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Session 242: Developing Your Personal Style

The Therapy for Black Girls Podcast is a weekly conversation with Dr. Joy Harden Bradford, a licensed Psychologist in Atlanta, Georgia, about all things mental health, personal development, and all the small decisions we can make to become the best possible versions of ourselves.

Even if your current wardrobe consists of nothing but sweats and t-shirts, there may be certain virtual experiences or socially distant activities that require you to be just a little more polished. Joining us today for Part 2 of our January Jumpstart series to help us get our closets and our personal style together is Personal Stylist, Germanee G. She and I chatted about how to define style, some staples to help build the foundation of a wardrobe, how to choose styles for your body type, and her thoughts on the pieces to splurge on and the ones to save on.

Resources

Check out Part 1 of the January Jumpstart series for tips on beautifying your home.

Visit our Amazon Store for all the books mentioned on the podcast!

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Executive Producers: Dennison Bradford & Maya Cole Howard

Producers: Fredia Lucas & Cindy Okereke

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Session 242: Developing Your Personal Style

Dr. Joy: Hey, y'all! Thanks so much for joining me for Session 242 of the Therapy for Black Girls podcast. We'll get right into the episode after a word from our sponsors.

[SPONSORS’ MESSAGES]

Dr. Joy: Even if your current wardrobe consists of nothing but sweats and T-shirts, there may be certain virtual experiences or socially distant activities that require you to be just a little more polished. Joining us today to help us get our closets and our personal style together is Germanee G. Germanee is a 10-year veteran in the fashion and retail Industry. As a breakout stylist, Germanee's styling niche has led her to work with some of California's most prominent influencers, professionals and executives like Bozoma Saint John, Robin and Andrea McBride, Valeisha Butterfield Jones and many more. Germanee dedicates her styling prowess to making her clients look and feel their best selves, exude confidence, and elevate their personal brands.

Germanee and I chatted about how to define style, some staples to help build the foundation of a wardrobe, how to choose styles for your body type, and her thoughts on the pieces to splurge on and the ones to save on. If there's something that resonates with you while enjoying our conversation, please share it with us on social media using the hashtag #TBGinSession. Here's our conversation.

Dr. Joy: I would love it if you could start by telling us what you do as a personal stylist and how you got into this.

Germanee: What I do as a personal stylist is really take the time to develop my clients’ personality, everything they are, the things that make them them and also the words that represent them, and bring that to life through what they wear. That's what I do as a personal stylist and I help them feel and look their best selves and really command the rooms through their style. I would say personal styling is really truly helping your client really understand who they are and bringing out the best version of themselves through what they're wearing.

Dr. Joy: How would we find a personal stylist? I know a lot of people probably use something like Instagram, but like how do we know that people are actually legit? Like what kinds of questions would you ask? Because I'm guessing there's no like licensure, like anybody could call themselves a stylist.

Germanee: Oh my god, no, there isn't, and like Instagram is probably one of the best tools to really find someone who you like and you feel like resonates with your style. But I would also say you should be cautious when you are seeing personal stylist because some people brand themselves as personal stylists and then after you work with them or after you have your chat with them, they can't really translate who you are through what you're wearing. Some people can only copy paste their style or copy paste a certain style.

I think when you're trying to find a stylist, ask all the tough questions. How long have you been in the business? What's your styling approach? What questions are you gonna ask me? Are you asking about my lifestyle? Are you asking about my body type? Have you styled certain body types? And have you styled all body types, are you comfortable with that? I think it's a dating process in general because, like you said, there is no licensure. But it's just really having the good and tough questions when it comes to, okay, what is it that you want to get out of this? Do you want to build a long-lasting relationship with this stylist or do you just want to be styled for it's your 50th birthday or it’s your 30th birthday and you just want to be cute? And so I think it's about what is it that you're actually trying to get as a result of being styled, and then are they a personal stylist who can actually get me?

Dr. Joy: Oh, that's a great point. Something, Germanee, I think that may be helpful for people to clear up–when you are styling people, who is buying the clothes when you are styling somebody?

