Blog Comment Of The Week

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On May 12th 2012, I wrote an article titled, ‘What’s It Like Being A Black Girl In Berlin?’

To date, this is one of the hardest articles I’ve written, I had to dip deep and it was extremely personal.  Due to the nature of the subject matter, I knew it would strike up some controversy, but really nothing could have prepared me for the mixed bag of feedback I got. What surprised me the most was getting negative feedback from the people I thought were closest to me at the time.

Two years plus later, I still stand by every word I wrote and that is why I get so happy when after all this time, I still get Comments (be it positive or negative) on the article.

As you’ve noticed, for the most part, I kinda tell it like it is and this is not a style to everybody’s liking.  I didn’t write this article for approval or validation, I wrote it to challenge stereotypes, make people reflect, say what a lot of people think but are afraid to say out loud…

This is why I love it when people get what I say and get ‘me’.  The below comment I received last Saturday, is all the fuel I need to keep on blogging.  To know I have made a positive impact on just one person’s attitude/life/way of seeing things due to my words and experiences- this is truly priceless and most soul rewarding!

Thanks so much for your insightful words Ayanda!

Ayanda said (word for word):

Hi! Sorry if this is late, but I just had to thank you for writing this blog! Your positive attitude is so refreshing and enlightened. There are so many blogs out there about being a black girl in Berlin that are very negative and it can get very discouraging reading such bad sentiments constantly. I’m glad to have stumbled on your blog – You make me excited to go over to Germany, to be open minded and to just have FUN! Plus, you’re such a lovely, stunning young woman! Subscribbeeddd!! ^.

 

African Fashion Connoisseur, Diana Opoti Shows Us How To ‘Buy African’

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One of my favourite African Fashion campaigns at the moment, is the one currently being led by Diana Opoti.  Having been known to state on more than one occasion that, the best way to support African Fashion is to wear African fashion brands, the Nairobi-based African Fashion expert decided to put her money where her mouth was by launching her #100DAYSOFAFRICANFASHION campaign.

Quite simply, this means that for 100 days, Diana has set herself the stylish mission of wearing a different ensemble designed by various African designers, taking pictures, uploading them on various forms of Social Media and highlighting at least one of the African-designed items.

As I write this article, Diana is now on her 50-something outfit and looks to be going strong.  Wearing both local and international African brands, she has showcased pieces from designers like Kiko Romeo Deepasingh Dosaja, David Tlale, Katungulu Mwendwa, Lalesso, Sindiso Khumalo, Duaba Serwa, Njema Helena and Christie Brown.

What I love most about this initiative is that it:

1) Highlights the local African brands that we don’t get to hear much about.  This is particularly important for me, because if you follow African fashion, we all know by now the brands we end up hearing about time and time again.  Really, kudos to them but I’m all about raising the talented, lesser known creatives.

2) Shows the many faces of African Fashion, due to popular media, African Fashion still gets pidgeon-holed in the Prints Brigade, but it’s so much more than that, and this campaign shows that with sartorial aplomb.

3) Demonstrates that more African designers are making more sizes available in the size 10 (UK) and above regions.  These days a lot of the times when I see African fashion, the clothes are usually on a model in a magazine, on a model on a commercial retail site or on a blogger/fashion ‘IT’ girl with a ‘model figure’. And bearing in mind that a lot of complaints from consumers about African Fashion is that: the selection of size 12 (UK) clothes and above, sold in a lot of Africa based stores are limited- Diana’s campaign shows the brand’s that are making clothes for ‘real African women’ and women at large.

4) Increases the opportunities of interaction and feedback between the brands and consumers.  For e.g. each time, Diana posts a picture on Facebook, it results in a flood of requests from interested readers who want to know where to buy x,y and z.  As Diana tags the designers with each post, this means that not only does this give designers a stronger incentive to produce more ready-to-wear pieces on demand; the designer can contact the consumer directly and they can also see which are their most popular designs.

Here are my 10 favourite outfits, Diana has worn thus far that reflect the endless style opportunities African Fashion has to offer:

Tailored, Fitted and Fabulous

Top and Skirt: Kiko Romeo, Handbag: Aprelle Duang

Top and Skirt: Kiko Romeo, Handbag: Aprelle Duang

Top and skirt: Christie Brown

Top and skirt: Christie Brown

Evening Extravaganz-A!

