Sunday, December 30, 2007


Ever wonder why magazines are always “rounding up” the 20 Sexiest Men On The Planet? Or why cable television seems obsessed with those 10 Hottest Celeb Couples type of shows? Well, we seem to love ‘em. In media, lists always sell. They are easy for readers to digest and typically don’t require original artwork or footage. Simply put, they are inexpensive to produce.

So, is that the reason behind this post? Nah. It was just fun to write. Hope it is equally (or more) fun for you to read. HAPPY NEW YEAR! And don’t forget to leave a comment with your can’t forget moments of the year.

Rihanna: Bahamian Bombshell

Ella. Ella. Eh, eh, eh… Pop music at its finest. She’s not a top vocalist, songwriter or even performer by any standards; but this Def Jam protégé made sure that Umbrella wouldn’t be her only hit in ’07. Proving that long and blonde aren’t the only two hair options for an R&B diva, she officially brought the bob back for the masses. With the help of her fierce hairstylist Ursula Stephen, Rihanna kept her ‘do slammin’ whether she was rockin’ it curly, bone straight, with bangs or asymmetrical.

Beyonce: We Fall Down. But We Get Up.

I wasn’t buying The Beyonce Experience hype before watching her perform at the Essence Music Festival earlier this year. I’d observed Destiny’s Child in action live before and was unmoved. Well, now I am convinced she is the quintessential entertainer. All the more reason I was so happy of Ms. B during her YouTube debacle this summer. Yeah she fell but she got right back up and danced even harder. Never missed a beat. What sealed the deal was her interview with Lola Ogunnaike on CNN where she showed a rare moment of introspection. Of the now infamous fall, Ms. Knowles said, “It wasn’t the first time I fell on stage and it won’t be the last.” What an important mantra for life. Who knew Bouncy could be profound?

Angela and Vanessa Simmons: Reality TV Stars We Can Actually Be Proud Of

While most of the young, fabulous “It Girls” were checking in and out of rehab, getting arrested or trying to cover-up some sex tape, the daughters of Rev. Run were designing sneakers (their line Pasty debuted this spring), editing magazines and landing acting gigs on The Guiding Light. Blessed with the Simmons Hustle gene, these lovely ladies have even caught the attention of The Girl Scouts of America since the American institution requested them to be their spokesperson(s). By the way, I interviewed the duo for my full-time gig earlier this year and they were just as charming and down-to-earth in person as they appear on television. Thank goodness.

Kerry Washington: Lemme Upgrade You

She’s always been cute (remember Lift?), smart (she graduated from NYC’s Spence School for Girls) and cultured (Washington lived in India before taking on acting full-time). However, she wasn’t really on my style radar until this year. Now I always check for the Bronx native to see what she’s wearing. Whether she’s taking fashion risks like pairing a canary yellow belt with a sporty mini dress and red heels, giving all-out glam by rockin’ electric blue pumps with a sequined frock or keeping it sleek and sophisticated in a floor sweeping gown – Kerry is always so very… picture perfect!

Africa Rising: The Not-So Dark Continent

In 2007, the motherland seemed to be chic. For better or worse, everyone wanted to be associated to Africa in a philanthropic way. One of the most notable examples of this was the July 2007 issue of Vanity Fair. The Conde Nast pub dedicated an entire issue to Africa and had uber-photographer Annie Leibovitz shoot twenty completely different covers for it. Then they had Bono guest edit the issue. Cover subjects included: Jay-Z, Don Cheadle, Oprah, Iman, Barack, Madonna and George Bush. Yeah, that last one confused the heck outta me too. Bottom line, it was a gangsta (and quite memorable) move regardless of what the intentions of the issue were.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Better Late Than Never

Dang Gina. I had all hopes of posting this list well over a week ago. Shoulda, woulda, coulda. I'll spare you the excuses. My guess is many of you have waited until the very last weekend to finish up (or maybe even start) your holiday shopping. So, here are some ideas for my fellow procrastinators.

Without further ado... MY OFFICIAL 2007 CHRISTMAS SHOPPING LIST:

Mi madre - A subscription renewal to one of her favorite mags: O, The Oprah Magazine. I actually gave her the initial subscription a few years ago for Christmas and I just continue to renew it. It's a gift that keeps on giving. Also, since my mother retired she has really become a jet-setter. I'm so happy about this and know that a gift card from any major airline would be put to good use immediately. Check the corresponding airline's website for more info on how to hook-up the world-traveller in your life.

Mi hermano - My big bro will be a hip-hop head for life. But he's honestly a hip-hop elitest of sorts. A Soulja Boy fan he is not. That is why I know he'll appreciate this authentic coffee table book, Born in The Bronx: A Visual Record of the Early Days of Hip Hop (Rizzoli); major bookstores nationwide. The photographs in this tome were taken by the well-respected Joe Conzo and truly captures the golden days of hip-hop.

Mr. TK (aka boyfriend/significant other)- I'm such a private person so revealing too much of my personal life on this blog is terrifying for me. But, I will say Mr. TK is still MIA. (well, sorta) We'll see what 2008 will bring. Anywho, I would enojy treating someone to a relaxing facial and/or massage at Harlem's own BBraxton. Catering specifically to men, BBraxton seems to have just the right mix of cool and masculinity my TK would desire. 212.369.3094/1400 Fifth Avenue at West 116th Street
(Blogger isn't letting me post the pic but please check BBraxton out on their website. So sexy. So cool. Gotta love all that haberdashery being back in Harlem!)

The BFF - My best girlfriend is a working mom and rarely makes time to pamper herself because she's so dedicated to her family. But I know that she's secretly a glamourpuss and would love these pencils from Color by Cynde Watson. Isn't the packgaging slammin'?! Plus the line was created by a top make-up artist who happens to be a sister.

My nieces - I adore stationery. Always have too. My dad ensured that I had my own personalized stash as a little girl. In keeping up that family tradition, I can't wait to get my seven and four-year old nieces a set of their own from American Stationery. This catalog based company is super-affordable but doesn't skimp on the quality or style. Now they'll have no excuse for not writing letters to Auntie B!

A not-so close co-worker, neighbor, hairstylist, manicurist, etc. - Gift cards, gift cards, gift cards. But I like thinking outside of the box. Movie theater tix. Barnes & Noble or iTunes hook-ups. Even a Starbucks gift card for ten bucks. In this case (we probably don't know each other that well), it really is the thought that counts.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Summer, Summer, Summertime!

The title is a stretch but I wanted to get your attention. I am overdue for a post and don’t have the time or energy to put up part two of my holiday shopping list right now. Meanwhile, I’m visiting my fam for the weekend. So funny updating this blog from my mother’s computer which for the record is much faster than mine. While on the plane traveling here, I caught up on some reading and came across the gorgeous ensemble below in the latest issue of TIME Style & Design.

