What’s your personal style?

I’ve been struggling to write an entry for a few days now. The struggle comes from not knowing which of the following topics to write about first: (more on) blogging, a vulnerable post on searching for love or my reflection on a year since my Nigeria trip. I’m sure I’ll write about all of them sometime, but in the meantime let me write about something completely different: Nigerian women and their stylishness.

I’ve said before that no one would guess that I’m Nigerian because I’m not stylish and I break many rules of stylish women everywhere. Let me list them by category:

H A I R

  • I wash my hair every other day. I know most don’t but if I don’t my hair smells. I can’t explain it but this is my cross to bear.
  • I go outside with wet hair (or at least damp hair, since I rarely have enough time in the morning to blowdry my hair to full dryness before leaving for work).
  • I don’t have a “hair routine” that involves deep conditioning my hair weekly.
  • I try to avoid putting oily products in my hair because I hate the feel of greasy hair. I think my hair (and scalp) hate me for this particular faux pas).
  • In 30 years, I have braided my hair with attachment/extensions twice, yup, only two times in my life, and I have worn a weave once, for a week and a half. I’ve heard that weaves and braids are good protective styles so it’s a miracle that I have hair on my head!

So help me: I need one or two quick improvements I could make to my hair routine (I have relaxed hair). I’m blessed with quite healthy hair despite the havoc I wreak on it, but it is very dry and needs some moisture (but nothing greasy!). Please recommend some products!

M A K E U P

  • I have worn foundation/coverup once in my life – for a wedding I was in. What actually turned me off coverup was a Nigerian girl in university: the collars of her shirts would be brown from all the coverup she was wearing, and the thought of hugging someone and having my foundation come off on their skin or clothing was unacceptable to me. So I always rock my natural, acne-scarred face – no concealers either. I also never wear lipstick.
  • I rarely (maybe four times a year) wear eyeliner, so I never learned how to draw a fine line along my lashline. Other beauty products that I wear occasionally (once or twice a month): mascara, eyeshadow.
  • I’m not pleased with my eyebrows (I’ll try to update with a picture): they’re naturally faint, and I think nice dark, hairy eyebrows (that you groom, of course) are essential to having a very “put together” face.

My mom and sister wear makeup daily and they wear it in a way that it enhances their natural gorgeousness, so all I need to do to is talk to them and learn how to make a five-minute face. I know there are some tricks I can employ to make my eyebrows look more defined. I may also talk to YNC because I love the way she did her eyes in this entry (lol there is a picture of her eyes in the entry; you just have to find it!).

C L O T H I N G / A C C E S S O R I E S

  • When it comes to jewelry, I’m a fan of silver (or platinum – I’m not picky) over yellow gold, but I don’t wear a lot of it: most days I wear small silver hoop earrings that I’ve had for six years and a silver necklace. I try wearing rings but before I get to work I’ve usually removed it/them (maybe my fingers are only meant for wedding rings?). I have two silver watches that I rotate between and I don’t wear bracelets. I plan to experiment with new jewelry this fall, especially longer necklaces.
  • I like my purses big and capable of holding everything including the kitchen sink I have a ton of black purses as I mentioned before. You won’t find any Coach, Louis Vuitton or even Guess bags in my closet. The only statement my purses are making is “I carry around a lot of stuff” or “I’m going to have back problems when I get older”.
  • Clothing-wise, I don’t tend to follow trends because most of the trendy stuff look better on smaller girls or isn’t readily available in bigger sizes. My goal is to dress in a way that looks put together but also uniquely me, but I haven’t accomplished that yet. I don’t really have a personal style; that’s the problem. This fall, I have been wearing dress pants and a shirt/fine gauge sweater most days, which is fine, but it looks boring. I need to layer more, wear more fitted tops and bottoms and show my shape more. I must banish all loose-fitting clothing from my closet, and I need more skirts in my wardrobe!
  • I have big feet that also happen to be wide. I want a great pair of long boots (a fall essential in my opinion!) that’ll also fit my calves. First stop is Zappos.

It can be costly to get that perfect closet full of clothing you just love to wear, but I think it’s something every adult should have, rather than having a collection of disjointed pieces that you have to figure out what to pair them with every morning.

