just plain sara: July 2007

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Runway Africa

Runway Africa: I movement dedicated to showcasing, promoting and exposing African designers to the masses. According to their site,

“Runway Africa believes strongly that by exposing African designers to the global market, Africa (as a whole) will begin to see a change in each country's economic and social agendas. By stimulating growth in the textile and garment industries, Africa can begin to see some economic stability in those areas. In essence, this kind of mass exposure puts the continent's talent and creativity in global markets and increases the ability to manufacture apparel deriving from Africa.”

Sounds good so far but how do they plan on doing it? Well, they hold a series of events, mainly on the east coast, to highlight specific designers and raise money for a cause. Their next event is being held tonight at Posh in DC and presents Harreit’s Alter Ego designer and creator, Ngozi Odita. The event is in celebration of African Women’s Day and the money raised will go towards Keep A Child Alive.

The main event takes place this September. Runway Africa 2007 will be held in D.C. at the Embassy of France. Designers Ruby (South Africa), Sika Designs (Ghana), Bezeymailan (Togo), Blokes ‘n’ Divas (Nigeria) and Harriet’s Alter Ego (Nigeria) will all showcase their “Africhic” lines at what will be one of the events of the year. Visit http://www.runwayafrica.com/ for more details.

Photos from past Runway Africa Events.

Monday, July 30, 2007

The Evolution of the Shirt Dress...

Amerie spotted in London on July 23rd, 2007 while checking into her hotel to promote her new single 'Gotta Work' in London, UK.
Cassie poses at the press conference for the NFL Opening Kickoff 2006 at the Loews Hotel on September 6, 2006 in Miami Beach, Florida.
Wanita "D. Woods" Woodgett, member of R&B girl group Danity Kane, attends XXL magazine's Hip-Hop Soul Issue Release Party at Tenjune on December 11, 2006 in New York City.
Tracee Ellis Ross, in a Thakoon for the Gap shirt, at Vogue's Gap/CFDA Party in April, 2007.

This is not your conventional shirt dress. This breed is inspired by what you’d find in your man’s closet. Remember that episode of Sex and the City where Carrie and Big fall into the lake? Carrie heads back to Big’s apartment to change and ends up walking home in one of his shirts. That’s what this look is all about. Looking like you’ve casually thrown on your man’s shirt and you look better in it than he does. Now these shirt dresses do have a feminine edge with cinched in waists and frills despite their masculine undertones. See below for My Picks!

My Picks!

Left to right: Striped Ruffled Shirt Dress, $69.50, www.gap.com; Solid Ruffled Shirt Dress, $69.50, www.gap.com; Solid French Cuff Shirt Dress, $69.50, www.gap.com; Frill Skirt Shirt Dress, $50, www.asos.com
Left to right: Vince Shirt Dress, $195, www.shopbop.com; Bailey 44 Shirt Dress in Grey, $171, www.reveolveclothing.com; Shirtdress in Solids, $49, www.victoriassecret.com; Shit Hot Shirtmaker by Antipodium, $130, www.my-wardrobe.com

The Gap has this look on lock. Three of the eight dresses I picked are from The Gap including Amerie’s ruffled dress. The shirt/dress Tracee Ellis Ross is wearing is from Thakoon's limited edition line also from The Gap. Alternatively, you can steal borrow your boyfriend, brother or dad’s shirt, throw on a chunky belt, roll-up the sleeves and call it a day. Oh, and skinny jeans are optional with this look but heels are a must.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Kelly Rowland

Kelly Rowland at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival.
Kelly is one of those fashionistas that you know dresses herself. No stylists or wardrobe consultants here, just a good eye and understanding of what works best. Kelly’s secret is probably that she’s 100% comfortable in whatever she wears and thus looks effortlessly fab. If you want steal some of her glow, see below for ideas. Or find a dress that makes you equally as fine!

