Philly Style Maven, Jenn: Epitomizing Style Unapologetically

 

Social media has connected me to so many people, near and far, that prove to be a source of inspiration in various aspects of my life. I’m multi-passionate, but one of my biggest passions is that of marveling at real style! Yeah, I love fashion in general, getting the latest on which designers have come out with what, who’s wearing it, and where they’re wearing it to, but nothing tops the way it all comes together. Style. Many people use style and fashion synonymously, but they really aren’t. Fashion, according to Merriam Webster, is defined as, “a popular way of dressing during a particular time or among a particular group of people”, style is “a particular way in which something is done, created, or performed”. See the difference? If you’re reading this, you probably already know that distinction and feel the same way I do. In any event, I love highlighting people I come across who have inspirational style filled with originality, authenticity, attitude, “wow” factor, and a unique point of view. Of course my definition of great style may be completely different from yours, but that’s the beauty of it!

 

Today I’m highlighting a beautiful woman, inside and out, that I started following about a year ago on Instagram. To sum up my assessment of her style, I’d say that it is daring and sexy, with a calm and effortless execution like only us Philly girls can do 😉 (kidding…but for real). Her style point of view leads her to show us looks that are unexpected, but work well together.  It is conditional and reflects her mood, the function she’s attending, or a combination of the two.  Oh, and she LOVES her labels, especially Chanel and Louboutin, but they definitely don’t define her. All around, she works with pieces that compliment her body type well and she also serves as a muse for the many designers she gives the opportunity to show their talent through custom design.

Here are some of my favorite style choices from Ms @Jenn_1 (as she’s known on the Gram). Dressed up, or on chill lay, love them all because style is always present regardless.

 

AMAZING custom-made jumper, B&W for contrast. Love, love, love it! Made by Philly based designer Ginger Taylor Designs

 Click on the images below to see the slideshow

As you can see, there is much diversity in Jenn’s style. Always well put- together, but varying in stylistic approach. It definitely represents that philly girl style; feminine, but real laid back without looking like we tried too hard. If you know anything about Philadelphians, you know that we are calm, cool, and collected, but when you get on that other side, we get a little crazy and unpredictable. So, that’s what our style shows you.

Jenn, love ya style, girl! Keep slaying everything without thinking twice about it!

Sincerely,

~with style~,

Sharontina B. …. StyleDegree

 

H&M Online Shopping is NOW OPEN in the U.S.!

Stop the presses!!!

 

God heard my prayers this morning, he truly did. Just got word (literally 5 minutes ago) that H&M.com is now available for online shopping in the U.S.!!! This has been a lonnggggg time coming, and I’m saying R.I.P. to my pockets in advance, because now indulging in affordable, cauuuuuute clothing is even easier. No lie, 80-90% of my clothes are from H&M. As a budgeting fashionista just finishing college, H&M has been my savior on many occasions. I say all this to say, I’m happy! Just downloaded the app, so yeah…..it’s a wrap!

 

H&M shopping online

 

By the way, to celebrate the new launch, H&M is hosting an IG contest that you might want to participate in, you could win a $1000 gift card and a trip to NYC! I’m in!! H&M launched the “50 States of Fashion” campaign, where you can rep your state along with the Ambassadors who were chosen by H&M to represent each state in the U.S., by showing off your personal style.  Click HERE to find out who YOUR state ambassador is and how to enter. And CONGRATULATIONS to my blogger friend, Fashionista Next Door on becoming the ambassador for Georgia! Woot woot!

For my Philly girls, show off your personal style and use the hashtag #HMShopOnlinePA to enter! ALSO, students, don’t forget to ask about the 15% student discount at the register, it’s for their back to school promotion, just have your school ID with you! (Always looking for a deal..tehee)

Ahhhh, I’m so excited to shop, hope you are too!

Happy shopping!