Ok, your turn: what area (hair, makeup or clothing/accessories) are you slacking in? What area(s) could you teach a course in? Where do you find your inspiration for your own personal style?

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22 thoughts on “What’s your personal style?

  1. I love this post! GNG, you know I told you I went on this transformation journey some time ago right? I stopped relaxing my hair, cut it and went natural, I got a whole new wardrobe and started experimenting with make up and accessories. So here's what I recommend:

    Take a holistic approach to your entire look. Imagine where you are right now, and visualise where you want to be in a year's time. Take it slowly, revamping one thing at a time and experimenting with your look gradually until you find something that works for you.

    HAIR: I don't know your hair type, but there are countless boards that deal with taking care of black/African hair issues so I would suggest you search through them for tips and advice. Take a look at http://www.longhaircareforum.com/ and http://bglhonline.com/ for a start. They are great blogs with plenty of tips and inspiration! To start caring for your hair, you'll need to find the right products that work for your hair and scalp, you should set up a routine for washing/conditioning and treating your hair on a regular basis and find protective hairstyles that work for you and your lifestyle.

    MAKEUP: Again, it's about experimenting and stepping out of your comfort zone gradually. I would suggest going to a department store or make-up store and ask for a makeover. Try MAC, Bobbi Brown, YSL or Iman because they have great products for dark skin tones. In my experience, the assistants are usually nice and friendly and they will listen to your concerns. They can advise you on your skincare routine and suggest great makeup tips and tricks for you. They will also tell you which products they have used on you and how you can recreate the look at home yourself. Don't be overwhelmed by all the information. You may need more than one appointment to cover a lot of ground, but I'm sure once you see how great you look in make up and how easy it is to learn how to apply it, you'll become confident enough to wear it more often!

  2. Hmmn…. I am a guy but I will say my style is way different from the average guy… First, when I am not in school, I am rocking jeans and a T Shirt.. for church I always wear corporate or native attires, at home I am in my boxer shorts and singlets…lol

    As regards hair…I got none…I am going bald so I just shave it all of…

    And I don't use makeup…lol

  3. CLOTHING: Dressing for your shape is the first step in looking and feeling fabulous no matter what size you are. You can look good in some of the trendy stuff, as long as you can pull it off with class and confidence. Have a look at http://www.howtolookgood.com/ or http://www.shapeyourstyle.com/ There are tips you can arm yourself with when you want to go shopping for new clothes and shoes.

    If you want to mix up your wardrobe a little, you can do so with adding a bit of colour to your normal pallette. Bags are a great way to add to your wardrobe, they can be functional yet fashionable. The key is to go for bolder colours or patterns. Shoes, scarves, earrings and hair accessories can transform a boring outfit into a great one. Experiment with stuff you like, but do it gradually until you find the balance between what's trendy and what looks fab on you.

    It doesn't have to a designer item for something to look great, so forget about labels and just focus on what works for you. Go for the best quality you can afford and have fun! (Getting into debt for the sake of fashion is plain silly)

    To answer your questions, I think I'm still figuring out my hair because I've only been natural for a year, but I'm enjoying the process of learning to look after it properly. I'm constantly experimenting with new clothes and makeup so I update my style with new items once in a while. I get my inspiration from magazines, forums, TV, people I see in the street, anywhere really :) . As long s I like what I see someone sporting, I can adapt it to suit me.

    Ok, let me get off your blog now. If you need anything else, email me!

  4. Okay…if I did not know it was you GNG I would swear you were blogging about me! You and I have very similar styles. I just cut my hair so I can't help you out there… but me: I go easy on make up, just light powder, eyebrow liner, lipstick and am done, i dont buy trends just because you can mix and match better with generic clothing, I love big bags that hold everything but on a nice evening out, i carry a clutch with only necessities.

  5. I slack on most things. I don't know how to apply makeup like most of my fellow nigerian sisters. I can put on eyeliner, lipgloss and eyeshadow (not perfect yet). I don't know how to handle foundation, I use loose powder.

