Monday, August 26, 2013

Styled By The Kokonut Stylist - Article 16

How To Revamp Your Wardrobe Without Spending A Cent!

The looming Skip Destiny Magazine Fashion Exchange allowed me the creativity to look at my wardrobe with a whole new set of eyes! I do not know whether it is the pressure of exchanging my mere garments with the elite and monied residents of Sandton *gasp* or the fact that no matter how full my wardrobe is, I never have anything to wear! and this is the case with most ladies. As previously mentioned, Destiny Magazine is hosting various fashion exchanges around Gauteng where ladies can exchange their high-fashion clothes in order to improve or revamp their wardrobes. With Spring just around the corner, these fashion exchanges could not have come at a better time.

 For those of us who may not be at an advantage to attend these fashion exchanges, there are a lot of ways one can revamp our wardrobes without even spending a cent. I recently also just suffered the I-dont-have-anything-to-wear pickle as I found myself wearing the same pair of jeans almost every other day because everything else did not fit me anymore (one of the unpleasant by-products of losing weight). This then compelled me to re-organize my wardrobe, after which I discovered many great clothes to wear. Here are a few tricks and tips I learnt from my wardrobe "re-organization".

  • Clear Out The Clutter:  Ever noticed how in each one of us there lies a hoarder of some sort? Well, say goodbye to the hoarder and clear the clutter out of your wardrobe. If you have not worn a specific item in the past 6 months, chances are, you are  not going to wear it again. Sort your clothes into what you wear frequently and what you have not worn in a long time. You will see that somewhere between those piles of clothes is clutter you do not need. Within that clutter are also outdated clothes (please give those away to charity) and those items of clothing you may somehow, still transform.
  • Sort Out Your Accessories: A trick I recently uncovered is that hanging your favourite accessories allows you to use them more often. Instead of stashing your belts and scarves, find a way to hang them and shelve your earrings and necklaces in a way that you are able to see all of them at once. You will be pleasantly surprised at how many lovely, previously hidden accessories you have. There are these awesome clear vinyl pockets that can be hung on your wardrobe and easily folded when travelling and they are a great way of organizing your accessories.

  • Sort Out Your Shoes: Ladies, the unfortunate thing is that no matter how much we love our shoes, sometimes we have to let them go; not repair tips, just let them go! The biggest injustice you can ever do to your shoes is to pile them up into a huge untidy heap. Never pile up your shoes into heaps, you tend to forget you own certain pairs of shoes and it bruises the shoes. The best way to store your shoes is to line them up neatly at the bottom of your wardrobe, get a wooden shoe rack or a shoe wheel. You will be surprised at the lifespan you add to your shoes just by storing them correctly. Some people even turn old bookshelves into shoe storage spaces and it works just as efficiently. Storing shoes in boxes is a good way of forgetting what is in the boxes.
  • Transform Your Older Clothes:  Once you have the piles of frequently worn clothes, clothes you can still transform, accessories and shoes, it will be easy for you to look at ways in which you can transform your clothes. For example, I have a now-over-sized shirt dress that would look terrible if I were to wear it on its own, a good way to transform that is to add a clingy waist-belt and accessories it up nicely so that I get to wear it in a never-been-worn-before way, that way it feels as good as new.

Very often we assume that style is expensive whereas it is merely just creativity and out of the box thinking.  Ladies, if any of you are interested in the vinyl accessories hanger and shoe wheel, do not hesitate to email The Kokonut Stylist on to place your order and have it delivered to you. Let us clean out our closets in preparation for spring and not break the bank while doing so.

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Written By: Koko Shabangu

Styled By The Kokonut Stylist - Article 15

Phenomenal Women In The Fashion Business

Phenomenal, extraordinary, outstanding and unusually great are some of the words I can use to describe all the women on this list. Still in the spirit of celebrating women as it is Women's Month, I have decided to put together a list of women I deem as exceptional in the fashion business.

