White coats and runway notes: A stylish dialogue with Dr. Oluwabukola Ogunyemi, MD, MPH.

Over the years, Dr Oluwabukola Ogunyemi, MD, MPH. has seamlessly blended her roles as a distinguished medical professional and a fashion enthusiast. A fashion influencer with a versatile and vibrant style, Oluwabukola gives us an insight into her journey with medicine and fashion, including her New York Fashion Week experience. She provides practical fashion tips, emphasising experimentation and authenticity. We also take a closer look at the inspiration behind some of her favourite Instagram outfits and the driving forces behind her dedication to fashion.

Dr. Oluwabukola Ogunyemi- Personal fashion journey
Oluwabukola Ogunyemi

How did your medical background influence your approach to beauty and fashion?

I attended medical school in Ukraine from 2010 to 2016. My interest in fashion initially revolved around putting pieces together, experimenting with colours, and enjoying the creative process. When I started sharing my outfits on social media, people began asking about my style and where I got certain items. This positive feedback encouraged me to start a blog, and despite being a medical student, I realised my passion for fashion didn’t distract from my dedication to medicine. I saw an opportunity for both worlds to coexist – caring for sick people and expressing my creativity through fashion. 

When I returned to Nigeria after medical school, I found beauty brands interested in collaborating with me. This strengthened my resolve to keep creating as I believe these aspects of my life complement each other, allowing me to blend my roles as a medical doctor and a fashion and beauty enthusiast.

I completely agree with you on the synergy between different talents. How would you say your medical background influences your style?

I’d say my style is quite versatile. In the medical setting, I adhere to a formal and corporate dress code with pants and blazers. However, outside of those environments, I express my creativity more freely. I believe in dressing appropriately for different occasions and locations. For instance, I wouldn’t wear a short skirt or leggings to the hospital, but I embrace a modest and versatile style in other settings.

Bukola Ogunyemi speaks about her personal fashion journey with Marie Claire Nigeria
Oluwabukola Ogunyemi via Instagram

That makes sense. Can you elaborate on the evolution of your fashion style over the years, from your university days to now?

Sure. My style has been impacted by fashion trends evolving significantly over the years. During my university days, I embraced platforms, wedges, and bold accessories like berets. Blazers were a staple, and I experimented with oversized bags and unique belts. However, my style has matured as I now prefer neutral colours, leaning towards blacks, browns, and nudes. While I still love blazers and denim, I’ve moved away from certain trends and adopted a more refined and timeless approach to fashion.

It’s fascinating to see the growth in your style. What influenced these changes?

I attribute the changes to a combination of factors, including age, experiences in different locations (Ukraine, Nigeria, and the U.S.), and personal growth. My fashion choices naturally evolved as I grew older and transitioned through various environments. Pursuing a master’s degree in public health and working in different professional settings also influenced my inclination towards a more classy and refined style.

How has this transition from Ukraine, Nigeria, and now the U.S. influenced your fashion choices?

Each location has its unique climate and fashion culture. In Ukraine, where winters are cold, my wardrobe includes leather jackets and boots. In Nigeria, with its warmer climate, I opted for more casual and comfortable outfits. Now, in the U.S., the changing seasons dictate my clothing choices. I adapt my wardrobe to the weather, ensuring I stay warm during colder months and embracing lighter attire in warmer seasons.

Winter fashion- Pretty Faze
Oluwabukola Ogunyemi via Instagram

Do you find that the people around you influence your fashion choices?

I appreciate fashion trends, but I don’t let them dictate my style. While I admire fashionable individuals in different places, I prefer to stay true to my taste. Whether in Lagos or Connecticut, I prioritise my style over external influences.

I don’t feel that the local fashion scene in Connecticut significantly influences my style. However, when I come across unique trends or styles, like oversized Blazers or cargo pants, I occasionally incorporate them into my style as long as they resonate with my taste and the season.

That’s a very sustainable and relatable  perspective., Can you recall some memorable fashion moments or milestones in your journey?

Certainly! In my undergrad days in Ukraine. I was consistently nominated and won awards for the “Fashionista” and “Most Beautiful.” I recall winning the Fashionista award during an international student competition. Moving forward, I also participated in Lagos Fashion Week and received recognition as a blogger. Notably, attending New York Fashion Week in September 2023 was a major highlight. It was a dream come true, and the experience of being featured on various platforms and collaborating with brands left a lasting impression.

Those are impressive achievements! Speaking of New York Fashion Week, I noticed you mostly wore outfits from Nigerian designers. Can you share more about your choices and any unforgettable moments related to this?

