I have many fond memories of my grandmother, Essie Lee Campbell. She was an industrious and God-fearing woman with a heart of gold. She made certain that her family was cared for, on every level, from finances to keeping meals on the table. She was a leader. She was a visionary. she had the ability to capture the hearts of every single person she came in contact with, leaving such a warm and touching impression. She was one of the wisest women I have ever encountered. Yet, she was also one heck of a fashionista.
One of my fondest memories of her was always admiring her Sunday morning ‘fits. If you didn’t grow up in the South, you probably wouldn’t understand the utter power of a crisp church look! My grandmother was the QUEEN of an effortless Sunday drip. A typical Sunday morning look for her would consist of a classic two-strand gem vintage gem necklace, a two-piece skirt set, stockings, a functional heel, and (of course) an oversized church hat. My grandmother lived for a good church hat. And, no doubt, her hair was always laid to the gawds!
Miss Essie did teach me that there is no shame in a conservative slay, but she also taught me to uplift the joys of being a woman. She always led by example and proved that class and sophistication overcomes all. My grandmother could take little and turn it into a lot. She is actually the one who taught me how to thrift. I can still remember those weekend trips to Value Village on Jensen. She taught me how to embrace secondhand pieces while transforming them to fit my own aesthetic.
My grandmother’s love of thrifting also introduced me to the discovery that being fashionable does not have to break the bank – a lesson I still follow, read more about my continued love for thrifting here. Essie taught me the importance of putting my best look forward, keeping in mind to never neglect my personal appearance. Essie taught me that essence of a woman isn’t just based on looks, but it is etched within her spirit.
Even to this day, my grandmother’s teachings remain a large part of my own identity. Fashion is deeper than just throwing together dope combinations, but it is a reflection of who you are as a person. My own fashion journey is heavily based upon my past life experiences, my personal beliefs and the overall strength in being a woman.
Essie taught me to be fearless. Essie taught me to be independent. Essie taught me to be bold. Essie taught me.
“The most powerful moral influence is example.”
– Huston Smith
Photography Credit: Bi Be. Follow her on Instagram @Gau2708. She is a Houston-based photographer. Contact her via Direct Message (DM) for potential collabs. She is a visionary.