Photo: Jamar Stephens

Photo: Jamar Stephens

Afiya Francisco is a Style Expert, television and fashion personality, speaker, and brand ambassador. The Style House is a multimedia platform designed to help women approach their personal style with confidence, simplicity & joy. 

Alia Ahmed-Yahia



I have been known to either be in workout sneakers (when I’m working out) or heels… There is no in between for me.

Chief Style Director, LOFT

Personality: Kate Moss. Album: Empire of The Sun. Designer: Yves Saint Laurent. Colour: Navy. Astrological Sign: Taurus.

Alia earned her fashion cred with an impressive background that includes editorial posts at top tier magazines, including ELLE, Vitals & Vanity Fair. Today she continues to offer expert advice through curated style ideas for every LOFT collection. Proving that style does not need to be had at a big budget, the style setter chats about her personal style with The Style House.

Do you prefer to dress for an occasion or for everyday?

I tend to wear what I love regardless of where the day will take me!  I've been known to wear a sequin dress for day and dressed up silk pj pants for night! I don't believe in "reserving pieces" in your closet for special occasions.  My favorite clothes make me happy and when you look great – you feel great! Obviously, you have to take into consideration when you need to be appropriate but I think adding a bit of dressed up to your everyday keeps your wardrobe interesting!

Would you rather be overdressed or underdressed?

If you dress in layers I find you usually fall somewhere in the middle.  I probably skew on the side of overdressed just because I love to add daytime sparkle into my look in shoes and jewelry but if you wear it in confidence and own your personal style no one notices if you followed the dress code!


Do you have a signature style or do you prefer keep 'em guessing?

I definitely change up my look often…I dress with my mood and am very inspired by projects we are working on at LOFT.  If we are putting together a sparkle and lace story…somehow I am subconsciously inspired and end up wearing a lot of sparkle and lace during that timeframe.  I am experimental and impulsive in that way…if I see someone interesting on the street or in a magazine wearing something in a new or cool way I'm inspired to try my own take on the look.

Your all-time favourite outfits:

That's like choosing a favorite child!  Hmm…I will say I fall into "moments" in my life where I can't stop wearing a piece and it sneaks into my look a few times a week.  Right now it’s these amazing black sequin pants from LOFT.  They look great dressed up with a camp blouse and statement necklace for a night out and very cool with a stripe t-shirt and heels as well… Also, I think some of my favorite looks this season haven't happened yet!  I love to merchandise my closet every season…you would be surprised how you can create inspiration for new looks just by organizing your closet differently.  I put "outfit ideas" together in my closet rather than organize by tops, pants, skirts…it helps me mix up what I already own and think of new interesting looks.

Your top 3 celeb style moments:

Many celebrities are stylish and so are the stylists behind them but to be honest I am more inspired by stylish real women.  I love blogs and people watching…the streets of NYC (where our offices are located) are amazing for just watching what women are wearing.  A lot of celeb style tends to be red carpet or über casual denim based… Some of the most interesting and chic style I see comes from everyday women who love fashion and take more risks.

What would you buy with an unexpected windfall?

I am a high/low shopper.  No one is reinventing their closet every season so it's important to identify what pieces you love, what trends you want to try and add basics as layering staples.  I am also a HUGE accessories lover…Statement is the word for me in jewelry.  I love large interesting necklaces and earrings especially.  You can wear them back to a very casual look like a sweater and jeans and the look is instantly stylish with just a bold piece of jewelry and great shoe.  

Heels or flats?


Will you suffer for fashion or should it be comfortable? Is there an occasion that you will break this rule?

Fashion should be wearable.  The great news about all the innovation in fashion is that trends you love are designed in wearable ways for a woman on-the-go.  There is the occasional piece that while somewhat unrealistic for daily life ­– you just can't help yourself! 

Always stylish or does even fashion need to take a break? Any exceptions?

Fashion definitely has its moments so I can’t say that 24-hours a day I'm rocking a heel and sequin top… But I have been known to either be in workout sneakers (when I'm working out) or heels…There is no in between for me.

Team Anna (Wintour) or Team Carine (Roitfeld)?

I support all great women in fashion.  New and great ideas come from everywhere!

Style Notes: Colin Cowie