Elaine Welteroth Wants You to Break All of the Fashion Rules
The magazine revolutionary-turned-author believes style is a personal choice and right—and that yours should reflect who you are.
The first magazine wunderkind Elaine Welteroth ever created featured "high-fashion girls with severe eyebrows." It was sketched on construction paper that she covered in plastic wrap for a "glossy feel." At the time of its first "publication," she was age 10. In just over a decade, Welteroth's career fantasy came to fruition: She landed an internship at Ebony out of college and became the first African-American beauty-and-health director at Teen Vogue before making history there again, as the youngest and only second African-American editor in chief ever at parent company Condé Nast.
But along the way, she was made to feel she wasn't smart, black, beautiful, old, or fill-in-the-blank enough—and that fueled her frank 2019 memoir, More Than Enough, a manifesto for girls and women everywhere who have been there, felt that. In her book, she explores both her past and present—both of which tie into her style revolution. "I don't abide by the rules when it comes to pretty much anything, and style is no different," says the Northern California native of her bold approach to getting dressed.
Whatever hat Welteroth finds herself wearing next, it will be one that fulfills her, she explains. "Early on, I decided that I wanted to do work that I was passionate about, that made the world a better place, and that made me feel alive." Her career mission statement informs her go-to phrase, which she's developed into a type of personal mantra: "When the world tells you to shrink, expand."
"More Than Enough"
"I wrote this book because I had much more to share with the next generation than I could in a pithy Instagram caption."
Shop Now: More Than Enough, $14.29, amazon.com.
"It fits everything! I joke that it's my Mary Poppins-but-make-it-fashion bag!"
Shop Now: Telfar Large Shopping Bag in Tan, $257, telfar.net.
Sequin Midi Dress
"I love this sparkly, Beyoncé-inspired dress, but most days you'll find me in a bright suit with some flair and my Laurence Dacade white boots," she says, adding that "this sparkly thing gets me in the mood to do a little twirl around a party."
Shop Now: Galvan "Georgette" Sequined Midi Dress, $1,495, net-a-porter.com.
"Classic and simple, they go from daytime to nighttime, Monday through Sunday."
Shop Now: Jennifer Fisher Fine Mini Lilly Hoops, $1,650, jenniferfisherjewelry.com.
"I dab it on the apples of my cheeks and eyelids with my fingertips. It's like a kiss from the sun."
Shop Now: MAC Pro Palette Powder Blush in Loudspeaker, $17, maccosmetics.com.
The New Friendship Bracelet
"I think of it as a 'friendship bracelet' with every woman in my tribe."
Shop Now: ByChari "More Than Enough" Necklace, $65, bychari.com.
"These remind me of 1980s glam."
Shop Now: CB2 "Eve" Coupe Cocktail Glass, $7, cb2.com.
Go-To Nail Polish
"I get this on my hands. Every. Single. Time. We have enough tough decisions to make every day; this one is easy."
Shop Now: CND Vinylux Nail Polish in Romantic, $7.50, target.com.
"It's a magical potion: sophisticated, dark, and mysterious."
Shop Now: Tom Ford Ombré Leather Perfume, from $128, sephora.com.
"I'm blind as a bat; these feel like a natural extension of me."
Shop Now: Warby Parker "Raider" Eyeglasses $145, warbyparker.com.
Cozy Cashmere Kit
"I'm always cold. This sweet cashmere kit keeps me cozy."
Shop Now: Lingua Franca Travel Set, $425, linguafranca.nyc.
"It smells like home: inviting and beautiful."
Shop Now: Cire Trudon Candle, $125, bloomingdales.com.
"Designer Aurora James's shoes have so much personality. They're playful and quirky."
Shop Now: Brother Vellies Black Marabou Lamu Sandals, $285, brothervellies.com.
"It's the best! It absorbs instantly and leaves skin quenched."
Shop Now: Sisley All Day All Year Cream, $410, neimanmarcus.com.