Meet the Business Woman Behind Chicago-Based BellaRosa

Meet the business woman, Jasmene Bowdry,  behind the chic, fashion store, BellaRosa.  

This Chicago-based shop was created with one goal in mind – to provide that extra boost of confidence, like knowing how to dress for your body type, every woman needs to step out into the world, no matter her personal style. Bowdry got her start in New York City where she was a successful retail buyer and fashion stylist with over 10 years of experience in the fashion industry.  As a buyer, she advises on current market trends and purchases relevant brand lines for Fortune 500 companies such as Saks Fifth Avenue, Tiffany & Co., Sears, and more. Bowdry’s fashion expertise also extends beyond the boardroom as she has styled top celebrities, with her work appearing in magazines VIBE, People, XXL and Forbes.

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Windy City Cosmo sat down with Bowdry at a pop-up event, Summer Time Fab – Fitness, Fashion & Beauty at Coalition Impact to learn more about her style and her success in the fashion world.

How did you learn about styling? Was there someone’s style you appreciated? 

Bowdry: By living in New York City and constantly being around and working in fashion. When you live in the fashion capital there’s always work, so you hear about different opportunities by remaining in the know of who’s who.

How did you build up your clients and following?

Bowdry: Most of the site traffic is driven by Instagram and Facebook. However being able to allow customers to see, touch and feel the clothing is important so I try to vend at popular events that fit my target audience.

Your site is for trendsetters – how does one start a trend?

Bowdry: A majority of trends come from the runway and then trickle down to the masses. But it’s really more about your confidence and you rock that trend. And you do that by being true to you. Rhianna started a trend by wearing exposed bobby pins to the AMAs. But that style isn’t new, ask any girl that lives in New York City about a doobie wrap, been doing it for decades. However, Rhianna took something and made it her own.

What’s been the best part of running your own business? What’s been the worst?

Bowdry: The best part of running your own business is seeing the vision you imagined actually come to life. There’s no worst. It all is a part the process. I look at every experience as a learning opportunity.


How Comfortable are Chicago Women with Their Bodies?

Want to be a model? Now’s your chance – well, Saturday, May 20, 2017, from 1-2 pm at 343 W. Erie (3rd Floor) is your chance.

You don’t have to lift weights or go on a juice cleanse this week to be part of this Chicago photo shoot.

You simply have to be comfortable in your own skin.

Did I lose you? (no this isn’t a nude photo shoot, it’s a body positivity photo shoot.)

I know that can be hard to do when everyone’s still working on their summer bodies, but one Chicago blogger has confidence in you, and you should, too.

“Publicly posting photos of your body as a plus size woman, or a woman who has cellulite, or a woman with stretch marks, or any of a number of perceived “flaws” is considered incredibly brave. But, it shouldn’t be,” according to Dāsha Guyton, an award-winning Lifestyle Blogger for Windy City Wardrobe, Wardrobe Stylist, and Self-Love Advocate based in Hyde Park.

Chicago is helping women embrace their bodies (apple, pear, or otherwise), this Saturday, May 20, 2017, for a special body positivity photo shoot.

You are not a Pair of Jeans:

“As long as you chase after current beauty standards you’ll never feel beautiful,”  Guyton shares with Windy City Cosmo, “Body shapes go in and out of style just as quick as fashion trends, but you are not a pair of jeans, you are a person and you’ve only got one body, so choose to love the once you’re in.”

Guyton has been inspiring women to embrace who they are through her blog posts and her services. This body positivity movement started when she wrote 11 Body Positive Instagram Accounts You Should Be Following and these Instagram posts here , here and here.

“This caught the attention of Chicago Woman Magazine, and I was asked to start a monthly column about body positivity,” Guyton shares.

