Editor's Note: You hear a lot of "what did you put in your hair?" and "I love your shoes!" around the NaturallyCurly office. Personally, I am always finding inspiration in what my colleagues are wearing to the office and on their Instagrams, so we're starting a new series to share what we're loving with the rest of our community - beyond our hair! #OOTD -Cristina Cleveland

African-American woman, reclines on sofa, is dressed blue and white striped dress wears red wide-brimmed hat and black boots.

Trying to give you those #Anthropologie vibes. | PHOTO: @CASSANDRAJK

Tell us about your style!

Why did I choose this blue and white striped, fluffy bell sleeved dress to wear? Well, like most of us, I have a comfort zone when it comes to style. It consists of black jeans, black tee shirts, black wide-brimmed hats, the occasional dress, and black boots.

Sure, I can get up on stage with my bandmates and dance like a wild woman. At any given moment, Evelyn and Nikki and Grace can easily corral me into washing and styling my hair on camera for the world to see. But, TBH... I am NOT one to switch up my style on a whim. Such a shift completely derails my confidence and I end up feeling like a thumb-twiddling teenage version of myself.

In any event, I saw this dress selection as a way to dress outside of my comfort zone. Even though I was terribly uncomfortable, mainly due to the rising Austin, Texas heat index, I did my best to muster up the courage to walk around without feeling awkward.

African-American woman, is dressed blue and white striped dress wears red wide-brimmed hat and black boots.

A head full of bright ideas and hydrated curls. | PHOTO: @CASSANDRAJK

Tell us about your hair, what products are in your hair?

Texas heat is brutal, so underneath the red hat is a head full of thoroughly hydrated coils. If you have read a few of my articles, you know that I would throw a day parade for Jamaican Black Castor Oil if I could. I like using the oil itself for weekly scalp massages. To keep my hair hydrated, I use Tropic Isle Living Leave-In Conditioner and Detangler and then put my hat on.

Hat tip: Some women's hats are not satin-lined. If you want to keep your hair from getting dried out by your hat's fabric, wrap your curls with a satin or silk scarf and then top them off with your hat!

African-American woman, sitting in oval swing chair, is dressed blue and white striped dress wears red wide-brimmed hat and black boots.

Can I please have an indoor swing for my living room? Thanks! | PHOTO: @CASSANDRAJK

What's your signature color palette?

Black. I have added pops of color to my wardrobe like the red hat in this photo series, but for the most part, I stick with black. It is the one color that never lets me down, hides the appearance of anxiety-fueled perspiration, and has the ability to make me look way cooler than I actually am. It's my cape if you will.

How do you like your clothes to make you feel?

By nature, I am a confident woman. I like to wear clothes that help me convey that feeling. Whether it is my favorite band's tee shirt and hi-tops or a pin-striped business suit, I want every article to be an extension of my personality.

African-American woman is dressed in a blue and white striped dress wears red wide-brimmed hat and black boots.

Twirl on 'em! | PHOTO: @CASSANDRAJK

What beauty products did you use?

Spending time outdoors is a favorite pastime of an island girl - GalvestonSTANDUP! And every island girl needs sunscreen no matter where she is. I have used Proactiv Oil Free Moisture Broad Spectrum SPF 15 for about 6 months and have loved its non-greasy formula. I particularly love it because it doesn't make my brown skin look ashy... which apparently is a big deal for many dark skin people (for a while there I thought it was just me). I apply it on clean skin and then follow up by gently patting small dots of PÜR Color Correcting Primer onto my face with my ring finger, making sure to get the primer into my pores and not just on the surface of my skin (thank you, Jackie Aina). Natural looking, barely-there makeup is a major part of my look, so using these products along with Maybelline Fit Me! Matte and Poreless foundation in Mocha gets me in just the right state of mind to slay the day!

African-American woman is dressed in a blue and white striped dress wears red wide-brimmed hat and black boots.


Tell us about your closet - for example are you a maximalist and it's overflowing, do you get into trends, are you downsizing, are you re-thinking your wardrobe right now?

If I told you that I need black band tee shirts and jeans, would you believe me?

Seriously, though I want to update my wardrobe with button-downs and slim-fitting business slacks for work. I'm feeling cozier now that autumn slowly creeps around the corner, so you can find me perusing the GAP, KillStar, and ROSS sales racks in the next few weeks.

This off-the-shoulder blue and white striped dress is from Melodrama in Houston, Texas. The red scarf is mine, used as a belt. The vintage Naturalizer boots were gifted to me by a 1970s dancing queen, the red hat was gifted to me for Christmas 2016 by my sweet and amazing mom, and the jewelry is from my personal collection.

How often do you step outside of your style and comfort zone?

Follow Gerilyn on Instagram for more style inspiration @gerilynhayes.

Photos by Cassandra J. Klepac.