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Work Capsule Wardrobe: Retro Shift Dress


So I looked through my closet for suitable “professional” day job wear while I search for the perfect day gig and wasn’t impressed. My last refashion, the black shirt dress was the first piece in and beginnings of a work capsule wardrobe in the making. For this dress, I had already made the bodice and the skirt of this dress over the summer with the intention of using them for mix and match separates. I didn’t really like the fit of the two together and decided to make a dress, which kind of makes this a refashion!  Once I had the shift together I had some adjusting to do since the tank started out pretty billowy.


Then I looked through my drawer of sewing patterns and hallelujah found this sleeve pattern. Which made me ecstatic! A little early 70s vibe was what this simple shift needed for me to make it feel more special and give it some School Marm Boho styling appropriate for work. YAS! This look also fulfills a goal of making a print/color blocking piece as noted in my 2016 Make and Refashion Planner, that I made at the beginning of the year. Sweeeeeeeeeeeet!

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retroshift-5 I am not mad at the results! I made the sleeveless sweater coat above with leather cap sleeves a few years ago now! All of the fabrics here were bought in the last few years from my favorite spot, the Loft, at Michael Levine fabrics in Downtown Los Angeles. The loft is the outlet that sells remnants and bolts and pieces that are out of season before they are discarded which can mean shipped abroad or put in a landfill somewhere. I still love wearing this sweater coat with all sorts of outfits from a t-shirt and joggers to interview wear and will definitely be using it in my work capsule wardrobe. In this case, I am loving how the additional print and cap sleeves show off of the bell sleeves of the dress. You know I love some print on print action!

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Moodboard: Autumn Vibes 2016


Fall is my jam. It is the time of year that I miss the east coast’s turning leaves, waning temperatures, light-weight coats and sweater weather, wearing tights while gusts of wind lift my skirts! Sigh…. Being a west coaster my Autumn vibes still employ cozy sweaters for the dropping temps, if mainly at night, my favorite muted colors and most definitely layering it up. It also marks a return to getting my high femme on. A little bit of high drama in my styling choices as the layers pile on.


Autumn also begins “holiday” season. There are my favorites Halloween (Samhain) and Day of the Dead, an evolution of the Catholic All Soul’s Day, which is celebrated throughout a number of both Spanish and non-Spanish speaking colonized countries. Many a New Year is celebrated included Hibri, the Islamic New Year which begins in mid-November. The Wiccan celebration Mabon and the Autumn Equinox occurs, celebrating the harvest time and gratitude. Many Yoruban orishas have feast days throughout Autumn including one of my favorite Yoruban Goddesses Oya. It is also Feast of Eleggua, an Initiation Day into the Yoruba Faith (Nigerian religion).


There is lots of magic in the season which is probably why I have such an affinity for it.  Autumn is the season where nature fades and starts to die off leading into Winter. For me, the dying off is a shedding of skin and relinquishing of that which doesn’t serve. It is the beginning of making way for all that’s new.  I am inspired and energized by the Fall in spite of any challenges or hardships. For me,  it is organically a very freeing season.

The full moon has passed and the Autumn Equinox is here and there will be celebrations. Enjoy them. Right now its dusk giving way to night and the trees are rustling and I peep a deep blue and tawny sky out of my window and the breeze greets me and I am truly content. The smallest moments are filled with gratitude, the falling leaves, my tea and tarot, a favorite autumn meal, the shedding of skin. Enjoy the magick of Autumn, before you know it, it will be gone.

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The Little Things – Valerie June


Valerie June PushinSometimes more often than not these days, it’s just about being in the moment. And as Beltane passes and the Moon is in Pisces, and the days continue to get longer,  I celebrate the little things that bring me joy. So I thought I’d share them with you.  I am so in love with Valerie June and love roots music so much. I’m listening to her album Pushin’ Against A Stone. I came across this collaboration between her and my loves Style Like U. The mother-daughter duo who examine style beyond the surface…. So very lovely. Be grounded in the magick….


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ReFashion2015 Alterations: Gussets 101

Sheer Shirt Dress with Gusset 1


It’s the end of 2015!!!! ReFashion 2015 is almost over. No worries, there will be a ReFashion 2016! So there have been many an alteration that I haven’t documented this year. Most of which feature my quick go to’s for solving fit issues. Inserting Gussets and using my trusty seam ripper are my main tools! By the way I need a serious upgrade on my seam ripper and have my eyes on this beauty – #seamstressporn 😉

Gusset: a piece of material sewn into a garment to strengthen or enlarge a part of it, such as the collar of a shirt or the crotch of an undergarment.

The first thing I do very often is add a gusset (normally a triangle or diamond shape) into tops and dresses that don’t fit with enough ease. Ease is the space in your clothing that allows you enough room to walk, and sit and eat… you know just be in your clothes without restriction. I am at the high end of mainstream fashion’s plus sizing and often find my belly needs more room than manufactures want to give. I pretty regularly opt for a gusset!