Coco Chanel

Mademoiselle Gabrielle "Coco" Bonheur Chanel is, to date, the only fashion designer to have appeared on Time magazine's list of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century.  Even though she passed away in January 1971 at the age of 87, she is one classic example of phenomenal, as her name lives on to this day. Coco started her fashion business at the age of 30 by opening a fashion boutique which specialized in clothing, hats, fragrance and accessories. Her iconic Chanel No 5 fragrance later became the cornerstone of her business. Towards the later years of her life, Chanel worked with Karl Largerfield who is still the head designer and creative director for the Chanel Fashion House. During an era of corsets and long uncomfortable dresses, Chanel resisted conformity and gave style and comfort a new meaning. Her rebellion resulted in her giving us yet more iconic items such as: the Chanel suit, the little black dress, the Chanel bag and the classic use of white pearls. To this day, Chanel is a high fashion brand that may outlive a lot of us.

Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe

Aptly pictured in the iconic Chanel pearls, Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe is the brains behind and Executive Chairperson of Africa Fashion International. Africa Fashion International (AFI) is a company that promotes fashion designers (from all over Africa) and enterprise development in the fashion industry. Dr Moloi-Motsepe, a qualified medical doctor with about 20 years as a General Practitioner; converted her love and talent for medicine into a talent for nurturing young fashion innovators. Through her great work, many a fashion designers have had a chance to showcase their works at the bi-annual Africa Fashion Week and also through a number of fashion weeks all over the world. As a woman married to one of Africa's wealthiest men, Patrice Motsepe, Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe could have easily given up on her own dreams but she chose to follow them by transforming the fashion retail industry in Africa and she is doing an amazing job at it.

Khanyi Dhlomo

Khanyi Dhlomo has won every business woman accolade imaginable, been featured on almost all Forbes Magazine Lists that include anything to do with African women under 40, young millionaire African business women and anything inspirational and African. Khanyi is anything but ordinary. She has been setting ground-breaking and unprecedented records from the moment she was employed at the age of 20 years, as the first black newscaster for SABC 1. At the mere age of 22 she was appointed as True Love Magazine's Editor and she managed to literally double the magazine's circulation within a year of being Editor. Armed with an MBA from Harvard Business School, it came as no surprise when she founded the successful media house, Ndalo Media which gives us magazines such as Destiny and Destiny Man.  In 2010 she was selected as a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader. With her recent fashion business venture, the launch of her high fashion retail boutique, Luminance, it is without a shadow of doubt that Khanyi Dhlomo is a phenomenal woman in both fashion and business.

 All The Women In The Swazi Crafts Market

It may not be fashion in the truest sense of the word but art and fashion intertwine in a lot of ways. I was very fortunate to find out some of the stories of the amazing Swazi women who are in arts, craft and handcraft. These are the women who are the breadwinners of their families, the women who take their children to school, feed and clothe them daily, save up (from their meagre earnings) and building houses that shelter their families. It is beyond my comprehension how these women do it. I am talking about the women who make tilulu, the women who make all sorts of beaded work, the women who rent market spaces along the sides of the road to sell their craft. Those are the women who make me realise that nothing in this life ever defeats a woman on a mission and I salute them!

To make use of Maya Angelou's words in her poem "Phenomenal Woman", she says "I am a woman phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, that's me. Now you understand just why my head's not bowed. I don't shout or jump about or have to talk real loud. When you see me passing, it ought to make you proud."

This is for all the amazing women who silently walk their paths and loudly inspire us all through their great work and undying spirit despite all the daily challenges that come with being a woman. I know that all the women in my life are not in fashion but they are all phenomenal and they greatly inspire me and give me strength. Who are some of the women you deem phenomenal in your personal life?

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Written By: Koko Shabangu

Styled By The Kokonut Stylist - Article 14

The SKIP, Destiny Magazine Fashion Exchange

To mark the beginning of women's month, Skip in collaboration with Destiny Magazine hosted a fashion exchange where ladies swapped clothes in order to shop. This fashion exchange was a part of a series of events that have been hosted all over Gauteng since late last year.

