I am inspired by fashion. As an adolescent, my bedroom walls were covered with my magazine cutouts of my favorite musicians, artists, athletes, and icons whose style inspired my very own wardrobe.
My fashion icons ranged from Andre 3000 to Lenny Kravitz, drawing much-needed inspiration from a couple of people closer to home: my father and brother. I was visually and aesthetically moved by the fabrics, colors, cuts, and versatility of fashion design. I learned that fashion was art, possessing the ability to exist freely upon the canvas of the human body.
Years later, while working both at J Crew and as a personal stylist, I came to define my style using four simple words: A DASH OF COLOR. My clothing choices tend to be sophisticatedly simple, clean lines with a desired focal point, with a bit of flair similar to modern architecture.
A DASH OF COLOR will share with the world the fashion pieces, collections, inspirations, and icons that move my soul.
Light + Work
There's a spot on the landing of the second floor of my office that provides the perfect morning light. I was drawn to this location after being in a downward emotional spiral in which the darkness of anger, guilt, shame, and rage enveloped my life. On a morning in which I was angry, stressed, and filled to the brim with anxiety, I was walking up the steps leading to my office when I noticed the light of the morning sun shining through the rather weathered, slightly smudged glass of the window. Nothing was pure about this light or the window, yet its glow was eye-catching, attention-grabbing, and perspective-changing. I stepped into this ray of sunshine and realized that I, symbolically, was the window, lacking perfection but a vessel that light will still find a way to shine through.
Embrace the light.
Meet Atiya Walcott, fashion enthusiast, social media influencer, and actress. I follow her on IG because her style motivates me to utilize each day's wardrobe as a vehicle of self-expression. Atiya's intentional use of color, textures, and tones looks effortless yet screams intentionality.
One of my goals throughout the workweek is to dress intentionally and be willing to take a fashion risk for an internal reward. Recently, I have purchased wardrobe pieces that typically aren't my style, and yet, their vibrance appeals to me, challenging me to look beyond my comfort zone and embrace the unknowns of stylistic freedom.
Marvin Gaye was known for his distinctive voice, presence, and, yes, the iconic red hat pictured below. I spent years looking for a red hat to pay homage to Marvin. Most caps I found were too small, cheaply made, or needed a richer roja tone to complete the look.
Thank God for Target.
I bought this hat on sale for around four dollars, making it one of my Top 5 value purchases of the year. Thank you, Marvin, for the inspiration, and Target, for the hat. Paired with a classic blue denim shirt, this look caught many eyes during the autumn season.
(Vegan) Leather Works
The Black Panther Party leather jacket symbolizes the iconic and revolutionary political organization, the Black Panther Party (BPP), active during the late 1960s and early 1970s. The jacket symbolizes the revolutionary and political movement led by the Black Panther Party, representing strength, unity, and a commitment to challenging systemic racism and inequality.
I saw this vegan leather jacket on sale and immediately started feeling Black Panther vibes. Black is such a striking color, mysterious, profound, and often misunderstood and feared, much like a Black Panther.
Wearing this jacket made me feel like a Black Panther Party revolutionary from the 60s and 70s, fighting for known freedoms during a relatively unknown time. I felt strong, fast, sleek, and powerful in this vegan leather and black turtleneck, paying homage to the freedom fighters who paved the way for me.
Colours, Texture, & Afro-Punk (Oh My)
I have many clothes. Too many clothes as my closet seems to grow by the week, even though I make a concerted effort to rid myself of shirts, shoes, and pants I don't love with 100% certainty. One of the challenges I face with such a large wardrobe is wearing the same items week after week. I dressed out of convenience, grabbing the black hoodie and gray joggers a bit too frequently.
I have been inspired to think about what I wear when going to work or shopping casually on the weekends. Soon, I found myself taking daily selfies, some of which are on this website, not to brag to the world about my fashion choices but to celebrate my creativity and freedom of expression.
Below are pictures of the Afro Punk Festival, which celebrates the many cultures of Africa, its Diasporic people, and their creative expression. I marvel at the use of colors, textures, tones, and environment, all of which create a beautiful aesthetic of self-expression that is, in some instances, other-worldly. Each one of these pictures is artistically beautiful, expressive, eye-catching, and thought-provoking.
Intentionality and self-expression are vital to existence. So get out of your fashion rut and embrace a world of color, contrasts, and creativity unique to your existence.
Black History Month Inspiration
February is Black History Month in the United States. I celebrate my African American/Black/Diasporic history and ancestral heritage by investing holistically in myself and my community. I embody Black history, and it shows within my purpose, heart, mind, and clothes.
The black hoodie is a must-have, especially in the cold month of February. Hoodies, specifically in black, provide me with much-needed warmth, a feeling of superhero-esque protection, and moments of reflection as I think about the many black and brown people that have endured harassment because of the color of their skin and the clothes that adorned their bodies. Of course, I had to wear the Malcolm X-inspired glasses, motherland necklace, pseudo-Marvin Gaye red hat, and matching Apple watch and Nike x Undercover Waffle Racer shoes to complete the look.
