For the caffeine conscious, Dakota’s calming presence is a pleasing juxtaposition to the jolts of java she serves up when running Bleak House Coffee— but letting her warm smile glow from behind the counter isn’t the only time she offers Toledoans tranquility. In between pulls of high-voltage shots of espresso, Dakota finds balance in the yoga studio.
A year and a half ago, Dakota became a registered yoga teacher after completing 200 hours of training with a focus on Buti Yoga, a cardio-intensive practice created by women for women. Now, she spends time at Bleak House and offering classes at The Fitness Shack in Sylvania.
In between? The barista-turned-Buti-yoga-babe maintains her warm smile— it’s just one part of her super-cozy, effortlessly-chic and athleisurely style designed by her desire to stretching sartorial rules.
How does yoga influence your style?
I have a practical eye when it comes to getting ready. I’m always on a mission, and that means not being hindered by my dress. I opt for simple staple pieces that allow ease of movement with pops of color and detail.
How has your style changed since you became more involved in yoga?
I’ve worked my way through different fashion and identity extremes. From being super dolled up at all times— to the point where I didn’t feel comfortable without makeup on— to realizing the negatives of that lifestyle and progressing to a stage of messy hair, no makeup, and minimal accessories. I really started delving deep into my yoga practice around the same time I started running Bleak House Coffee. That was a pivotal time of change for my mentality. Through a heavy dose of reality, I was forced to challenge who I was catering to by dressing certain ways. Now I don’t limit myself to a certain genre or “style.” It sounds corny, but I literally just want to look like me.
Is your studio style different than your street style?
I really like to add elements of my personality into my studio gear. I think it’s fine to workout in whatever is comfortable, but I feel better when I look put together. I would go as far as saying it affects my performance. That being said, it depends on the occasion. At work or a typical day, I will opt for simple, nice, fitted pants and shirts that are easy to move around in— a step above my yoga pants. I also really love getting super dressed up just for the fun of it.
What part of your look have you recently experimented with?
I got bangs; I like them. They add a sense of elegance even to a super casual look.
Accessories vs. makeup. What wins in your routine?
I like to keep it minimal. Maybe some sparkles on my cheeks and eyes and a nice staple pair of earrings. Not much more than that. I’d rather emphasize a healthy glow than cover myself up with anything.
So, do you have a religious skincare routine to keep that healthy glow?
Kind of, but not really. I’m really particular about what I eat. No dairy, it really messes with my complexion. Lots of water/tea. And as far as a regiment, I’m a concoction maker by nature; I love experimenting and making face masks and scrubs. But those things only get you so far. Most importantly, it starts with what you’re putting in your body in the first place.
Lana Del Rey. She’s so cool.
How long does it take for you to get ready on a typical morning?
Well, that’s tricky. The act of getting ready from shower to hair really only takes me maybe 25 minutes. But I’d say it takes me a good hour or more to get out the door. I really believe in being prepared. My crazy/busy lifestyle demands a LOT from my body. I think it is super important to honor it by gifting myself time to do things like eat something healthy, drink lemon water, meditate, and stretch before running out the door.
What inspires you?
I’m inspired by seeing potential in something. It’s limitless what a person has the capacity to do when they have a vision. I live that. The feeling it evokes gives me goosebumps.
What fashion risk do you wish you took sooner?
Not trying to prove anything to anyone but myself.
What type of garment or accessory do you have the most of?
I thought about this for a good minute and I really don’t have that much of anything. I’ve been on a minimalist kick, as of late. If I had to answer, I would say yoga pants and tops.
What makes you feel strong?
Cutting out time to be silent and check in. Self love. Self care.
What do you feel best when wearing?
Heels, a sophisticated dress, dangly earrings, lipstick and good company.
When do you dress your best?
I wear my heart on my sleeve. If I’m feeling good, I’ll put more effort in.
Give us the final verdict: are yoga pants real pants?
I say yes. I’ve seen yoga pants priced upwards of $150. If someone spends that kind of cash on something they’ve earned the right to wear them to the grocery store. I believe people should wear what they want without judgment.