I Can’t Seperate My Anxiety from my Obession with Fashion and Beauty

Investment Piece: ANXIETY

Note: This is a repost from Fashoinista, you can see the original here. The author is Maura Brannigan and when I read it I fell in love. Many of us suffer with anxiety and depression. I’m not immune to that. My anxiety can make many things difficult, and there are times when planning my outfits gives me peace. I related to this article and I hope you do too! XO RA

When I was in fourth grade, I realized I could not, for lack of a better phrase, see shit. It occurred to me abruptly, in the middle of a math lesson. My table was in the mid-back of the classroom, and as my teacher was doing whatever she was doing on the overhead projector, I began panicking when things I should have been able to read appeared blurry, like someone had sneakily slid Vaseline over my eyeballs at recess. My tiny body felt hot and immobile, suddenly much too big for its chair; if I willed myself just so, I wondered, could I drop through the linoleum and leave a searing hole in my place? At least that way, none of my classmates would have to see me in the inevitable, which I knew to be glasses.

Sure enough: I emerged from LensCrafters several days later, bummed about my newfound ailment but also absolutely amazed at the detail I could now see. (“Leaves!” I remember announcing to my dad as we left the store. “They look like that?!”)

I see now that this was, probably, one of my earlier panic attacks. There were other incidents, too, like my first day of kindergarten when I sat alone, my social anxiety revving up while I silently, maniacally brainstormed conversation topics I could present to my new peers. My anxiety has always been there. It sits on my shoulder, alerts me that something is off and then vacates the building. It is very flighty. But it has legs.

Like so many people with anxiety, or with depression, or with any number of mood disorders, I find my security in plans. I’ve never met a list I didn’t just devour. And as with so many others, my anxiety is often triggered when I’m thrown off schedule. When I sense my symptoms — sometimes mental, like a weird, morose dread, or sometimes physical, like shortness of breath or stomach knots — I take comfort in pattern. Much has been said in recent years about how elaborate beauty routines, sometimes Korean ones, can help fight depression. I get that wholly.

When I was younger (and there was also much less visibility surrounding mental health), I deduced on my own that if I could regulate every last element of what was happening on the outside of my body, it could have lasting effects on what was going on inside that makes me want to barrel through floors. Even today, my obsession with the fashion and beauty industries is inextricably linked to my expectation that looking nice, looking exactly what I want to look like, will leave me, finally, feeling at ease.

The degree to which I go about planning is methodical at one end of the spectrum and neurotic at the other. There was the year that “The Parent Trap” was released on VHS, and my 10-year-old brain became so embarrassingly infatuated with Hallie Parker that I took pen-to-paper notes on her wardrobe each time I watched. There was my first day of seventh grade in which, after a summer of intensive mood-boarding, I showed up to school in a truly wild, 1970s-inspired ensemble complete with bell bottoms and brown suede boots. My efforts backfired, and I was snickered at with such gusto that I felt I had no choice but to change into my gym clothes. (I wasn’t so much upset, per se, as I was frustrated that my classmates didn’t yet know how to appreciate a proper “lewk.”) There was the month-long stretch — I was, maybe, 15 — when I decided having Pantene Pro-V commercial hair would eliminate all my adolescent woes. When I realized that it did not and it would not, I felt like I had been stabbed in the back by that very shampoo bottle.

My relationship with fashion and beauty products has helped me cope. And over the years, I’ve accumulated a collection of stuff — skin-care, aromatherapy, supplements, whatever — that I’ve turned to time and again to make me feel in control.

Most of that regimen has some physiological benefit, as I’ve learned through years and years of product testing. Bedtime is my scariest time; it can take what is essentially witchcraft to get me asleep. I keep a lavender sachet on my bedside table, which I let sit on my chest for a few minutes when I first climb into bed. I love a pillow spray, as well, the most effective variety of which I’ve found to be the mega-popular Deep Sleep Pillow Spray with lavender, vetiver and camomile from This Works. The hype is not misplaced; after several months of use, the brand’s name holds up.

