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. Especially now, when we are all a little stressed, I can’t help but come up with various outfits to wear (where I would wear them to is another story!). 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.

More Sales

Loves!
Are you taking the 4 day weekend for the holiday? Or not celebrating? What are you up to?
No matter where you are and what you’re doing, I’m hoping that you’re staying safe, healthy, and enjoying the summer sales!

I’ve done another round up of sales that I’m shopping this weekend. My latest picks, as always, are over on the LiketoKnowit App (follow me @racheladelicia) and on the tab to the left that says “My Looks!”. From swim to summer clothes and shoes, I like to think I have everyone covered!

Happy shopping!
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!

Swim
Designer swim for under $100? These picks will have you looking chic and being cool all season long!

Summer Dresses
I have a thing for dresses! And these are all under $50! And perfect for the rest of summer!

Madewell
Madewell may be having the BEST sale with 30% off sale prices with code GIANT from
Dresses:


Jeans:

To Shoes and bags:

What are you shopping for?
Xo

Mom’s Style

I’ve been posting this on my mom’s birthday for a few years now. And while her big day is technically tomorrow, I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate it. My mom and I are close, and yet different. However, as I get older I realize I’m more like her than I think, and I couldn’t be more grateful. Especially now, as some of us are apart from our families, I think about how the women in my life shaped me. I’m isolating with my mom, and I won’t say that everyday has been easy-peasy, I’m learning a lot from my mom, growing closer. And while there are days when we’re both dressing WAY more casually than normal, I’m still stealing style tips from her! Xo RA

InvestmentPiece: Mom's Style

Loves! It’s my Momma’s birthday! If you haven’t caught on, my mom and I are close, and I can’t begin to describe how much I love her, and how appreciative I am for all she does for me. Mom is a CPA and teaches accounting, she’s our CFO, and while that’s completely different from her creative daughter who thinks shoes are a necessity (I mean I need shoes, I occasionally want to eat); Mom’s style has influenced me and helped me become the fashionista I am today. So, what did I learn from Mom’s style? Glad you asked!

Stay True to Your Style

No matter the trend or what “you’re supposed” to do, sticking to what you love and what works for you is something to be admired–and makes you look stunning! Mom is a big fan of navy. She is known for her love of navy suits, shoes, and bags. There are years when navy is “in” and years when we’ve had to search for navy for Mom. That doesn’t matter to Mom, even when the styles she loves aren’t in she sticks to them. There’s a classic-ness in that, a commitment. That’s not to say Mom doesn’t try new things, but I’ve learned that you don’t need to be a slave to trends, that sticking to things you love is something to be commended, and when you find something that fits you–hang onto it!

Proper Undergarments Matter

Mom and I have had a lot of events recently and at everyone Mom has mentioned that she thinks I might need a slip. (Side note: I have slips, I’m not great at wearing them) Here’s the thing though: Mom may have a point. Lining, slips, proper garments: our clothes fit better when we make sure these things are taken care of. Proper fit is important (Mom is big on that too) and to ensure that the fit flows, proper undergarments help. (And let’s be honest, no one likes the look of lines!)

Invest in Your Suit
Something Mom and I agree about whole heartedly? Your suit, be it an actual suit, jeans or yoga pants, is something to invest in. Mom, being an accountant, is a fan of actual suits and made it a point to invest in good ones each year. Now that she’s in a place where she’s good on suits, Mom is having fun filling her closet with tanks, tops and blouses (both classic and trendy) to wear with her suits. However, she’s always adamant that her suits are high quality, she checks seams and linings, that it’s where she spends her money. And loves, I agree–what you wear the most should be where you invest your money.

Don’t be Afraid to Accessorize

Mom is a more conservative dresser than I am, yes. However, Mom is not too conservative for a great accessory! I can’t remember a time when Mom didn’t leave the house without a scarf, jewelry, pins, or gloves. We do a high tea occasionally, and Mom is always on point with her hats (and gloves!). The lesson? You can always be playful, and the details are always a place to have fun!

While Mom and I may have different opinions about certain fashions, but my Mom has some amazing style, and I’m so grateful she taught me all she knows!

Have some champagne to celebrate!

XO RA

Lunar New Year

Investment Piece: How to Copy
Investment Piece: How to Copy

Tomorrow is the Lunar (or Chinese) New Year. A new year so close after NYE? I’m down! I don’t know about you, but we’re reaching the point in the new year when resolutions and goals are a little bit harder to stick to, and the malaise of winter is setting in. In other words, I’m glad for day to reset and renew my enthusiasm for the new year!

(Also, I love wearing red, which is good luck!)

Investment Piece: Lunar New Year
Investment Piece: Lunar New Year

2020 is the year of the Metal Rat, and is supposed to be a lucky year for money and new beginnings. I’m no expert on Lunar New Year, which is also the Chinese Spring Festival based on their lunisolar calendar. I do know that years are represented by animals and elements, representing yin or yang energy. I’m an earth sheep, which is supposed to mean that I’m tasteful, crafty, warm, elegant, charming, intuitive,sensitive, and calm (I’ll take it). You can learn about the traditions and meanings of Lunar New Year here and here.

If you’re new to Chinese astrology, a firm believer, or just looking for an excuse to celebrate (again), we can use tomorrow as another blank slate to welcome in prosperous new beginnings! I’m all for any excuse to celebrate and start anew, so I’ll be wearing red and excited to welcome the Rat! What about you?

I’ve linked to some of my favorite Lunar New Year Offerings below–they’re mainly cosmetics, some great red lipsticks and incredibly indulgent powder from Givenchy (I have it and it’s well worth your time!)

