Meet Maya James, freelance writer, blogger, and Executive Assistant located in Chicago, IL. Her lifestyle blog covers everything from natural hair and music to life in the big city. Check out some of Maya’s style in the slideshow!
What are 3 words that describe your personal style? Classic, clean, sexy.
Describe your blog: MilkyWay: The Life of a Chocolate Girl in the City is a blog that I have been writing since 2010. It is my (public) journal under the guise of a lifestyle blog. In between writing about my personal encounters, observations and growth, I sprinkle in interviews and features on topics ranging from newlyweds to small business owners, natural hair care to musical artists, and everything in between. I also have a Facebook arm of the blog where I review and discuss books, restaurants, bars, stores and shopping.
Who or what has been your greatest inspiration when it comes to hair, fashion, and style in general? When it comes to fashion and style, I take inspiration from many different sources. Other women walking down the street, models in a magazine fashion spread, even Joan from one of my favorite shows Mad Men. I may see something I like on the mannequins in a department store window, or admire the way someone, man or woman, puts an outfit together and I think, “Hmm…I can do that” or “I’m feeling how they thought to pair those boots with that skirt, or “I can pull that off”. Sometimes I would never think to put certain combinations together, but seeing it on someone else I can visualize how it might work for me.
My mom and dad are also great inspirations. I was raised in a household that always had Neiman Marcus, The J. Peterman Company, J. Crew and Eddie Bauer catalogs around. My parents both have a very clean and classic style. They chose quality over fads, trends and quantity. The thought was always to buy clothes that did not go out of style the next season that could be worn for years to come and still look sharp and current. My father still has button-up Armani shirts in his closet from the ‘70s. Thanks to my mom I had a young love for Joan & David shoes, Ralph Lauren clothes and Lord & Taylor (her favorite department store at the time). Now a retiree on a fixed income, she shops more at thrift stores. She still has an eye for quality items. Recently she found and purchased a Tod’s purse for only $15. She was not initially familiar with the brand, but admired how the purse was made. I let her know Tod’s is a luxury brand.
Hair, on the other hand, is another animal! My hair-os (hair heroes) are Tracee Ellis Ross (if she’s not on your top 5 hair list, you’re crazy), Oprah (her “good” hair has been thick, healthy and on point since the ‘80s – let’s be real!) and my hair stylist, Trina from N.V. Hair Studio here in Chicago (her hair is big and beautiful; she encourages women to embrace their hair no matter the texture.)
What is your favorite way to style your hair? When my hair was shorter, I did weekly 3 hour (yes, 3 hour!) coil twists. I would use my finger to enhance my hair’s natural tight coil. It was a cute style that held all week long and longer if I let it, which saved me time in the mornings. Now that my hair is longer, I typically wear twist and braid-outs. I like my hair big and full and this does the trick. To keep my hair stretched and fresh, I sometimes re-braid or twist it nightly. I also like my wash and go look. I may wash it one day and just let it be; finger pull my hair out for the flattened areas and go! I do not get crazy about length and stretch. I appreciate my true natural look!
What are some of your go-to products? For my twist/braid-outs I go back and forth between Miss Jessie’s Curly Pudding or Baby Buttercreme and Jane Carter Solution’s Curl Defining Cream. These just work the best for my hair. For shampooing and conditioning, I lean towards Organix, Motions or Pantene. Whichever way I am feeling or whichever is on sale usually gets purchased that day. I also like Cantu Shea Butter Leave-in Conditioner. It leaves my hair soft.
What winter style trend are you most excited about? The funny thing is I do not follow styles or trends too tough. I kind of go with my own flow. I live in Chicago; the trend during the winter has always been to STAY WARM AND CUTE!
You can stay current on Maya’s fashion finds, reviews and more on her blog, Facebook and Twitter.