“You dress like a white girl.” Why is this a thing? How can one even validate such a statement? In a climate that we live in, where everyone is over sensitive and everyone is offended you would think that slurs like that would not come from my own peers. As a black woman, working in the fashion industry has allowed me to express myself through what I wear and my only rule of thumb is that I am comfortable. I have never looked to anyone but myself for inspiration for the way I dress.
I couldn’t even begin to dissect what dressing like a white girl could mean but the closest I got to a definition was my good friend telling me that I just wear what I want and don’t care what people think; a futile attempt. Anyway, I’m fairly thin so I don’t really have limits to what I can wear. I’m almost always classic and presentable so I don’t ever have to dress appropriately so to speak. But then I stop and think about my peers who may not necessarily have this luxury. The girls who aren’t as thin as I and have to be more conscious of what they wear because of how it may fit them. My God what a tragedy. Praises to the curvy women who make it look great because “the struggle is real”, I know. I have to say the fact that I’m so tiny is no excuse for people to expect me to be dressed more and more to their standards but somehow it does. In the words of Kanye opinions are like assholes we all have them.
The sad truth of the matter is that because I am black I am expected to have a certain taste level or style that is actually false and doesn’t exist but only within ones mind. Racism is so deeply rooted that we all have become so conditioned to ideas that hold no weight or statistical evidence. It’s so bologna. This “Black History Month” if there is one thing I hope it is progression for everyone. Not just one race or group of people, but everyone. We are all human beings that go through different experiences. If this is what fashion has succumbed to then I want us to get back to the basics. Fashion being a form of individualism, a form of self expression not a divider of people. It’s the journey of life. The very things we go through are the very things that connect us. The sooner you let go of these false ideologies then you realize they aren’t real and that’s half the battle to manifesting success in your life. Deal with what is going on in your head and then GET OUT OF YOUR OWN HEAD!
Fashion is an artistic space. It’s very existence depends on creatives and intelligent people who want to share their message through the art they create. Fashion is an expressive thing and like art translates different meanings to different people. It is important to have diversity and individuality in fashion.
With more and more people interested in fashion, it can become difficult to keep up with the latest trends but what about classics and individuality. Has the true art of fashion died? Is everyone just trying to be someone else? Has it become too complicated and watered down with theories and opinions from people who attend the most prestigious schools and were lectured about the greats and think only their opinions matter? Is the pressure of a volatile retail business trickling up to designers and forcing them to sacrifice their creative ingenuity? Is playing it safe the new fashion? Or has it just become one superficial bubble of social media influencer and celebrity bullshit?
(Sb. I love a classic look but hate sacrificing comfort. This classic midi Delora dress from Alice and Olivia by Stacy Bendet is a must have. It’s a classic style by the philanthropic designer and I now know why. It is the most comfortable dress you could imagine. There’s so many fun prints, colors, and even fabrications to choose from in this dress each season. It makes getting dressed a no brainer! XOXO)
A client exclaimed to me one day that she read an article in The NY Times about tights and that they were for women who took the train and couldn’t afford a driver or a car. Since when? I reassured her that whomever wrote that article was completely outside of the fashion world and was clearly just trying to gain an audience but they would gain none.
Let’s see Wang, Gucci and Wolford to name a few fashion retailers including tights in their assortment. My favorite are fishnet tights decked out in rhinestones. I believe Area produced a fabulous pair but if you are savvy and creative this is a total DIY opportunity.
It dawned on me. Fashion was not only becoming more popular to the masses but even those who had no clue about style and creativity had an opinion. Its not that I don’t think fashion is for everyone. I don’t think fashion should be exclusive. The problem arises when fashion becomes a standard or a theory that people use to try and divide people. Fashion is one of those things that should bring people together like an exhibit at the MET, or NYFW at a cool location, or a benefit dinner that celebrates an icon. Fashion is art and art is for everyone. It is a free space but should also respected as such.
To me fashion has always been therapeutic and somewhat reviving. All the hard work put into creating something so beautiful and the end result making it all the more worth it. Someone scrolling through Instagram at style influencers cannot really tell me much. I guess I’m a more traditional passionate creative.
Cinched tailored waists hit the runway hard this Fall/Winter season 2018. With women’s health awareness at a high, waist trainers get ditched for something less permanent and stylish to wear! Guys can even rock the trend too! Yes that’s right. See Dior double breasted sport coat below.
