Street Style: How a Military Vet Found Color — and Her Personal Style

"Of course, clothes aren't going to change your life, but they start a conversation."


Photo by Evan Schapiro.

Name: Nena


Hood: Rittenhouse

Day Job: Style blogger for Beauty & Britches; licensed social worker, and soon launching an independent project focused on mental health and wellness for women of color.

Where We Found Her: On her way home from Coffee Bar, where she was writing with her fiance, author and blogger Eric Smith. “Writing with him helps me stay focused and also is a chance to spend time together.” [Ed. note: We totally stalked and found an adorable photo of their engagement!]

What She’s Wearing: Flats from Moda in Rittenhouse (“I have been mostly heel-free for two years. Someone asked me if I was making a statement by not wearing heels, but it is purely because my feet don’t want to deal with them anymore”); jeans and top from H&M; Pennsylvania necklace Smak Parlour in Old City; initial necklace from Tselaine in Rittenhouse; cardigan from Philadelphia Flea Market (“It was made by Corner House, which used to be a brand in Quakertown”); Scout and Boo necklace by Out of Print (“They partner with Books for Africa to donate a book for each item sold”).

Where She Shops: Smak Parlour; Wilbur Vintage in Queen Village; Tselaine.


Photo by Evan Schapiro.

Sound Bite: “I use to wear only grey because it was easy to match and when I was in the military I owned very few civilian clothes. Once out, I stuck to buying everything in one color and whatever fit. My grey shirt is from that time. Slowly, as I started to learn about myself, I began defining my style. One day, I was going through my clothes are realized I mostly owned grey sweaters and grey slacks. I needed something different, so I went out and bought only very bright colors and anything that would stand out. People at work started talking and commented on how different I seemed. Of course, clothes aren’t going to change your life, but they start a conversation, put you out there and help you to express yourself. It doesn’t take a lot of money to do; one of my favorite dresses is from Goodwill and cost $5.”