Mornings, though, are easy. I began taking Ashwagandha, an adaptogenic herb popular in Ayurvedic medicine, with my breakfast about two years ago, per the recommendation of my doctor. (Obviously, supplements aren’t for everyone, and you should always check with your own doctor before starting them.) Both Google and my doctor say that Ashwagandha helps lower cortisol, balance thyroid hormones and combat stress. I say that, yes, it does do that, but I don’t know if it’s the placebo of taking, doing, planning that helps more.

Last winter posed a new kind of challenge. None of my regular tricks seemed to do what I needed them to do. Neither did the calendar-planning, nor the additional pages of lists I scribbled in an attempt to coax myself into stillness. I felt lost, and disheartened, and guilty for feeling any of it. I felt guilty for being rattled when I knew so many others had it much worse than I did. I felt guilty for comparing my own anxiety to that of others, when my mental health was mine and mine alone. I felt guilty for saying no to my closest friends in an attempt to prioritize “self-care,” a hot new phrase I felt guilty for not knowing if I was practicing correctly. I felt guilty for being a selfish partner, and I felt guilty that my boyfriend had to see me as a person I myself didn’t recognize.

Some evenings, I would come home and immediately lie down on the kitchen floor, not bothering to take off my coat or scarf or hat. If my partner was home, he and our dog would join, three warm bodies sardined between the stove and sink. That guilt, of feeling him planking next to me when I knew that he, too, didn’t know how to help me, was worst of all.

I would get up, eventually. And soon, it became days, then weeks, then months, since my last time on the kitchen floor. I just kept doing what I knew worked: letting objects, like hand lotion that smells like my mom, work their material, aspirational magic, and healing from the outside in. An advertiser’s dream.

I feel guilty for that, too. Fashion and beauty products are, of course, just “things.” But we all know “things” can also carry real, emotional weight and become so much more. Why should I judge myself for what I find and have always found to be constructive?

Even so, I’m trying to learn how to loosen the reins, as they say, so that I don’t immediately slip into “flight” mode when confronted with the unexpected. I’m trying to learn how to let anxiety simply beat through me, and how to treat it with the same compassion I might bestow on a loved one, or as I’m also learning, on myself.

Right now, I’m working on my own wellness practice, like meditation — I enjoy the “Calm” app — and 4-7-8 breathing. But I’ve found that the very best thing I can do for myself is to stare my anxiety, and the guilt that comes with it, straight in the face — not to embalm it in lavender or distract it with 18 tabs of suede mules that, in some strange way, might make each hard day feel more navigable. Absolutely everything changed when I began accepting my anxiety for what it is, not trying to fix it like something I could tend with a Band-Aid — how one might fix a fourth-grade astigmatism with a pair of glasses from LensCrafters.

Fashion Week: What is it Good For?

Loves! NYFW has come and gone. LFW is in process. Paris, Milan, all the fashion weeks are happening, have happened, or will happen. But, the reality is, even though fashion week may be all over your social media, most of us won’t go to fashion week. Some of us won’t even buy the fashion presented there. So, fashion week, what is it good for?

I had some thoughts about it, so I made us a video. (Yes, I ramble and sometimes lose my train of thought. It’s a good time)

I would love to get your take on fashion week! Let me know EVERYTHING!
Xo RA

I’d love for you to join the conversation about fashion week. Have you gone? Are you going? Do you buy runway? Do you think it’s worthwhile?

Let’s chat!
Xo RA

Sunday Chronicles: Living in Chaos

It’s not Sunday, so it must seem odd to read a Sunday Chronicle. Right? However, for me, this entire summer has been odd. I’ve literally been living in chaos. From helping my mom deal with my grandma’s apt (boxes) to moving all my homes (boxes) to settling into temporary digs to breaking my toe this week (yes, ouch!). It’s been chaos. And some chaos is great! A lot of chaos, is overwhelming. With clothes and things spread out, I’ve been out of wack, and I’m not going to lie, this venture of ours has been hard to shoot. Living in chaos takes it toll. So, I couldn’t help but look back at this and remind myself that chaos is nothing that I haven’t conquered before.

The good news? The boxes are almost dealt with (for now). Next week there’s all new content, and it’s amazing. This weekend all looks from Instagram will be updated and shoppable here, on Shopstyle, and on Pintrest. Have I beaten chaos?

