Ex Files: The Shoes

Investment Piece: Ex Files

It’s that time of the month when I attempt to be Carrie Bradshaw, aka my own personal dating horror stories. If this speaks to you (or you just love the drama!) you can search ex files over in the search box for more, or may I suggest The BreakUp Text, Dudes and Nudes, The One Who Got Married. This month is a doozy- and sadly I didn’t break up with the dude over this (in my defense I was 23), but without further ado may I present The One Who Lied About a Party. Got Dating Horror Stories? I would love to hear them! Maybe we can even chat about you being featured! Xoxo RA

The Shoes

It should come as no surprise to anyone that I have a thing for shoes. And it’s not that I expect anyone I date to feel the way I do about shoes, or buy me any, but I do want my feelings and passions to be respected. So, when I started dating Ray I thought we might be a perfect fit. Not only did he seem to love that I love shoes, he would get excited about them with me. I had been saving for years-literally 2 years- to be able to afford Valentino Rockstuds. Ray and I didn’t live in the same city, and I thought (because of the love of shoes) that it would be fun for Ray to go with me to buy the Rockstuds.

I know, I know- but it was the first time I was really in a place to save up and buy myself something luxe I wanted. Rockstuds were such a staple, I thought getting them would announce that I was a “real” fashion woman. Even through everything, including this story, they still mean a lot to me, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to get rid of them.

Ray was on board and we went to the Valentino store. I was so excited I was bouncing up and down like a 5yo on Christmas. This is where the story gets a bit sad. Instead of being supportive and happy for me, Ray began to cut me down a bit and put a damper on what, to me, was a big deal. I had wanted the kitten heel in the nude- Ray told me I was dumb not to get the higher heel as it was sexier. Did I mention I was like a kid on Christmas morning? Ray told me that I was embarrassing and I was acting “low class”. Did I mention that I had saved for 2 years to be able to afford these shoes? Ray told me that it was ridiculous for me to save for them and for shoes to matter to me. After I paid, he let me know that he should have bought them- I told him that he could buy me the higher heel. Ray told me that was gold digging and completely unattractive.

Buying these shoes meant something to me, and I wanted the purchase to be fun. Instead, I felt like nothing I did was right, I felt critized for being who I am, and I saw a side of Ray that I didn’t like. Needless to say, things with Ray didn’t work out. As I mentioned, I still have the shoes.

Perhaps today is a good day to put them on and remind myself that good shoes are worth it (and so am I!).

Xo RA

Many Faces

a woman standing in library stacks in a black dress with the face of Marilyn on it
a woman sitting in library stacks wearing a black dress with the face of Marilyn Monroe on it
close up of a black dress with Marilyn Monroe on a black Dress
a woman in Marilyn Monroe Print dress on the library stacks
the back of a woman (in black) in the library stacks

Do you ever feel as if you’re different people with different groups? Or friends? Or family? As if you have various, or many, faces, that you show to different people in your life? I do. With certain friends I’m the leader, with strong opinions, and from boundaries. With other friends I’m a follower, willing to go along. Sometimes I’m super loud and funny. There are people in my life who think I never talk at all. And to some people, with whom I feel super safe, I never shut up.

We all have many faces. Or sides to us. And depending on who you’re with, various sides of you may come out. Perhaps that’s why I’ve always loved reading (there was a time when I read a book a day and while my adult life has not indulged that habit, I still love to get lost in other worlds), and the idea that within the pages of any book you can be anyone and go anywhere. Or perhaps, a better way to say it is that we all have many faces, and sometimes we wear them.

a woman in dress whit eh face of Marilyn Monroe in library stacks
a woman in a black dress with eh face of Marilyn Monroe on it in Library Stacks
close up of a sleeve with a woman's smile and red lipstick on it

This isn’t the first time I’ve been attracted to or worn a dress with a face on it (see here>/a>), but it may be the first time that I’ve thought about my style in terms of the face I’m presenting. Well, not completely true, but the first time I’ve thought about the face on my clothes and the face I’m presenting in the terms of how I dress. Or aka, I’m more aware of the fact that I have many faces, from the books I read to the personas I put on with my outfits to the faces I share with people I know. The difference is that this time, I’m wearing my many faces while aware of all the meaning they have.

And yes. This dress is full of a LOT. I won’t dip my foot into any of the Monroe legacy- although to say I think she was such a talent and we were worse off to not see her do more- but I know she’s an icon. And had many faces. So a dress with her face, in a place with so many stories- what a place to wear it! Note: this dress is vintage Loewe, and I’ve linked both Loewe dresses and dresses with faces on them for you below!