I'm 5'6, I weigh 250lbs and in the past 12 months I only caught a cold once. My doctor did a full physical and gave me a clean bill of health. I just wanted you all to know healthy comes in many shapes and sizes. #FeelingMyself #BodyDiversity 👊 . . . . 📸by @deependreview #biracialbeauty #30plusstyle #bodypositive #fatgirlsbewinning #tcfstyle #goldenconfidence #boldncurvy #curvyncurly #psfashion #plussizefitness #wearwhatyoulove #styleinfluencer #femmeofcolorvisibility #browngirlswhoblog #chicagoinfluencer #wearwhatyouwant #realoutfitgram #blacklesbians #bopowarrior #allbodiesaregoodbodies #stylecollective #bodyacceptance #hydeparkchicago #fashionforall #stylecollectivesisters #afrolatina #styleblog #lovemyshape

A post shared by Dāsha Guyton (Day-Shuh) (@windycitywardrobe) on

Does your body image affect your sex life?

As part of Windy City Wardrobe’s body positivity movement, Guyton is hosting a photo shoot for Chicago women. This photoshoot will help gather information about Chicago woman’s views on their body via this body image survey, which includes questions where you have to be honest with yourself. Who do you think influences your views on your body? Does your body image affect your sex life?

The photos and information gathered from this survey will be used to promote body positivity.

Participate in The Body Positivity Photo Shoot May 20th:

To sign-up for this Chicago body positivity photo shoot, please use this Facebook event link.  All of the details about this private indoor studio photoshoot and what to bring are included in the description. Each participant will be required to sign a release so that photos can be used on Windy City Wardrobe and in Guyton’s monthly column for Chicago Woman Magazine.

Look for the hashtag #EmbracingMyBody on Instagram and Twitter to see the photos from this shoot.

I’ll leave you with this thought from Guyton, “When it comes to body image initially a lot of people say they’re in, only to only chicken out at the last minute. So there could be anywhere from 3 to 33 participants.”


Why do Women Buy Magazines? An Interview with Former French Vogue Editor

When you wear something, do you have the power to influence someone else to wear it or incorporate it into their style? That’s what the Editor in Chief of Vogue does.

Choosing what went in the magazine, it was to reflect…the way things were in fashion, in culture, and in what the French called ‘the art of living.’ We were very into the art of living,” recalled Joan Juliet Buck, the first and only American to be Editor in Chief of French Vogue from 1994-2001.

As a daughter of Jules Buck, an American film producer, her childhood was a whirlwind of famous faces: John Huston, Peter O’Toole, Lauren Bacall, Federico Fellini and many more; ever-changing home addresses: London, Paris, Cannes, Los Angeles; and the unspoken lesson that appearances mattered more than reality.

Her job gave her the means to recreate for her aging father, now a widower, the life he’d enjoyed during his high-flying years – a splendid illusion of glamor and luxury.  But such illusions cannot be sustained indefinitely, and they always come at a cost.        


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Joan Juliet Buck With Anjelica Huston, wearing Christmas scarves and all the wrappings, St. Clerans 1963.


In THE PRICE OF ILLUSION (Atria Books; $30.00; March  7, 2017), Buck offers up her memoir: recounting six decades spent in the creative hearts of London, New York, Los Angeles, Milan, Paris, and more.  The cues she had gleaned early in life from her family were about how things looked and where they came from.  

The key to success was the perception of success and the only trick to transformation was believing you were what you wanted to be.  But when her fantasy life at Vogue came to an end, she had to find out who she was after all those years of make-believe.  Now Buck chronicles her quest to discover the difference between glitter and gold, fantasy and reality, and what merely looks like happiness from the thing itself.

In light of her recently published memoir, Windy City Cosmo reached out to Buck about her life at French Vogue, how she defines style, and how she selected the cover girl.

Windy City Cosmo: How did you reshape French Vogue?

Buck: I took out the adjectives. I tripled the volume of text. I made it more imaginative and especially more playful.

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Windy City Cosmo: In managing a widely-read publication, how did you choose who to put on the cover and what stories to cover?

Buck: In not quite seven years, I had two actresses on the cover and each time I wasn’t satisfied with the results. I decided I would only put models on the cover because women buy magazines to find out what they should want to look like. They want to see models. They don’t want to see movie actresses promoting a movie. So I chose the covers according to what the fashion at that moment was and I chose the models according to the message we were trying to get across. Because actresses don’t really want to become who you really want for that moment, they want to stay themselves except prettier.

