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5 minimalist plus size fashion bloggers you should know

Plus size fashion can seem like it’s stuck in a rut. Either it’s all wrap dresses, something pin-up, or something bodycon. It’s not that these kinds of styles aren’t cool; wrap dresses are great for every figure, there’s nothing like the classic pin-up look, and if you are confident in your body, there’s no reason you shouldn’t wear body-conscious clothing. But not everyone fits in these three modes of dress–some of us are more streamlined in our approach to fashion. Some of us are minimalists. Fashion is only beginning to address the minimalist plus size fashionista, but thankfully, there are some plus size fashion bloggers that are paving the way for minimalist plus size fashion.

Here are 5 fashion bloggers you’d love to follow if you’re looking for some minimalist fashion advice.

1. Franceta Johnson | francetajohnson.com

Toronto-based fashion blogger Franceta Johnson is a “multi-hypenate creative” who is “passionate about all things art design style self-love & aforcentrism.”¬†Johnson has been featured in tons of outlets and brands, including Elle, ASOS, Buzzfeed, Cosmopolitan, The Cut, Flare, Essence, Refinery 29, Seventeen, The Huffington Post, Teen Vogue and Who What Wear.

2. Callie Thorpe | Calliethorpe.com

Why I choose to break the ‘plus size fashion rules’ new on calliethorpe.com Photo by @lydiahudgens

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South West London-based Callie Thorpe wrote that her blog started as a diet diary in 2012, a time “when I felt pretty low about myself, desperate to lose weight and obsessed with dieting[.] I was in a bad playce and truly convinced I would never be successful at the weight I was.” She recreated her blog after having an epiphany about how negativity wasn’t helping her life. Two blogs later, calliethorpe.com acts as a place to be “just apologetically me to share both my blog but also a portfolio of my achievements throughout the years.”

Thorpe has been featured on Channel 4, Teen Vogue, People, The Times of London, UK plus size fashion brand Evans, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, Look, Vogue, Grazia and Elle.

3. Nicolette Mason | nicolettemason.com

Nicolette Mason, who lives between New York and Los Angeles, works as a brand strategist and consultant for beauty, fashion, and lifestyle brands as well as a contributing writer for Refinery29, Teen Vogue and Glamour. She was the contributing editor for Marie Claire between 2011 to 2016.

Mason has been featured on The Today Show, New York Live, Good Morning America, The New York Times, Time Out New York, Vogue Italia, New York Magazine, Teen Vogue, Lucky Magazine, Elle Decor and more. She also partnered with Target for the launch of plus-size brand Ava & Viv, and with ModCloth and Addition Elle to co-design collections.

4. Danielle Vanier | Daniellevanier.co.uk

London-based Danielle Vanier writes that her blog is meant to “empower you and to inspire you to feel confident through your choices in clothing and accessories.”

“I want to help inspire you to feel confident about your body (what ever size/shape you are) and to show you that there are beautiful clothes out there, no matter what size you happen to be,” she writes. “… [I]f I can help at least one person feel great about themselves; then I know I have done a good job!”

Vanier has been featured in Evans and on Buzzfeed, Vogue Italia, Elle Girl Taiwan, New Look, IGIGI and more.

5. Musemo Handahu | Lion-hunter.com

// last pair of shoes with this look was these blue velvet boots! My fave of the three! // ph: @xxkolivia

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Nova Scotia-based Musemo Handahu is one half of Lion Hunter, run by both Musemo and her brother Tendai. Musemo rebranded her site, Curvy Geekery, after being inspired by her last name, which means “lion hunter,” and after wanting to “take a bigger step twoards a platform that encapsulated more of who she is.”

Lion Hunter is “primarily a singular narrative of Musemo’s view of style,” which includes living “by the essence of her last name, hunting for the majestic in herself and in everyting she comes across.”

Musemo has worked with brands like Tim Hortons, Prince Edward Island, Le Ch√Ęteau of Montr√©al, Ford, Ontario, Calvin Klein, Lacoste, Vince Camuto, DSW, Make Up Forever, Nine West, H&M, Forever 21, Old Navy, Michael Kors, U.S.-based plus-sized fashion brand Eloquii, Samsung, VitaminWater, and many more. She can also be seen in Essence Magazine, The¬†Huffington Post, and Fashion Magazine.¬†

Who else would you add to this list? Give your opinions in the comments section below!

