5 Style Lessons Courtesy of Shannon Kennard

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5 Style Lessons Courtesy of Shannon Kennard

New York is full of those girls. You know the ones—on the train, ahead of you in the line for coffee, on the ‘gram with an aspirational feed you can’t help but scroll 85 weeks deep into—that leave you wondering ‘why haven’t I thought to wear that?’ These are their closets. Welcome to 5 Style Lessons.

Shannon Kennard is a digital nomad who decided to leave her hometown in Texas to spread her roots in New York City three years ago. “My first memory of wanting to move to New York was in second grade. I was living in Alaska and my music teacher would let us pick songs. Every single time I would pick “Silver Bells,” because Rockefeller Center was in the picture. I just thought it was so pretty.  A couple years after that I saw Home Alone 2 and I was like I definitely need to go to New York. But I didn’t visit until I was 19 when I came with my family. And as soon as I got off the train, and walked out of Penn Station, I knew I was home.”

But don’t call her a carefree Black girl. “I’m really starting to feel boxed in by hashtags,” she told me in her Astoria apartment.  “I really feel like I embody #CarefreeBlackGirl. I travel, I freelance, I have crystals in my window sill, I collect dead flowers. Weird things that I’ve always done. Now I’m just trying to figure out where I fit in as an individual.”

Spoiler: The way she expresses herself visually is a big part of that, so keep scrolling because she’s sharing how with her five style lessons below.

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1. Get in Where Your Fit in

“If it doesn’t fit, just quit. Fit makes all the difference. I will take [a needle and thread to] my own clothing but if you aren’t able to DIY, find a tailor who can.”

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2. Wear What You Feel

“When I get dressed it really just depends on my mood. If you’re going to H&M and buying whatever’s there, it’s not going to read well together. It’s not going to look as ‘you’ as it could. Not that there is anything wrong with H&M but put your own spin on it.”

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3. You Should Get Too Comfortable

“I hate when I see anyone wearing anything that is clearly uncomfortable,” she said. “The reason I don’t wear heels anymore is because I can’t walk around New York City in them. I admire people who can but my knees will be screaming.”

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4. It’s Simple: Wash Your Face

“I read somewhere, that Halle Berry said that she washes her face twice a day, and she’s done that for her entire life. And I was like you know what? I need to make sure that no matter what that I’m washing my face. Even on my drunkest nights I will wash my face. Washing, exfoliating, and moisturizing are super important.”

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5. Get Creative

“When I go thrift shopping, I always have a plan of what I’m looking for or hoping to find but you kind of just have to pick a row and get started. Go through everything because you never know what could be hiding behind anything. I go through mens’,  the kids’, the shoes, I don’t leave anything unturned. You just never know. You have to have a creative mind too because it might be a men’s vest but you have to see beyond that. It doesn’t mean you still can’t wear it.” Shannon is so creative that *this* was her Halloween costume!

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Bonus: Protect Your Energy

“My tattoo artist — she has 6!— told me that one way to protect energy is to keep your head covered. And I never thought of that. Think about it, heat leaves from your head. Energy can leave or enter that way, too.  So I decided to test it out and that’s why I have the crochet braids (Ed. note: Shannon has a glorious crown of hair on top of her head. See proof here, here, and here). I already feel like I can maintain my energy so much better.”

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Thumbing through Shannon’s closet made me wish I had her vintage shopping prowess. I’m super excited to say that she and her best friend are in the beginning stages of launching an online vintage shop, Soft Wild. You can keep an eye on Shannon via Instagram, Twitter, or her blog, where she occasionally still writes.

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