Archeology of Style

Archeology of Style

For the Love of Chanel

By Anita Jack-Davies

I remember well the summer of 1982 when my aunt from Boston visited us at our apartment in Toronto. She was married to my uncle Brian at the time and it was my first time meeting her. Aunt Delilah had long hair and wore braces. I remember how stylish and cute she was and the fact that she was a little taller than me. We shared a room together that week, our apartment not being big enough to accommodate all of our guests. Soon after she arrived and as we prepared to go out for dinner one evening, Aunt Delilah reached into her travel bag and pulled out a clear perfume bottle with a dark liquid and sprayed her clothing using a circular motion. I still remember being transfixed by the smell of a scent that is still difficult for me to describe: woody, dense and unique with notes of orange, coriander, peach and orange. In that very moment I fell in love with Chanel. 

Chanel is my favourite brand. Chanel stands for sophistication, quality, elegance and a style that lasts the test of time. What I admire about this brand is its commitment to being who it is, and nothing else. Chanel is grown-up. It’s a woman who is confident in her own skin. Chanel is style. Even though Chanel continues to innovate, as seen through the leadership of the house by the late Karl Lagerfeld, the brand never compromises on its commitment to quality. When I purchase Chanel products, I never worry about what I am getting because I know that its quality is everlasting. There are no surprises. What I admire more than anything else is the gorgeous packaging of their skincare and beauty products. I am on the hunt for the designers behind this brand, creative souls that none of us ever see. The packaging is sleek and has an artistic quality that I can’t describe; clean lines that tell me that the foundation of this brand is strong. I love how the “CCs” are always white on a black background, encased in a circle. Simple, but perfect. My first compact powder from this line was the Poudre Universelle, and although it left a lovely glow on my face, the compact did not open fully as I would have liked. I’ve kept the case, as I do with all of my Chanel cases and packaging (why throw perfection away!). I also collect the perfume bottles and my mother-in-law gifted me an old bottle of Chanel No. 19 that I found at her farm two summers ago. When does a love affair with a brand begin? For me, it was in the early eighties and my love for Chanel continues today. I cannot smell Coco Chanel without harkening back to that glorious day in my bedroom when a scent transported me into a world of style that continues to move me. I still think about my aunt. Although she and my uncle ended up divorcing years later, her visit to our home had a profound impact on my sense of style and the woman that I am today.

What's a Natural Girl to Do?

Thinking about going natural? Think it’s going to be easy? Think again. I did the Big Chop (BC) in 2007, 2011 and 2014. I chose to go the BC route instead  of transitioning because I wanted to learn about my natural hair patterns and how my hair responds to different products. I can honestly say that going natural was not easy for me at first. With my short natural hair, I struggled to forge a new identity and sense of self. I had been straightening my hair since i was eleven years old. At the start of my journey, I experimented with a lot of different natural hair products: Miss Jessie’s, Carol’s Daughter, Uncle Funke’s Daughter, Shea Moisture and a host of products that more often than not, did not work. I suffered through many bad hair days and incorporated scarves and hats into my routine. 

I kept a hair journal and recorded how my hair felt with the use of different products. Over a period of time, I was able to narrow down those products that would make up my HG (holy grail). These are products that I go to time and time again. Because I live in a city where products for Black women are limited, I tried to focus on products that I can find locally, rather than having to always travel to Toronto or having to order the products online. 

Have you tried a hair journal? Is this something that you can add to your nightly routine? Instead of an Outfit of the Day (OOTD), you might have HOTD! What was your natural hair journey like? Do you enjoy being natural? Is there anything that you miss about your former self? I would love to hear from you.

Aveda Has It's Hands in My Pockets

I am obsessed with Aveda products. I don’t know what it is. The herbal smell…the packaging, the unique design of the text on the front of tube, or jar. Aveda products do nothing to take a junkie like me out of rehab! I remember watching a Capital One TV commercial with a tagline that reads, “With their high interest rates, banks always have a hand in your pocket. Get them out with Capital One!”. For me that hand is Aveda, a company that was “acquired by” Estee Lauder Companies in 1997, as per their website. I love the way these products smell. Admittedly, I am not that great at identifying fragrant notes. All I know is that the herbal concoction used to create the unique smell of these masterpieces is downright addictive. Essential oils of lavender, rose and sandalwood linger in my hair as I plough through my hectic day, as a wife and mother to a five year old. What I love is that when I least expect it, I get a whiff of its natural goodness emanating from my strands.

I love the smell of the Aveda Brilliant Humectant, the cute little pomade that comes in a navy blue jar. The jar alone should win some kind of industry award, and for that reason, I never throw them out but repurpose them for storing other products. A year ago, I tried to transition from using this line because of high retail cost. This year, I am back to using them, tail between my legs, admitting that what I thought was simply a lukewarm “like” is really a full- blown “love” the for the line. So, Aveda’s hands remain in my pocket.

Two questions: Do you like our use Aveda products, why or why not? Which company has a hand in your pocket? (*This is my opinion and I was not paid by Estee Lauder Companies for creating this post).