Travel in Style

a woman in a white dress, a leather blazer, carrying a train case and a fur muff

It’s summer and it’s the season of vacation. I know right know there are a ton of tips and tricks, and people who can tell you how to pack light. And show you all the cubbies and packing systems that they have. I am sure that those are all great tips. If you’re looking for that, this isn’t it. Of all people, I am not the one to tell you to pack light- I can’t even leave the house for the day without an extra set of shoes. Actually, I think adding an extra outfit- and pjs and underlings is always for the best! JIC! While I do have a system for me, I don’t know that it would translate to anything resembling advice.

What I can offer? Ideas for your bag that will make you feel chic- even on the days when you’re ready to come home!

Note: This post does contain affiliate links. While that does not affect the price for you, I may earn commission from them. Thank you for your support!

Vintage Luggage
Ok. A lot of vintage luggage doesn’t have wheels.But, so much of it is well made, and roomy. And a bit chic! I personally am partial to a great train case- they are perfect for your toiletries and small items (and count as a personal item on planes!). While these may be best for road trips, I have never regretted vintage luggage. And if they fit all my shoes I am sure that they can fit all of your things!

One and Done Outfits
a woman in a black strapless jumpsuit

I shared on Monday that I bought this jumpsuit for travel (and beyond). As with anything, when I plan what I wear to travel I want something chic that’s also comfortable- and this jumpsuit is it! It can be dressed up or down and could go from beach to dinner!

Get your own here

And speaking of one and done- I am also a fan of packing things that can be styled in oh-so-many ways.Not just talking about with different shoes or tops or whatnot- but outfits that can be completely new and different depending on how you wear them. For example? A smocked skirt! I got this one recently and have worn it as a dress- for poolside and beyond. But it also looks great as a skirt! With tees or button downs, crops or long sleeves! Change out the shoes and it’s new each time!

a woman in a smocked skirt worn as a dress with flip flops
a woman in a smocked skirt with a long sleeve white tee and kitten heels
Shop some of my smocked options here

Stock Up on Travel Size
a close up of mini SuperGoop SPF and snake sandals
This seems like a given- but I can’t tell you how many people I know from family to friends that have a separate stash of travel toiletries and products that they use on trips. Most of the the things you love to use? They come in mini sizes. If not, the one “travel tip” I do while heartedly approve of is buying a set of mini bottles to fill with your go-to products!

What are some of your travel tips? How do you travel in style? I am open to anything other than leaving a pair of shoes at home! XO RA

Designer to Know: Say it with Pins

Have you heard? Brooches are in- AGAIN! I love a great brooch, fun to put on a lapel, or a scarf. You could also- fasten your cardigan with it, put it on your purse, use it as a tie. There are so many ways to wear a brooch, and so many messages you can send with them. I love this reminder that what we wear tells a story, and when we are intentional with the stories we tell we can change the world!

Investment Piece: Designer to know: Say it with Pins

I’ve always been fascinated by those women who walk into a room and everyone notices. And I’m even more fascinated by the women who seem to get everything that they want, without having to over explain themselves. (Real talk? I’m wordy and would win a gold at over explaining myself.) So, when I had the chance to look at a way that one such powerful woman communicated, I jumped on it!

Investment Piece: Designer to Know: Say it with Pins
** Did you know that a spider represents patience and predatory behavior? I’m not the only one who suddenly wants to wear a spider on a night out, right?

***And you may have caught on, today isn’t a true “Desginer to Know”, but rather a way to wear a design. (Play on words? Maybe, but related)

Last winter at the LBJ Library in Austin, I got to go see the pin collection worn by Madeleine Albright during her time as Secretary of State. Fashion? Yes. But, Albright also used her collection of pins to communicate with other Global Leaders, and silently but clearly, make her positions and feelings known.

It’s all the best of everything I love about fashion. A personal way to say who you are, and what you’re feeling. It’s a bit cheeky. And pins are a way to stand out. Why don’t we all do this?

