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.)

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Got style?

"I wish I had the money for style like that."
Actress Leighton Meester on her character Blake Lively.

Blake Lively is one-third of the trio that is sure to have America mesmerized this fall on the prime-time hopeful of CW, ‘Gossip Girl’. The show, which will undoubtedly be one of my idiot box guilty pleasures, chronicles the lives of three NYC socialites in the making. These are the types who have coming out parties that W mag covers, attend schools like Spence and go shopping in Dubai. Think an east coast version of the O.C. but snootier. Well, I’ll be tuning in partly because I am interested in watching what clothes the characters are wearing and how they are wearing them. I admit it doggonit. However, I also like to watch what people are wearing on 125th Street in Harlem. Real talk. After reading the above quote that appeared in this Wednesday’s Women’s Wear Daily, (the bible of the fashion industry) I was a bit surprised. Very surprised actually because I really did think that by now, folks got that big money doesn’t equal big style. C’mon, we’ve all seen highly paid actors and actresses on the red carpet looking a hot mess and we all have that aunt, cousin or neighbor who stays pulled together fiercely on her way to work at the post office. If I knew Leighton, I would put her on to a few things. Maybe her publicist reads this blog and will deliver the message for me? (Yeah, I didn’t think so either.)

Usually, style, enviable style is based on instinct. Still, these are a few things I’ve picked up from stylish guys and gals over the years. And none of them had coming out parties or shop in Dubai.

1 - Know what looks good on you.
Once you learn that wrap dresses are a flattering silhouette on your hourglass figure or that emerald green compliments your cocoa skin-tone, it all becomes a lot easier.

2 - If you take care of your clothes, they will take care of you.
Okay, I got this one from my southern mother. It seems like a no-brainer but so many people don’t do it. Wash the whites with the whites and the colors with the colors. If laundry isn’t your thing, send your clothes to the dry-cleaners. Oh and if you’re not gonna do the dry-cleaning thing, invest in an iron or steamer. It makes a world of difference - trust.

3 - Wear the size that fits and stop obsessing over the physical number.
Self-explanatory. Calvin Klein’s 6 is not the same size as Banana Republic’s 6 anyway.

4 - A tailor is your friend.
If everything you wear always fits perfectly off the rack then skip to number 5. That’s rarely the case for any of us. Men understand the importance of a tailor, women are late to the game. The way a pant leg breaks at the top of a shoe when it is just the right length? Sick.

5 - Start with a good foundation.
This one is just for the ladies. The right undergarments are key to ensuring everything else falls and lays the way you ultimately want it to. Bumps and lumps are distracting. One last word: Spanx.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

The Hair Diaries

Jeez. The weight we carry with our hair. It is heavy, heavy, heavy. While I certainly understand the historical events that led to the psychological impact hair has had on Black women or women of African descent (which generally includes Latin/South American women as well) it still baffles me from time to time. I myself made a comment about my girl crush Gabby's weave on this here blog that some might strongly disagree with. Let's face it, people have been having this discussion for decades. Recall last post when I reminded everyone that a woman is never just one thing? Well, clearly a lot of folks still haven’t received that memo. Straight, long hair (particularly if it’s a weave) means one is superficial; empty even. Twists, afros, and the like signify a strong sense of self-pride. And locks? Lock wearers are bona fide righteous, card carrying ‘I know everything about the motherland’ sistas.

Well guess what? I have met my share of empty, superficial lock wearers. And I know some folks with relaxed hair that can teach a college course on the African diaspora. More often than not, a woman changes her hair in conjunction with what is going on in her life and I have found this to be true with females of all races. I have been ‘natural’ (meaning there has been no permanent chemical processing on my strands) for over seven years. However, I’ve been blowing my hair out or pressing it for the past year or so. I just got bored. Occasionally I will still rock it twisted and kinky - depends on how I feel. I am presently eyeing a braided style (haven’t had braids in a minute) for the fall and once I’m sick of those I’ll probably cut it. But I’m still Bsquared. Scared of pigeons, Nasir Jones lovin’, calligraphy writing, always looking for a bargain, magazine junkie B. Despite all those hairstyles, who I am doesn’t change.

The too fly for words Sonia Sanchez reminded me and many others of this last week in NYC’s Central Park. She recently chopped off her locks. Ms. Sanchez noticed that while it was a significant difference in her appearance, the reactions she received from her peeps were overwhelming. Good, bad or indifferent, everyone had so much to say about her new 'do. Ms. Sanchez pointed out that its a shame people don’t pay nearly as much attention to eyes, lips or even knees. (Really think about that...)

I am the first to admit that self-hatred, particularly as it relates to self image is very damaging. Crippling even. I cringe every time I hear someone speak the words ‘good hair’. Like it’s not 2007 and we don’t know any better. (Thank goodness my father never allowed me say that.) Our hair should never, ever define us. Rather, we define our hair - in ALL it’s many variations. Now my great-aunt Marion in Chatham County, North Carolina is not going to stop saying ‘good hair’. Bless her heart. But let’s not allow another generation to stay limited to archaic notions about that stuff that grows from the top of our heads.

We’re much too fly for that.

Bsquared’s Note: I have some exciting, service-driven, ‘news you can use’ type stuff coming down the pike but I just had to post this ‘cuz it was on my mind.