Did I Just Get A Backhand From a Second Hand?

17016915_1678276105520812_6572032645200952144_o

As a style blogger, I’m in a constant state of shopping. I see a look in a magazine, on the street, or in a store window and I am in the pursuit to recreate the look. Shopping for vintage or secondhand clothing is like a treasure hunt. You dig, dig, dig, and if you are lucky you strike gold! I love bringing hidden gems to life because it’s an opportunity to style a look that merges the past and the present.  I share my looks to inspire other women and let them know that no matter where you shop you can have great style.

Through my shopping adventures, I get the opportunity to work with companies to cross-promote. A few months ago, I was contacted by one of my favorite local Cincinnati resale shops, and I jumped at the opportunity to collaborate with them. I got a DM from their Instagram account asking if I  would be interested in helping the store promote an event that they were planning. Since I had already covered this boutique on my blog, I knew it would be easy to get some of my readers, styling clients, and personal friends to come support the event. I didn’t have much time being that the event was a week away.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Usually, a boutique has two important people to be in direct contact with; the owner and the person running the operations of the store. They aren’t always one in the same. I used my Google trigger finger and researched who I would be working with to find, to my surprise, my point of contact was adorable and accomplished.  I had an instant total girl crush.  From what I could see she was highly educated and if her Instagram feed had a catchphrase it would be “I’ve got my life together!” She just happened to be African American (this is important for later in the story). As I was looking through the boutique’s Instagram feed, I saw the usual well-styled outfits and a few African-American models sprinkled in with the usual blondes sporting cool retro looks.

I was invited into the store to “borrow” items to wear at the event and if I liked it I could choose to “purchase” the items at a discount. Nothing seemed out of the normal.  Most boutiques ask that you wear their clothes at in-store events. The landscape of the event was very diverse. I thought it was dope that the boutique was showing that a variety of women like secondhand and vintage shopping because, well we do. I had a variety of my readers and friends support the event. I purchased an amazing kimono that I chose to wear during the event. Overall I felt the event was a success and I was proud that I was involved.

A few months later, I received an email from the boutique owner.  She wanted to know if I had a few moments to speak and asked for my telephone number.  I agreed to speak with her and without hesitation, gave her my phone number. Given the success of the previous event, I assumed she wanted to talk about another opportunity for me to collaborate with a store that I love, frequent and support.  Boy, was I wrong. What I thought was going to be a conversation about collaboration quickly turned out to be to the contrary and very unprofessional. The owner began by asking me about the kimono I wore during the in-store event. She wanted to know the original price and if I had received a discount.  She then went on to explain how her business relationship with woman I had such a great experience working with had gone bad. She stated that she priced the kimono at a certain price and that it was not to be sold for lower. She said that if the robe didn’t sell at its original price point that she had planned to purchase the kimono herself.  She further explained her family is taking a trip to Japan and she planned on giving the kimono to one of her nieces to wear while on their trip. (In my mind I thought, who takes a kimono to Japan? I digress)

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

She said the woman who was contracted to run the event did not have the authority to discount the robe.  She also said, “this is no fault of yours but I needed to know how much you paid for the robe”.  I advised her that I couldn’t remember exactly how much I paid because I had made the purchase about three months ago.  In the midst of this strange line of questioning, I began feeling very uncomfortable. I had mixed emotions about everything and asked myself, if this misunderstanding is between her and someone she hired to handle business in her store, why is she involving me?”  Clearly, if an employee at Old Navy marked down an item without authorization and I purchased it,  Old Navy wouldn’t call to question me, they would reprimand the individual, not the customer.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

“Customer”, the word ran through my mind.  I was a customer before I was asked to promote this event and even continued to support the store after the event.  I had purchased items at this store as recent as a week prior to this awkward call. It was beyond me why this store owner would make a customer privy to what seemed like a messy business situation.

My conversation with the owner was disheartening, to say the least.  Though she expressed concern about the price of the kimono, her true intent for the call seemed to be something different. Her tone was sweet but her questioning felt condescending, because every answer I gave led to more investigative questioning concerning me and my credentials.  Her questioning made me feel she didn’t want my image associated with her store.  I felt rejected and insulted and I couldn’t help but think this white store owner thought the Black blogger and Black freelance consultant were in cahoots about a kimono when the truth is, I didn’t know the freelance consultant prior to working with her.  The owner didn’t directly say these things but the disappointment and skepticism in her voice was audible and tangible.

The following day, after thinking the conversation over, questioning and double checking myself,  going through my bank statements, reviewing all of my social media and blog content to ensure that I presented myself as a professional, talking it over with friends,  and analyzing the entire situation, I let her know that I no longer feel comfortable shopping in her boutique. I let her know that the call put me in an uncomfortable position and that it was overall unprofessional. I also let her know that if I’d known the reason for her wanting to speak with me, I wouldn’t have spoken with her at all.

I could be too deep into thought about the intentions of this Cincinnati store owner, but I highly doubt it. I just can’t ignore the undertone of our conversation or the cultural appropriation that felt borderline racist. Ultimately I have to wonder…

Did I just get a backhand from a second hand?

For more Oh Wize One be sure to subscribe by clicking the follow button.  You can also follow me on Facebook Oh Wize One, Instagram@ohwizeone, twitter@ohwize1. Remember to share the wisdom with friends!!