Dress: Kooroo (Kenyan fashion label)

Dress: Kooroo (Kenyan fashion label)

Dress by Wambui Mukenyi

Dress by Wambui Mukengi

All That Glitters Is Silver And Gold

Metallic embroidered shift dress: Deepasingh Dosaja, African print Kitenge jacket: Kiko Romeo

Metallic embroidered shift dress: Deepasingh Dosaja, African print Kitenge jacket: Kiko Romeo.

The Classic Trench Revamped

Trench by Kiko Romeo, made from 100% cotton drill and hand painted by Sudanese fine artist Eltayeb Dawelbait.

Trench by Kiko Romeo, made from 100% cotton drill and hand painted by Sudanese fine artist Eltayeb Dawelbait.

Short Stories

Cotton weave long sleeved Tee: Kooroo (Kenya), Shorts: Millie Collines (Rwanda/Kenya)

Cotton weave long sleeved Tee: Kooroo (Kenya), Shorts: Millie Collines (Rwanda/Kenya)

Print-Tastic

Print dress from the collection, Summer Memoirs by Bestow Elan.

Print dress from the collection, Summer Memoirs by Bestow Elan.

 

Dress by Zanzibar based designer, Doreen Mashika.

Dress by Zanzibar based designer, Doreen Mashika.

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Dress by Jenni Button (SA)

After scrolling through the images I chose, I noticed that on more than one occasion, I had picked an ensemble made by Kenyan designer: Kiko Romeo, so that’s definitely a designer I’ll be doing more research on!  I love it!

In the meantime, keep up with Diana Opoti’s latest and greatest on her site: 100 Days Of African Fashion.

All images courtesy of Diana Opoti

 

 

 

Disaster Strikes! My Camera Is R.I.P: Which Digital Camera Do I Buy?

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I haven’t published a Post in a while. Why? Because two Saturday’s ago, I was having a gay ol’ time on a boat celebrating a close friend’s birthday, and at one point I gave someone my camera to take a picture of me to capture the moment; as he was taking the picture, the boat stopped sharply and my camera slipped, fell and went kaput.

In summary, I’m pretty devastated about it.  Yes it wasn’t a great camera and to be honest, I was looking into changing it but it was still my lil’ shitty baby…And the death of my camera has caused a ripple effect, one of which being, I’ve kinda lost the inspiration to blog, on account of I can’t take pictures. Yes, I can download from the net but I don’t want to do that presently.  Yes, I can use my iPhone but I don’t want to do that either.  Yes, I understand that the lens or whatever in there can take better pictures than many camera’s on the market today, but I’m searching for My Prince and that Prince is a camera.

But I’m not one to wallow in the slimy pit of despair for long, the fact is I love blogging and I love photography, so I’ve decided to move forwards and buy a camera in the next coming days.  This is where I need your help. Yes, I can go on Google and type in the requisite Search Words to come up with a few options that match my budget, preferences etc. But I would also love my readers who know a thing or two about photography and cameras (for newbies)  to chime in here.

Ok. So. Imagine, I am sat down with you, I’ve just told you my tale of woe, and I ask you what kind of digital camera you think I should purchase.  What camera options would you give me bearing in mind:

1) Purpose of camera

a) To take images for the digital platform of the fashion magazine I work for. They require images in High Resolution.

b ) To take pictures for my blog.

2) Size of camera I want/complexity desired

My camera that died was a Canon, Digital Camera, IXUS 115 HS.

Letsgodigital.org

Letsgodigital.org

It didn’t take the quality of pictures I wanted, however it had factors I really liked which I want in my next camera:

a) Super easy to use, i.e it was pretty simple to take a picture, play around with different settings and transport images from the camera to my laptop: I love photography but in no way do I wish to be a photographer, so I don’t want a camera where I feel I need to do a Photography PHD to understand how it functions.

b) Small/Compact (as the image hopefully shows): this is super important to me.  My camera has to fit in my evening bags, Dhhharlings.