This sorbet hued frock would be hot all by itself (those sleeves!) but paired with that ridiculous chunky turquoise necklace is just sinful. I think I’m even more moved by this vibrant color and ultra femininity because it’s the dead of winter and I’ve been wrapping up in layers to protect me from the harsh effects of a Northeast winter. NYC had the first real snow of the season yesterday. I admit that I rock bright colors year-round - they look so good on brown skin - but this pic (courtesy of Giambattista Valli) injected just a lil’ bit of summer into my life today and I felt the need to share.

You can thank me later. Oh, and my mom says hello.

P.S. – If you’re patiently waiting for the temps to increase where you are too, accessories can definitely help. Mittens (Don’t we prefer them over gloves?), scarves and hats in primary colors make any grey or black coat pop. And will erase those winter blues – at least for a minute.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Let’s Take It Back To The Old-School

This is going to be quick - I have Saturday morning errands to run. But I’m slowly learning that every post doesn’t have to be the same (long) length. Before I go off errand running I need to share my fabulous find of the week. Well, it’s actually the fabulous find of a co-worker of mine. Feast your eyes on the handbag below:

Bananas, right? Old-school handbags officially made their comeback a few years ago but MCM kinda stayed in the shadows. (I did peep Salt of Salt ‘N Pepa rocking a gigantic signature logo one on her reality show.) The huge logo screams "look at me" but it works here because, duh?, it’s a freakin’ MCM bag. Now if it was Gucci, Fendi, Prada, etc. it would be so obnoxious but on this bag it’s slightly kitschy. Loves. It.

For the youngins who might be clueless reading this, MCM is a European luxury brand that was uber-popular in the States from the mid 1980s to the mid 1990s. Rappers like Finesse & Synquis had outfits made out of MCM leather for their music videos. Since everything old is new again, the company appears to be attempting a comeback with a younger, hip set. The bag in the picture sells for $995 at Bloomingdale’s. (Yeah, that’s what I said.) Their other current offerings are way too gaudy for my taste. My co-worker clearly got the best of the bunch.

I hear that eBay sells authentic vintage MCM bags pretty regularly but I think I’m content sneaking a peek at my co-worker’s for now. Let’s hope she doesn’t freak out at my stares… Oh well, off to the grocery store I go!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

The British Are Coming!

That’s me in the above pic during my London jaunt a few years back. I lived in London in ’03 and while my stay was brief, I became attached to several things. London is synonymous with bad cuisine, but I always managed to get delicious grub in Brixton. I also grew fond of Neal’s Yard (awesome organic health and beauty products), Portobello Road and Spitalfields Market (inexpensive vintage finds) and window shopping at Liberty or Browns (think Henri Bendel or Jeffrey with cooler interiors).

One of my absolute fave London shopping spots was Topshop. The retailer gained some American notoriety earlier this year with their Kate Moss/Barneys initiative but it’s still unknown to most on this side of the pond. Well, let me tell ya - Topshop is the TRUTH! Imagine a wallet-friendly mass retailer that combines the femininity of Zara, the trendiness of H&M with the sophistication of Club Monaco. Now imagine that same place stocking their shelves with new merchandise as often as three times a day.

I frequented the flagship store in Oxford Circus because it was walking distance from my flat and my school. I went there way too often. Sportswear, outerwear, denim, footwear, accessories, lingerie - it’s all there. Topshop is a leader of what the Brits have labeled the High Street. And dudes, there’s a Topman for y’all as well.

So, what does this really have to do with you? Topshop is officially opening up a store in the U.S. next September! Rumors have circulated about this move before but this time the talk seems legit. Now, my Topshop finds won’t feel as exclusive (picture me looking sad) but I’m still excited. WWD is reporting that the store is scheduled to open in Soho (perfect fit) and gradually expand to other locations.

If any of the nine (Thanks Barri!) folks reading have ever been to Topshop - please leave a comment and share your experience. Are you excited about the soon-to-be British transplant?

Friday, November 30, 2007

Joining the H&M Hoopla

Okay, so I wasn’t apart of the H&M hysteria surrounding Karl Lagerfeld, Stella McCartney or even the recent Roberto Cavalli. Waiting in line for hours to purchase any designers clothes and possibly being injured in the process is not my idea of fun. Go figure. However, I’m totally excited about the upcoming collabo of H&M and Finnish textile firm Marimekko. Marimekko is known for their vivid prints and bold color usage and has been in the fashion game for decades. In fact, H&M execs plan to include popular patterns from the Fifties through the Seventies in this collection for Spring 2008. The line is slated to hit H&M stores internationally in April of next year and will include looks for men, women and children.

I’m super excited about the above illustration of the designs and hope I’m not disappointed with the real deal. There is an understated sex appeal to this sketch that I love. All the brown models definitely have something to do with my excitement as well. Will it be worth waiting in line for hours? I don’t know, but something tells me there won’t be nearly as much hoopla surrounding this collection since Marrimeko isn’t a household name like Cavalli and Lagerfeld. More cute sundresses for me!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Who’s Been Naughty; Who’s Been Nice?

South Africa Dreamin’

This is just the time of year I would typically distribute my Christmas Wish List as a child. It was a tradition in my household while I was growing up and I continued it until I was well into my 20s. Yeah, I can be that chick. I knew no one was really paying me or the list I gave them any attention post high school but it was habitual I guess.

No matter that I wasn't going to get half the things on my wish list because my parents were struggling to keep me in a private elementary/junior high school and my older brother in a private university. Struggling to make sure I could participate in Girl Scouts, attend dance classes and take piano lessons while sacrificing things like new furniture for themselves. Those wish lists encouraged me to dream, to have the audacity to ask for more.

A post will soon follow with items I would like to give to my loved ones this year. Don’t worry, I no longer leave milk and cookies out on Christmas Eve. But the Charlie Brown/Peanuts Christmas song is officially in my CD rotation.

Drumroll Please… Presenting My OFFICIAL 2007 Christmas Wish List!

An iPod. Notice that I just mentioned playing CDs. I do not own, nor have I ever owned an iPod. Tragic, I know. And I honestly haven’t missed having one until this year. But, my last few airplane rides with the cumbersome CDs, CD player and CD case were just a plum mess. As if traveling via airplane hasn’t become complicated enough. I also have a daily commute of close to 3 hours (round-trip) so the convenience of owning an iPod will make my life just a little easier.

Tickets to a Stevie Wonder concert. I missed the most recent show at NYC’s Madison Square Garden. No real explanation needed for this one. He’s a musical genius. Funny, I’ve met him but still haven’t seen him perform. Right behind Stevie are Earth, Wind & Fire (Note to Diddy; they are a band.) and Prince - another musical genius.

A v-neck cashmere sweater in black, grey and/or orange. Staples, staples, staples. It’s a no-brainer. Perfect paired with slacks, a pencil skirt or even denim.