Steal Kelly’s Style…

Dress: Pleated Cotton Dress, $22.80, www.forever21.com

Sunglasses: Dita Addict Sunglasses, $175, www.shopintuition.com
Bangles: Gold Bangle Set, $19.50,
Earrings: 4” Hoops in Gold, $5.99,
Pumps: Charles by Charles David Women’s Freesia Sandal, $50.89,

This look is perfect for barbecues, first dates and/or bar-hopping. Wear with gold flat sandals for a day of shopping.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Another One Bites The Dust…

Another day, another Black magazine folds. Vibe Vixen is the latest publication to fall under the witches spell. After two years and some change, Vibe Vixen will no longer produce their hard copy magazine but will continue their presence online. Read the official press release below. I wasn’t really a fan of the magazine but it’s sad that people will lose their jobs.

"Less than two weeks after being named CEO of Vibe Media Group, Steve Aaron announced Vibe would fold Vibe Vixen, the female counterpart to urban music and lifestyle magazine Vibe.

Vixen will cease as a regularly published title with the August/September issue and starting in the fourth quarter, the company will begin publishing Vixen as special issues focusing on urban culture themes. The company hasn’t determined the frequency for the specials, a company rep said. Vixen also will continue to maintain a Web site.

In a press release, Aaron said there would be “some” layoffs. The rep would not make executives available for further comment.

Vixen launched in February 2005 as a twice-a-year title with a circ of 425,000 (unaudited) and upped the frequency to six times this year. Pages for the first half of 2007 totaled 147, per Publishers Information Bureau. [Source]"

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

What Say We?... Yay or Nay?!

Sarah Jessica Parker arriving at the Ara Pacis for the "Valentino In Rome, 45 Years Of Style" Exhibition opening in Rome on July 6, 2007.

Fashion icon Valentino decided to mark the celebration of the 45th anniversary of his luxury brand by breaking a 17-year tradition of unveiling his luxurious haute couture collections for women in Paris with a show in Rome. Sarah Jessica Parker arrived wearing Valentino (of course!), but I’m on the proverbial fence when it comes to this particular piece of “haute couture.” While Valentino is one of fashion’s living legends, Sarah has single-handedly proven why couture is best kept on the runway. NAY!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Did You Guess Right?!...

Elise Neal at The 2006 SAG Awards

I know it was hard but the last couple have been too easy so I thought I'd challenge the masses! Some of you got it though... after the clues ;) Learn more about Elise Neal's "singing" group at www.eliseneal.com.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Mimi Magazine

Angela Asare on the cover of Mimi magazine.

Mimi (the Swahili word for “me”) is the online magazine of choice for fashion-forward and culturally aware African women. Mimi offers articles on fashion/beauty, politics, love, the arts and everything in between. Features are carefully crafted to appeal to the entire African diaspora. If that isn’t enough, check out their blog written by Mimi editors and contributors. On the cover of their current issue is the beautiful Angela Asare aka Miss Ghana of 2006. The magazine has been around for two years. I’m surprised that I’m only just hearing about it now. Click here and tell me what you think.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Guess the Style Diva!

Ok, so this is proving to be a little tough. Here's a clue: She's an actress ;)

Second clue: Although she is primarily known as an actress, this lady is currently pursuing a record deal for her and her fellow group members!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Can You Spot the Difference?

Devi Kroell for Target: Hobo in Goldtone (L) and Anthracite (R) each $34.99 and only available at www.target.com
Devi Kroell Originals: Classic Hobo Long Python Brown (L) and Black Anthracite (R) each $2590 available at www.devikroell.com

Ladies I just bought two bags from Devi Kroell’s special line for Target. The Hobo Bag in Goldtone (above) and the Pouchette in Goldtone ($19.99) arrived at my door today and I ripped off that Target packaging like a six year-old at Christmas. I wasn’t disappointed. The bags are such good quality and look nothing like their price tag would suggest. Each bag is an alternative to Kroell’s current line available at www.devikroell.com. I know some of you prefer the real thing but this offer is too good to pass up and I’m sure you fellow fashionistas won’t be able to spot the difference!