Some of my favorite pins from the collection:
Investment Piece: Desginer to Know: Say it with Pins

Investment Piece: Designer to Know: Say it with Pins
A broken glass ceiling

Investment Piece: Designer to Know: Say it With Pins
Investment Piece: Desginer to Know: Say it with Pins
Hear No Evil/See No Evil/Speak No Evil

Albright’s colleciton had flowers, butterflies, animals, and all sorts of patriotic symbols. She became known for her pins, and people became adept at interpreting what some of them meant. One of my favorite stories from the collection:
Investment Piece: Designer to Know: Say it with Pins
Investment Piece: Designer to Know: Say it with Pins

And I was thrilled to realize that a strong, powerful woman and I have similar tastes:

Investment Piece: Desginer to Know: Say it With Pins
Madeleine Albright’s leopard pin

Investment Piece: Designer to Know: Say it with Pins
My leopard pin from Bloomers and Frocks

I’m left with two questions: Should we bring back pins?

(Answer: I’m game. I loved that not all of Albright’s pins were designer. Which means-yes, if you can, start collecting Cartier and high end pins. But it also means, Etsy, any jewelry or vintage shop, and any market can provide you with a pin to say something with. )

Do you have to use pins to make a statement?

(Answer: No. Let’s use all of our fashion, accessories, and personality to say what we need to say.)

Which leaves the question: What are you communicating?

I’m off to make statements with my fashion. Join me?
XO RA

Investment Piece: Designer to Know: Say it with Pins

Fashion Stories: Shorts

a woman in pink linen shorts with a grey long sleeve sweater and leopard print mules

Does it age me that one of the ads that I most remember from my youth is a song that goes:
Who wears short shorts? We wear short shorts!

It was for a shaving/Nair product- but I still have that song in my head. And I still think about it in short season. Are shorts in season every spring/summer? Yes. I mean- they have to be, right? But, for some reason this season, I feel as if shorts are everywhere. EVERYWHERE. As in- everyone you know is wearing shorts, shorts are in so many editorials, so many red carpets, so many EVERYTHING. From short shorts (like the song) to Bermudas, to even pedal pushers- all shorts are en vogue.

So. Shorts are a thing we’re doing?

a woman in a white suit short set with cowboy boots and a cowboy hat as well as a gold bandana

The thing about shorts? They do scream summer. I can’t think of anything other than swimsuits (and we know I love those both in and out of the water) that I wore more as a kid in the spring/summer.

My one issue (ok- not my only issue as out of no where I get worried that I am too old for shorts) with shorts is that I don’t want to look like a kid (and ironically too old) wearing them. So, how do we tell our stories (which I hope this season includes a ton of fun, a bit of nostalgia, and perhaps a smidge of sexiness) with shorts this season?

a woman in pink linen shorts, a grey sweater and leopard mules

These are my tips, and my tips alone for shorts. Note: Like you I am still feeling it out as I go along and experimenting with short length, etc!

-Figure out what you feel comfortable with! Is it a length? A color? A pattern? This season everything- from suits to patterns to to all fabrics and lengths. If you’re drawn to a certain pair of shorts- play with them! I promise you that all shorts, even and especially those pictures here can be styled in SO many various ways.

a woman in a blue and white striped short romper with blue lace up sandals

– Dress up or down as you love. I have been playing with pairing my shorts with heels. Flats. Sneakers. As a suit. Super casually (cut offs and a tee!). Shorts, any shorts, with your favorite tee or blazer or blouse might the outfit for your season. And there are so many shorts! From suiting shorts to tailored Bermudas to the beloved cutoffs. Even rompers.

a woman in black and white polka dot long sleeved blouse and short shorts with red cage sandals

Perhaps the biggest story for shorts? To play. For you to figure out how and what and where shorts make sense for you. How to style them to feel most like yourself. Shorts that make you feel your age- in all the best ways.

