Kahlana Barfield is the fashion & beauty editor at large for InStyle Magazine. @kahlanabarfield
Beauty Fall 2015 is about…
Full brows, red lips, nude nails and eyeliner, which, thankfully, are all things I love.
You always look on trend. What are you coveting this Fall for fashion, accessory and beauty?
If there’s one thing I’ve learned about fashion over the years it’s to embrace—not chase—trends. I spent years buying the “hottest” new item, and after wearing it a few times, I wouldn’t be caught dead in it again. Now, I try to stick to neutral colors, classic silhouettes, and then sprinkle in a few trendy pieces here and there. This fall I’m loving exaggerated and high-waisted pants. For handbags, the smaller, the better. My fall beauty obsession is the new matte red Christian Louboutin lipstick. There’s something about a red lip that instantly makes me feel more sophisticated.
Your style is…
Possessed with multiple personalities. For the most part, it usually has an androgynous feel—baggy jeans, fitted top, oversize blazer and sky-high heels. But, if I’m going out, I try to find the shortest dress possible. Some days I want to be comfortable and other days more sexy. The one thing constant is that I’m always in heels and an arm full of gold jewelry.
I’m loving all things boho luxe/chic. What is the key to mixing prints & patterns?
I think it’s all about trial and error. Sometimes I’ll see a skirt and top in my closet that completely clash, then I try them on together and it’s the coolest combination. In general, leopard and stripes are two prints that are super versatile and look amazing mixed with almost anything. So if you start with one of these and build your outfit from there, you’ll probably have a winner.
Accessories… what is your lust vs must?
Chanel bags are both my lust and must. I always have one and they just get better with age. Some styles I lust over, but know I will never own. Others, I see and can’t sleep until they’re in my closet. This is not a good habit to have, so I’m working on it. I’m also a heel girl—the more dramatic, the better.
Best beauty advice you have ever received?
Wear sunscreen. There was a time when I thought my skin was immune to the sun. For black women, because our skin is dark, it can be hard to detect a problem if one occurred. So I tell people, no matter what your skin tone, SPF is key. Wear it every day—winter, spring, summer, fall. I love LaMer’s SPF50 Protecting Fluid. It doesn’t leave a chalky, grey cast on your skin.
What was your first major beauty indulgence?
A jar of La Mer. I was 18 when I bought it for the first time and couldn’t believe I was spending so much money on a beauty product. But it worked wonders on my skin. I’ve used it religiously ever since.
I have a few. My mother is my number one. She carries herself with such grace and class, and she taught me that it’s your inside that makes you beautiful. She has flawless skin, the most radiant smile, and takes great care of her body. You are another beauty icon of mine, Iman. I remember when I was an assistant and was lucky enough to meet with you about your makeup line, Iman Cosmetics. Not only did I think you were drop dead gorgeous in person, but I couldn’t believe how kind you were to me. I thought to myself, “She’s stunning, funny and nice? Is this for real?” You paved the way for so many girls like me, so having you in my office was such a surreal experience. As a young black beauty editor, it was also amazing to hear you talk first-hand about your cosmetics line and walk me through products that were specifically developed for my skin-tone. From then on, you have been my muse.
My Nana. She’s 91 and still the chicest woman I know. She always taught me quality over quantity. She’s always dressed up, complete with a fresh blowout and nude manicure. To this day, I wouldn’t dare wear sweats around her.
Congrats! You are getting married this fall. What is the best advice you have received and will adhere to for beauty to get timeless classic photos?
Don’t go too trendy with your look. Simplicity always wins.