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Black LA Girl: Beach Edition

The 90s were a landmark period for black cinema and etched an indelible mark in style and fashion that persists to this day. TV shows like Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Moesha and A Different World and films like Love Jones and Waiting to Exhale, managed to build out genuine black characters with a just as relatable aesthetic we could all simultaneously believe in and strive to be.

The characters ranged from Lisa in Fresh Prince (WIll’s girlfriend played by Nia Long), the sensible homie you need to anchor any group, to Dionne in Clueless (you hate to see it) the carefree aesthete whose only worry was tomorrow’s outfit. 

Los Angeles served as the backdrop to many of these films and shows (Clueless, Boyz N the Hood, Jackie Brown, Moesha, Saved By the Bell, etc.) providing a platform for black LA girl style to be projected on screens across the country and influence fashion at large.

The LA girl is able to keep a seasonless wardrobe, which allows her the flexibility to take chances in how she mixes and matches her outfits year-round. Remember, she conceived the mini skirt + Uggs look. She does what she wants, when she wants, and doesn't understand the word "no." She's always "10 minutes away," and shows up looking like her outfit could've either been assembled from the clothes she found in her trunk or handpicked and put on ice for this moment. 

Notably missing from the dialogue, however, is the black LA beach girl - yes, we exist, no, we aren’t mermaids. As a black LA beach girl myself, I remember anxiously waiting for the summer episodes of the aforementioned shows in which the casts inevitably descended upon some castaway beach situation and had to find a way out. That was the closest we got to seeing them at the beach. After scouring the Internet, I’m comfortable pointing out that The Fresh Prince of Bel Air didn’t even have a beach episode?! For context, Bel Air is ~30 minutes from Santa Monica! I hope someone can correct me on this. I do specifically remember Lisa Turtle from Saved By the Bell generously providing all the beach vibes at the summer clubhouse they’d always be at. 

Here are some epic looks from this formative period in black fashion and how the black LA beach girl would put her spin on them.

Which black beach girl are you? 

Down to Earth

Comfort comes first, but never at the expense of looking goodt. Booked and busy, including lunch meetings, you still have a flare for flash.

Can’t be out here looking busted!

  

Update the classic sporty vibe with a swimsuit top and basketball shorts.

& don't forget your chancletas! You never know where the day will take you.

Cheetah bikini top, $14.50; Nike shorts, $30

Whimsical / “La-La”

Anything is possible. You mix and match trends, grabbing and going because anything works when you’re you! You live in the clouds where weather doesn’t exist and neither do "other peoples' rules." 

“Awww the milk went bad when I was in jail.” - Jackie Brown 

 

Pair bright chunky sneakers with an exaggerated, flouncy dress and take yourself out for tacos. You never have cash on you but you know how to find someone who does!

If you can dream it, it's yours. A laid-back Marie Antoinette, who would have thought!

Smock Dress, $135; Tiger Chucks, $90 (on sale at Converse for $54.97)

On The Scene

Busy being timeless so really don’t have the time. Simple, elegant and always at the function.

You are the foremuva of the 2000s video vixen, & you act like it.

  

Snakeskin pants and mesh top are easy grab-and-go options that go well with seemingly anything.

Don't worry about clashing, that's the point! Let them be mad they didn't come up with it first!

 

All clothing available on ASOS.com 

Photography: Betty Asmerom (@be.tee.ehl)
Stylist Assistant: Helen Tedla (@ilovehelu)

IG accounts to follow for more black beach girl inspo: @sdirshe, @tza.rina@brianaking, @shionat, @surfghana

Which black beach girl are you?

Can you think of other black beach girls in popular culture? Leave a comment below!

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