Bern explains that given that “I’ll always be ‘alien’ as a black person in America’, originally from Jamaica, she wears clothes from people who have her back. Literally. Bern bagged dressing to assimilate for years, trading her lower style profile to dressing to be seen in clothes created by black designers.
I have found community in black-owned boutiques. Martine’s Dream, in the heart of Crown Heights, Brooklyn, brings to mind the Caribbean with its island-inspired, bohemian-chic airy cotton dresses and skirts, its kimonos and caftans. TracyChambers Vintage and Indigo Style Vintage, also both Brooklyn-based, sell timeless pieces— from sweaters reminiscent of Denise Huxtable’s wardrobe on The Cosby Show to pleated dresses with shoulder pads and gold buttons that are very Clair Huxtable.