10 Must-Have Fashion Items I Don’t Buy

Dearly beloved, fashion week recently ended and while I didn’t follow any of the shows, I  was inspired by a post from one of my favorite blogs. I’m a fan of personal style book and this one in particular by Nina Garcia, I love and have re-read over the years. However, I found myself unable to identify with a lot of her “classic woman must-haves”.

I often regard such publications as suggestive rather than instructive. I interpret them as “have you considered…” rather than “you must [insert action] if you want [insert desirable result]”. Creating my definition of “classic” instead of trying to mold myself into someone else’s definition, I’ve found is a better strategy. Classic style is subjective and varies across individuals. There’s no one size fits all. It stems from knowing myself, my likes and more importantly, my dislikes.

Being aware of my dislike enables me set clear boundaries. I can thoroughly enjoy books, films and magazine because I recognize they don’t define my self-worth and value. I simply take what serves me and leave the rest. Thus, when someone dubs cheetah print plastic platform heels as the coolest “must-have” staple item, I can listen and peacefully say, “I’m glad it works for you but it’s not for me and that’s okay” *shoves coins back in pocket*

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LAJA’s Fashion Hit list

1) White button down t-shirts

I dislike white anything because it’s too high maintenance and not the most flattering color on me. Plus, I happen to hate cleaning but seeing stains will drive me nuts. See my dilemma? With t-shirts, I’m not a fan of the rolled-sleeves look which is a big part of its appeal. I love highlighting my shoulders and back and don’t find it helps serve that purpose. Let’s just say, I’ve never found a white button-down t-shirt I liked.

2) A trench coat

I prefer a more structured look for my coats. I have never understood the hype in trench coats despite everyone and their mother swearing it will change your life. My style is more dressed up (even when I’m dressed down) and at this time, trench coats are too casual for my taste.

3) Denim/Jeans

Finding the right fit has been a long time struggle for me especially in the waist-to-hip ratio, ensuring it’s high waisted and stretchy enough. I find myself bringing jeans into my wardrobe in hopes that this time would be different but they always find their way back out. For instance, I only wore this one twice (the one time was for the shoot) and I gave it away. I prefer skirts, dresses and free flowing pants. Plus, I love showing off my legs.

4) Sneakers

I equate sneakers with gym shoes. I’ve personally experienced that most sneakers make my legs look shorter, stocky and imbalance my upper-to-lower body ratio. The exceptions are these ones which were a gift from a friend and have now become a staple in my wardrobe. I was hesitant at first but was astonished by how flattering and versatile they were. Other than that, sneakers? I’m good love.

5) Pencil Skirts

Too restrictive. I need room to open my legs. Freely.

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6) Blazers

Unless it’s oversized. Meaning, If I wanted, I can wear it as a dress. I generally find them too “suited up” for my taste and they don’t fit in with my current lifestyle.

8) Black pumps

Haven’t found a pair I love and are comfortable. It’s funny that this made my hit list because 80% of my shoes are black. Ha! This might change though, we’ll see.

9) Rings

They unknowingly always find a way off my fingers. This might sound weird but I feel them on my skin. Unlike earrings which I wear and forget about, I’m hyper-aware there’s something wrapped around my fingers and that bothers me. A lot. Just typing it eeks me out.

10) Sunglasses / Prescription glasses

Similar to rings, I ALWAYS lose them. Cheap ones, expensive ones, if it’s a pair of glasses, their life span with me is 6 months. After losing my most recent pair, I will be sticking with more cost effective alternatives since clearly we prefer being apart than together. It is good for one to know thyself.

Tell me, what are fashion no-no items? I’d love to know. 

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Always,

LAJA

My Fall Ankara Essentials

Hello there,

I thought I’d share my ankara essentials for fall.

What are ankara essentials?

These are basic foundation pieces that will allow me get more use out of my ankara clothing. Transitioning prints across different seasons can be tricky and I don’t buy into the myth of summer vs fall vs winter “appropriate: prints. I believe prints can be worn year round and these workhorse items ensure my ankara clothing get enough love as the season changes. Funny enough, a lot of my summer ankara essentials carried over to fall (and will most likely winter). Accolades for smart shopping.  Let’s get on to those items, shall we?

