e s s e n c e.

Ever try a dress on and get so excited that you don't know what to do with yourself? Well, this is that dress. I thrifted it in D.C. about a year ago while I was visiting a close friend and I love how the design has a conservative, yet sexy appeal. Even with the deep V cut in the front, it still maintains a loose, comfortable fit that covers up in all the right places. Not to mention, it has pockets and boy am I a girl that loves dresses with pockets. However, I also wanted to style with meaning. Thankfully, I had the opportunity pick up some cotton as a memoir and with February in mind, I wanted to do something special. I thought, let's create a look that not only will say but mean something to me and in that moment, I found beauty in the fields.

I felt like I needed to provide a visual that would show cotton in a beautiful and positive element.

Most can agree that we are judged by either our internal qualities and/or the external. We are in a world of division and a society that's in a constant cycle of identity. Whether it be the color of your skin, the job you have, or the car you drive---we are being judged. It's inevitable. However, black history month has two sides; one favors the overcoming and the other the struggle. Black history month presents us with tales of achievement while also offers insights into the social background of black people in a struggle that continues to this day.

If anything, I want you to take one thing away from these words: essence.




  1. the intrinsic nature or indispensable quality of something, especially something abstract, that determines its character.

Know that your race does not have to be a race and you are wonderfully and fearfully made. No one can be you but you and it's your responsibility to be aware and maintain an attitude of forgiveness and love. Black history is a vital part of our stories. While cotton stands to be a symbol of slavery, inequality, and turmoil, I also see it as a symbol of gratitude. I am thankful for those before me that literally laid their lives down for a better day, even when they couldn't see it. Be confident in not only who you are but in what you can do to make history.

I am a proud black woman.

Proud to no longer be politically identified as a negro or colored. Proud to have access to opportunity. Proud to be raised with the mindset of being aware but to remember that perspective is power. Proud to know that my actions can influence the prejudice that exists today. Proud to know that there is more to life than what I experience on earth. But not only today,

in fact everyday I will keep my head up and remain proud.


  • Instagram - White Circle

© 2021 A.J. Dunlap