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Crazy Rich Asian fashion, as shown in “Crazy Rich Asians” first look photos

Crazy Rich Asians is promising audiences the most expensive looking film of 2018! (Well, one of them, if¬†Black Panther has anything to say about that.) Most definitely, we will see tons of fashions, tons of labels, and tons of money. But can you, the plebeian, have the¬†Crazy Rich Asians clothes? Yeah…but you still might have to take out a bank loan for some of these. But¬†yes, you can live the¬†Crazy Rich Asians¬†life. Check out these fashion selections as shown in the exclusive¬†Entertainment Weekly first look photos and see what you think.

The Meet-Cute Trench Coat

Wool trench coat | ASOS | $135

None of us have seen¬†Crazy Rich Asians yet, but we already know what this scene is about, right? Everything about it says “New York City Romantic Comedy Meet-Cute.” All of our dreams–living a fabu life in New York, dating a wealthy man (this wealthy man, Nick Young, played by Henry Golding), eating ritzy food in an expensive restaurant–have come true in this one scene. Also a dream: a great trench coat.

This belted trench coat from ASOS carries the urban elegance that I feel best reflects this particular scene in¬†Crazy Rich Asians. This coat has a bit more drape than the coat in the image, but it has that monied, yet lived-in look that I feel is best suited to getting your “I’m a normal girl in a rich fantasy” lifestyle on.

Eccentric rich girl pajamas

PJ Salvage Dogs & Hats Flannel Pajamas | Dillards | $68

In¬†Crazy Rich Asians, Awkwafina plays¬†Goh Peik Lin, Rachel’s (Constance Wu) kind, loving,¬†rich friend from college. In this scene, it looks like Rachel has surprised her friend, since Peik Lin is meeting Rachel in her awesome dog print (silk?) pajamas.

You too can have some awesome silk pajamas, and for a fraction of a fraction of the price of Peik Lin’s expensive pajama set. These from Dillard’s, made by PJ Salvage, have dogs in kerchiefs and cowboy hats, making this set adorable, eccentric, and fun.

 Daytime party glam

Shape gold sequin halter top jumpsuit| PrettyLittleThing | $90

Sonoya Mizuno plays Araminta Lee, the fiancee of Nick’s very rich friend (in case you hadn’t caught on yet, everyone’s¬†loaded in this film, including Rachel, although she doesn’t know it yet until the sequel,¬†China Rich Girlfriend). Unlike Nick, who doesn’t flaunt his wealth, and Peik Lin, who is just a shopaholic but otherwise nice person, Araminta looks like she drips money and loves to flaunt it. Why else would she wear a party-ready gold sequin jumpsuit in the daytime?

This jumpsuit from PrettyLittleThing evokes Araminta’s luxe lifestyle. The black stripes also heighten the expensive look of this jumpsuit.

 Luxe beading

Embroidered dress | Sherri Hill | $1,550 (various sellers)

Nick’s mother Eleanor Young (Michelle Yeoh) also looks like she loves being monied, doesn’t she? Her nude and teal-beaded jacket and dress (I think) combo gives off old money and class. What it doesn’t show is how she’s uppity–throughout the book, Eleanor has a chip on her shoulder about how Rachel is just middle class.

The¬†appliqu√© in this dress made by Sherri Hill echoes the blue¬†beading in Eleanor’s surely bespoke outfit. The beaded¬†appliqu√© in this dress gives an updated appearance to traditional¬†appliqu√©, which can look mature, depending on how it’s treated. Here, the¬†appliqu√© gives this dress an upscale, chic look.

The wedding dress to end all wedding dresses

Topaz sparkle tulle bridal ball gown | Lazaro | $4000-$5000 (various sellers)

Araminta’s wedding dress is all bespoke–from last I checked, it’s supposed to be bespoke Valentino. It’d have to be to have feathers, a high-low ruffle skirt, gold, pastel pink, beading, and nude illusion all in one dress.