I’m a firm believer that our fashion is a way to tell our stories. I’m also aware that all of us have many faces, even with those we love. I’m not sure that I have any advice on how to combine all of your faces, or what to wear to do that. But, I do think that all of our faces, and outfits, deserve a place in our lives.

Also- what are you reading right now?

a woman with a dress with Marilyn Monroe face on it sitting on a couch in library stacks

Shopping options linked below. If you have insight or something to say about your many faces I would love to hear them!

XO RA

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

a woman in library stacks in a dress with Marilyn Monroe on it

Fashion Stories: Grandma’s Gloves

https://www.youtube.com/shorts/_GHWQbbYXq0

This post is part fashion stories- because these gloves were never mine. They happened to be in the pocket of a trench coat that my grandma left me. Yet, they fit perfectly. I always get compliments. These Isotoners are both a reminder of my Grandmother’s love, and a chic glove.

And yes, these are Isotoners. Which also makes this part a Now and Then (where we chat about fashion pieces you can get both new and vintage)- and Isotoners fit the bill! There are so many Isotners (even new in box!) that you can buy vintage. And there are new Isotoners you can buy now. Luckily, as of yet, prices haven’t gone up – so both vintage and new are incredible investments.

I have a soft spot for these gloves, and Isotoners, in general. Yes, they remind me of my grandma. But they also remind me of childhood, and what I thought was chic and grown up at the time. (I don’t think I was wrong.) They fit so well, keep me warm without being bulky, and again- I get compliments every time I pull them out. Because it felt as if they were part of the package with my grandma’s trench, I haven’t been able to take them out, so I only wear these gloves when I wear my Grandma’s trench, but that makes them a bit more special.

In fact, I’ve been thinking of buying myself (and my loved ones) new Isotoners, not only to remember my Grandma, but because they are just so chic!

I’ve linked both vintage and new Isotoners below for you- I hope that they have good memories and that they bring a lot of compliments and chic tones to your winter outfits!
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 close up of a hand in Isotoner gloves and a trench coat touching a green bush with red berries

How to Revamp your Wardrobe without Buying Anything New

a woman in a black slip dress

Maybe it’s the time of year, but I’m feeling a bit uninspired and my go-to solution is to buy new things. From shoes to bags to dresses, pants, and more. My going theory is that new will inspire me, make getting dressed more fun, and get me out of the winter blahs. Yet. I know that new isn’t always the answer- and that really, my closet(s) full of clothes have so much potential in them. The trick is getting me to use what I have, instead of reaching for the new. Looking for help and inspiration in making new with clothes I already have, I loved this Harper’s Bazaar article by Megan Doyle, about getting the revamp feeling without buying anything! While some of these practices aren’t for me, I love that the heart of the piece focuses on what stories we want to tell with our fashion, and finding those in our closet.

While I’ve reprinted the article below, you can read it here as well.

I would love to know- how do you deal with the urge to buy a ton new at this time of year?
XO RA

How to revamp your wardrobe without buying anything new
Stuck in a rut? A sustainable fashion stylist could help you rediscover your personal style
BY MEGAN DOYLE
7 OCT 2022

If you ever stare into a packed wardrobe and think “I’ve got nothing to wear!” you’re not alone. According to research on hundreds of wardrobes by sustainable fashion brand Pareto, we only wear 20 per cent of our wardrobes 80 per cent of the time. If you’re in a style rut, the answer doesn’t have to be a shopping spree. Instead, many women are turning to sustainable stylists to help them rediscover their personal style using what they already have in their wardrobes.

There are plenty of reasons that we end up with a wardrobe full of the “wrong” clothes, from relentless advertising on social media to rapid trend cycles that keep us constantly buying new clothes, regardless of whether they fit our style.

“In this age of information, it’s very hard to decipher what thoughts are truly our own, never mind our style, so it’s more important than ever that women go on a journey to discover what optimises their body, creativity and soul,” says Kerry Wilde, a UK-based sustainable fashion stylist and creator of the Embodied Soul Style Method.

a woman in a black tweed dress and flat black boots

Sustainable stylists offer a range of services to help their clients to discover the hidden potential of their wardrobes, like one-on-one sessions, group workshops, online courses, Youtube tutorials, questionnaires and more.

“I am interested in how to decouple your personal style from consumption, because we’re so hardwired for it,” says Alyssa Beltempo, a Canadian sustainable stylist. “Fashion is something that helps us both as individuals to express ourselves, but it also helps us feel like we belong. Our style evolves all the time, but I think it takes a bit of work, introspection, and knowing who you are. There are a lot of reflective pieces to it, like who do you want to be?”

