Dress: BCBGMAXZRIA | Mask: eBay | Shoes: Liliana | Brooch: Chanel
“High Fashion” Jumpsuit: Fashion Nova | Eyewear: Ray-Ban
Do pink and red go together? Should I wear white after Labor Day? Am I too old to wear skinny jeans? Is it tacky to wear sleeveless?
These are all versions of the same questions to me: “Is this outfit too much? Are people going to think I’M too much?”
And the longer you ask those questions, the less fun you’re going to have getting dressed or doing “too much” of anything else.
Wear what you want. And get busy living.
I was an artist’s model for a minute in undergrad. I posed for hours in my swimsuit while students stared, took stock and drew. I was scared and deeply embarrassed until I saw their work and realized that what I perceived as physical shortcomings, they saw without judgment.
They made it art.
Writing about myself is much like that: scary, exhilarating and very freeing. It’s looking at my flaws and foibles as honestly as I do my freckles, gray hair or dimples: as interesting highlights on the roadmap of an unexpected but beautiful journey.
It’s seeing what is, as it is, and letting it be.
I’m getting nearly “naked” again soon, in front of an audience. (My days of posing as an artist’s model are long over, Mom.) I’m scared to death but ready to show my emotional scars and spiritual stretch marks with no shame — to interpret them for clues, search them for lessons and find the beauty in them.
I may bomb.
But I may blow up.
(Either way, Roy Wood, Jr. promised me it will be fun.)
This post is inspired by my mom, whose grace, spirituality, resilience and style have been guiding, protecting and instructing me my whole life. Right now, more than ever, I am so proud to be her daughter and walk in her footsteps.
She taught me everything I know, and she’s the reason I am who I am.
Anything I am or become begins with everything she ever gave me.
I’m going into 2019 with my roots showing. And my silver streak. It’s the Dorothy Hill in me. And maybe a little Cardi B. I used to be hyper about covering up every real or perceived flaw, but no more. I was even hyper about these outfit posts. So I took a break to find out how to be all right with them being imperfect. That’s why the ones you see in this post aren’t quite magazine worthy. But they’re me. And they may be my favorites so far. You can say what you want but you’ll never say I’m not REAL, which was my word for last year.
2018 took a bite out of me but I gave as hard as I got: new job, Beyoncé, NOLA Girls’ Trip, a documentary that I am SO SO SO proud of, rebounding after surgery, planning my class reunion, 40 pound weight loss, new skills, new friends and a new personal style (thank you Fashion Nova!). I have a new outlook on life, love, success, failure, community and most and best of all: renewed faith. I learned what happens when you give it all to God and allow Him and the best loved ones a woman could have to carry the rest.
My word for 2019? BEYOND. The new year is going to surpass anything I could’ve dreamed, hoped or prayed for. YES, I’m reading Becoming, YES: I believe a bigger life is ahead for me, and YES: I’m going for it.
Buckle up. 2019 is gonna be a ride. I’m in the driver’s seat. And I ain’t apologizing for how I’m about to move.
Thank you for sharing the journey,
Dress: Zara | Eyewear: Ray-Ban
I’m excited to report that leopard print is a major trend for fall fashion. Which is great for me since I wear it year-round and already have a lot of this pattern going in my closet. (What I DON’T have are these super cute ankle boots.)
I personally consider leopard a neutral. I wear it as often as I can, although never from head to toe. It makes me feel — well, fierce. And I haven’t really been feeling that way lately. But dressing the part helps. Why the unexpected pop of color? Red shoes are one of my signatures. I chose a very special pair of ruby slippers to remind me that I have all the intelligence, heart and courage needed to take me anywhere — and the power to ease on down the road and get myself safely back home. (Congratulations to The Wiz on its 40th Anniversary!)
Haute off the press (release):
For the 13th year in a row, the Junior League of Birmingham will hold its Shop Save & Share fundraiser in October. This initiative supports the League’s more than 30 community projects while at the same time driving customers to local retailers and restaurants.
When you purchase a Shop Save & Share card or app for $40, you receive a 20 percent discount on merchandise and food at the fundraiser’s more than 500 participating stores and restaurants. Since its inception, Shop Save & Share has put more than $650,000 back into the community.
“Shop Save & Share gives those in Birmingham a convenient way to not only save 20 percent at more than 500 Birmingham retailers, but also to know the funds used to purchase Shop Save & Share benefits women and children in the Birmingham community,” said Ellen King, Junior League of Birmingham 2018 Shop Save & Share Chair.
