— WRITER, MODEL, BLOGGER
Yaminah Mayo’s outfit alchemy has snatched the hearts of many–including mine–hence this feature. Her affinity for combining the most alluring silhouettes and hues is impressive–supremely adorned with her lofty fro, freckled features and signature red cat eye shades. The culture writer, blogger and model is a sartorial star, and I have to say my favorite part of it all is that it’s unintentional. Her personal style is a mere reflection of the multifarious mood board that she stows away in her conscience. FYI, it’s sprinkled with images of Tracee Ellis Ross, Solange and Nina Simone, with a header that reads “Mara Brock Akil called me hilarious,” at the top. As we strolled down Mayo’s Brooklyn block scouting shoot locations, her personality reigned. Mayo is just so damn cool, and I got to the bottom of it.
What's the most personal element about your style? Does it have a direct connection to a person, place or thing?
I created my style to combat stereotypes and archetypes made about Black women. When I was a teenager and really getting into fashion, I fell into the respectability politics surrounding sartorial choosings. Now, however, I dress for myself and it's the best feeling...until I feel like I don't have anything to wear. *eye roll*
Describe your style trajectory. How has it changed through the years? Where are you now on your style journey?
My style has always been consistently comfortable. Always. The ways in which that comfort was expressed has definitely changed throughout the years. I used to be a huge leggings, blazer, and ankle boots girl *gag* and now I'm very into lazy business casual, monochromatic colors, and funky accessories!
How have you dealt with struggle and learned to overcome it while on your path? Or would you say it’s ongoing learning experience?
I've really begun to take on the mantra “What’s for me is for me.” It’s definitely a learning experience. However, when the anxiety arises and I become impatient, I refocus and realize that the universe will never let me struggle. Everything I desire will eventually be rewarded to me. That kind of thinking allows me to calm down and remain grateful.
Has Instagram's dominance influenced your style at all?
If I said no, I'd definitely be a liar. I don't automatically fall for trends because they're on Instagram, but I more so use Instagram as a portal to open my eyes to things and concepts I'm not always privy to. It's great in that way.
When going through a rough patch in life, do you tend to overdress or underdress?
It really depends. If I'm just in a complete stupor and I really don't give a fuck, I won't even leave the house. It's rare that I have moments like that when I have events on the calendar so I tend to overdress. Partially because I spent so many years dressing horribly and also because living in New York, you never know how your day is going to unfold.
What do most people assume about you based on the way you dress?
That I'm mean or unapproachable. I blame my face. It's 100% my face. *laughs*
Do you think you have a clear idea of what your style identity is? Why or why not?
I 100% do not because some days I want to be girly and the next I want to wear Vans, a fur and geometric earrings. I dress based on feeling and need so it constantly changes. I can say, however, that it's structured and a little quirky.
Aside from personal style, what other forms of self-expression do you indulge in? How does it alter your style, if at all?
I love photography, art, and architecture so I love how colors compliment each other and how shapes come together to create beauty. I also love a good book, so developed characters also give me a lot of inspiration.