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It’s Comeback Season

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“Life has many ways of testing a person’s will. Either by having nothing happen at all or by having everything happen at once.” — Paulo Coelho

For those who follow my blog, you may have noticed I’ve been pretty M.I.A. for the better part of this year. If you follow me on Instagram, you likely know why. If you don’t (or you’re curious as to how I’m doing), this post is for you.

Let’s just jump right in, shall we?

I’ve had a rough couple of years…I had a significant breakup, lost my Grandmother, lost my job, moved a few times, got my heart broken a couple more times and just when it seemed like things were about to turn around (I got a new job and moved to a better apartment), my Dad died without any warning at all. (I’ll spare you all of the drama that has come since then, but let just say I’ve been dealing with a lot on my own and it all feels incredibly unfair.) And then my two best friends in the entire world turned their backs on me with no explanation. I wouldn’t wish that kind of heartbreak and betrayal on anyone.

If that weren’t enough, about a month ago, I was drugged with fentanyl at a nightclub, blacked out (for six hours), fell flat on my face, sliced my nose in half which required me to be rushed by ambulance to a nearby hospital. It took 15 stitches to put my nose back together, and while the doctor did an amazing job and everyone has called me the Bionic Woman because of how quickly my nose is healing, I may have a permanent scar on my face and life long breathing issues. Let me tell you, it is not easy dealing with anything medical without my doctor Dad. To say these additional doctors visits for follow-ups regarding my nose are triggering AF would be an understatement!

So, yeah…I don’t quite know how to describe what’s come of my life, but if there were one word to sum it all up, it would be “unbelievable.”

That said, my social media influencing has taken a back seat while I’ve tried to piece my life together again. The thought of merely getting out of bed for the last several months was nearly impossible, let alone the thought of putting together a cute outfit and smiling for a camera! (Where would I even get the money to pay for a photographer anyway? My new job let me go two weeks after my Dad died for missing work to take care of things — by myself. No one in my life, including my family, could be bothered to help me in any way, with the exception of a few close friends.)

That’s all to say, I’m finally coming out of my funk and my groove is slowly returning. I’m starting to feel ready to move forward with a lot less baggage. I’m letting go of more people than I could imagine. Part of my self-care involves letting go of things and people that hold me back. I’m also going to do simple things like move more (I really miss the gym, if i’m being honest), eat better and more regularly, get more sleep but also spend more time out of bed, go to therapy, meditate and continue with my spiritual practices, intentionally be more kind to myself…and, of course, bring back my blog! I want to write a book about my life next year, so maybe this will help me flush out my thoughts and ideas.

I may have lost my two favorite people in the world: my Grandma and Dad (not my two ex-best friends…good riddance!), but their influence is not lost on me. I am constantly reminded to keep my head up and keep on pushing. I’m not a quitter. I have come way too damn far to give up now!

So, with that said, The Chief of Style is back (…making no promises on how regularly I’ll post LOL But, what I will promise is when I do, it’ll be worth it.) So, please stay tuned. <3

xx

Amy Stretten, The Chief of Style, wearing a Forever 21+ studded leather jacket, femme t-shirt, eloquii by who what wear plus size satin skirt, charlotte russee plus suede boots and a YSL envelope shoulder bag

Amy Stretten, The Chief of Style, wearing a Forever 21+ studded leather jacket, femme t-shirt, eloquii by who what wear plus size satin skirt, charlotte russee plus suede boots and a YSL envelope shoulder bag

Amy Stretten, The Chief of Style, wearing a Forever 21+ studded leather jacket, femme t-shirt, eloquii by who what wear plus size satin skirt, charlotte russee plus suede boots and a YSL envelope shoulder bag

Amy Stretten, The Chief of Style, wearing a Forever 21+ studded leather jacket, femme t-shirt, eloquii by who what wear plus size satin skirt, charlotte russee plus suede boots and a YSL envelope shoulder bag

Amy Stretten, The Chief of Style, wearing a Forever 21+ studded leather jacket, femme t-shirt, eloquii by who what wear plus size satin skirt, charlotte russee plus suede boots and a YSL envelope shoulder bag

Amy Stretten, The Chief of Style, wearing a Forever 21+ studded leather jacket, femme t-shirt, eloquii by who what wear plus size satin skirt, charlotte russee plus suede boots and a YSL envelope shoulder bag

Photographer: Gabe Hernandez, @snaxophonist

Thank you to Eloquii for gifting me select pieces for this post. As always, all views expressed are my own.

OOTD: B.Yellowtail by Native American Fashion Designer Bethany Yellowtail

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I first wrote about Native American fashion for a mainstream audience back in 2013 when I profiled Sho Sho Esquiro for Fusion (now Splinter), the ABC/Univision joint-venture. The Kaska Dene/Cree fashion designer was making waves on the catwalks of New York City with her Native-infused, never-before-seen Fashion Week designs.

