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I use style as a kind of mirror.

You hear a lot of "what did you put in your hair?" and "I love your shoes!" around the NaturallyCurly offices. 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

Aesthetically speaking, my eye gravitates toward dramatic, dark tones and distinct lines. That is why I often wear black jeans and dark colored tops and blouses to work. Some days, I get a wild hair and will wear pops of color and even dresses. 

This particular off-the-shoulder dress stood out to me because of the floral print; the natural tint of each flower played in contrast to the overall look. The implied gentleness of dresses intrigues me, as well. That is why I tend to pair dresses, floral prints, and soft tints with black or brown boots to add a subtle statement. This dress is fun to wear to work events, dinner dates, and even air-conditioned concert venues.

Tell us about your hair, what products are in your hair? How did you style it?

For me, the hair and the accessories you rock make the outfit.

Bantu knots are my favorite non-installation protective hairstyle. I love wearing them because they keep my ends protected from potential breakage, and they help me feel fierce! To get reliable Bantu knots that dried without fail, I applied Alikay Naturals Essential 17 Growth Oil to my scalp and sectioned strands. To get reliable knots, I applied Ampro Pro Styl Curl Enhancer - Extra Dry hair gel to my two strands, wrapped them around and under themselves, and sprayed a fine layer of Rich Argan De-Frizz & Shine Mist on them.

For me, the hair and the accessories you rock make the outfit.

Do you have a staple piece that you always wear?

On any given weekday, you will find a scarf on or near my head. This is because I do not style my hair on a regular basis and find it very easy to accessorize my outfits with any kind of scarf: silk, cotton, polyester… you name it, I am most likely to be wearing it.

Although not pictured here, I am an avid hat wearer. This affinity toward millinery started because of my fandom for Future; his style is impeccable. My favorite, medium brimmed black hat can be seen on my Instagram and IRL.

In addition to scarves and hats, I love my blue lensed sunglasses!

Is there a person, designer or character who inspires your style?

Alexander McQueen is the single greatest fashion designer of all time. Hands down. Period. His creative ferocity has yet to be matched, and I attribute much of my interest in haute couture design to him.

Other fashion designers that inspire my contrasts-contradict-tradition look are Karl Lagerfeld, Calvin Klein, Tom Ford, Ozwald Boateng, and Diane Von Furstenberg.

What are your shopping habits like?

Having studied fashion, as an artform and how it is merchandised, I tend to have a pragmatic approach to shopping, much to the chagrin of friends and family that want to spend hours on end at outlet malls and thrift stores.

Typically, I enter a shopping scenario with a mental checklist of what I need: two pairs of black skinny jeans, one deep discounted button-down shirt, one lounge dress, and room for interpretation. This approach is not always successful, but it keeps me on budget and unfettered by point-of-sales tactics while waiting in the checkout line.

How has your style changed over the years?

I find myself weary of ever changing fashions and 120-second trends. Even still, style is meant to evolve and with that notion in my mind, I think that my style has followed suit in a gentle, methodical way. As I grow older, my clothing becomes more tailored to the summation of my personal and professional experiences. I use style as a kind of mirror, and am particular about how and what I reflect back to those interacting with or observing me.

Am I doing a good job of that? Maybe. Maybe not.

It’s my prerogative… (you know the rest *wink wink*).

This off-the-shoulder floral print dress is from Melodrama. The vintage Naturalizer boots were gifted to me by a 1970s dancing queen, the blue lensed shades were acquired at BellaKinks DFW Natural Hair Expo, and the accessories are from my personal collection.

Do you rock protective styles on a regular basis? Share your style with me!

Follow Gerilyn on Instagram for more style inspiration @gerilynhayes

Photos by Cassandra J. Klepac.

GerilynH

Hi! I'm Gerilyn. I research and test textured and curly hair products. Then, I write about my experience. When my head is out of the natural hair cloud, I write and record music, sing lead for @SugarPillATX, and volunteer for Meals On Wheels of Central Texas. Fun fact: I am obsessed with Sennheiser microphones, black cats, and multi-colored box braids.

Instagram: @gerilynhayes
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