An Anecdote on Black Girl Beauty

Illustrator: Nicholle Kobi
I had a really interesting, albeit random, experience at a party a few weeks ago.

As I was walking to the bar, this woman grabs my shoulder, turns me around, and squeals "Oh my goodness! You're gorgeous!". I'm a little taken aback by the outburst but I smile, tell her thank you and go to turn back around and grab the bartender's attention. She stops me again.

"I saw you walking out the bathroom earlier and was taken aback. You're really pretty and... you kind of look like me. Looking at you made me think maybe I could be pretty too.."

I stood there frozen. In front of me stood a woman with toasted almond skin, jet black hair that was styled in bouncing curls that danced around her clavicles, and sparkles of light and warm charisma behind her big brown eyes. How did she not see her pretty?

Moments like this make me wish I were a more quick witted individual because I'm sure my silence extended over into awkwardness. But, truthfully, I really didn't know how to react. I couldn't understand why she didn't not recognize her pretty nor could I understand why looking at ME inspired her believe her beauty could be possible. To be quite frank, I've never been one to think too much into my appearance. I like my face, my family likes my face, and the men I have interest in tend to like my face but I'm definitely not the girl that gets generally fawned over. So, it was a bit weird, to be called out on that.

Anyway, I chuckled, told her she was far too kind, remarked that she was absolutely beautiful and I'm humbled that she thought my looks were on par with her's. She smiled, took a sip of her drink, and turned back to her friends.

I don't know if that was the appropriate thing to say but.. I hope it helped.

I hate when black girls, especially older dark skin girls, don't see their beauty. We all know the literature surrounding the why this issue continues to persist (i.e. colorism, lack of representation, lack of affirmation, hypersexualization, negative stereotypes, etc) but it still strikes a certain nerve in me when I see the doubt there. I remember living through that angst and its something I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. I always prayed that it was something others did not tussle with.

Its one thing to struggle with self-acceptance at thirteen but its whole other beast to be tormented with doubt and self-worth in your twenties and thirties. I'm a firm believer that the feelings of unease only get compounded the older you get, thus making it that much more trying to work through. This journey to self-love that far too many of my melaninated sisters have to go through in our lives is the worst kind of birthright. I wish the narrative was different, for our sake and especially for the next generation.

I keep replaying this scenario in my mind over and over again. I wish I would have responded better.

Nevertheless, feel free to affirm dark skin girls today outside of the usual realm of hypersexualization and fetishization. Avoid the "you're pretty for a black girl" and appreciate her for who she is period. Remind her that she is beautiful, that she is loved, that she valued, and that she is enough.

Do this exercise tomorrow. And the day after that. Help them to see the beauty that you see. Let's uplift those around us until they are strong enough to hold themselves up. It will be appreciated.


Wardrobe Essentials Every Woman Needs

One thing I've always aspired is a a carefully curated closet. The older I get, the more particular I become in regards to what I wear, how I style myself, and what brands I invest my coin in. Also, I'm really just tired of the laundry.

I've found myself listening to the Myleik Teele's MyTaughtMe podcasts and have been greatly inspired by her discussions of money management, savings, and the importance of cost-per-wear. There is a certain wisdom to investing in higher quality pieces that offer true longevity (albeit them being more expensive) pieces instead constantly purchasing lower end/lower quality items over and over and over again. These lower quality pieces that constantly need to be re-purchased - or a barely worn because the low costs equates to low value - will, slowly but surely, bite a bigger portion of your wallet than it initially seemed. Just get a pair the Nike Tech Fleece sweats instead of 6 pairs of Old Navy and Target sweats bought on sale and barely worn. Because, one the the higher price tag will do is definitely drive you to wear the pieces.

After reading Elizabeth Suzann discuss her pricing model for her brand (and the very insightful follow up interview on Racked on changes in consumerism practices in fashion), I've decided to double down on my efforts to curate my closet. So I'm clearing out my closet of the unused/barely worn items and vowing to make better use of the quality pieces I do own. In my quest to make sure I do have the best pieces in my wardrobe, I ran across this amazing list of "Essentials" compiled by What Do I Wear. Check it out! Let's work smarter and not harder!