    I don't like accesories/jewelry but I wear the same set of earrings and this one gold bangle my friend gave me.

    My style is whatever I think is cute and I think is for my body type. That's about it, I don't think I step out of the box.

  6. Wish i had somethin to say but :( i have to tow my brothers line..loll….when you gonna do somethin for the guys?…

    Hope you good tho!

  7. Ha, I have big wide feet too, finding cute shoes is HELL on earth and the my eyebrow struggles are legendary, I've been trying to fill them in of late, it's not working out. I think I could teach a lesson in eye makeup sha, (eyebrows not included). I love love love eyeliner and eyeshadow, the H.I.P line is inexpensive and it shows up on black skin. If I had enough money I'd probably go overboard with bangles and I seem to favour slightly tacky/interesting BIG obnoxious earrings. Clothing wise pretty much anything goes but these days I am trying to wear more dresses and skirts.

    these blogs show that some trends can work for big girls too and where you can buy nice things :)

    http://www.luvinmycurves.com/ http://manolobig.com/ http://musingsofafatshionista.com/

    Lol, I think this is the longest comment I have ever left on any blog.

  8. i dont apply makeup cos i feel like the ish is going to ruin my spotless face,so i just wash well with soap apply lip gloss and thats it for my face,i dont apply makeup or anything on it.i braid my hair a lot,i only wash my hair when i remove the braids then immediately braid it again.

    i love clothes,im a shopaholic so i spend a lot of money on clothes.

    i love shoes too,they are my fave things.

    jewelries i like to be simple.

    other than that i just wake up take my bath,pack my braids and off i go to school.

  9. I'm not really fashion conscious and these style trends faze me. I usually go makeup free but for outings, I use mac foundation and mac powder. I use pencil liner and CD eyeshadow sometimes too or Kajal. I'm the run with it kind of girl with clothes so nothing there.

    I'm taking notes from FG sha. Thanks girl!

  10. everyone gave you great advice.

    Don't change much for your hair routine because it is working well for you. I'd say add a moisturizer but you'll have to find which ones work for you..maybe something water-based since you don't like greasy products..I'd recommend darcy's botanicals transitioning creme or leave-in conditioner

    for make up just go for a natural cream blush and a nice lip color

    a make up artist gave me this advice when i was starting to wear make up. she was like just choose a maintenance method for your eyebrows that work well for yo (i thread them), then wear cheeks/lip color..that match and voila..you look put together

    as for clothes, girl, i am a tomboy

    i'd rather invest in accessories: bags/shoes..but keep it simple

  11. My granma is the one who forces me to wear make up, yes that bad….lol. The only make up i love wearing is my smile and i am good to go : )

  12. Ok, am here to make corrections and help a Naija sister out, wow I feel like you just wrote to the guru of hair,fashion and makeup. Get your pen and paper and we can get this fixed. Don't worry about my inspirations in this post, this post is for you….am here to help.

    Hair: First of all, I must say am very proud of you for having your own unique style, you might think it's not a routine but girl, it is. You do you, your own thing.

    Changes to be made…Best product for hair growth would be wondergro Mega Growth with carrot oil, the original stronger hair thickener…has 10 vitamins, 15 natural oils and 20 pure herbs. Oils such as Avocado, shea butter, castor oil, everything in this product….Works best to prevent dryness and helps keep hair moisturized.It can be found at any beauty store…check online here… (http://texasbeautysupplies.com/wg650.html)…selling for $4.78

    I recommend TresSeme for conditioning and washing your hair, helps prevents hair dryness. A little expensive but really good for hair growth

    I would advice for you to take more risk with your hair, try going natural or try getting a new weave-in done or sexy wig. You can't keep running away from doing new sexy styles to make you look more professonal and just a different GNG.

    Makeup,

    Are you kidding not wearing foundation….you have to incorporate either pressed powder or foundation into your routine…it's about time sister. The difference is clear when you use either one or both, added with a little concealer to hide baggy eyes or flaws.

    Ok YNc, time to help out.

    I would advice for you to go to any Sephora or makeup counter in your area, they usually have the best well trained ladies willing to give you makeup tips. Don't go to those sales one rushing to have you buy products.

