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Monthly Archives November 2018

An Aretha Franklin Tribute by the Women’s Council of ARPB

I realized that I missed San Francisco Fashion Week about a week after it happened.  But I am making up for it.  I managed to schedule myself to attend two Bay Area  fashion shows this week. The first was the Respect Fashion Show: An Aretha Franklin Tribute hosted by the Women’s Council  of Associated Real Property Brokers. The event took place at Coliseum Lexus of Oakland – a luxurious location for a luxurious event.

As I arrived models were getting last minute instructions and taking one last practice stroll down the runway.  While the show was gearing up, I had an opportunity to  speak with Helena Jones-Kim, a broker and member of the Women’s Council, who shared that the fashion show is one of two events hosted by the Women’s Council,  and it benefits the Education and Financial Literacy Workshops put on by the organization. Additionally, funds are used to provide scholarships for high schools students going on to college.

Women’s Council President, Eloise Middleton, affectionately referred to as Madam President during the evening, spoke to the crowd about the vendors, encouraging the audience to purchase items, but most importantly she spoke about buying property in the Bay Area.  In her remarks she stressed that African Americans often believe they are priced out of the housing market, yet there are many assistance programs that savvy brokers are able to draw upon. Simply put, “Yes, you can still buy a house in California,” says Middleton. This is in part because of the work of the Women’s Council and their mission to “advocate for the democracy of housing.”

Even more noteworthy than the mission of the Respect Fashion Show hosts was the fashion show itself with fashions provided by Bridget Cain and Proper Fashion.  I was lucky enough to find out about the event when I popped into Cain’s shop in downtown Oakland.  The outfits from the store seem to spring to life on the models.  Each outfit more mesmerizing than the last.  The night also included an imagined re-enactment of Aretha and Angela Davis- reminding us that Aretha had offered to pay bail for Angela Davis during the time of her incarceration.

The show honored women of all sizes, shapes, and ages.  I appreciated that the clothing was accessible and ready to wear.  There was actually an opportunity for the  show attendees to to purchase items right off of the racks set up on the Lexus sales floor. This was the perfect show to whet my appetite for Fashion on the Square and Black Friday that I have next on my agenda. Glad to have attended.

Strategic Black Friday Shopping

I was once told by a guy that I was seeing that he liked watching me shop. I seemed so happy to him. We’d gone to the shoe salon at Macy’s on 34th Street in  New York. You know – the one from Miracle on 34th St.  Well, if he liked me then, he’d fall in love with me on Black Friday.

Black Friday is quite joyful for me although I know it causes great anxiety for some. This needn’t be the case.

Let me give you a few tips for owning Black Friday 2018:

  1. Know the purpose of your shopping.  Are you buying gifts? For whom? Did you write a list?  Having an answer for those questions will eliminate stress. Often I am shopping for my nieces and nephews, but I also just like being out.  So my purpose is sometimes kicking off the official holiday season.  Reason enough for me.
  2. Know the type of crowd you like. Black Friday can be crowded in certain places.  If you don’t like crowds there are certainly places you need to avoid (like malls). I typically don’t mind BF crowds because people are typically embracing the holiday spirit and are pleasant.
  3. Know your level of shopping stamina.  How long can you shop? If you don’t have lots of stamina, be sure to hit the stores you want to go to first.  Make a list of which stores those are. It is always funny for me to see the men on the benches and seats in the mall.  Many of them have horribly underestimated their wives’ shopping stamina.
  4. Wear comfortable shoes. Along the lines of knowing your shopping stamina is knowing your shopping gear.  The more comfortable your feet are, the more ground you can cover. You already know which shoes  those are. Make sure they are ready to go.
  5. If you are a Starbucks junkie – get it from the drive thru Starbucks on your way to your destination. Starbucks in the malls are always sooo crowded on Black Friday.
  6. This is a Black Friday deterrent for sure!

    Start early.  Not only are there great doorbusters for early birds, the merchandise has not yet been picked over. This photo represents the worst of the worst.  It is the Macy’s in Yonkers a few years back.  Anyone with shopping anxiety would have run for the hills instead of running for the heels. This is a mess. Luckily I wasn’t in the market for shoes that year.