A Louis Vuitton classic monogram speedy bag. I normally stray away from items that every other female in NYC owns. But, it’s compact (unlike my shopper tote) yet roomy enough for a squirrel like me and the cost per wear will actually make it worth the money in the long run. Plus, I love that it looks just as chic with a pair of stilettos as it does with sneakers. The Fendi ‘Spy’ bag, the Chloe ‘Paddington’, the Hermes ‘Birkin’ - all too trendy for this working girl. The LV Speedy stands the test of time.

A plasma flat-screen television. I don’t know much about electronics so I have a little more research to complete before picking one out. (Ben, HELP!)

A fish tank. And fish for the fish tank. What a sleek addition to my bachelorette pad, right? I owned goldfish growing up but now I think I want tropical fish. I know they require a lot of work (I can barely manage my apartment now.) but I’m up for the challenge. I think the fish would add such a relaxing element to my home. Perhaps this desire has something to do with me being a Pisces?

An all-expense paid trip to South Africa. I am already working on making this trip happen by my dang self in 2008 but who can blame me for trying? A little financial assistance would be most appreciated. Hoping to visit Capetown and Jo’berg. And ya know I’ll blog about it when I do.

I am compelled to add that I know gift giving is not what Christmas is really about. I’m a Christian (Although I’m starting to wonder what that truly means - Mom don’t panic.) and I feel that the commercialization of Christmas is just beyond. C’mon - Cyber Monday? Still, I enjoy this season and all it has come to mean to me and my family. This PSA is officially over.

Sunday, November 18, 2007


With a name like Rodney LoveJones, being cool just ought to be your birthright. Hailing from Brooklyn, NY, Mr. LoveJones created Bill Jones Epicure Delights nearly four years ago. This boutique pastry company is known for confectionery treats like red velvet cupcakes with crushed cranberries and sweet potato cheesecake. For a recent wedding, he created a pumpkin squash armaretto cake with English coffee armaretto buttercreme. Oh, and the cake was topped off with white chocolate flowers that Rodney hand-painted to add a fresh floral look. How’s that for mouthwatering?

Before breaking into the world of sweets, Rodney developed a diverse resume having founded his own children’s talent agency and assisting with the launch of the now defunct Suede magazine. But, his true passion is baking and since completely diving in just a few years ago, his clients already include radio personalities Miss Jones and DJ Envy, corporate financial giant Goldman Sachs and the Clintons (as in Bill & Hillary). A true people-person, Rodney’s personal style is just as memorable as the delish delectables he whips up. He’s known for his signature bow-ties in funky colors or prints. Read on to learn why umbrellas are multi-functional, who’s porch is a must visit in Brooklyn and snag yet another reason to head up to Harlem immediately.

PPT: Who are your favorite stylish people?
RLJ: My grandfather William Samuel Jones got dressed to go to his factory job everyday in a suit, fedora, bow-tie and gloves. And he always carried an umbrella. He didn’t want his family to feel less than because he worked in a factory. The gloves helped him hide the calluses on his hands from hard labor. I later learned that the umbrella helped him keep his balance - my grandfather loved him some spirits!

PPT: Where are your favorite stylish places?
RLJ: Saint Germain in Paris, France because it reminds me of NYC’s West Village but it still has something romantic and quaint about it. It has lots of mom and pop shops that I like. Also, Solomon’s Porch in Brooklyn. You can listen to live music, get a great burger and be around nice people.

PPT: What are your favorite stylish things?
RLJ: Bow-ties, because of my grandfather. I got my very first one when I was six years-old from Alexander’s department store. It was velvet and way too big for me at that time but I was extremely excited about it.

PPT: What’s been your biggest splurge?
My Shun Knives designed by Ken Onion. I’m over the embarrassment of how much I paid for them - they’re my favorite knives!

PPT: What about your ultimate budget find?
RLJ: I got a wool camel Burberry car coat for $12 from a thrift shop in Harlem (135th Street & 5th Avenue). No stains, no rips, no missing buttons. And it was dry-cleaned.

PPT: What’s the last book you read?
RLJ: Hmmm. I read more than one book at the same time. For the third time I just read Our Kind of People by Lawrence Otis Graham.

PPT: Who are you listening to?
RLJ: I’m listening to Rahsaan Patterson’s new cd Wine & Spirits. My favorite songs [on it] are Stars and Higher Love.

PPT: Your last vacay (not work related) was to?
RLJ: I went to Paris last year.

PPT: What’s your definition of style?
RLJ: Besides my grandfather, I learned a lot about style from (celebrity make-up artist) Sam Fine. Sam always keeps an impeccably clean make-up kit because people judge him by that before he works on their face. Now, I apply that same philosophy to my utensils as a chef. Even down to how my wait staff presents themselves. Just being able to prepare good tasting food is often not enough in this business.

Originally I promised to deliver a 9 Questions For… every month. My bad. Things happen. Life happens. Going forward, I’ll try my best to keep this feature monthly.


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Confessions of a Bulimic Shopper

Hello. My name is Bsquared and I am a bulimic shopper. The oh-so sick booties in the picture above are my latest victim. The moment I saw them while surfing online, I knew I had to have 'em. What’s not to fancy? The neutral pewter hue is anything but boring yet looks so much classier than typical metallic gold or silver. The heel is wearable, like all day I can even wear these out after work wearable. The silhouette is versatile. Thus, I imagined myself pairing these bad boys with dark tights and skirts or dresses, skinny pants - even trousers.

I originally saw them at but eventually scored them for thirty bucks lower at Mama ain’t raise no fool. Ha! But when I finally receive my BCBGirls ‘Tate’ booties and try them on, they’re too small. Phewy. I’m so annoyed. There’s no: Oh, they’re leather and will stretch after a couple of wears kinda comprising going on either. These jokers gotta be returned. I don’t need any more issues with my feet (that’s another post) - these boots aren’t worth it. I have no problem buying things and returning them when they don’t fit my needs or expectations. I’m truly a vet at it. My friends make jokes about my returning habits. But, I despise having to return things via mail. Which is why I didn’t want to even attempt exchanging them for a larger size. Too much hassle. The UPS pick-up, the re-packaging, etc. It’s just too much. Thankfully, I was able to return them at Macy’s (the brick and mortar store) - the old fashioned way. The transaction went smoothly considering I was at the zoo better known as Macy’s Herald Square. Such a tourist trap that place. Anyway, I was told that I wouldn’t be reimbursed for the shipping and handling costs since I purchased the boots online but were returning them to a store.

Huh? You must not know ‘bout me. That’s what the look I gave the sales associate who was helping me said. I quickly called my credit card company, while I was still at the register and had them refund the difference. Like I mentioned earlier, my mama ain’t raise no fool.

Truthfully, my bulimic shopping tendencies are decreasing. I’ve gotten so much better at shopping for me. I now understand that every "bargain" doesn’t require me to whip out my wallet. But the thrill that a new purchase brings, particularly a ‘find’ can be so exhilarating. However, after the guilt sets in: mortgage payments, savings obligations, ya know - grown up stuff; that high usually withers away. Sometimes, just trying something on at home sans the fluorescent lights can kill the high too. Did I really need another pair of boots anyway? Those booties, fly as they are, just weren’t meant to be. Period.

