imageWe’ve all heard that old cliché: “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” Correction, honey! The phrase should be: “Where there’s a June, there’s a way!” There I was. Front row inside of the one-and-only, Macy’s on State Street. Anxiously, I waited for every bit of advice “Motha June” gave. By the end of the night, she made it very clear: if you truly want something, then you’ll find a way to get it – and, remember to be fabulous while doing so!

As a guest blogger for Chicago’s most innovative fashion blog, RowASeat1, I had the pleasure of being schooled by celebrity fashion stylists and costume designers, June Ambrose and Johnetta Boone. Legendary Chicago news anchor, Robin Robinson, was the open-discussion moderator. Macy’s Soul Era Style event was an open-discussion forum about how chic, high glamour black style and designers from the 60’s and 70’s influence today’s American culture and runways around the world.

First, Johnetta Boone examined how retro fashion is tastefully making its way into the workplace. Now, women are opting for brighter colors, more unique patterns, and making certain that their shoe game is the talk of the office. Another haute trend? Black women are confident, embracing, and wearing their naturally textured hair in the workplace.

Oimagence upon a time, black women opted for sleeker, subtle hair styles and were unsure about rocking big hair in a professional setting. Now, they feel empowered by soul-era icons like Angela Davis, as well as today’s soulful style mavens, Solange and Janelle Monae. Black women have grown to realize and proudly express that they can be stylish AND professional with standout hair!

Next, June Ambrose gave everyone a lesson in what fabrics and prints to add to their wardrobe and styling tips to achieve the perfect soul-era look. One might ask: “What fabrics will add some soul to my closet?”

According to June, matte jersey, neoprene, and metallic lamé are great choices! Matte jersey flatters your figure and when wearing a darker shade, it is forgiving and conceals your problem areas. image

Neoprene is a simply fun fabric and very reminiscent of the 60’s and 70’s. As for metallic lamé, June is a huge advocate for this fabric! She encourages all fashion lovers to stop conforming, break the rules, and add shimmer to their looks! Don’t be afraid to add one lamé item to your outfit! It could be anything: a shirt, skirt, handbag, or fun accessory!

Something else you should know? “This spring season, floral is the new leopard print!” says June. And, it’s true. Fashion designers are going wild over floral print with their runway collections and the floral screams: “VINTAGE!” And, when it comes to achieving the perfect soul-era look, June says, “Be in charge of your body!

If you’re shorter or more pear shaped, wear vertical lines to create height. If you are tall and slim, wear horizontal lines to create more shape with your silhouette.” And, whatever you do, DO NOT MIX too many patterns! Learn how to arrange patterns with your look. Avoid wearing patterned tops and bottoms together. Always opt for one or the other. Mastering soul-era style is about subtlety!

Macy’s Soul Era Style event was the perfect avenue to celebrate black history month and the accomplishments of these talented women. This event did more than inspire me to fill my closet with chic, retro clothes.

imageThis event fed my soul! It took me beyond inspiration and left me in awe! June and Johnetta gave the crowd an energy that was undeniable. Openly, both of them talked about their rise to success and challenges they faced as black women in the fashion industry. If Johnetta didn’t tell you, you wouldn’t know that she was the costume designer for one of America’s most classic love story films to date: The Notebook. After being selected to replace a crew member, Johnetta sketched and designed each look for the film from scratch.

Jay Z has tons of music videos, filmed commercials, appears in magazines around the world and walks red carpets at all the A-list events. However, on the road to his suit and tie ish, you would NEVER know that Armani refused June Ambrose’s requests to pull suits for him! So, what did she do? She made a way. June revealed that she put her costume design skills to use and made Jay Z’s suits until designers began knocking down her door to put their suits on him!

June Ambrose and Johnetta Boone are living proof that black girls rock! They spoke, they inspired, made everyone laugh, and kept it real.

imageBoth women have made successful careers for themselves for over 20 years by following their hearts and helping others speak with style in ways unimaginable! “When I was working, I didn’t think about being celebrated. I thought about making a difference. We are the editors-at-large of our social media. We are the CEO’s of our lives…You don’t have to be a superstar to leave something behind.” – June Ambrose


  • Guest Blogger, Thaschara VanDyke Public Relations