Prior to the lockdown one of my favorite things to do was scout out the best locations around Kansas City and Philadelphia, depending where I was, to take photos for my blog at a later date. When I started The Mod Little Melanin four years ago (crazy right!) I frequently took photos inside of my house. But once I started comparing my blogging to other bloggers (and I’ll share in another post why you should never do that), I realized exactly what my blog was missing, scenic shots!
Most bloggers take photos in a variety of locations around their city, some even go as far as hiring photographers. But for me, a broke med student with no extra money to spend on photogs, or even good editing apps, I’ve learned to do everything on my own for the last few years. I’ve learned that blogging is trial and error until you learn what works for you. So eventually, I learned that I didn’t like shooting for my blog in my home, or even outside of my home. I learned the importance of lighting, and “golden hour” to get the best shots when shooting outside. And most importantly I learned that the backdrop of your photo can make or break your blog post.
Some bloggers take time to coordinate their outfits to their backdrops, or focus on having a particular color in all of their photos, and while that may work for them it has never worked for me. When I tried that method of blogging, or focused heavily on preserving my color theory in each photo, blogging no longer was enjoyable for me. My entire reason for starting The Mod Little Melanin was to share my joy for fashion and styling with my bloggers, and I felt I couldn’t do that when I worried about how my Instagram feed looked.
Instead, my joy comes from finding vivid, colorful or scenic backgrounds to photograph my looks in front of. Philadelphia is home to hundreds of murals and my goal is to take photos in front of as many as possible. Sometimes I’ll purposely go to a specific location if I feel my outfit best coordinates with a particular mural but usually my shoots for a blog post are unplanned.
Here are a five tips to get great photos for your blog at any location!
1. Find a location that isn’t crowded.
Crowds make it difficult to get a good shot, and it results in a lot of photoshopping later to remove extra people.
2. Make sure your photos are taken in locations where the sunlight isn’t too harsh.
If lighting is too harsh, find a wall to provide a bit of shade to cut down on harsh light.
3. Find your triangles when you pose.
Posing in triangles helps to elongate your body and extremities, while providing flattering photos that you will love! Not sure what this means? Don’t worry I have a blog post coming soon to explain posing in triangles! For now, check out my Pinterest board linked in this sentence to learn how to pose in triangle!
4. Take a few candid shots.
I always direct my photographer (aka whichever friend is with me that day) to continuously snap photos so that I have a few candid shots to post on Instagram later. Photos directly facing the camera are not my favorite, and I rarely smile in photos or even show my eyes without sunglasses. It’s become sort of my signature look with my blogs.
5. Shot the same outfit in a variety of locations throughout the day.
Don’t just stick with one location, explore the city and snap as many as possible at a variety of locations! This helps you to create content that can be posted on your blog or Instagram weeks or even months later.
Most importantly, have fun with your shots while you’re on location! I’ve found a ton of examples of unique poses to do in photos from Pinterest alone. Remember those triangles, and snap away!
- Chelsea Nicole, The Mod Little Melanin
I’ve been wearing quite a bit of loungewear during the coronavirus lockdown. Honestly, I’ve been wearing nothing but loungewear for the last two months, because if you’ve taken the time to sit around in your jeans while we’re in lockdown, you’re probably in the minority. Since we’ve likely all been wearing sweatpants, I thought today was the perfect time to show you have to dress up a pair of sweatpants from loungewear to athlesiure wear!
So what exactly is athleisure wear? I personally define athleisure wear as couture-like pieces that are added to traditional athletic pieces such as sweatpants or a hoodie. However, Good Housekeeping defines athleisure wear as a hybrid of workout clothes and loungewear, which makes for versitile pieces that can go from the gym to the couch or even to the office. However you choose to define athleisure wear is up to you, but the key is to make sure your pieces look comfy while being stylish.
The Queen of Athleisure Wear, Kim Kardashian-West makes athleisure wear look effortless. She frequently rocks her husband’s Yeezy clothing line of sweatpants and sweatshirts that are often in neutral color patterns such as tan, cream, khaki and black. So how exactly does Kim pull off this look? By choosing one color to create a monochrome look throughout her entire outfit, and adding a few layers on top to create a cohesive, and sleek look. She often completes her look by adding a pair of heels, or a tennis shoe, and bold accessories such as gold hoop earrings or a chunky gold necklace.
For this look, I choose to keep my styling simple by pairing coordinating athletic pieces that I purchased from Jordyn Woods’ clothing line called Secndnture , a size-inclusive, street-style inspired athletic wear line that puts fashion at the forefront of the design process. About a month ago, Secndnture had a sale when everything was 80% off, which meant it was the perfect time to snatch up athletic wear for an affordable price. I was able to score this pair of silver windbreaker sweatpants and coordinating mesh bodysuit for under $25.00.