But dang I sure would be rocking them right now if they had fit.

Hey, I’m a work in progress…

Sunday, November 11, 2007

A Tale of Two Cities

A few weeks back, I attended a book signing for Ralph Lauren. Held at Bergdorf Goodman, it was complete with champagne, fancy hors d’oeuvres and photographers to capture it all. A very tanned Ralph was there to sign copies of his gigantic new tome, Ralph Lauren which recaps his 40-year career as an iconic American fashion designer. It was a see and be seen soiree for the Upper East Side set. I actually enjoyed myself that night. My co-worker and I got a kick out of looking at all the rings with diamonds the size of a baby’s fist: ‘Look at that one. No, this one is bigger!’ In between my people-watching, I couldn’t help but to think about all the folks who fall into a completely different end of the economic-social ladder that would never be invited to such a shindig. (By the way, the only reason I was there is because I work in publishing.) Back in the late 1980’s, early 1990’s, there was a crew that supposedly began in Brooklyn called the Lo Lifes because they all wore (you guessed it!) lots and lots of Polo gear. Now, many of these kids went off and did some very ugly things in the name of the Lo Lifes but from what I understand the original crew was pretty innocent - just looking for a way to express themselves in an environment that rarely understood them. Now, let me get this out of the way. I don’t condone anyone spending rent/mortgage money or college tuition dough on clothes for teenagers. Anyone who reads this blog (I love all 8 of you!) knows how I feel about living within one’s means.

So back to Bergdorf’s - as I watched all the chosen Upper East Side elite clink glasses and catch up on their yachts and Becky’s boarding school; I thought back to those kids who used to fiend to get their hands on some Polo. I still love the way inner city youth can flip a Polo outfit from preppy to gangsta. Many of them don’t even know what polo is. As long as that talent is channeled (not exploited) - and trust it is a talent - it’s a dope thing to observe/celebrate. But I digress -- I’ll post on that another time. Although Polo is a lower-priced line to Ralph’s other labels - it’s where he sees the most profit. I’m not mad at him for being a smart business man - how else would his precious daughter get her candy stores? But while I was at that event, I was forced to wonder what it would be like for those two very different worlds to collide. I don’t think either really knows the other exist. To some degree, I have a similar conversation with myself at most of the fashion events I attend because so much of high-fashion is influenced by what young people are wearing on the street.

A tale of two cities indeed…

P.S. - This post was just something I needed to get out. There’s no real ‘point’ to it. It is what it is - a random observation on my part.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Uptown, Uptown

Last night I saw the highly anticipated American Gangster. I thoroughly enjoyed the film, Denzel did a stellar job once again. His talent is downright overwhelming at times. No one else could have played Frank Lucas but Denzel. And dang that man gets more attractive as he gets older! Or maybe he gets more attractive as I get older… Anywho, I caught the flick in Harlem, went to Londel’s (also in Harlem) to eat dinner afterwards and then chilled at another uptown lounge/bar following that. It was all by design. I suggested to my girls that we spend the evening in Harlem after the movie to keep the sprit of the flick alive. Sorta like a theme night type thing.

Since I missed the advanced media screening in Vegas during the NABJ conference (sorry, I’m still a lil’ salty ‘bout that) I promised myself I would watch the movie in Harlem. On opening night. Like we used to do back in the day when movies first came out. See, although I’m Queens born and bred, I’ve always had a little fascination with Harlem. The Brooklyn bandwagon is full enough. Plus, I think I’m caught up in the romanticized Harlem Renaissance stories. From Langston Hughes and Romare Bearden to The Rucker. There’s even an entire line of sneakers nicknamed after the place. To date, whenever I head up to the Manhattan neighborhood between 116th and 155th Streets, river to river - I always, always check for what folks are wearing. Or more importantly how they’re wearing it. It’s really no surprise then that The Denim Library was born in this very place. (I know that was an awkward transition; sue me.)

The Denim Library is located at 2326 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd. (at 135th St.)/212.281.2380. I was first put on to this denim mecca nearly two years ago. I wrote about it for a magazine when it was just a couple months old but the piece was cut from the issue. Since, The Denim Library has been recognized by The New York Times, Travel & Leisure and CBS News. However, it is still below the radar of most NYC shoppers outside of Harlem. Why should The Denim Library be on your radar? Well, the store itself is just exquisitely designed. The walls are covered with denim fabric and the jeans are stacked on the shelves like books. It’s a ‘library’ - get it? TDL carries hard to find brands such as William Rast to classic faves like True Religion. It’s also owned and run by a Harlem native, So Hunter who truly cares about his community. (That’s him at the store in the pic.) I have no doubt that if TDL were located in Soho or Midtown, it would have triple (or more) the business that it currently has. But, I’m glad that it has remained in Harlem, so residents there can enjoy an upscale but comfortable shopping experience in their neighborhood without going to a large chain retailer. TDL carries both men’s and women’s apparel, and sportswear to round out their extensive denim offering. I raved about it to one of my co-workers who went and said she experienced less than excellent customer service when purchasing her jeans. That’s not cool. But fortunately, I don’t think it’s the norm. (She loves her jeans, by the way).

That little word with the huge effects called gentrification has Harlem turned upside down as of late. For better or worse, the neighborhood is undergoing a major transition. I suspect more Denim Library type retailers will begin popping up in Harlem over the next few years. Regardless, Harlem’s swag is here to stay. Hopefully The Denim Library is too.

Now, if you haven’t already - go see American Gangster!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

The Good Stuff!

High fashion can get downright boring to me. Everyone consults the same forecasting companies (I know, I interned at one.), no one wants to take chances and celebrities have become our trendsetters. Collections are dictated by suits who make decisions based on numbers versus creativity. The buyers play the same lame game. Can we say wic, wic WACK? Plus, knock-offs are produced at record-speed and quality these days so it’s almost hard to tell who’s who. Save for my perennial faves like Tracy Reese, Catherine Malandrino, Alice Temperly and a couple others, I’m rarely moved by the big dogs too much. Sure I am still inspired by a cool vintage find. But, rarely am I truly moved by current high-brow fashion.

Sooooooo, how excited was I to ooooh and ahhhh over the threads below care of last week’s WWD (Women’s Wear Daily) cover? This is downright sinful. Gee wiz. Proof that wearable doesn’t have to mean safe and avante garde need not equate to clownish. I don’t know what I’m feelin’ more. The forties inspired hair. The seventies inspired shades. Or the whimsical short/romper ‘vixen meets schoolgirl’ combo. The look is courtesy of Alexander McQueen. Those darn Brits I tell ya.