However, I was able to find a dress that would mimic the expensive, fantasy wedding feeling you get from¬†Crazy Rich Asians that you can buy…if you save up beacoup money for it. From what I hear, folks who are in the market for a Kleinfeld dress spend at least $3000, so this dress from Lazaro is within the ballpark (as you know, the sky’s the limit for wedding dress prices).

This particular dress has the gold beading, pastel pink, nude illusion bust and ruffles, much of what’s in play with the bespoke dress. You¬†can have Aaraminta’s look, after all!

What do you think about the fashion in Crazy Rich Asians? Give your opinions below!

2018 Fashion: How to walk into the “Black Panther” screening in style

Somewhere on Twitter, there’s someone saying how they’re going to show up to the movie theater once¬†Black Panther is released. When the trailer dropped in June, everyone was talking about how they were going to be decked out in their finest threads to see¬†Black Panther, as if the February 2018 release date will be Easter Sunday.

But what could go into the sartorial display folks might (and probably will) partake in once the film drops? How does one show up to the movie theater to watch the most anticipated, most-hyped, and most-loved history-making Marvel film of all time? Look no further than to the Black Panther trailer itself, which gives you looks and inspiration for days.

Mother Africa

Black Panther would be nothing without its adherence to pan-African tribal styles. Black Panther costume designer Ruth Carter said to Elle that she looked to several cultures for the look seen in the film.

“I’m looking at the whole continent and a wide range of people, like the Masai and the Suri. It all becomes a part of the framework of Wakanda. Most people who read the comic books know Wakanda is a mountainous area; it’s a secret place that’s not necessarily trading and interacting with the rest of the world. They’re a little bit more advanced in technology than other civilizations. We are creating that world, and trying to create a culture and pride that feels authentic to the specific location.”

Check out these scenes from the trailer juxtaposed with actual pictures of the Suri and the Masai people.

(photos by Rod Waddington and Dylan Waters [Flickr Creative Commons] and Wikipedia)

Now, I’m not suggesting you go to the film heavily appropriating cultures by wearing facepaint and Masai warrior tunics, because even though we’re black, we’re not of any of these tribes from a cultural standpoint (from a DNA standpoint, who knows). If you¬†are from an African nation and you’ve got some stuff you want to pull out to roll up at the theater in, be my guest. For the rest of us black Americans, perhaps the best we can do is Kente cloth, which has become a part of African-American life ever since it was introduced to us back in the 1950s. As James Padilioni, Jr., of the the African American Intellectual History Society (AAIHS)-run site Black Perspectives, writes:

Kente appeared on the radar of most African-Americans in 1958 when Kwame Nkrumah, the first prime minister of independent Ghana, wore the cloth to meet with President Eisenhower at the White House. Coinciding with the Civil Rights and African Decolonization Movements, Black Americans associated Kente cloth with Black politics and the dignity of the African heritage. By the early 1970s, the predominant garment featuring Kente in the United States was the dashiki, a long tunic-type shirt that grew increasingly popular and commodified by the fashion industry.  Kente’s appeal within Black Power waned, with Fred Hampton and other Panthers leadersderiding those who wore them. Nevertheless, Kente cloth and dashikis remained staples of urban Black life and received a new layer of significance when adopted by the Hip Hop community in the 1980s.

While this is still a little bit of appropriation, the Kente cloth has taken on a very American-specific identity along with its traditional identity. At some point, many a black person has owned an item of clothing made from Kente cloth. Even I, as a kindergartner, made a cardboard doll wearing a Kente cloth dashiki and hat. I’m no sartorial police, but if you happen to have a Kente cloth shirt, hat, or even a scrunchie, wearing it to the¬†Black Panther screening might be one of the best times you could put that item to some use.

Coming to America

The film referred to the most when writing about¬†Black Panther¬†on Twitter is¬†Coming to America. The comparisons are coming even heavier now that there’s official news there will be a Coming to America sequel.¬†It makes sense–both films are about fictional African nations, both films act as uplifting and positive portrayals of Africa, and both films have become cultural touchtones to black American pop culture (even though¬†Black Panther hasn’t even come out yet).

Fashion-wise, does it make sense to connect¬†Black Panther to¬†Coming to America? Sort of. The two films have different tones they’re trying to accomplish with their costuming. However, the common thread is the goal of making an African nation look like the ultimate African nation–regal, luxurious, sophisticated, and welcoming.