Germanee: When I'm styling somebody, personally, the client is buying the clothes. I pretty much work with all of my clients within their budget need so if you say your budget is $1,000 and we are contracting four looks, we’re gonna get you four amazing looks for the $1,000. But they're gonna be quality, they're gonna be versatile, they're gonna be able to ebb and flow with you throughout your life.

Dr. Joy: Got it, that's helpful information to know. Can you tell me about the difference between fashion and style?

Germanee: Yes. The difference between fashion and style is that fashion runs on like trend cycles. Whatever is the hottest, the coldest thing right now is fashion. And we can adopt from fashion and bring that into our style, but style is developed over time. Style really helps you understand who you are as an individual, what really attracts you, what looks best on you, what helps you feel your most confident self. And fashion is, like I said, what is the hottest thing right now. I remember when the fanny pack came back and I was like I'm not wearing a fanny pack, but then they started to make different iterations of the fanny pack and you find one that feels best reflective of who you are. And then I'm like, okay, this leather fanny pack, I can adopt that and bring that into my personal style, but I'm not going to spend $1,000 on a Gucci fanny pack that looks like something I saw in the 90s that was $100.

When you think about fashion and style, that also kind of helps you understand what you should splurge or just not splurge on and that kind of depends on you. Like if you're really into sneakers and Balenciaga sneakers are a thing right now, I would say if you know that you're gonna wear that all the time, spend your money on it. That's a part of your style. If the Balenciaga sneakers or sneakers are not really in your style identity, I would say pass on that trend or... I'm never really into like dupes, but if you can find a dupe that you're not gonna be able to spend like thousands of dollars on, I would rather you do that versus spend all this money and then you not ever wear the product.

Dr. Joy: You mention our style identity and I think that that would be helpful for people to just hear more about. What kinds of questions can we ask ourselves to even figure out what our personal style is?

Germanee: When you’re talking about styles, it’s kind of like dating yourself. What are you attracted to? What colors do you like that make you feel confident? What silhouettes make you feel confident? I have a class where I actually take the time to help women really understand and hone in on what they like. I give them about a week to like screenshot, do some magazine grabs, etc., etc., go on Pinterest, and then just pin all those things and put them in a file and then we go through that file and we look at the high-level themes. If I'm seeing like a lot of leather, I'm like, okay, so you're really attracted to leather. Do you like leather jackets? Do you like leather pants? Like how can we infuse this into your wardrobe and style? And then the same with prints, patterns, textures, silhouettes, etc., etc.

It's really about doing the work and a lot of people don't want to do the work and so you get so frustrated with styling. You want to go with Ease because you're like, okay, I know my leggings and my sweatshirt is gonna be good and it's easy, I know I look good in it, and I'mma keep going. But you really have to do the work to really understand your personal style, to create that identity that you're trying to achieve and really feel or show up as your most confident self.

Dr. Joy: Yeah, you bring up a really good point because I think many of us have been in...

Germanee: Yes!

Dr. Joy: What I call just soft clothes for like the past two years. Leggings and sweatshirts and T-shirts, because we're mostly at home, I think for a lot of people.

Germanee: Correct.

Dr. Joy: But if we are starting to kind of go back into the world or we need to go back because the offices are opening or whatever, how do we even start building a wardrobe? What are some of the basics?

Germanee: Some of the basics. I always caution by saying basics have to do with where you are, your lifestyle, etc., etc., so a person in New York's basics are probably gonna be a little bit different from a person in LA. But what is probably the most universal for all people, all areas throughout the country and abroad, I like an oversized button-up but you can also do a tailored button-up, and that can be white or striped or silk or cotton, whatever feels most authentic to you. I would say a nice pair of skinny jeans, I know that this has been like a thing because, you know, Gen Zers are like skinny jeans are dead. Skinny jeans will never be dead but I am down for a mom jean for sure. But you definitely always need a good pair of jeans, like I would say a nice pair of medium wash and a nice pair of black jeans and then also a leather pair of pants. And then do you need a leather jacket or a denim jacket? These are the building blocks to your wardrobe. And then I will also say a great T-shirt, a great camisole, those are like really good building blocks to start and then you kind of build from there.

