5 Style Lessons of Chinelo Okona

This Fashion Buyer Wants to Bring Back Couture — in a Big Way

5 Style Lessons of Chinelo Okona

 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.

New York was always the goal for Chinelo Okona, an assistant womenswear buyer at Macy’s, who goes by @LustforLo. It wasn’t a surprise that her room is so regal because so is the aspiring couture designer. Everything she does has a touch of old school Hollywood glamour. “I work in an office where we’re allowed to wear jeans everyday but why not dress up? It’s fun. Why not show off your personal style?”

“Last May, I graduated from Georgia State University,” she told me in her Harlem apartment. “I interviewed for my job and knew I had it by August. I moved here seven months ago. It’s a dream come true to live in New York. I always wanted it but I didn’t know that it was actually going to happen. Now, I’m here, figuring it out.”

Part of figuring it out for Lo means balancing work with her passion projects. “Outside of work, it’s exciting to pursue my hobbies or things that exist in New York that didn’t really exist in this way for me back home. I’m taking a sewing class at Mood Fabrics. My instructor used to work for Marchesa and he was on Project Runway.” 

“I’m a self-taught designer, so everything I knew up until this point, I taught myself with a sewing machine my first boyfriend bought me. The end goal is to design couture and womenswear, period. I want to learn from the most amazing instructors in the world. I want to be able to work for Dior at some point, or for Zac Posen, or Vera Wang.”

So, how does someone who gets paid to study trends and designs clothing in her off time get dressed each day? Keep scrolling to read Lo’s five style lessons.

chinelo-okona-fashion-buyer-32

chinelo-okona-fashion-buyer-16

chinelo-okona-fashion-buyer-38

chinelo-okona-fashion-buyer-22

1. Don’t Be Snobby

“No one likes someone who criticizes where other people shop,” Lo said. “That’s lame. At the end of the day, personal style is about expression. It’s so cliche to say but literally, when you’re getting dressed in the morning, you’re exuding some type of confidence left over from the night before. On that same token, though, you get what you pay for. Don’t neglect the fabric. Even if I’m going to buy a cheap $20 shirt, I want to know what is it made out of, does it lay right? How does it move?”

chinelo-okona-fashion-buyer-18

chinelo-okona-fashion-buyer-4

chinelo-okona-fashion-buyer-17

chinelo-okona-fashion-buyer-3

2. Go Nude

“Whether that be, nude nails or lipstick, for me it’s a heel, find a nude that really suits you. My go-to used to be that I would wear a black shoe with an outfit that I didn’t have a particular pair that matched. If I’m wearing something now, like a skirt or a pant that doesn’t hit my ankles, I’ll go with the nude shoe because it looks cleaner. And they’re out there now, designers are making them!”

chinelo-okona-fashion-buyer-29

chinelo-okona-fashion-buyer-24

chinelo-okona-fashion-buyer-36

chinelo-okona-fashion-buyer-34

3. Rule of Thirds

“I think uniform dressing works for well for me because I like to dress up my add-ons. I think it’s important to have that third piece that’s a purse, for me, it’s usually a jacket or a statement shoe, that’s going to add that ‘wow’ factor to your outfit.”

chinelo-okona-fashion-buyer-35

chinelo-okona-fashion-buyer-30

chinelo-okona-fashion-buyer-23

chinelo-okona-fashion-buyer-27

4. Be Extra

“I love earrings and a nice necklace. It’s important to look for accessories that really speak to you. There are many different markets and vintage shops to buy them around the city. Accessories are a fun way to really speak to who you are as a person, especially if you’re not someone who is into fashion or knows how to style your outfits.”

chinelo-okona-fashion-buyer-7

chinelo-okona-fashion-buyer-6

chinelo-okona-fashion-buyer-1

chinelo-okona-fashion-buyer-19

5. Find Your Sexy

“Growing up a plus-sized woman, it’s been difficult for me to express the sexuality that I always had inside of me. Expressing your sexuality doesn’t have to mean putting it overtly in someone’s face. It can be something small that makes you feel like a woman or makes you feel like who are at your core. For me, it’s a bralette that can peek through a shirt. Weave those pieces into your look. Best of all, they make you feel confident throughout the day.”

chinelo-okona-fashion-buyer-11

SHOP THE POST

 

What do you think of her style? Don’t you just love her point of view? And how about this room? I want a museum date with her, like, ASAP.  You can follow along with Lo’s journey on Twitter, Instagram, or her Tumblr here.

  • CHinwe Okona

    livinggg come to LA and decorate my apartment!

    • Channing L. Hargrove

      Right! She’s goals!