I’ll be honest, I’ve been both drawn to shorts lately and a bit scared of wearing shorts lately. Yet, for fashion, I’ve been pulling through. (Also, because I refuse to believe that we are too old to wear anything. If you think you look great, who does care? At least, this is what I am telling myself) Shorts can be: cheeky (in the attitude way. OR I guess the other way!), sophisticated, flirty, causal, dressy- and all the things in between. And if shorts can be ALL of that, what stories could we tell in our shorts?

I can’t wait to find out!

How do you feel about shorts? How do you wear them? And any tips for feelings on shorts? I am all legs!

I have linked some of the shorts above and shots I want to wear below! Happy shopping for shorts!

Note: This post does contain affiliate links. While that does not affect the price for you, I may earn commission from them. Thank you for your support!

a woman in pink linen shorts and a grey sweater and leopard mules

Fashion Stories: Skirt Suit

a woman in a black and white pleated skirt skirt with black mules
a woman in a green and pink and black rose print skirt suit
a woman in a black and white pleated skirt suit
a woman in a green and black and pink rose print skirt suit

During the “lockdowns” I began to watch Golden Girls and Murder She Wrote, among other classics on the regular. (There is a whole other article and thought process about those shoes and the Guest Stars!) Whenever I get really into a show, I can’t help but let it influence my fashion- fashion is stories after all and so are our favorite tv shows. Ironically? Since Then? A Matter of Age? I have fallen a bit in love with a skirt suit.

Let’s be clear. I LOVE LOVE LOVE a great suit. I’ve never worked a job that required one. And a skirt suit? It’s a bit old fashioned- but on the other hand a bit forward and so daring. Yes, you can break up these “sets”- wear separately, update, make edgy- all of the things. Yet, I can’t help but be so attracted to – and start collecting skirt suits. Which, now, feel a bit edgy on their own!

a woman in a black and white polka dot pleated skirt suit

This polka dot number (and we know I can never resist a polka dot) is a Fortuny number. For reference Fortuny is both a type of pleat, a a fabric and was a label. You can read more here, here, and here. I’ve also linked some modern polka dots and some Vintage Fortuny for you below. I love these slight balloon sleeves. And the pleats. The blazer would go amazing with any white/black/denim bottom. And pair the skirt with anything from a tank to a sweater to a tee. Add a pop of red (it’s my favorite pop with black and white dots).

And yet. Without all of that- this suit with the cinched waist and the movement in the sleeves feels daring on its own. Any hose. Any shoes. Perhaps a skirt suit is a bit more daring than we ever thought!

a woman in a green and black and pink rose skirt suit

This silk set (which feels perfect for the season) is vintage YSL via here, here, and here for starters. Women in suits? Always a bit daring and always a bit forward thinking.

So. How also are skirt suits the perfect thing for the upcoming religious holidays? How are they modest at the same time? I am not sure– but I know do many of our stories are wrapped in skirt suits- from Easter Sunday (or your own service!) to first jobs to luncheons. The skirt suit is such a staple- and yet still forward.

What is your experience with a skirt suit? And are you wearing one soon?

I’ve linked a mix of Fortuny, modern and vintage skirt suits for your shopping pleasure!
XO RA

Note: This post does contain affiliate links. While that does not affect the price for you, I may earn commission form them. Thank you for your support!

a woman in a black and white polka dot skirt suit
a woman in a green, black and pink rose printed skirt suit

Fashion Stories: Fashion TV

Black and White with a Pop

I cannot over state how much I truly, TRULY, truly believe that fashion is a method with which to tell our stories. From our day to day lives to eras in time to celebratory events- our fashion and fashion choices let us express how we’re feelings, what we want, and in some cases : move history forward.