Upon taking apart each film’s costumes, it becomes surprisingly apparent that there¬†are some similar elements in the costuming for¬†Coming to America¬†and¬†Black Panther, such as the Dora Milaje wearing red, which is similar to how the royal handmaidens wear red. There’s also a certain use of furs, bright colors, and headdresses that convey the idea that these nations are not to be trifled with because they will outspend you and out-culture you.

Granted, the connective tissue between these two films is small–the main reason people are drawing parallels to the film is because¬†Coming to America is the only film black Americans have that depict an African nation as thriving, rich, culturally-independent, and on-par with (or exceeding beyond) the European status quo. This gets into a representation issue–if there were more films about Africa that¬†didn’t¬†depict the continent as poor and backwards, then we’d have more films to choose from when discussing the place¬†Black Panther has in Hollywood’s film legacy.

It also doesn’t hurt that Lupita Nyong’o had a¬†Coming to America-themed birthday party, officially crossing the streams between¬†Black Panther and¬†Coming to America.

Queen-To-Be & The Lady-In-Waiting. #WakandansInZamunda @danaigurira

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#WakandansInZamunda birthday partay! Fet. @chadwickboseman as Rev. Brown

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“Let them WAIT!” #WakandansInZamunda @michaelbjordan @janellemonae @mykalmonroe @carlulysses #latergram

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Me and my director. #RyanCoogler #WakandansInZamunda #latergram

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I would love to see folks at the theater in¬†Coming to America cosplay. Usually, I¬†hate seeing cosplay when I’m at the movie theater, but for this, I would pull out my phone for to take some pictures.¬†Especially if someone decided to show up wearing a fake lion stole.

Ikire Jones

If you’re planning on going to the¬†Black Panther premiere in supreme style, then you need to get yourself some Ikire Jones. The brand, led by creative director Wal√© Oy√©jid√© and head tailor Sam Hubler, weaves together African textiles and modern, urbane chicness into some of the most fabulous scarves and garments I’ve seen in a while. To quote the brand’s website:

We use design as a vehicle to tell stories that illuminate the nuanced lives of marginalized people. We do so without reproach or pity. But instead, by showing that elegance is not exclusive to any particular culture, hue, or country.

It seems natural, then, for Ikire Jones to be showcased in¬†Black Panther as part of T’Challa’s regal wardrobe.¬†As¬†Oy√©jid√© said to OkayAfrica, the film will give audience members a gateway into thinking about Africa in a new way.

“I think the beauty of¬†Black Panther, is that even though it‚Äôs fantastical, it at least opens people‚Äôs minds to the idea that people of African descent can be villains, they can be superheroes, they can be rich they can be poor. They can be whole, complicated humans and nuanced, just as people are from other heritages. So, it really is just about cracking open the door and seeing us as equal to everybody else. I think that‚Äôs what a lot of us are trying to do with our art in different ways. It happens to be a film, I happen to be a person who makes clothes, but uses clothes as a vehicle to talk about these things. We‚Äôre all basically working on the same issue, just in different ways.”

Screencap/Marvel Studios

Here’s more Ikire Jones to whet your whistle:

“Awake & At Home In America” ūüďł @joshuakissi

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Squad. ūüďł @joshuakissi

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“Awake & At Home In America” ūüďł @joshuakissi

A post shared by Ikiré Jones (@ikirejones) on

Now available at IkireJones.com

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“Awake & At Home In America” ūüďł @joshuakissi

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“After Migration” FW16.

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Jidenna and Black Dandyism

It’s not really in the trailer much, but there is one moment where black dandyism comes to play. That’s when the elder wearing the green suit shows up.

Screencap/Marvel Studios

This moment made me think of one of the foremost people in black dandyism in pop culture, Jidenna.

The power of black dandyism comes from taking the colonizers’ clothes and culture and turning it into yet another tool to subvert white control and re-establish black humanity.

Shantrelle P. Lewis, the artistic curator behind Dandy Lion, an international exhibition and platform showcasing the world of contemporary black dandyism, wrote for How To Get Next about the relationship blackness has with fashion, both as a cultural artifact and as a political weapon.