Lulu’s Fashion Lounge

1. BCBG Girls Taide Tobacco Wedge, $51; 2. Not Rated Seeing Stars Heel in a Black Star Stripe, $38; 3. Steve Madden Lynbrook Black Multi Satin Cork Wedge, $75; 4. Classified Dexter Navy White Satin Scarf Thong Sandal, $18; 5. Steve Madden Lilly Black Satin Espadrille Wedge, $75; 6. Damita K Irene-1 Red Table Cloth Print Mule Heel $9.50; 7. Jeffrey Campbell Lisa Silver Metallic Leather Kitten Heel, $41; 8. Pink Studio Kimberly Yellow Heel, $62; 9. Classified Powder-S Green Gold Buckle Sandal, $17; 10. Qupid Salya 42 Lime Multi Floral Fabric Flat, $24; 11. Bronx Charlize Off White Tuffy Perforated Wedge, $78; 12. N.Y.L.A. Prescott Black Leather and Snake Sandal, $66; 13. Bonnibel Goodie-7 Green Little Dot Ruffled Low Wedge, $21 all available at www.lulusfashionlounge.com

This is what shoe heaven must look like. A myriad of gorgeous heels, wedges and flats all at prices you can actually afford. Head to Lulu’s Fashion Lounge and indulge yourself in the season’s must-have shoes AND clothes and accessories. Enter the code “ilikeherstyle” at the checkout to receive 15% of your total purchase. The discount applies to everything, not just shoes. This offer is good through August 7th, 2007.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

There's Nothing Like a Good Sample Sale...

Above and below are pieces from DPRC's clothing line.
Left to right: Brooklyn 80’s Baby, $34; “1985” Hoody Femme, $75; Dot Star, $36 all available at http://dprc.bigcartel.com

Brooklyn natives Rosa Concepcion and Ronnette Cox invite you to the trunk show of their innovative clothing line DPRC. The two joined forces to “form a line that combines Neo Soul and 80’s punk to create a collection of tees perfect for sneaker heads and Reagan era babies alike.” Enjoy drinks and appetizers while you browse through DPRC’s tees, fashion tops and hoodies. If you can’t make the shopping extravaganza, shop via their current site here. Also be sure to look out for the launch of their new site at www.dprcdesign.com.

When: Saturday July 21st, 2007
Time: 1pm – 4pm
Where: Candy Plum, 30-98 36th Street, Astoria, NY 11103
(Take the N or W trains to 30th Avenue, walk south on 31st Street, turn left on 31st Avenue and walk 5 short blocks to 36th Street. Candy Plum is located on the corner of 36th Street.)
Contact: RSVP to info@dprcdesign.com

progress report on Invisible Woman

I had tried crafting the chest emblem design out of Sculpy but was just too difficult. It was not the right medium. I messaged another costumer through myspace about what she uses for her accessories and she sculpts out of plaster and casts the latex from there. I could not find plaster at my closest hobby shop which I know I saw there previously; instead I picked up some blocks of wax and spent most of yesterday trying to work in that. Every time I thought I'd get a smooth surface, it would dry wavy and lumpy. It's still better than the Sculpy.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Congratulations Leslie T. from Boston…

She won the I Like Her Style! anniversary giveaway. Thanks to all 721 of you who entered, the site wouldn’t be what is without you! I’ll try and organize more giveaways in the future. I also want to send out my sincere thanks to Mai and Brenda of Fusion Boutique and Out of Hand Boutique respectively.

P.S. That is not Leslie in the pic, though I'm sure she's equally as cute ;)

Pack Smart!

1. Printed Cotton Silk Empire Dress, $198, www.maxstudio.com 2. Sexy Sunglasses, $34.99, www.hotkiss.com 3. Gianna Sliding, $71, www.delias.com 4. Aqua Ode Tunic, $58, www.anthropologie.com 5. Linen Short, $19.80,www.forever21.com 6. Lucky Stripe Triangle Bikini, $30, www.wetseal.com 7. Embroidered Knit Top, $14.80, www.forever21.com 8. Steve Madden Lilly Black Satin Espadrille Wedge, $75, www.lulusfashionlounge.com 9. Paris Blues Denim Bloomers, $26.50, www.alloy.com 10. Women's Oversized Straw Totes, $9.99, www.oldnavy.com 11. Top Metalic Flip Flops, $18, www.havaianasus.com 12. Wide Hammered Cuff, $9.99, www.girlprops.com 13. Merona Silver Filigree Pearl Drop Chandelier Earrings, $7.99, www.target.com

Tired of being the only one at the airport who can’t lift their own suitcase? Wonder why you still can’t find anything to wear while on holiday even though you packed half your wardrobe? Make things easier on yourself and only take essential items that you can mix and match to create infinite looks. For my long weekend trip to Miami I plan on taking items similar to the ones posted above for easy, breezy summer days. See below for four ways to put them together.