And while I have this deep held believe, we can often see it reflected in TV. Not just in the aspect that TV can show us fashion that we can aspire to and inspires us (I wrote about that before, see here and here and slightly here), TV shows can also chronicle the stories that fashion had a hand in telling. I’m talking about the newer shows Feud: Capote vs The Swans (airing on FX and Streaming, detailing not only the INFAMOUS Black and White Ball-most gowns are in the MET- but also Captoe and the NY Society Ladies he loved and battled with) and The New Look (on AppleTV, depicting the creation of the House of Dior and the fashion changing “New Look” post WW2).

Note: as I am BEHIND, I haven’t been watching either- but have been reading, recording, revering from the couch and am actively planning weekends to indulge in what looks like (if nothing else) GORGEOUS television

Investment Piece: Fashion STories Dior

There is drama to be had in these show- from society and new business conflicts. But there is also beauty, and a deep fashion history. The New Look? It changed how women dressed- especially after the war and the “return of femininity”. The Black and White Ball that Capote threw? It launched model careers, designer careers and encouraged the Ad Vaunt Guard looks of the 60s/70s. (Again, fashion shown in both of these shows has had books written about it and is on display in museums).

So, how does this help us tell our stories? There is of course, the inspirational aspect- even if vintage there are outfits that can be inspired by these shows! There is the history- fashion, my favorite kind! And, there is also the lesson (not just don’t feud with a society elite!), but how to dress for certain events, how to push the boundaries, and how to react when fashion (and live) goes astray.

I plan on having more to say–and outfits to share- when I watch the shows (soon!) but in the meantime, here are thoughts I’m loving reading!

On Feud:
Feud Brings Back The Fine Art of Getting Dressed
A MasterClass in Vintage Costuming (note! A ton of my vintage friends have helped on this show!)
Dressing the high-society ‘swans’ in ‘Feud’ was an adventure in both authenticity and artistry
A Closer Look at the Swans Costumes

On The New Look:
True Story of New Look
The Story behind the Dior and Chanel Chaos
Christian Dior: The New Look
The Secret History of Chanel

Investment Piece: Chanel Means Never Having to say "I'm Sorry"

Have you been watching these Fashion Stories on TV? What do you think about them? How are they inspiring you? I would love to hear all about it!

XO RA

Fashion Stories: Fashion As Rebellion

A woman in a tee that says Hands Off, a black blazer and jeans

I am a firm, FIRM, believer that fashion is just another way with which we tell our stories. Fashion as a story telling fabric is the basis of what we do here. SO. Fashion as a way to speak out- for anything that you believe in. OR in general show rebellion? Yes. I’m here for it.

I know the most obvious way to tell our rebellious or political or out there stories are graphic tees. And from tees to sweatshirts I have a ton of graphic shirts. Graphic shirts with anything are a go-to formula for me. From shirts that are simply “Wonder Woman” to the more forceful graphic like above (and yes, that’s tame in my collection!) a graphic is an easy way to let people know your stance. But fashion is so much more subtle and lets us tell our stories in so many ways!

Investment Piece: Mini Skirting It
(This may not be the best example!)
But often when I think of fashion as rebellion I think of mini skirts in the 1960s. And how then men went from suits to longer hair and flares. Burning Bras. Tye Dye. NOTE: I am not old enough to have lived through that. I was not in the 1960s. Though- I was a teenager when Elmo and Grunge (ya know, flannels and ripped jeans and dark eye make up and combat boots) were all popular. Perhaps every generation has its own fashion that is a form of rebellion.

To truly understand how to dress to rebel (and not just dressing in what people you know what like), let’s understand what rebellion is:
According to the dictionary rebellion is:
an act of violent or open resistance to an established government or ruler

There are times when what we wear absouletly is in service of actively over throwing the government. Then there are times that what we wear is simply to let our displeasure known. To make a fuss. To give support. And to let people know where we stand.