Gussets 101

Sheer Shirt Dress with Gusset

So, the perks of inserting gussets is simply that you can create any additional space you need without dramatically altering the original shape of the garment. OR DRAMATICALLY altering the shape of the garment!  This technique was used on the side seams of this tunic below that I sometimes wear as a dress as well. I had no matching  fabric, but because it was a patchwork style print with the color black in it already I used some leftover black double knit which worked well for me. A new print in a similar design or color would have been an options as well.


The boots featured with both of these outfits above are a different kind of quick fix that I will get into on my next blog post. In the meantime, I used gussets to widen the calves on these Gladiator sandals! Really the possibilities are endless.


I am also in the process of finishing up this denim jacket ReFashion below and about to put insets into the sleeves to create a mini car coat shape! Really the possibilities are endless.

Denim Jacket Redux Gusset

So my loves there is a brief recollection of my love affair with the gusset. A savvy smart stylish ecofatshionista‘s best friend! Get acquainted!

No matter what size you are, no one’s body is made to fit into the fast fashion made for massive consumption. There are too many body’s out here in too many shapes and sizes to think that your body has to conform to fit generically made clothes. Your clothes should fit YOU, and YOUR body! Just remember that! Next up- a ReFashion manifesto and another Quick & Dirty Alterations guide before the new year.


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CineStyle: ZuckerBaby (1985)


Percy Adlon stole a piece of my heart when I first saw Zuckerbaby (Sugarbaby). I suppose its because, like his films to follow, it is centered around quirky characters with kind hearts the only way I’d truly be happy with someone describing me. Zuckerbaby is a German (formerly West German) film that quickly became one of my favorite films and still is. I rented it from the little VHS video shop 3 blocks from my house in 1986 or 1987.  It was just before the movie Baghdad Cafe came out. Another favorite Adlon film of mine. I also fell in love with his favorite leading lady at the time – who starred in both films, Marianne Sägebrecht

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Marianne is a lonely funeral home assistant who cares for the deceased. Her daily routine is captured in her lonely little apartment, dreary place of work, and even her sad supermarket that seems to further depress her. One day she is awoken from this monotonous existence by a voice. A man’s voice that carries her away on her subway commute home. Finding herself far from home she gets off the train to see before her the train’s conductor. A young handsome man who has seemingly given her a new found purpose.

Due 8 weeks vacation, 38 year old Marianne negotiates 5 weeks off from her job and sets out to seduce this 25 year old young man. Plotting to determine who he is and how to find him she undergoes a metamorphosis. She goes from a shy and reclusive lonely woman to an emboldened, fearless huntress who not only finds her prey but wins his heart.


One of the things I love most about the film is this candy colored world  that Marianne lives in. The colors of her world begin to transform from oppressive to brightening and from sad to sultry. Long before the Visible Belly Outline started to trend among fat activists, there was Marianne in that pink dress circa 1985. Needless to say I love her wardrobe. Chic, sexy and yes she is braless in most of her ensembles. And those shoes above. My goodness….

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I have been told by people my entire adult life how impressed they were with how comfortable I was in my body. That hasn’t always been true and although I feel comfortable in my skin, I am often affected by other people’s assumptions on my person. As we all know our feelings of self worth and self image can fluctuate on any given day. But watching this film as a teenager gifted me an image of a fat/larger women finding her joy and celebrating her sensuality and sexuality as a fact of life.

When you consider the limited imagery of people of size living their lives much less being represented as sexual beings, is it any wonder fat women especially have been so maligned and marginalized? Perhaps having seen this film gave me an advantage over many of my peers growing up. I saw this character, and believed that it was possible to be fat and desired, fat and confident, fat and content.



In the U.S. not long after the film had been released Ricki Lake starred in a made for TV remake. You may have seen it, its called BabyCakes. Unlike Sugarbaby/Zuckerbaby the leading man in BabyCakes has no intention of accepting Ricki’s invitation to dinner at her house. He shows up only because he’s too drunk to make it home and had her address in his pocket. The “American” spin is one filled with cliches and excuses for why an attractive man has to be won over to a large woman based on her personality. In Babycakes it is thought unthinkable he might desire to get to know her, or desire her period.


What is most impressive about Adlon’s screenplay for Zuckerbaby is that it never slights its subject or characters by reducing them to cliches. He merges the bittersweet realities of life with the fantastic joy in pursing ones desire. He creates a magical realism that is hard to resist and easy to believe.


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The Empowerment Project: Decolonize Body Love


This week, February 22-28 is National Eating Disorder Awareness week friends. I saw this t-shirt on Etsy some time ago but just finally bought one. Doing so was an act of self love, self care and self affirmation. This amazing (refashioned) shirt is from Nalgona Positive Shop on Etsy. Gloria Lucas is the brain child behind the shirt and Nalgona Positive Pride which is a community dedicated to decolonial healing and eating disorder awareness for a diverse fat positive community. NPP was “started in response to the pervasiveness of hetero-normative white supremacist ideals in love your body campaigns.” So Much YES.


