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!

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

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

Fashion Stories: Changing to Stay the Same

a woman in a maxi denim dress with a gold belt and gold glitter and black booties
a woman in a denim maxi dress and leopard sneakers

They say that everything comes back in style (which may also be a reason to never throw anything away!). And as someone who is slowly beginning to see styles that she remembers from her childhood back “on trend” I can only say- I didn’t think things would change so quickly to stay the same for me.
Perhaps another way to say that, is that as much as things change, they stay back. Or come back to themselves. Or whatever they say.

Take for example the denim, skirt and dress, trends this fall. Maxi. Slit. Just a hint of a shirt dress. They remind me of dresses from the 1990s. And earlier. These denim pieces also remind me of my grandma (Mimi). I’ve written a lot about her influence on my fashion sense, see here, but let me tell you- my Mimi also loved a denim dress. Or skirt. She would pair denim on denim, pair belts with her denim dresses- and wear both with everything from sneakers to sandals.

Denim dresses are a huge trend. Yet, they also bring me back to my Mimi. Sometimes we change just to stay the same.

a woman in a denim dress with leopard sneakers
a woman in a maxi denim dress with a gold belt and gold and black booties

This is where you may be thinking that I style these new but same denim dresses much differently than my Mimi would have- but really, I don’t think I do. Perhaps I’m a bit more flashy. But my Mimi loved a great accessory. A gold belt? She’d love it. The glitter booties might be exactly up her alley, but I have a feeling she would have loved them. And leopard sneakers? My Mimi would have worn these herself! We, my Mimi and I, were different- but we were really the same.

And we both love(d) a denim moment.

a woman in a denim dress with a gold belt and gold and black booties
a woman in a denim maxi dress and leopard sneakers

This denim dress, and all of the 1000s and 1000s ways you could style it (truly a bit dressed up and with sneakers are barely scratching the surface of what is possible here!) is a trend- but isn’t it also the same? What I mean is that, at least in my case, denim like this was a staple in my childhood- I’ve spent my adulthood changing and finding my own style, and am now in the same thing it started in. Maybe that’s what all those saying mean. Just perhaps- all roads do lead home, we change and yet find ourselves the same. I just think we should wear fabulous shoes with it!

I’ve linked this exact dress (under $50!) and similar ones, as well as some fantastic shoe options. What is something that you’ve changed and then found out it was simply the same? I want to hear all about it.

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 denim dress with a gold belt and gold and black booties

Fashion Stories: I Miss Abandon

Investment Piece: I miss Abandon
Investment Piece: I miss abandon

I’ve been thinking a lot about how we dress for our days has changed within the past years. Dressing for joy, dressing for function, dressing for bed.
Some disclosures:
-I’ve always had a thing for party dresses and not always enough parties to wear them. Now, I’m getting DRESSED to go to the store, but there is a section of my closest that’s not getting enough wear right now. Yet, I have more than one party dress on my current Wishlist.
-I want to write about how we should buy and wear whatever makes us happy. I DO believe in that. I’ve also ordered a bunch of leggings this week (they’re pants now?) and there are days when getting dressed at all is hard.
-While I love going into stores and finding something I didn’t know I wanted, I also love shopping online. In fact, I’ll tell you online shopping is so easy (and it’s like you get presents!). Right now I’m missing in person shopping.
-Things are difficult for everyone right now. Budgets. Stress. It all. Dressing for anything may not be at the top of our lists. I do think it helps, though.

These pictures are old. From years ago, on a Los Angeles spree, one afternoon in RecessLa (you can read about them here), on a whim I spent several hours trying on things. We took pictures and laughed and just enjoyed the fashion. It turns out, I had a ton of these on my phone. Looking through them made me smile. And for all my thoughts about fashion right now it made me realize:

I miss abandon.

Investment Piece: I miss abandon
Investment Piece: I miss abandon
Investment Piece: I miss abandon
Investment Piece: I miss abandon

I miss spending hours falling in love with new things and trying them on. Imagining where to wear them. I miss finding a thing I didn’t know I needed and walking out of a store feeling new.

There are friends of mine who are already planning to dress BIG whenever they can-from concerts to movies, and I’m with them. Any chance I get I’m DRESSING. And I’m on board with that. But I do worry that I will still miss abandon. The random. The surprises.

I miss good surprises.

So. Now. With what we have. How do we invite abandon in? Order something exciting online? Try a new online store? Shop all the vintage on IG and Etsy? I’m in. But I’m open to all ideas.

How are you dressing with abandon right now? How do you think we should invite it in?