Midwest Regional Sweet & Natural Fest Recap

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

This past weekend I headed out to the Midwest Regional Sweet & Natural Fest that was held in Washington Park. The even. that was founded by Daphney Thomas, promotes vitality and culture allows vendors to showcase health and beauty products, jewelry, attire, and artwork. I loved the focus on products hair and beauty products that work for me as a woman of color. It was a great opportunity to connect with other women who deal with some of the same beauty dilemmas that I deal with. Ain’t nothing wrong with polishing your #blackgirlmagic.  Continue reading

We’ll Always Have Polka Dots

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Bringing it back like polka dots!! Well, that is not exactly true they never really left especially since polka dots are my favorite! When I found this bell sleeve top from Fashion to Figure I knew that I had to have it. Sleeves are big this season, no really, they’re huge. If you’re looking for a dramatic statement piece for summer try finding a top with intricate sleeve details. This look can work on all body types.

Continue reading

Mama Always Said, “Life is Too Short for Bad Clothes!”

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

My mother taught me everything that I know about style. When other kids were watching cartoons on Saturday mornings I was by my mother’s side watching Fashion TV.  We would ooh and ahh over the latest designer collections. My mom is a seamstress and a fashion genius. I’ve seen her make miracles with everything from my old jeans to fabric remnants. My sister and I would spend hours with her in the fabric store as kids begging her to leave only to end up picking out our own patterns and begging her to make us our next outfit.

I remember being joyfully excited about a skirt I like in Casual Contempo as a preteen and begging my mom to look at it, she pulled at the fabric and examined the hem. She rolled her eyes and exclaimed, “I can make that!” Those four words would make you put your garment back on the rack and walk out of the store. I sat down recently with my mom so we could talk about her style and her thoughts on style for the everyday woman.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

 Q. Did style influence you to sew or did sewing influence your style?

A. Sewing was my way to get the look for less. Back then sewing was affordable so you could make things that you wouldn’t have otherwise been able to afford. I’ve always loved clothes, sewing was just a way of putting more options within my reach.

Q. How do you think your sewing and your style affected my sister and me?

A. Your styles were so different. You are so eclectic and all over the place and your sister is sporty. When you were little it was my way of expressing my love for fashion.  Because I could sew I could give you both more. I was lucky that I could dress you any way that I wanted and you and your sister were receptive. You were always opinionated about what you wore I remember when you were three years old and proclaimed that you wanted to wear dresses every day!

Q. What do you think of our style now that we are adults?

A. (Lots of laughter) You both do well and understand your body types. I sometimes think you both dress mature for your age and I feel a little bad about that. You do really well with balancing classic looks and styling a look for the club. You’ve always had fun with fashion.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Q. Who’s your favorite fashion designer?

A. That’s hard because I love high fashion but I also like urban wear too. I love Michael Kors not what they sell in the stores but his ready to wear line. I love classic designers like Celine. I also like avant-garde fashion too like Alexander McQueen I like things that could only be worn on the runway or at the Met Gala. You know who progressively looks better and better in high fashion? Rhianna. You can see her growth and she keeps getting it right. I like Rhianna’s style much better than Kim Kardashian.

Q. What is your style advice for women who’s body have recently changed to due weight loss or weight gain?

A. Buy your size and if you don’t know what size you are, find out by trying on what you like in multiple sizes. I believe in dressing the body you have. You are wasting time if you are waiting on your body to change before you start dressing better. Buying items that fit will always look good.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

 

Q. What key pieces would you recommended for women on a budget?

It depends on your lifestyle. I think everyone should have a good white button-down shirt. You need a good skirt. You need good pants. Shop off season for the key items that you need like a coat, suit jackets, and expensive suiting items. You can buy quality at any price point.

 

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

My mom is a major style influence in my life. She has taught me so much about fit and garment quality. I know I wouldn’t have any interest in style had she not been key in ensuring that my sister and I understood how to dress our bodies in their current state. My mom is the original body acceptance advocate in my life. I’m so glad her Wize Style rubbed off on me!

For more Oh Wize One be sure to subscribe by clicking the follow button.  You can also follow me on Facebook OhWize One, Instagram@ohwizeone, twitter@ohwize1. Remember to share the wisdom with friends!!

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

How to Wear Head to Toe Blush

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

April showers have finally brought May flowers, well at least in my closet. Dusty Rose or blush is all over the place and I’m here for it! Pink is my favorite color and all of the latest shades are perfect for a girl who loves pink but doesn’t want to look like bubble gum.

Pulling off one color can be trickier than it seems I’m sharing my tips on how to nail a monochromatic look.  Continue reading

Why I Killed My Girlfriend Ego | Seriously Single

HGP1587

I have been under the misconception that I am the perfect girlfriend. As a matter fact, my girlfriend psychosis is deep.  It’s a cornucopia of stereotypical Stepford wife methods, rap lyrics, and rhetoric that I thought made me “perfect”. There were times I felt like a cocktail made of one ounce Tupac’s Me and My Girlfriend, three teaspoons Nia Long (pick any movie), and three part’s TLC Crazy, Sexy, Cool. The end result was a skewed understanding of self.  It also left me wondering why none of my boyfriends really knew me. I realized that me and my next level girlfriend attitude was coming in between me and any man I entertained on a romantic level. Continue reading

Spring Forward with JORD Wood Watches

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

It’s official spring is in full bloom and I couldn’t be more excited to put away my winter coat.  Living in the Midwest means that the weather has not made up it’s mind just yet on if it will be warm or mildly cold. That is why I like to have strong transitional pieces and accessories that give off a fresh spring vibe. When Jord reached out to me to review one of their wood watches I knew this was the perfect spring accessory that I had been in search of. Continue reading