Fall Fashion

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.

Chanel$$bunnyXOXO

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NYFW Designer Highlight : Elena Velez

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.

Elena Velez showcases her collection at the VFiles Show at Barclays Center presented by Sprite

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.

A look into “The Process” of Elena Velez’s 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. •

Chanel$bunnyXOXO

Many thanks to Elena Velez.

Photo Credits: Elena Velez, myself

Tackling Time

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.

What was so special about Abloh’s first collection at Vuitton?

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.

An ode to unconventional beauty standards.

We have come so far and of course Newton’s Third Law supported they try to push us back. Now, We celebrate blackness! It’s like a Black Renaissance. In the grand scheme of it all, it is a beautiful moment but as living proof I have got to keep it real. I am so damn OVER the “I love blackness when its easy on the eyes” idea. I say idea because it is a false narrative and cannot exist in this way. In fact it is dangerous. Even sad that it mostly comes from our men.

MISOGYNOIR

Recently, Charlamagne from the Breakfast Club radio show, was under fire for a thoughtless comment he made about rape culture concerning he and his wife’s relationship. He apologized and said he would think more about the bigger picture before he speaks or something to that extent. He even called his wife and put her on speaker phone during the show just to have her testify. I can’t.

Just a couple Saturdays back, the Curly Girl Collective held their annual natural hair festival, CurlFest, in Brooklyn, NY at Prospect Park. It was nothing short of amazing  #BlackGirlMagic filled with love, positive vibes and good energy. I don’t care what anyone says, get a group of natural hair back girls together and its nothing but compliments, big laughs, and all around a good time (don’t forget our brown sugar and shea butter sweetness smell that fills the air).  The Breakfast Club hosted the founders of the Curly Girl Collective and Curlfest on the radio show the day before in NYC. During the show, Charlamagne yet again opened his big mouth without thinking. He made a comment about him not liking natural hair when its a small bush, he likes when its a big one.

One outside of the culture might possibly get away with personal preference, but I doubt it. So as a full fledged natural curly girl, what Charlamagne said does not fly and I’ll tell you why. Lets dissect the issue. Now just recently, black girls going back to their natural hair and wearing it that way has been a phenom. It’s empowering and beautiful and so many other things all at once that varies from each natural hair girl one to another. It is not an easy process especially when you are brave enough to do the Big Chop. Then once you realize what you’ve done, you have to care for your new found glory.

What they don’t tell you is how frustrating it can be. Learning what products work best when all your life you’ve used chemicals and products that weren’t for you and now you have so many options to choose from but they still aren’t necessarily for you either. The key is finding what your hair needs and doing just that on a routine basis. Natural hair helps with discipline. Its a sticktoitness that forces you to look yourself in the mirror and tear down all the lies and see beauty in you. Your hair becomes a product of you so you have to remember that its your crown and your duty.

I could go on forever about the beauty of the natural hair journey. It is so complex and profound, but it exists and I am sure will do wonderful without my further appreciation. So back to the the subject matter. Charlamagne was dead wrong for what he said. He had every opportunity to celebrate black women and the natural hair movement but instead he chose to make sure he got his one comment of disapproval in for the interview and that spoke volumes. First of all, what he said was completely unnecessary and unrelated to the topic they were on. This negative emotion is just one way that Black men choose to exert their insecurities onto women especially ones who are on their way to complete self acceptance and happiness. The things we say are a reflection of ourselves so I don’t blame Charlamagne’s bald head ass, but I do know that he is not the only one. It is not okay.

There is no room for negative opinions in the natural hair community. For so many years, black girl natural hair was ridiculed. Now girls all colors jocking our style and spreading the culture. Check Kim Kardashian or Kylie Jenner and see how they rock black girl style fresh off the runway and make money off it too. Times have changed and the hashtag #curlfest on your social media will be just a hint of the simple fact. The hope is that one day every girl every where will find joy in the body and skin that was given to her. Women all colors shapes and sizes are beautiful queens. The rooted epiphany will always be that individuality is what makes us beautiful and comparison is just a thief of joy. So whether I choose my itty bitty fro, whether I take time and make my hair real big, whether I rock straight back corn rows, my natural true beauty lies within and exudes to my outer surfaces. You have no right to tell me what you like in me. I know it’s just a glimpse into your sadness but that is not my issue. As a friend Travis once told me for all the haters, “Tupperware, you can have it!”

Let me just say I am completely comfy in my skin. Sometimes I may not feel as beautiful as the day before but I always come back to me. If this happens to you too then we’re not alone and I hope that you always come back to you. If you have not found your inner beauty and search for it everywhere but within, I suggest that you start there. You can always email or contact me on IG @styledbycsbnyc via dm if you need an ear to listen and help. I cannot promise that it is easy but I can promise you that you are worth it.

Celebrate the unconventional beauty in the universe!