Stylin' & Profilin' With Essence Magazine's Mikki Taylor

Beauty & Style | Whitney Gaspard | 12/23/2011 | 02:54 PM EST

The veteran Beauty & Style editor releases 'Commander in Chic: Every Woman's Guide To Managing her Style Like a First Lady'


After three decades at Essence Magazine, noted and acclaimed beauty and style editor Mikki Taylor has put her coveted advice in a new book, Commander in Chic: Every Woman's Guide To Managing her Style Like a First Lady. Inspired by Michelle Obama, the book is filled with photographs of the First Lady's signature looks, fashion secrets, and Taylor's flavor-filled personal anecdotes: Mikki-isms. While this book is focused on cultivating and maintaining personal style, it also serves as an empowerment manual of sorts, promoting self-love and sisterhood.

Why have you chosen Michelle Obama as the face and muse of your book?
[I chose Mrs. Obama] because we need to support her. I never thought I would see the day an African American woman would be our First Lady. The time has come where we have to take owner ship of how we carry ourselves in the world and how we treat others. Just as I say in the last chapter of my book: to much is given much is required. Mrs. Obama embodies [that]. She is mentoring the women and children of this nation and this is something she chose to do. We can all learn from her how to master our style [in order] to walk fully in our own purpose.

What does it mean to be a Commander in Chic?
I want every woman to be a commander in chic which means owning your own life and being the commander of your lifes own distinction. I tell people everywhere I go we are here to change and shape the world.

Your book is not only about beauty and style, but there is also a strong focus on female wellness and empowerment. How do style, wellness and empowerment correlate?
Life is not a dress rehearsal. This is it! We have to carry our authentic selves and our authentic purpose every day in everything we do. We have to self-edit and ask ourselves: Am I living the life I was meant to live? Do I clearly understand my value? Life is the occasion and we have to show that we are ready for itthat reflects in the way that we dress, in the way that we carry and conduct ourselves.


One of your Mikki-isms is Dont take trends too seriouslyyoure more than a season of style whims. How can a woman be trendy, without compromising her personal style?

Remember, we are trend setters. Knowing your value and your style helps you to create your own trend. And if you think about it, what are trends? Trends are someone elses personal style choices. Take for instance, Michelle Obama. She has found a way to set a trend without following the trend. Its all about defining your own trends.

What do you envision woman taking away from this book?
I envision millions of women using this book as a fashion and style diary that will help them to manage their style inside and out. Style is not something you can purchase. What you will and what you wont allow to become of your life that is your personal style.

So what is your style philosophy?
My focus is to safeguard my most sacred place---my mind---in the way that I treat others and the way that I prepare for a task at hand. Understanding the value of your mind [and], knowing that your sense of self-worth is not only physical, is essential. Your mind has got to be clutter free. Mind keeping, is what I like to call itthat is a huge part in determining my own personal style.

Commander in Chic: Every Womans Guide To Managing her Style Like a First Lady is available online at Amazon.

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