3) The Quality of Pictures I want to take are:

A few of my favourite fashion blogs for photography include:

a)

Wiehundundkatze.com

Wiehundundkatze.com

See how the colours P.O.P, you can see each leaf so cleary, and the imagery is so vivid? My R.I.P camera could never do that and that’s what I want.  I went to the FAQ section on her blog to see what camera she uses and she uses a, ‘A Canon 50D with a 50mm 1.4 lens. I also used to take pictures with an Olympus E-500 with a 50-150mm lens and still use a Nikon D5100 with a 50mm 1/1.8G lens and a Tamron 18-200mm zoom lens and an occasional super wide angle lens’.

Naturally, I had to get a Photography mate to translate this code and basically, the gist is her cameras are rather large, you know those ‘serious’ looking ones.  Here is an image of the Canon 50D:

radiantliteHmmm, is this small, super easy to use, fits into my evening bag, I’m thinking No. But correct me if I’m wrong.

b) I also love Louis’s photography and I will be asking him what camera he uses:

Louisphilippedegagoue.blogspot.de

Louisphilippedegagoue.blogspot.de

4) Lens

I was told by a photographer lover that when I buy my camera I should focus on the lens.  Apparently, it’s all about the lens.  My RIP camera lens was 5.0-20.0mm.  This is Goobidy Gook to me, but since my camera didn’t take good quality images, I’m guessing this is not such a good measurement…

5) And saving the best for last: Budget

This is tricky for me because in the last 3 years, I have had two cameras die on me in the exact same way, so I’m hesitant in investing. Especially because I don’t take pictures in controlled situations, e.g. a fashion shoot set.

That being said, I have all these ideas for my blog and I need a good camera to see those visions turn into reality, so my budget is: 300 euros maximum and this includes the memory card, camera case etc.

And there you have it, so Readers please chime in with which type of camera you think I should buy based on your experiences and what you’ve heard on the grapevine?  If you have any questions, based on what I’ve said above, please ask.  Your questions will really help me think and make me more certain of what I want, learn more about cameras etc…

In the meantime, I’ll get stuck on this great article by IFB titled:

5 Fantastic Digital Cameras For Fashion Bloggers

Have a good weekend everyone, I hope it’s Disaster Free!

My 6th Feature In The ‘Independent Fashion Bloggers’ Weekly Roundup

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ifb

Getting Ahead

This week we’re getting ahead of the trends by, you guessed it, indulging in hair accessories. Head scarves, headwear, heck, even jewelry. Maybe you’re taking the lax look to a whole new level, and try to wear sweatpants to work? Oh yeah, there’s that too! So, don’t fall behind, read this week’s fantastic roundup!

Links à la Mode: July 24th

Brought to You by: East Dane Coupons Creative Recreation, CarvelaGenetic LA, Campomaggi bagsAcaciaBagguWolford, Solace London, C Wonder, Wu bags & Golden Goose Sneakers

Personal Style Trends @ Berlin Fashion Week S/S 15

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On Thursday 10th July during Berlin Fashion Week S/S 15, I was one of the oh-so priviledged few that got to attend an event that was labelled by London It-Girl, Georgia May Jagger as, ‘the most exciting party of Berlin Fashion Week’.

The party marked the German launch of one of Europe’s biggest fashion chains: RESERVED, a Polish brand that sells trend-led women, men and kidswear.

It was also great to be able to take a few pictures of the Georgia Jagger during the event.  Georgia Jagger was chosen to be the brand’s Fall/Winter amabassador, giving the label the contradictory seductive mixture of having an attainable and easy-going vibe, as well as an elusive rock n roll edge.

I am a huge, HUGE fan of her mother, Jerry Hall.  In my opinion, Jerry Hall is one of the personalities who defined the Razzle Dazzle decade of the 70s.

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033036One of the Highlights of the event, was witnessing the summer 2014 trends as modelled by the stylish guests themselves.

You know it’s not summer until you’ve seen vibrant members from the Print Brigade.

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048‘Love makes you do the wacky’ (Buffy The Vampire Slayer), and here this could be seen by the couples who were so Crazy In Love, they colour co-ordinated their outfits.

