Style

A Week of Outfits: Grace Ouma-Cabezas

A Week of Outfits: Grace Ouma-Cabezas

Harlem-based Grace Ouma-Cabezas, the VP of digital marketing at Food52, has figured out an approach to workwear: bright lipstick, simple tops and comfortable pants. “Tracee Ellis Ross is my style icon,” she says. “My style isn’t like hers, but I like how she keeps things fresh and has a lot of fun.” Here are five outfits Grace wears in a week…

A Week of Outfits: Grace Ouma-Cabezas

Striped shirt: Gap. Pants: Zara, similar. Necklace: Afrohemien. Boots: Journee Collection.

“I really like boatneck shirts; I have boxy shoulders so a shirt like this softens that a bit. And I wear wide-leg pants to meetings or any business-y things. They’re very, very comfortable. Early in my career, I just wanted to look like a grown-up and fool people that I knew what I was doing. Now I feel more creative and that I can take more risks. I’m also really interested in supporting small makers, particularly women of color or people in Africa.”

A Week of Outfits: Grace Ouma-Cabezas

T-shirt: Okay Africa. Skirt: Zara, similar. Necklace: Afrohemien.

“I found this T-shirt on a website I follow called Okay Africa. I like pairing statement tees with a skirt or nicer pants; it’s a great contrast and you get to sneak in a little more of yourself.”

A Week of Outfits: Grace Ouma-Cabezas

“The Africa necklace is from Afrohemien Jewelry. My family is from Kenya, so I love wearing it. I wear this a lot, especially every time I have an important meeting, conference or panel. It’s grounding. You’re going into so many spaces where you’re the only person who looks like you, so I always want to have something that represents me in that space. It’s my good luck charm.”

A Week of Outfits: Grace Ouma-Cabezas

Vest: H&M, similar. Shirt: Vintage, similar. Pants: Zara, similar. Necklace: Afrohemien. Booties: Aerosoles.

“I’ve gotten more into recipes after working at Food52. I was raised by a mom who worked a lot, so she did all her cooking on Sundays. I’ll cook everything on Sunday, too, and we are happy to eat the same meal all week. This week, I made a roasted vegetable baked pasta dish, and I also cook a lot of Kenyan food so I don’t lose that muscle. I love curries and lentil stews and chapatis. I’ll never make it as well as most women in my family, but I try! It’s close enough for my husband because he didn’t grow up eating it.”

A Week of Outfits: Grace Ouma-Cabezas

Vest: H&M, similar. T-shirt: FashionNova. Jeans: FashionNova. Necklace: Afrohemien. Booties: Aerosoles.

“I wear color on my lips every day — usually pink, red or purple. It can be tough to find a nude for my skin tone, but two women of color started their own lipstick line — Mented Cosmetics — that’s all nudes. I love that company.”

A Week of Outfits: Grace Ouma-Cabezas

These FashionNova jeans have really good stretch and feel comfortable. It can be hard to find narrow waist jeans that still have room for ass! These fit really well. Old Navy’s rockstar jeans also fit particularly well with that hip/waist/booty proportion!”

A Week of Outfits: Grace Ouma-Cabezas

Sweatshirt: FashionNova. Skirt: Zara, similar. Necklace: Afrohemien. Flats: Rothy’s.

“This is more of a Saturday night outfit. I love Harlem, and my husband and I do a lot of date nights in the neighborhood. We recently went to a speakeasy jazz club that was the first place Ella Fitzgerald performed. My husband and I actually first met at a bar. I looked over and saw a guy smiling and laughing and telling a story, and I thought, he looks nice. I just walked up to him and made him restart the story he was telling. And then he retold the story, and I was like, ‘By the way, my name is Grace.'”

Thank you, Grace!

P.S. More women share their weeks of outfits, including an antiques dealer in Maine and an architecture professor in Toronto.

(Photos by Christine Han for Cup of Jo.)

  1. Freddie says...

    She’s so beautiful! I don’t see “boxy shoulders”, just her gorgeous face.

