Sophisticated with a dash of swagger—these local trendsetters prove that style is indeed a state of mind.
PHOTO BY TARIQ JOHNSON
PHOTO BY DANI TOSCANO
For Mahjuba Levine, a career in fashion evolved through her educational background in art. After studying photography at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Levine realized her passion lied in the art of styling photo shoots. This led to a path as a personal shopper in the luxury retail space and finally to launching her own personal styling business in 2005. “I paved my own way. There were no mentors at that time,” says Levine, who dreams of one day creating her own line of resortwear. “I set my own rules, established a styling website with guidelines on performing wardrobe edits, and I created a path that many now can call a personal styling career.” Here, the stylista details why getting dressed is both business and pleasure. mahjuba.com
The best way to describe my approach to fashion is... I listen to my instincts and wear what I feel best in. Fashion plays a huge part in how I am feeling and the mood it creates for me.
A piece I wear that empowers me is... an oversized blazer. I love mixing feminine and masculine qualities to create a strong look.
If I could swap wardrobes with anyone, it would be... Christine Centenera. To me, she embodies everything I love about fashion. Her style is effortless, chic and tailored.
The most cherished piece in my closet has to be... my Manolo Blahnik pump collection. They have lasted for years, are comfortable and can be worn with almost anything.
My favorite designers are... Alessandro Michele, Tom Ford, John Galliano and Karl Lagerfeld.
As far as accessories go, I prefer... standout pieces. Whether it’s a bright shoe or vintage ring, this is the area I find the most fun in when putting together my own outfits.
In San Diego, I shop at... Tucci Boutique is one of my favorites. They have a great mix of contemporary brands and collections of under-the-radar jewelry brands.
My ultimate fashion splurge is... my recent purchase of a Chanel bag. It’s black with silver and gold hardware, and I can wear it with many outfits for years to come.
My first fashion moment was... watching John Galliano fashion shows when I was young. He had a way of empowering women through fashion that continues to resonate with me.
Fashion is an important part of my life because... it helps me to create a feeling and emotion.
PHOTO BY TARIQ JOHNSON
With nearly 15,000 Instagram followers, Tiffany Williams is an avid content creator and blogger, sharing her striking sense of style with her fabulous fan base. Beyond the world of content creation, Williams is also an accomplished model, who is helping the next generation to step in front of the camera with confidence and know-how through her own company, Black Out Creative Agency. Here, the fierce fashionista spills on what style means to her. glitzandglambytiff.com; blackoutcreativeagency.com
The best way to describe my approach to fashion is… throw everything on to see what works. It’s a great way to find options.
A piece I wear that empowers me is… a blazer. There’s something about it that makes me feel important when I walk into a room.
The best style advice I ever received was… always find a way to accessorize. It adds something special to any look.
My fashion philosophy is… to always go with what works best for you. Don’t feel like you have to follow trends.
The most cherished piece in my closet has to be… my jackets. I love a good layering moment.
I never leave the house without... earrings. I feel naked without them on.
As far as accessories go, I prefer… simple dainty pieces for every day that can be mixed and stacked. I usually have on at least one necklace and some simple stud earrings.
My makeup approach is… to be as simple and natural as possible. I love a great bronzy glow with either a bold lip color or some lip gloss.
My secret weapon when it comes to fashion is… to always follow my gut and not be afraid to not follow trends. Trends fade and having classic pieces that will last is so much more important.
My ultimate fashion splurge is… Currently, it is workout gear. I like my pieces to last through all of my high-energy, intense workouts.
Fashion is an important part of my life because… it allows me to express myself without speaking. I let my sense of style speak for me.
PHOTO BY TIM KING
A resident of San Diego by way of South Africa, Michele Black’s sense of style was largely influenced by her famous mother, Rhona Blumberg Godfrey, who was crowned Miss South Africa in 1947 and actively fought against oppression and apartheid. An avid supporter of philanthropy, whose lineage extends to her late mother-in-law Maureen Black, another prominent San Diego philanthropist, Black’s penchant for dressing well is interwoven in her larger purpose to help her community and others—just like her mother. Listen in.
My first fashion moment was... I can clearly remember my mother as she walked down our grand staircase, elegantly dressed in a yellow satin Givenchy evening gown on her way to the South African premiere of Around the World in 80 Days in the late ’50s. The following day, she put the Givenchy gown back on and headed to the streets of downtown Johannesburg to march with other progressive women dressed in designer gowns as members of the Black Sash, which was an all-women South African human rights and nonviolent resistance organization fighting against apartheid. She came home that afternoon with stains all over her yellow Givenchy gown, bearing the brunt of apartheid regime nationalists who threw tomatoes and food at her. She laughed it off, took her dress off, and said something to the effect of, ‘Well, now that’s a pattern!’ I always remember the bravery of my mother and the women like her.
The most cherished piece in my closet has to be... my late mother’s rare vintage 1970s Balenciaga monogrammed canvas bag. My mother wore it everywhere for a good 40 years. It’s a timeless piece that tells a story spanning many decades and continents.
I never leave the house without... my Elsa Peretti citrine stone gold pinky ring. I received it as a gift from my late mother-in-law in 1974 while traveling in the south of Spain. It’s such a timeless piece and I remember wearing it when I met the late Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, as well as King Sobhuza of Swaziland. It’s still my favorite fashion accessory.
My style is inspired by... Carolina Herrera, and I adore the classic pieces she puts together.