Dr. Joy: You have given us some great basics. Now, what are some of the things you feel like people often overlook but really need to pay attention to when building their wardrobe?

Germanee: Oh, that's good. Okay, so what people usually overlook and what I've always found as a commonality through working with clients, is people either lean too far into statement pieces or too much into basics. You need to have a healthy medium in between. When I say statement, it's like those true wow pieces, and then you have those wow pieces and then you don't know how to pair it back to anything because you don't have the basics. And then vice versa, people who have tons of basics, still boring because they don't have any wow pieces. You have to have a happy medium in between of, okay, what can I have to like edge up my regular sweater? Does it have cut outs? Does it have texture, etc., etc.?

Or even with pants, once you find a fit that works for you, it doesn’t have to be the same color. Let's try a different texture, let's try a different pattern, let's try, you know, like something with some zippers on it. Have fun with it. Like even if you find a fit that works for you, don't do the copy method and we're just going to buy eight of the same color pants because we know that fits. Let's have fun with our wardrobe and then also infuse some actual statement pieces into the wardrobe so that you can have a healthy mix and balance, so that you can build and you don't become bored with your wardrobe.

Dr. Joy: I know one of the parts that I think sometimes is frustrating is, of course, all of our bodies are different. We have different body sizes, body shapes, and it often feels like you can only find certain sizes, like in a store. Can you say a little bit about what it means for us to dress for our bodies? What should we know about our bodies to know what kinds of pieces might fit for us?

Germanee: Literally, the biggest thing and the biggest unlock you're ever going to have to learn is like proportions. Everybody is shaped differently and there's a chart online, and I think it has five different body types for women. And while that is probably the best place to go just to see relatively what your body type is like, everybody's body is very different and so the thing is that you have to do proportion play. What that is, is that you have to create the facade of an hourglass, if you will. Say you have a broader shoulder or a bigger chest, you would then proportion play by wearing like an A-line dress or skirt because then it's gonna balance your top half with the bottom half.

Vice versa, pretty much like me, I am a pear body type so I have no boobs at all and then like all hips and thighs. Because I'm more shapely on the bottom, I have to create an illusion on the top, so I wear like ruffles on the top or I wear like a one shoulder top, just to add the balance to that. It's really all about proportions, all about balance. And so never shame yourself for your body type; just create that illusion. I always say that styling is like smoking mirrors.

Dr. Joy: Got it. How do we figure out or reckon our personal style with like corporate environments? You know, a lot of workspaces will have like, not necessarily a uniform, but there are like guidelines around what kinds of things are okay or what kinds of things are not. How can we still have our own personal style within a corporate environment?

Germanee: One, I used to work in corporate America and I would always buck the trend and so even though Gap was still very much so a fashion company, like we very much operated like a tech company–everyone was really in jeans and T-shirts, it kind of appalled me. However, we were in San Francisco! But what I will say is that just buck the trend; if you work in tech and T- shirts and jeans is what is most accepted in your corporate environment, edge it up a bit. Like get a nice blouse and some jeans. You don't have to wear heels by any means but like do something that feels authentic to you that's going to help you feel and show up as your best self.

Also, you can play with accessories. You can wear a nice necklace or layer on some necklaces, some statement jewelry. If it's accepted in your corporate environment, I'm a strong proponent of showing and being your most authentic self, so wear a head wrap, you can wear rings. I feel like you can always up-level any corporate wear through accessories. Do something that's authentic to you but also, I guess, accepted into your environment. But, you know, buck the trend a little bit as long as it's accepted.

Dr. Joy: That's great advice. More from my conversation with Germanee after the break.

[BREAK]

Dr. Joy: The journey of figuring out your personal style and what that looks like can be a frustrating one. What kinds of advice do you give to people who might get frustrated or feel like they need to rush this process?

