This month’s Phenomenal Woman is Malaka Watson. I met Malaka in undergrad at UT Chattanooga, she always exuded girl power and poise! She currently making moves in Nashville, she’s practicing law by day and fashion blogging at night, a true style enthusiast! As we say good bye to naps on the beach and summer birthday parties (depending on if you have kids or not, ha), and say hello to cooler temperatures and Pumpkin Spice lattes, I think it would be perfect to speak to Malaka about some fall fashion tips! Feeling good about how we look on the outside contributes to our overall health after all…
Malaka, thank you so much for being this month’s Phenomenal Woman! As I mentioned you are a highly educated and motivated woman making big moves in Tennessee’s capital. Tell us about your education and your career in law.
Thank you so much for featuring me! It’s completely different for me to be on the other side of the interview, but definitely a good thing. I am an attorney by training. I went to the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga for undergrad, where I received my bachelors in Criminal Justice. I went on to attend law school at the University of Tennessee College of Law. Since graduating, I’ve worked for the State of Tennessee and both for-profit and not-for-profit corporations. My career has primarily focused on health law and contract law.
Wow, that’s an interesting focus! When did you first know that you wanted to practice law?
Ever since I can remember. I specifically remember thinking through strengths, weaknesses, and things I actually liked around the 7th grade. Once, my mind was made up, my mind was made up, and there was no turning back for me.
Mission accomplished! I know the profession is not easy, especially for women of color. What keeps you motivated to advance in your career?
I’d really have to say I believe the sky is the limit. Other people may try to place a ceiling above you, but you can’t allow other people to determine your future. There are many ways to achieve your goals. If the first thing you try doesn’t work, go another route. I don’t have it in me to remain complacent, so I just remain focused on learning the things I need to learn, honing my skills, and moving in a positive direction.
Well, not only are you a successful attorney, you have also made a name for yourself as one of Nashville’s top fashion bloggers! You were even selected as one of 2017’s Nashville’s Black 40 under 40! Congratulations on that by the way, that is huge! What inspired you to start Scales of Style and what can readers expect to find there?
Thanks! To be completely honest, it just kind of happened. A co-worker suggested it, and I decided to give it a try. Really, it was that simple. It’s been a welcomed challenge though from starting the blog itself to scheduling posts to brainstorming about content to balancing my day job, but all-in-all I’ve enjoyed it.
You are so stylish, even in college I remember you always rocked the cutest outfits at the Greek parties! As we move into the fall season I look forward to pulling out my boots and coats! What do you love most about fall fashion?
Thanks again! College tested me since my budget was tiny, but I worked at a clothing store part time for a couple years so the discount helped round my wardrobe out. So, fall fashion: I have a thing for coats so I’d say that’s my favorite thing about fall fashion. You can have on a tee and jeans, but throw a nice coat on top and you’re all set. Especially once it starts getting cooler out, a coat is really the staple piece of any fall outfit. It’s one of those items where you only have a few so you want to be particular about it and choose wisely.
I absolutely miss the days of spending hours in thrift stores and at the mall. What advice do you have for the women who can’t spend much time browsing the store for the new season? Are there any fall must haves that should be in every woman’s closet?
Great, yet tough, question. I don’t have a lot of time to shop either, although I probably do more shopping than the average person, but I completely understand. Generally, I’m all about the basics. Purchase items in basic colors so you can wear the item from year to year without getting tired of it quickly. Also, for your core wardrobe, try to keep it simple. Avoid too many patterns or items that are too trendy, unless you want to rotate the item out quickly. In terms of staple pieces, I recommend a black turtle neck, a pair of riding boots, a pair of tall black boots with a heel, a pair of dark denim jeans, a jean jacket, and a nice coat. Also, think quality over quantity. That doesn’t mean you have to spend an arm and a leg, but try to purchase quality fabrics if you can and you’ll have the item for years to come.
Those are some great tips. I have had some black riding boots that I’ve held on to for years! And I understand that quality does make a difference in the long run. Hopefully I can get these other pieces and have a stylish fall.
Malaka, thank you so much for spending time to give us some inspiration and fashion tips! You are a true testament that women can do it all and look good while doing it! Do you have a favorite quote or words you live by to share with us?
Thanks, Karin! I definitely think we can do anything we put our minds to. It doesn’t mean we’ll do everything well, but you find a way to strike the right balance.
Well said! Everyone, go check out Malaka’s blog Scales of Style and her IG @scalesofstyle for some refreshing inspiration.