    They have some light pressed powder that don't stain clothes easily, try black radiance, bobbi brown or Mac, really good. I use rum spice from black radiance, covered with concealer and pressing powder…it helps create for a younger, looking YNc.

    5 minutes makeup, you need eye pencil to define your eyes….the best 5 thing you need for makeup in a hurry, eye pencil is #1 , blue or black…wakes up your eyes in the morning, get a good pressing powder/concealer from Sephora, talk to the ladies….a great lip balm or lipstick in berry,red or brown…eye shadow is not a must when rushing…I will show you how to create some good looks with eye shadow sometime soon, youtube has a lot of great videos which really helps

    Allow your eye brows to grow out, do not do anything to it henceforth knowing the fuller your brows the more it enhances your look, when your brows are fully grown, go to a professional…do not get it done yourself again if you are not really good with it.

    Clothes,

    First of all, clean out your closet and look at what you have….

    Bigger or smaller, it doesn't matter…I have seen bigger ladies that got it going on with fashion. It's all aobut how you tend to wear the clothe, don't let size define your dressing…you can make this work for you.

    I wish you lived in the states but you are based in Canada, I don't know how the stores are like your area but am guessing it's pretty much the same thing.

    If your weight is really getting in the way and you feel it is something you can lose…make it your inspiration for 2010..have you seen lady A new blog…check this out (http://ilostitfinally.blogspot.com/)

    Meanwhile…am in love with this clothes site

    http://www.cutesygirl.com

    http://www.nyandcompany.com

    http://www.bostonproper.com/

    I hope this was helpful…anything is possible…remain blessed GNG.

  13. â–ºAzazel

    lol! Thank you for dropping by. What an exit.

    â–ºOmosi T

    I was going to yell at you for not leaving a comment but you came back so I'll respond.

    â–ºkay9

    Ok o. You could have left a comment on what you like about Naija women now!

    â–ºFavoured Girl

    Wow, thank you for these comments! They are seriously chock full of information that I know will help more than just me. You introduced me to some new sites that I will definitely check out too; thank you.

    I remember you discussing your own transformation. In fact, seeing pictures of you today, I can't believe that you weren't always so stylish and put together!

    Seriously, thank you. You gave me some great starting points.

    â–ºHarry

    Welcome and thanks for being the first guy to share his own answers to the questions I asked! You see: it's far easier to be a boy. I hope you appreciate what women go through now.

    â–ºRosie

    I think you'd give me a run for the money though when it comes to being too casual to be cool. Anyways, baby steps right? I'll try to work my way to your level by the end of the year.

    â–ºtaynement

    You hit the nail on the head: I am a "looking my best" SLACKER. That is my problem in a nutshell.

    You definitely sound like my kind of girl.

    â–ºTrybes

    lol you men sef! I don't feel qualified to comment on the guys…how can I comment on what I think of their dressing when my own leaves MUCH to be desired??

    I'm good sha…thanks for checking on me…hope your week is going well.

    â–ºOmosi T

    Welcome back! Hurray, another big-and-wide-footed sister! We have to stick together because it's a cruel world out there, one tailored to women with size 7 feet and slim calves!

    I've never heard of the H.I.P line so I'll look and see if it's available in Canada. Thanks so much for those blogs for larger/curvy women. I hadn't heard of any of them prior to this.

    â–ºleggy

    Look at this show off: spotless face? After I confessed that mine has acne scars? You're cruel o!

    I think if I had someone here who I trusted to make my braids without taking all my money, I'd seriously consider getting braids. Do you relax your hair before braiding it, or leave it natural?

    Oh, I'm sure between your clothes and your shoes you always look hot.

    â–ºMyne Whitman

    Ok, you're the second person to mention MAC…maybe I should check them out.

    I think FG's tips will take those of us who need them far.

    â–ºAmina

    I'm still using the hair milk you sent me and I think it's helping with my low moisture issues. But I still need to find a product that really hydrates my scalp and hair. Thanks for the recommendation of Darcy's Botanicals.

    Funny enough, blush is something I never think I need, but then you wear is so well.