The Centurion exchange was held at the beautiful Royal Elephant with Destiny's columnist Timothy Maurice Webster as the MC and Metro FM DJ, Idols SA Judge Unathi Msengana as the main speaker. The event started with circulating canapes, bottomless champagne and entertainment by an electrical string quartet all girl band called The Muses.

Columnists: Myself with Destiny Magazine's Columnist, Timothy Maurice Webster.

The Muses serenading us with divine classical music.

Each fashion exchange participant was required to bring three or more nearly-new clothing items which are then evaluated and color graded. So in three simple steps you:
  • Go through your wardrobe, pick three or more high-fashion items that you value but nolonger wear for some reason.
  • Select, wash, clean and mend these items so that they are in their best conditon for the fashion exchange.
  • Submit your clothes for grading. After your clothes are graded you are given a pamphlet containing boxes with the color grades your clothes received. This then acts as your shopping card, you are allowed to shop for other clothing items with similar color codes as the clothes you brought in.
This is a very smart and easy way to renew your wardrobe. The only downside (which is not really a downside considering the value of the clothes that some people bring), is that they do not accept clothes from famous retail chain stores, so forget about the inhouse brands from; Mr Price, Edgars, Truworths and Identity to name but a few. With all the clothes I brought, I had a Indentity nearly-new blazer(which cost me good money, might I add hahaha) that was not accepted, talk about being strict on the high-fashion bit! The fashion exchange trend is very big in New York and globally, with numerous shops, organization or even individuals swapping clothing. With the global recession putting financial pressure on all of us, clothes-swapping is a great alternative to 'buy new garments' without incurring any debt plus you get to update your look without spending any money.

Following, the grading of our clothes, we were ushered to a different section where Unathi Msengana shared her beautiful life story with us. She talked about the importance of staying true to oneself and that when pursing your dreams, you will ruffle a few feathers. She further shared with us how her decision to not "sell out"  in many spheres of her life (including the decision to keep her hair natural) has opened many doors to her that had she been "just like everyone else" she would not have enjoyed the benefits that came with walking in her own truth. Unathi told of how before she even got the Idols SA job she knew she was being judged and that for her was not an easy burden to carry. She further mentioned how she never wears anything that is not designed by a South African designer on Idols because she wants to use that platform to inspire other people who are pursuing their dreams.

Unathi Msengana delivering her moving and inspiring speech.

Once Unathi was done with her amazing speech, we began shopping. I have never seen so many women (myself included) that excited to exchange clothes. I got myself some lovely items and in those was a never-been-worn-before-high-fashion Mango boyfriend blazer which is now one of the favourite items in my closet. The next fashion exchange will be at The Maslow in Sandton, I cannot wait, it should be interesting.

With my new-to-me items after shopping.

I truly loved the idea of exchanging high-fashion clothes and even spoke to the brains behind this idea in South Africa, about doing it here in Swaziland. It was more than just about clothes; it was fun and inspirational (with the speeches and the women who shared their life stories). Do you think it would be viable to have a fashion exchange, say in Mbabane and Manzini? Would you attend a fashion exchange if we were to host one? I am looking forward to hearing your view on this because if you think its a viable idea it would be interesting to do one. I mean, why not?

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Written By: Koko Shabangu

Thursday, August 8, 2013

SKIP Destiny Fashion Exchange

Last week Thursday, a good friend of mine, Kea and I attended the SKIP Destiny Fashion Exchange at the Royal Elephant in Centurion.

With my beautiful friend Kea.

The Muses were serenading us with beautiful music. These girls are so talented moer!!

There were never-ending canapes and bottomless champagne. The way Kea and I stuffed our faces with the yummy canapes LOL!! I don't remember having THAT much food to eat.
We had our clothes graded and proceeded to hearing the moving speech by Unathi Msengana (such an inspirational woman she is).
Inspirational - Unathi Msengana.

These ladies each won themselves R1,000 Stuttafords shopping vouchers.

