Nature lover Nyjah Cephas on overalls, homemade earrings, and channeling Ms. Frizzle | Fashion | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Nature lover Nyjah Cephas on overalls, homemade earrings, and channeling Ms. Frizzle

Clothes Make … Frick Environmental Center and Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy Naturalist Educator Nyjah Cephas

click to enlarge Nyjah Cephas - CP PHOTO: TERENEH IDIA
CP Photo: Tereneh Idia
Nyjah Cephas

Nyjah Cephas
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers
Title: Naturalist Educator with Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy
Job/Work: Outdoor Education at Frick Environmental Center
How would you define your style?
I guess I'd describe it as a farm mom core with lots of patterns. I totally say that as a joke, but I also think it's kind of the perfect description. Lots of overalls, high-waisted jeans, and long dresses, but I love to incorporate stripes and floral patterns. And I love a good funky pair of socks. But doesn’t everybody?

Who are your style inspirations?
The first person that comes to mind is actually Ms. Frizzle [from childrens’ TV show The Magic School Bus]. I love how she always coordinates the lesson theme with her dresses! I remember there being lots of nature inspired patterns with spiders and planets and plants on them.

Do you have a favorite designer? Who are they and what do you like about them?
I'm not super schooled in the designer world, lol. I do a lot of thrifting and just try to find pieces I really like. Sometimes if the tag looks old, I'll do some research and end up in a rabbit hole about some designer from the ’90s, but that’s about it. I think the coolest thrifting/designer thing that’s ever happened to me is that one day, while I was watching Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, I noticed that the younger sister, Ashley, was wearing the exact same pair of overalls I had on. Made me feel pretty cool, lol.

You are often out in nature and getting in the dirt. How do you balance utility with style? Or is utility part of your style?
It's actually super awesome that I work in a place that lets me wear whatever makes me comfortable enough to do my job. We work in the parks in all the elements so business casual is usually not our go to. On a day working in the field, overalls are perfect for holding my tools and getting dirty, but on a day where I'm doing more emailing than being outdoors, I love wearing a long dress or a knit sweater with some jeans.
click to enlarge Nyjah Cephas - CP PHOTO: TERENEH IDIA
CP Photo: Tereneh Idia
Nyjah Cephas

What do you love about the parks and what you do?
The full list of things I love about my job would be way too long, but I love that I learn and grow every day. Like, I seriously don’t remember the last time I worked at Frick and didn’t learn something new. And it might seem like the learning I’m referring to would just be cool nature facts, but I’m also learning about how people connect to the outdoors and, in turn, I get to learn so much more about myself. Nature is so special and always has good intentions, so working outside creates this really grounding atmosphere and encourages curiosity at the same time.

Tell me about the clothes you’re wearing today.
This is probably something I'd throw on if I'm going to work or getting groceries. Overalls are like my get stuff done uniform. Plus, I like that these ones have buttons that I can adjust to be more form fitting if I wanna feel cute or a little looser if I'm working in the park.

Do you have any gifts from someone that you wear often or every day?
I'm usually wearing a bunch of different necklaces that are special to me. I’ve gotten some charms from my little sister and from special times shopping with friends, but I took them off recently because they were getting super tangled together.

Do you have a gift to yourself that you wear often?
I guess my gift to myself would be my earrings. I love finding funky earrings — I actually got these from the Point Breeze yard sale this summer. During quarantine, I had a whole phase where I’d buy these tiny toys called Mini Brands — they're like tiny replicas of real food — and I’d turn them into tiny earrings. So if you ever see me wearing two tiny ketchup bottle earrings, it was a result of quarantine crafting. Definitely gives me some Ms. Frizzle energy.

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