Designers like Jil Sander, Roberto Cavalli, Michael Kors, and Altuzarra showcased tailored waisted garments on the runway in power suit silhouettes to make their woman feel all the more feminine. It was the perfect juxtaposition of masculinity and femininity for the current trend of increasing percent of women starting their own businesses. This is a look for you boss lady!
This F/W season you can mostly find this trend on sport coats. A piece borrowed from the boys and chiseled away at the waistline. I adore this Cavalli leopard print blazer. It’s super chic and fun with a refined and structured shape. Based on your body type you can rock the trend with cigarette pants and skirts or a fluid trouser.
Any great fashion will speak to the zeitgeist. I think we are seeing this trend with many women who are finding out they can start their own business. They are no longer confined to the corporate office policies and so they want to dress the part but not sacrifice feeling sexy and feminine. Nothing makes a woman feel sexier than instantly shedding a few inches off your waistline by wearing something. I mean it almost sounds like magic but that is the power of a tailored garment.
Belts are a great idea to DIY your own tailored waist. I recently fell in love with the idea of a belt as an accessory for pretty much any piece. Try your favorite chunky cozy faux fur coat with this Free People leather belt to accentuate the waistline for a completely new feminine look.
How about this beauty from &Other Stories . It’s the perfect pop of color and sprinkle of glam. Pair it with an oversized cardigan to let the belt really shine as a statement piece but to not appear like you’re trying too hard.
Chain belts are another favorite of mine and have been around for years. This one from Asos combines the maximal trend with expressive wording across the belt. It’s a super fun piece and a great addition to any wardrobe.
So you see the cinched waist trend is super easy to wear. You can personalize the trend for your lifestyle and that is super important in fashion. How do you plan to rock the trend this season? Let me know your thoughts in the comments. Can’t wait to hear you guys feedback.
Conventionally I am a Libra and so I love Fall. Growing up in the city from DC to New York I always loved transitional seasons whether it be going back to school seeing all your friends or going to some amusement park during spring break. Now that I am older I look to these seasons all the same but for other reasons. I love being able to layer and create personal looks instead of strictly dressing for the weather. As a stylist, I’ve always felt wholeheartedly if you love it and feel comfortable wear it, but Mother Nature always reminds us she is just as powerful and can control what we wear as well. I’ve learned to keep it moving and make the most of my wardrobe especially since I’m such a workaholic. I don’t always have time to put full thought into a look so this is also a reason why I recommend as a stylist that my clients are buying into mostly pieces that are solid colors which suit them and also can work into their existing wardrobe. Prints and statements pieces are awesome but having a strong essentials part of your wardrobe ready to go makes getting dressed every morning that much easier and less painless.
A tailored oversized blazer is a life saver this fall. Commuting on the hot subways to a ice box refrigerator workplace can be quite difficult. This Vince double double breasted crepe blazer is the perfect Fall friendly weight and can pull any look together for a power chic day.
The calf boots are such a divine little number and are a perfect match for all those little pencil skirts you’ve got for each day of the week this Fall season. A leather classic round toe boot should be a staple but once you’ve snagged it, feel free to play around with boot types because they too make for a cool way to take your outfit from 0 to 100. I love suede in Fall it’s such a wonderful texture to play around with and add depth to a look.Like the saying goes, “Give a girl a good shoe, and she can take over the world.”
Speaking of boots, I’m obsessed with cowboy shaped boots. It started with snake print Matisse Caty boots. They’re the perfect height to run around the city and still look chic while getting things done. I never came to pull the trigger but I’ve seen them many of times on random people in the city and they look great. They’re still on my list. It’s funny because every time I’m ready to buy them my size is sold out. I’m wearing here Vince Hayek leather bootie in Jasper. As you guys can see I’m more inclined to a tighter ankle when it comes to a western shape cowboy boot. I think it is more flattering and keeps the take on the cowboy boot new and refreshing. The color is amazing because it can practically match with any other colors you want to wear with them. It’s so rich and dark it’s a great neutral for Fall. The height is good for walking and I need that especially in the streets of Soho, New York.