Four years later and there are even more Indigenous fashion designers on the scene, such as one of my absolute faves, Bethany Yellowtail, creator of B.Yellowtail. Hardly a newcomer, though, Yellowtail launched her website in 2014 and this summer she held a pop-up shop and fashion show that I attended in Hollywood.

Yellowtail, 28, is Northern Cheyenne and Crow. She left her home state of Montana in 2007 to hone her craft at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles, California. Upon graduating in 2009, she worked for BCBG Max Azria, then became a pattern maker for private labels, eventually creating her own brand.

“I realized there is so much [cultural appropriation] going on that I decided I am not even going to get mad anymore, but I decided I was going to do something about it,” Yellowtail said in an interview with The Los Angeles Times. “Ultimately, I want to let my work become a learning opportunity and design pieces with cultural integrity.”

What I love most about Yellowtail is her commitment to Native and other political causes. She’s created work in support of activist efforts such as the 2017 Women’s March and the protests at Standing Rock. I love when creatives contribute their talents to important causes. It goes to show the difference we can all make regardless of our career field. 

After attending Yellowtail’s Summer fashion show, she graciously sent me a few pieces from her collection. Lucky for you, they’re all on sale on her website right now! And, this weekend she launched a brand new collection.

Any of her pieces would make an amazing Christmas gift this holiday season (for you or someone you love). She also sells beautiful Native jewelry, blankets, moccasins and other accessories on her site as well, perfect for anyone on your holiday list!

Here’s how I styled the pieces she sent me…

Enjoy, babes!

xo

Amy Stretten wearing Native American fashion designer, Bethany Yellowtail's, original designs

Outfit details: BLOSSOM PANT + Top: Charlotte Russe+ | Shoes: Forever 21 | Hat: Wyeth

Amy Stretten wearing Native American fashion designer, Bethany Yellowtail's, original designs

Amy Stretten wearing Native American fashion designer, Bethany Yellowtail's, original designs

Outfit details: RISE SHEATH DRESS + Shoes: Rock & Republic | Hat: Wyeth

Amy Stretten wearing Native American fashion designer, Bethany Yellowtail's, original designs

Amy Stretten wearing Native American fashion designer, Bethany Yellowtail's, original designs

Outfit details: RIVER CAMISOLE WITH WAIST TIE (Sold Out) + Shirt: Lovesick Fashion | Jeans: Melissa McCarthy Seven7 | Shoes: Forever 21 

A note: The views expressed in this post are my true and honest opinions. I was not paid to endorse Bethany Yellowtail or her designs, but the clothing I styled and wore were gifts from the designer.

My New York City Carrie Bradshaw Moment

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I moved to New York City in 2010 for graduate school and eventually to work as a news reporter. During my time there I always wanted to snap a Carrie Bradshaw-esque photo on the streets of Manhattan. (You know, the casual t-shirt tucked into the tutu skirt and dainty heels with a statement clutch purse, hailing a cab…all that.)

Well, I finally got my moment while shooting with one of the best photographers I’ve worked with to date, Gregory of M76Photo. Not only is he easy to work with, he makes you feel comfortable and does such an incredible job never over shooting, but still getting the best shots over and over again. It truly was a pleasure to work with him. (We’re definitely collaborating again when I’m in NYC later this week!)

We shot several looks during my recent trip to New York City and this was one of them. I got my Sex and the City moment…with a plus size twist! I styled my look with a shirt I designed myself thanks to Customized Girl. They offer really great prices on custom shirts, hats, underwear, pet clothing, and even items for babies. I made a total of four shirts: two that rep for ChiefofStyle.com, this one, and another that I can’t wait to show you (coming soon)!

To complete my look, I wore this perfect tutu skirt I bought from The Plus Bus, a plus-size retail store that sells new and used clothing. It’s from Anthropologie and it once belonged to plus size style blogger, Alex Michael May. And of course, I had to have a statement clutch. This one was a gift from Roaman’s and I’m absolutely obsessed with it!

Have you had your Carrie Bradshaw moment yet? If not, I suggest you make it happen, whether in NYC or your hometown. If you do, share the link in the bio! It was a lot of fun and I felt like a true fashion diva.

xx

Amy Stretten, the Chief of Style, having a Sex and the City/Carrie Bradshaw moment in New York City.

Amy Stretten, the Chief of Style, having a Sex and the City/Carrie Bradshaw moment in New York City.

Amy Stretten, the Chief of Style, having a Sex and the City/Carrie Bradshaw moment in New York City.

Amy Stretten, the Chief of Style, having a Sex and the City/Carrie Bradshaw moment in New York City.

Amy Stretten, the Chief of Style, having a Sex and the City/Carrie Bradshaw moment in New York City.

Amy Stretten, the Chief of Style, having a Sex and the City/Carrie Bradshaw moment in New York City.