Germanee: Take a breather, it’s not gonna happen overnight. Your style changes and develops over time, and who you are today will not be who you are in the next five years. You're gonna keep building on that style and you're not gonna find your style overnight. While you may then do an exercise and unlock your personal style, that's just your building blocks, that's where you're starting. And while you are growing and building and learning yourself, because you're like dating yourself to really understand your style, you're gonna continue to find new things that attract you and you're gonna continue to build.

I would say be patient with yourself, continue to wear the things that make you feel confident, but then know that like you're gonna just keep getting better with time. The style that I have today, lord, I look at pictures from five years ago and I'm like, who was that? Why was I wearing that? But at that point in time, I thought I looked great. And so be gentle with yourself because it's gonna be a process and literally it's just like wine; you get better, you get finer with time.

Dr. Joy: I love it. You mentioned the pivot that sometimes happens with our style, that sometimes we're kind of re-envisioning ourselves. And I think a lot of people may find themselves there now, you know, kind of in the pandemic or maybe their body has changed and so we're now trying to figure out, okay, what is my style now? What kinds of tips can you give to navigate that?

Germanee: I feel like I'm struggling with this myself, I was literally having a conversation with my mom saying I have my pre-pandemic self, my pandemic self and then my post-pandemic self (although we're still in the pandemic). And I had this vision of my style pre-pandemic, and then during like in the thick of pandemic, of course, I was in jeans and T-shirts (not even jeans and T-shirts, I was in sweat pants all day and lounge clothes all day). And now I have to be out for work and I'm like who I was two years ago is not who I am today, and I'm not trying to spend all this money on clothes, so what do I do? I think to answer that question, yes, I'm frustrated myself and I'm learning who that new version of Germanee is and my style and who I want to show up as and how I want to be perceived.

I would say start with like what you're loving right now, and so I will even use myself, I love everything oversized right now. My mom hates it; I love it. And so, what in my closet do I currently have that’s oversized? What am I not feeling? And if I'm not feeling it and if I can't like mix and match it with anything that I have in my current wardrobe, I've literally started to goodwill it all because it's not going to do any good in my wardrobe. Even if I can't make one to three outfits with it, I always go with the rule of three. If I can't make three outfits with it, it’s got to go. And so I think you really have to talk to yourself and say, okay, what is it that I'm attracted to right now in my wardrobe that I'm willing to keep and use in my style identity? And then are there things in my wardrobe that aren't necessarily really a part of my style identity, say skinny jeans but can I wear an oversized top with the skinny jeans? Absolutely, so I'm gonna keep those. And then anything that I don't identify with, it's got to go.

Then I start to make a list of, okay, what are the things I need? Like right now, I'm very in need of sneakers because I'm always constantly on the go. In my old life, I could wear heels a lot because I wasn't always on the go, I was not always on set. But this year has kept me on set because I'm in a lot of productions, I'm with my clients all the time, so I'm using my heels less and needing sneakers more and I want dope sneakers. And so now I have a list of, okay, I want dope sneakers, I want more oversized silhouettes, etc., etc., so I think you should start doing that to yourself. What is it that I can wear in my closet now? What can actually go with my new style identity that I can mix and match? What can I get rid of? And then what can I make a list of the things that I need and how can I check that stuff off my list? It doesn't have to be overnight, but like how can I start to do that over time?

Dr. Joy: This sounds like a great exercise to do even when you're not revamping your style.

Germanee: Correct.

Dr. Joy: Just like an audit of what do I have? What do I still love? Like is there a particular cadence we might want to do this for ourselves?

Germanee: Yeah, I say like do it every six months. I usually do it with the seasons and so after summer when I'm about to go to the storage unit, I'll say, okay, what is it that I actually wore this summer? And I would say like 2020 doesn't really count because we were in the house. And so if you were looking, I would say, okay, what is it that I wore this summer that I actually loved? Okay, am I going to continue to love that next year? Okay, I think so. I'mma keep that. What didn't I wear this summer and why didn't I wear it this summer? And is it because I just didn't have anywhere to go? Okay. Or did it just not fit with me and who my style is? And so then I just like nix those things who don't reflect who I am and then I do it for the next season. I always say: if I haven't thought about it, if I haven't looked at it, let it go. If you're not quite ready to let it go, I always say put it in a pile or like in the back of your closet. Once that season rolls in, if you have not thought about it, let it go because you're not gonna think about it.