I so look forward to the days when I can really go to the European shows. (Gotta put that out into the universe.) I have attended London Fashion Week but I was working backstage and didn’t actually see any of the shows. American designers just aren’t allowed to create the same things on the same scale as our peers across the pond. That’s not just in fashion either - the same goes for music, film, yada, ya…

And speaking of high fashion - how sick is this bag? I gasped when I first saw it in one of my mags but last week I actually passed the real McCoy in the window of NYC’s Dior on 57th Street. I had a moment - it forced me to stop in my tracks. BANANAS. Believe me when I tell you it’s more amazing in person. Random, I know but I had to share.

P.S. - I do realize that Alice Temperly is British and Catherine Malandrino is French but they both show in NY which is why I lumped them with Tracy. I also realize that Tracy is considered bridge by many standards but she’s high-end (@ retail) according to my paycheck.

P.P.S. - I’ve been a very bad blogger and didn’t post for nearly two weeks. Tsk, tsk. Therefore, I haven’t had a chance to comment on the panel discussion I attended regarding the lack of Black models held at the NY Public Library last week. It was moderated by industry vet Bethann Hardison. Unlike the first event on this topic she put together last month, it was open to the public for fifteen bucks. Lots of folks came out including model/beauty maven Iman, designer Vera Wang, journalists Teri Agins and Robin Givhan, photographers Barron Claiborne and Marc Baptiste. As I mentioned before, Black models are virtually non-existent on the runway but adding more of them will not change what power Blacks have in the fashion industry. But, more Black owned model/talent agencies will. So will an increase of Black buyers, high-ranking editors, casting agents, designers and show producers. However, I must applaud Bethann for beginning this conversation. Her crusade has gotten coverage in The New York Times and WWD. Not to mention countless blogs. Every little (and big) thing helps.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

A Rose is Not Just a Rose

I’ve been told on more than one occasion that I can be a bit of an enigma. Even those very close to me have expressed this. My mother says I’ve always danced to my own beat, even as a small child. So, when someone does something that immediately speaks (loud and clear) to my heart, I don’t take it lightly. Probably because it doesn’t happen too often. Which is why the flower in the picture above is so special to me.

Let me explain.

A few weeks ago at work, I was in a real funk. Just frustrated with some stuff that was/is ultimately out of my hands. A co-worker of mine picked up on this and gave me the beautiful rose in this picture. She and I aren’t close, we don’t even work in the same department and our conversations are non-existent outside of the office. But, she must have noticed my lip poked out while I was making photocopies and decided to cheer me up a bit. My mood instantly changed for the better. Just in that moment, I remembered how flowers can so easily do that. Normally, I would have put the flower in a fancy vase. But on this day, the cup seemed to work better. The simplicity of the paper juxtaposed with the red rose is special -- to me anyway. So I had to take a picture and share with you all. Now, I’m actually a tulip gal but this rose was right on time and it lasted for an entire week in that little cup! Pretty impressive, right?

Life is crazy; so we gotta make time to stop and smell the roses. Literally. Not solely flowers either. Stop and notice the fall foliage. Every year the leaves turn magnificent shades of gold, orange, red and burgundy but who has time to notice anymore? Listen to a toddler laugh. Watch an old couple holding hands. Observe a bird flying. It’s effortless and quite incredible when you stop to think about it. Even those yucky pigeons appear graceful when they fly. (Just as long as it's not over my head…)

I’m making an effort to smell the roses in my life a little more often these days. Life is too short not to.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

The Hostess with the Mostest

I hosted my very first dinner party recently. And I’m happy to report that it was fabulous! Everyone had fun: many hilarious stories were exchanged (Shay had lots about her recent trip to South Africa), folks reminisced (on everything from Penn Relays in ’96 to Mo’s wedding this past May), candid pics were taken to capture the event (gracias Eddy), good people broke bread together and gave thanks for friendship and life. Everything went perfectly then, right? Wrong. I panicked an hour before the party started that I wouldn’t have enough food. I actually had more than enough. I never did get to pick up the lavender (I keep it in a vase on my kitchen table.) to replace the current bunch that is at least 9 months old. No one noticed or cared. And my apartment was extremely hot. I had no A/C and it was unusually warm for late September. Many of my guests were uncomfortable at first but they got over it.

I learned so much from my little soiree. As I get older I realize how much I enjoy entertaining at home and attending shindigs in the home’s of others. Last weekend I attended a fund-raiser/backyard dinner party at the home of my co-worker and her husband. It was so grown and sexy and most importantly for a truly good cause. The crowded club scene is getting much too fast for this old lady.

Below are a few of the tips I picked up from my ‘Don’t Postpone Joy’ Dinner Party. These are items guaranteed to make any gathering a hit. Or at least they made mine memorable. Oh, good food doesn’t hurt either. (Everyone agreed that the red velvet cupcakes I ordered from Harlem's Make My Cake were de-li-cious!)

Unique Artwork - My father always said a picture is worth a thousand words. Well it certainly proved true at my little fiesta. I actually have a couple of his paintings (mostly oil on canvas) hanging up in my place. Obviously I’m partial to my dad’s work but there are so many dope artists just dying to hang in the home of worthy bachelorettes. One of my fave artists (he’s such good people too) is Jalani. The piece above is called Morning Gathering. You can view more of Jalani's work at:

Plum Wine - I’m not a big alcohol drinker. That includes wine. It’s just not my thing. But, I asked my guests to bring a bottle of wine because so many of them drink it and I was not supplying alcohol. My girl Rah arrived with a bottle of plum wine (3 days early - long story…) and I think it might have changed my life. Seriously. It was so, so good. It’s sweet and felt good going down. Unlike other wines I’ve had before, it was truly tasty. I’m going to keep a bottle in my digs from now on.

Reed Diffusers - My plan was to burn candles in every room where guests were going to be. I had several sweet smelling scented ones set aside for the occasion. But as I mentioned earlier, it was hot. Very hot. The extra heat coming from the fire on the candles had to go. Thank goodness I had a trusty reed diffuser on hand. I’ve been in love with these fragrant suckers for a minute. They’re sold practically everywhere so the options are enormous these days but you can always pick them up from trusty Target. (Mine were a freebie from work.) I also like the fact that they’re safer for people with babies or pets than candles.

A Thought - Provoking Conversation Starter - My 'Colored Only' sign Practically everyone had a comment about this sign which I purchased on For me, it’s a reminder of how things could be. Just to make sure I don’t stay at any pity parties too long.

In a few years, I just might be able to teach B.Smith a thing or two. HA!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

What about us?

There are a heap of topics I would like to blog on but they are simply going to have to wait. For one, they’re just not ready. They require a little more research or fleshing out and I’ve had a lot on my plate as of late. But before I went to bed, I had to write about something that has been on my mind for the last week or so. That something is actually a her named Nailah Franklin.