  2. Molly says...

    Love this week of outfits! I just bought some yellow pants with a tie belt like Grace’s, and they make me feel bold and confident. This whole week gives me some ideas for boosting my style and giving it a little more personalization and pop!

  3. Elise says...

    Stunning… Grace, you glow with confidence. Totally taking some style (and baller-move) notes!

  4. S says...

    Such a simple outfit formula that looks so polished! Something I’ve been looking for!! Grace is beautiful. I love that red vest look!

  5. Mary says...

    Okay, this genius trifecta of a bright lip, simple top, and comfortable pants is the style guidance I’ve been searching for my whole adult life. Thank you, Grace, you glow.

    • Claire says...

      What a perfect compliment. She really does glow.

    • Kathryn L-B says...

      Me too! Thank you, Grace!

  6. Janna says...

    I totally see the Tracee Ellis Ross influence! It is that artsy, yet highly polished and joyful vibe. I love this a lot. I wish had shoulders like yours! I always feel like the looks I love do not work for me, because I have the hips and the thighs, but no shoulders whatsoever.

    Wonderful inspo!

  7. Mérat says...

    I love those jeans on the first photo; you look so comfortable and kind. I love that you use like a talisman for your work meetings; over the year I have developed a collection and theu just help me go through life! (my grandmother’s ring, a mexican shawl, a very old underwear, a pair of leather shoes that always look good).

  8. Silver says...

    Your Saturday night date outfit is the best – you look so gorgeous.

  9. Jackie says...

    Wow I love her.

  10. Jenna says...

    What a CUTIE! So stylish, yet fun and approachable. Also, I am so glad you are showcasing someone from Food52! Besides being a glorious resource for recipes, their writers are SUPERB. I love all the essays and come back several times a week to see who has written about what.

  11. f says...

    Love your easy style and smile! And your hair is so pretty… My goodness, what a fun story on how you met your husband!

  12. Blythe says...

    YES GRACE! I also met my husband in a bar and walked up to him.

  13. MJ says...

    Love this profile! Grace is stunningly beautiful and I love her style. Okay, after Grace’s lovely comment about how she met her husband — could we please see a photo of Grace with her husband? Maybe in their fave jazz club? They sound like a fun couple…. Thanks so much!

  14. trish says...

    so much happy and love in this piece and i love her grounding pieces and how they help, thank you for sharing!!

  15. Laura says...

    What a beautiful lady! I feel that our styles match so much- very relatable! I love seeing all the wardrobes on here for inspiration and to admire, but there’s something so oddly surprising about meeting your style mirror- almost like a ‘hey there, friend!’. What a lovely post. Thanks!

  16. Elle says...

    She’s got great, relatable style and the last story left me smiling for hours.

  17. Ceridwen says...

    Love her style! Great approach too with the lipstick, nice top and comfy pants. I’m starting to understand that having a formula helps. I am back at work today and was thinking “what wear, what to wear?” Then I saw this post, and boom…outfit decision made. I’m wearing pretty much the same outfit Grace is in pic 1. Feeling good. Thank you Grace!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      aww, we need a pic!

  18. kat says...

    Inspiring! I’m off to look for a duster-length vest now :)

  19. Steph says...

    Regarding the critical waist-hips-booty ratio: RIP Levi’s Slight, Demi, Bold, and Supreme Curve line. That was my denim solution for years but then they discontinued it. The salesperson tried to tell me they switched to making more of their denim include stretch and that people were just as happy with it, but I’m back to feeling like a sausage :(

    • Kat says...

      I am SO with you on this! Their supreme curve was such a confidence booster for me! It’s like they took a moment to acknowledge people with different body types only to be, like, psych—you don’t actually matter :(

      I’ve since found Wit & Wisdom (@nordstroms) & Athleta’s jeans do ok with the waist-hip ratio.

    • Danielle says...

      American Eagle curvy jeans are so good! Highly recommend even if it means braving a store full of teenagers. The price point is great and the brand is very inclusive. The curvy tomgirl are also great if you are looking for more of a straight leg.