Black - Represents the resilient people whose existence as a nation is honored and affirmed by the existence of a flag. Red - Symbolizes the blood of innocent Black lives that have been shed throughout history. Yellow - Stands for optimism, justice, and equality for everyone. Green - Symbolizes Africa's rich greenery and other natural resources.
Framing, Focusing, & Filtering Life
I used to hate taking pictures. In fact, I believe that the reason that I hate cheese on food is because "say cheese" is etched, or scarred, on my brain from past childhood picture trauma. I always felt that I looked awkward when taking a picture. My nose looked to wide. My eyes squinted too much. I didn't know whether to focus on the camera or the person. I couldn't smile on command. That's sorcery in my book. The whole experience was dreadful. A couple of years back, I talked to a former student, and she told me she hated taking pictures because she despised how she looked in them. After a bit of discussion about the importance of positive self-image and embracing capturing life's moments, we both challenged each other to take more selfies, even though we both share a disdain for being in front of the camera.
Y'all, it was a challenge, but I accepted it.
The first couple of times I took pictures, I struggled to capture good shots. Then, I learned how to frame a picture, finding a suitable background free of distractions, random people, or half-shown building facades. Over time, I learned how to focus and try to take a good picture by finding lighting, facial expressions, and backdrops that provided depth to each photo. Finally, to much chagrin, I utilized the various I-phone effects and filters to highlight certain aspects of each picture. Soon, I found myself embracing the selfie and, in turn, embracing myself.
Each day I walk to my office, I take a slew of selfies that capture that moment's expression, emotions, and, yes, wardrobe. I value these images because they continue to allow me to embrace my beauty, self-image, and the moments of each passing day.
My Pin Game Is ILL...
In hip-hop, having the illest pen means that your rhymes are a standard of excellence. In the fashion world, having the illest pens means that you are a bit nerdy, free-spirited, and possibly militant, believing that the world can be changed positively just by attaching something to your shirt, jacket, or bag.
Still, I rock my pins. And they are ill.
They are the perfect subtle fashion statement that evokes a sense of empowerment in any given space. If you're driving through suburbia, why not add an Angela Davis pin to your jacket to stir the crowd at the local taproom? Are you going on a morning jog? Here's a Muhammad Ali pin to remind you that you, like him, are The Greatest, possessing the ability to "float like a butterfly and sting like a bee."
I utilize pins as quiet reminders of self-identity, empowerment, and expression in a world where silence and assimilation are celebrated. They subtly tell a story without saying a word.
Camo + Fall Blends
I purchased this H&M Camo jacket on eBay this past Spring for around 12 dollars, shipping included. I love camo print when worn tastefully and subtly. Camoflague allows one to blend into an environment and hide within the subtle beauty of an earth-tone backdrop. As an introvert, I prefer to stay hidden, even though I know that sporting this knee-length camo jacket will make me stand out from the crowd. This jacket was one of my best buys of the year, barely denting my wallet while fully impacting my wardrobe. On this day, I wore it with a black H&M hooded sweatshirt. The next time, I will wear this jacket with a shirt, tie, and trousers.
Fall into the autumn blend.
My Life Overall
I went out Christmas shopping to buy gifts for other people because, you know, that's the Christmas thing to do. I was peeling through the racks trying to figure out what clothes to get my son, and I saw them... sand-colored overalls with a price tag of $14.99. I often tell people not to buy me anything for Christmas because I have so much. I have nearly 50 pairs of pants. How many pants does one man need? However, I did not have overalls, let alone any that were sand-colored. Also, let me be completely transparent in letting you know that I had not worn overalls since probably 1992 when I lived a suburban life in the shadows of the "Boyz N The Hood" movie phenomenon. Would I feel that same overall feeling overall, nearly 30 years later?
I rocked the overalls with the classic men's black UGG boots alongside a turban that I purchased from yougonatural.com. I complimented the overalls with a hoodie from H&M and bracelets from GoodFly NYC. Overall, my overalls were one of my best purchases of 2021. I can only hope to find a better gift for myself next Christmas season.
Soles to ENV
Thanks, Nike. Your Joyride ISPA ENV shoes have are crazy comfortable, crafted beautifully, and a guaranteed showstopper whenever I put them on. Are these shoes a cross-trainer, mocassin, or just some crazy hybrid designed just for style? Perhaps it's all three and so much more, possessing the ability to be whatever they need to be for any given occasion. Thanks, Nike. I am back on your bandwagon. I can't wait until I cop these in black.
I grew up in the 1990s and early 2000s which were eras dominated by the sonics of Pharrell Williams, one half of the music production collective known as The Neptunes. The Neptunes created music that was sonically layered in bright colors, dipped in intergalactic funk, and influenced by the energy of outer space.
Pharrell, aka Skateboard P, musically existed in another world, space, and time. As does his wardrobe.
There are layers to this, literally. Pharrell's style, much like his music production, is layered in originality and textured with an audacity of pure, uncut dopeness. Each piece that he wears is an expression that needs to be seen, felt, heard, and experienced.
Thank you, Skateboard P for your space-crazed style that is truly out of this world.
