Fashion Friday: Yay or Nay?


I am a fashion reject. Back in January, I wrote a post about how I wanted to step up my game and dress like a grown up–even though I work in solitary confinement as a freelance writer.

I’ve never been a fashionista. I like clothes. But I’m never sure what looks right on me. I’m too lazy to try things on and I feel like I never have the money to buy things that I think would make me fly.

Truth is, flyness is an attitude. A way of life.

And that’s not me.

I can pull it together for a night on the town. But in my day to day life, how I’m dressed doesn’t figure very prominently.

Until now.

A few months ago, I took a good long look at myself. (And my closet). And I did not like what I saw. Grubby sweats, ratty jeans, flats from Target that were run over, t-shirts that didn’t fit, dresses that were too big, too small, too old.

It’s frivolous, I know. And in the grand scheme of things, who cares what we’re wearing?

Work with me. I need a minute to be frivolous and completely gratuitous.

I asked my good friend, we’ll call her Little Miss Brown, to critique five days of outfits for me. Little Miss Brown is an executive at a luxury goods retailer. And she’s effortlessly fly. Always.

I told her to be no-holds-barred.

My goal is to look chic, pulled together and slightly sexy, (but not too sexy), every day. I’m almost 36. I have two children. And I schlep them both around a lot.

My hair’s going gray. And I can’t get in the gym as often as I’d like.

I’m getting old.

But that doesn’t mean I have to look like a schlub.

Herewith, everything I wore this week. And LittleMissBrown’s verdict. Gulp.



Totally acceptable? Right? I’m wearing a tee and jeans from Urban Outfitters. The flats are from Target. I feel like this might be a Mom Outfit. Something I’m deathly afraid of. I have a two year old but I want to look fresh and summery and pulled together. This is actually ten times better than what I would have been wearing last summer. But I don’t know if it’s a Yay. Seems pretty blah.

LittleMissBrown says:

You are definitely presentable, but the outfit is a little blah. It’s summer!!! Where are your sandals? You could easily throw on some silver metallic flat sandals and a funky belt to spice up this look. If you normally rock sky-high heels, why not try some wedge sandals as an alternative. It gives you the height without all the discomfort.

You are on the road to yay…but since the look makes you feel blah, it’s a nay.




On Tuesday, I got a mani-pedi and had lunch with my bestie Portia. I invested in a pair of wedges so that I could be comfortable and still give myself a little umph and height. Do you approve of the shoes? I love them. I feel a lot more pulled together in them. About the outfit: The shirt actually belongs to TG. It’s from J. Crew and it’s a million years old. The shorts are from Target. And they’re too big. But I won’t stop wearing them because I don’t have enough shorts. Do I pass inspection?

Little Miss Brown says: This is a total nay…not feeling this at all. But i’ll give you a few fashion points for the shorts and the wedges…two thumbs up! First, give TG back her t-shirt and second, get rid of the bow! NO BOWS! We are women of a certain age and bows just don’t fly anymore…

To turn this outfit into a yay…you should try a boho top or a pocket t tank.


If you want to add an accessory to your hair…try something like this, a feather headband.


Just those simple changes completely turns the outfit around!

Really liking those wedges by the way…where’d you get them?! :-)




I love this dress. It’s from Max Azria. I bought it years ago for a beach wedding I went to on the islands of Turks and Caicos. I wore different shoes and dressed it up a bit. But I still love this dress. Here’s my problem. This dress is now four years old. Is there a point where you retire something just because it’s been around too long? It’s in shape. It still fits. But when I pull it out, I feel a little weird. Like my neighbors are gonna say, she’s wearing that dress again? I wear it twice a month. Also, the color? Does it wash me out? I often wonder if I should try brighter colors.

Little Miss Brown says:

I see that bow is still around… :-)

As for the outfit…cute, this deserves a “yay”! A dress that is in good shape four years later, is a good quality dress and definitely worth the money. You should be proud that you made such a good purchase…and the color is fine, you can always use a neutral color dress. If you feel like it’s getting old to you or you wanna spice it up…add a funky belt. Try these two and your outfit will feel brand new.





This is my black dress from Target. I actually have two so I can make sure I can wear it at *least* once a week. (Is there a such thing as wearing something too often?!) It was less than 20 bucks! It fits me well. And I feel put together when I wear it. Although, did I overdo it on the wedges here? I had no other shoes to wear with it. Except icky flats that are run over.

Little Miss Brown says:
Cute dress…love Target! And like you…when i find a basic/staple that i like, i buy two! I say “Wear the dress til it falls apart!” To keep things interesting, shake it up with different accessories and and jewelry. Try a belt like this with thick gold bangles and gold hoop earrings…




This was actually last Friday, not today. And gulp. I’m wearing the black dress. Again. I have two. It was raining. And I hate wearing jeans in the rain so I knew I wanted to wear a dress. This is the only dress I have that can be worn with rain boots. At least I think it can. Can’t it? Oh. And yeah. I’m wearing a do rag. I’m on my way to get my hair did!