Dr. Joy: That's a great exercise, great tips to include there.

Germanee: Yeah, and always get a third party. Sometimes, you know, we're so attached to our clothes because we are wearing things and they go with our lives. And so it's like, oh, my god, I wore this sweater to my sister's graduation. You don't need it 10 years from now if you're never gonna wear it again! Like some things are sentimental, are you gonna keep it for sentimental value? You have to ask that to yourself.

Dr. Joy: Would you say that a good tailor can be a cheat code to really like taking your wardrobe to the next level? Can you say a little bit about like what kinds of things a tailor can do and why we might want to use a tailor?

Germanee: Yeah, oh my god, I love all of my tailors that I work with. But a tailor can really truly make something yours and so a tailor can take in a garment, and so it can really make you have that like snatched, and it looks like it was made for your esthetic. They can also like take up the hems. I'm 5'3'' so any pair of wide leg pants (and I love wide leg pants) that I get, I always have to take it to my tailor in LA–he's amazing–and he has to take them up. But also like a tailor can really alter and transform a look. If there's a maxi dress that I want to make a midi dress, my boy just snatches that fabric right on out. And they can really like alter a garment and make it yours. And so for those who are creative, add stuff to your garments. You add patches, add different fabrics to a garment to make it really yours. Or if you're on a safer side, just get it tailored to you so it looks like perfection. Anything you get tailored instantly looks more expensive because it looks like it was made for you.

Dr. Joy: I love that you gave options for those who are more creative and people like me who are like, I have no idea what to tell them to do except take it up a few inches.

Germanee: Right, there's a spectrum here.

Dr. Joy: Right, right, right. You've already mentioned, and even throughout this conversation, you've talked about the importance of having fun with this, like your clothing and your wardrobe to be fun. And so I want to do a little exercise with you to help our audience to kind of think about how they might be able to engage some playfulness into their own wardrobe.

Germanee: Let's do it.

Dr. Joy: I wanna give you a couple of fictional black women characters and I would love for you to tell me what accessory you’d suggest for them if they were one of your clients.

Germanee: Let's do it.

Dr. Joy: The first one is Dionne “Dee” Davenport from Clueless.

Germanee: Oh, of course she was known for the bucket hat so I can't say bucket hat. I would say a mini bag, you know mini bags are really in right now. I think that would totally be a natural adoption into her style and so I think, for her preppy esthetic, a cute mini bag will probably be her jam.

Dr. Joy: I could totally see that.

Germanee: Yeah.

Dr. Joy: Okay, what about Denise "Niecy" Jackson from Moesha?

Germanee: Denise “Niecy" Jackson. I think that she could probably get away with the fanny pack, wearing it around her chest. I think that would be like super dope for her because she had like great street style. I remember her for her street style so anything like street style-related will probably be like her thing, but I would probably say the fanny pack that you could wear across your shoulders.

Dr. Joy: Okay. And then one more, what about Maya “Oh Hell Yes” Wilkes from Girlfriends?

Germanee: Oh hell, yes! Okay, let's see, she was cute in whatever she wore. But I don't think she had a style esthetic, so I’d probably do something like statement with necklaces and layer on some necklaces for her. I think that would be really dope. And then even like some cute waist belts would probably be nice for her too.

Dr. Joy: Oh, okay. Who are some of the black women that you would induct into a fashion Hall of Fame?

Germanee: Oh, I feel like some of them are already in there. Like Tracee Ellis Ross, that's my girl. Kahlana Barfield, she's amazing. Rihanna, she's amazing. Gosh, I feel like my list can go on and on and on but I would say those women are probably like style icons and I would definitely induct them into a Hall of Fame.

Dr. Joy: You started with one of my favorites, Tracee Ellis Ross, and I feel like you look at what she shares and it's like, okay, clearly Tracee has a team, right? Like how could you even start to go after something like Tracee’s style as a regular woman?