Absolutely. When I came to the U.S. for school, I initially couldn’t attend fashion events because I needed to focus on my academics. However, my friend Yinka and I decided to make a significant impact at the New York Fashion Week this year. We created joint media kits and pitched to over 30 Nigerian brands, highlighting our backgrounds and what we could offer them in terms of content creation.

We collaborated with various Nigerian brands for the seven-day event and got additional pieces for attending shows. Our strategy included representing Nigeria on a global stage by showcasing the talent in the country. This collaboration also involved coordinating street-style content at Spring Studios, where photographers gather. We received positive responses and appreciation, making it a fulfilling and unforgettable experience.

That sounds like a well-planned and successful venture. It’s commendable how you showcased Nigerian talent on such a prominent platform. I would like to talk about your love for fragrances. How do fragrances play a role in your daily life and your style?

As a fashion enthusiast, I believe an outfit is incomplete without adding fragrance. It doesn’t have to be something wildly expensive, the goal is to smell good because smelling good is good business. I love smelling good; sometimes, I find inspiration from looking at a fragrance bottle. One of my latest posts on Instagram is about fragrance-inspired outfits. Fragrances also influence my seasonal choices, as there are scents that suit different seasons. They often inspire my style choices, and I cannot imagine dressing up without using a fragrance. I even carry sample bottles or mini fragrances when I’m out.

You have impressive insights into fashion, which budding fashion enthusiasts will find helpful. What style advice would you offer to help them define their fashion journey? How can people experiment with bold fashion choices, hairstyles, and accessories as you do?

The first and most important thing is to know yourself and stay true to your style. We are all unique individuals, and it’s crucial not to copy others but instead embrace your uniqueness. Experimentation is key, but don’t overthink things. You should also understand your target audience and engage with your followers to get an idea of what resonates with them. Knowing my audience’s age range helps me tailor my content to appeal to them while staying true to my style. When it comes to accessories and hairstyles, experiment based on what you like and be inspired by various elements, but the key is staying true to yourself.

Amazing tips! Now, let’s play a little game. I’ve picked three of your Instagram posts, and I’d like you to share some details about the outfits and the inspiration behind them.

Sure, let’s do it!

Look One

Oluwabukola Ogunyemi in Imad Eduso for London Fashion Week

This is one of my favourite looks and it was sponsored by the Nigerian brand, Imadeduso. When selecting this outfit, I wanted something with a sweet vibe and opted for a green midi skirt that represents ‘Naija’. I chose an oversized sweat jacket, focusing on a different style for each outfit we selected. The colour green inspired the entire look, and I wanted everything to be coordinated. The accessories had different colours, but with good styling, everything worked well together. I wanted to create a unique vibe for each outfit while maintaining a cohesive theme.

Look Two

Pretty Faze in black dress- Marie Claire Nigeria personal fashion journey
Oluwabukola Ogunyemi via Instagram

I was in Puerto Rico for my birthday and I wanted to wear a black dress. Black is classy and versatile and the outfit was inspired by the restaurant I was going to, I wanted to create a look that complemented the setting. Planning helps me select pieces that align with the environment I’m working with and create a cohesive aesthetic. This black number with the statement details and mesh insert fit the vibe I was going for perfectly.

Third Outfit

Dr Bukola Ogunyemi
Oluwabukola Ogunyemi in Atafo at London Fashion Week

At the NYFW, we specifically aimed for street-style-worthy looks and this cargo set from Atafo was the ideal choice. We initially wanted something different, but the cargo set caught my eye with the neutral colour appealing to my recent preferred colour palette. The unique style of the top and the pants were outstanding, and in keeping it within the neutral colour scheme, I also added gold accessories for an elegant accent. This outfit is one of my favourites, and I love how all the elements came together.

Dr. Oluwabukola Ogunyemi achieves the aesthetic of the high-achieving girl who loves to infuse a fashionable style into her everyday life. In this interesting and insightful conversation, her dedication to excelling at a rigorous career while creating an impact as a content creator is evident and motivational. If there is a poster child for “you can achieve your goals if you set your mind to it and out in the work”, it is Dr. Oluwabukola Ogunyemi. I look forward to her continued moves at saving lives and serving looks.

Step into our new series, “Personal Fashion Journey,” where we dive into the lives of fashion lovers. We explore their style evolution and memorable fashion moments from models to stylists, writers to creators. Peek into their closets and hear about their challenges and dreams. It’s a fun and inspiring look at the fashion world, one unique story at a time. Join us as we uncover what makes the fashion world tick – style, creativity, and innovation! 


  • Omotola Saba

    Hi, Omotola here, the human form of the 100 Emoji and the fashion and beauty writer at Marie Claire Nigeria. She started writing for fun and merged it with her love for fashion, and beauty. She's mostly at home, picking up yet another new hobby, scrolling through pinterest, laughing with her family or at dad jokes, or sleeping.

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