Look summertime chic while shopping. Just don’t buy too much or you won’t be able to carry it home.Do lunch in this cute ensemble, then head back to the beach for more fun.Wear to a barbecue on the beach. The look is stylish without trying too hard.Whether its volleyball on the beach or a stroll along the shore, this look has you covered.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Down to Business: Brenda Townsend

Since many of you email me asking how to get an internship at a magazine, how to get a job at a fashion house or advice on how to start their own business, I thought it would be good to interview people already in said positions who can give you first-hand accounts of how they did it. First up is Brenda Townsend, creator of Out of Hand Boutique.

1. Have you always worked in fashion? If not, why the change in career?
I've always had a passion for fashion, although I have no formal education in fashion or design. I just decided that it was time to do something that I truly enjoyed, and this was a natural choice for me because it has always been a hobby.

2. Why did you decide to start an online boutique as opposed to say opening a physical location?
I felt that a web store could reach a larger customer base than a brick and mortar boutique, while offering lower prices and the ability to add new items quicker.

3. Where do you buy your stock and what draws you to certain items/designers?
I use a number of suppliers and importers that don't sell directly to the public. I look high and low for new items and independent designers that are offering something unique in the marketplace.

4. I understand you make some of your pieces, what are your inspirations?
I get inspiration from African, Latin, European, and Asian cultures, nature, interior design books, art, fashion, and people-watching.

5. Did you come up with a business plan before launching the site? What resources did you use to draw up the plan?
Yes, I did create a business plan, but mainly to organize my own thoughts.

6. Are you worried at all that you are in an already saturated market (i.e. online accessories boutiques)?
No, I believe there's room for everyone. It's about having a clear understanding of what you do best and focusing on reaching your potential customers and keeping your current customers. When you do something you love, you're going to be passionate about it, and the success part happens, not without a lot of hard work, but it does happen.

7. What's your marketing strategy and how do you get your name out there?
Aggressive online advertising has been key, as well as utilizing search engine optimization, so those who are looking for what I sell can easily find the site. Fabulous blogs like yours have also been very helpful in getting the word out to potential customers.

8. Are you the sole investor or did you approach others/bank for extra capitol? Basically, is it necessary to have a huge bulk of money set aside to start such a business?
I started the business with my own money (and not very much I might add). I was able to save a lot of money by doing things that can be expensive if you pay others to do them, like building the website and taking the photos, etc. but I felt strongly about being very hands on and I didn't want to start out in the red. Each person has to look at their situation to determine what funding source(s) to utilize.

9. What's the best advice you can give to someone who wanted to start their own online boutique?
Focus on selling something you're passionate about. Don't try to be everything to everyone, find your niche.

10. Where do you see the site in five years?
My goal for the site is steady growth and exposure. I hope to have an even greater selection of merchandise and to continue to improve the look and ease of navigation of the site.

Is there anything else that you want to add that you think might be helpful advice for I Like Her Style! readers?
I feel that networking is often overlooked in building and maintaining a small business. I for one wanted to change that, so I started a forum on
http://www.sisterwoman.com/ to reach out to likeminded individuals who want to support and assist each other in starting and running a small business. There is so much information out there and so many people willing to share their experiences, so you don't have to learn through trial and error, which can be very costly. I post any useful articles and resources I find on the forum. I invite everyone interested, especially women of color, to join us. Click here to visit the site.

If you are a fashion journalist, publicist, fashion intern, boutique owner etc. and would like to be featured on the site email me!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

For the Love of Fashion…

Sherlita Patton and Tracy Valentine of P. Valentine.
The front of P. Valentine in Atlanta.
Inside P. Valentine.