After the emotional tid-bits, we proceeded to shop. I got myself two lovely items and Kea got this out-of-the world skirt. The beautiful thing is that even if the clothes we a size bigger, you could have them altered (there was a tailor available to take the alternation measurements). The clothes will then, altered, washed and sent through to your address, how cool is that?!
The shopping area.

I even met the amazing Destiny Mag Columnist, Timothy Maurice Webster.

I am pretty sure my Mama will be happy to know that I do wear all the clothing I steal from her wardrobe. Here I was wearing a shirt I shopped from her closet.

I am looking forward to the Sandton fashion exchange on the 23rd of August. It should be interesting, considering how much Sandton people love to shop.

Have you been to any of the SKIP Destiny Fashion Exchanges since they started last year and how was the experience for you?

Beyonce's New Short Hair

I remember tweeting this morning that ALL bloggers will be blogging about Mrs Carter's new hairdo and yes it is a big deal LOL! So now that we have gotten that out of the way, I will let the pictures tell the story that led to the short hair.

First there was this , at a concert recently.....

Then Beyonce wrote this witty Instagram note.....

Then we woke up to this beautiful selfie from King B*.....

Naturally, I think she looks absolutely stunning. The short hair frames her face so beautifully.  What do you think of her new short hair?

Monday, August 5, 2013

Styled By The Kokonut Stylist - Article 13

Luminance Boutique, In My Stylist Opinion

I have always expressed my undeniable love for Khanyi Dhlomo, much to the point where I know for sure that she is the one woman I aspire to be like. Khanyi has defied every stereotype there is out there; she is beautiful, educated, is a successful business woman and is married with a beautiful family. Very often as women we are led to believe that we can not "have it all". Well, if you think I can not be a beautiful, educated, successful and happily married woman, I have two words for you: Khanyi Dhlomo! For this article, let us not get into the now ugly political debacle over the R34.1 Million loan from the South African National Empowerment Fund that was received by Khanyi Dhlomo's Luminance Boutique. Let us rather just focus on the boutique and the positive message that it sends out to dreamers like myself and you out there.

Luminance is a high-end fashion and lifestyle boutique department store situated in Hyde Park Corner, Johannesburg, for consumers who love world-class quality and beauty. The Luminance brand inspires its customers to Live Life Beautifully. The store is owned by Ndalo Luxury Ventures, a fashion and lifestyle retail company founded by award-winning South African entrepreneur, Khanyi Dhlomo. The name " Luminance" is taken from her own name Khanyisile which means "light".

When describing Luminance, Khanyi Dhlomo says "Luminance is based on the kind of retail expereience I've seen in some of the world's best department and concept stores, where everything is aimed at delighting and surprising customers. It provides a carefully curated luxury and contemporary retail experience.  It's designed in a way that's proudly African, yet global in its feel, with plenty of attention to detail, great customer service and beautiful packaging that makes you feel as if every purchase you make is a special gift for yourself. Its a unique retail experience even for international shoppers but also a world -class platform for some of our best African artists and designers."   Reading that description already makes me imagine The Lourve Museum in Paris with giant Picassas hanging from the walls; it sounds exactly how opulence would sound if it had a sound.

On the evening of Wednesday the 24th of July, the rich and famous honoured their invites and attended the official Launch of the Luminance boutique store in Hyde Park, Johannesburg. The store boasts high fashion brand labels such as Alexander McQueen, Baby Dior, Balenciaga, Carolina Herrera, Giusseppe Zanotti, Stella McCartney, Tom Ford as well as South African Stoned Cherrie and Luminance Private Label to name but a few. Basically if you have seen it on the runway in a fashion week in one of the international fashion capitals, Luminance has it.


To see her fashion dream into fruition, Khanyi Dhlomo has partnered with other equally powerful women to bring the Luminance Boutique to life. These women are her mother Mrs Venetia Dhlomo, who together with Khanyi is a major shareholder, there is also South African business woman Dr Judy Dlamini, The South African National Empowered Fund and Nonduna Investments as shareholders.

