Yay or Nay From Santa Fe with Claire from The Fashion Bomb


So, as we all know, 2009 is the year I step my game up.

My natural fashion compass currently dials towards Schlump.

When I have to get dressed up, I feel confident that I can be sharp and well put together.

This is a Yay. I don't care what anyone has to say.

This is a Yay. I don't care what anyone has to say.

Go me! (Except that red belt kind of bothers me. It has a black belt that goes with it. But I wanted a splash of color to play off the white. Oh well.)

It’s not dressing up that trips me up. I think I’ve got that under control.

It’s everyday dressing that I have a problem with. As we all know, I’m a freelance writer. I work from my living room sofa or my small office nearby. Right now, I’m wearing TH’s college sweatshirt, gray sweats from Target and some striped tights I found in TG’s sock drawer. It’s the everyday me that needs help. She’s the one who ends up wearing costumes like this:

And this:

And she's smiling, like this outfit is all good. Poor thing.

And she's smiling, like this outfit is all good. Poor thing.

Or this:

Rainboots, sweats and a corduroy blazer. Jesus take the wheel.

Rainboots, sweats and a corduroy blazer. Jesus take the wheel.

And on a good day, something like this:


I need a go-to wardrobe. Remember Garanimals back in the day? I need a wardrobe like that. Easy mix and match. But alas, I gotta work with what I’ve got.

I went to Santa Fe this week to write a travel story. And I stocked up on a few cute dresses at Target before I left. (Target is your friend, people. TARGET IS YOUR FRIEND).

I reached out to Lil Miss Brown to get her thoughts on my gear in Santa Fe and she said:

“I thought you stopped blogging.”

And I said, “What are you talking about?”

“You posted about not blogging anymore,” she said.

I don’t know what she’s talking about. But at any rate, she’s swamped with work this week. So I’ve asked the lovely Claire, from FashionBombDaily to weigh in. (Can you be unfashionable with a name like Claire? Of course not.)

Claire spared no punches. Gulp. Herewith: my week in Santa Fe:


photo 2

Flying all around the country. From Newark to Dallas to Albequerqe and then an hour long ride to Santa Fe in a taxi. I snapped this in an airport. Can’t remember which one. It’s a dress from H&M that I gave to TG and then stole back. I wear it open, like a long shirt. I’m always freezing when I fly so I like a lot of layers. Tee and jeans from Urban Outfitters. I didn’t bring my favorite, fashiony bag because it’s so heavy. I just grabbed a heart-print tote as my carry-on. And that’s my laptop case. On my feet, which I didn’t get in the shot, are my Frye cowboy boots.

CLAIRE SAYS: Hmmm….the hat. I think you can find something that marries fashion and function. I personally love berets, but you can also get it poppin’ with a cloche, fedora, or military style cap. Aside from that, I think the outfit is ok. I can’t see your shoes, but I hope you have on some sensible heels or hot flat boots! I’ll give your purse a pass for originality, we all need a dash or personality in our outfits.

Okay, Claire. We might as well talk about the cowboy boots right now.

I  ♥ my cowboy boots. And I wear them just about every day. With dresses:


At a conference in Philly with Lori Tharps

And I wear them with shorts and jeans and sweats. And anything else. I wear them ALL THE TIME. They’re comfortable. And they’re my quirky little statement.

I gave up the headbands. I will not give up my cowboy boots. They just feel like me. Even if me is short for fashion victim.

So yeah, I wore my cowboy boots on Monday. And every other day on my trip.


photo 3

Went out for dinner in Santa Fe. Black knit dress from Target. 20.00 I ain’t lying, y’all. And I slipped in it and felt like it made sense. Brown leather belt. Brown beaded necklace. And though you can’t see them, brown cowboy boots. Brown and Black? Yay or Nay?

CLAIRE SAYS: Thank you for losing the hat. This is a sexy, saucy look, was this a date night? Again, can’t see the shoes, but this outfit gets a ‘go.’ The black dress is slimming, the belt is on trend, hair is exposed. I’d say, though, that with a simple dress like that you can go crazier with accessories. Wear a statement necklace, dangling earrings, and more bling bracelets.