    That's neat that you mention threading because I've been looking to find a place in my city that does them. Ok, I found one place but I'm not sure $27 is too much to pya for the experience (more than double the cost of waxing). I guess I'll give it a try and then I'll know once and for all.

    This business of finding and developing a personal style isn't easy.

    â–ºBSNC

    lol. I bet you can't say no to grandma either, abi? Awww, I'm sure you wear that smile really well!

    â–ºYNC

    Another long and helpful comment – thank you for taking the time to compile this info for me, Chizzy. It is much appreciated.

    Thanks for the hair tips! Since I'm thrifty I'll wait for a sale before try Tresemmé products.

    I've never hard of Black Radiance, so that's another brand I'll have to see if I can get in Canada. Sephora is new to my city and I sort of thought all the makeup was for oyinbos so I guess I need to give the store a second look.

    And I didn't know about Lady A's new site…I need to park my butt there and see if I can get some tips and inspiration.

    I'll email you some specific questions I have about these suggestions as I start to implement them.

  14. I can see people have given you links for websites to go to but i think its good for you to know that, putting your wardrobe together does not have to be expensive….. dnt buy all the outfits at once…….just invest at different time….it will all come togeth.

    But madam you might need to add more shine to that face, even if its a bronzer, just to bring out your face

    good luck

  15. AHH GNG! I love this post! My sister used to be so like you! and I help her last christmas turn around! I am the fashion friendly one in the Family!. I agree with most of the other ladies sugegstions so I dont knwo what else to say! About the treading I saw you said its 27$. umm in this same Ottawa?!?!? even the most expensive place i know is this saloon in Rideau and its 15$. There is this place in Herongate that they charge 7$ and I know this one Black ppl saloon on montreal rd were they do it for 5$..lool! If you need more places. like ottawa specific, let me know..:) xx!

  16. I loved this post. I have come a long way in the hair, make up, style department. Growing up i was a tomboy and it took a while for me to fall into the dressing up thingy, but boy when I fell….

    Hair – hair is important to me but I am somewhat lazy. The most I've gone with my hair out now that it's natural, is 1 month just because I am constantly messing with it, trying new products et al and it gets frustrating. Thus, I am mostly in braids till my hair gets longer. I do love pampering my hair because of the nice, tingling scalp sensations and get bored with styles easily. I dream about coloring my hair but I am not that adventurous.

    Make up. I wore my first lip gloss when I was 19, used foundation when I was 24 or 25, stated using eye stuff last year. I like simple, so you wont catch me with blush and wild colors. I love eyeliner and lipstick/lip gloss. My foundation is Bare escentuals minerals which is mega light and a loose powder. I hate feeling something creamy on my skin cos my face is mucho oily and acne prone. I can do without make up bt cant do without lipgloss :) As for my eyebrows…let's not even go there, na work in progress.

    Clothes – I don't think I have style. I love feeling sexy and comfortable. So I'll be that chick with the tight fitting, flattering decotelage top, but with loose pants and flats. I love accessorizing with jewellery. I like looking good because it uplifts my mood. So yeah, I'll be in the hospital in my ugly scrubs but still wearing my little cute earrings and lip gloss. My oversized tshirt and jeans days are gone! I am not a stickler for trends, but if i like it, i wont knock it either. I admire punk rock fashion, but now that I am 28 it would look ridic on me.

  17. 1. Word of advice regarding MAC: Please tell them you want a very natural look. Otherwise, they can make you look like a drag queen! (sorry, not a fan of them). Do try Bobbi Brown though. She's available at Murale and at Holt Renfrew.

    2. Regarding foundation: Have you thought of tinted moisturizer or dabs of concealer, mixed with powder?

    3. Clothes: LOULOU magazine has a plus size pull out with tips, etc….I think it comes out a few times a year – hey, at least you guys get something. There's very little outside of websites for short girls!

  18. I deep condition my hair once a week if my hair is not in braids

    make up when i have time, and if i just want to

    eyeliner bit of blush and lip balm and im off

    clothes hmmmn whatever im comfortable in and for the past 1 week sweats!I love the person that designed them!you should try voluptous or rickis!they have lovely stuff

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