Open for less than two years, P. Valentine is already the fashion hot-spot for celebrities such as Keisha Knight-Pulliam, Kim Porter, Usher and Outkast. Founded by Sherlita Patton (Big Boi’s wife) and Tracy Valentine, the boutique offers Atlanta natives the latest in contemporary urban wear, funky accessories and a myriad of high-end denim brands. While you’re there take advantage of services such as their personal shopper, wardrobe consultation and image enhancement – all performed by renowned stylist and image connoisseur, Fadia Kader. There’s nothing like fashion with heart.

P. Valentine Boutique
572 Edgewood Avenue, #115
GA 30312

Store Inquiries: 404 521 3660

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Beach Babes

Beyonce on holiday in South of France on June 15th, 2007.
Selita Ebanks shooting the latest Victoria’s Secret swimwear campaign last month.
Serena poolside on vacation on June 26th, 2007.
Mariah on holiday last week.
Cassie on vacation in Miami December 30th, 2006.

I’m about to go on holiday to Miami and best believe my bikini body workout schedule is in full effect! I have a shape similar to Beyonce’s (though my legs are nowhere near as toned!), so I’m looking for bikini’s that show off my curves but hold everything in. Let me tell you about a mortifying experience I had in Jamaica once. My best friend decided to take me to all the must-see landmarks of her great island and I was enjoying the personal tour until we got to Dunn Rivers Falls. I had no idea that we had to climb this thing and turned up dressed in a completely inappropriate bikini. Suffice to say the strong currents and jagged rocks pulled my bikini bottoms down not once, but a horrifying four times during our climb. My fellow tourists were highly amused but I’m still traumatized. I’m not going out like that this year so I’m taking plenty of sports bikinis (basically anything without strings!).

My Picks!

Left to right: Pineapple Garden Bikini, $30, www.wetseal.com; Metallic Retro Floral Bikini, $76, www.hotkiss.com; Dots Banded Bikini, $45, www.delias.com; Women's Tankini, $23.49, www.oldnavy.com
Left to right: Crochet Bikini, $80, www.topshop.com; Etro Stripe Fixed Bikini, $51.10, www.alloy.com; Clara Swimsuit, $29.99, www.gojane.com; Halter One Piece, $29.75, www.alloy.com

String bikinis are best for beach time frolicking but if you plan on doing more strenuous activities, try one pieces or “boy shorts” bikinis. Don't forget to accessorize - just because you're on the beach doesn't mean you can't bling a little ;)

Monday, July 9, 2007

Happy Birthday To Me!!!

The site’s one year anniversary was two weeks ago (June 26th to be exact). To celebrate, two of my favorite online boutiques have donated the fabulous outfit below for one lucky reader to win!

This Competition is now closed. Thank you to all of you that entered. :)

Competition Questions:
1. What is the name of Out Of Hand Boutique’s owner?
2. When did the Fusion Boutique LAUNCH their current website?

Dress: Blooming Yellow Dress (in medium), http://www.thefusionboutique.com/; Necklace: Flutter Necklace, http://www.oohboutique.com/; Bag: Nicole Lee Patent Cargo Tote, http://www.oohboutique.com/

While you’re over at Out Of Hand Boutique take advantage of their special I Like Her Style! discount. Use the code “ILHS15” to receive 15% off your total order through July 31st.

completely changed my mind

After thinking about it and after I started working on the new project, I completely changed my mind. I'm going to do the old fashioned Sue Storm/Invisible Woman in her classic two-color style. I need to get a zipper and then get the supplies for making the chest emblem. I also need to make the belt, figure out what to do for the boots and gloves too.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Jeans 101: The High-Waist

Jennifer Lopez arriving at the MTV Studios in New York City on March 27, 2007.
Ciara hosts MTV's "TRL" at the MTV Studios in New York City on March 5, 2007.
Jessica Alba backstage at Power 106's breakfast with Big Boy and the cast of "Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer" on June 4, 2007.Get the exact pair Jessica is wearing from www.shopintuition.com (see below).
Eve spotted in New York City last month.

