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Monday, January 15, 2018

Allow Me to Reintroduce Myself...

I've been blogging for a number of years now, and I can't say that I ever properly introduced myself to you all. My name is Lauren, but you can call me “The Fearless Fashionista.” I’m a corporate catwalker from 9-5, but when I show up to non-corporate events, that’s when I really like to amp up the fashion factor. Style and fashion have always fascinated me, and I think they’re actually embedded in my DNA. And although my life has taken me down a non-fashion-related path, I have decided to take control of my destiny and start immersing myself in fashion and style-related activities. In addition to being a chic corporate chick, I’m a personal style blogger, a t-shirt designer, and I conduct workshops to educate women on the importance of “looking the part.”

I have early memories of dressing up, wearing my mother’s high heels, and rummaging through her cosmetics stash. When you’re young, you can’t always articulate why you’re drawn to certain things, but as I’ve gotten older, I began realizing why I’m so enamored with aesthetics. There is power associated with presenting a strong and memorable image to the world - an image that tells a story, makes a statement, and serves as a silent method of communicating.

There are many ways for people to express themselves – through spoken word, artistic creations, music and song, writing, etc. But using your visual identity to send a message is one of the only ways you can make an immediate impression by just showing up. Making a strong style statement can have a profound impact on someone you may never even know exists. A person can you see from across a room, on a crowded subway, or at an event, and you can shape the way they see life, the world, or even themselves.

The way you present yourself DOES matter, and in a world that often celebrates the superficial – it’s important to learn how to use that to your advantage. I’m a huge proponent of being equally stylish and smart – you must have something substantial to offer underneath that pretty packaging. But most first impressions are based on visuals – and those impressions are formed in a matter of seconds. Taking the time to pull yourself together shows that you’re looking to beautify the world in some way, and that's a total boss move - because let’s be honest, the world is watching. 

So you may be wondering how I became “The Fearless Fashionista.” When I was younger, I fantasized about growing up, getting a job, and dressing up every day. I just wanted to look cute and be stylish. I secretly wanted to become a model, but for whatever reason, that never came to fruition. Despite my failed fantasy of walking the Paris runways, or gracing the covers of high fashion magazines, my love of style and fashion has only grown stronger over the years. I’ve heard people say that you should shop for the life that you have, but I must confess that I shop for the life I think I was meant to live. I guess I’ve bought into all the subliminal and overt messaging that targets girls and women, promoting glitz and glamour. Or maybe I was just born this way. 

I'll buy a full length sequins gown, a fishtail bridesmaid skirt, or a tutu, just in case some type of fancy event comes up - I’ll be prepared. I have items hanging in my closet, just begging to be worn, but they’re just a little too fancy for the life that I’m living right now. When I get desperate enough, I’ll figure out a way to force one of those pieces into the rotation, by dressing them down a little, or organizing some type of get-together, just so I’ll have a reason to get some use out of them.

Throughout my travels I have won a number of fictitious awards, including “Best Dressed on the Floor” in my office, “Best Dressed on the Train”, “Best Dressed in the Building”, etc. - and although I haven’t gotten any trophies or monetary prizes in conjunction with those awards, I’ll take them. That means people are looking and paying attention. And once you get peoples’ attention - that can lead to bigger and better things. 

Just remember that people are studying and taking notes, so give them something worthwhile to look at!

Oh, and tonight the NAACP awards are airing. Just like the Golden Globes, I never received my invitation, but I dressed up for the occasion nevertheless. This is a dress that I bought almost 6 years ago for a milestone birthday. And I'm happy to say, it still fits.

Thank you for reading.

Be Fearless. Stay Fashionable. Have Fun!


Sunday, January 14, 2018

I Love Tulle Skirts!

For those of you who know me, it's no secret that I love tulle skirts. They are one of my  absolute fashion favorites. To me, tulle skirts are the epitome of femininity, grace, and elegance. When I was younger, I associated tulle skirts and dresses only with ballerinas and brides. I always fantasized about wearing tulle, and I’m elated that this trend has caught on.

I remember the Salt N' Pepa video "Tramp" having such a strong impact on me, because at the onset and ending of the video, Salt sauntered onto and off the screen wearing a black tutu with a drop waist and high-heeled booties.

Salt in "Tramp" video
(Sorry about the poor quality of the picture, it's a screen grab from the video.)

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

The Golden Globes, Fashion, Protests, and H&M

The news cycles are oh so short these days, so I'm feeling like these thoughts are yesterday's news, but I feel compelled to publish them anyway...