Now, you’re probably thinking: Isn’t this blog supposed to be about style? Yeah, it is. But I need to get this out. And I am unapologetic about it. See, I didn’t know Nailah, the 28 year-old pharmaceutical sales representative who was reported missing on September 18th. But like most of my girlfriends and I, she was quite career driven. She was financially savvy as well, having purchased two condos before she even reached the age of 30. I purchased my first piece of property last year and like all my girls who did so before me, I felt it was a significant accomplishment. Nailah was reported as being a loving auntie, always doting on her niece. Well, I spoil my nieces every chance I get. They are on a very short list of people in this world who love me unconditionally. For that alone I will do whatever is in my power for them. Like Nailah, I, like most women I know - have at least once dated a man who at some point made me feel uncomfortable. Whether it was borderline stalking or just taking the jealously thing a tad bit too far. Oh, and last but not least, Nailah Franklin is Black - just like me and most of my girlfriends.

See a pattern here? Nailah Franklin was missing for over a week until she was found dead last Thursday. Thrown away like a piece of trash. But unlike Lacy Peterson or that chick in Aruba - most of the world has already forgotten about her. Shucks, most folks outside of Chicago didn’t even know she was missing. And dammit, that ish hurts. It’s a painful reminder that if God forbid a similar incident occurred with myself or my friends, we’d go unnoticed too. Yeah, that really, really hurts.

In the words of Sojourner, 'Ain't I a woman?'

R.I.P. Nailah.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Fashion Conscious

It might take a while but I’m going somewhere with this folks, hang on…

Sometimes when I speak with friends who have careers that are socially more "aware" than mine, I get a little confused about my passion for all (more like most) things style and media related. Example? My boy KZ teaches math to high school kids in his native Newark, NJ and mentors teenage gang members after work. He does this despite knowing that he could easily earn more dough with his undergrad engineering and graduate degrees in psychology. Knowing this has, on occasion, made me pause about my own aspirations as an editor. Another example is the time I had what I thought was a particularly rough week at work prior to going on a road-trip with some girlfriends. Right before I started to rattle off how frustrated I was about this, that and the third at my own gig, I asked my girl MoMo - who happens to be a pediatrician - how work was going for her. At the time, she was finishing up her last year of residency and had been assigned to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. She proceeded to tell me that her unit lost three babies that week. She ended her story by explaining that the hardest part hadn’t even been the actual deaths (although that was obviously heartbreaking) but having to tell the parents that their child didn’t make it. Needless to say, I received a healthy dose of perspective and everything I was feeling about my magazine job felt really, really insignificant.

But sometimes, I am reminded that style goes much deeper than most of us give it credit for and even I am surprised at how powerful it can be. This happened to me twice recently. A couple weeks back I wore a Barack Obama tee shirt (with a pencil skirt and heels of course) to work. By lunch, I lost count of how many times someone commented on the shirt. Young and old, male and female - the shirt garnered quite a bit of attention. Now while I admit that I am not *exactly sure who I’m voting for at this point (I’m not educated enough about any of the candidates yet) I am so excited that Obama is even in the race. Every time I think about Bloody Sunday (Goggle it), especially because I have so much family in Selma, AL, my pride for Obama running just increases. I’m reminded of how far we’ve come and how far we have to go. My $20 tee shirt sparked up many thought-provoking conversations - ranging from universal healthcare to the war in Iraq. Yep, sure did.

The second epiphany was just last Thursday, September 20th. I, along with countless others, wore black in support of Mychal Bell and the other Jena Six members. Now, in NYC, wearing all black is as common as yellow taxicabs but on Thursday it meant so, so much more. It felt good to see folks on the subway, on the block and even in the boardroom taking a stand against injustice in their own way. My girl CM couldn’t pull an all black ensemble together so she tied a black bandana around one of her wrists. Whenever she explained what her homemade cuff was about, as she was forced to do throughout the day, she informed someone else about the case.

So, God didn’t see it fit for me to be a teacher or a doctor. I do what I do for a living because (most of the time) I truly love it. I didn’t design that Obama tee shirt nor did I put out the mandate for folks to wear black on Thursday. Still, I have found and will continue to find ways to give back what I can, when I can, to those who I can because it’s my style. And style goes way beyond clothes or profession. I guess we sometimes have to be reminded of what we already know.

*Though I’m not exactly sure who is getting my vote, I’m definitely leaning towards Obama. I’ve heard him speak live twice, most recently last month at the NABJ (National Association of Black Journalists) conference in Vegas. He was informative, charismatic and didn’t at all appear to be a talking head like so many politicians. For those who are fearful that he lacks enough experience for the president slot; he posed the question, ‘Where has experience gotten us the last seven years?’


Sunday, September 23, 2007

NY Fashion Week Re-cap, Part Dos & Tres

I decided to combine my final takes of NY S/S ’08 Fashion Week. Like to read it, here it go: (I’m sorry, I know that was corny.)

Places - This season, designers were inspired by lots of exotic locales like the Mediterrean, (Tracy Reese) Cannes (Kimora Lee Simmons) and ‘Under the Volcano' (Diane von Furstenberg). Normally this wouldn’t be such a big deal because designers say this practically every season about their spring collections. But it was different hearing and reading about these destinations this past fashion week because I actually have three friends who traveled to St. Tropez this year. None of them are millionaires. Granted, two were on a honeymoon (together) and the third was traveling for work. Still, the idea of affordable luxury has now translated to travel and I’m loving it! I even heard someone call St. Barths the new South Beach recently. Ha. I don’t know about all that. But the thought of more working class folks branching out of traditional vacay spots is good stuff.

Sexy St. Tropez

Things - I noticed that lots of designers included asymmetrical necklines in their spring collections. Proenza Schouler, Carlos Miele and Cynthia Steffe incorporated this neckline into their designs. Digs it. A lot. It looks new again. The asymmetrical trend made it onto the runways via hair as well. Anna Sui’s models rocked it with these funky wigs. Told y’all Kelis was ahead of her time.

The empire waist was much less prevalent; making room for lots of belted skirts and dresses. A la the ‘sexy secretary’ look.

Also saw a lot of black and white.

The dress with pockets trend of this past spring/summer seems to be carrying over as well…

Fashion week ended with a gripping panel discussion moderated by Bethann Hardison on the absence of Black models on the runway. The big dogs definitely came out. Naomi Campbell, Andre Leon Talley, Iman, Liya Kebede and Tracey Reese were all in attendance. I really wish I could have been there because it was indeed history. Imagine all that talent in one room! However, in speaking with a friend who did attend, I learned that the conversation led many to fondly reminisce about days gone past when the Black model was all the rage. But, I personally think it was just a sign of the times. During the 1970’s - on the heels of the civil-rights movement, the peak of the women’s lib movement - it may have seemed that the Black model was being celebrated. We all saw Mahogany. But there is a huge difference between being a novelty and being truly appreciated. In order to change things in the multi-billion dollar industry of fashion, one must have power. I will simply end with this. NYC Fashion Week began two days early this season; just in time for Rosh Hashanah. Who do you think is running things?