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  • Black maxi Dress (2)
  • Black mini Dress (2)

I currently have four. 1 turtle neck, 1 spaghetti strap and 2 cold shoulder dresses. Perfect for layering or those “I have nothing to wear” days.

  • Palazo pants (2)

One in black (pictured) and navy. I’ve concluded that, these are by far my favorite style of pants. Feels like I’m floating, which I love.

  • Maxi Skirt (1) 

In black

  • Mini Skirts (3)

Currently owned in 3 colors; black, navy and red.

  • Capes/Ponchos (3) – one / two / three

I have three; one black, one checkered and one from mud cloth.

**Are you seeing a color trend yet?**

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  • Ballet flats (3)

In black, blue and gold. I’m hoping to add a red pair but I’m not pressed at this time.

  • Ankle booties (2)

I’ve had the same pair from Payless for 4+ years. It’s still going strong and looks amazing. It’s longevity is simply outstanding. Shooketh? That I am. Looking to upgrade my high-heeled bootiethey are significantly worn out.

  • Jeans and Leggings (2)

A necessary evil because I’m not the biggest pants girl. I’d rather endure than freeze though. Still hoping to find a pair of jeans that have stellar fitting especially in the waist to hip ratio. I’m accepting that maybe (just maybe) the trouser life is not for me. Currently have one pair of jeans and one pair of leggings… in black duh.

  • Mid heel sandals (1)

I’m in the South so we get an extended summer (yay) and my toes can still come out to play (I dislike toes by the way). I have one versatile pair in black suede. Looking to add a beige version in the coming season.

  • Basic Blouse (2)

In black and blue. For someone who wears skirts year round, I’m a little light in this department and I scored both tops for under $20 at a vintage store.

Total excluding shoes: 17 items

Total including shoes: 23 items

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Final verdict

I’m very happy with the direction my wardrobe is going in. There’s definitely room for improvement but I can say every single one of these items are a wonderful pleasure to have and use. My ankara clothing and personal style are thankful. There are a few upgrades I’m looking to make and will update along the way.

What are your workhorse items in your wardrobe?

I’d love to know, talk to you in a bit.

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Always,

LAJA

The Iro Look

Sharing this super easy look inspired by my buba and head wrap. When experimenting with makeup, I’ve found that for me, less is more. Tried to re-invent the iro and buba look by pairing the buba blouse with high waisted black pants instead of the wrapper. Been having fun painting my face and simply experimenting with different lighting/editing techniques. Thoughts?

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Always,

LAJA

 

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Ankara Dreams | A LAJA Film

I have interests in filming/production & honestly, I spend A LOT of time watching ad campaigns; here’s my current favorite. I’m intrigued by the idea of using music and film to tell a story. Experimented with some new filming techniques and came up with my first short; Ankara Dreams. Very melodramatic & I’m digging it. This was tricky to film, required lots of patience but I loved every moment of it. Shooting outdoors especially with plants gives me great peace. Have you experienced this? I look forward to more experimenting in front and behind the camera. Let’s see what comes up. Enjoy your day !

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Always,
LAJA

My Ankara Winter Wardrobe Essentials

This video was funny to make because it required I browse through my archives. I loved seeing how much my style has changed and how much has stayed the same. For instance, I love me some tights + an ankara skirt. The items mentioned in the video are tried and tested for me; an example being leather jacket (seen here, here and here). These items help me get the most wear out of my ankara pieces without having to put in much effort. My essentials differ slightly during summer, I’ll most likely make an updated version when it gets warmer. These are my essential pieces & are therefore not universal. Pick what you want but I hope this gives you ideas on what to consider when building the foundation of your ankara wardrobe. What are you ankara essentials? I’d love to know.

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Always,

LAJA

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How to Look Ankara Chic

 

Today, I’m sharing style tips on looking ankara chic from my experience. This was the most peaceful photoshoot I had in a long time. It was slow, mindful and extremely fulfilling. I love being out in nature, glad it warmed up (you won’t believe we had a snow storm just a week ago). I relished every moment. Enjoy the rest of your week 🙂

 

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Always,

LAJA