How I Found My Personal Style in a Conforming Society

Hey Ladies and Gents,

I’m coming to you today with a serious issue that is plaguing the fashion sense of millions, for real. I am such an advocate for personal style and expression because I believe it truly sets you free, like telling the truth! My absolute favorite part of the day isn’t defined by a timely meal, or seeing my lovely family members’ smiles (although they matter a lil’ bit), it’s in getting dressed each day! I know it sounds kind of  ‘damnnnn, that’s colllddddd’ , but like I said, the truth shall set you free. Anyone that knows me, knows that I have a very unique sense of style, that I’m confident in it, and will encourage others to try something outside of their closet comfort zone in a heart beat. Proof…

 

Church hats

Church-hats off to my little ladies who aren’t afraid to be BOLD

 

I try to think back to when I started to define my personal style, and it brings me to a characteristic of myself that has nothing to do with style, clothes, or fashion. In school, and at home, I was the ‘goody two-shoes’ who actually liked school, and LOVED the attention that I got for being different in that aspect. Getting good grades was important to me, and when I realized that everyone wasn’t pulling it off, I was like “Oh yes, this is MY thing!” (nerd much?). Since then, I’ve always liked having those little this-is-my-thing moments wherever they manifested, and that’s when my personal style in dress took on that ideology. I couldn’t fathom why everyone wanted (and still wants to) look alike, why is that fun? Eww. I can’t front though, I remember being a kid and wanting the high top Reeboks that all the other kids were wearing, but that’s different to some extent. I’ve found that teenagers especially conform to the “fashion elite” of their generation, who dictate what’s hot (even when it’s really not), and they feel that they have to have these things in order to fit in. My thing was, and still is, if I can’t wear what I REALLY want to wear and not fit in, then that’s not the space I should be trying to squeeze into. Maybe everyone doesn’t think the same way I do, obviously.

Sharontina baby pic

I’ve had my fair share of trying to fit in!

 

I started to watch my personal style define itself when I was about 16. I moved in with my dad and stepmom, and Mom is the epitome of a fashionista! No, her closet will make you green with envy! I loved watching her process of searching through her OCD-like closet, with everything neatly and precisely in a special place, finding potential ensembles to try on, and then like trial and error on a hard math problem, POW! She’d have the answer, the perfect outfit, all unique in her own way, topped with a pile of confidence and a cherry of sass. I loved that, I wanted to feel like that when I got dressed. As I stated before, I always liked having my own thing going on, but it was very present in other aspects of my life and not yet in the fashion department. I was still all ‘overly fitted butterfly rhinestone encrusted jeans with a striped shirt’, mad corny. I studied Momma’s style, and I began to develop my own. She encouraged me, let me “shop” in her closet, and she is the reason I have solo impromptu ‘photoshoots’ for Fabebook -_-. It was fun, and I got to watch my style grow over time. By the time I was in 11th grade, my classmates would anticipate what wacky-cute outfit I’d be wearing to school, and ask if my stepmom helped me pick it out since I bragged about her constantly. The whole thing was just too cute.

Sharontina and Mom

Me, all of 17, with my style maven of a Momma

Sharontina and mom

Me and Mom being cute in Miami with our belted frocks

 I sort of feel like it’s my mission to help those stuck in the bubble of style conformity, to get out! I also have realized that it all comes down to confidence and conviction, and if you don’t have either of them then the road to betraying the copy-cat style cults won’t be easy. It’s still not easy for me although it may look that way. People in my family STILL make comments like, “Why can’t you just dress normal for one day?”, “Why do you dress so weird?”, “What kind of craziness do you have on today?”, but it is counteracted by my ‘I like it and don’t give a damn what you think’ attitude and the compliments from other style blessed folks who “get me”, especially my funky-hip New Yorkers! (I heart you!). I ALSO find that those same people who say I ‘dress weird’ wish there was love button on my Facebook pics, and make comments like “I love that you’re so daring with your style”, “Where did you get that dress from?”. Interesting, right? When those moments come, I realize that they may be in the group that really wants to be unique unto themselves, but feel they won’t be accepted if they don’t fit the style profile that’s in popular demand at the time. I let them know how free I feel, how NO ONE else will put an outfit together like I can, whether they have the same dress or not, and how it’s all about saying “I’m going to wear what I feel expresses me the best”, that’s it. Yeah I’m on a soap box right now, but I feel like the issue needs some attention, along with the people who are scared to NOT look like everyone else.

Am I the only one who sees the style conformity thing still plaguing closets worldwide? Tell me it’s not just me! I’d love to know how you define your personal style, and who helped you discover yours. Were you/are you a victim of #TeamEverybodyHasToLookAlike, but escaped? I’d love to hear your point of view…

Thanks Mom, for showing me that all I needed was confidence to bring my personal style to life!

