hair story: black fashionistas

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Although we’re hair obsessed at Un’ruly, hair is just one element of a person’s appearance and visual self-expression. Thus, this week we’re taking a look at women of color with stand-out style and of course how their hair plays into their style. Meet our favorites. They exemplify the versatility of black hair but also the range of context and settings that versatility can exist in.

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bianca, the natural tomboy

We’re not quite sure exactly when Bianca deBardelaben came onto the scene (we’re guessing from her fashion blog, Avant Blargh, it was in late 2010) but her mastery of tomboy vintage has gotten her noticed by the likes of Steve Madden, Lucky Magazine and Modcloth. The Chicago native who can frequently be seen pairing baggy tweed coats with ankle-cuffed pants describes her style as “Woody Allen-esque.” She says “I love curating my own mix and match from different eras and topping it with mounds of curly hair, vintage accessories, and bold lipsticks.” Her hair rarely changes. She lets it sit curly and free atop sweaters, blazers or dresses layered over delicate blouses. Her hair’s volume is a default statement in all of her ensembles and its length adds just the right touch of femininity to her looks.

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tamu, a pixie of two cities

Jamaican-born Tamu McPherson of street style blog All the Pretty Birds, grew up in New York but moved to Milan with her husband at age 29, where she’s been living for well over six years. Consequently, her style is a meeting of the two cities—Milan’s elegance complemented with the mix-and-match side of New York.  She explained to Vogue.it, “My style is very adventurous, but I’m conscious because I realized that I can’t wear everything I want so I always step back especially here in Milan, but I love following the trends and experimenting with the trends.” One might say her hair exemplifies her fashion sense; while she generally keeps it simple, with sleek buns and side-parts, her staple hair style appears to be a pixie cut—a style that, like her clothing, has a restrained funkiness to it and pairs well with chic and/or adventurous looks.

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julia, an unbridled afro

Up until she was about age 14, Julia Sarr-Jamois, fashion editor of Wonderland Magazine, wore her hair in plaits. When she decided to wear it out, she at first felt it looked really big, but stuck with it and never looked back. The half Senegalese half French fashion blog favorite is equally known for her statement hair as well as her statement clothing. She describes her style as relaxed and “follows no rules.” She’s big on mixing, whether it be prints, textures or even occasions. But she also has a big love for sportswear; you’ll frequently spot her in sweatshirts and sneakers. She doesn’t wear any make up and keeps her hair out and free because it’s easy to maintain and she rarely has time to get ready. Her advice to fellow fashionistas, “Wear everything you like, and that makes you feel good. Have fun!”
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genevieve, girly-glam straight

When the New York high-society scene took note of Genevieve Jones, speculation and criticism about who she was and what she does followed. But as the hoopla about the so-called, “black Paris Hilton” died down, her sense of style was able to stand on its own. About her style, Essence.com said, “Jones is a perpetual dressed-up kind of gal, so anything as casual as denim doesn’t register with her. Instead, Jones clearly gravitates to off-beat dresses in dizzying prints, high-waisted shorts, and skirts all in sky-high hemlines to show off her game.” In a Refinery 29 feature Jones said, “My style is pretty classic but there’s a bohemian edge to it. I like to experiment with fashion — not crazy, I like nice pieces. It’s just a mix, I mean I dress to balance out or improve my mood in order to feel sexy or fun. Fashion forward classic!” To top off her classic air the petite socialite turned jewelry designer, keeps her shoulder length hair straight and sleek, usually with a center part, but you can also find her sporting a top bun or a swoop.

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shala, the sophisticated hair chamelon

Of all the fashionistas we looked at, socialite Shala Monroque seems to have the most fun with her hair, going from a teeny-tiny afro, to braids, to sleek buns, turbans and head bands. Her fashion style is über feminine and graceful, yet comfortable. She’s best friends with the likes of Dasha Zhukova, Margerita Missoni, Charlotte Casiraghi and Miuccia Prada and it shows. She describes her style as experimental (she likes looking for new things) but safe. Born in St. Lucia, her roots inspires her love of colour, “being surrounded by tropical flowers and a mesmerizing ocean” she explained to Vogue.com.au. But like the other fashionistas who made our list, Monroque finds that confidence is the most important aspect of any ensemble, “It’s not about the dress, it’s about your attitude and the confidence you have when you walk down the street.”

Keep up with us this week as we zoom in on each fashionista and tell us what you think about their style.

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