Fall is one of my favorite seasons of the year. No, it’s not because Starbucks brings back their pumpkin spice latte. Honestly, I love just about everything when it comes to Fall. I love sweater weather, so as soon as Fall comes around, I’m excited to pull out my cozy, chunky, knit sweaters and cardigans!
Not to mention the color scheme. I gravitate towards neutral color so olive green, burnt orange, and burgundy are the perfect pop of color to add to my wardrobe because they complement so many other colors.
Recently, I had the chance to collaborate with two amazing fashion bloggers to create a fall look book using a color scheme of burgundy, blush, black and ivory. With the help of my friend Jeremy White, founder of Style & Experience Co, (@styleandexperience) we were able to come up with a few outfit ideas. He helped us add our must - have fall pieces such as velvet, tweed, and leather and created outfits based on our personal styles.
Our photo shoot with our photographer Samantha Hardeman (@bambam5am) took place at the Fairmont Hotel Garden in San Francisco . I’ve stayed at the hotel before, but I’ve never been to the rooftop garden. It was absolutely amazing!
Everything from the fountain, to the flowers, and the lighting they had for the holidays made the ambiance perfect!
Blazer: Calvin Klein; Blouse: Banana Republic; Necklace: Banana Republic; Skirt: Bar iii; Shoes: Via Spiga;
After the Photo shoot, I was able to sit down and ask the girls a series of questions about their experience being a blogger. During our conversation, it was clear that all three of us had a common theme on why we started our blogs in the first place; We want to help fill the gap of under representation of WOC in mainstream and social media. There aren't many influencers or public figures that look like us. Scroll down to check out what these two dope queens had to say about their blogging experience and how mainstream media impacts their content.
Meet Rolanda (@Queenrevelyn)
Rolanda is a product marketing manager at YouTube by day and the fashion blogger behind Leave a Little Sparkle by night. Originally from New York, Rolanda started her blog after graduating college and returning to the city. Since then she has taken it with her across to country to her new home in San Francisco. On the blog, she chronicles the life, thoughts [lots of thoughts], adventures of a 23 year old [that still feels like a new grad] east coaster living on the West Coast.
What do you love about Fall?
Well I’m an East Coast girl, so Fall always meant layers- tights, skirts, over the knee boots. It’s when you can start breaking out the scarves and tweed jackets, and I love that. Having moved to San Francisco, my seasons are all mixed up. There’s no snow so that means no winter, and it seems like SF is either somewhere between spring and summer. But I guess I’ll give in and say that with the leaves falling it does feel like fall, and I’ve already started adding oversized blazers to my wardrobe.
Shirt: Vintage; Skirt: Le Lis (via Le Tote) Shoes: Jessica Simpson (via Marshalls) Blazer: Banana Republic;
How would you describe your style?
Growing up, my style was preppy and definitely directly influenced by my prep school’s dress code. And that still carries over now- I couldn’t love a white collared shirt, boyfriend blazer, and horizontal stripes (especially in navy blue) more. But my style has definitely evolved. Since having moved to San Francisco, I wear less color and way more blacks, whites and greys, more sneakers, and less heels [cause these hills are no joke.] So now, I guess classic is a better way to describe my style.
What got you into blogging?
It was a combination of two things, meeting Krystal Bick who was a marketing manager at Google at the time and also the blogger behind This Time Tomorrow. It may sound silly but meeting her in person and seeing her traverse the two worlds showed me that anyone can do it, you just have to want it bad enough. So, I had no excuses. The second thing was the parting words of a keynote speech I heard over the summer- “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?” Launching my blog is what I’d do if I weren’t afraid. So, I did it.
How would you describe the impact that WOC beauty/ fashion influencers have made to mainstream media? Have we made progress? What other steps should we take to break barriers within the fashion industry?
I always come back to this quote by my queen of all queens Michelle Obama- “You simply cannot be what you cannot see.” I quite literally think that just by being, by existing, feeling proud, and continuing to put our faces out there is invaluable. I followed blogs back when you had to comment on the bloggers page to find out where she got that cute top from [I’m talking OG blogger days], and none of those bloggers looked like me. And now, we are so fortunate that we can create our own platforms and elevate our voices, and we have trailblazing queens like Elaine Welteroth and Issa Rae, so that we can be seen and heard. And that, to me, is priceless.
What do you provide for your audience and what advice do you have for WOC that are looking to follow a similar path?
I think this is more so a question for my readers. I hoped to create a sparkly corner of the internet-one where I can push myself creatively, document my adventures, thoughts and feelings, and just tell stories as they come to me.
My advice to anyone who also want to create content would be to just do it! The hardest part about blogging, or creating any sort of content for that matter, is starting. If you’re like me, you’re a perfectionist and you’ll find a long list of things that could be better before you launch. But you’ll quickly learn that there will always be something that could be better. I feel that way now! But I’m so happy that I started on this journey, so grateful for all the support that I have received along the way-everyone from friends and family to internet friends turned irl friends, and so excited for what lies ahead.
