The Basic Black Tank

A white tank looks right at the gym and for casual outings, but a black one can be worn with everything from khakis to a cocktail skirt. Wear it for a night on the town or to your favorite summer music festival or even just while running errands. The basic black tank, very similar to the little black dress, is one of the most versatile pieces you will ever own.

The simple variety of cut and style offerings are one of the main reasons that the black tank is all the more classic and chic. Whether leather, cotton, cropped, sheer, racer back, spaghetti strap, or low-cut back, you'll be able to style this piece with just about anything in your wardrobe. Great tanks can be found just about anywhere from Forver21 to Zara to American Apparel to T by Alexander Wang. To keep your closet well stocked and ready, check out retailers and get your own tanks here.

source 1, 2, 3, 4

Nickelson Wooster [STYLE ICON]

While magazine editorials are often fun and whimsical, my greatest source of inspiration is often found in seeing the styling efforts of the person walking down the street. Street style is this pretty amazing intersection of fashion as an art and fashion as a practicality. I love to see how people pair the high and low in an attempt express who they are. It's a magical process!

I started following street style blogs back in 2005. I got my fashion voyeurism fix from seeing quietly known fashion insiders or creative persons often depicted on the pages of The Sartorialist and Stockholm Street Style. For as long as I could remember, I kept seeing pictures of this one silver haired gentlemen with impeccably tailored suits. From New York to Milan to Paris to London, the photographers loved him and always felt the need to display his style.

It wasn't until I got a Tumblr account a few years back did the face finally get a name. Dubbed the "alpha male of street style" by GQ, Nick Wooster is, literally, THE most influential and creative individual behind men's street style. He has worked with nearly every single iconic label and retailer, including Ralph Lauren, Thom Browne, Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy’s, Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, and Barneys. Most recently, he became the creative director at JCPenney, bringing in collaborations with major fashion houses and improving the quality and style of clothing offered by the retailer before exiting that post in April 2013. Any male who has bought clothing from a major retailer in the past 20 years has, essentially, purchased something Nick Wooster picked out for you. His taste is magnificent.

To me, his hair and beard are a major part of his signature look - short tousled silver hair, medium beard, and a curated handlebar mustache. He is a fellow camo aficionado and has been spotted in everything from full camo suits to camo scarves. He favors classic, impeccable tailoring with slacks often having a shorter, ankle skimming hem (the way the Italians prefer as to display the sickening shoes, of course). And he is not afraid to dress up shorts with blazers and ties during warmer months.

My personal aesthetic is neither traditional girly or edgy or boho; I describe my style as fearless. I will wear pretty much anything as so long as I like it and compliments my shape. Hell, I've even worn things I didn't like just because I was curious to see if I could really pull it off. Nick Wooster, to me, is fearless in that same sense. He has very distinct silhouettes he prefers but, when it comes to the flexibility of the garment, he is not afraid to experiment with color, patterns, prints, texture, length, or accessories. As a bonus  his myriad of tattoos offer a captivating and unexpected twist to his classic look. After seeing him photographed in suits for a few years, I was actually taken aback the first time I saw a picture of him in a short sleeve shirt with his full sleeves out. And, by "taken aback", I mean full on "swoon". 

My favorite Nickelson Wooster pic will forever be:
Clean and classic menswear but that subtle display of his tattoo brings a personal edge. It speaks so loudly and proclaims his style perfectly, don't you think?

To keep up with Nick Wooster and his amazing street style, check out his personal site or this fan appreciation Tumblr page.

sources 1, 2, 3, 4

MexiCali Blues

Last week, I ventured out to Virginia for lunch with my co-workers. I had never heard of Mexicali Blues but everyone in my party ranted and raved about how spectacular the place was so I was pretty excited.

Located on a quaint corner of Wilson Blvd in Arlington, this restaurant is simply captivating to behold. From the moment I saw those pink walls, expansive patio, and cactus plants littered all through the windows, I knew I'd be back. I'm a very big fan of the "hole-in-wall" type of eatery; open spaces, cozy environment, and great food is all I require. Mexicali Blues definitely has all three.

Hemmed as "...the most authentic Mexican and Salvadoran cooking this side of the Rio Grande", the food and dining experience definitely lived up to that review. Chips and fresh pico de gallo were constantly brought out and refilled from the moment we were seated. I ordered the guacamole appetizer and almost got so full that I thought I wouldn't make it to my meal! The guacamole was made fresh and featured a delicious blend of spicy blend lemon, onion, tomato, and serrano pepper. It was probably some of the best guacamole I've had in a while. I ordered the Fish Tacos Baja Style, which featured "char-grilled, marinated tilapia topped with guacamole, picante sour cream and marinated cabbage salad" with a side of rice and black beans. The unexpected flavor pairings of the fish, avocado, and cabbage was really, really scrumptious. I'd definitely recommend this meal to anyone visiting for the first time.

