September 5th, is officially the start of New York Fashion Week, followed by London, Milan and finally Paris, rounding off what is now known as Fashion Month. Individual cities also celebrate local designers by hosting independent fashion weeks, but unfortunately Cleveland does not have one. However, if you have been following my blog, then you already know I'm not one to cry over spilled milk and I love to take matters into my own hands- so I decided to host my own Fashion Month (read here and here for previous attempts) creating and attending my own events while adding a fashion and style challenge in the mix. Keep reading if you want to participate!
While I'm not too grand on the big designer shows, September is actually one of my favorite months of the year because the weather is perfect and the hustle and bustle of summer is coming to a halt and collectively we all take a breather and get back to the basics. But more importantly I can dress how I want! During hotter days I dress with just enough pieces to not get thrown in jail for indecent exposure and in the winter I am just a big ball of heavy coats and boots, so fall is the perfect time to showcase my style drip.
But since I cut my hair (yes I big chopped again and I love it!) playing dress up has been so much fun to me and I wanted to take it even further by participating in the fashion challenges I used to see on Instagram from fashion bloggers when I first joined the app a few years ago. Fashion challenges are a great way to help get inspired by looking at your current wardrobe and finding new ways to wear old pieces, but most importantly they can help you get out of any style rut!
1. Day 1-7: The first week of the month should be dedicated to cleaning and editing your closet! How are you gonna do the challenge and your star players are in the bottom of an endless laundry pile, or even worse- no longer fit you? If you need tips, check this post on closet editing here...
2. Day 8: Organize your jewelry- Remove anything broken, badly tarnished or that you no longer wear. Clean faux gold and silver with a white cloth and find containers to store your bijoux so they don't get twisted and tangled. Maybe you can finally find the match to your favorite pair of earrings!
3. Day 9: Wear an animal print- Think beyond leopard and go for snake skin, eel, cheetah and zebra prints on anything from dresses, a t-shirt or a pair of shoes or bracelet.
4. Day 10: Accessorize- I think it was the late, great (to some - - ) Coco Chanel who said to remove one piece of jewelry before leaving out the door. Ignore Coco and wear ALL your pieces! Make noise with bangles and proudly sport a ring on each finger- aren't you glad you organized your jewelry box?
5. Day 11: Dress up a pair of jeans- Add a pair of heels or fancy boots to your favorite distressed jeans, and wear it with a blouse instead of your usual t-shirt, or consider adding a tailored blazer to complete the look.
6. Day 12: Pull out something you have not worn in the last six months- I know you still have that garment in the back of your closet with the tag still on it! Find a way to wear it TODAY and make it work- if you need help, don't hesitate to ask me how to style a piece for you (tag me on IG @dressedbysilk or email me email@example.com!
7. Day 13: Carry a clutch- Give your oversize work tote (and your shoulder) a break and carry a chic clutch for a night out!
8. Day 14: Mix textures- Try a silky shirt with a denim skirt, a cotton t-shirt with faux leather pants, or a velvet jumpsuit with a fur vest. Here are a few more cool combos: velvet and silk, metallics and cotton, knits and patent leather, fur and sequins, brocade and lace and wool and silk.
9. Day 15: Clean out your handbags- Swap out your summer bags for fall ones, but clean them out and wipe them down with a damp cloth first! You can stuff them with newspaper to help keep their shape and line them up on a shelf or inside of a designated drawer to store them.
10. Day 16: Layer- This is my absolute favorite style solution for a basic outfit- find a top and a bottom and add either a vest, jacket or duster to it and voila! The same works for dresses and jumpsuits and anything prints with solids look amazing! Layer and stack your accessories too while you are at it...
11. Day 17: Statement shoes/neutral outfit- Do you have a wild pair of heels, flats or slides that really should be inside of a museum instead of the dark corners of your closet? Pull them out and let them shine, or if you have the opposite- a statement top, jacket or dress- then let the outfit stand out and allow your shoes to play second fiddle.
12. Day 18: Mix prints/Wear prints from head to toe- This one is for the sartorially brave; wear your florals and stripes, polka dots and camo, hounds tooth and animal print or whatever you can think of that looks good together- or just wear one print from head to toe. Mixing prints is fun and always interesting, stick to the same color family and play around with proportion.
13. Day 19: Wear a hat- Top your outfit off with a hat and add an extra layer of style to complete your look. Use hashtags to scour Pinterest and Instagram for inspiration on how to style it up!
14. Day 20: Wear that office friendly blouse- A long sleeve button up is perfect for this because it's conservative when worn to work with a pair of wide leg trouser pants or a pencil skirt and your favorite flats. But if you unbutton a few buttons, roll the sleeves up and add a fly pair of heels- you have an easy transitional outfit to meet up with your boo or the girls immediately after work!
15. Day 21: Wear trousers instead of jeans- You can achieve the same level of comfort that comes with your favorite pair of jeans by wearing a chic pair of trousers- the difference is effortless style! Try a fitted concert tee, a plaid pair of trousers and ankle boots- and throw on a moto jacket if you have one!
16. Day 22: Supersize your look- Wear something oversize; a jacket, sweater, t-shirt dress or boyfriend jeans, but add a petite accessory like a trendy small handbag to the outfit.
17. Day 23: Wear those ugly shoes- You know the pair that you saw in the store or online and had big dreams of outfit slayage only to find out once they arrived home with you that they were actually ugly AF and what were you thinking? Pull them out and make them work for today and then sell them or give them away immediately afterwards cause you don't need that negative energy in your closet!
18. Day 24: Color block/Monochrome- Your choice; choose between wearing a minimum of two to three bold colors together, or rock all one color from head to toe...