I walked out of my hotel room and no lie. IT WAS SNOWING.

It was 32 degrees and snowing. Meanwhile, it’s 70 degrees here in Jersey. Aint that a kick in the head? I had to borrow a scarf from the front desk and run out to one of the shops and buy a hat. The result was not pretty for my museum tour of Santa Fe:

photo 4

I actually love this coat. It makes me feel dressed up even when I’m wearing jeans. But I know this is a big old Nay. The scarf was borrowed. And it’s hideous. I’m using my makeup bag as a clutch for the day because I didn’t want to carry my tote. And I’m wearing a serious winter hat. Did I mention that it was FREEZING? Sigh.

CLAIRE SAYS: Hmmm, where to begin? This just looks like a random medley. Prints, colors, cherry pattern clutches?!? I’d say, Aliya, invest in a cute matching winter set–hat, scarf, and gloves for later. Get a solid color if all else fails, so that it can match well with anything from your red to your black or pattern coats. Once again, the hat is not my fave, and while I’ve seen some people mix black and brown effectively, your black tights and brown boots don’t work for me. For this outfit, I would have pulled on a pair of skinny jeans in a dark wash to go with your cowby boots, wrapped your scarf around your neck more artfully, and…lost the hat. Replace the clutch with a dark brown leather tote (to match the boots) and you’d be good to go.



Have I mentioned how much I love Target? This dress was twenty bucks. And I love it! It’s warm, comfy and cute! Right? And yes, I’m wearing my winter hat. It was still snowing when I took this picture. And I slipped out of my coat and scarf just long enough to get my picture taken. And yes, I’m wearing my boots.


Such a lovely wrap ruffle dress demands dressier accessories. The knit hat, while undoubtedly warm, takes away from the sophistication of the dress, as do your brown cowboy boots. Step it up for fall in a smart black beret and sharp black pumps or knee high boots in suede or leather. Also lose the peak of a purple tank top! If you’re hesitant about being too busty with a wrap style, slip on a black slimming tank. Also play up the dress’ neckline with a multistrand or charm necklace.


I wore the same thing I wore on Monday. Don’t tell me I’m not the only who wears the same clothes on both travel days. Oh well. I do.

Looks like I didn’t quite pass inspection with Clare. Particularly due to my choices in hair coverings and footwear. I dashed off an email to her as soon as she sent me these responses.

Claire: I was in Santa Fe, New Mexico all week, writing a travel story. It was 30 degrees. And snowing. (No, for real. Snowing. Hard.) It was a surprise storm. So I bought a hat on the spot. And borrowed that horrid scarf from the hotel! Also, when I travel, I wear my cowboy boots, every single day. They’re comfortable. Easy off and on. And kinda match whatever I’m wearing. Sort of. But the only reason why I wore them every day here is because I was traveling. I pack light, like Erykah Badu.

And the random medley photo? That was outside the store where I bought the hat. I *know* this is a big fat Nay. But I still had to document it for honesty’s sake. But again, the scarf was a loaner. And I bought the hat five minutes before.

Does that change anything? Or am I still a hot mess? =)

Claire responded:

It does add context, perhaps some of my harsher critiques can be tempered!
In terms of definitive judgments, I’d say:
Photo One: OK
Photo Two: Yay
Photo Three: Nay
Photo 4 : OK

You do get a pass for extenuating circumstances. And I can see how the cowboy boots are your go-to shoe. I’d say that since black and brown are typically hard to match/pull off, you should pack a pair of jeans you can wear basically everyday to go with your boots.
I rarely wear brown b/c most of my wardrobe is black, gray, etc. My ‘uniform’ is a pair of skinny black jeans, flat black Miss Sixty boots, black turtleneck, black/white houndstooth wool jacket, bling bag, ivory or black beret, red lip. If brown is more in your wardrobe, then match it to blue, greens, reds, ivories, etc, but it’s too difficult, I think, to rock black tights with brown boots. Perhaps you can look into a pair of black cowboy boots if you like tights? My rule would be: dark blue skinny jeans with brown boots or black skinny jeans/leggings with black boots.