If you're ever in the DMV (Washington,DC/Maryland/Virginia) area and are looking for a superb and affordable Mexican-style eatery, definitely check out Mexicali Blues! Their lunch, dinner, and happy hour are well worth the trip.

Mexicali Blues
2933 Wilson Blvd
Arlington, VA 22201
(703) 812-9352

Street Art | E. King

Heading into the office, I walked past an artist silently listening to his headphones and working away on a piece of canvas. I initially just walked by but, after catching a glimpse of a striking Statue of Liberty piece, I turned back around and decided to see what else he had in store. I didn't have cash on me and wasn't expecting to purchase anything but I figured I could get his contact info and purchase something later. We chatted for a few minutes about his work and goals and I learned that he didn't have a website or business card. He was actually working on this piece when I walked up to him and, since I loved the concept so much, I stood and waited for him to finish it. I'm pretty diligent.

I love supporting the arts, especially local artists. Outside of his "E King" signature and numbering of his pieces, I have no clue who this gentleman was or how to get in contact with him but... I really enjoyed his work. I know he'll be in Miami later on this month putting on his first showcase so I pray that goes wonderfully well. 

I can't wait to put this up on my wall.

Solange | Complex Cover + Trouble

“Don’t you ever, ever bend or break because of who you are.” - Miss Bethann, 
Solange Knowles' Fourth Grade Teacher

Our favorite covers the June/July 2013 cover of Complex Magazine! Photographed by JUCO, Solange looks effortlessly beautiful and radiant in the sizzling summery shots for the cover story.

The issue goes on sale in June but too see more pictures and read the full story for Solange's journey into becoming our favorite authentic indie artist, click here.

Solange dropped the full version of the standout track "Looks Good With Trouble" from her True EP today. The song features a surprise guest verse from Kendrick Lamar. Stream and buy below!

'How To Take A Truly Amazing Picture' by Refinery 29

I feel like I've been doing the same two one pose in all my pictures since the age of 3. Smile, head slightly tilted, and one hand on waist. Head tilt angles may slightly vary and degree of smile may fluctuate but I pretty much look a great deal the same (minus different clothes offerings, of course) in most of my pictures. Its all so very third grade and, because I always look awkward and no where near glamorous when I attempt the Beyonce-bent-hand pose, I still do it. 

I feel like there is a certain science to always photographing well and I have yet to master it. Its a cold world out there.

Because I have yet to reach the point of existence where Iyanla needs to fix my life, I figured I'd strick out on my own and research proper posing etiquette (don't judge me). I ran across some great tips from Refinery29 and thought I'd share. Because, quite frankly, it takes a village...

Wear A Blue-Red LipstickThe right shade of lip color can make your teeth look whiter. Look for blue-red lipsticks, or dab on a sheer blue gloss over your regular color. Your smile will look instantly brighter. Magic!

Don't Do The TeapotWhile it may feel instinctual to put your hand on your hip to create a slender line with your arms, the pose can be a bit cheesy. Instead, keep your shoulders back, and hold you arms slightly bent and away from the body — same effect, without the Mrs. Teapot impersonation.

Sign Of The Cross — Popping a knee, while comfortable, can break up the length of your leg. To create an extended line, cross the ankles and point the toe at an angle creating catwalk-ready, long gams.

Loved the tips and I can't wait to use them so I can be great. To see the full list, check the story at Refinery 29 by clicking here.

"Once Upon a Time..." by Karl Lagerfeld

The designer turns director in this 15 minute period film. Set in the first Chanel store in Deauville, we get to see Gabrielle "Coco" (played by Kiera Knightly) interact with the chic ladies du jour and see the source of inspiration for some of her most iconic pieces. Check the full film below!

Style Diary: A Myriad of Things

My favorite worst outfit this year! 
I put together two things I hate wearing with two things I adore wearing and prayed in translated to something that made sense. 

I adore pleated skirts but think this one never fits me as well as I imagine. And, since I bought it in two colors, both skirts tend to stare at me mockingly every time I walk into my closet. I'm working on fixing us.

I have this thing where purple is my favorite color but I hate wearing it. Does anyone else suffer from a similar syndrome? Anyway, I've had this blouse for several years now but this is only the second time I've worn it... because it's purple and I always feel like I can't style in appropriately. 

I paired these two things with my leopard print belt that I, literally, live in and my favorite fuchsia fringe heels that I never give enough love. It was kinda scary there for a moment but I think this fashion story came out pretty well.