This was a vintage dress, I didn’t get it, but I’ve found similar and have linked them below for us all.

I’m wishing us all a little abandon this week, whatever that looks like!
Xo RA

Investment Piece: I miss abandon

Fashion Stories: Barbie Fashion

I am trying not to promote struck companies (see here)and yet I”m so into Barbie Fashion. And this is not just BarbieCore (where it’s just a version of pink?) but a look at how designers and how Barbie shaped our fashion.
a sheet of Margot Robbie and Barbie
a sheet of Margot Robbie and Barbie Fashion

This is where I could tell you that to me barbie was always fashion – that’s what I cared about. My Barbies were always well dressed. My mom’s Barbies? They had outfits hand made by my great grandmas! And the callbacks from Margot Robie’s promo tour to original Barbies made my heart grow at least 3 times!

Margot Robie in pink suits and cocktails looks as Barbie
day to night barnie with a blonde doll in a pink suit and then a pink sequin top with a pink chiffon skirt

Fun Fact? This Day to Night Barbie was one of my favorites growing up- and what I thought my adult life would be like! (I would buy the designer version that Margot wore!)

This all got me to thinking: where did Barbie get her fashion from. Because Barbie was always a fashion plate (there were fashion plate Barbies!) but also as someone who’s always loves the fashion past of the doll these articles made me love her more:

A Peek Inside Baribie High Fashion

Barbie’s Fashion history

There are so many more articles to share from how the maker of Barbie (Ruth!) was making a statement as perhaps girls needed a toy that didn’t make theme a mother/wife to the tax evasion (?!) that took her down!

My Barbies were a fave of mine. I got to dress them. They were fierce and got to be everything and anything. And yes, I loved the movie! Part of what I loved was dressing my dolls in clothes that I felt were not only high end but clothes that expressed what they (and I) wanted to tell the world. AKA even my Barbies used their fashion to tell stories. And I still do till this day.

You can buy various books about Barbie’s fashion. You can study Barbie Fashion. And you can wear Barbie- from pinks to black and white stripe (again, there are so many looks from Day to Night Barbie to other Barbies that I would love to wear the looks!)

Barbie was my favorite toy (I had so many and the Dream House and the Cars and more) and it was always the fashion that drew me in- fashion that I would still wear today!

What’s been your favorite Barbie fashion look? Was it for your doll or for you? And if Barbie fashion was for us would you buy it?

Come on Barbie,let’s go fashion!
XO RA

Fashion Stories: I’m a Barbie Girl

If you’re like me you may have spent at least a part of the long weekend watching the BARBIE movie trailer over (and over) again. Am I fascinated? Completely. Not only due to the Vogue interview with Margot and cast and Greta (aka Barbie and Cast and Greta the Director/Writer- also Greta referenced Reviving Ophelia about the age that girl’s lost their confidence and it’s all made me so excited!)

Barbie was one of my favorite toys growing up. The fashion was part of it:
Including this Day to Night Number (I had this doll! You could reverse the skirt to change looks and the top was a bodysuit! It may have given me unrealistic expectations for day to night dressing, but my sister and I loved it!)
a day to night barbie in varying pink suit loks

Also, besides the fashion, the lore of Barbie means a lot to me- which is a weird thing to say (and no, this isn’t the last time we’ll chat about Barbie in many ways). I was perhaps a bit too old to watch the animated Barbie moves, but I had many different Barbies, the Barbie Dream House, cars, and believed that I could be a mermaid, vet, astronaut, princess, ballerina, dr, business woman- and that a guy (and Ken!) who wanted to be with me would love that about me! (Maybe that’s the magic of Barbie and childhood!)

But maybe that’s the magic we need to believe in!
This was one of my favorite Barbies (and one of my upcoming Fashion Halloween costumes!)
Peaches and Cream BArbie with a white barbie with long flowing blonde hair in a peach ruffled gown with a sparkling white bodice and a flower at the waist,

Baribie is not only a toy that shaped so much of our childhoods but a cultural icon

See:

here

I can remember playing with my mom’s original Barbie’s (and our Ken’s were my Uncle’s old GI Joe’s back when they were bigger than Ken!)
Barbie affected the way I thought about life, about fashion, about the women I thought I could be- and I can’t wait to see how the upcoming Barbie movie informs that and what I wear!

I would love to know how Barbie has affected your life! From what you wear to how you think to your career- are you a mermaid CEO vet or did you think you could be? Tell me all about it? In the future we’ll chat what we’re wearing to the movie (or maybe for Halloween) and how pink and Barbie have affected our current fashion choices, but I think this is a good start, don’t you?

XO RA