I have never actively worked to throw over the government. But I have worn shirts and ears in supports of causes I love. In thinking about our stories, and how rebellion could be one- I’ve thought a lot about what we wear. From hem lines to high heels to shirts that give to causes.

Some reading that I’ve found helpful on these thoughts:
The Clothes that Shook The World
Rebellion, Gender, Fashion
You Say You want a (Fashion) Revolution?
and from sheer to faux fur, mob wife to mesh flats, 2024 has its own trends already (and we all know more to come). Wearing things like faux fur and being BIG can be rebellion (or at least a pendulum swing). Or dressing well- instead of wearing pjs to the grocery store (I am guilty of both!). All Black. Pops of Color. Pink. Bows. Prints. Mixing Prints. Black Nails. Anklets. All of these have been told to me to be a bit rebellious. I don’t know that rebellion always has to go against the status quo- but it does have to be unexpected.

Investment Piece: Product of a Strong Female

Interestingly enough, too young to have been around when mini skirts were a STATEMENT, I never burned a bra (too young), and while I was here for Nirvana and some Elmo in high school — it feels as if I have sort of missed so many fashion rebellion moments. Even sheer is no longer new (though it might be a bit more daring at times). SO. How do we rebel with our fashion now?

Is it by being more daring?
By wearing graphic tees in support of our causes?
Wearing the unexpected?

I don’t know! But I’m open to it all and will be telling my own story in the above ways.

As there is no clear way to tell you how to rebel in your fashion below I’ve linked fashion that supports causes that are dear to me– no pressure to you! Below are shirts that give to Gun Control, Women Homelessness, Reproductive Rights. But I know there is more out there. And you could always go anti trend. Or let me know how you’re dressing in an anti establishment way!!

XO RA

Note: this Post does contain affiliate links. While that does not affect the price for you, I may earn commission from them. Thank you for your support!

a woman in a white tee with black letters saying we should all be feminists and red pants and black heels

Fashion Stories: Party Dress Season

https://www.youtube.com/shorts/72ySvH4GlWg

tis the season. Yes, the sales. Yes, the family and the love and the magic! But also- the party dresses. It comes as no surprise that I LOVE a great party dress, and a season where you can find any excuse to wear one? I’m in- even if that if that excuse is drinking champagne with your cat! Part of why I love party dresses is that-to me- they are a symbol of caring, of hope, and of fun! So, at a time of year when it’s more than acceptable to go all out with your party dresses, I think we should.

I’m not saying that I will ONLY post/wear party dresses for the rest of the year- but know that I’m always thinking about them. And below I’ve linked quite of few of my current faves! Here’s to a season full of all the things that matter most- and a great party dress to wear!

XO RA

Note: This post does contain affiliate links. While that does not affect the price for you, I may earn commission from them- thank you for your support!

This Barbie Wears Pink

Every October I love doing (at least one) pink post.
1- because while I don’t really think of myself as a “pink” person- I am. I love (especially) hot pink, wearing pink in various ways (especially the unexpected), and after Barbie The Movie, really embracing the sides of me that love all things pink. Essentially, I think I love surprising myself and you with this color that I never think I like

2- October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. My family is one those affected by this disease, and we lost my aunt this year (making clear not to cancer, she survived that- but Breast Cancer is still so hard). I had my first mammogram this year (absolutely a fine experience- more awkward because I’m one of those that even when I get massages want to help. Yes, I tried to help too much in my mammogram. BUT I got it. And I’m fine. And I’m excited to hear about yours). Usually in these yearly posts I link to various companies who give a portion of profit to Breast Cancer Research, etc. There’s a lot happening right now (and most likely more than one cause who needs your attention and money) I honestly haven’t even thought about that. It doesn’t mean that there aren’t great ways to shop and give to Breast Cancer (or other services), but beyond that, beyond wearing pink, perhaps what the people you know affected by this cancer need most is you. Being with them, listening to them, helping them. There are big ways to give- but the small ways can be the most impactful.

