Fashion Spotlight: Supermodel Joan Smalls

Born on July 11, 1988 to a father from St. Thomas and a Puerto Rican mother, supermodel Joan Smalls who grew up on the island (PR), always knew her calling was in the modeling industry.

After being selected to walk exclusively for the Givenchy Spring 2010 couture show, Joan immediately became one of the most coveted catwalk gals.

Back in 2010, Joan (only 22 at the time) became one of the faces of the elite Italian fashion House Gucci! She began 2011 with a bang when she renewed her contract with Gucci, followed by a slew of amazingly fierce photos from their Spring and Fall campaigns. With Roberto Cavalli, Stella McCartney, and Estee Lauder also bringing her on-board as the face of their brands it was inevitable that 2011 would be her year!

A lady who describes herself as strong, humorous and loving, she enjoys a low-key industry profile and prefers to spend her nights meditating than partying.

When she’s not busy enjoying some quiet time in her New York City dwellings, Joan voyages back to Puerto Rico every chance she gets. One of the reasons she enjoys returning to her homeland is that it allows her to visit her favorite spots — the beaches of Pinones, which are quiet, spacious and romantic.

Ever the devoted daughter, Joan spent her first hard earned model dollars buying a car for her father!

List of Campaigns: H&M, Gucci, Giambattista Valli for Macy’s, Chanel (SS 2012) David Yurman, Roberto Cavalli, Stella McCartney, and Estée Lauder.

…Runway Shows: Walks the spring Christian Dior and Jean Paul Gaultier couture shows in Paris; Also makes appearance at the fall Givenchy menswear show in Paris. Closes for the fall Gucci and Giambattista Valli shows in Milan and Paris. Opens the spring Gianfranco Ferre, Gareth Pugh, and Gucci shows in Milan and Paris.

*(Fall 2011 shows) Walked a total of 42 — New York: 17, London: 0, Milan: 12 and Paris: 13
*(Spring 2012 shows) Walked a total of 44 — New York: 11, London: 4, Milan: 14 and Paris: 15

…Magazines: i-D, V Magazine, Italian Vogue, French Vogue, German Vogue, American Vogue, British Vogue, Vogue Japan, Vogue Paris , Elle UK, The Last Magazine and much more.

…Catalogs: H&M, Macy’s, Saks 5th Avenue, Victoria’s Secret and much more.

Charities: Project Sunshine

“I’m Puerto Rican. I don’t believe in diets! I prefer working out to get toned rather than not eating or having a diet. I want to enjoy food. I enjoy tasty and greasy food! — I like cooking pasta because it’s really quick! But, I can do rice, beans, meat… whatever!”

Joan is also a college graduate with a degree in Psychology!!

Holiday Fashion Must-Have: Statement Clutches!

The holidays are always the most glamorous time of the year. Everyone’s celebrating and putting their best looks together. We want to make a good impression! — Especially if it’s at the company Christmas party (trying to prove to our co-workers that we do, indeed, look fly outside of our work attire), if we’re planning on seeing a certain someone we haven’t seen in a while, or we’re partying it up with old, current, and new friends!

The best way to make an impression this season is by accessorizing! Fab jewelry and footwear are always a must, but a statement clutch is like the icing on the cake!

Choose from a structured style like a hard case clutch, sequins, animal print, or bright jewel-toned pieces…

1. Klassiq – Snakeskin Knuckle Duster Clutch; $52.00
2. ASOS – Pyramid Lock Envelope Clutch; $35.94
3. ASOS – Colourblock Hard Clutch; $62.90
4. Valentino – Red Satin Loop Bow Clutch; $636
5. House of Harlow 1960 – Orlina Clutch in Leopard Pony; $229.00
6. Ted Baker – Hammered Metal Clutch Bag; $285.72
7. ASOS – Multi Sequin Hardcase Clutch; $62.90
8. ASOS – Star Hard Case Clutch; $62.90
9. Charlotte Russe – Velvet Zebra Envelope Wallet; $12.50
10. TopShop – Metal Bar Insert Clutch Bag; $76.00

**Any fashion/trend, looks, or tips requests? — Leave a comment, or forward them to!

Editor Obsession: Wedge Ankle Boots

Though we’re already an entire month into the fall season, so many of us still have yet to completely update our wardrobe. Especially since the weather here in New York has been so hot-n-cold… literally!

Some are on tight budgets and some just aren’t sure what trends are still in and hot for the new season.

As far as footwear goes, I have a serious obsession with wedge ankle boots! They’re casual, yet still fashionable and ladylike. — Pair ’em with skinny jeans and a tee, or cutoff shorts and tights.

With my line of work, I’m usually super busy and on-the-go. So for me, wedge ankle boots are a perfect way to dress up my go-to look of blazer, tee, and long leggings!

Throwing on a pair of 6-inch platform heels EVERYDAY is not always an option.