I bought these shoes today for 3 dollars. Hold up. Let me type if again so the folks in the back can see my excitement. I BOUGHT THESE SHOES TODAY FOR 3 DOLLARS! I am willing to say that these shoes are safely in my top five 3 dollar purchases of all time, slotted right after the Star Wars lightsaber that I copped from the grocery store during a midnight shopping trip to buy bread (I forgot to get the bread btw).
These shoes are the epitome of A DASH OF COLOR. Aqua blue-bright with a beautiful gum bottom, these shoes are the perfect piece to wear anytime you need your day brightened.
Mad x BLACK x Hatter
Way back yonder, when I was a wee little child, I idolized Indiana Jones, a fictional professor of archaeology who has an eye for adventure and fashionable wide-brimmed hats. He wore a beautiful brown suede leather hat, which matched the earth tone aesthetic of his outfit. I wear a lot of black, so when I saw this hat in H&M for $2.00, I had to grab it.
I have yet to wear it.
I don't know a location or occasion to wear this type of hat. Perhaps a rodeo? Dude ranch? Urban farm? Garth Brooks concert? Since I don't listen to Garth Brooks, and a dude ranch is out of the question, I will have to settle for either a rodeo or urban farm invite. I am ready and waiting for an invitation.
I 'reckon that I will have to wait a little longer to wear his hat.
Confession: I generally have a theme with every outfit that I wear. I view fashion as performance art as I provide movement to each piece that adorns my body. Style takes thought.
Today's theme is inspired by Malcolm X and 1990s/early 2000s hip-hop "backpacker." The style starts at the base with the red Pharrell X Adidas Tennis Hu shoes. I love these shoes, and they are just as comfortable as they simplistic in style. The classic Adidas logo socks, dark khaki joggers, and God Is Dope t-shirt are the perfect backdrops that allow the hooded denim jacket to shine. However, I am the type of person that likes to layer and wear one or two surprise pieces just in case I need to take my jacket off. Enter the Africa beaded necklace. Although it is small in size, it packs a punch that makes THE MOTHERLAND proud. The red, green, and black beads of the necklace are a showstopper and, depending on the day, a conversation piece. Added into the mix is a classic Jansport black bookbag and a black New Era Cincinnati Reds hat that bring in more of the "backpacker vibe." Finally, the last piece, black frames that are an ode to brother Malcolm X, put this look over the top.
This whole look vibes to the beat of a revolution by any means necessary.
Black x Gatsby
Thanks, H&M. Thank you for putting this dark grey gatsby on sale for $2.00. I don't know why you marked at such a low price and truth-be-told. I don't care. When I found this hat, I knew it was special. When I wore this hat this past week after it had sat in my closet for a year, I knew that I was special.
Andre 3000 x Flute x The Love Below
Question: What does freedom look like?
Answer: Freedom looks like a person walking around a random city playing a Mayan flute to make people smile while equally providing healing for their soul. Freedom looks like books bags, overalls, and black tee shirts. Freedom looks like a group of people of different backgrounds and nationalities posing for pictures, enjoying the warmth of their collective human spirit. Freedom looks like making someone's day better in a craft store, airport, or a city street. Freedom looks like rapper, actor, and fashion icon Andre 3000 wearing clothes that give him the creative energy needed to perform his craft and exude his love.
That's a freedom that I can believe in.
Keep your heart, Three Stacks. Keep your heart.
Black x Black x Black
So...let me be completely honest with you...I am a thrift store KING. I frequently find dope items to add to my diverse wardrobe, spending relatively little money in the process. A couple of weeks ago, I found these black-on-black Converse Chuck Taylor for $2.99.
It was fate.
On second thought...maybe I didn't find them. Perhaps they found me.
Either way, it was a match made in heaven.
ISSA x STATEMENT x PEACE
I love Issa Rae's style on her hit HBO show "Insecure." Its simplicity speaks volumes as each piece compliments her natural physical beauty. My wife, a skilled makeup artist, taught me that makeup is a tool that only possesses the ability to complement that natural beauty of the face. This same principle extends to clothing because the fabric can only accentuate the beauty that is naturally present.
Also, I am a fan of wearing clothes that I love regardless of what brand it may be or the people around me think it is hot. Issa's style represents celebrating natural beauty, embracing insecurities, and finding the courage to voice message through the accessory of a fine-tuned wardrobe
Brooklyn Dodgers X 42
I love New Era fitted baseball hats. Growing up in the 90s, I can recall my brother buying a Chicago White Sox fitted hat because he was a huge Frank "Big Hurt" Thomas fan. Mimicking his fashion choice, I saved my money and bought a navy Seattle Mariners hat, made famous by my favorite baseball player, Ken Griffey, Jr.
This year, I decided to buy my first Brooklyn Dodgers fitted hat to honor Mr. Jackie Robinson and his legacy. Check out the patches on the side of the hat! This hat is beautifully made and fitted for a revolutionary.
Brooklyn X School Daze | Carried By Six
One of my favorite wardrobe combinations combines the NYC fashion staples of wheat 6" Timberland boots and the famed New York Yankees New Era fitted cap with a solid color book bag. This look is urban minimalist, silent in its design, yet it speaks boldly with an accompanied revolutionary tee shirt bound to make people look twice.