Cashmere pants are a Brooklyn girl’s best friend. These too are from Vince. The trick to make these work are to make sure they are a tailored fit and not droopy. Apparently that was in at some point, I was never a fan of an invisible diaper and claiming it a fashion statement. There are people with real shit problems that have to wear those things, I think I’ll be grateful for not having to. The camel color wool coat is such a dream because it is oversized and a little unstructured. This is something you can wear a sexy silk dress number under to date night ( or nothing) or if you’re anything like me you’ve borrowed your boyfriends cashmere and gotten real cozy while sipping hot cocoa at your favorite bookstore. Oh how I can taste my way through the season ahead. Drop your comments below and let us know which C$Bstyled look is your fav, Power Chic or Cozy Cashmere?! Can’t wait to hear you guys thoughts! Stay tuned for more Fall fashion style tips.
A Milwaukee native and New York City implant, a Parsons graduate, a designer, a creative for sustainable fashion, and Virgo among many other admirable benchmarks and fun facts, NYFW designer Elena Velez gives us some insight to her world as if we couldn’t catch her at a more busier time. She was just selected to show her collection at the VFiles runway show presented by Sprite. We find out that sustainability is not a gimmick but the foundation that her brand stands firm on. She has a valuable eye and passes along history and knowledge of how real life tragedies affect us all. The beautiful irony of her collections is that it shows us as a humanity how we can ethically and sustainably recover and evolve.
C$BNYC: Happy 24 years of life! How does it feel to be a year older? What do you plan to do differently or more of to grow yourself now that you have experienced so much from the previous year alone. How do you plan to top that? Congratulations to you!!!
Elena Velez: Thanks! I celebrated a birthday between NYFW and LFW. Growing older has been kind of a scary thing for me. When i was a child i received a lot of attention as a designer for my unprecedented age and i think it’s given me a bit of a complex that I’ve had to work through growing up – that my professional success isn’t directly related to my young age…
C$BNYC: You grew up in a very different environment than where you are now in New York. There’s no place like it. Tell me how has your childhood and upbringing influenced who you are now as a woman, as a designer, and where you want to be short term and long term?
Elena Velez: I grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, as the only child of a single mother who worked as a ship captain. My childhood was spent in spaces that were very industrial and utilitarian – ship yards, docks, engine rooms… I’m sure it has influenced my aesthetic. My mom is a woman who has had to command respect from men as a profession. She also had to assume the role of both mom and dad when I was growing up. Her strength, independence, and unconventional femininity have really inspired me as a person and a designer.
C$BNYC: How has New York changed you if any at all?
Elena Velez: New York has shown me unprecedented opportunity, immense disappointment and instilled me with a very true sense of realism. It’s a place where a walk down the right street or a chance encounter can change your life.
C$BNYC: Tell us about Machine Shop and how that came to be and your intentions for the project?
Elena Velez: Originally my film Machine Shop was to be a short fashion film released with my collection but once i began to cast talent and realized what an amazing group of multidisciplinary artists i had access to, i wanted to widen the scope of the project to allow for their talents to shine through as well. Ideally I’d like to do an extensive project like that in my hometown with the launch of every new collection.
C$BNYC: What made you pursue design and what makes you stick to it?
Elena Velez: I’ve been interested in design as a hobby since childhood. Professional ambition is only a recent development. It’s an outlet for me to develop personal skills like entrepreneurship, self awareness, critical engagement, and storytelling while making something tangible, useful, and potentially corrective in an industry in need of serious rehabilitation.
C$BNYC: What do you think of the influence of social media in society today? What are some pros and cons and how do you think they should be addressed? This sort of virtual vs reality world is very tricky especially for someone who is looking for guidance or inspiration in their own life.
Elena Velez: Content is king. Instagram is probably the ultimate advertisement channel. Everything is manufactured and a production: It takes a team of people to compose an image. Instagram is the LinkedIn for creatives in the visual arts industry and followings and engagements become essentially your professional endorsements. It’s nice to be able to have a curated, accessible, one-stop landing for people to engage with your brand, but it also makes the experience one dimensional, glossy, and formulaic.
C$BNYC: In a world that’s always looking for the new or next best thing, how do you plan to keep this idea and concept of sustainable fashion fresh and new? Right now I think you have really hit the sweet spot because you’ve tapped into history and so people generally want to learn but also you’ve created this sort of real life scenario of how fashion and normal lives are affected by a tragedy like war. So is it a continuation of that or do you have completely other different ideas for where you want to take your brand?