Sunday, September 16, 2007

NY Fashion Week Re-cap, Part Uno

The Spring/Summer 2008 NY ‘Shows’ officially began on Wednesday, September 4th. Twice a year, NYC welcomes both national and international buyers, press, stylists and socialites to view collections of the next season. The Big Apple kicks things off, then the mayhem continues in London (although not nearly as many folks attend), Milan and Paris. This season I couldn’t help but chuckle to myself thinking about all of the different ways I have participated in various fashion week elements over the years. While studying at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) I often volunteered to be a dresser backstage during the shows. Eventually I even got paid for it. I’ve been a dresser both here in NY and in London. I’ve worked with publicists to collect RSVPs and plan seating charts (that was beyond stressful - the politics!), I’ve worked with publicists to check attendees in as well (yeah, I had a clipboard and everything), I’ve assisted a designer in putting on her own fashion week showroom presentation and lastly I’ve covered the shows as a journalist. Well, after all of that, I still get excited during fashion week. The anticipation of discovering a promising new line or even appreciating the talent of old faves truly gets ‘ole Bsquared a little pumped. But what I don’t enjoy is the celebrity circus that NY Fashion Week has become. Call me jaded but, I don’t attend shows to gawk at celebs in the front row - I go to see the clothes and observe the hair and make-up trends. I certainly understand why the celebs are there, but when is enough going to be enough?

This season I didn’t get to attend very many shows at all because my paying gig had me quite busy over the last week and a half. Writing blogs is fun but mama likes her 401k more. And honestly, I didn’t get invited to very many either. That’s the truth, Ruth. But, based on what I did see, hear and read, I’m giving my take on the people, places and things that were memorable from S/S ’08 NY Fashion Week.
We’re gonna start things off with people. Oh, but first I have to mention that I was a cheesin’ fool after meeting Robin Givhan of the Washington Post outside the tents the second day of fashion week. We had spoken on the phone (I interviewed her for a story.) but never actually met in person. Robin is the first person to win a Pulitzer Prize for fashion criticism and just happens to be a Black woman. Meeting her and getting the chance to catch up in person really made my day. Oh, oh, oh and I also had the opportunity to interview Alek Wek for another blog (For church and state reasons, I can’t name the other blog here…) which was dope. It was a very impromptu situation but I was pumped. I had been in Alek’s presence before (as a dresser back in late 90’s) but it was a delight to finally meet her. Alek’s accomplishments as a model, entrepreneur and now author are certainly admirable. But, I have so much respect for how she always pays homage to her deceased father. So I guess I do get excited over more than the clothes - just not the folks that appear in US Weekly and In Touch…

On to the real good stuff! Below are the peeps that raised more than a few eyebrows during NY’s recent S/S ’08 shows…

The People Pleaser: Harriette Cole

Her creative director seat at Ebony magazine is barely warm but Harriette Cole already has the fashion and publishing industries buzzing. In less than a year, she’s turned Ebony from a bit of a snore to a must-read. Who can forget the July issue with no cover images, no salacious coverlines, just the question: ‘Who you calling a …?’ Genius. Trust me, in the publishing industry, that takes a lot of balls. Even with her outstanding credentials: best-selling author, fashion and then lifestyle director at Essence, columnist for The New York Daily News, Editor in Chief of Uptown - what she created within the pages of the September 2007 issue of Ebony is nothing short of remarkable. Clearly, I’m not alone in this thinking because Harriette was honored in a fete at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on September 5th. My girl Alek Wek, Andre Leon Talley, Tracy Reese and even Cicely Tyson attended to show their support. Harriette, I can’t wait to see what’s next!

More Than A Trophy: Alexis Phifer

Alexis Phifer is the designer/creator of the up and coming Ghita label. She’s also engaged to hip-pop star Kayne West. Last week was her NY Fashion Week debut. Now before we go comparing her to Kai Milla, Kimora Lee Simmons and Rachel Roy (who are all quite talented - for different reasons- in their own right) it is important to note that Ms. Phifer did (reportedly) attend design school years before even meeting the Louis Vuitton Don. Her Ghita line is sold in Henri Bendel. (I’ve always appreciated Bendels for taking chances on new designers.) Is she reaping some benefits through her relationship to Kayne? Absolutely. But, from what I have seen thus far, her stuff is sexy, tasteful and wearable. My fave designers include Tracy Reese, Alice Temperley and Catherine Malandrino so I’m definitely a sucker for feminine and detailed frocks. A fashion stylist friend attended the show and had this to say. "The collection was [primarily] Grecian style dresses, with a lil' PVC detail to trick it out and futuristic inspired accessories." Of course, designing is only the beginning. Production and distribution are another and those are the areas where so many new designers drop the ball. I’m sure loads of retailers are now interested in carrying the line so the pressure is on for Ghita to perform. Time will tell. In the meantime, I’m happy to see a sister doing her thing.

Model Behavior: Sabina Karlsson

The moment I saw her begin the Cynthia Steffe show I thought to myself, ‘Who is she?’ Well, she is Sabina Karlsson. She hails from Sweden and apparently was a final contestant on Sweden’s Next Top Model. She has a massive amount of frizzy, red hair that just won’t stop. She also has freckles, and a full nose and full lips. She is not skinny to the point of looking emaciated. She is someone I expect to see a lot more of - both on the runways and in print. In addition to Cynthia Steffe, she walked in the Abaeté, Heatherette and Tracy Reese shows. Mark my words, Sabina Karlsson is one to watch.

Sunday, September 9, 2007


Happy NYC Fashion Week!

This post is the first of many on a super-duper fly guy or gal; revealing (what else?) their favorite people, places and things. That's right, every month, PPT will uncover the style recipe of a different individual through
9 Questions For...

Who better to kick things off than Michaela Angela Davis? This District of Columbia native (North West to be exact) has brought her unique (She'll pair a dashiki and stilettos to the office on a Monday.) style sensibility to the pages of a host of magazines including Essence, Honey, New York, Vanity Fair and Vibe. She's dressed folks like Mary J. Blige and Diana Ross. Presently, Ms. Davis is hard at work as a board member for Black Girls Rock! Inc. This non-profit mentoring organization was established for young women of color to help build their self-esteem and self-worth. PPT caught up with the self-proclaimed urbanista before she jetted off to South Africa Fashion Week. (Yeah, Bsquared was jealous too.) Read on to find out why you shouldn't sleep on, how similiar b-boys are to MLK, Jr. and why your next vacation could happen a lot sooner than you planned.

PPT: Who are your fave people?
MAD: Martin Luther King, Jr. because even when he was being arrested, he still looked dapper and dignified. Folks who aren’t afraid to be who they are from Shirley Chilsom to Miles Davis to the hip-hop pioneers in the early 1980s in the South Bronx.