19. Day 25: Dress down a Little Black Dress- That LBD hanging in the back of your closet waiting on some action is about to get it! Instead of wearing it with opulent accessories why not downplay it with a pair of tennis shoes, but also add layers like a flannel shirt tied at the waist or a long sleeve crop top underneath? You can also change the silhouette of the dress with an oversize sweater or jacket for another cool look.
20. Day 26: Shop your closet or local thrift store for a runway look- Recreate a look straight from the runway without spending a dime, (or at least no more than $10) by shopping your closet first and then trying your luck at a thrift store. Items to look for include; capes, dark florals, tailored suits, jewel tones, anything plaid, animal prints, lace and ruffles, lavender, gold, teeny tiny bags, asymmetrical necklines and more. I'm pretty sure you will find something in your own closet!
21. Day 27: Heels, flats or sneakers- If your go to shoe always include your favorite flats, switch it up and wear a pair of heels or wedges. If you are always seen in heels, replace them with the flyest pair of tennis shoes or embellished flats that you have...
22. Day 28: Winterize an outfit- Add decorative tights to a mini skirt, wear a blazer over a turtleneck and cutoffs, or rock that denim jacket over a crop top and leather pants.
23. Day 29: Add a broach, button or pin- The obvious places to wear a cool broach, button or pin is on a blazer, jacket or hat- but switch it up by adding one to a handbag, a sweater, or at the center of a button up collar.
24. Day 30: Try a headwrap- Another cool way to hide a bad hair day or just add some extra flair to your look is to wear a headwrap! Gather all the printed scarves that you own and head over to Youtube if you are unfamiliar with how to tie them! A headwrap is a gorgeous and sophisticated way to add color, texture and prints into your look!
Let me know if you make it to the end and don't forget to tag me on social media (@dressedbysilk on Instagram and use the hashtag #dressedbysilkstylechallenge)! I will attempt to participate in the style challenges everyday and will also be attending a few different fashion related events here in Cleveland so I'll be sure to take plenty of photos too!
I also came up with a list of fashion and style related activities to do this month, with the majority of them being for my followers in Cleveland and the surrounding area, but a lot of them everybody can participate in!
1. Visit a boutique that you either always pass by and never stop in, or constantly see on Instagram that's in your city.
2. Attend the RAW Cleveland artist showcase on 7 pm Wednesday, September 11th (check to see if they will be in your city too) a mix of visual arts, music, fashion and entertainment.
3. Attend the Avenue of the Arts night on Friday, September 13th, explore visual art performances, watch the fashion show and check out the work of the community of artists.
4. Join me Saturday, September 14th in making 3D Bracelets and Buttons inside Tech Central at the Cleveland Public Library from 1 pm-4 pm, shoot me a quick email here and add 'Bracelets and Buttons' to the subject line if you are coming (take the bus or train to avoid parking)! We will use the 3D printing machine to design our bracelets and the button machines to create a button or mirror. Bring your ideas and around $5 or $10 for the use of materials!
5. Binge watch Styling Hollywood about fashion stylist Jason Bolden and his interior designer husband Adair Curtis. Gabrielle Union, Taraji P. Henson and other stars pop up on this behind the scenes Netflix show.
6. On Wednesday, September 18th at 6 pm for a night of fashion sketching at the Cleveland Museum of Art! The CMA has extended hours on Wednesday (open til 9 pm) and I plan on finding fashion inspiration from a few paintings and sketching from them. Let me know if you want to attend by emailing me with 'Sketching at the CMA' in the subject line. Bring $5 for materials...
7. Create a Fashion and Style Vision Board virtually with Pinterest or Instagram (save images that you love to a folder) or physically with fashion magazines, paper and glue. Save or cut out images that stand out to you and edit them before you place them on your board. Soon you will see a pattern of words, images and colors that speak to you and will help guide your style choices throughout the year.
8. Watch To Wong Foo with Love- Julie Newmar on Netflix; I have to admit that I haven't seen this comedy since the 90's and I can't remember too much about it except Wesly Snipes, Patrick Swayze and John Leguizamo as drag queens wearing fun colorful fashion choices so I can't wait to see how well it aged.
9. I'll slide though on Friday, September 20th, to visit my friend Anton's Maison Grande Talle extended sizes boutique pop up shop at 78th Studios. He will be there from 5 pm- 9 pm and the address is 1305 W. 80th Street, Cleveland, Ohio...
10. The very next day on Saturday, September 21, I will have a small style presentation at the When Bosses Connect Networking Mixer. Follow @perfectlybundled on Instagram for more information. The mixer will be held from 3pm-7pm at the HMC Love & Learn 4556 Warrensville Center Rd, North Randall, Ohio 44128...
11. Runway Thrift Challenge; find a store near you, take a friend and recreate a few outfits using pieces that fit in with runway trends from this season. Turn the challenge into a photo opp and have fun with a photo shoot of your finds.
12. Not typically a "fashion" movie, Just Another Girl On the IRT is perfect if you want to reminisce about that authentic 90's around the way style of the main character Chantel Mitchell. This movie was very important and holds a special place to every Black girl who saw it back in the day...
13. I'm putting in overtime on Saturday, September 28th, first with a fashion presentation at the HTZ Styling Team 'She Said' Brunch and then again later on at the Renee Jones Empowerment Center Traffic Stop Teen Summit.
14. I will be at the Maple Heights Library on September 29th from 2pm-4pm watching a fashion film and holding a discussion afterwards! If you can join me, shoot me an email here with 'Fashion Film' in the subject line, but if you can't make it then tune into Mahogany on YouTube and you can still join in the discussion!
15. Don't forget to tag me on Instagram (@dressedbysilk) in anything you want me to repost and use the hashtag #dressedbysilkstylechallenge to anything you want me to!
*Times and activities may change, make sure you contact me if you plan on attending anything that I am doing!
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