Black people’s relationship to the sartorial, or sewing and tailoring, actualy predates contact with Europeans. We were some of the first, if not the first group of humans, to sew…So, when African tailors came into contact with European fashions, the blending of styles and culture gave way to a new look.
…Over the past couple hundred years, this art of mixing and matching is a skill that many Black men have manipulated to their own advantage to subvert mainstream racist images. Defiant dressing and oppositional fashion, or using fashion and style to subvert social-political norms, have a long history among Black people in the West–we’ve been using it as an instrument of resistance for 400 years.”

That power can certainly be seen in the elder’s sartorial choices–mixing brightly-colored, tailored pieces with a traditional, yet matching, lip plate. The same type of suiting can be seen on Jidenna, carrying the tradition of black dandyism into a new generation of “Classic Men.”

Jidenna’s black dandyism also makes sure to weave in African textiles and patterns, reflecting Jidenna’s Nigerian background. If you want to arrive in style at the¬†Black Panther screening, try the dandy route and wear classic cuts mixed with traditional prints and statement colors.

More examples of contemporary black dandyism:

How do you plan on dressing to attend once Black Panther premieres?

Japan celebrates hijab fashion with the Modest Fashion Show

AJ+/screengrab
AJ+/screengrab

I’ve wanted to feature hijab fashion on the site for some time, and highlighting the Modest Fashion Show seems like as good a time as any.

The Modest Fashion Show, which recently took place in Tokyo, Japan, highlighted just how much hijab fashion is overlooked in the mainstream fashion world. It also highlighted how creative modest fashion actually is.

Take a look at the fashion show for yourself:

What I’d love is for the mainstream world to think of more than just the usual suspects as their target demographic. People of all faiths love Michael Kors, Prada, and the like. As Singaporean designer and founder of MeemClothings Nur Hanis told AJ+, “I think it’s really endless opportunities to design. There’s no one way to do or to wear the¬†hijab.”

Also, frankly, not every woman wants to have their back or even their arms out when they’re wearing a simple dress, regardless of their faith (like me). ¬†Wouldn’t it be great if we could see modest fashion in conjunction with the more skin-revealing styles on the catwalks? I think so.

What do you love about modest fashion? Give your opinions in the comments section below!

Christian Siriano Reps the Plus-Size Women at New York Fashion Week

Fatalefashion/YouTube screengrab
Fatalefashion/YouTube screengrab

The New York Fashion Week would have been business as usual if it wasn’t for Christian Siriano. The designer, already known for embracing various body shapes through his Lane Bryant partnership (the fall line is coming out they day of this post) and through dressing actresses like Leslie Jones as well as First Lady Michelle Obama, has taken his commitment to body inclusion to the next level. This time, for his Spring/Summer 2017¬†runway show, he cast five plus-size models to the catwalk.

Check out the social media buzz (and the full show!) for yourself:

Simply put, this kind of fashion show is life-affirming. No hyperbole; as a plus-size woman myself, it truly is life-affirming. For too long, fashion has been in the narrow “must be stick-skinny” box, when 1) women have never only been one size and 2) the majority of women are now within the 16-18¬†size range. The fact that fashion designers, on the whole, have dedicated themselves to this narrow definition of beauty is mind-boggling, especially when some of the women in their lives, I’m sure,¬†aren’t size 0.

Tim Gunn, design educator, author, and personality from¬†Project Runway,¬†wrote an op-ed for¬†The¬†Washington Post during¬†NYFW. He took the fashion industry to task for “turn[ing] its back on plus-size women.”

I love the American fashion industry, but it has a lot of problems, and one of them is the baffling way it has turned its back on plus-size women. It’s a puzzling conundrum. The average American women now wears between a size 16 and a size 18, according to new research from Washington State University. There are 100 million plus-size women in America, and, for the past three years, they have increased their spending on clothes faster than their straight-size counterparts. There is money to be made here ($20.4 billion, up 17 percent from 2013). But many designers‚ÄĒdripping with disdain, lacking imagination or simply too cowardly to take a risk‚ÄĒstill refuse to make close for them.

Gunn also calls certain designers out by name who have said, in so many words, that they didn’t want plus-size women wearing their clothes because they felt plus-size women were ugly.

Enter designers like Siriano, who has taken the opportunity of dressing an underserved market head-on.