The key to successfully styling this look was to style a monochrome, aka one color, outfit. Since these are coordinating pieces, there wasn’t much additional effort needed to finish styling this look. To finish the look, I added a pair of white chunky dad sneakers, and a pair of silver hoop earrings. With athleisure wear, you want to keep accessories to a minimum as to not overpower the look. After all, you goal is to look like you could go from the gym to the mall in one outfit.
Want to see more athleisure looks? Be sure to follow me on Instagram, @themodlittlemelanin!
- Chelsea Nicole. The Mod Little Melanin
Last week on The Mod Little Melanin, I shared some of my favorite places to shop for designer items below retail value. This week I’ll be sharing the method I use to pay for my designer purchases, and that method is Affirm!
Affirm is a financial technology company that operates as a financial lender of installment loans for consumers to use at the point of sale to finance a purchase. Basically, they provide a loan on a virtual credit card for consumers to use to pay for their purchase. The consumer is then responsible for paying the loan back in payment installments. There is also a small interest fee attached to the loan. To date, I haven’t paid more than $20 to $30 in interest.
There are a few different payment plans to pay back your loan. You can chose to pay on your loan in either three month, six month, or twelve month equal installments. I always chose the twelve month repayment option to allow myself the most time to repay the loan, and to have the lowest monthly payment. For example, if you purchase something from The Real Real for $745.00, your monthly installments can be as low as $66.00 per month. The amount of interest you pay on the loan stays the same regardless of the repayment option you select.
The best part is that you can use Affirm at ANY online store, even if they don’t offer Affirm at check out! To pay at a store that doesn’t offer Affirm at checkout, simply make a purchase through the app, and select the option to use a one-time virtual card at checkout.
- Chelsea Nicole, The Mod Little Melanin
A few of my followers expressed interest in me sharing how I’m able to find designer items at such affordable prices! Today’s post is dedicated to just that. Listed below, you’ll find a list of websites I use to find both new and gently used designer items below retail value.
One of the first things to know about shopping for designer items below retail value, is that most flagship stores like Gucci, Louis Vuitton, etc do not ever mark their items for sale below retail value. Unfortunately, most stores destroy their products if they don’t sell because they do not ever want to discount their products. For this reason, one of the only places to find brand new designer goods below retail value is in department stores such as Nordstrom, Bloomingdales and Saks Fifth Avenue, or at an outlet store of one of the flagship stores. When stores are left with a limited supply of a designer item, they typically will discount the item at least 25% off retail value.
You’re more likely to find more items on sale in stores, but with Covid-19 keeping many of us home bound, and department stores losing out on money, many stores are currently having sales with designer items marked down at record discounts. Jimmy Choo has even moved their outlet sale to their website in an attempt to increase their sales.
Check out any of the links below to find designer items below retail price!
Jimmy Choo Outlet - Many of the items are currently 50% off! Run these deals won’t last long!
Saks Fifth Avenue - Currently having their Spring Sale with discounts up to 40%. The discount will increase the longer the items are up on the website, but don’t wait around if you see something you are interested in. It will sell out!
Saks Fifth Avenue Off Fifth - A discount store that sells lower end designer items, such as Valentino by Marc Valentino and a higher end items such as Prada, Jimmy Choo, etc. Off Fifth has better deals online than in store. Right now they have additional discounts off already discounted items.
Far Fetch - This online store offers designer items at both retail price and below retail price. They also offer pre-owned items.
Nordstrom + Bloomingdales - Neither of these stores is having a specific sale right now, but to find items on sale follow these steps: Find Clearance, narrow down your search to find what you’re looking for, and filter the results from high to low.
Nordstrom Rack - Always has the discounts. I get majority of my Gucci items like scarves, sunglasses and eyeglasses from here. Their prices are always between 30-60% off retail price, and sometimes even more. Designers you’ll find at Nordstrom Rack include Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, Valentino, and more.
Bloomingdale’s Outlet - Bloomingdale’s has an outlet store and I didn’t know it existed until I moved to Philly last year. They literally have everything! I’m talking Louis Vuitton, Christian Loubiton, Burberry, Prada, Gucci, you name the brand they have it! And the prices are amazing! Products will vary by store, and unfortunately the outlet isn’t available online.
Century 21 - I had never heard of this store until I moved to Philly. I walked past this building for months thinking it was a really nice realtors office, because in Kansas that’s a real estate company, until I saw someone walk out with an armful of bags and decided to venture in one day. This is the greatest store on Earth; there is no better place to shop for brand new designer items than Century 21. I’m talking high tier designer brands like Rolex, Balenciaga, Balmain, Dior, Givenchy, Chloe, Fendi, Saint Laurent...and all of it is discounted and available with financing.