Punk Couture at the MET

The Costume Institute Gala, commonly known as the Met Ball or Met Gala, is an annual ball that celebrates the annual opening of the Metropolitan Museum's fashion exhibit at the Costume Institute. The annual affair has been held since 1948 (when the Costume Institute was founded) and is considered to be "the fashion world's best red carpet event". Hosted by Vogue and often regarded as the annual social event in NYC, celebrities, models, and socialites all arrive dressed to impress often the most avant garde and custom ethereal looks of year. This is the event where the designers really have the space to show their prowess and flaunt their favorite pieces.

The NY Mag Cover that almost made it

This spring, the Met's exhibit was entitled Punk: Chaos to Couture and looked to examine "punk's impact on high fashion from the movement's birth in the early 1970s through its continuing influence today". The show has over 100 pieces for men and women and displays the history of the punk movement in NYC and London as well as takes hold of the DIY aspect (such as hardware, destroyed, graffiti). Read a good review of the exhibit here

exhibit photos courtesy of Lurve Magazine
Staying in the theme the festivities and hoping to help celebrate the movement even further, Vogue asked all attendees to wear there best punk-inspired garb.  Personally, I looked forward to see how designers and stylists would combine the punk aesthetic with their signature look. Unfortunately, most designers failed horribly. 

I saw way more Fug than Fab and I was thoroughly disappointed. As I scrolled through the red carpet pics last night, I got more and more infuriated with each passing post. What were these designers thinking? Who styled this? A lot of my favorites really disappointed me either by a.) doing punk couture completely wrong by doing the utmost or b.) not even attempting to try the theme and just wearing customary stylings. At first I didn't even want to highlight all the wrong I saw but... I figure it's best to talk about it so we can move forward and away from this nightmare with as much sanity as possible. I just hope we all learn something from this experience.

Rooney Mara was the clear winner, to me, at the MET. Her sheer Givenchy gown with the dipper details, sleek hair, nude face, and dark lips accentuating her clear blue eyes were all together perfection. This was my favorite Riccardo Tisci creation on the red carpet.

The Fab.
Here are 20 of my favorite looks on the red carpet. I'm actually surprised I got to 20 because, at first, I only had about 5 looks. But, as I looked over the looks this morning, certain things jumped out at me in better light. And, yes, I'm talking about you Miley Cyrus and Nicole Richie.

Sienna Miller was pure perfection with the studded leather and crown to accentuate her flowy, virginal dress. I absolutely adore Anne Hathaway's blonde hair in the bouffant and her Valentino gown was divine. I hated her feathered wrists at first but they grow on me more with each passing photo. Miley's hair is initially the reason why I hated her look but it's perfectly punk now that I look at it. Same goes with Nicole. Even though she is reminiscent of a Russ Troll I love how she (and Miley) ran with this theme. And, their dresses were spectacular so I think the spots on this list are well-earned. Anja Rubik gave us classic 80s punk with the big hair and popped over-sized collar on her red leather minidress. I loved the chained detailing on the hem. Katy served London punk realness. I loved the crown, hair, and how her dress sorta of reminded me of wearing an over-sized t-shirt as a dress. Gavin and Gwen have been punk their whole lives; this show was about them. Christina Ricci's couture grunge punk dress was perfectly accentuated by those 1940s curls. I love that red hair on her. Nothing says anti-establishment like a big ass afro. While this look is definitely customary Solange... Solange is sorta punk when you think about it so... there really was no need for a change. Love the hemline of the Kenzo creation and Solo's divine earrings. She was definitely 70's glamour punk goddess. Cara Delevingne was my second best look. She embodies modern punk to me so I know she would look perfect tonight. My favorite part of her pic is the badass behind her in with the silver spray painted hair and latex dress. Who is that?

You all know I'm not a fan of this child but, my Jove, didn't Taylor Swift slay? The dark eyes, the half pulled back tousled hair, and that breathtaking J. Mendal dress? Kudos to whoever is styling her! Lily was classic punk couture - loved the wet hair with the pink tips. Her dress was so ginormous and I loved that it was tulle. I loved that she took the punk down even to her shoes. This is how to dress full on trend without looking dated or cheap (Yes, I'm talking to you, Beyonce). Ginnifer and Jessica looked great in their Tory Burch looks. I really loved Ginnifer's darken brow and bold I makeup. Stacey Kiebler in Rachel Roy was a definite hit as well. The studded details and the sheer panels were great. I almost didn't even recognize January Jones ... and that is exactly why she made the list. Her eye makeup was so daring! Chanel Iman was very punk princess cute to me and the same could be said about Kate Bosworth. I loved how she got the traditional studded mini dress in pink to make a bold statement. Tres chic indeed. I loved Joan Small in he Tom Ford look. I'm pretty obsessed about anything that comes from Tom Ford so I do admit there is a potential bias. Elizabeth Banks looked golden in her preppy interpretation of punk. I couldn't take my eyes off that dress.... or her fringe shoes. That was a great decision. Paloma Faith? Work, bitch. Just work!

not sure who she is but.. ABSOLUTELY YES! this is the punk i grew up seeing!