So the Golden Globe Awards took place this past Sunday. I'm not a huge awards show person, (except for a few that I find interesting), but I love seeing the red carpet looks. The unofficial dress code was "all black everything" for the ladies - and men (although they typically wear black anyway) to support the "Time's Up" movement addressing sexual harassment and assault.

Boy, oh boy this whole scandal involving Harvey Weinstein really opened the proverbial can of worms...

I'm a HUGE fan of using clothing and fashion to make a statement, and I appreciate the idea behind the "Golden Globes Blackout." I saw various looks from the red carpet and the leading ladies did a great job of dressing for the occasion and staying on message. I loved Viola Davis, Zoe Kravitz, Issa Rae, Kendall Jenner, MJB and more. (See more looks here) I also noticed a number of instances of bold emerald colored earrings that REALLY looked striking against the black. 

I also dressed for the occasion, donning a black satiny dress with my tulle overlay skirt, that you've seen here and here. I'm not going to talk about the fact that I was all dressed up with nowhere to go, but it's all good. You know I don't need an excuse to get fancy. Here's my look:

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Can We Talk About This Cold Weather?

I live on the east coast and to say it's cold is quite the understatement. My goal is to spend as little time outside as humanly possible. I even cancelled brunch with my girls, because I just don't wanna be out there in the mean cold streets. However, subzero temperatures do lend themselves well to some cute outerwear.

I inherited this beautiful coat from my mother. It's probably about 30 years old. Yes, it's real fur, and yes, I do feel some type of way about the way animals are treated to obtain their skins, and as I mentioned in my previous blog post, I will continue to wear the pieces that I have, and try to be more discerning about future purchases. I know - it's not the most ethical response, but it's a real one.

Anyway, here's the coat. And it's warm. And it's gorgeous.

Welcome 2018

I was trying to get this post completed before 2018 arrived, but you know how life sometimes gets in the way...

2017 was a good year for me. There were also some REALLY challenging times, but even while experiencing difficulties, I have been able to accomplish some things. I'm not a big "New Year's resolutions" type, but I do believe in reflection and goal-setting.

I'm in the process of assessing my accomplishments for the past year, and putting some goals in place for 2018. I don't always accomplish each goal in exactly the way I had in mind or within the original timeline, but I do see myself making progress. I find that I have more success when I take baby steps. Although it can seem like I'm not making movement, when I look back, I can give myself a pat on the back for having moved the needle somewhat.

For me, it's important to acknowledge even the smallest of accomplishments, because it can be really easy to get discouraged and feel defeated. So I like to keep a running list of what I consider to be accomplishments - acknowledge them, build upon them, and use that list to inspire me as I continue through this journey of life.

I mentioned that 2017 was difficult for me at times, but I've learned some valuable lessons. Here are some of my top takeaways.

1) Even if your confidence is undermined, continue to move forward - There were times when my confidence was low and I was questioning my worth, but there was also a part of me that knew what I bring to the table. Just because others weren't willing or able to recognize and acknowledge that, I had to muster up my belief in myself and keep trudging ahead.

2) People typically mean well when they give you advice and words of "encouragement - However, it's not always applicable or meaningful to your situation. You have to pull out what's relevant and ignore the parts that either don't apply to you, or that you really don't want to hear.

3) Nothing stays the same forever It can be really easy to feel discouraged and feel like your situation will NEVER change, it will. The waiting game is the hard part. While you're waiting, you have to lay the groundwork for the change. Don't just expect things to happen for you - you have to put in the work. Even if you don't see immediate results. The work that you put in, will help prepare you for when it's time to make that change. It will make that transition a lot more smooth.

4) It's okay to walk away - From any situation that not only no longer serves you, but drags you down. It doesn't matter if you invested a lot of time in a job, a relationship (of any kind), an investment deal, etc. Why continue putting the time, effort, and money into something that is no longer worth it? Yes, each time you walk away you're leaving something behind, but that's not always a bad thing. Don't continue to invest in dead end situations.

5) There's always something else out there It will be different, but different is not always a bad thing. I happen to like a certain element of stability and predictability, but that doesn't offer the most, in terms of growth opportunities. I have a friend who used to be a consultant, and in her line of work, she was constantly being challenged with new ideas, tasks, and responsibilities - and her approach was to "embrace the ambiguity."

That's a great way to look at life - instead of being fearful of what's to come, become more open to accepting the fact that you don't know everything, you can't control everything, and you're going to make mistakes, but you're going to grow. So here's to embracing the ambiguity of a new year, new challenges, and new way of approaching life.

Happy New Year!

And always, Be Fearless. Stay Fashionable. Have Fun!