Meet Taylor (@Taylorbird__)
Taylor is a Bay Area native and freelance writer with a background in cosmetics. Her blog Beauty & Beyond features mostly fashion tips, beauty reviews and life & style content. She somehow manages to find time to blog all while working and going to school full-time. Outside of that, she is a big foodie, loves reading and enjoys weekend hikes with her pup, Fitzgerald.
What do you love about Fall?
I appreciate all the seasons for different reasons but, Fall and Winter hold a special place in my heart. All my favorite things happen this time of year: Harry Potter marathons, hot mugs of tea, chunky sweaters and quality time with my loved ones.
From right after Thanksgiving to the week of the New Year, time feels like a perpetual state of Christmas Eve to me. Everything moves in slow motion, and that allows me to take a step back and reflect on the year that has passed, and what is to come in the future.
Jacket: Forever 21; Shirt: Forever 21; Skirt: H&M; Shoes: Aldo
How would you describe your style?
My personal style is something that has changed and evolved with time. Right now, I would describe my style as tailored with whimsical touches. I love weaving in period pieces such as corsets or trumpet sleeves but the consistent theme is my love for layering and sharp silhouettes.
How do you implement your style throughout the season? What are your favorite pieces to wear during fall?
Fall means one thing to me: sweaters. I think sweaters get a bad rap style-wise because they can easily become dowdy or unflattering, but there are so many types of sweaters. I will add some type of sweater to any outfit, whether that be a cardigan, a sweater vest, a pullover or a knit dress. Since I layer all year long, it is easy for me to transition spring and summer pieces to winter by layering tights, a sweater, scarves or hats which adds winter flair and doubles-up on the style factor.
What got you into blogging?
I talked about this in a recent blog post, and a little bit on my About Page, but I started blogging about 4 years ago when I found myself with a lot of unexpected free time. I’ve always been passionate about reading and writing, and started off blogging as a way to hone in on my writing style and tone. I realized that I enjoyed blogging about a year or so into it. My generation is full of bloggers, and I think in a world that is so media-focused, a community of people taking the time to write down their thoughts and research things is sort of romantic, even if I’m personally just writing about face masks and mixing prints.
How would you describe the impact and progress that beauty and fashion influencers of color have made in mainstream media? What other steps should we take to break barriers within these industries?
I wholeheartedly believe that the biggest, most influential trends in the fashion and beauty industries were created by people of color and urban culture. Now more than ever I think there is a real voice for where these influences come from and even more than that, there are people of color independently driving these industries and getting that recognition.
Thinking of Rihanna launching her own beauty line for example, she was able to create something that some brands have never done – a wide variety of foundation shades that appeal to all people of all colors. She was able to consider our particular skin concerns – coverage, skin type and skin texture. She was able to, without having a background in fashion or beauty, use her platform to recognize our needs and wants in a way that is all inclusive. I think Rihanna and others in the industry that create POC-friendly products are diversifying the industry with some healthy competition, which will have a really positive impact in driving those industries forward even more and providing representation for everyone.
Of course, there’s always more progress to be made, which would come from more people of diverse backgrounds saying to themselves, “what do I want or need that I don’t have,” and creating products that answer that question. Ultimately though, having women/people of color to look up to is where it all starts.
What do you provide for your audience? What advice do you have for women of color that are looking to follow a similar path?
When people visit my blog or Instagram page, I aim to give them honest, relatable feedback (mainly regarding fashion and beauty) based on a few things. First, where I am from. Even though I don’t think about it, being from The Bay Area is a huge influence. Secondly, my racial background as a Black woman/woman of color. And finally, as someone who isn’t exactly...thin, lol.
I am right in the awkward place between straight size and plus-size and to be honest, I feel like a lot of women live in that zone and find it challenging to style themselves when thin bodies or exaggerated curvy bodies are the focus in the media right now. There are certain standards and expectations for what is beautiful and if I can put myself out there and be myself and show others that looking good doesn’t wear a specific size, I think that can inspire others to do the same.
I am relatively new to the “serious” blogging world but if I was going to give advice I would refer back to my comments about POC in the beauty and fashion industries; think of something that you want or need that hasn’t been fulfilled and achieve it. Chances are, there are others out there with the same needs and desires looking for answers too.
It was a pleasure working with these ladies. Although our writing styles and content are so different, we essentially have the same goal. We want WOC that don't see themselves in mainstream media to know: We see you. We hear you. We gotchu.
Thanks for reading!
Photos by: Sam Hardeman
Stylist: Jeremy White
Make sure to visit Rolanda and Taylor's websites to check out more photos and my perspective. Don't forget to subscribe to these two dope queens!