LittleMissBrown says: No worries…you did what I suggested, you switched up the look! People probably won’t even realize it’s the same dress…first time you wore it, you dressed it up. The second time you made it more casual. I don’t think much goes with rainboots…but you turned the look into “rain chic”! This gets a yay, minus the do rag…

yours truly

About LittleMissBrown:

Naima A. Brown is the product development manager of footwear for Coach. She has been at Coach since 2002 and prior to Coach has worked for companies such as Old Navy and Calvin Klein Jeans. Naima is a Philadelphia native where she first got the fever for fashion. She is a graduate of Howard University, where she holds a B.A. in Fashion Buying and Merchandising. She also attended the Fashion Institute of Technology’s Exchange Program.

She’s done it all–from working on music video sets and photo shoots. There was a beloved internship at Seventeen. And she’s been an unofficial personal shopper for her family practically since birth.

Her motto: Fashion is the weapon…how it ends is up to you.

Follow her on Twitter:

Dear readers:

What do you think? Was Little Miss Brown right in her Yay or Nay verdicts? Do you think I need to retire the tan dress? What are your thoughts on the wedges?
And for the record, that is not a bow in my hair! It’s a headband! From Urban Outfitters!

I love this headband. Sniff. And I’m gonna keep on wearing it! I gave TG back her tee-shirt. And I’ve got my black dress pressed and hanging up and ready to go for tomorrow. HA.

Oh! And next Friday, check for a young woman who works in the fashion industry who will be submitting five days of outfits for LittleMissBrown’s review. I know how this girl gets down. Something tells me she’s gonna get a Yay every single day. Sigh.

And if you’d like to be featured in an edition of Yay or Nay, hit me up at

Oh. And be kind to me in the comments. I’m an artist. So I’m sensitive about my sh….

Dear readers: I’d love to hear from you.

UPDATE: I’m dressed for the day now. Here’s what I’m wearing. Shirt from the gap about ten years ago. Seriously. Shorts from jcrew. I fear these shorts may be too short. Especially with these shoes. And how whack is it that I have exactly ONE pair of decent summer sandals. Good grief.

23 Responses to “Fashion Friday: Yay or Nay?”

  1. spamwarrior Says:

    I think she’s right. I thought the headband was cute, too. I don’t think you should retire the tan dress. It looks great! Though like LMB said, you could spice it up with a belt or something. (I foresee a lot of belts in your future…)

  2. Baa-ith Says:

    I REALLY like this one!!! I think LittleMissBrown was on point! I’m a dude, but I can appreciate fashion from a woman’s point of view as well! (i mean I have my own fashion line for crying out loud!!! lol) You can never go wrong with SUPER CUTE accessories to dress up any outfit. LOVE the wedges and you can find a lot of that stuff on sale at my favorite “shoeasis” Aldo…and they have some mean foot gear to accentuate those pedi’s! lol You’re for saying “flyness is an attitude. A way of life.” It’s actually deeply embedded in our DNA waiting for us to discover it! Thanks again for another great piece.

    Stay Fly!!! ;-)

  3. Katura Says:

    I’m no fashionista, but I like the basics of what you have on. But I do agree that you need to “jazz it up” (always hated when adults said that), with funky belts, necklaces and other accessories. The Tuesday outfit would have been quite cute with a fitted white (or other color) tank instead of the t-shirt. You have great legs, so the shorts look nice. (I don’t think they look too big) Monday’s jeans just needed a shirt of a different color (like the billowy ones your expert suggested). Don’t kill me, but I think the first yay outfit does wash you out a bit. But easy fix with some obnoxiously big earrings, a belt or heels that aren’t in the same muted color family.

  4. Aliya S. King Says:

    @Katura: I totally agree with you! I thought for sure that LittleMissBrown would give me a Nay on the tan dress. I feel washed out in it. I definitely different shoes/earrings/something. My accessories (or lack there of) are a whole ‘nother issue.

  5. Angela B. Helm Says:

    OMG — I really need to do this. I am like, your cosmic twin (2 kids, almost 36, work from home some, not really caring about fashion but feeling crazy when I step out in the same ole jeans and kicks). I am so down. I need some help LilMissBrown!
    As for you, you’re looking good….

  6. Lee Says:

    “Little Miss Brown” was right on point!!! Sage advice all around. She sounds like a real flyy chick. Tell her to come look in my closet n fix my life!