013017There was Monochrome Magic in the air, with some sartorialists highlighting their palettes with shimmery metallic hues.

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055Boys exuded the perfect degree of nonchalance in casual tailoring.

046080085076But if someone asked me what trend ruled the day, I’d have to say bejewelled necklaces, ladies necks glistened everywhere on account of the eye-candy they used to adorn their necks.

020041044061And what did I wear? Well, I chose to have fun with it all by mixing a few of the key trends: Monochrome, Prints, Metallics…

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What’s The Worth Of A Blog Follower?

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This question has been on my mind a lot recently and it would be great to have the opinion of other bloggers to weigh in here.  One of the reasons I started and continue with blogging, is the opportunity to interact and engage with readers, be them bloggers or otherwise.  Three years on, I don’t do nearly as much blog promotions as I ought, but I do ensure that on a weekly basis I visit my favourite blogs (sometimes Twitter pages) and leave Comments, Likes and such.

I used to think that one of the testaments to show that your blog was actually being read was the number of Blog Followers you accumulated, without having to send the pleading, Follow Me & I’ll Follow You (to the ends of the earth) tag.  So, when I began to get a new Follower on a daily basis, I got super excited and my heart would skip a beat each time WordPress alerted me to this.  After all, if a fellow blogger Follows your blog, it means she/he is genuinely interested in your content, right?

As my Blog Followers piled up, I thought this would translate into Comments. Did they?  No.  Then after a few weeks, I lowered my expectations and was happy at the possibility of getting more Blog Likes. That didn’t happen.  Then I thought my Followers would crawl out of the woodwork when I did Blog Giveaways.  I was wrong there too.  And now I have 151 Followers, a mere drop in the puddle one might say, but I am very happy with this number as I got them organically. The way I see it, if a quarter of my Followers frequently interacted on my blog in one way or other, I would be bouncing wall to wall.  But this does not happen.

So it makes me wonder, why people Follow blogs these days.  Is following a blog, the equivalent to those guys who like to rack up telephone numbers just for the thrill of it, with no actual intention of following up their pursuit with an actual phone call?  Do bloggers Follow your blog, just so you can follow theirs, making the act a mere Numbers Game?  Or is the act of clicking ‘Follow’ on a blog akin to those guys on dating websites (e.g. OK Cupid) where the men carelessly click they ‘Like’ you, but then never follow it up with an actual message slash never respond when you take the bait and write them?

I don’t know the answers, but I can tell you from my experience, accumulating Blog Followers is becoming as meaningful as an Adam Sandler movie.  So what is the worth of Blog Followers?  Do tell me your opinion on this matter, I’d love to know.

To keep things in perspective, I’d like to say a Big Thank You to my loyal Blog Followers, who not only Follow but use different ways to interact and communicate on my blog. Thanks for being the fuel in this Choo Choo train.

 

 

 

 

 

Music Video Inspiration: Where Have You Been?

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Earlier this week, I had a party and was faced with the classic, ‘so many options and yet nothing to wear’ palava.  I was also randomly watching music videos on the net.  I then came across Rihanna’s, ‘Where have you been’ video (released from her studio album, Talk That Talk, 2011) which has such strong tribal-inspired images that as if in a trance, the pulsating beat led me to my wardrobe and I ended up picking these pieces for the night.

???????????????????????????????Even though Rihanna’s music video was released in 2012, I still hadn’t gotten round to seeing it, so it was fun to sit down and take in the various stills filled with beaucoup de clashing prints, varying textures, headscarves and over-sized statement jewellery composed of luxe and natural materials.  Rihanna’s stylist for the video, Mel Ottenberg explained that the visual aesthetic of the video was inspired by a ‘voodoo tribe’ vibe.

rihanna1rihanna2rihanna3I have always enjoyed the symbiotic relationship between fashion and music, and this video is just one of the millions of examples that demonstrate how both artforms work so well together.  Although the old-school part of me sees some of the lyrics and music composition as being quite teeny-bopper, I can’t help but move to the strong, pulsating beats that take the song into more tribal regions.