The Coveteur | Miranda Kerr

  1. Black Leather Jacket - goes with everything, plus makes any outfit look awesome and instantly more stylish.
  2. Black + Grey Blazer - another wardrobe staple, but a little lighter and more dressed up than the leather jacket.
  3. Tan Well Fitted Trench Coat - the ultimate feminine coat
  4. Denim Jacket - a more casual version than the leather jacket
  5. Black Midi Skirt - essential and easy to throw on with another basic piece 
  6. LBD - a proper length, and a well fitting black dress
  7. Black Ruffled Mini Skirt + Printed Skirt - sexy with heels and perfect with Birks. Worn with Converse and opting out for boots is another option. 
  8. Slouchy Silk Pants - one of the most comfy but dressed up pants to own.
  9. Black Suit Pants/Trouser pants - an ongoing favorite 
  10. Boyfriend Jeans - plus your boyfriends knit, a sneaker or sandal

  11. The Coveteur | Monica Rose

  12. Basic Skinny Jeans - for that perfect little getaway of all black everything.
  13. White Skinny Jeans - clean and simple
  14. Maxi Skirt - in silk, chiffon, wool.. simply perfection
  15. Leather Shorts - perfection
  16. Vintage Levi’s Denim Shorts - for hot lazy days 
  17. White, Grey, Navy + Black T-Shirts - the inevitable basics.
  18. White Beach Cover-Up - need I say more?
  19. White + Black Silk Shirts - in the same inevitable basics category as all the t-shirts
  20. Light Blue Cotton Shirt - for when you want the mannish chic and dress up like a boy.
  21. Flannel Plaid Shirt - over sized and comfortable for any casual outfit

  22. The Coveteur | Tracee Ellis Ross

  23. Houndstooth Sweater or Blazer - for a subtle touch of a trend 
  24. Black Oversized Knit - a good throw-on for when it gets colder
  25. Heeled Sandals - for events/dinners/date night outs
  26. Black/Creme or White Converse - for airplanes, shopping and running errands.
  27. Black ankle Boots with a little heel - the ultimate everyday shoe
  28. Black Birkenstocks - for comfort
  29. Leopard/cheetah printed loafer - they go just as well with boyfriend jeans as they do with skinny’s.
  30. Sneakers - for street wear or running 
  31. Black Shoulder Bag - giving in to that ‘it’ or trend bag of the season
  32. Black Everyday Bag - for when a bigger bag is needed

  33. The Coveteur | Gaia Repossi

  34. Carry-All Pouch - good for going out, or to grab a coffee
  35. Wool Scarf - layering, and warmth
  36. Plaid Printed Scarf - adding that subtle color or pattern to a simple and basic outfit. 
  37. Black Wool Hat - the perfect circular shape, not quite a fedora and not quite a farmers hat
  38. Black over the Knee Socks - ideal for outfitting as the cooler weather approaches
  39. Sunglasses - black, classic, and the right shape that compliments your face. 
  40. Boyfriend Watch - something slightly to big but not overly 

The Coveteur | Tina Craig

While I do own a most of items on the list, I guess I should stop being stubborn and finally get a trench coat, vintage Levi shorts, white Chuck Taylors, and a good proper leather jacket. 

Starting over and being wiser feels awesome.


A Velvet Crush

L to R: Givenchy, Victoria Beckham, Daya by Zendaya, Rick Owen

A major force during the fall and winter months, velvet is still a force to be reckoned with given that the 90s revival is still in a major bloom. With plaid, grunge, chokers, and platforms making waves on the runway and in the streets, velvet will stick to them them and be a big ticket item this spring and summer. Whether it’s a jumpsuit, wide-legged tailored pants, maxi dress, midi skirt, or booties, make sure they’re made of velvet to add a splash of opulence to your wardrobe. Feel free to pair your velvet pieces with denim, satin, pleated, leather, feather, or fur pieces for a more dynamic and statement-making look!

A Velvet Shopping List

Rihanna for Paper Magazine, March 2017

Stylists: Farren Fucci at Wilhelmina and Shannon Stokes
Hair: Yusef at Factory Downtown
Makeup: Isamaya Ffrench at Streeters using Tom Ford Beauty Makeup
Photo Assistants: Butch Hogan and David Morett
Digital Tech: Joseph Borduin
Hair Assistant: Naphia at Factory Downtown
Makeup Assistants: Angela Christodoulou and Fatimot Isadare
Nails: Maria Salandra at Vision Nation Artists
Postproduction: Justine Foord at Silhouette Studio
Stylist Team: The Fashion Mansion Group, Lade, Karissa Mitchell, Kali Mackay, Jade Mayo, Devon Milan, Neha Shaki, Brittany Hall Extras: Duckie Thot, Mallory Merk, Poster Boy
Location: Alphabet City Deli & Grill, 54 Avenue C, New York, NY 10009

Senait Gidey by JD Barnes

One of my personal reservations concerning highlighting and contouring dark skin is that tutorials often call for us to wear makeup that is often 3-4 shades lighter and then manually add back deeper tones to create the effect. I love my complexion and love when the color of my face matches the rest of my body!!

That being said, I especially love these shots of Senait Gidey by JD Barnes. Her skin tone is even and the glow is magnificent. Thank you Beau Derrick for properly accentuating her beauty!