  7. littlemissbrown Says:

    Yay Aliya! You nailed it today, love the outfit…you look boho chic! Work it! See how your whole attitude is different :-)

  8. Retha Says:

    Fashion Friday you say??? So you know I had to read this one. How fun was this?? You did good Li and Miss Brown gave you good advice. I LOVE doing Target style too…its all in how you accessorize, so yes have fun with the accessories. I’m a big fan of the “high, low” so not afraid to mix my Target pieces with more pricey pieces. Agree with Katura you have great legs so shorts def work for you, have fun with the tops and again accessories, bangles, necklaces, etc. Check out Forever 21, they always have fun, cheap jewelry….the street vendors in can’t go wrong with them. BTW, love the dress and rain boots and your pose :) Oh! And one more thing, agree re: the metallic sandals…a staple for your summer wardrobe! Stay you, I love it!

  9. Miss Dimples Says:

    I really enjoyed this post! I have MANY things in my closet that are more than a few years old…so I’m always looking for *inexpensive* ways to re-invent them. Littlemissbrown offered great suggestions and I’ve learned to start with small, subtle changes (like accessories) to make a big fashion statement. :-)

  10. Brian Forte Says:

    I pretty much agree with miss Brown but I didn’t hate TG’s shirt. The rain get-up IS dope.

  11. Val Says:

    I like what you’re doing. Personal style is all about what makes you feel comfortable and confident. Great style is about mixing and matching high/low, surprising combinations, wearing your individualism well. I started a personal shopping business a couple of years ago based on people complimenting my style and wanting help with developing their own. If you’re interested, I’d love to work with you.

    keep up the great work on!

  12. RK Says:

    uh… ask littlemissbrown if it’s still cool for men to rock Timbs and shorts. or should i switch to Jordans and Girbauds?

  13. unstinted Says:

    Honey, the shorts are NOT too short if you have the gams to rock ’em! You’re looking super fresh today, and I’m the LOVING Little Miss Brown feature. Definite Yay.

  14. Taiia Says:

    the advice was great. ur not getting old, just better, more refined, more womanly.

    these are the things i tell myself as i feel skin wiggle, that didn’t quite wiggle 10 years ago. lol. do take prince’s advice and be a sexy mutha.

    i am an accessories fiend. rings, belts, earrings, chains any kinda shiny, funky thingy. love ’em. have a full draw full of stuff that my sis tries to steal.

    the shorts are cute, do don’t worry–unless you’re going to a PTA meeting. as for the headband, i think those can be hard to pull off when u have short hair, which we have… unless u find a really funky one that makes a statement, like the feathered joint.

    but when u rock that headband, ur gonna have 2 bring the ‘tude to match.

  15. Nita Says:

    OHHH, I love your headband too! I am in the same category as far as dressing and I am so excited that you have added “Fashion Friday”. I need the help you are getting! The advice was great and she obviously knows her stuff. I hope you keep doing this!

    BTW: Just found your blog through “A Belle in Brooklyn” and love your blog!

  16. Anonymous Says:

    I believe that you are a fashionista I remember a couple of sistas and I at the writers festival in Philly were digging those brown boots with the white dress and pink hand bag–dope!

  17. la negrita Says:

    I’m pretty simple when it comes to fashion. I stick to basics, and I like accessories more than anything. I’m good for wearing something once a week. I repeat things all the time. I shop out of necessity–not for fun. If I could stock up on essentials just twice a year, I would.

    It always baffles me when people pay attention to what I wear. I always tell this story, but I keep a pair of old gym shoes (yes, GYM SHOES!) in my car. They’r ea pair I wore in high school. In college, a friend noticed them one day while I was unloading my trunk. She commented that she remembered me wearing them in high school. I was freaked out. I couldn’t remember the shoes she had worn the day before, let alone in high school! I just really don’t care about the way other people choose to dress themselves. In my experience, the people who notice little things like that are people who are insecure about their own style. I get attention whether I’m bummin’ it up or steppin’ out, so I choose comfort most of the time.

  18. KNichelle Says:

    Love Love Love LittleMissBrown and this concept ROCKS! My only suggestion Aliya, is that you invest in some sexy black wedges you love as well, you can’t wear brown with everything.

  19. Kanisia Says:

    Let me find out you fell off! In EHS you was dressed better than the teachers and students.

  20. Portia Says:

    Love that I’m a “bestie”…lol. You know that I always thought you dressed fly…but then I am DEFINITELY no fashionista…I probably need LittleMissBrown more than anyone here…does she critique plus sizes??? Love thosee wedges btw…and love the black dress!

  21. Sunsing Says:

    Love this feature! Terrific pointers about accessories (belts bangles and hoops to accent a fabulously long neck!) And work those broad dancer’s shoulders with sundresses and tops with spaghetti straps or strapless…

  22. cherryl Says:

    love your legs. buy something yellow, like a blousy top.

  23. Kids Brown Dress Shoes Says:

    […] Fashion Friday: Yay or Nay? « Aliya S. King […]

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