Windy City Cosmo: How did you maintain composure when staff or business partners tried to undermine you?

Buck: I maintained composure because I had no idea what was going on (she chuckles). I just didn’t know. I wasn’t used to office politics. So I wasn’t very good at interpreting certain things.

Windy City Cosmo: What are some of your best planning strategies for a timely, edited publication?

Buck: All monthly publications work three to four months ahead. So the hardest work was to take a second look at the fashion shows with actually projecting photos on the wall so that everyone could look at what we had just seen. We could look at it again and we could figure out and edit what we’d seen from the shows into a coherent narrative about what things were actually going to look like. And once we had the fashion figured out, everything came from that. The coverage of – you know if there were movies or plays or exhibitions that had to do with a general feeling that was coming off of the fashion shows that was the direction we’d go in.


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Portrait for Talk magazine by Jean-Baptiste Mondino 1999

Windy City Cosmo: How do you define success?

Buck: Feeling good about what you’re doing.

Windy City Cosmo: How do you make business relationships?

Buck: It was usually done through sympathy. I work much more on sympathy than I do on strategy. And what I discovered for myself and I’m sure this doesn’t hold true for other people and I wish it did is that an empty, manipulative strategy was always a disaster for me. Things only worked at Paris Vogue if I felt a true enthusiasm for a designer, a perfume, a situation, an event, a place. And then everyone could get behind if. But if I was only pretending to like something because it was political the thing would just be a disaster.

Windy City Cosmo: What is style to you?

Buck: I think style – personal style comes from the things that you as a person prefer to see, prefer to smell, hear, feel and when you surround yourself with the things that you prefer, you are considered to have style. If you dress according to what you really like, you have style. So it shapes – your own preferences shape your style and your style shapes other people’s perception of you.


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Joan Juliet Buck with Manolo Blanik and Paloma Picasso posing on the balcony of Roebuck House, London 1978


Windy City Cosmo: How did you find true happiness instead of focusing on the coveted?

Buck: By taking a step back and only going towards those things that I am in sympathy with – the things that really make me feel good as opposed to the things that are supposed to make me feel good.

Buying a new handbag only makes me feel good for about 4 days. But living somewhere beautiful makes me feel good all the time. Writing as honestly and as truly as I can no matter how hard it gives me enormous satisfaction. Writing something that I don’t believe withers my soul.



The Cycles of Beauty

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Remember that 30 Rock episode where Liz Lemon’s boyfriend, Dennis, reminded her that “technology is cyclical?” While bringing back Motorola’s is obviously a terrifying prospect, there’s definitely “cycles” in beauty and fashion. Consider that weird 60s revival we had in the early 2000s or the 90s influences that are starting to trickle in now. To some degree, we all ride the waves of fashion and beauty trends.

Even plastic surgery isn’t immune. As this article in New Beauty points out, we’re in the midst of something of a sea change in the field. As celebrities and the general public gradually become more open about having plastic surgery, the aesthetic trends guiding surgeons around the world are changing, too. A new emphasis on creating natural-looking results via improving proportions and embracing the individual is here, and it’s making a lot of people reconsider their long-held opinions about plastic surgery.

Let’s start with the matter of efficiency. Plastic surgery is no longer associated with long recovery periods, hyper-bandaged heads, and tight, unnatural contours. Aesthetics are big business, and new techniques and technologies are emerging quickly to meet the demands of savvy consumers. More refined surgical techniques reduce the need for a long recovery time. According to the website of Northbrook, IL plastic surgeon Dr. Mark Sisco, breast augmentation patients can count on being back in the office after only a few days.

Closeup of a smiling model wearing a large ring. Most focus is on hand.


Injectable fillers are another good example of the rise in efficiency. In the past, patients who had injectable treatments could count on results that lasted for a few months or so. But just this year, the FDA approved a new filler from Allergan (maker of BOTOX® and JUVÉDERM®) with results that are purported to last up to 18 months. We’re always looking for ways to do things better, faster, and with less effort, and beauty is certainly no exception.

