Style Rules With A Top Blogger

Style Rules With A Top Blogger

Fashion blogger Opal Stewart is big on bold colour. The Jamaica-born, NYC-residing influencer caught our attention on Instagram with a fun, confident approach to fashion that encompasses floral dresses, candy-coloured slips, chunky chain belts and mismatched prints.

From the cool new brands she’s discovered this season to her secrets for great style, here, we talk to Opal about all things fashion…

I always describe my style as timeless with an edge. I love wearing styles and trends that women have worn for generations – pencil skirts, slip dresses, pumps, high-waisted jeans and slip tops on a day off – but adding my own variations. This can be anything from changing the buttons on a simple, white button-down shirt from white plastic to gold metallic, or cinching the waist of a dress with a chain belt or brooch to add interest and make the fit more flattering. 

My New York uniform includes lots of satin slip skirts paired with crop tops for an easy and comfortable look. I’ll just change it up for day to night by adding some easy accessories and a change of shoes.

I’m beginning to love hats and hair accessories. Just look at Instagram: every girl is wearing an oversized hat on their vacation. Wearing one in the city magically transports you to the tropics – at least in theory. I’ve also been loving fedoras. They add boho vibes to any outfit, especially if you pair them with flowy dresses. Once the hat comes off, you can still wow with strategically worn hair accessories, anything from pearl hair clips to French barrettes. I think this trend will be around for a while.

Every summer, I rely on a slip dress. They are easy to wear in the heat while still looking elevated and chic. I love versatility in clothes. A slip dress can be worn with anything: sneakers or sandals to run errands during the day; then transform it by adding mules or pumps.

I’ve just discovered a new brand called Fe Noel. It’s Brooklyn-based womenswear that’s all about feminine silhouettes, bold prints and romantic flowy pieces that move with ease. I’ve fallen in love with it this summer.

I’ve been obsessed with Andrea Iyamah swimsuits this summer. The brand was started by a Nigerian fashion designer in Toronto who plays with traditional African prints and vibrant colours to make you stand out at the beach. I love how they use strategically placed cut-outs and geometrical shapes to make swimsuits more theatrical.

For holiday, I always pack a bottle of perfume, a good cover-up and a pair of heels. That’s all you need to feel your best. 

This year, I’ve stopped wearing denim shorts. I’ve ditched them for more skirts this summer, but I’m still holding onto my favourite daisy dukes. Fashion is cyclical and I wouldn't be surprised if they came back into style in the next few years. This goes for so many pieces in my closet, especially the ones that hold sentimental value for me or are truly well made. If you can afford to hold onto these types of pieces, it’s worth it for when they come back round.

My year-round wardrobe essentials are:

  1. Oversized boyfriend blazer – keeps you warm in autumn and on chilly summer nights

  2. High-waisted jeans – they can flatter any shape

  3. Nicely made fedora hat – traditionally an autumn piece but it’s crossed over to summer and spring

  4. Structured handbag

  5. Mules – a perfect blend between heels and flats

For Autumn Winter, I’m excited for knitwear. Printed coats will also be big – all those animal prints we’ve loved this summer will be translated into a coat or jacket. Quilt will be another big trend. Jackets, coats, sweaters, pants – we’ll be wearing quilted everything next season.

I always invest in
a good pair of shoes. This is especially important if you live in New York or any other walking city. For all of the mileage that our shoes get here, they definitely have to perform.

I tend not to shop on the high street. I love finding unique items from vintage marketplaces, supporting up-and-coming brands and designers, and thrift shopping. If I do have to go straight to the source, I usually just shop online.

The last thing I bought was a metal chain belt from eBay. I don’t really regret buying things. If I bought something in the first place, there must’ve been at least one thing I liked about that item. I definitely try to wear everything at least once. If after the first wear the piece doesn’t click, I usually give it to one of my sisters. We shop each other’s closets a lot.

The favourite item in my wardrobe changes from season to season. I am loving all of the slip dresses in my closet at this particular moment but come autumn it’s definitely going to be something else.

The biggest splurge in my wardrobe has to be a Robert Rodriguez electric-blue quilted coat. I got it for last season’s New York Fashion Week. It was totally worth it.

There aren’t many pieces that I wouldn’t try to put my own spin on. I just looked through my closet and I don’t think I own any flannel shirts or sweatpants. It’s time to reinvent flannel shirts, designers!

My number-one style rule is don’t be afraid to play with your clothes to create new styles and silhouettes. I love wearing a piece that was meant to be one thing and expanding its versatility by wearing it as something else: rolled-up dresses as tops, for example, or chains from bags as chain belts.

The style advice I’d give my 20-year-old self would be worry less about your clothes going well together. Don’t be afraid to experiment with prints, fabrics and silhouettes. If you see someone wearing something you like that you wouldn’t normally wear, have the courage to try it. You might be pleasantly surprised at what you can pull off. Most of the time people around you will appreciate you trying new things and it will boost your self-confidence.

My style icon is Victoria Beckham. She can do no wrong, whether it’s fashion, family, career or anything else that she touches.

There are so many cool, fashionable and talented girls of colour who are absolutely killing it on Instagram right now. I think it’s so important for young girls to see someone who looks like them live their best, absolutely unapologetic life. There is something so empowering about that. So go follow Ellie from @slipintostyle, Ny from @myepiphany, Andreina from @andreinavalderrama, Oriane from @myfashionbreak, Gail from @simplygailg and Whitney from @whitneymadueke.

There's no secret to good style. Just be inspired by what you see around you and what others wear. Once you pick up on that, don’t be afraid to copy other people’s style – but add your own twist to everything to make it ‘you’. That’s it.

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