Germanee: Yeah, Tracee does a lot of like proportion play and just playing with different textures and fabrications and so I would say, oh my gosh, she just does everything right. She does like wide leg pants so I would say that was something that you could adopt into your wardrobe. She does a lot with accessories, especially jewelry, so I would say if you're not ready to do a whole fashion re-haul to adopt Tracee's style, she layers a lot of necklaces these days. Also, her ring game is like tight and strong and then she just knows how to accessorize.

I would say look at some pictures of Tracee and say, what about her accessories or what about her style do I like, and then what can I adopt that feels in my price range? And so if you see wide leg pants and if you see that they were made from a designer and you're not trying to spend designer money, who can I go to? Can I go to Zara? You know, Zara is for the girls. Zara is gonna be able to like give me those same pants probably for a fraction of the cost. Or can I go to 11 Honoré? If you're a curvy girl, can I go to ASOS? Like where can I go to adopt these styles and then take what I want from Tracee and then adopt it into my own wardrobe?

Dr. Joy: Love it. More from my conversation with Germanee after the break.

[BREAK]

Dr. Joy: You've already mentioned using Pinterest, like you use that as a part of your class. Are there other things that you would suggest for people who maybe can't afford a personal stylist but want to try to put their style identity together? Are there other things besides Pinterest that you would encourage them to use?

Germanee: Instagram, magazines for sure. There's a lot of research online, you just have to like sit and actually do it. But I would say sit and take some screen grabs, screenshot or put into a folder on Instagram, like stylish women or people who you feel like have styles to you. And look at what you're attracted to, see if there's a common theme and start to go from there. And then say like, what am I attracted to? What am I willing to try and buy? I always say buy it–that's what return policies are for. And so buy it, try it on, go with the rule of three, see if you can make three outfits with it. If you cannot make three outfits, do not keep it because it's not gonna do your wardrobe any justice.

Dr. Joy: You bring up a really important point around buying stuff online. What kinds of things should we be on the lookout for to determine quality and making sure we're getting the most out of what we purchase online?

Germanee: This is really good. Okay, I would say buying online is one of the toughest things because they can do a lot of work with like color–they can make things lighter, they can make things darker, so that's like a big frustration. That, you can usually get around. A lot of retailers are starting to use video, so click videos, like see what the video says. Look at those reviews. What are the people saying? Are they putting up photos? What have they said? If they said it runs too small, know that you need to size up. If they say it runs too big, know that you need to size down. I literally read the reviews for everything that I can so that I know for a client or for myself like how to proceed or not proceed. Literally, reviews can make or break if I purchase something or not.

Read those reviews, look at the videos. Also, when it comes to leathers online, if you're trying to buy leather, if it's too shiny, it probably is cheap. If you're getting this really, really high shine, I would say no, that's probably not the best like polyurethane (which is pleather) to go with. Get something that feels more reflective to actual leather, unless it's supposed to be like a vinyl leather. So yeah, I probably would say those are like my key things. Look at the reviews, look at the videos, look at the comments. And then leather, watch that shine on leather because it can either look expensive or very inexpensive.

Dr. Joy: Got it. And you alluded to this a little earlier in talking about things that we find ourselves maybe wearing more often, it may be okay to splurge on. Do you have other tips around like what kinds of things we should splurge on and what kinds of things we might be able to buy at a discount or even secondhand?

Germanee: Yeah, I would say the things that you need, as far as your staples, splurge on those. I'll use myself as an example. I wear a lot of denim, I'm willing to splurge on my denim. I also now wear a lot of sweat pants so I've started actually investing in my sweat pants because the last thing I want to do is like, okay, if I'm gonna buy them for $10 today, in four months, two months, after a couple of washes, I don't want to keep buying it over and over. Think about the things that you're wearing constantly that you don't want to keep cycling over and over again. Just take the investment now, trust me, you'll thank me later. You're not going to have to buy it every two to six months or every year because you made the investment today.