For the moment, it feels like it. In the meantime: a look back at living in chaos.

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I’m moving (more on that in a coming post) and am completely overwhelmed –if nothing else because my apartment is currently filled with boxes, furniture, and varying stacks of items to take, sell or store. This makes my little Type-A, really organized, neat heart anxious. Let’s be honest–moving and packing are draining, and I have a hard time relaxing when things aren’t in their place.

This isn’t to say I’m used to everything going swimmingly all the time. I’m no stranger to bad days (both hair and personal), outfits that don’t work (even with prior planning), and the general mess that life can bring. And I’m a control freak (in the best way!)–and I’ve always used keeping things neat (and my work outs) to feel like I had some sort of power over what was happening in life. So living in a state of constant unrest is not just super settling. So what do?

There is no right answer right? Or if you know one please share! What I know is I’ve been working on keeping my sanity – my schedule, my to-do list, my priorities. My things might be in boxes but that’s no reason to stop functioning as myself; as much as I can I’ve been doing what I need to do for self care- workouts, seating aside time for relaxation and friends, etc.

Let’s be honest, I wish life wasn’t complicated. I wish here were times and situations that didn’t make us uncomfortable. I wish things were always smooth. But. the uncomfortable and unsmooth times allow us to grow. They prepare us, make us strong, make us better. And if that’s the endgame, a few weeks with boxes is nothing, right? Right. Or at least that’s what I’m hoping for.

Wishing us all a week of good change, no boxes, and amazing shoes! XO RA

Sales and Such

Loves! It’s August. We’re hot, we’re tired, we are in need of something new. It’s aok–we’ve earned it. Also, with these sale prices, we’d be crazy not to treat ourselves.

Listen, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Deal? I’ve rounded up some of the things I’m lusting for-from the Nordstrom Sale to a Fall Date night look to just the best new things on sale this week!

Nordstrom Sale
Loves, this deal of a sale is coming to an end. Special prices on Fall items go up on 8/6. That’s Monday. Yes, you have all weekend to shop, but let’s not waste time!

Investment Piece: Sales and Such

The above look is everything I love about the Nordstrom sale- great basic (jeans) with a fall staple (blazer) and a bag that you can make a statement. Below are my general picks from the Sale. This is one event you don’t want to miss (so many great deals), so let’s get to stocking up!

Fall Date Night
Investment Piece: Sales and Such

I can’t take credit, the above look was sent to me in an email from Moda Operandi; but I can’t get it out of my head. The dark floral is perfect for fall (it is coming) and the shape of the top is such a show stopper (and these pants are such a basic!)

Is this look on sale? Technically no, it falls on the “such” spectrum. However, I’ve also linked “on sale” items. These exact pieces can be pre-ordered in the Attico trunkshow on Moda Operandi.

(Read about how I love Moda here and my take on dark florals here and here ) 

Weekly Sales Picks
The Nordstrom Sale isn’t the only party in town, and fall date nights aren’t the only outfits on my mind. Shop my sales picks below!

I’d love to know: what’s in your bag?

Xo RA

And loves, a little programming note: we’re working on amazing content for fall! New and old series, some special things, and listening to your input (you can always reach me at racheladelicia@investmentpiece.com). Through August you can get content here on site and on my social media channels (@racheladelicia)! In Septemeber we will update you with our new and improved publishing schedule!
XO RA

Feature in Influential Magazine

Investment Piece: Feature in Influential Magazine

Loves, as you may know, one of the best perks of this job is getting to meet you, and getting to work with people like those at Influential Magazine. (And the shoes) It truly is a joy to get to meet people who love what they do, work with them, and grow our community. Recently, I was honored to be featured in Influential Magazine. I’ve linked and copied the interview below, make sure that you give the magazine a follow-their content is so insightful!

Investment Piece: Feature in Influential Magazine

Investment Piece: Influential Magazine

Investment Piece: Influential Magazine

Investment Piece: Influential Magazine

Investment Piece: Influential Magazine

Investment Piece: Influential Magazine

You can find the whole issue here and follow Influential Magazine at online and on Instagram @influentialmagazine.