1. JIL SANDER – Leather Wedge Ankle Boots; $1,395
2. Pura Lopez – Women’s X480 Ankle Boot; $429.30
3. ASOS – AUSTIN Zip Back Concealed Wedge Ankle Boot; $98.84
4. botkier – Women’s Val Ankle Boot; $142.75
5. ASOS – REVIVE ABLAZE Lace Up Wedge Ankle Boot; $107.82
6. Bakers – Wylie WP; $150
7. Steve Madden – Women’s Annnie Boot; $139.95
8. ASH – Women’s Folk Ankle Boot; $265
9. DV By Dolce Vita – Payton Wedge Lace Up Boots; $170.72
10. Steve Madden – Wedge Tanngoo Bootie; $80
11. Michael Antonio – Women’s Cassandra Ankle Boot; $110
12. Steve Madden – Women’s Arriela Ankle Boot; $93.47
13. FINSK – Wedge Ankle Boot; $866
14. Camilla Skovgaard – London Women’s A11001-1 Ankle Boot; $588
15. Restricted – Women’s Unity Ankle Boot; $106.43
16. Very Volatile – Women’s Twain Ankle Boot; $76.94

**Any fashion/trend, looks, or tips requests? — Leave a comment, or forward them to!

Maxi Dresses: Perfect for Day or Night!

This summer’s “it” piece is definitely the maxi dress. They’re lightweight,comfy, and flattering on just about every female shape and size. Another great quality? — maxi dresses are very versatile!

Perfect for a leisure day of shopping, lunch with the girls, running errands, and even date night with that special someone!

My favorite maxi dress is a floor or ankle-length design in one solid color. Solid styles matched with exciting accessories. LOVE!


1. Calvin Klein Collection ‘Chayen Maxi Dress’ — $383
2. ‘Fancy Tale’ Earrings — $38
3. Kenneth Jay Lane Deco Black Hinged Bangle — $350
4. Miu Miu Matelassé Leather Clutch — $470
5. Pedro Garcia Zelda Swarovski Crystal Braided Sandals — $595


1. T by Alexander Wang Slub-Jersey Maxi Dress — $250
2. Snakeskin ‘Knuckle Duster’ Clutch — $52
3. Deco Drop Earrings — $3.80
4. Iced Knuckle Ring — $16
5. Lush Suede Strappy Platform — $124

**Any fashion/trend, looks, or tips requests? — Leave a comment, or forward them to!

Stay Fashionably Cool in the Summer Heat!

Whether you live in East New York, Jersey, The ‘Burbs, out West, or Down South, I’m sure you’ve been trying to adjust to this summer’s scorching weather! — Here in New York, the temperature has gone all the way up to about 109° degrees! So, staying cool [and fashionable] is a must.

– A lightweight dress like the teal one pictured above is an essential summer piece. The color is vibrant, the silhouette is simple, and it’s available at Target stores and in up to 6 different colors, for only $19.99!! — And for you girls like myself who aren’t too fond of your arms, it has (short) sleeves!

– Heavy and over-sized handbags definitely are NOT an option! Hit up Charlotte Russe for a fabulous cross-body bag. I own the same snakeskin one above, and I LOVE IT! — You can either wear it folded (as shown), or with the top half standing up like a bucket bag if your belongings need a bit more room.

– This summer’s go-to hairstyle is the top-knot. You can rock yours sleek and pulled tightly into a high bun like actress Christina Milian (pictured above), or loosely styled if you’re currently rocking braids or twists. No need for a fussy look.

Cork wedges are super trendy this season! They’re comfy, yet chic. If you’re not into the height, go for an even comfier style like a flat pair of gladiator or thong sandals.   **Here, I must also stress the need to hit up your local ‘Nail 2 Cute’ nail salon for a nice pedicure!

Another essential to staying cool yet cute this summer, is a hat. Whether it be floppy, straw, or a trendy trilby, hats not only provide shade, but aid in completing your summertime look. Charlotte Russe has a few great ones starting at only $12.50!

And finally, layer on your jewels or keep it simple, and voilà!… You’ve created a stylish look, minus the fuss.


–  Charlotte Russe: Buy 1 get 1 for $15 on all footwear! 10% off entire purchase for all BrownSista readers with code ‘KLBROWNSISTA’!



Look For Less: B. Romanek Crocodile Clutch

The luxurious B. Romanek Crocodile Rockstar Clutch has been a widely-coveted design for some time now. Celebrities like Adrienne Bailon, Eva Mendes, Ashley Olsen, Sienna Miller, and even The Kardashian sisters have been spotted carrying their own in an array of colors from cognac and brown, to turquoise, purple, and silver.

Since then, other designers such as Juliette Jake has put her own twist on this chic statement piece. But for those who still can’t afford the $575 Juliette Jake “Wrap Crocodile” price tag, has created a budget-worthy replica! — for only $65!

It may not be as striking as the original B.Romanek design due to it’s faux crocodile skin texture, but a steal is a steal, right?! And, as long as you rock this bad boy right, “Who gon’ check you boo?!” — à la Sheree Whitfield (Atlanta Housewives)