Elena Velez: The sustainability component of my brand is not a sales pitch or a special feature. It’s an essential and non negotiable reality of creating a product in the world today. Treating the conversation on conservation and sustainability like a trend is irresponsible and out of touch with reality. What I’d like to do with my brand is to continue to interpret sustainably ingenious techniques applied during other aftermath industries into design for today and tomorrow. I imagine each collection as a discovery of a new bank of techniques that roll over into the next season and ultimately become the codes of my brand. Each body of work is a progressive culmination of its predecessors, evolving and expanding as my brand grows. It’s important to me to offer something of merit to the industry and not to enjoy a comfortable yet self congratulatory career as someone who simply makes pretty things for rich people. •
I am a firm believer of the universe manifesting what one puts out into it. Looking back on my primary school days I never fathomed the significance of my classmates receiving “Time and Attendance” awards and not me. Now it has come full circle and honestly I am so thankful for the growth. Now as a young professional, the award was literally like your golden ticket to the Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory so to speak. Back then we knew if we were disobedient an disruptive to the class there would be consequences. Incomplete homework was forbidden and a huge red letter “I” on your progress report was your worst nightmare. So for the most part you managed those things that kept you from being scolded but time wasn’t the first matter on your mind.
Most of us alike myself can recall vividly our parents annoying morning rituals. Coming to your room, turning the lights on and greeting us with style. Get up, get up my sweet! As annoying as it was back then, I relied on that. Now as an adult, I understand it wasn’t the best way because it created a source of dependency that morphed into a cycle hard to break. Yes my fellow stylish ladies and gentlemen, the first step to overcoming is recognizing the stuff that stinks in your life.
Facing yourself and checking your life is super important. It is essential to your growth in all aspects of your life. I know that there are many dynamics of time management and it can be very complex. For me I start with an early start to my day. This allows me to meditate, reflect, and plan for the day ahead. It is truly one of those life’s little blessings that mean so much. Having time for self is super important and is a form of self-care. With so much going on in the world, we have to remember to cultivate and create value for ourselves. There is nothing I love more than time dedicated to my business and bettering myself. It’s so much more fulfilling when you can sit down and develop ideas and tap into your passion.
Another helpful strategy that I use is planning and allocating time for each task that I have for the day. Waking up early gives you the power to take ownership of your life. There is no reason you should ever feel like you’re being robbed of your precious time. Life isn’t predictable and things out of your control may happen but if you practice these helpful tips for time management the universe may seem to bend at your will.
A 2008 study from Harvard biologists C. Randler showed that those “early risers felt more control over their lives from planning short term and long term goals, have easier commutes, anticipate problems and solve them more efficiently. These are just a few ways that waking up early to manage your time can benefit your life. Another trick to tackling time management is to map out time for everything you have to do that day. This way you are focused, working efficiently, and less overwhelmed when you have a lot of different things to do. Being on time is another component of time management and is just as important as the other gems I have shared.
Showing up on time means five minutes early. It also means that you value someone else’s time just as much as you value your own. This is an important trait to have in business because you want to be viewed as professional, credible, and build lasting relationships. As a business woman waking up early allows me to tackle so many tasks. I feel at ease and sure of decision making when I practice healthy time management. I am able to make the best investments for myself and my business. I no longer feel like I am sacrificing my time. I am thankful I learned how to tackle time management and you will be too.
Masculinity has not died. It is not frail nor weak but is resilient and strong. It exists and does not have to borrow from femininity in order to do so. It is equal but opposite and deserves its praise alike feminism. Virgil is a creative artist who has shown us that there are no limits to a creative career in the business of fashion. Whether a collaboration with another designer (see. Off White X Jimmy Choo) or picture this interior decorating your new home with one of Virgil’s Off White X IKEA collaboration home pieces.
No doubt Virgil has a creative taste and wants to make his mark all over the design industry. We can appreciate femininity but with his SS19 LV collection this certainly was a nod to masculinity. Another concept for Virgil’s collection was the timeless classic film, The Wiz of Oz. The designer’s message was to encourage creatives to follow the yellow brick road just as he did to find his success. The show was beautiful with models from all different ethnic backgrounds helming the runway.
His debut collection featured relaxed tailored suits in all the colors of the rainbow, military inspired chest bags, and even astronomical capes along with accessories and knits that meshed well with his consumer’s taste. There was the perfect mix of menswear sartorial looks and sporty luxe that any man would appreciate. We’re sure to see a NBA athlete running the town or a Hollywood actor or two on the red carpet in one of Virgil’s Louis Vuitton numbers.
We absolutely adore all the colors of the rainbow and his collection was a friendly reminder that there are heterosexual men who enjoy the art and beauty of fashion.