People often turn to styling during a transitional phase of their life. Perhaps they’ve had a baby, are starting or changing their career, or going through a break up. “They want to feel like themselves,” explains Sam Weir, who runs her sustainable styling company called Lotte V.1 in New York. “It’s fun to be part of the process of them developing their career, their relationships, and making sure their clothing matches the image that they’re building towards.”

To uncover or rediscover your personal style, our stylists suggest coming up with a list of words to describe what you’re looking for. Don’t just think about aesthetics, but also the feeling you want to get from your clothes. “It’s really about figuring out who you are, who you want to present to the world, and then you can create a picture of your personal style,” says Beltempo. “Forget about camouflaging your mid-section — do you want to highlight your personality? Your smile? Your legs? Start from there,” she says.

On the rare occasion the stylists want their client to buy something, it’s because of that piece’s potential to unlock far more outfit options in their wardrobe.

“I’m not against shopping completely, I’m against overconsumption and a lack of thought when shopping,” says Weir. She sources the pieces for clients, always opting for secondhand clothing, and shares a care guide with clients too. “It’s not just about styling, we have to make sure all these pieces are taken care of so you can continue to wear them. These are forever pieces and I want them to take care of it.”

In some ways, a styling session can feel like therapy. “My services are about inspiring women to better understand their own unique language of style, embracing who they are now, healing body shame, shedding what no longer works, releasing old identities and returning to a style that evokes truth and authenticity,” says Wilde. “I think our relationship with clothing is deeper than we see on the surface and so grabbing a journal and beginning the process of unpacking what’s hidden beneath can be a cathartic way to tap into ‘who you think you are’ and what’s relevant for you now, here, today.”

Rarely do our sustainable stylists encourage clients to throw away clothing, adding to the mountains of textile waste already polluting the world. “The only reason I would encourage someone to get rid of something is the fit, if we can’t make sense of this for your body, that’s when it should be moved out of your wardrobe,” says Weir. She recommends gifting or selling before donating your unloved items to reduce the pressure on charities. “There are so many creative ways we can use these clothes before we donate.”

Hiring a sustainable stylist is an investment that isn’t always accessible, so if you’re not ready to take the plunge, why not download a wardrobe organising app like OpenWardrobe or Whering, which digitises your clothes and uses an algorithm to formulate outfit ideas. Whatever way you do it, taking stock of your style is an ongoing practice that will serve you in every stage of life.

“Taking time to re-wire our personal style and therefore buying decisions is well worth the investment as it reduces the consequences of an over-cluttered wardrobe bulging with unwanted clothes,” says Wilde. “If you learn how to move your wardrobe around and make it work more for you, the results can be transformational.”

a woman turns back to camera in a floral kimono and black jeans

Sunday Chronicles: Happy Lunar New Year!

a woman in a red and gold print dress worn over jeans against a wall

Some will tell you that today is the “actual” start of the new year, some will tell you that it’s a great day for luck, and some will tell you that it’s a great day to eat well. I’m going to tell you that I wish you an incredibly lucky and prosperous Year of the Water Rabbit (you can read more about the year of the rabbit here, and more about Lunar New Year here). While not a part of my traditions growing up, as an adult, this celebration is a tradition I love to respectfully celebrate- aka I wear red, appreciate the day, and usually buy myself something fun as it can’t hurt if it’s lucky, right?

With that being said. It’s not my place to wade into the discourse about Lunar New Year, or tell you how to celebrate. In fact, these was one of those topics that I was a little hesitant about posting as I know it’s not mine, and never want to step on toes. Or sound like an insensitive “influencer” who only cares about pretty packaging. If this is a holiday that you grew up celebrating, I would love to hear more about how you did so? What did you do, eat, wear, and wear there any special traditions that you loved? What do you do to mark Lunar New Year now?

While I dabble in astrology, the Lunar Year chart is not my specialty- though I know I’m an Earth Sheep. From my understanding, the year of the Water Rabbit is supposed to be lucky, and bring prosperity to us. I’m crossing my fingers for us all. As I mentioned, today is a day I usually buy myself a little lucky “charm” for the new year. I’m partial to red lipstick- for the color, and I’m always charmed by the Lunar New Year Packaging (cliche but true). However, there are all sorts of Lunar New Year charms- from rabbit shoes to bags to silks and knits. While I am partial to skincare, there’s something for us all. I’ve linked all of my faves for you below!

Whatever this day means to you, I hope that it is a good day. That the year brings us all luck, abundance, and all the things we love. Happy New Year!

