin glowing & feeling hydrated all season long.

#1: Add a humidifier to your beauty routine.

A humidifier will keep the air more humid and lock in that moisture. Naturally your skin will begin to retain more of the surrounding moisture keeping it luminous! You can obviously do this year round but this is especially helpful during those dry Winter months.

#2: Drink at least half of your body weight in ounces of water. This allows you to hydrate from the inside out.

Now this isn’t new BUT did you know that the proper amount of water actually flushes out nasty toxins that also cause breakouts and dull skin? DRINK MORE WATER SIS!

#3: A serum that contains Hyaluronic Acid will plump and hydrate your skin to appear dewy.

Product Recommendation: Pure Beauty Skin Bar Hydra Gel Serum, $45

About the product: It’s cold outside and that means your skin needs a product that will penetrate and hydrate your skin, the Hydra Gel Serum is perfect for skin that is dehydrated, dull or lacking moisture, this gel holds 1000x its weight in water giving your skin the hydration it needs.

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Hydragel

#4: Make sure you’re using a light exfoliator to remove the buildup of dead skin.

Product Recommendation: Pure Beauty Skin Bar Pumice Scrub 2.5%, $22

About the product: Ever feel like your skin just needs a little something to get rid of the dead skin that has been building up all season long? Pumice Scrub is perfect for you. This gentle lightweight exfoliant won’t irritate your skin and you will love how soft your skin feels after the first use.

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Pumice Scrub 2.5%


#5: Wear sunscreen all year around to protect your skin from those harmful UVB & UVA rays.

Product Recommendation: Pure Beauty Skin Bar PBS UV Sunscreen, $25

About the product: The last product you should apply for the official glow is the PBS UV Sunscreen. This will help prevent those dark spots from getting darker.

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PBS UV Shield


2018 MILQ Mavens Of The Year

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It’s official; we’re living in the era of the influencer. Thanks to the impact of social media, the power of fashion has been liberated where high fashion runways forecast what trends we can watch out for, but style influencers truly determine what’s in and what’s not. Now more than ever, everyday women of all hues, sizes and walks of life possess the power to shift the fashion landscape with the upload of a single photo. And thanks to these influencers, we can connect with content that truly depicts the multifaceted nature of our existence in an inspiring and relatable way.

Thousands of new influencers pop up everyday, but there’s a selected few who refuse to take their foot off of our necks, serving us with style inspiration that is coveted and editorial-worthy. For the first time ever, we’ve compiled a list of some of our top favorite influencers who we’ve given our official stamp of approval.

Here is our 2018 List of MILQ Mavens of the Year:

@Thedailyseyi

Style Profile: ‘Structural Flow’

WHY WE LOVE HER:

A master of simple chic, her style is subdued yet vibrant in all of the right ways, making it relatable for the everyday girl seeking some style inspo.

“I find myself gravitating towards structured asymmetric pieces paired with flowy designs. Materials such as satin and silk are the cherry on top when it comes to dressing up.”

Style Lessons Learned from @TheDailySeyi:

  • You can never go wrong with a classic wrap dress

  • Denim always wins

  • Make the trend; don’t let the trend make you

 

@Caribbean_Cowgirl

Style Profile: “Man Repeller Meets Fashion Bomb”

WHY WE LOVE HER:

Zesty and bold, she keeps us at the edge of our seats with her remarkable knack for mixing patterns. She’s always one to take the road less traveled to turn a look that’s true to her distinct style and vibe.

“I’m drawn to...iconic and recognizable and fashion aesthetics...I'm a show off in true Jamaican fashion. You gone see my outfit and remember me.”

Style Lessons Learned from @Caribbean_Cowgirl:

  • Knowing how to mix prints is a gift, not a privilege

  • Black designers need love too

  • Ankara is the new black

 

@Missenocha

Style Profile: “Eclectic”

WHY WE LOVE HER:

She’s the DIY Queen of fashion that can make a homemade piece look designer. She’s an avid travelista who knows how to reinvent her style to fit the aesthetic of every city, while remaining true to her signature vibe.

“[My personal style] is inspired by my travels and surroundings.”

Style Lessons Learned from @missenocha:

  • If you can’t afford it, make it yourself.

  • Rich in texture, rich in life

  • When you travel, pack light & shop often

 

@Lifeinbeverlyheels

Style Profile: “Sophisticated Flare”

WHY WE LOVE HER:

She mixes high and low fashion like no other, always a serving a look that’s sleek with an extra splash of sass.

“[My] fave designers are Victoria Beckham, Cushnie, and Brandon Maxwell.”

Style Lessons Learned from @lifeinbeverlyheels:

  • It’s called a power suit for a reason.

  • You can never have enough statement pieces in your wardrobe

  • Buy pieces worth repeating, then reinvent them.