When¬†ELLE Magazine¬†asked Siriano as to why more designers don’t make plus-size clothes, Siriano’s comments seemed to echo Gunn, seeming to allude to the fact that some designers just might not want to put in the time commitments to dress women who aren’t sample size

We know the importance of creating inclusive collections. So why can’t more designers make great plus-size clothes?

I think they can. I just think it’s a lot of time and a lot of work. The thing is, if you’re a designer, then you want to constantly push yourself and your designs. When we make a new collection, we’re changing shapes, we’re changing patterns. We get a dress on a model, and it’s our first time seeing what the dress really looks like a woman’s body. And even with traditional fashion models, where it’s their job to be a certain size and a certain proportion, you have to make adjustments once you see your clothes on a real live person. Now imagine doing that with more sizes, more proportions. You really have to play with every piece. So timing is a big part of it. You have to make the time. But having said all that, we made it work. We found the time and we put in the effort because being a label that different women can wear is really important to us.

So the trick is having the time?

Honestly, I think the “trick” is you have to really want to do it. You’re embracing more of the world. Which is great. We’re all in this together, you know? And the models in the show who are “plus size,” they’re not in a special place, they’re now wearing differently styled outfits. They’re just beautiful girls who are in the show, like normal. Everything’s normal. That’s how it should be!

(From my point of view, it sounds like he’s simply saying they’re lazy.)

Gunn is right; there’s a lot of money to be made here, and Siriano, the most successful¬†Project Runway¬†alum because of his business acumen, certainly has his business sense attuned to this void and is using it to differentiate himself and endear himself to a larger part of the market.

But that doesn’t mean his shrewdness is something to balk at. There is still a thoughtfulness to Siriano’s decision to cater to a wider selection of body types. As he’s said himself, he likes dressing women of all sizes and wants every woman to look and feel beautiful. If he just wanted to make money, he could do like Target and make plus-size sacks. But he’s actually giving women choices, style, and a voice in the fashion world. Siriano is allowing¬†plus-size women to feel like¬†they do matter in fashion and that they do deserve to feel beautiful. Simultaneously, he’s giving his fellow fashion designers the middle finger, daring them to what he’s doing for plus-size women. It’s a challenge that I hope more fashion designers take up. As Gunn says in his op-ed, “Designers, make it work.”

What do you think of Siriano’s NYFW showing? Give your opinions in the comments section below!

#BeyondLabels: Fashion Blogger Freddie Harrel On Rediscovering Her Self-Worth

Like a lot of sites focusing on diversity in the media, JUST ADD COLOR highlights a lot of stories about being defined by labels, particularly bad ones. So much in or society is dominated by how others see us and how each of us are portrayed in the media. That can do a lot of damage to a person’s self-esteem and self-worth. But with all of the labeling that happens in a lifetime, how¬†about living¬†beyond those stereotype-laden labels that limit us? In other words, how do we find our self-worth, despite the messaging we’ve received? #BeyondtheLabels will highlight how people who are considered “outsiders” by the media‚ÄĒbecause of race, gender, weight/size, sexuality, ability, mental health, etc.‚ÄĒhave rediscovered their self-worth and self-acceptance.

Fashion blogger Freddie Harrel¬†combines her love for style with her passion for helping others gain self-confidence because of¬†her own past struggles self acceptance. Her story reminds me of the stories many women of color, black women in particular, have when it comes to accepting their hair, being told by others they were pretty “for a black girl,” and consistently being put down by the mean-spirited and well-meaning alike. Her story is also familiar to me because, like me and many other women of color, she went to a school where she was the minority. Being put in a situation of being the only black person in an institution is stressful enough, but having to deal with both outward and unspoken discrimination is even more taxing on a teenager’s mental growth into adulthood.

Her moment of clarity came after years of trying to fit in. “Before I am a woman, before I am black, I am Freddie,” she said. “…In a really non-arrogant way, I think that’s amazing. I can’t believe I’ve missed that in so many years.”

Instead of me describing her story, just watch this video, created by Stylelikeu’s “What’s Underneath Project: London.”

You can follow Harrel at her site. You can also follow Stylelikeu and see more amazing stories of self-acceptance from people of all walks of life.