    • Seconding! I had at least 3 pairs of these Levi’s and have been slowly wearing them all out past the point of repair. I have one left (in white), and every time they get worn and dirty, I panic! (it’s even worse than finding out a favorite lipstick has been discontinued and you’re sparingly using your last nub…though I’ve been searching for a dupe for a specific Clinique color for like 5 years with no luck, either. ;”'(

  20. Lauren E. says...

    YES to a narrow waist and a big butt!! Looking for wide leg pants as we speak.

  21. I feel inspired to go out and buy so many vests, right now.

  22. Liz says...

    I echo all the high praise and compliments for Grace and her style. She seems like such a fantastic person in all the ways.

    I was disappointed, though, to see FashionNova in the links, as they are under investigation for withholding almost 4 million in wages from their already impoverished and likely majority female garment workers. Just google FashionNova and sweatshop. The New York Times has done an recent investigation. FashionNova is brutal both to its work force and as, mega fast fashion, the planet.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thank you for this note, liz! we had no idea and i’m going to look into this now.

  23. Jodie says...

    Amen to “It can be hard to find narrow waist jeans that still have room for ass!” I love this series and its diversity. Keep it up!

  24. Kim says...

    I love Mented too! They make beautiful nude lipsticks in perfect shades for darker skin. Dope Taupe has been my go-to for the past year or so.

  25. Kate says...

    What a gorgeous woman! Thank you for supporting businesses in Africa, our continent really is the future and we have lots of young people who desperately need and deserve employment.

  26. Fiona says...

    love love love! I think I found my new fashion icon – also Grace, thanks so much for the hip-waist-booty suggestions, that’s my black hole of doom.

  27. Meghan says...

    She’s radiant!

  28. Amelia says...

    But what was the story that your husband was telling? It sounds good!

    • Grace says...

      Funny you should ask! He had gone out dancing the previous weekend, was dancing with a women with long hair and her hair got stuck in his vest buttons. He had to give the women his entire vest to detangle her hair in the background. After 20 minutes he thought it was gone forever, but then she came back. He (unsuccessfully) tried to get her number after that and it was awkward. It was just so funny I’m glad I made him repeat it!

  29. Melissa says...

    “You’re going into so many spaces where you’re the only person who looks like you, so I always want to have something that represents me in that space. It’s my good luck charm.”

    Loved every word of this interview! Thank you Grace!

    • So much yes to that! Found myself nodding in agreement.

      Side note, Joanna, have you read any of the 21 stories of walking away in the New York Times this week? “I Quit My Job After a Particularly Good Beach Day” is so so so good.

  30. Anna says...

    Love seeing these posts.

  31. Claire says...

    Grace, I love your style! And I couldn’t help but think how fun it would be to hang out with you: your quotes were so kind, friendly, and thoughtful.

    I like your pops of color and dedication to comfortable but stylish clothes. (Especially that third outfit with the gorgeous gold pants and the fifth one with pops of lipstick.)

    I’m early in my career and want to feel professional but also like myself. I typically wear skinny jeans or corduroys in dark colors (black, dark green, navy) and dressier shirts or sweaters. It feels comfortable but just dressy enough for my job in a school working with students and their tutors all day!

    And thanks for sharing your food ideas and pops of Africa. Your necklace is beautiful!

  32. Kari says...

    Yes to a wide leg pant!! I always feel so powerful and chic in a wide leg pant at work. Everyone’s gotta have a power outfit, right? :)

  33. Hannah says...

    Love the lipstick! That’s been my M.O. as a toddler mom: I may be wearing the same striped shirt for the 3rd day in a row, but I can change my lipstick ;)

    • Pigeon says...

      Hi five from another toddler mom who likes to wear lipstick! (My toddler always looks at me and exclaims “you got a red mouth!”)

  34. Audrey says...

    what a stunner and such effortless style!!

  35. Jay says...

    I love her style and taste in online stores. I bookmarked a few. Thanks, Grace!

  36. janine says...

    LOVE her style — I think I have a similar style/philosophy. And I met my husband in a bar, too — I was the one talking to a friend and he was sitting next to us quietly chuckling at our conversation so we just started including him.

  37. Cynthia says...

    Love the yellow pants!