Amy Stretten, the Chief of Style, having a Sex and the City/Carrie Bradshaw moment in New York City.

Outfit details: Top: Customized Girl | Skirt: Anthropologie / The Plus Bus | Shoes: Forever 21 | Clutch: Roaman’s

Photographer: @M76Photo

F*ck Skinny, Get Fit – a Trip to Indian Alley

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“Perhaps, we should love ourselves so fiercely, that when others see us they know exactly how it should be done.” – Rudy Francisco

This was the very first photo shoot I did for The Chief of Style. As you may have gathered by now, the word “Chief” in my name means more than just the boss (i.e.: CEO), but I’m also Native American. Essentially, it’s a play on words.

For this inaugural shoot, I went to Indian Alley in Downtown Los Angeles. Very few people know about this particular street. It’s actually gated on both ends, but if you’re lucky, you can get in. Along the walls are incredible street art murals – most feature Indian empowerment-type images and many are political. I felt so badass posing with them. (It’s not everyday you see Indigenous culture represented in an urban area and in a modern way.) The murals, to me, say “We’re still here and we’re not going anywhere.” I love the juxtaposition of the Indians on horses, spray painted with a stencil. Where past and present, urban center and the rural plains meet.

I chose to do a fitness-style shoot because working out makes me feel strong, like a warrior. And, I’m renewing my commitment to a eating clean and moving more. For the shoot, I wore my new favorite workout tank that says, “F*CK SKINNY, GET FIT.” That’s truly become my mantra along this self-love and acceptance journey. When it comes to my fitness routine and overall lifestyle, I’ve adopted a much more loving way of looking at things. I’m done punishing my body and ‘hating the weight off.’ I truly want to be health, plain and simple. Fitness is what I’m after, not a stick thin figure (as I once would have killed for).

Many communities of color value extra meat on the body, mine included. It’s possible to be healthy and curvy and that’s what I’m after. So, there’s no more fat and body-shaming going on over here.

You should really check out Indian Alley if you’re ever in Downtown LA. The murals are constantly changing and they’re just glorious. Enjoy!

Amy Stretten, Chief of Style, plus style blogger modeling Forever 21 Plus and Nike in front of the murals on Indian Alley in Downtown Los Angeles.

Amy Stretten, Chief of Style, plus style blogger modeling Forever 21 Plus and Nike in front of the murals on Indian Alley in Downtown Los Angeles.

 

Amy Stretten, Chief of Style, plus style blogger modeling Forever 21 Plus and Nike in front of the murals on Indian Alley in Downtown Los Angeles.

 

Amy Stretten, Chief of Style, plus style blogger modeling Forever 21 Plus and Nike in front of the murals on Indian Alley in Downtown Los Angeles.

Amy Stretten, Chief of Style, plus style blogger modeling Forever 21 Plus and Nike in front of the murals on Indian Alley in Downtown Los Angeles.

Shirt: SquatLife Apparel | Leggings and jacket: Forever 21+ | Shoes: Nike

Photographer: Trey Jones (IG: @cjonesphotog)

A Visit to the Museum of Ice Cream…Kinda

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“You can’t buy happiness but you can buy ice cream and that’s kind of the same thing.” – Unknown

I’m going to be real with you. Despite how my social media life is beginning to look and how snazzy this blog is *dusts off shoulder,* The Chief of Style as a brand is still very new. And for that reason, no one is sending me freebies. Well, except for the fine people at Slink (post to come). 

Tickets to the Museum of Ice Cream are hard to come by. At this point, the only way you’re getting in is if you pay $100 per person to someone selling their ticket on Craigslist or you’re a brand ambassador for a brand like Forever 21. Since that’s not my reality just yet and, thus, I wasn’t able to take a cute picture in the rainbow sprinkles pit or in the mint chocolate chip room. So, I did the next best thing: I took pictures outside. I mean, how often do you get to shoot in front of a bubble gum-pink wall?

Color-blocking and pattern-mixing has always been and will always be a thing I’m into. That said, I wanted to take advantage of a little of both…and top it off with some bling. (My fav!)

This look could work for a number of venues: work, brunch, drinks with friends…it’s got a nice mix of class and sass. Just switch up your shoes and maybe your accessories. (I pulled off the look in both leopard and nude heels. Did you notice?) I hope this look inspires you to pair a basic white with more daring colors and prints.

On the subject of body-positivity, I will say that I was hesitant to post these photos because when I look at them, all I see is Tummy (with a capital T). But, in an effort to celebrate all parts of me and release any body shame I have, I’m sharing them here. Cheers to visible soft tummies and self-love (at any size)! <3

Outfit details: Blouse: The Limited | Skirt: Forever 21+ | Shoes: Macy’s

Photographer: Trey Jones (IG: @cjonesphotog)