Photography: Leleita Mckill
Today we kick off a new personal style series highlighting dynamic women of an uncertain age whose sartorial splendor is unique and inspiring. We start with Kisha Vaughan, a dancer, choreographer, mother and mentor. Vaughan's keen fashion sensibility is visually apparent, but it is her innate confidence and tell-it-like-it-is approach to life (be it motherhood, the politics of dance competitions or her beauty regime) that we find most refreshing. We asked Kisha to choose and style a piece from Meg, and then sat down with her to speak about her approach to accessorizing, how motherhood has impacted her outlook on fashion and trends, her style evolution and more.
How would you describe your personal style?
My style these days is pretty laid back. Vintage tees, comfortable pants, and tons of jewelry.
You are a dancer, choreographer, business owner and mother. Do these roles impact your sartorial choices, and if so, how?
Definitely! I find myself having to prepare to make my outfit work from day to night. Something appropriate to pick kids up from school, to teach in, and then maybe to date night. Which can be tough...but I found myself investing in a lot of tees that make me feel fly, do not restrict my movement, or make me feel like a slob. I mean I wear a t-shirt and sweats most of the time. I have had to find a way to look grown and sexy when I do.
You are always beautifully adorned with radiant accessories. What is your formula for mixing and matching styles, metals and eras?
The accessories are a big part of allowing me to feel pulled together when I am wearing a lot of baggy swag. My rings I really never take off unless I am switching them out, and currently wearing doubled up necklaces as anklets...which I also sleep in. I am just in general someone who is not matchy-matchy. So styles and metals mixing are endless options. I tend to play dress-up a lot, which is why my room is a always a slight disaster.
How do you navigate the topics and appearance of beauty and fashion with your young daughter? Are you more aware of the energy you put into it now that you have children?
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Having children, I have definitely learned that they have formed their own opinions of style and beauty quickly. My daughter already loves makeup, which I never wear, and has a real sense of style. It's tough because she is a total cutie and people tell her that often. So she has kind of developed this knowledge of what she thinks it means to be beautiful. And I don't want to fill her head with this idea that she shouldn't be confident in the way she looks or how she feels about herself. But obviously I want her to be well-informed that there is more to her than that. And that her beauty is not the only thing she has to contribute to the world. But I know I spent plenty of years not liking the way I looked and I would love for her to not see herself that way. And when she does show up and she is wearing some crazy outfit, I try to just let her go with it and not always dictate who she is.
You are also a coach and mentor to a group of high school women. How have they impacted your perspective on style and body image? How do you feel you have impacted them?
Teens have always been one of my favorite age groups to work with. But also toughest. They need to see me leading by example of what it means to be a confident person and performer. They see these dance videos now of these girls doing this stiletto heel sexy choreography and these over-the-top outfits. My position on it is that you can be attractive and not do all that. There is a time and place for everything, but high school is not it. Over the years, asking them to set the trend instead of being trendy is difficult because they want to fit in. And I understand that. But one of the best compliments I have received from a former student was that the impact of how I made them dress gave her so much confidence in who she was and in developing her personal style. Having them wear things that they would have never tried on their own, opened her eyes to how clothes made her feel. I love that! It takes courage to step out of the ordinary.
What do you love most about what you wearing in these photos?
Super comfy, super chic, and the greatest base for accessorizing. It's a really lovely and simple concept. And the color is delicious!
How has your style evolved as you have aged?
What do you appreciate about yourself now that you did not when you were in your twenties?
I appreciate the opportunity to have creative purpose! Like when I look back at some of the stuff I did in my twenties it was rad stuff...and I knew it but didn't appreciate it like I do now. When I am in the thick of the creative opportunities I get really emotional about being lucky enough to love what I do and who I am surrounded by. I appreciate the awareness of all the wonderful things and people that fill my life.