PPT: Where are your fave places?
MAD: Marakesh, Morocco. It seems like everything in me got right when I went there. It is like the center of the earth. I like places where cultures converge. But there are still a lot of places in the world left for me to see.

PPT: What are your fave things?
MAD: If I was only allowed to have one thing, I think it would have to be something alive. Like some sort of flower. So it would probably be lily of the valley or hydrangea. But, I don’t know -- I might have to have a pair of Christian Louboutins. Like the 6-inch [heel] joints just so I could remember what it feels like to be sexy. [laughs]

PPT: What’s been your biggest splurge?
MAD: Last year I purchased a pair of Azzedine Alia thigh high boots at retail. Even though I own things that were gifts that are more valuable like artwork, those have probably been my most expensive purchase. Still paying for them as a matter of fact.

PPT: Now, how about your ultimate budget find?
MAD: I got the Jean-Paul Goude Jungle Fever book for $60 on when I had just seen it at a gallery for $850 two days before! I thought a zero was missing [from the price]. The book has all these great pictures in it of Grace Jones and Tookie Smith when they were his muses.

PPT: What’s the last book you read?
MAD: Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome: America’s Legacy of Enduring Injury and Healing by Joy Degruy Leary. I like her - she’s cool.

PPT: Who are you listening to?
MAD: Recently, a lot of feel good, old-school happy music. Like Sly [and The Family Stone] and Stevie [Wonder]. But my song of the summer is Make Me Better by Fabolous and Ne-Yo. Finally there’s a song that is loving towards women from young guys. I guess I’m interested in being happy.

PPT: Your last vacay was to (not work related)?
MAD: Yesterday when I meditated. I really felt like I had transported myself somewhere quiet and serene. And I can go there for free. I’ve got frequent flier miles! [laughs]

PPT: What’s your definition of style?
MAD: When you make choices that are uninfluenced by anything other than your own self. When what you wear, what you eat, where you live, what you read, what you listen to is all the truth of who you say you are. People with real style are making choices closest to their own chest.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

And a child shall lead them.

Have a childlike (not childish!) approach to life, think laterally and always be curious, observant and optimistic. And treat everyone with the same consideration, whether it’s a student or a famous person. That definitely comes back in a good way.

- Fashion designer (one of my faves) Paul Smith, Domino magazine, August 2007 issue

Cough it up to all the inescapable ‘Back to School’ promotions but over the last week I’ve been fascinated with children and their effortless approach to style. (I also baby-sat my two year-old goddaughter yesterday and now have a deep and sincere appreciation for pre-school teachers everywhere.) Earlier this week, one of my co-workers brought her five year-old daughter, Little Miss N, to the office. Not only is this kid ridiculously smart (How many five year-olds can converse with adults about The Arc de Triomphe?) but she still has the sweet innocence that we love children so much for (She draws pictures for her mom’s co-workers so we can proudly hang them around the office.) Well, during this recent visit, Little Miss N was even more jovial than usual because she had just gotten her ears pierced. Talk about excited. The earrings were pink (she seems to love pink) and all was right in her little world. Her style has already begun to form and although it will undoubtedly evolve over the years, she is truly in tune with what she does and doesn’t like to wear. And for reasons that have virtually nothing to do with what celebrity wore what designer to the last red-carpet soiree. That is definitely fascinating to me. Here we are with all these degrees and life experience yet everyone still wants to look like everyone else.

I’d like to end with a little piece (read below) I wrote a while back for a writing class I took at NYU. It just seemed to work perfectly with this post. By the way, I internally debated posting about this topic for the past couple of days because it seemed too obscure for blog that is supposed to be about style. But then I tapped into my inner-child and decided to do what I wanted. Because I wanted. I hope whoever reads this blog enjoys the piece but if not, it’s okay. It makes me happy just to share it. Oh, Little Miss N will be so proud of me.

"Let’s go. You’re gonna make Mommy late!" This was a frequent plea from my mother to my toddler ears. The reason is surprising to most. Typical culprits for stealing a child’s attention: cartoons, playdo and the like didn’t factor in. During this time of my life, I didn’t go very far without my navy blue Minnie Mouse pocketbook. The purse was pretty basic in it’s design, about what one would expect a three year old to carry. The front of the purse was Minnie’s plastic face and the remaining parts of the bag were canvas. I was not a huge fan of the Disney character. In fact, I probably couldn’t have cared any less about whose picture was on it. My bag did however exhibit my individual style, something that was and still is very important to me. Perhaps very few others in the toddler set carried the bag or maybe it coordinated well with my Osh Kosh ensembles at the time. Whatever the reasons were, I did not go on many outings without it. Once an older cousin asked, "What do you have in your purse?" With dignity I answered, "Tissues and Chapstick." While the contents of my Minnie Mouse pocketbook may have seemed insignificant, I found it absolutely necessary to have my bag with me at all family gatherings or wherever my toddler social calendar took me. To this day, accessories are still one of the most important elements of style to me. And to think, it all began with a Minnie Mouse pocketbook.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Me and My Boyfriend

I’m always dressing my pretend boyfriend in my head. Although I’m presently single, in my mind I constantly put the stylish men’s things I come across in save for my imaginary beau. I often say to myself, that would look so good on tk - journalism speak for ‘to come’. I know that seems nuts but I’m sure I’m not alone in this. Go figure. Anywho, when discovering the designs of Omar, the creative mastermind behind a men’s clothing line of the same name, I definitely had one of those moments. I envisioned explaining to TK the wonderful world of bespoke tailoring, putting him on to the likes of Ozwald Boateng before introducing him to the next installation of this artform stateside - courtesy of Omar. See, Omar is for the dude who isn’t quite comfortable with the snug trousers that Boateng creates and might be a tad bit thrown off by his bright, unconventional color combinations. Yet, he recognizes his talent and is beginning to outgrow the notion that a button-up + hard bottom shoes = formal. He understands that expert tailoring is truly a gift and that classic, timeless clothing is an investment.

Omar’s price points are, well… Omar’s stuff is probably expensive to the average working-class guy. But it is a high-end luxury line so the prices are relative. (Suits start at $1,200.) Omar carries everything from outerwear, denim, suits, separates; even ties and pocket squares. And the details on an Omar garment are bananas. The contrast linings (think Paul Smith - dang, I really do have a thing for Brit designers), exquisite fabric selections and unique top-stitching. Omar provides the type of quality clothing that will last a lifetime so there is no question that these threads are worth the dough. Now those trendy, multi-colored hoodies with random logo prints that retail for a few hundred dollars? Not so much. Omar’s clothes are certainly memorable as I first learned of this line well over a year ago (yeah, I’ve been single for a minute) and I’m still saving this find for Mr. TK. Guess some things truly are worth the wait.

Look for Omar at the N Boutique in Harlem (a true find in itself) or hit up his website directly at

(Blogger is still giving me a fit with these links! I think I should get my 10 year-old goddaughter to help me... Please bear with me in the meantime folks.)