I also love great quality blazers because I love a good blazer, I feel like you can dress up or down an outfit. Also, a little black dress. Every woman should have a little black dress in her wardrobe, so make an investment in a nice black dress. It doesn't have to be over $100, just make sure it's a nice quality but you can splurge on that. Also splurge on a great pair of shoes, a great pair of shoes can take you a long way. Whether it's a sneaker, whether it's a pump, make sure you have either a white sneaker or a black or brown pump or ankle strap sandal. And also, I'll do black, nude or metallic because I feel like metallics are so underrated and they can really level up a simple outfit.

Splurge on your basics. If you're gonna be wearing T-shirts all the time or you maybe are wearing the underpinning like a cami all the time, splurge on those. And when I say splurge, you don't necessarily have to spend hundreds of dollars, just make sure it's nice quality. Handbags. We are all grown now so I would say either a nice like black or brown handbag can take you far and they always make me feel grown. Like it always makes me feel like I can go close a deal in my Gucci bag, you know. And I splurge on my Gucci bag because I'm like my name is Germanee Gerald, I got two Gs in my names, I get me Gucci, duh! This is for me, it's for me, and I can pass it off to my daughter. But yeah, so like get you a nice handbag and I always say you don't even have to go to the Gucci store or the Louis store to buy a handbag. When I bought my handbag, I bought it from The RealReal or Fashionphile. And they're usually very gently used, so you don't even have to spend like the huge price for it. You can get it at a fraction of the cost (and) still get that nice luxury feel.

Dr. Joy: Got it. And I'm wondering, Germanee, if you could talk a little bit about like how you've seen your clients’ lives impacted by really developing their personal style. Can you say something about that?

Germanee: Yeah. I've grown with a lot of my clients and so I'll use Valeisha as an example. So Valeisha Butterfield Jones, she is now the co-president of the Grammys and so we've taken time to really develop and hone in her style. And like while it's still a representation of where she is today, it's kind of like up-leveled. And I’d say, us working on her brand through style, she was at Google and now she's the co-president of the Recording Academy, like sick. And I think even working with Bozoma Saint John, working with her on her style, and literally I think it helps to double down on your impact because people are really like taking you serious. Every role that Boz has had has been like a dynamic role but she's now the chief marketing officer at Netflix and I think there's a lot to be said about that.

I've also had clients who I've met with at the beginning of their careers and now they're CEOs of companies or, you know, they've been able to garner brand deals, etc., etc., with how they look and how they've shown up. Because when you look good, you feel good, you show up as your best self and people want to take you more seriously because people are like, oh, they look great so I'm willing to actually listen and hear what they have to say. And so I've seen people either secure brand deals, secure these new roles within their career and just develop, because of the style. And I play a small part, like all of my clients are very talented individuals.

Like even Danielle Leslie, we've been working together from the beginning when she was not a millionaire. Now she's a millionaire and I've worked with her on every single campaign that she's run, and so I just keep seeing her go higher and higher. And like I said, it's because people are willing to take you more seriously because you feel confident, you look confident and they're willing to say like, oh, what do they have to say? I'm willing to hear it.

Dr. Joy: Got it, thank you for that. What are some of the black-owned fashion brands that you are loving that we should have our eyes open for?

Germanee: When it comes to accessories, I love Ch0ked, they have really great earrings. Oma The Label, if you're not into overt statement pieces, they have really great basic jewelry, very, very fine nice necklaces and rings and earrings, that are at a pretty affordable price. I don't think anything is over $200 there. TCB Accessories Atlanta, they have really great statement earrings as well. That's the accessories department.

When it comes to style or just like clothing, BBX brand is one of my new favorite places. They are based out of the UK but they have really dope sweat pants and then also like blazers and dresses. And they do a drop like every two months, so literally like you have to be on it, on it. Hanifa, Hanifa is dope. Andrea Iyamah. The BRAND Label, they're based out of DC, they're really dope. Those are a few of my faves.

Dr. Joy: Yeah, that's a great place to start. Again, going back to Instagram, I feel like that's where we're able to find a lot of these brands now that we wouldn't know about otherwise.