Honorable Mention
I thought these looks were great. I wanted them to be a little more punk. Well, in the case of some of these looks (yes, I'm speaking to you Jennifer Lawrence and Katie Holmes), a lot more punk. Kristen, Hailey, and Jennifer were all dressed for the wrong event. Don't get me wrong, they looked amazing... they just weren't punk. Miranda Kerr and Rita Ora were slightly punk but they played it too safe. I would have loved to see them step out more. SJP looked like classic Carrie Bradshaw but her hat was fierce. I loved Allison Williams' and Nina Debrov's dark looks but.. I just wanted a little bit more. I'm not sure what Mary-Kate was doing but I did enjoy it. Her homeless chic just works.

The Fug

  • When will Madonna start dressing her age?
  • Why did Vera Wang look sooo much better than Kerry Washington?
  • Ashley Greene was doing this Victorian Goth thing that didn't sit well with my stomach...
  • There is, literally, nothing good to be said about Kim Kardashian's custom Riccardo Tisci look except that she really needs to stop blindly wearing what Kanye tells her to wear. I love him but... no.
  • Beyonce was the worst dressed. I was utterly disappointed in her look. She looked exceedingly basic.  It is clear that she picked out the look based on the designer and not on the fact that it the ensemble is actually complimentary to her aesthetic. 
    • The top looks plastic and like it was purchased from 579
    • Her belt looks like she bought it from the beauty supply store.
    • Those boots were just ridiculously terrible. Nothing can fix those boots.
    • To hell with those gloves that match the skirt. I can't believe Riccardo got two people to do that foolishness.
    • Her hair styling and makeup choice looked too fresh and au naturale; it didn't mesh with the storyboard of the clothes at all. 
    • If she would have worn a slick, dark, long ponytail with dramatic lashes ... I think those two decisions alone would have greatly lifted her look. The silhouette of the dress is nice so maybe it is the flame detailing that is too distracting?
    • I have so may issues with this look.
    • You know what? If Beyonce Giselle Knowles-Carter had worn a slick, dark high long ponytail and black thigh high boots with stud detailing on the heels, this outfit would have been so much better. Or maybe even keeping the studs off the heels and wearing a diamond studded choker instead. Even if she kept the gloves, the look would have translated so much better. I just... Beyonce made me sad.

Well... now you have my rundown. What's your take? What did you love? What did you hate?

Juxtapose | A Fashion & Photography Exhibit

"Just a couple blocks from the Metro Station", I thought to myself as I exited the train. "I should get there in no time..." 

It was my first time getting off at the NoMa-Gallaudet Metro Station and, thanks to all the different pockets of renovations in the District, I had no clue what to expect once I took the escalator down the stairs and walked out into the city. Urban renewal changed barren land and abandoned warehouses to organic grocers, luxury apartments, restaurants, banks, and other small businesses. I was excited to see the lively and quaint neighborhood that is the recently established NoMa. But, as I continued to pass block after block, I started seeing more and more rustic brownstones and less and less businesses. The only thing that ran through my mind was...

"I better not be walking into someone's home"

And, thankfully, I didn't. Instead, I was introduced to the beautiful Ulysses Room, a beautiful and dramatic art studio exhibition showroom loft space nestled off North Capitol.

photo courtesy of The President Wears Prada
Stylist Bianca Cerise teamed up with photographer Jamon Johnson for the beautifully executed and curated Juxtapose Art Exhibit. The artists displayed a moving contrast of  dreamy and ethereal with edgy darkness through a carefully selected collection of photographs.   

The models big soft hair was contrasted by dark, moody makeup that unified all the photographs in the collection. Chains and brooding black were softened by pillow clouds, vibrant blue skies, silently flowing waters. The ambivalent cool of leather and wool wear was re-envisioned through multi-colored textured rock and the stillness of barren trainyard. Fur and flowy frocks highlighted by an edgy faux-hawk and brick backgrounds.

Congrats to Bianca and Jamon for a beautiful exhibit and fun-filled night! It was great seeing and meeting a few new folks. Glad I got to meet and exchange a few words with Bianca; she has a great spirit. I can't wait to see what future projects these two come out with next. Check out Bianca on Twitter or Instagram and Jamon on Instagram for more access to their work and projects.

I'm glad I got to experience the uber-exclusive District Art Scene for a moment. It was definitely awesome :)