This trend has me somewhat perplexed. At first I was a complete non-believer, but then I saw Jlo work her style magic outside the TRL studios, I quickly changed my opinion to “neutral.” Oh but soon thereafter Eve surfaced with these ultra high-waisted pair sending me right back into denim-induced anxiety. Now, having watched the jeans evolve and merge with other trends such as the wide-legged pant (see Jessica Alba and Ciara), I’m safely back in style bliss and even considering buying a pair of these controversial jeans. Watch this space.

My Picks!

Left to right: High waisted with double welt pockets in Mid Stone, $80, www.topshop.com; Janiesse Foxy Jean, $215, www.shopintuition.com; Dittos The Classic, $165, www.pinkmascara.com; High Waisted Highway Jean by Grey Ant, $286, www.shopbop.com

Left to right: Cheap Monday Eiffel Tower, $28.57, www.caliroots.com; High Waisted Skinny Jeans By Karen Walker, $279, www.mycatwalk.com; Lux High Waisted Skinny Jean, $68, www.urbanoutfitters.com; 70s High Waist Skinny, $80, www.topshop.com

Those of you considering these jeans must make sure you pick the right style. I’d advise fuller figured ladies (i.e. anyone over a size 8!) to start with the wider pants. The braver amongst us can dive straight into the skinny, although you may have to buy a pair up from your usual size.

Note: Try these cute “Piper High Waist Jeans” from www.alloy.com at just $39.50.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Style Flashback: Lola Falana

A dancer and actress by trade, Lola Falana began her career by moving to New York armed with only $23. She danced in nightclubs until she was discovered by Sammy Davis, Jr. who anointed her his protégé and gave her the lead dancing role in the Broadway smash “Golden Boy” (October 20, 1964 - March 5, 1966). Falana then tried her hand at singing. She had a moderately successful career but she finally broke away from Sammy Davis Jr. in an attempt to create a name for herself, separate from her mentor. That's when her career really took off; she acted in several highly successful Italian movies, peformed on variety shows such as Bill Cosby’s “The New Bill Cosby Show” and she finally acquired her own act in Vegas. By the late 1970s, she was considered the Queen of Las Vegas. She played to sold-out crowds at The Sands, The Riviera, and the MGM Grand hotels. The Aladdin even offered her $100,000 a week to perform. At the time, Falana was the highest paid female performer in Las Vegas. She was also the first black woman to model for a line of cosmetics that wasn't targeted solely to blacks. Falana’s last Vegas performance was in 1987 due to a relapse of Multiple Sclerosis. I’m not sure where she resides now but she has since fought the disease with hopes of one day returning to the stage. All hail the First Lady of Vegas.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Where Did You Buy That?

Author Funmi Odulate and the cover to her first book “Shopping for Vintage.”
Illustrations from "Shopping for Vintage."

Forgive me but I forget the name of the reader who suggested this book. After buying myself a copy and falling in love, I had to recommend it to the rest of you. Vintage clothing has taken over the fashion industry of late. If we’re not looking for genuine gems from the past we are drawn to vintage “inspired” pieces currently on the shelves of our favorite stores. Thankfully fashion journalist Funmi Odulate took it upon herself to research, collect and condense her vintage shopping knowledge into this cute little book appropriately named “Shopping for Vintage.” In it you’ll find beautifully illustrated pictures of fashion trends through the decades, a brief history of fashion’s pioneers and a must-have directory of vintage shops throughout the world. Unfortunately, this book is only available in Europe (and Australia, I think) so you may have to get relatives to buy it abroad (like I did – thanks sis!). It’ll be worth the hassle though, especially when you saunter into that party in a one-off, throw-back Lanvin dress.

Author Bio: Funmi Odulate is a top fashion writer and worldwide vintage connoisseur. She has collated her extraordinary knowledge of fashion during her many years as a fashion journalist writing for major titles such as Vogue, Harpers Bazaar, Sunday Times Style, The Sunday Telegraph, The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian and InStyle magazine. This is her first book.