The Look

Houston Style Setter: Andrea Baldwin

The communication professor on embracing her natural beauty and how to project confidence.

By Emily Juhasz March 28, 2017

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Andrea Baldwin isn't your average college professor. The lecturer in communication for the University of Houston-Clear Lake and creator of the one-woman show Lone Star Feminist is nothing short of sassy and her style is a direct reflection of her Texas-sized spirit.  

Describe yourself in five words.

Hilarious, honest, self-deprecating, classic and beautiful.

Self-deprecating is my favorite of all of those words. If you’re true to yourself you know that sometimes life is weird and awkward. I feel like life is too short to not do that. If we take ourselves too seriously we miss out on all the fun.

How would you describe your style?

I would describe my style as classic with trends from different decades. A friend once said I look a bit decade ambiguous. I try to stick with some of the latest trends but I don’t completely commit to them either. When I was younger I used to commit to all the trends but by time I committed, a new trend came along and my wardrobe became obsolete. I learned that if I stayed in the middle of the road then I could veer into some of the hot trends.

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Who are some of your biggest style inspirations?

I am inspired by Tracee Ellis Ross and am slightly obsessed with her Instagram. Mostly, I find solidarity with her hair. She always wears wide leg pants with a bright bold color or neutral makeup with a bright bold lip. Her style is always slightly understated with one bold accent. What speaks to me is that that kind of look is interchangeable. I love that kind of flexibility.

We have serious hair envy. Talk to us about embracing your natural curls.

The only regret I have with my natural hair is that I didn’t wear it natural sooner. I didn’t really embrace my curly hair when I was younger. I think like a lot of other people I always thought it was supposed to be straight. Prior to me going natural, I didn’t know how to start or where to begin with wearing my hair curly. Thank goodness for YouTube University! I watched some videos and learned how to fully embrace my natural hair. Now, I enjoy wearing my hair really, really big.

Do you have a specific experience that molded your style?

I was in my mid-twenties. I had just finished my undergraduate degree and was about to go for my master's. I started working for a state agency. I always loved dressing up and since this was my first real job I figured I would play the part. People said to me, “you don’t have to dress up like that, it’s just a job.” To me it felt like I couldn’t be the best version of myself. After that experience, I sort of rebelled by wearing whatever I wanted, within reason. I still had the business attire but was now throwing in different trends like chunky accent necklaces or big boho bags. I did this because it is what made me feel comfortable and confident in my job.

Can you bring your style to the office now?

I had to tone my style down a little bit at first but now I’m getting more comfortable in my environment at UHCL. It took a minute for me to get to where I am, but if you can express yourself you’re going to be much more productive because you're not stifling your creativity.

What is one product you always carry on you no matter what?

Benefit's Roller Lash is everything. My friend recommended it and said, “I think it's going to change your life.” And it has. I have one in my house, one in my office, and I keep one in my car. It does all of things you want it to do. It makes your lashes super long and it is also long lasting. I swear by it. I also always have Lemony Flutter lotion from Lush. It’s the best and a little bit goes a long way.

What are some of your favorite places in Houston to shop?

Emerson Rose in the Heights. They have beautiful products and feature a lot of Texas artists. They’re moderately priced, have incredible sales and, on occasion, mimosas. I’m very charmed by this store. Also on occasion I like to visit Chloe Dao. She creates beautiful lines and does amazing things for a woman's body.

What is the best advice you can give to readers about style?

Two things: inspiration is everywhere and confidence is your best accessory. Everything around us is formulating our identity. If you note that something speaks to you or inspires you it’s probably wanting you to have a dialogue with it. Be open to the inspirations around you when formulating your own style. And lastly, confidence is literally the best accessory you can wear. It’s cliché but it’s so true. 

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