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

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

Absolutely in love with the Tory Burch Lunar New Year Line:

And you can shop all my faves from skincare to more here

In Between

a woman in a green silk robe with pink lining
a woman in a green silk robe with pink lining
a woman in green silk robe with pink lining
a woman in a green robe with pink lining
a woman in a green silk robe with pink lining

This year has started off a bit more slowly than I had hoped. While I know that things will pick up, many things have felt very in between right now. From my hair (letting it grow out, and every other day I think about going blonder or darker) to my schedule (there’s been more waiting than action and I’m still working out a routine that works for me) to waiting on everything from checks to packages. It’s all a lot of in between.

And I’m not great at in between. One way or the other (aka how I can dress up or be in sweats, but have a hard time with casual) I can do, but in betweens are difficult for me. I avoid them. I dislike them. I don’t want to be in between.

But, perhaps, that’s because I’ve been thinking of in betweens incorrectly. To me, in betweens can be a form of purgatory, and often my discomfort is me just wanting to get somewhere. What if in betweens aren’t a place to rush through but places of opportunity? Having that thought shifted my perspective. If an in between can be whatever I want, if I can use the time before getting to my destination to really think about what I want, I can have fun with it, instead of hating in betweens.

It’s a little like this vintage robe. Which, yes, I wear as a dress. This robe can be a party dress-just add heels, the details like the rhinestone ties. Or it can be dressed down, worn a bit more casually. Or you could wear it as a robe- over everything from nightgowns to sweats to pjs. It can be anything you want it to be, but as is, it’s a little in between.

a woman in a green silk robe with pink lining

My aha moment on in betweens doesn’t mean that I’m not excited about things starting to speed up. About going from an in betweens to some place solid. But, if I can wear something fantastic that can be amazing different things, I can enjoy the in between a little bit more.

And I highly recommend vintage silk robes. They make mornings, nights, and all the in betweens a bit better. I’ve linked some I love for you below!

How is the beginning of your year going? Are you in between and how ware you handling 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!

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

a woman in a teal and yellow silk robe applies skin cream in a bathroom mirror

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. There are also times when I hyper focus on how I look- from my skin to my hair to all the things from how my jeans fit, etc. Ritual and routine, aka skincare, can be so soothings- especially when we can see results! Which is why I’m thrilled to announce I’ve partnered with CosmeticRx, which offers prescriptions on RetinA and Latisse (And I’m in love with skin care that means we look amazing without makeup!). You can use code INVESTMENTPIECE for $19 RetinA (and strength) and Latisse monthly orders starting at $89! This article, and these products, really speak and help me – and I hope they do the same for you! 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.

PS My eyes (though I’ve always needed glasses) are also going -though I’m leaning into reading glasses being chic. And I’m using the RetinA to disguise the fact that sometimes squinting is leaving me with wrinkles I would rather not have. Reminder that code InvestmentPiece at CosmeticRX gets you a $19 order! xo RA

a close up up of a CosmeticRx box with a box of RetinA and Latisse in it

Sunday Chronicles: First Holiday

a woman in a purple hostess dress un bed

In the States, it’s the first holiday weekend of the year – MLK Day (celebrating Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King Jr). There’s a lot to be said for MLK’s legacy, but it’s mainly become a weekend for sales, and maybe a trip out of town. I wasn’t planning to take time off, there’s so much I want to wear and write about! But as it turns out, I’ve been fighting something off and I need the rest. You can shop my sales picks in the LiketoKnowIt or ShopStyle apps! I’ll be on the couch resting up- and will be back on Wednesday wearing something fabulous!

Wishing us a week of forward movement and amazing shoes! Xo RA

Cold Weather Friends

a woman in black jeans, black sweater, with a black scarf around her neck wearing pink suede heels in front of grey stairs
a woman in black jeans, black sweater, with a black scarf around her neck wearing pink suede heels in front of grey stairs
a woman in black jeans, black sweater, with a black scarf around her neck wearing pink suede heels in front of grey stairs
a woman in black jeans, black sweater, with a black scarf around her neck wearing pink suede heels in front of grey stairs

I am a warm climate kind of gal. Which is ironic when I tell you that I love snow (well, I may love the idea of snow), am in love with ski apparel (I’ve never been skiing), and super ironic when I tell you that while I dream of cold weather fits, every time the temps drop the first thing I reach for are sweats. It’s not that I don’t want to buy and wear all the chic winter finds – from sweaters to ski pants to coats- its just that when I get cold the main thing I focus on is being warm. People live and look amazing in cold weather, in snow, and I long to be one of them.