Happy Chinese New Year!
Xo RA

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

Shop my picks here and here.

Investment Piece: Lunar New Year

Merry Christmas!

Investment Piece: Happy Holidays

Whatever you celebrate this week, we here at Investment Piece are wishing you the happiest of holidays! We are so grateful that we are a part of your lives. We’re taking some time to be with our families and our shoes, but we will be back with sales picks on 12/27 (and on social media before then!). We wish you rest, peace, abundance, and amazing shoes this holiday season!

XO RA and team!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!

Investment Piece: Happy Thanksgiving

Loves, it’s coming. The holiday season. The gift guides. The sales. And no matter what our plans are, the stress. It’s ok for this to be the best time of the year, and the worst, all at the same time. It’s ok to love your friends and family and want to do all the things with them, and yet, be overwhelmed with plans and obligations and all of it.

This time of year is a lot.

So. This is my wish for us. That we’re lucky enough to be surrounded by love, and get moments and hours alone. That the holiday is restful. That the food is so good that we forget to take pictures. That being both on and offline is a gift we give to ourselves.

Yes, here we’ll be posting sales and gift guides and all the things that we help your holiday run smoothly (or that you’re treating yourself!) Those are always shoppable in our menu, or by following me (@investmentpiece/ @racheladelicia) in the @LiketoKnowit App. In the meantime, we’re taking our own advice.

My goal tomorrow is to lay low. Eat. Spin. Enjoy. Sales picks will be up Friday/Sunday/Monday.

I’m so grateful for you! Happy Thanksgiving!
Xo RA

Sunday Chronicles: Behind

Investment Piece: Sunday Chronicles

I was raised by women who believe in being on time. In fact, not on time, early. 15 mins early is on time? More like 30. I was a straight A student in high school, and was also raised to be prepared.

Both lessons I’ve tried to take into my adult life as much as possible.

Loves, I am behind. Not a little behind. Not 5 mins late. Behind, as in there are days when I wonder at what point am I catching up and at what point am I starting over?

The reason I’m behind? More than one. Family issues came to the forefront. In the middle of cleaning out my closet, planning more than one shoot, keeping the editorial calendar current, collabs current, personal life up, back pain, etc, etc. The last few weeks have been filled with feelings of overwhelm. And the knowledge that I’m behind, and would rather be ahead.

I’m not sure how to get in front once we’re behind. Do you? The following is what I’ve been doing, and it does help, though I’m sure that there might be better techniques (and if you’ve got them I would love to hear them!)

I’ve been honest
With clients, friends, family, whoever has asked. It’s not an easy thing to admit. That I’m behind. That I don’t think I can make that event, or deadline. That I need to push somethings back. That there’s a lot on my plate and I need some help. But. When I don’t admit it, the behind gets worse. And I’ve found that most people get it. My clients understand and need the extra time themselves! My friends and family understand I can’t make it, or pitch in and help. In fact, it’s made some of my relationships better to admit that I need a little help. Being behind as a good thing? Maybe.

Prioritize
I’m so behind there’s no way I’m getting everything done in a day. Or two. So, each day I’ve tried to limit my to-do list to 2 or 3 things I KNOW I can get done. I’m still aware of allllll the things, but actually getting things crossed off helps. And when I have too much to do I tend to do nothing. Weird? Maybe. But, true, for me at least.

Be OK with it
This may be the hardest thing. There are things I’m not getting done (though maybe I will at some point) and I’m behind. If I don’t like admitting it, I sure don’t like it. But. It’s where I am. The things that HAVE to happen, are happening. And I’m finding they all happen “on time”. And the things that may not get done? Maybe they don’t have to? I’m slowly and surely learning to be ok with that. It’s not easy, but it’s helping.

I would love to hear any and all tips you have about getting ahead once you’re behind!!

Wishing us all a week of not being behind and amazing shoes!
XO RA

Momma Said Stand Up Straight

Investment Piece: Momma Said Stand Up straight
Investment Piece : Momma Said Stand Up Straight
Investment Piece: Momma Said Stand up Straight

Momma said stand up straight. What she said when I left the house wearing this outfit. And, quite frankly, what she (and my Pilates teacher) tell me often- stand up straight.
Why?
Do we look better?
Yes
Feel better?
Yes
Does the reminder still annoy me occasionally?
Yes.

So what to do?
Stand up straight. And see where that takes us.

Investment Piece: Momma Said Stand Up STraight
Investment Piece: Momma Said Stand Up Straight
Investment Piece: Momma Said Stand Up Straight
This outfit wasn’t planned. In fact, I threw this outfit together on day that wasn’t going in any way, shape or form, good. None of the things I wanted to shoot seemed to be fitting or lining up. Time wasn’t on my side. I was cranky. And this is the only thing I could think that I wanted to wear. (I had a meeting and was hoping to shoot before it.) Yet, when I put this on– it felt right.
I saw my mom, she loved it. In fact, she asked, “Why aren’t you shooting this?” I didn’t have a great answer. Her only note: “Stand up straight”.
So, I did.
Both shoot the look, and stand up straight.
The thing is : when I stand up straight I do feel better, I look better, my “power” is better. And there are outfits that are better when I stand up straight.
Investment Piece: Momma Said Stand Up Straight
The thing about things not going right? It’s amazing how quickly they can change with the right outfit. Or the right posture. It’s a thing. Maybe the next time we have a day that seems awful, we could try it?

This top is custom via AAVintedge, and while the rest is from seasons past, I found you similar. What do you put on when you’re having a bad day?
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!

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