I love getting to know you and sharing little bits of myself with you! Interested in a collab? Email us at racheladelicia@investmentpiece.com

Happy Shopping this week, loves!
XO RA

Sunday Chronicles: Sex and the City

Sex and the City TV series (1998-2004) starring Sarah Jessica Parker as Carrie Bradshaw, Kim Cattrall as Samantha Jones, Kristin Davis as Charlotte York and Cynthia Nixon as Miranda Hobbes – dvdbash.com

Yes, my loves, it’s another take on Sex and the City Why did this one show affect so many of us so deeply?
It’s not just the amazing fashion that the show showcased; although, you could make the argument that it was the first fashion blog, and the fashion was fresh, amazing, provocative, and more than a valid reason to tune in. Blogs, Instagram accounts, my closet are a testament to the fashion presented. Manolos became a household name because of the show; it had an impact. I won’t go into the fashion here (though I will tell you I loved Man Repeller‘s take on updating Carrie’s best outfits), not because I don’t love it, but because SATC was so much more than fashion. (I also won’t debate Adian vs Big, because as someone who’s dated assholes, it’s some times nice to see an asshole change. Fiction is great!)

I was in my 20s when SATC came out (yes, I will still claim to be in my 20s, I’m great at math), and SATC was the first time I got to see a women centered show address women like me. Women who loved their friends, careers, and men, but whose love lives didn’t fit in the “box” imposed on them, and the men weren’t the center of the show. I was an actress with 4 jobs scraping by in LA, it was a breath of fresh air to reconginze myself in a TV show, and be told that all the things that I was (am) were reasons for celebration, not shame. (I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned this, but representation matters) I’m from the South and grew up the the expectation that marriage and kids were the story for women (I realize this is not a Southern story, but the burden of being a woman, but it is bad in the South), and a show where single women (who were thriving) were accepted as normal was stunning.

Investment Piece: Sunday Chronicles: In defense of SATC

This show had such an impact on my life. While I could go on forever about why I love it, I will spare you. Instead I offer my main takeaways from Sex and the City. Yes, I may be trying to live my life like Carrie, but if it’s with the following lessons, is that a bad thing?

Female Friendships Matter
At the diner, after yet another breakup, Charlotte utters the enteral line, “What if we were each other’s soul mates? Then, we could let men be things that come and go”.
This line cut me, and has defined many of my friendships. Till this point, any show about a woman was about finding love; or the woman was already married, or a mother. How amazing is it to think that maybe the people to get you through your life are your friends? (And how true). Is it that the women on the show, or me, don’t want to find love? No, not at all. But maybe it’s the realization that no matter your romantic situation, the real loves of your life are the friends who come into your life and stay and love you. Seeing this spoken and shown repeatedly on SATC let me know that it was ok that I wasn’t married, and that being married isn’t the last word on being loved. This was revolutionary.

It’s Ok to Live Your Own Way
Investment Piece: Sunday Chronicles: Sex and the City

Women Not Apologizing for it. I loved all the things that the women on SATC refused to apologize for, from expensive shoes to sex drives to mixing shorts and fur coats. Have you ever counted how many times a day you say sorry? Or worry about how you’re coming off? Or maybe you apologize for making life decisions that are different than someone else’s? Seeing women owning who they were, and not being sorry for wanting what they wanted was eye opening for me. Related? Carrie’s career was taken seriously. To this day, there are times when explaining what I do is difficult. Both men and women can assume that I’m just “playing” and “not really working”. Do I have this career because of a TV show? No. But, seeing someone representing careers that I was pursuing being unapologetic about not having a “traditional” career or schedule empowered me.

The Women Failed
Investment Piece: Sunday Chronicles: Sex and the City

They questioned themselves. They questioned their friends. They failed, they succeeded. The women cried on each other shoulders and celebrated each other’s successes. They had bigger problems that just break ups, and sometimes things didn’t work out. My loves, that’s life. No matter who you are or where you live, there are issues (and not just of Vogue). It’s hard. We all mess up. Sometimes it’s ok, and sometimes it’s not. Carrie, Samantha, Miranda, and Charolette are the first characters I can remember not getting it right all the time, and not being villains. They were just figuring out their lives. Isn’t that what we’re all doing? And yet, did seeing women do it change things for you? It did for me.

