I’d only seen her in passing on the streets of New York City, but got the opportunity to meet Mikki Taylor – former beauty & cover director for Essence – earlier this month at her book launch & cocktail event. After our brief, but really sweet, exchange I was so taken aback by Mikki’s awesome energy and great style that I instantly knew she had a hit on her hands with this timeless book.

Commander in Chic: Every Woman’s Guide to Managing Her Style Like a First Lady (Atria Books; $26.99) comes at a time when women – black, white and everything in between – are looking to define their personal style, which many of us struggle with. Mikki is considered a lifestyle & beauty expert (among other well-earned titles) so she is more than qualified to give us her take on how to become the chicest lady in the room while having a style that’s all your own.

What was your goal in writing this book?

Simply put, I want every woman to be the “Commander in Chic” of her life. I want to see us all own our lives and master style with distinction. I used Mrs. Obama as a muse to empower women everywhere to do so – from mastering great style from within to establishing a wardrobe of bankable pieces and a signature look. It is my goal to see women utilize the book like a personal style diary – one where they’ll find the kind of guidance that takes the guess work out of what works on a multiplicity of subjects, among them:

– Where and when to shop and what to buy.

– Must-have accessories with timeless appeal.

– Great makeup finds and savvy application how-to’s.

– Targeted hair care, performance-driven tools and styling aids.

– Prime hand and nail care.

– Physical wellness and core fitness practices at every age.

– Mental and spiritual empowerment.

What advice would you give a woman who struggles to define her personal style?

Know that it’s about coining a look that works for you based on who you are and how you live your life. Remember style is a form of self-expression and so it really comes down to what you want to communicate. To understand your personal style code, ask yourself, what predominant style sensibility am I comfortable with? How would you define it? Classic? Elegant? Boho? Edgy? Once you establish your style-persona, shop accordingly and above all, remain true to yourself.

How do you define your own personal style?

I define my style as “classic with a twist.” I’m clear about what works for me and what doesn’t. My look is based on a modern, chic and effortless sensibility that keeps pace with my busy, always-on-the-go lifestyle. 90% of my wardrobe consists of great dresses, which make getting dressed an effortless affair. The balance is composed of smart separates that allow me to work them to new perfection just by a change of accessories.

Click here to get even more amazing advice from Mikki Taylor and learn what your fashion & beauty do’s & don’ts should be!

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