Sharontina's personal style

Don’t be afraid to go against the ‘norm’.

Sincerely,with style ~ Sharontina B.

B is for Branding: Your Brand Is a Meltingpot

Hello friends!

I’ve been really busy with school the past few days, and since I’m a marketing major we talk business/branding/marketing/money/differentiation etc etc etc–27/7! Now, sometimes I have high interest in the lessons (branding/marketing) and other times I don’t (finance/sales). Although some aspects of business interest me more than others, I’ve learned and accepted that I either have to take it all, or take nothing– and I’ve been in college too long to be all “Forget it, I’m just going to change my major to journalism” (my secret passion of  a major in my next life). Many people ask me why I even decided to study business if I wasn’t passionate about it in its entirety, and the answer to that question is that I feared it and that’s why I went for it. It seems that in our nature, we are comfortable with not having to face fears and making up excuses as to why we don’t want to do something, but my philosophy is that it doesn’t help you in the long-run. The thought of accounting, finance or economics sent chills up my spine because I just don’t like math that much–I just didn’t want to deal with it, but I realized that it is so important to be aware and understand such important factors that determine much of how we live. Any who, that’s my spiel on why I’m a business major, and no…I don’t hate it, I just REALLY have a thing for the aspects related to marketing and branding.

A few months back I introduced a potential blog series that I was going to write all about branding, based on a cute little book called AbuLLard’s ABC’s of Branding, co-written by one of my favorite professors, Dr. Jean Wilcox. I became a little hesitant after introducing the idea because I didn’t want to stray too far left of the focus of The Runway Times, but I realized a great point I could make to tie it all in. The book literally goes through the alphabet, connecting each letter with an important component/rule/or practice of branding. Since I only posted on “A”, we’ll continue with B…

In AbuLLard’s ABC’s of Branding, it states, ” B is for believable”, it goes on to talk about how the messages one associates with their brand must be believable and always deliver on what the brand promises. Many of us would probably say, “Well yeah…my blog always delivers on what I promise to my readers”, or “Yes, our products always deliver the benefit we promise to the consumer”….but is this your own bias, or the truth? It’s definitely something to consider with each and everything you do that is related to your brand.

In today’s time, like it or not, we are all brands. If you are interactive on social media, you are a brand and every single thing you do is a reflection of the image your are trying to portray. I like to talk about personal branding because it’s something I have been successful at by accident, but has since gained much purpose. The best part about creating a personal brand is that YOU have total control of it. Indeed, a brand’s equity is determined by how others view/like and respect the brand, but you create it for them to evaluate from the beginning. All of your actions, doings, what you “co-sign” to, how you dress, and pretty much any little thing you do is a tag to your personal brand! The best way to describe it, is to say that your personal brand is a melting pot of everything you are. There are many tips I could give (and will) on how to add value to your personal brand, but for the sake of my love of personal style, I’ll focus on that this time.

 

 

Your personal style is a representation of so much more than the names on the tags hidden beneath your rags (I love to rhyme words). Just think about it for a second, when you walk down the street don’t you start to place people in certain categories by what they are wearing? Categories like bold, daring, conservative, casual, professional— I do. I start to imagine what they are probably like as a person, the things they’re probably interested in for leisure, and even what they might want me to know about them as I see their representation of themselves. Yes, I was always known to think too deeply into things, but it’s my nature and I know some of you are the same way! Any who, your personal style is your elevator pitch of fashion, your “Hellooooo world” without even opening your mouth, your “mood ring” that will give sure signs of the days when you’re feeling yourself, and the days when you’re not. Many of us may be able to agree to the fact that relatives and friends especially make reference to “the type of things we wear”, and during those ever-fun shopping trips, you hear “Nahhh, that doesn’t look like you”, or “that is soooooo you!”…yep, we hear it all the time and become more and more comfortable with being known for what we wear.

So, my question to you is, do you have a unique style that is all your own and does it truly represent who you are? Is it a believable message to the brand you are and not a form of that “leave a nasty taste in your mouth” conformity? Are you in the process of repositioning that brand of YOU and want your personal style to take a ride too? I’d love your feedback/questions, I’m here to help and learn!

 

Sincerely,

with style~ Sharontina B.