I asked a question: Why did this show affect so manny of us so deeply? I have more takeaways, favorite outfits, favorite moments. Yes, the show was flawed and would be a different, more diverse show if it were done today. Yet, so many of us drop what we’re doing and watch it repeatedly. It sticks with us, we chat about it, talk about what character we are (my take: the ladies were almost archtypes and we all have a little of each of them in us). Why?

Sex and the City gave us women who were messy, complex, simple, searching, winning, failing, loving, fighting, and making it up as they went along. They were human, and all that goes with that label. I think this show meant so much to us, because we saw ourselves in it. And my loves, that is a beautiful thing.

I would love to know, are you a SATC fan? Why?

Wishing us all a week of messiness and amazing shoes! XO RA

Classic Repeat

Investment Piece: Classic Repeat
Investment Piece: Classic Repeat
Investment Piece: Classic Repeat
Investment Piece: Classic Repeat

Loves, we all know that one of the most often posed questions I get is : “Do you re-wear your outfits?”

And, as usual, the answer is a resounding yes. (Note: some party dresses, and do I love a good party dress, are more difficult to rewear, but I make it work.)

This dress? It’s a classic repeat. I originally got it a few (at least 3) years ago, and put it up when we were brand new here. (OMG, we’ve come so far, right?). I wear it often, but perchance I wore it the other day and when the 5th person stopped to ask me about it, I was reminded of what a classic it is. So, I had to repeat it.

What I love about this dress? (Because let’s be honest, you could get a denim dress anywhere). The details. The neck and the back and the slits, you show just enough skin to keep it interesting, but not too much. (Goldilocks would be jealous of your balance). It goes great with heels, equally great with flip flops. Not to mention, it’s cool enough for summer (how is it over 100 already?).

Investment Piece: Classic repeat
Investment Piece: Classic Repeat
Investment Piece: Classic Repeat

My take? Your closet should be filled with classic repeats. Yes, fill in with special pieces that make your heart sing. There’s never a reason to say no to a party dress. However, when you have your pick of classic repeats, you always have something to wear. So, what makes a classic repeat?

Classic repeats can be a couple different things. A basic that you can wear over and over, in multiple ways. OR an outfit that makes you feel great and you can wear over and over. Same thing? Maybe. Either way, a classic repeat is timeless and some thing you can’t help but repeat. This dress is one of mine. What’s one of yours?

Even though this dress is a few seasons old, I found some similar looks for you! Happy Shopping!
XO RA

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

Investment Piece: Classic Repeat

Dark

Many of us have been affected by the deaths in the news this week. Beyond that, this week was choke full personally- events, changes, and work. I work hard to provide you with great content (and I’m excited about some things coming). However, every time I sat down to write a post for today I got stuck. There’s so much to say, but nothing to say. I really wanted to address depression and anxiety , but it felt so overwhelming. I wanted to celebrate the 20th anniversary of “Sex and the City”, but it felt done. There are drafts upon drafts saved. You deserve content that isn’t forced, I want to bring you content that lets you not only see my style, but let you see a little bit of me.

So, today I’m taking a break. We’ll be back tomorrow, and maybe this week I can make progress on all the things I wanted to say to you. Today? We rest. We work. We break.

It would be a great day to check in on a friend.

Wishing us all a little break and amazing shoes! Xo RA

Disclosure and Privacy Policy

Investment Piece

Loves, this week you may be hearing a lot about GDPR compliance and what businesses (this one included) must do to disclose all the information you need to make decisions about where you shop, and what that business is doing with your information. While GDPR “law” only applies to the European Union, I care about your privacy in the States, and around the world. Therefore, today we are down to get the site compliant with all privacy laws. We are also posting our Disclosure and Privacy policy below. These will always be available on our site, and if at any time you have a question you can email me at rachelamorris@gmail.com

I appreciate the trust you place in me by visiting and shopping this site, and I am reaffirming my commitment to ensure that you and your information are treated with the utmost respect.

(Also, legally I have to tell you that I am compliant with FTC Rules, but as we’re family I wanted to tell you much more than that.)

Xo RA

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Thank you for trusting me with your closets.

Privacy Policy
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XO RA