Meet Jodi. Before we get into the actual blog, there is something with beautiful sentimental value that you may have missed. In the pictures above, our girl Jodi has a one single dread handing on on the back of her head. This dread isn't a random accident nor was it placed there without meaning, but rather this dread is dedicated to someone special. Jodi was inspired by the friendship that her aunt Novelette had with her best friend Angela and so she decided to get a matching dread with her best friend Jessica. Sadly, Jessica has passed away and Jodi refuses to cut it in honor of a precious best friend. So, this blog is dedicated to Jessica B and Jodi's friendship. Thank you for sharing your story with us. Rest in peace beautiful.
D E N I M
Ah, denim; such a timeless trend. We know we talk a lot about denim here on the blog and how reliable and versatile it is. But we just can't help it! Denim is great for durability and style! For example, if you're on your way out of the house, you know you can grab a denim item and you're basically guaranteed a good day and a great outfit! But one thing we haven't discussed with you is the history and origin of denim. In this piece, i'll be referring to the essay, "The Short History of Denim" written by Lynn Downey. I've linked it down below for you guys, so please feel free to read that as well! But did you know that denim was declared as "one of the world's oldest fabrics that remains eternally young"? Well, it was and it's no coincidence that from the 17th century to today, denim has been made into pants; it's been woven, used, and discarded; it has been found in museums, attics, and antique stores; it has been worn as the fabric of hard honest work; and used as an expression of a rebellious movement of people.
Did you also know that there is a difference between denim and jeans? No? It's okay, I didn't either until I started doing my research!
The word "denim" was derived from "Serge de Nimes" which was a serge fabric that came from Nimes, France and was also known in England. While "jean" was a fabric that originated from Genoa, Italy which was (still is) a textile that is a mix of cotton, linen, and wool. Cool right? Well, during the 18th century, there was healthy competition between the two. Jeans were gaining their popularity because it was being made with 100% cotton and was being used to make men's clothing. People were fascinated with its durability even after many washes. Denim, on the hand, was gaining its own momentum in the markets because of the stronger and more expensive fabric.
Did you know that denim and jeans have one major difference in their fabrics?
Denim was made of one colored thread and one white thread; while jean was woven of two threads of the same color.
Eventually both the denim and jean made its way over to America, but like in true American fashion, there was a distinction between the two. Denim was reserved for the worker like the mechanic and painter and usually came in the form of overall; while working men in general wore tailored trousers that was made from jean fabric. Which leads us to the good 'ol Levis. Levi Strauss was a wholesale dry goods merchant who sold goods in San Francisco in 1853 and partnered with Jacob David as his business partner in 1872 which would later become the famous Levi Strauss & Co. By the 1920s, overalls were the leading product for men's work pants. In the 1930s, cowboys in the Wild Wild West wore their staple pants: Levi Jeans. Basically, you weren't considered an authentic cowboy unless you owned and wore a pair of Levi jeans. In the 1940s, our own G.I. Joes took their denim pants overseas and into the war zone. By the 1950s, those living on the East Coast and in the Midwest were finally able to purchase a pair of their own Levi jeans. From that point on, denim and jeans would be associated with youth, new ideas, individuality, expression, and rebellion. By the 1960s, Levis were being worn by college students who began to protest social issues. Then by the 1970s, jeans were everywhere and were established as one's own outlet to express one's attitude about clothes and lifestyle which is why personalizing jeans became the trend! Whether it was with embroidery, paint, sequins, or beads, everyone was customizing their own jeans and expressing their own stories, passions, and opinions which remains true to this day. Give ten different people a denim jacket and each individual is going to wear that denim jacket in a unique and different way. This is what fashion does: fashion is a platform that gives people the opportunity to express their own ideas and dreams in their own way. This is why we do what we do. So, continue to share your own insights about the world and people around you!
R E D L I P
Bold red lips are another classic, classy, and sophisticated look for the empowered woman. But there are many of us that have a hard time finding a red lipstick that suites us! So here are a few T I P S on finding your perfect red that will looking amazing on you.
Know Your Undertones. The key is to know the undertones of your skin as well as the undertones of the lipstick and how they work together as a team. Just like the skin, the warm lipsticks usually carry a orange-red hue while the cooler lipsticks usually carry a blue-red and rose hue. So, if you're looking for a red lip that will pop, then pick a red lipstick that has an undertone opposite from the one of your own skin. If you're looking for a subtle yet chic red, then go for the red lipstick that has the same undertone as your skin.