In an interview with 702 FM, Khanyi said Luminance caters to various clients as there are items from R80.00 to-and-over R80,000.00 per item and has empowered over 56 people through employment. For me, I love the fact that it sounds like those boutiques where one has to wear her best dress and heels just to window shop, imagine a boutique that sells a single item higher than the net-worth of your car LOL! 
On a very serious note though, in my very humble opinion I would love to show my appreciation and applaud Khanyi Dhlomo for following her dreams, empowering other women through fashion as well as making us all believe that it is possible to dream big and achieve those dreams. She is one black, young woman that most of us women look up to. I see Luminance growing in leaps and bounds even to the point of being listed in the JSE, as they do plan to have several of these boutiques all around Africa. 

In a weakly Destiny mailer Khanyi Dhlomo stated that the previous week had been a special one for her; the culmination of a dream she has held for a long time, that is, the opening of a luxury department store in South Africa and she further encouraged us all to dream big, I quote: "This week, I leave you with this simple challenge: Dream big and believe in your dreams."

Pictures Credit: Pictures and information used in this article are from and

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Written By: Koko Shabangu

Monday, July 29, 2013

Bonang Matheba - The Stylish Week That Was!

I am probably one of Bonang Matheba's biggest supporters. I love her work ethic, her persistence, resilience and how she constantly works on perfecting her craft...oh and her success is definitely something to be beckoned with! Last week Miss B* had a very busy week, MCing a couple of events, including the prestigious launch of Khanyi Dhlomo's Luminance luxury department store. Here's what Queen B* wore during her stylish, busy week. As always she slayed!

*Luminance Launch - Wednesday 24th July 2013
Bonang wore an Oscar De La Renta gown that Kerry Washington wore to some awards. The gown is rumored to cost R80,000.00!


*Glamour Women Of The Year Awards - 25th July 2013
She was, again MC for the night and she wore Zara, Top Shop and Asos. She looked like a dream in all white.

*YOU Spectacular Awards - 27th July 2013
Not only did she bag the most coveted, Favorite TV Presenter award, she looked angelic in a Gert-Johan Coetzee white gown *sigh*. 

She is an undisputed style queen. Shine bright B*

NB: Pictures from Bonang's Instagram and Twitter accounts.

Styled By The Kokonut Stylist - Article 12

Style Inspiration? There's An App For That!

We live in an information age, a time also known as the computer age or digital age. Global economies are now based on the computerization of information; just ask any big organization how much they spend on backing-up of crucial company data. This therefore means that information is the new currency. I've said a mouthful there haven't I?  Before I get carried away with my nerdy computer language, what this simply means is that we live in an era where computers allow us to explore all our personalized needs thus simplifying our decision making processes.

In the world of fashion, the information age could not have come at a more appropriate time, there is literally an app (a software application designed to perform certain tasks) for everything these days. I will probably get crucified by the chairperson of the stylists'-secrets-community, *chuckle*, for sharing such but I will go ahead anyway. As a stylist, I swear by these fashion apps and if you can, download them, use them, you may find that they are equally useful for you too. Yes, we say it everyday that style is personal and what-not but everyone needs some form of inspiration or the other, right?

*Pose (
This is the holy grail of fashion apps and is available for iPhone, iPads and Android gadgets. What this app does is, it enables you to see what to wear, how to wear it, what to wear it with and where to wear it.  It is a central collection of tips and tricks, complete with a lot of images from all the world's top  fashion  trendsetters. The fashion tips and style inspiration there are absolutely invaluable. So the next time someone buys you a hat and you do not know what to wear it with, Pose will probably be your best starting point.

*Polyvore (
This is the ultimate style guide. On Polyvore you can create looks, see which colours work best with which colours and play around with different style items. Imagine you had a wardrobe with limitless and countless clothing items, accessories etc, Polyvore is that online wardrobe. The app also tells you how much each look costs and where you can get the items from. It is sheer brilliance.