Since I returned to Instagram and began my self love journey, I have been participating in monthly yoga challenges. I have even won prizes in challenges despite my own fears/bias of not being the right type to be seen, much less recognized for my expression of being in my body. But even with all of the amazing support, validation, Likes and beautiful comments I receive, I find myself comparing my body to those lithe white women that are in the ads for lululemon and who exist in the world, in your yoga class and on Instagram. This is not healthy, this comparison. I am reminded of that quote,  “Comparison is the Thief of Joy”- Theordore Roosevelt. And add that it is also the killer of solidarity. And we need to be in solidarity with each other.

10991139_10152581245092003_7613314951057218711_nIt is not healthy for me to measure my body and self image to another’s, period. It devalues me to measure myself by this image that has been forced upon me as a norm in the context of Yoga. It also reminded me that to associate yoga with a white fitness oriented thin women instead of Indian men from whom this spiritual restorative practice began is very much about colonization.   It is in those moments that I recognize and really feel the battle cry that we Decolonize Body Love. (*Even moreso if you subscribe to the theory that yoga originated in Egypt/Northern Africa before migrating to India. Fascinating!)


Radical self love and self acceptance is my battle-cry for the year. My year of love begins with self. All of myself, just as I am with dark skin, big belly, large thighs, massive calved, fat, gap toothed nappy haired black woman. What’s not to love. Truly. LOVE all of myself. I have to radically love and accept the body I am in and that involves removing a lot of propaganda I’ve been force fed my entire life. This propaganda of an ideal body hurts us all. This propaganda can lead to low self esteem, self image and eating disorders. Replacing that propaganda with positive messages and actions is a daily struggle. One that brings me tears and joy.  Today it makes me proud. #Proud2BMe.


Share your #loveyourrealselfie on social media and check out the NEDA National Eating Disorder Awareness  organization for information and resources on eating disorders. Visit their website or helpline: http://www.NationalEatingDisorders.org, NEDA Helpline: 800-931-2237.


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Thoughts: Brown Like Me – WoC Visibility

10308367_10152525305467003_1315238600292560592_nMindy Kaling makes me happy, Mindy Kaling is brown like me. She is smart, savvy and hilarious. She never puts aside the female gaze on her show The Mindy Project, which I love.  I don’t watch the Super Bowl. Nor do I watch commercials, but thanks to social media, I saw the ad Mindy stars in about feeling invisible. There is something so amazing about how very radical this commercial truly is. A Brown South Asian American woman had the attention of most of the country and she outed WOC Invisibility.

Whatever the stated intention of the ad, it speaks volumes to the erasure of women of color in (US) American society. It is REAL. It’s easily seen in the public realm of entertainment and how even when women of color who have carved out the opportunity to do amazing visible work they are ignored when it comes to industry accolades. Think about Ava DuVernay as director of Selma, her film was nominated for an Oscar but her vision and direction was not when she was snubbed as a nominee for Best Director…. To which she responded “why is there only one film starring people of color nominated? Where are we and why don’t we see more of us?

In one of my most vivid memories of my own experience, I remember standing in line at a bodega in NYC and a white man towering at 6-3 or taller, just literally stood in front of me practically touching me. Inches away from him I asked why he was cutting in front of me in line. He said he didn’t see me. I knew that to be ridiculous and said so. I was met not only with his annoyed denial and dismissal, but others in line decided to pipe in as well. Just thinking about it feels gross and makes me angry.

My Empowerment Project has been the catalyst for something I wasn’t even aware of – I needed to be seen. Choosing to be visible.  Being visible is one of those things that many take for granted. It is one of those things that those of us who experience this invisible woman syndrome, will often shrink away from.  During my activist days, I would often step up to make a speech, do outreach, and organize, but that was spreading the message for a cause and wasn’t about ME.

There were little to no images of people who looked like me growing up and that shaped me. In the media I was invisible. This chubby average gap-toothed Black girl did not exist in the world’s view.  From that starting place the self-love journey is even harder fought and hard won when you are the antithesis of the beauty image and you are judged on your otherness, and criticized for the moments you do stand up and claim your place. Everyone needs to be seen, acknowledged and valued. The journey begins with self, and others – I am learning – will eventually if not immediately jump on the bandwagon.


The recent commitment I made to my own self-love and acceptance has been an emotional AND physical exercise. Doing yoga is just part of that physical dedication to loving myself. Posting my yoga journey and pictures of myself on Instagram and the blog is for me, a big part of it too. Mainly, being seen has emboldened me and fortified my commitment to be true to myself, who I am, what I look like and say fuck you to anyone who isn’t supportive or questions my right to exist, be seen and take up space.

The more often I present my own image to the world, the more I am accepting of those images. And the more others accept and expect to see those images. It’s an exciting realization. I have gotten some wonderful feedback from many a friend and stranger alike on and off of social media about how my visibility has helped them or inspired them in some regard. Thank you, friends, for inspiring me to stay visible. Being seen, and making myself VISIBLE in my full-bodied glory is important. I am a woman of color with something to say, something to share about my own experience. It may be one of the most radical things I’ve yet to do.

P.S. : The more we share our diversity and love our own image, the more beautiful our lives will be.  If you don’t see yourself represented in the world around you I encourage you to be the change and help to create a beautiful diverse landscape with your own image.

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Crowns – SweetLeigh

Model – Me


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