  38. Victoria says...

    Favorite week of outfits yet! Aspirational and accessible! Would love a house tour from Grace too!

  39. liz says...

    wish I looked that cool in liptstick! swooon

  40. Maranda says...

    I think the Week of Outfits series is one of my favorites from this blog! I LOVED the third outfit (with the yellow paperbag pants). I immediately went and bought the similar pair from J Crew that was listed. It’s a step outside of my fashion comfort zone, but it was love at first sight and I’m excited to try something new!

  41. Laura J says...

    Grace, love your style & your smile!

  42. A. N. says...

    yeeeesss, Grace! major claps for this woman’s style, affordability of her SUPER cute outfits, and confidence. gonna go spruce up some of my outfits based on this post – thanks!

  43. Cynthia says...

    Her radiant smile sets off each outfit. I like her style.

  44. CaraM says...

    I think this is the first post that really just feels like me in terms of style, budget, and body type! I would honestly wear any of these items and also have similar things in my wardrobe currently. I also love wide leg trouser style jeans and find it difficult to find jeans that accommodate a narrow waist but fuller butt. My go-to is currently American Eagle Curvy Highest Rise flare jeans. They fit like a dream, even compared to more expensive jeans. Grace is gorgeous and I love her tips about wearing bright lipstick and cooking on Sundays! Thank you Cup of Jo for always featuring amazing women!

    • Claire says...

      Yes! Love your point about the budget. I’m early in my career and living on an AmeriCorps stipend. I totally would love to invest in some more expensive pieces, but for now will take what I can find at consignment stores (I’ve found two Equipment sweaters this month for under $20!). I really appreciated Grace’s budget-friendly yet equally beautiful style. It would be great to see some other posts like this, too!

  45. Andrea M. says...

    Gorgeous woman killing it in all the outfits….such great style!!

  46. jeannie says...

    Grace, you have such a great smile and seem so grounded! I love these outfits, especially that they seem relaxed and comfortable, but still look put together and fashionable. Gorgeous! (I also love the story of how you approached your future husband.)

  47. Ingrid says...

    Brb, going to buy wide leg pants!

  48. Lizzy says...

    I love Grace’s style! (and I love food 52; it’s fun to see a different dimension of one of their team!)

  49. Outfits look amazing! She looks super confident and ready to take on the week!

  50. Sarah says...

    Looove that outfit with the fashionNova sweatshirt! Also love the colors in all the outfits!

  51. Beth says...

    Joining in the chorus to say how beautiful inside and out Grace looks. I love her style and it seems like something I could aspire to while still being unique to her. Thank you for sharing this wonderful woman with us!

  52. Chrissie says...

    Walking up to a cute stranger (saw him on her instagram- he’s v. Cute) and asking him to restart his story is such a baller move!! Grace is so cool! Would love to hear more from her!!

    • Tesia says...

      Second this!

  53. She just looks like such a nice person! I want to meet her :)

  54. Soppu says...

    So moved upon reading this yesterday; love the whole vibe, the colours, the ideas, the person. Re-reading this morning I felt it was probably because I felt represented. Africa with a touch of Asia, a light-hearted sense of humour, the sensitivity to colour; things I usually feel are profoundly part of the Indian Ocean island I’m from. Tons of love to Grace-Ouma, plus thanks CoJ for the awesome work in general, the interview in particular, and the affection for (cosmopolitan) NYC. x

  55. Jen says...

    I love a ballet neck but always have visible bra straps because I *have* to wear a bra. Grace is likely wearing a strapless. Any suggestions for a comfortable strapless for the very well endowed (and pendulous to boot) among us? Thx!

    • Claire says...

      Just go for it! I’m larger chested, too and just keep tucking the bra straps to the side. Or try to find something thinner-strapped? I also read a post on COJ a while back just embracing bra straps a la the French, vs hiding them!

  56. Jessica says...

    Absolutely lovely woman and outfits – those yellow trousers especially!

  57. Kristin says...

    wow sé allt inspired by her style and confidence; loved the story about how she met her husband!
    All the best to you beautiful lady!