  7. Lastly, have fun.  I know of many reports of holidays being such a depressing time, but it all depends on what is at the heart of your celebrations. For me, it is the birth of Jesus – My Lord and Savior.  Everything else is secondary.  Celebrate life and love. Happy Black Friday Shopping. More to come as the holidays are just beginning.

Where there is no vision, your wardrobe might suffer

I know many ladies that are very uncertain about their clothing choices.  They are easily swayed not to purchase  an item. I also have friends who are very certain about their bodies and their best clothing options. Today while strolling through my favorite secondhand store, I stopped at the necklaces.  I asked to see a red frilly necklace with shells inlaid.  It was $4.00.  I have said before that secondhand stores are great places to pick up accessories.  The young man had a troubled expression and a smirk. So I asked him, “what’s the smirk about?”

“Nothing,” he insisted.  “No, its something I said.  Is it my necklace choice?” He response was, “I just can’t imagine what anyone would do with it.”For me the obvious thing anyone would do would be to wear it.  But I said, “Really? – well I am going to use this necklace and I will take a picture so you can see.”

He said, “okay.”

But that encounter got me to thinking. Some people have no vision for the things you may like. Don’t let them deter you. It is often when you wear something and sport it with confidence that people are able to see the potential of the item. Don’t let people’s lack of vision dissuade you from buying something that you know will look great. If you do, your wardrobe and your style might suffer.

The Holidays Are Here!!

From the early Black Friday sale at Neiman Marcus to the invitation I got this week to a New Year’s Eve party all signs points to the full on arrival of the holidays.  They seem to be arriving earlier and earlier each year too.  So, if you think my receiving a New Year’s Party invitation this week is too soon, this post is definitely for you.

Take a look at this photo of Delinda Brown of Vallejo. This is the perfect use green velvet wth a pink Coach accent bag. She has bold accessories which are ideal for any holiday party.

How does the saying go – If you stay ready, you don’t have to get ready…Well chances are you still have some of the holiday wear and accessories from last year and the year before  that will be perfect for the 2018 season.

Fashion for the holidays doesn’t really change much; all it takes is a google search of holiday outfits years past to see the striking similarities. Just look at Harper’s outfits from last year at  The magazines make an effort to reinvent holiday fashion, but really – sequin, satin, velvet in rich burgundies, bright reds, satin Royal Blues and silver, playful greens, vibrant fucshsia and pinks are staples, not to mention  the black cocktail dress with holiday accessories. These are what is always “in” for the holidays.

Do the accessorizing big.It is the best way to let people know that you are on board for the holidays. Try jingle bell earrings or Christmas tree brooches.  Last year I wrote about the holiday manicure because your finger nails are one of your best accessories; thrift stores are great places to find accessories like holiday pendants scarves and belts. There is no need to pay full price for things that make their way to the surface only once per year.

Perhaps most important when thinking about holiday outfits is to   know where you are going early on.  I always find myself scrambling for where I am going on Christmas and New Years, which sometimes makes putting together the outfit more stressful than it should be.  So, solidify you party plans early on and do not be afraid to ask the host about the dress code. Remember that the holidays are about celebrating love, life, family, new beginnings. It is not about giving or receiving the most expensive gifts.  So think about showing up in outfits that celebrate who you are and the people you are with.  More to come as the holiday season is just beginning.




Not your grandma’s poncho

A burgundy poncho paired with blue jeans, an felt hat and Lavin pumps.

If you’ve ever tried selling clothing at Buffalo Exchange, Crossroads Trading Co, Beacon’s closet or some similar buy-sell-trade store, you’re sometimes struck by the items you bring that the buyers pass up. When the buyers at Buffalo Exchange in Berkeley passed on this knit poncho, I was like – what? This is so cute.  Ok – maybe not so much for the college crowd and Telegraph Ave hippies who frequent the spot.  But for casual fall style, I think this has so much potential and it is great for the weather in California.  A knit poncho is like wrapping up in a blanket, and it can definitely be dressed up for an evening stroll with a significant other or a day out and about window shopping. Ponchos have a very similar feel as the  cape, which is also a classic piece that you should have in your closet and wear at least once during the fall season. One thing you need to remember is that in cooler weather,  your style is mostly about outerwear. The poncho is just one of many outerwear pieces that should be making its way to the front of your closet in the coming weeks.