I long to be someone who’s style comes through, even when I’m cold. I know it’s possible. The issue is that I’m not quite sure how. Layers, I know, from undershirts to turtlenecks to sweaters to cardigans to coats. Heavier fabrics, from jeans made with cashmere to wools. Scarves, from chic ones around my neck to heavy ones. If my first instinct during winter is to put on two pairs of sweats, I’m slowly learning to make cold weather friends with pieces that are warm AND fashionable. To embrace wools and knits and trust that they will work against the wind. And most importantly, to marry my style with all of the above.

The above outfit is one of my cold weather go- to’s. Warm jeans (I’m loving the new trend of cashmere and wool blend denim). Sweater over a long John tank (silk blends are my favorites). Scarf (from light to heavy) around my neck. Not pictured- a really warm wool coat to top it off.

If you manage to do cold weather chic I would love to know your secrets! What are your go to’s? How do you stay warm? I’ve linked these options below and can’t wait to hear your picks!

XO RA

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!

woman in a black sweater with a black scarf around her neck in front of grey stairs

Another Year, Another Closet Clean Out

Fun fact- I wrote this last year, and while I had every intention of cleaning out my closet last year, it didn’t really happen. For a lot of the reasons I chat about here. Overwhelm. Still not sure what my life is going to look like. At the end of the year, I did begin to clean out- and it felt great. I’m still taking it slow, and while the world and I are more open than we were, I’m determined to let that uncertainty lead me to make amazing fashion choices- and not hold onto items I really don’t need anymore. Especially when there are so many great ways to recycle your clothing and get your great items to people who do need them! Below are my thoughts on cleaning out your closet even when it’s hard, my method to clean out my closet, and this year I am really going to do it! XO RA

fashion, blogger, closet clean out, clean closet, closet full of clothes, Austin, tx, Los Angeles, ca

About this time, you’ll be seeing, getting, reading all sorts of articles and tips on how to clean out your closet. It’s that time of year. And I get it- I’m a fan of cleaning out closets,I even have my own method which I’ve gone into detail about here, here, and here. Yes, when I clean out my own closet I do these EXACT things. I go through section by section and sort my yes, no, and maybe piles, trying on all my maybes and asking myself questions to see if they fit in my closet (life). Then I sort again, organize and make plans to get rid of my nos.

But. Wanna know a secret?

I haven’t cleaned out my closet in a couple of years. With the pandemic, and all the things, I just haven’t been up to it. Part of it is overwhelm- even though I have a system that works for me, I’m well versed in what I like and what I want my closet to look like, the stories I want to tell with my fashion- going through my clothes right now seems daunting. Some of that is that I know some things I know I need to sort out and replace (like a lot of my sports bras), and the idea of replacing a section seems too much right now. Part of it is that I’m at a loss for what’s happening in the world right now. Am I not wearing things because of the item or fit- or because I’ve been at home for over a year? How do you judge that and what are you doing about it?

Investment Piece: Luxury

If you’re managing to clean out in a way that’s working for you, I can’t tell you how much I admire you. A closet clean out is currently on my list of January goals, and I’m still not even sure how to start it. There are so many things in my closet that I love, some I need to part with, and many that I would love to add- and in this time that’s all a bit much.

SO.
I’m changing at how I’m looking at the closet clean out this year. Will I eventually go through my closet, using my processes and get rid of the things that no longer serve me? Yes. At some point will I replace all the things that I need to (for me, sports bras)? Of course. However, while all of that is still overwhelming, I’m choosing to focus on other aspects of a closet clean out- the organization. During the pandemic my closet space became more temporary than it had been in years. There was a time when you could ask about any item I own- ANY- and I would know EXACTLY where it was in my closet. Skirts, pants, tops, dresses, vintage, modern- my closet was sorted by type, color, function. It was pristine. Now? I don’t know where anything is (I do, but not in the ways I’m used to). Instead of making myself stress out about another closet clean out, I’m focusing on getting my closet back to being pristinely organized. Will that help in a clean out (as some clean will naturally happen along the way)? Yes. Or at least I’m hoping so!

But taking the pressure off myself is making this process easier on me. In my closet clean out process, I always say that you shouldn’t feel pressured to get rid of things just to get rid of things. If you love something, if it brings you joy (even if you aren’t wearing it every day), I say keep it. This relaxed attitude has always let me clean out my closet in a way that lets me keep things, while I really do get rid of the things that are no longer for me. I’m crossing my fingers that this same attitude will let me organize- and clean out- while avoiding the overwhelm.

How are you making room for new stories this year? How are you cleaning out your closet? I would love to hear any and all tips!
XO RA