*Trendstop (
This app has the latest fashion trend forecasts, trend analysis as well as retail store trends, street fashion trends etc. Basically if you want to know what will be on trend next season and how to wear it, this is the app for you. It is highly usefully to full-time fashion buyers and stylists but even ordinary folk looking to have a distinct style may find it useful.

*ShopStyle (

 If you prefer overseas online shopping (which by the way, believe it or not, sometimes works out cheaper than buying locally) then you will love this app. It is like window shopping online in over 2000 stores all at once. The clothes and accessories are well organized, making your life even easier.

*Pintrest (
As the name suggests, on this app you can 'pin' various items that interest you and fashion is very big on the app as many people pin and share fashion pieces that inspire them or their looks. It is also a great way to market you products if you are in the fashion industry, for example.

Sometimes I wonder how we ever survived without our gadgets and smartphones, we literally carry our lives in those things now. From cellphone banking, to cooking, to getting dressed and everything in between. Do you have any apps that make your life easier, what are they, fashion or otherwise?

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Written By: Koko Shabangu

Monday, July 22, 2013

Styled By The Kokonut Stylist - Article 11

Ten Items Every Man Needs In His Wardrobe

Clothing is rarely ever considered an investment but for guys, it is always a good idea to invest a little more into it. The fact that guys' clothing items do not evolve that much is a good indication that what you buy this year will still be good to wear three years from now, so why not put more thought and quality (read money) into it?

When compiling this list  of ten items every man needs in his wardrobe, I had my ultimate stylish guy in mind. Of course, it will not apply to every guy out there but for the more-than-average guy, this list should do.

1. Crisp White Button Down Shirt: This is a wardrobe essential and very versatile too. Depending on the make and cut of the shirt, this can be dressed up and down.

2. Navy Blue Formal Jacket: This is for those in-between moments; the I do-not-want-to-be-formal-but-take-me-seriously moments. It is easily co-ordinates with most items and can be a good idea for keeping any outfit well put together. Make sure it is a slim-fit jacket.

3. Cashmere V-Neck Sweater: Have this sweater in any colour that best suits and complements your complexion but make sure it is a good quality sweater. The v-neck will increase the versatility of your sweater, which means you can wear it with your crisp white shirt or a simple v-neck t-shirt. It can also be dressed down with jeans or dressed up with more formal pants.

 4. Dark Blue or Black Slim Fit Suit: Someone once said "suits are to women what lingerie is to men". A good slim-fit suit is the basis of a good wardrobe for any man and I would even advise you to actually invest in one. It wouldn't hurt to add a good solid colour necktie while you are at it and a great belt too.

5. Khakhi Chinos:Chinos are another classic wardrobe item that has stood the test of time. A good pair of chinos, your crisp white shirt with the navy blue formal jacket is always a formidable combination.

6. A classic pair of blue jeans:
The truth of the matter is this, denim will never be outdated so you may as well invest in a good quality pair of jeans. You can get them in various shades of blue and make sure the fit is suitable for your body type.

7. A Good Quality Pair Of Shoes:
One can never go wrong with a good quality pair of dark brown broques and while you are at it, invest in a good pair of sneakers.

8. A Trench Coat:
A trench coat can sometimes be a good fit when we are in-between seasons. Make sure it's those light ones not necessarily the heavy lijazi type. Oh and just as a tip, it doesn't get better than a Burberry trench coat.

9. A Hooded  Woollen Tracksuit With:
Ask any woman, life rarely ever gets better than seeing a man in a hooded woollen tracksuit and some good old All Stars. It is the ultimate sexy item for laid-back days and the sweater can be worn in chilly summer days too, not just in winter.

10. Accessories:
By accessories for men, I mean watches and sunglasses. Not the face-covering type of sunglasses, leave those to women, get a good pair that is well-suited for your face. A good watch is actually an investment so make sure you spare no expense on it.

Just as a reminder, The Kokonut Stylist does offer great styling advice as well as personal shopping services for guys, so be sure to drop us and email on: for the best styling tips.

Always remember, style is personal and these items may not necessarily apply to every man out there. Define your own style.

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Written By: Koko Shabangu