The great thing about inspiration from music videos is- rather like a Pick n Mix sweet shop- you can pick and choose what works for you.  I don’t have Rihanna’s budget and I was going for a night of Major Dancing, so first and foremost, comfort had to take precedence.  This is why I didn’t adorn my arms with a row of strategic placed bracelets and cuffs, but in ode to the music video, I did wear my version of luxe jewellery courtesy of the more affordable Claire’s Accessories!

???????????????????????????????My faux-leather bustier is from Asos, and is very much ‘the gift that keeps on giving’ in my wardrobe.  I fell in love with it as soon as I saw it on their site a year ago.  Just like Rihanna’s costumes in the music video, it shows a mixture of cultures and textures.

The pièce de résistance of my outfit, were my Aztek-inspired culottes which I got from Primark for £10.  I haven’t worn culottes since I was a child, and I must admit I love these ones!

???????????????????????????????To crown of the look, I fashioned a piece of Ankara print material into a turban, slipped into my tan heeled sandals et voila: my look was complete.

011On a side note, it was sooooo hard for me to get pics for this outfit as I had to rely on the kindness of my friends and strangers.  Do you bloggers find this challenge as well?  That sometimes you just feel so awkward and narcissistic cutting into your friends night, getting them to take pictures of you and then even more pictures as the ones they show you are not good enough, then you just have to give up and accept what you are given?

In the end, I had to pounce on some girls in the toilet (oh, yes!!) to take pictures of me.  Luckily it turned out that one of them already knew me as she works for the Press Office I often go to, to borrow items for fashion editorials.  Ahhh, I love Berlin, we are all one big and small cozy family.

Anyhoo, time to play that video again:

 

 

First Day of Berlin Fashion Week, Spring/Summer 2015

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There have been a few changes in Berlin Fashion Week that I am not happy about.  First of all, the location changed, it moved from the charmingly central Brandenburger Gate to the further district of Wedding.  And I have a saying, ‘Nothing good can come out of Wedding!!!’  Of course, this is said tongue in cheek but…

Then we have the fact that a lot of the major designers like Hugo Boss keep leaving Berlin to show in other cities.  Yes, I understand the commercial and financial reasons why these designers would actually want to show in the fashion capitals of the world, but if the Berlin fashion industry is ever to grow to its full potential, it needs those designers to give the event credibility, draw in the heavy-hitting press, buyers and so on.

And onto the money aspect, I got majorly disheartened when I was talking to a model and learnt that less than a handful of designers showing were actually paying the models to walk in their collections this season.

So you see, the whole she-bang suddenly started looking rather bleak and pointless.

But I am not one to dwell in gloom, the beat was still going on, and I decided to keep up with it by not going to see the shows but to go to the evening events instead, that were close to where I live!

On the first day of Berlin fashion week (7/7/2014), there was a fashion presentation and showroom at the Club Der Polnishcen Versager, held by fashion designer, Penelope’s Sphere and RB Jewels.

As the sun was shining brightly, I decided to celebrate by wearing a turban.  I havn’t worn one in about a year, as last year I had got so addicted to them.  My Lord, did it feel good to tie one again!!

063??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????071As you can see, I am all about ACCESSORIES! So imagine the kind of elation I felt when I stepped into the showroom and saw these jaw-dropping beauties by RB Jewels from her debut collection titled, L’Art De Bijoux.

073076077079082049041044084035This is just the tip of the iceberg with regards to Natia Bakhtadze’s work, it’s as if the Georgian designer read my mind when it comes to jewellery design.  I love jewellery that screams- GLOBAL TRAVELLER!  Jewellery that shows the artist was so inspired by their trips abroad that they could actually translate their experiences into beautiful and timeless pieces of artwork.

The aptly titled, L’Art De Bijoux is a collection made out of an array of colours, metals, textures, stones and embellishment.  When looking at the collection’s product cards, descriptions jump out at you like: pink neon beads, coral beads, neon crocheted thread, silver and pearl, chain and feathers…Amazing!

And what’s more, considering the craftsmanship that went into creating this collection, her pieces are marvelously affordable with prices starting as low as 22 euros (for a pair of earrings) and going up to about 198 euros for the more complex and layered necklaces.

If I possessed her show-stopping accessories, I wouldn’t keep them in a jewellery box, I would hang them proudly in strategic places around my flat!