One card purchase can:
· Provide necessities for 4 survivors of sexual violence through the Crisis Center of Birmingham
· Provide 10 meals for homeless women and children through Pathways
· Provide diapers for one child in need for a month through the Junior League’s Diaper Bank
· Provide a tank of gas for the Yummy Truck, the Junior League’s mobile teaching kitchen
Shoppers can purchase and download a SSS card from a link on the website (ShopSaveandShare.net) or by texting “SSS” to 205-660-0030. For a chance to win a card, comment “I want to shop, save and share!” on this post! I will draw one winning name on October 15.
This year’s Shop Save & Share program will run from Oct. 17-28, and the Junior League of Birmingham is thrilled to have Birmingham’s best retailers and restaurants on board for 2018. Ready to shop? Join the JLB at the SSS KICKOFF PARTY: https://www.facebook.com/events/219449042089572/
Hat: Aviate | Blazer: Tuckernuck | Denim: J. Crew | Tank Top: Target | Scarf: Madewell
Have y’all missed me? I’ve missed you, and it’s so good to be back!
I’ve been working like mad (with the Birmingham Association of REALTORS and The 1987 Supply Co.) making a documentary celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act’s passage! I am SO happy I got to wear my “journalist” hat again, and have had an amazing experience talking to people who fought and worked for years so that we have the ability to live where we want. You can find out more HERE, and if you’re in the Birmingham area on October 12, I hope you’ll join us for the premiere in Railroad Park!
P.S. I hope my opinion on wearing white after Labor Day is clear: it’s a definite “DO,” with a few exceptions. Save your summer-weight fabrics for the warmer months and wear your more substantial fabrics when the temperature drops. White pumps? Yes. White nurses shoes? No ma’am!
T-shirt, skirt and bracelets: J. Crew | Eyewear: Aldo | Shoes: Steve Madden
This outfit is…well, it’s probably the one that best captures my love of color, pattern, sparkle, leopard print, comfort, vintage and whimsy all in one look. Those are all elements that make up my approach to getting dressed every day no matter what’s on my agenda, although I rarely wear all these elements at once. Most days, my outfits are a reflection of my personality.
This look is also a take on Carrie Bradshaw, the lovelorn writer-heroine of Sex and the City. Although Carrie and I differ in many ways, we essentially are people who are trying to tell stories and dress fabulously while living and loving fearlessly.
Fear. It’s one of the F-words that has shaken my world this year…along with another F-word: failure. At many turns I’ve felt deeply afraid, or as though no matter how hard I work or how hard I try, I’m failing someone or something, somewhere. What has helped me to readjust my thinking is learning to practice radical FAITH and FORGIVENESS to help me keep moving FORWARD. And those are the only F-words that count.
I loved posing for this shoot with Becca Bell of Birmingham’s 2b Photography. Talk about fearless: she runs a thriving creative business in addition to being a wife and mom. (Check out her work here.) She helped coax something out of me that’s been lying dormant, something fierce. (And there’s another positive F-word for you.)
I’ve had this outfit for almost two years. And when Becca Bell of 2 B Photography LLC and I partnered for this photo shoot, I knew its time had come. I love rompers, and as this one shows so much leg that I added a vintage beaded cardigan from No Carnations Vintage for more coverage up top to achieve a bit of balance. (I tried, Mom.) I love the monochromatic look and the pop of color Tuckernuck’s acrylic lemon clutch adds.
The inspiration for this outfit is the “vintage” tableau from Formation, where Beyoncé twirls a parasol among a clan of women clad in white lace dresses. That song and album get played at least once a week in my home, and that visual of old world refinery is one I wanted to recreate. But I also like to add a touch of the unexpected, so it’s a romper rather than a gown. Who says women over 30 can’t wear them? What would Beyonce do? She’d rock it.
Here’s a secret: I usually take my own photos. But it’s a TON of work. So it was a blast to relax and let a photographer with an “eye” for detail take the lead. I’m learning that I don’t have to do everything myself, that it is OK to release my Type A tendencies and accept someone else’s expertise…and that is a relief! Expect more collaborations from Becca and me in the future, and be sure to check her out online and on Instagram. (Or call her to schedule your own photo shoot!)
All photographs courtesy of 2B Photography LLC.