A lot of the designer items I own are actually gently used, and purchased from resale sites that authenticate the item prior to it being uploaded to the website. These resale sites alone are the reason you should never carry a fake designer bag.
The Real Real - You’ve probably seem the commercial, and maybe you thought it was a scam. But oh honey it is not! Every single item sold by The Real Real is authentic and that authenticity is verified by their team of authenticators. Find gently used items, that practically look brand new for only a fraction of the price.
Fashionpile - I don’t shop this site as much as I should, but they always have amazing items! Fashionpile understands that the world of reselling is plagued by counterfeit goods. For this reason, they too authenticate items sold on the website by two highly trained authenticators before it is even uploaded to the website.
Mercari - I know what you’re thinking, anyone can post on this website and lie about their items, and you’re right. But Mercari has a way to authenticate their designer items to ensure that you are getting the real deal. All designer items they authenticate have a white diamond in the upper left hand corner of the picture. If it doesn’t have this diamond, the item may not be authentic. The seller pays an additional fee to have the item authenticated by Mercari, and submits photos to authenticators that work for the website. Once the item is authenticated, the seller will receive a diamond badge on their item. I’ve recently purchased an authentic Gucci purse for $40 and an authentic Louis Vuitton purse for $90 on the website, so you can definitely score some gems.
Local Resale Shops - Chain resale shops like Clothes Mentor, Plato’s Closet and Style Encore often have designer items for a fraction of the price. These stores authenticate their own items, but I only shop at stores that frequently sell designer items and have an eye to spot out a fake. In Philadelphia their are a variety of resale shops that sell nothing but designer goods, and they ship! Check out their instagrams below to find the designer items of your dreams!
- Chelsea Nicole, The Mod Little Melanin
I don’t know about you guys, but the weather has been quite odd here in Kansas. It may be mid-May, but it’s been only 50 degrees everyday, and in the twenties at night!
So for the next few posts, you’ll see me rocking what I like to call Spring Transitional wear; light jackets, booties, jeans, sweaters, basically a few extra layers to keep me warm.
Today’s look features a piece from one of my favorite online boutiques, XOMandySue! I’ve featured pieces from their boutique before on The Mod Little Melanin, which I’ll link to this post too.
If you’ve been following me long enough on The Mod Little Melanin, then you already know that I’m all about outerwear, especially during transitional seasons. Outerwear allows you to take your look up a notch, by dressing up solids, such as a plain white tee.
That’s exactly the direction I went with this look! I was wearing a plain white cropped tee that I purchased from H&M for less than $5.00 (make the clearance rack your best friend when you shop) and knew I needed a little extra something to pop my look!
The Kaitlin Jacket from XOMandySue was the perfect piece to do so! It features a navy blue grid print on a white jacket, and has silver snap buttons to accent the front of the jacket. It’s completely lightweight, perfect for Spring, and has a cropped style that is perfect for wearing with a high waisted bottom.
After pairing the Kaitlin Jacket with my top, it was only right that I added a Mod Little Melanin twist to the look, by adding a pair of ultra high-waisted cropped flare jeans that I purchased from Nasty Gal for only $15.00 (see what I mean about the clearance rack)! My white boots were a fun and trendy piece to add to this look. They’re actually rain boots by Jeffrey Campbell, but they’re perfect for non-rainy days too. In fact, I’ve yet to wear these boots on a rainy day...but that’s mostly because we’re still on lockdown.
Last but not least, let’s talk about my hair! I’ve been natural for over seven years now. I never did a big chop and only transitioned and slowly clipped my ends of the years. My curls were absolutely perfect in 2018. I had gorgeous, clumpy, juicy curls that were heat free, and then I rediscovered the straightener and heat damaged my curls once again. So now I’m back on my heat free journey, and for the last six months I haven’t touched any heat. Since we’ve been in lockdown, I’ve been experimenting with different products, and hairstyles to learn how to care for my hair. This hairstyle is one of my latest experiments and I’m in love with it! I love rocking buns because it allows me to keep my hair in a protective style for a week with little to no maintenance. As a med student this works for both my schedule, and it allows my hair to grow without manipulation. Make sure to note my hairstyles over the coming weeks!
Interested in purchasing the Kaitlin Jacket from XOMandySue? Visit the link below!
Be sure to use code “ChelseaNicole” at checkout for a 30% discount at checkout!
Chelsea Nicole, The Mod Little Melanin
The Mod Little Melanin
The Mod Little Melanin
A Fashion Blog by Chelsea Nicole.