  58. jilly says...

    she made me remember how much i loved boatnecks in my youth. i will have to look for them again. i always enjoy this feature, but this is the first one in awhile that i relate to.

    also, does anybody else want her baked pasta and vegetable recipe?

  59. That piece of art on the wall behind Grace in the 4th photo down is so intriguing. Does anyone know who did it? And Grace’s style in general is wonderful.

    • Grace says...

      My husband got it at a street vendor stall in Higuey in the Dominican Republic – can’t recall the artist unfortunately but I’ve asked him to scour his brain :)

  60. Anne says...

    You are just stunning! I’m here for this.

  61. Cutest meet-cute moment ever!

  62. Sara says...

    Grace, you are radiant! And that long red vest outfit might be my favorite one on CoJ ever. All of your outfits and comments about them just click for me and scream YES. Thank you so much! I’m three months postpartum with my third baby and your bright lipstick fun shirt jeans combo just gave me such clarity.

  63. Tara says...

    I love your style and wanting to represent the real you everyday! A home tour would be great as well.

  64. Allyson says...

    Love her style! Casual but polished. Makes me want to buy a vest, too!

  65. “By the way, my name is Grace.” The perfect, coolest thing to say. So subtle but clearly effective! Love her mix of styles too. :)

  66. Caitlin says...

    Wow I loved this week of outfits! So inspiring! Grace, you are beautiful inside and out!

  67. Leanne says...

    OMG GRACE!!! I love her seeing her on CofJ. I worked with her eons ago and Grace always dressed with such an amazing fun style – I was always jealous. But TBH its all carried off by her infectiously positive attitude – I think that’s what allows her to pull off any style and has you smiling when you are around her. Grace is the full package!

    • Grace says...

      LEANNE! So great to “see” you here! Thanks so much, I learned so much from you btw :)

  68. Clare says...

    Love everything about this! I feel so energized by her words.

  69. Tovah says...

    I love these outfits so much!

  70. Susan says...

    Grace is adorable! Love seeing her style and hearing her thoughts. I too wear a necklace/good luck charm. It keeps me grounded in that it reminds me of what’s truly important to me. Grace, I love your smile! Love Food 52 too, and now I’ll think of you when I visit!

  71. t says...

    Great style and I especially love the reminder about white privilege when Grace said she is “going into so many spaces where you’re the only person who looks like you…”

    We have all had that experience and it can be overwhelming. I can only imagine what it feels like on the daily.

    • Gennifer G says...

      That hit me too! I’m in the medical field and sometimes I have to present to large groups of physicians, which is not a diverse group in the area I live. I’ve been told I look/act calm and confident while doing it but I feel so intimidated most of the time as young WOC. I know I need to not let it bother me, I’m working on it, but seeing Grace mentioning it has given me a tiny bit more hope I can overcome this hurdle.

      On a superficial note: I love how these outfits are all different. She seems to meld a sorts of styles into her personal style. Just goes to show you don’t have to be limited to only boho, minimal, preppy etc. And I have major heart eyes for that haircut.

  72. Kathleen Ouma says...

    My last name is Ouma too! My husband is also from Kenya but this is the first time I see someone with my last name! Beautiful pictures Grace!

    • Grace says...

      Haha wow! Always fun to find another Ouma :)

  73. Julie says...

    “You’re going into so many spaces where you’re the only person who looks like you, so I always want to have something that represents me in that space. ” This is brilliant. You are beautiful and I want to buy everything you are wearing!

  74. Rachael says...

    What a lovely woman, and agree with her love of a wide-leg power pant! Also, am thrilled to see some items from stores we have up here in London, Ontario!

  75. K says...

    I love her style! It’s inspiring me to wear more colors, since I have settled into my classic midwest winter wardrobe of black, grey, and grey stripes :)

    Also… what a lovely smile.

  76. Mwis says...

    Yay to a Kenyan girl!!Love your style Grace esp the jewellery.Umeturepresent vizuri sana;))

    • Grace says...

      yasss!

  77. Carol says...

    Grace has a great easy-going style!!!

  78. Dimity says...

    You look amazing, love every outfit. And I so would not say you have boxy shoulders! I think maybe that’s one of those things you think about yourself that no one else notices… Also love the story of how you met your husband. Go you.