I also managed to interview the designer herself, but this will serve as an exclusive for the magazine I work for: OE Magazine, so I can’t dish the dirt on this platform.  I can say that it felt so good when she complimented me on my necklace, that’s a hell of a stamp of approval to me!  It was also great to learn that she was a fellow vintage lover, who was intent on making ‘collectible items’.

I left the event feeling very happy indeed, because I had spoken to like-minded people and felt I had discovered someone truly special and talented: this is the great thing about Fashion Week.

RB Jewels will soon be able to be purchased at her e-commerce store, www.rosebertinscloset.com

087086What am I wearing? Vintage dress, necklace and snake bracelet from Portobello Market (London), Earrings from Claire’s Accessories, tan sandals from Office, gold cuff was a gift, red oversized leather bag is from my Darling Sister, belt is from Just Landed Berlin and turban is made from a piece of material I bought from a Lagos market.

 

 

 

Blog Giveaway: Gorgeous Multi-Coloured Collar Necklace

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My little blog is Three Years Old and to celebrate this, I am getting all Santa Claus-like and giving a lucky reader out there this very fetching collar necklace.  Scroll down to the bottom of this post for Entry Details.

036Aren’t the mix of colours, patterns and shapes divine?  This head-turning necklace is incredibly versatile and can be used to accentuate an ultra-glam piece (for instance a bold coloured evening dress) or used to give a simple outfit pizzazz (e.g. a T shirt and jeans combo).

010I decided to rock the necklace with a black crop top (Topshop), Floral print 50s inspired skirt (H & M) which always makes me feel very ‘Grease Is The Word’ when I wear it), black leggings and a brown pair of heeled sandals (Office).

011018024Taking pictures with this bike (which the photographer spotted) made me wish I could actually ride one, well I had the thought for about one split second, because honestly even though I live in Bicycle City, as of yet, I am not remotely interested in joining the Bike Club.  But I do love the picture I have in my head of me whizzing through Berlin in the hot sun in my ensemble!

028038And now the good part: how to get your mitts on this beauty!  It’s super simple:

1) You must be a Follower of my blog, if you are not click on the ‘Follow’ option on the top left corner of my Home Page.

2) Leave a comment in the comment section below telling me how you would style the necklace with other pieces in your wardrobe. The most interesting description wins!

3) Don’t forget to leave your email address along with the comment, so I can contact you.

4) This Giveaway is open to U.S.A and Europe only.

5) Giveaway closes on Thursday, 10th July 2014, 12 Noon CEST.

Good Luck!

 

 

Stylish Flashback: Black and White Menswear

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This is an image from a Menswear shoot I styled for Andmen magazine (Australia, Print) about six or seven years ago.

stylistflashback7

Photographed by Jan Masny

Years on I still love this shoot.  The model is Marko Brozic, he was at Premier Management, London at the time and I remember him being a total inspiration to work with.

When I styled Marko in this Mix and Match outfit, I was thinking of creating my own interpretation of the London Boy and it was a lot of fun to mix and clash various prints and textures.  I absolutely love styling when I can take risks like this!  I wanted to mix chic with punk, which is why Marko is wearing a fabulous black wool cape, Devil May Care DM’s and lashings of black nail polish. Ps can more men wear black capes please?! I find them very Interview With A Sexy Vampire!

In my opinion, this look can inspire both male introverts and extroverts. The extroverts can go to town mixing various prints from head to toe,and a word to the wise, if you want to layer various different prints, reign the whole look in by sticking to a particular colour scheme.  Here for instance, I am using black and white.  Playing with different proportions and shapes is also a good way to go.

The introverts can dissect the outfit and choose to wear each garment separately, e.g. a classic black cape, a statement print Tee shirt, a striped cardigan, a checked pair of shorts and so on.

Image Credits

Black wool cape- Carolyn Massey @ Topman
Black and white striped cardigan -Religion @ Selfridges
Black and white print t-shirt- Nom De Guerre @ Harvey Nichols
Black and white shorts and leggings @ Beyond Retro
Striped scarf @ Topman
Dm’s- Dr Martens @ 17-19 Neal St.
All jewellery @ Topman

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