3-Again, I’ll tell you that I don’t wear a lot of pink. These posts remind me that I do. And in this spooky time- when I love putting together my Halloween costumes, when the holiday season is rapidly approaching (aka Christmas is already all over the stores) that it feels as if life and seasonal choices take over everything. Think about it- it’s Fall- we’re all into neutrals and costumes and then red and black and green for the holidays. So many choices are holiday coded so that there are times when wearing pink at this time feels a bit rebellious and a bit of a statement. Maybe I just really like being a bit different and pink at this time of year lets me indulge that.

Whatever the reason, October to me wouldn’t be the same without pink. And yes- I really do wear pink in my real life- if you do I would love to hear about it.

Here’s to all the reasons to pink and all of the amazing outfits it creates! XO RA

Fashion Halloween: Cleopatra

a woman in a gold caftan posing like Cleopatra
a woman in a gold caftan and gold headpiece
a woman in a gold caftan and gold headpiece
a woman in a gold caftan and a gold headpiece

One of my go-to Halloween costumes? Cleopatra! I am a fan of caftans, so yes I had (have?) this gold number (but have linked packaged costumes and great gold dresses!). Ironically I also had this wig (from a Mad Men party I threw for my birthday many moons ago), I simply had to work on my makeup (which was really fun!) and buy a headpiece. This costume is so easy, so chic, and really comfy. From answering the door to trick-or-treaters or parties, it’s customizable, recognizable, and fun.

Part of what I love about fashion Halloween is the combination of fashion and characters. What’s great about Cleopatra is that a gold caftan- while a bit Palm Springs- is a great party number. Forgiving and chic, and can go from summer to holiday. This is a costume, or outfit that if you want to invest in, you’ll get so many uses out of it!

Note: here I went barefoot but these kind of caftans look great with gold sandals or heels!

This look was originally posted years ago, but this is a look and costume that I’ve gone back to time and time again!

Happy Fashion Halloween! XO RA

Notes: This post does contain affiliate links. While that does not affect the price for you, I may earn commission from them. Thank you for your support!

a woman in a gold caftan and gold headpiece

Fashion Halloween: Marie Antoinette

a woman in a Marie Antoinette wig, plaid gown with a red velvet couch, maroons and champagne
a woman in a Marie Antoinette wig, plaid gown, jewels with a a red velvet couch, maroons and champagne
a woman in a Marie Antoinette wig, plaid gown, jewels with a a red velvet couch, maroons and champagne
a woman in a Marie Antoinette wig, plaid gown, jewels with a a red velvet couch, maroons and champagne
a woman in a Marie Antoinette wig, plaid gown, jewels with a a red velvet couch, maroons and champagne
a woman in a Marie Antoinette wig, plaid gown, jewels with a a red velvet couch, maroons and champagne

Fashion Halloween is one of my favorite things. I know, I know- I can go overboard- but I truly LOVE the combination of fashion and acting, the planning and putting together of a costume (bought or put together from fashion pieces you have and love), and the putting together of a character via an outfit. Let’s be honest, a lot of what we wear is a costume (of one kind or another) and Halloween is just when we’re a bit more honest about it. This year for all of my Halloween costumes I got inspiration from shows I loved, characters I loved, and fashion I wanted to explore (or was easy to put together!).

First for Fashion Halloween? Marie Antoinette. She’s always fun but has gotten a ton more attention with the recent PBS show about her and Louis. (I loved it- took me an episode or 2 to truly get into it, but very well worth your time!) Also, being over the top is a fun part of Halloween- and who is more over the top than Marie Antoinette?

This costume was so easy- but so fun. While there are so many Marie Antoinette costumes for sale (and I’ve linked quite a few for you below), I used a ballgown I already had (and want to wear everywhere. You’ve seen it before

a woman in a Marie Antoinette Wig, plaid gown and jewels with a velvet couch, macaroons, and champagne