The “look” is different too, which is most exciting to me. Today, we can look back on the trend of overly made-up, uniform faces — the models in the Addicted to Love music video are probably the best example of this trend — and laugh from a distance. Today the emphasis is on the individual, celebrating diversity in ethnicity, gender, and identity at every turn. In the makeup world, the focus is on fun and experimentation, while plastic surgeons report a demand for “natural-looking” teardrop-shaped breast implants in conservative sizes.


This all makes me wonder who’s guiding these changes -is it us or them? Do marketers, developers, and researchers answer our call, or do we build our tastes based on what’s given to us? I want to hear what you think about this topic, and I want to know what you think the next beauty trend will be. Will there be a backlash to our present worship of natural individuality? Or have we turned a completely new corner, never to return to our old ways?

This post was written by health and beauty author, Emmy Owens.




What’s The Return on Investment on Your Wardrobe?

Today’s lunch topic was simple. Should I buy the Louis Vuitton rain boots?

According to popular savings methodology – maybe.

In the simplest form, take your salary. Now subtract your basic needs (food, water, and shelter).

Got that number?

Now you divide using the 20/30/50 rule.

Fifty percent is for long term financial goals (think 401K, a home, etc). Thirty percent is for short-term financial goals (think a summer vacation, a pretty dress, investing in stock, or having an emergency fund). Now that 20 percent, that’s your disposable income – for things like charity, your new lipgloss, and a Bumble date to Beauty and The Beast.

When you analyze your budget (ugh, I just cringe thinking of it), you can sort your finances by seven categories:

  • Kids
  • Car
  • Clothing
  • Fun
  • Travel
  • Home
  • Career

Which of these do you value your return on investment on? When you categorize your budget, you being to see that you spend where your values are.

The above categories are from my co-worker. I made different categories for my lifestyle:

  • Uber
  • Clothing
  • Alcohol
  • Travel
  • Dining
  • Make-up/Hair
  • Career
  • Charity
  • Books/Entertainment

Think does a $12 sandwich really give me a return on investment than a $2 peanut butter and jelly sandwich? Will you go for the Banana Republic jeans or trade them for Guess jeans?

Seriously, what is the return on investment from your wardrobe?

Well, for bloggers, it might be more because they can create a brand from their style. Your style might also signify your status and position i..e you may not want to wear yoga pants to the office.

Calculate the ROI on Your Wardrobe:

You calculate the ROI on your wardrobe by taking the cost of a piece of clothing and dividing it by the number of times worn. So, for example, I bought my first coat when I was 19 years old and you know how much it cost? $50. Do you know how long I’ve had it? Since I was 27. Do you know how many times I wore it? Well, almost every day from January 2011 – April 2011 (my first time living in Chicago). Just looking at that time period alone, the cost of the jacket was .55 cents per wear. And, I continued wearing the same coat when I moved from Florida back to Chicago, so my ROI was actually negative.

That’s not a bad ROI for my time and my savings.

Below is the coat – still in good condition years later after the original purchase date:


Other ROI Considerations:

Seriously, though you can buy cheap goods, you can buy good quality, but I think ROI is more than the cost and how many times you wore the garment. It’s also how it makes you feel, if it fits your lifestyle (don’t do lunges in a pencil skirt), and if it’s weather appropriate (I hope you aren’t wearing suede in spring).

You can apply ROI to all areas of your life including your budget. But, it’s kind of shocking when you think of how much you spend on things. Because where you spend your money and where you spend your time shows you what you value.

And based off my current purchases –  an increase in Uber’s to stay out of the cold and buying pants and coats – I value warmth and stylish comfort. To balance that, I gave up alcohol and going out to lunch.

Are you just starting to think about your finances and savings? It can be intimidating.

Financial Resources: – money management tool

How to be single and save for a home – advice from a Chicago entrepreneur

Bustle’s Financial Blog Series:

According to a recent Bustle survey of more than 1,000 millennial women, more than 50 percent of people said they never discuss personal finances with friends, even though 28 percent reported feeling stressed out about money every single day. That’s why Bustle launched Grown-A$$ Finances, a series that gets real about what millennial women are doing with their money, and why — because managing your money should feel empowering, not intimidating.