Germanee: Exactly. I think social media has truly helped widen our reach in knowing and providing us access to black-owned brands and just being able to find them out. Because I feel like before IG, we didn't really know or we didn't have that representation in stores, before social media.

Dr. Joy: Right, right. Okay, so one more game for you before we wrap up our conversation. This is a speed game. I'm gonna call out a couple of fashion items and you tell me whether it's a yes or a hot mess.

Germanee: Okay.

Dr. Joy: All right, so the first one is crocs.

Germanee: Oh! I'm on the fence with this, I’m gonna say yes if it has a little like pins on it.

Dr. Joy: Ah, okay, so those like accessories...

Germanee: Accessories is what will take it over the top, yes.

Dr. Joy: Okay. What about corset tops?

Germanee: Oh, my God, I love corset tops. Yes.

Dr. Joy: Yes? Okay. And what about color clashing?

Germanee: Oh, I love color blocking so absolute yes. But you have to do it in the right way that feels good to you. And like make sure you're looking at the color wheel to know what colors go with what. Like which colors are complementary and which ones mesh together.

Dr. Joy: And so thinking about all of the things that you've talked about in terms of the staples of our wardrobe, what kinds of pieces do you feel like are timeless?

Germanee: Timeless pieces, a black dress is always gonna be timeless. A blazer, jeans are always timeless. Leather pants or a leather jacket, a denim jacket, a bomber jacket. I think like third pieces and when I say third pieces, I mean like jackets, coats. They're usually always very timeless.

Dr. Joy: Got it.

Germanee: What else is timeless are those super unique pieces within your wardrobe, so even if you don't wear them for a couple years. I would say like shoes, I have a lot of statement shoes that I have just on hand. And like I might not wear them in one season, in another season I'm like, oh my god, this is super dope–I'm gonna wear this with this outfit, it's gonna edge it up a bit. And so I would say anything that's super like edgy, over the top, is truly sometimes timeless. Just make sure it's still in your style identity, so there's that on that.

Dr. Joy: Got it. This episode is a part of our January Jumpstart series. What words of encouragement do you have for our community who's listening, who want to revamp their wardrobe or define their personal style in 2022?

Germanee: Words of encouragement. Be patient with yourself like I said earlier, it's not going to happen overnight. Think about those things that make you feel confident and make you want to show up as the best version of yourself, adopt those things into your wardrobe. And then also like date yourself, think about what you're really attracted to and then play for it with those things. Be patient, think about what you're attracted to, date yourself, and that's all I got.

Dr. Joy: Perfect, I appreciate those tidbits. Where can we find you, Germanee? What is your website as well as any social media handles you'd like to share?

Germanee: My website is www.GGandCoStyling.com. And then my Instagram is Germanee_G. And I believe that is the same on Twitter as well but I'm usually more on IG than I am on Twitter. And so those are the key places you can find me. You can also find me on LinkedIn at my full name, Germanee Gerald. Yeah, those are the big places you can find me.

Dr. Joy: And are you gonna be doing your class anytime soon?

Germanee: January is usually award season and then people are rethinking about their wardrobes, so we're probably going to either launch it in February or March. And so people can expect a Feb or March date. But I can have a sign-up sheet on my website, so if you are interested, you can sign up and be the first to know when we do release.

Dr. Joy: Perfect. Well, thank you so much, Germanee. I really appreciate you sharing with us today.

Germanee: Of course. Thanks for having me again, Dr. Joy.

Dr. Joy: You're welcome. I'm so glad Germanee was able to share her expertise with us today. To learn more about her and her work, visit the show notes at TherapyForBlackGirls.com/ session242. And be sure to text two of your girls this episode right now.

If you're looking for a therapist in your area, be sure to check out our therapist directory at TherapyForBlackGirls.com/directory.

And if you want to continue digging into this topic or just be in community with other sisters, come on over and join us in the Sister Circle. It's our cozy corner of the internet designed just for black women. You can join us at Community.TherapyForBlackGirls.com. Thank y’all so much for joining me again this week. I look forward to continuing this conversation with you all real soon. Take good care.