And there you have it folks. An official fashionista has spoken. And I’ve been giving the equivalent of a C+.

I’m determined to pull of a week of Yays. DETERMINED.


What do you think? How’d I do?

As always, I’d love to hear you.

12 Responses to “Yay or Nay From Santa Fe with Claire from The Fashion Bomb”

  1. Katura Says:

    Love, love the Tues. look. Isn’t Target fabulous. Hot going out shirt for $3.74 on clearance. That’s not even a real price for clothes, except at Target it is! Love the coat from the medley day, and the outfit you were wearing in Philly. And that heart bag/makeshift laptop carrier is sooo cute. I like the hodge-podge look, pulled together. Shows personality. I think you rock that well. Who wants to look like they peeled their outfit off of a mall store manequin?

  2. Whitney Says:

    This was a really cute story! I actually prefer a less rules-oriented approach to fashion. I like it when people look like they are comfortable and having fun, as opposed to what’s supposed to go or whatever. Maybe I’m just defending my own love of warm winter hats though? lol.

  3. checkmymelonie Says:

    I have that gray ruffled Target dress!! As well as the purple one…:) Target is LOVE. Seriously.

    I really think the key to dressing well is being confident about what you’re wearing. There is nothing wrong with what you like, Aliya! Don’t be afraid of color, don’t be afraid to show your shape (i.e. lose the baggy stuff. Immediately!), and if you love your brown boots, experiment with different patterned and colored leggings.

  4. afrobella Says:

    GREAT feature, and I LOVE Claire! Target rules for cheap clothes and chic accessories!

  5. Littlemissbrown Says:

    I’ve been replaced…i’m so sad! Just joking!

    Aliya, I have agree with Claire here…she was spot on with her critique and you will definitely get a week full of “Yays” soon!

  6. Val Says:

    you know – as a personal shopper (de facto stylist) i love to style others and will put so much thought and effort into that but when it comes to me, i go straight to what’s comfortable, my everyday shoes, those quirky little extras that don’t quite match…just feels so easy and so me…BUT i’ve (recently) learned you really need loved ones to pull you out of that zone and be serious about your personal style game! what you wear says so much about you, it’s definitely necessary to always put one’s best foot forward!

    glad the column’s back and looking forward to weeks full of yays ;)

  7. alisha8151 Says:

    How did I miss that black dress? I’m the Target queen. Just bought a bohemian dress that I can’t wait to wear to work. I’m syle jacking. Brown belt with a simple black dress. Yep, I’ll have it on next week.

    Claire did a great job! You had some serious circumstances. The adventures of a writer!

  8. lipstickpunch Says:

    This was so great! I’m a mom as well, and also work from home so sometimes my outfits look out-right ridiculous when I’m running to the grocery store or to CVS. I know it, but I don’t fight it until I catch a glimpse of myself in a window and I’m like, whoa!! I can pull something together for a lunch meeting or dinner out, but it’s always like, uh oh, I hope I can find something cute to wear. My problem is I have the basics, but am sometimes not sure what to put together. When in doubt, I pull out a J. Crew catalog and say oh, I can wear this shirt with these pants, jacket etc.

  9. Sidik Fofana Says:

    very eclectic!

  10. la negrita Says:

    I agree with Whitney 100%! Hot messes and all. It makes for interesting conversation if nothing else. ;-)

  11. Miss Dimples Says:

    I love Tar-jhay and Claire and your honesty!!!! I would have dubbed this “Travel Week” and let it go! :-)

  12. Jamie Fleming Says:

    I LOVE the Tuesday look. And like you, I have an issue with everyday looks b/c I work at home, too. So keep doing these posts so I can get some motivation! Lol

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