Test it. This one is a given, but suprisnginly many of us skip this! But we're here to remind you that you actually need to try it on your lips rather than swatching it on your hand or arm! The only way that you will be able to tell is by wearing it and seeing how it looks in the right lighting!
Play around and have fun. You want to find the right formula for you: do you want a matte lip or a glossy lip? Lip stain or lipstick? Lip balms or lipgloss? Be sure to pick what suits you and your own preferences! It's all about trial and error and it's about finding a red that you feel most confident in and that you're most comfortable with according to your own preferences!
H O O P S
Here at Andie and AJ, we want to create a safe space to have open and honest dialogues about everything having to do with culture, fashion, and society! So, let's have an honest conversation about hoop earrings! Hoops earrings are officially considered a trend this year but for many of us, and by us I mean women of color, hoop earrings are nothing new. I (Andie) grew up in Miami and in a very Dominican centered household which means that I had my precious baby ears pierced when I was only a couple of months old. I remember having hoop earrings growing up and seeing many women from all over Latin American and the Caribbean Islands wear gold & silver hoops! Typically in Latin culture, it's not unusual to for girls to have their ears pierced when they're born and they'll receive a pair of gold studs, a pair of gold hoops, and a dainty gold bracelet form their godparents, aunts, or abuela.. But for a while, society deemed gold hoop earrings as "ghetto" or part of the "chola/chonga" subculture along with a couple of other things like lip liner, winged eyeliner, curly hair, etc. which all carried a negative connotation. But there's no denying that the gold hoop earring has been a powerful symbol in numerous cultures throughout the centuries. In 1550 BC Egypt, everyone even cats adorned their body with gold hoop earrings. In Rome, during the reign of Julius Cesear, gold hoops symbolized power. In 19th century Japan, it was part of tradition for both men and women to wear brass hoop earrings. In the 80s & 90s, hoop earrings where a huge part of the Chicano community and emerged from he working class Mexican neighborhoods in Southern California as well as other working class Latinx communities. Call A. Hargrove, an African American woman who is the social media editor of Teen Vogue, said it best: "Communities of color have always embraced hoop earrings, but with an understanding that outside of the comforts of our communities and families, they are seen differently, in a negative light...knowing that wearing hoops is those settings almost feels like a form of activism." It's normal to feel a sense of relief but a sense of frustration at the same time. It's a tug of war with emotions and that's okay. If you're not a person of color and you want to wear gold hoops, do it! But in the process of you doing so, we hope that you acknowledge and celebrate with us our culture, our people, and our stories. If you're a person of color, then continue to be empowered to celebrate your own homeland, your family, and your home.
P E N C I L S K I R T S
Pencil skirts are just an essential that every woman needs to have in her closet! Many people associate pencil skirts with professional work attire, which is fine, but they can be worn outside of work and in so many ways. But before we get to that, here are some helpful T I P S to keep in mind when you hit the racks:
Make sure it fits your body. Everybody's body is different and they should be celebrated! An important part of fashion is to keep in mind that your body is unique and you have to be willing to look for things that suit your body shape! When you are on your search for a pencil skirt, make sure it hugs your body in all the right places, that it's not too tight, and that it doesn't ride up your body when you walk.
Length. Your pencil skirt should fall on your knee or right above it! Anything too high or too long will ruin the shape of the skirt.
Slit in the back. Depending on the fabric of your pencil skirt and where you get your skirt from, some of them will come with a slit in the back that you're going to want to cut it open after purchase if it isn't already cut. Many of them with the slit sewn together to maintain the shape and structure of the skirt while it's in the store. But be careful while cutting it because you don't want the slit to go too high.
Your style. You can't go wrong with a classic black or grey pencil skirt, but if that's not your style, then that's okay! Go with your own preferences, and aesthetic. No one can be you like you so go with whatever type of style you want and pick a skirt with different fabric, patterns, or prints!
Like I mentioned before, pencil skirts can be worn in a plethora of different ways. You can pair a solid colored pencil skirt with a graphic t-shirt; you can wear a matching set like a skated long-sleeved crop top and a high-waisted knee-length skirt; you can wear a skirt with a knitted sweater; you can wear a skirt with an open back blouse or tank; the possibilities are endless.
Challenge: Jodi is just like you, so this week we challenge you to rock a bold red lip, a pencil skirt, and a pair of hoop earrings! Be inspired and share you creativity with us by using the hashtag #andieandaj on Instagram or Facebook!
Till next week,
Andie & AJ
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