  79. Michelle says...

    I love her style! My everyday is pretty simple and repetitive but that doesn’t have to mean boring.

  80. MCM says...

    Love her bold pants! Has me thinking about skinny jean alternatives…

  81. jill says...

    Broken record here, but looooove the story of meeting her husband. <3
    She seems awesome in every way.

  82. Rae says...

    Inspiring outfits with great colors– love those yellow pants. My favorite part is the post is the story of how Grace met her husband. He clearly knew a good opportunity when one came his way!

  83. celeste says...

    Love the lipstick and the husband story. I’d wear the tshirt/skirt combo.

  84. Calla says...

    This is so lovely! I have the same problem with jeans, I might have to check out the old navy ones. Also love the story of how she and her husband met, I don’t know if I’ve ever been that bold but it makes me want to be!

  85. Elizabeth Bumpers says...

    I love her style, but she’s one of those people who could wear absolutely anything and look still amazing. Her outfits are almost irrelevant. She has that rare combination of being both stunning and approachable. How lucky she is to get to wear that smile every single day!!

  86. K says...

    Love that so many of her clothes are within financial reach! Grace is beautiful and her style is so approachable. Great feature!

  87. Laney says...

    Love her style and am going to try and replicate some of these looks – especially that perfect boatneck tee and killer Saturday night outfit!

    I also loved the story of the necklace being her good luck charm and a nod to representing herself in spaces where she’s often the only person of color.

    • Em says...

      Best style, best fits, best inspiration. Loved everything she wore and the way she wore it.

  88. Elizabeth R says...

    You are beautiful and I love so much about your look and your nods to your heritage. Unrelated: where is the chair from in your last photo? Thanks for sharing with us!

    • Grace says...

      Hi Elizabeth! I got the chair for Wayfair, probably about 2 years ago.

  89. EJ says...

    Love her range of style! She pulls off so many different looks but makes each one look her own. Beautiful!

  90. Kate M says...

    I love that Gap boatneck tee! I have three in different colors.

    • shannon says...

      Me too! They went on super clearance and I bought 5 in different color stripes, white, and black. The fabric is thick, soft, and fitted so it feels like wearing a hug.

  91. Abbie says...

    Love her style and her story of meeting her husband!!!

  92. Lauren P. says...

    That last outfit is the absolute coolest, and I really love her account of how she met her husband! Brilliant!

  93. S says...

    She’s so beautiful! I appreciate that more of these clothes are in an affordable price range but I’m trying to stay away from Zara. Still I’ll be on the lookout for wide legged pants like this in the first picture.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes! here are some from loft that are very similar: http://bit.ly/2GfdZNO

    • Tovah says...

      Check out the Everlane version of this pant style, my absolute favorite. Perfect fit and sustainably/ethically produced.

    • Beth says...

      Have a look at Joanie – it’s a really cool, slightly vintage vibe UK online store. I’ve got some similar trousers from there – think they are called Dietrich Crop Pants. Come up ever so slightly shorter but are really comfy and flattering.

  94. Tiffany Cain says...

    Sooo cute! Love, love her style!

  95. Katherine says...

    Love her ease and pops of color! What a cute meeting story – I admire her confidence ☺️

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i LOVE their meeting story! she sounds so bold! when we were chatting, she laughed and said, “i was young and still cool.” haha

  96. samantha bodamer says...

    Her first outfit is perfection! I’ve been trying to recreate this on my own- but am having issues with the- sorry for lack of better words- the FUPA. I wish i could pull off a tucked in look! If any readers have suggestions to flatter the area I am def all ears. I am leaning towards embracing it more.

    These loft ones seem like a nice option. i also found pants from Loup NYC that are pretty flattering and hope to try! Definitely inspired now. xx

    • Calla says...

      Embrace it! I know it is not easy, but every time I see someone who carries weight around their middle wearing high waisted bottoms and trendy clothes all I can think about is how cool they look and the self-assurance they project. Kelsey Miller has a great article about this
      https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/vbo-plus-size-positivity