Birth of a project

I was getting dressed for a friend's birthday party and I didn't know what I was going to put on my body. I looked in my closet and it seemed empty, unpromising. I've had these moments before; everything was old, ill-fitting, or blah. I thought to myself, "Ugh! I have NOTHING to wear!" Then I began rifling through my closet and saw a forgotten shirt I loved and many more, and I realized I was crazy. I had plenty to wear, and plenty to choose from. My closet was FULL of treasures! At that moment I decided I would take a year to explore my closet and to add NOTHING new to my wardrobe.

I would create a NEW outfit for each day in order to maximize my wardrobe and shake up my style.

Basically, I would try to "snap out" of my fashion rut, and appreciate what I have.

It was my New Years' project:
One Closet, One Year.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Thank You Lena Horne!

I was unaware yesterday that Lena Horne had passed away. I heard the news as my radio alarm went off this morning and I was surprised and sad. I guess the fact that Ms. Horne was 92 makes it more bearable, but it is still upsetting to lose such an iconic and important figure in the struggle for black equality. It's hard to imagine now, but in 1951, when MGM made Showboat, they gave the role of the "mulatto" Julie to Ava Gardner. Apparently Gardner, a friend of Ms. Horne's, was "duskied up" with makeup that MGM staff had created for Horne. The makeup was called "light Egyptian." This is just one of many, many stories that illuminate the kind of racism and ignorance Ms. Horne had to endure when it came to Hollywood. In the closing paragraph of The New York Times' obituary it says: "Looking back at the age of 80, Ms. Horne said: “My identity is very clear to me now. I am a black woman. I’m free. I no longer have to be a ‘credit.’ I don’t have to be a symbol to anybody; I don’t have to be a first to anybody. I don’t have to be an imitation of a white woman that Hollywood sort of hoped I’d become. I’m me, and I’m like nobody else.”

"I'm me, and I'm like nobody else." Those are words to live by!


Shirt: This is another classic Salvation Army find that I've had since high school. I love the print!

Sweater: Another hand me down from my cousin Taylor! Mossimo.

Brown Pants: Goodwill. I.N.C.

Shoes: Mossimo. I still have to wear shoes that don't touch my heel!

This is Leo getting in on the action!


  1. Thanks for the homage to Lena Horne. I have a picture of her on stage with Duke Ellington - that is a keeper. I especially love the quote she made at the age of 80. She was incredible - beautiful, great performer, full of class....P.S. Love picture of Little Leo at the end...Aunt Janine

  2. i think i remember that shirt from high school...and leo looks very handsome, as usual.

  3. You have a good memory! But I'm sure I wore it often. It was one of my favorites!

  4. Shelayna, What a nice post and tribute to the beautiful Lena Horne, and what a beautiful picture of my beautiful grandson Leo. Tell Leo that Grandma is missing her "100 Hug Days".

  5. I found your post via Compact-y via My Year of not shopping and YOURS is the one I am logging into daily!

    I love your style and also that you are a nursing mama and you know that clothes have to work around that.

    Since most of your clothes are Goodwill or from friends, I don't think you need to be hard on yourself about shopping, but I appreciate what you are trying to do by 'using what you have'. That is my mantra - I have everything I need.

    My thing that I would like to do is have a 10 or so item capsule wardrobe and see how little I can get by on. I tend to wear the same thing a lot and 'always look the same' so getting different looks from not many items would be a challenge for me. So today I wore 'new' $10 Goodwill jeans (almost new and bought yesterday) and a $5 coral pink pashmina with some old black layered tops.

    Thanks for the inspiration. Blessings from New Zealand.

  6. Thank you New Zealand! Amazing how we can communicate through this little machine! I would love to hear how your capsule project works. That sounds really cool! It is a challenge to get different looks. I think we all tend to fall into our comfort zone. But if it works, there's nothing wrong with that! Thank you for your comments and blessings and for looking at my blog! Blessings to you too!

  7. I am going to use this for inspiration.

    I think you are onto something with photographing each outfit for your blog. Maybe if I photographed my combinations, I would SEE that they do look different even though they feel the same because I am wearing some of the same items often. That's an 'ah-hah' moment for me!

    I don't have your sense of style and I am OK with frequent repeats, but I do need to jazz it up a bit more.