Are we label whores?

I’m still recovering from a black eye and a pulled back muscle, so I’m on the couch online shopping. Almost everything I want is Gucci. Or Prada. Or Valentino. Or Celine. So I can’t help but wonder: Are we label whores?

Investment Piece, fashion blogger, high fashion, label whores, ca, TX

When I was little one of the things that I wanted most in the world was a “Coke” t-shirt. My mom said no, her reasoning being that I was not a billboard. (Don’t worry, I got a hand-me down Coke shirt from a friend, so my life wasn’t ruined.) My mom’s attitude towards labels hasn’t changed much, she doesn’t hate them, but thinks quality can be found without a label; and most importantly, that she shouldn’t provide a free billboard. And it’s not that I don’t get her point; after I moved to CA and found out what they pay for a billboard-I get not wanting to do it for free. However, my relationship with labels is a tad bit more complicated. I like labels. I talk all the time about how much I love Gucci, I think Chanel bags are a great investment, LV bags are fantastic, I love shopping vintage labels, and that’s just the tip of the shopping! I know some of you feel the same. We love labels, we wear them, but are we label whores?

According to Urban Dictionary, a label whore is someone who wears head to toe labels, especially if the logo or brand name is constantly visible. We all love labels, but let’s admit head to toe logos would be a lot. I love every single look Gucci sends down the run way, but also think it’s fresh and modern to mix high and low; which means I often wear my labels with Zara/Levis/etc. So, if we aren’t painting ourselves in logos, is it safe to say that we aren’t label whores? Or is there another layer? Does label whore include loving and/or buying something simply because it’s a label or certain brand?

I don’t ask these questions to make us feel bad, have I mentioned that I love Gucci so? And it’s not that I think that loving labels is a horrid thing; but as someone who shops, helps others shops, and is fashion I can’t help but look at our choices, whatever they may be. Labels are a layered issue, often symbols of status, and can have meaning beyond simply clothes or bags. High end labels are often synonymous with quality and luxury, as well as status; and let’s admit, those are great reasons to want something. We all want high quality clothes, and if said clothes communicate that they’re special and luxurious I don’t think any of us would complain. (If we’re really honest, let’s admit that sometimes labels make us feel special too). But the question remains, are we buying labels because we want the product or because we want the label? There are plenty of quality items out in the world that don’t have a label, and some of them are luxurious. Are we overlooking those in favor of a familiar logo? Is that hurting us–and our closets?

I am the last person in the world to tell you that you shouldn’t buy something you love, even if you only love it because it says Gucci on it. The labels we love are loved for a reason, and I’m not anti-logo by any stretch. I plan on keeping my labels, adding to my collections, and mixing my high and low. However, I am going to start asking myself why I want some things; because as much as I love labels, I don’t think that the label should be the only reason to buy something. I am a fan of quality, I am a fan of high fashion and fun, and I am fan of finding those items, with or without a logo. Can I love all my labels and non-labels at the same time? I think the only way to know is to try!

Am I the only one worried about being a label whore? What’s your take on the issue?

XO RA

Sunday Chronicles: Change of Plans

a woman with a black eye in a metallic shirt and black shorts stands on stones

One of my favorite sayings is “The way to make God laugh is to tell Him your plans”. A play on the fact that, no matter your beliefs, things have a way of not going to our plans all the time. This weekend I had every intention of shooting so many looks, working out, getting the house clean, etc. And yet, all week long all my plans have had to be changed. As it turns out, I pulled a muscle in my back- truly painful and very limiting on any movement I wanted to do. Then, on Thursday, I woke up with a black left eye. I have no clue how I got it (though I must have been hit at some point!), and while at first it didn’t hurt, over the past few days it’s gotten more swollen and hurt a bit more.

Which means, ironically, my plans for tomorrow might change and I may need to go to the Dr.

When my plans change, I try to roll with the punches, I try to be graceful, I try to take it all in stride. Sometimes a change of plans is easier said than done.

Knowing that I could rest for a week (or take it a bit easier physically), knowing that everything would get done eventually- even knowing that a great pair of sunnies could hide my black eye- the changes from what I had planned were hard to deal with. I was disappointed, frustrated, a bit sensitive, and a bit impatient. By the end of the week, even just putting off a run made me feel just awful.

And the reality is- these small change in my plans were not earth ending. As I’ve said, I know that everything will get back on track, I have time, and I can already move my body so much more than usual. So, why do our plans changing upset us so?

Yes- obviously there is a big difference between small and big plans, while there were moments this week that felt big, my change of plans were all fairly minor. Yet, they were upsetting.

Is it because we think we know best? That we have a hard time with change in general? That going with the flow is easier said than done? For me, it’s probably a combo. I’ll tell you (and I can be) that I love spur of the moment plans- but I also know that my plans changing can throw me for a loop. Even the minor plans.

So, what do we do when we have to change plans? Thus far I’ve vented to friends, felt bad about it, gotten mad about it, tried to over compensate with replanning the plans– and nothing has felt as good as just letting my body (and me and my plans) be- and happen as they can. There are times I’m better at it than others, and I’m sure there’s a lesson in there that I might not learn right away.

What do you do when you have to change your plans? How do you handle it?

Wishing us all a week of plans that work and amazing shoes! XO RA

Sea of Lavender

Investment Piece: See of Lavender
Investment Piece: Sea of Lavender
Investment Piece: Sea of Lavender
Investment Piece: Sea of Lavender
Investment Piece: Sea of Lavender

Word on the street is that lavender is trending for fall. Yes, according to the trend reports, we’ll be swimming in a sea of lavender. What I love about this “incoming trend” is that I’m on it. (Yes, this is why cleaning out your closet can be difficult, everything always comes back.) The above dress was one of my favorite pieces from about 5 years ago. I loved the color (lavender), the POCKETS!, the lace details, and the simple elegance of it. I still do.

My theory on why lavender is a trend that we can’t stay away from?
*It’s a pastel, but it’s not overly soft. You can be tough in lavender.
*Lavender works in all seasons (for winter and fall, try colorblocking with wine accents (or red!), or wear the lavender in knits).
*It’s soothing. Maybe all the thoughts about color therapy aren’t true, but allegedly lavender helps boost our moods. I know I always feel better when I like my outfit. And I’m a huge purple (of all shades) fan.
*Lavender is also a statement and a neutral at the same time, making it easy to mix, match or pop in outfits

Another side note- this is not a warm weather dress but with the right shoes (boots) and blazer, it could be. How can you not love a piece like that?

Investment Piece: Sea of Lavender

Another theory about things that come back? Sometimes, they never left. Once I got this dress, I never stopped wearing it (not to get on a soap box here, but that’s the power of buying investment pieces). As you can see here, this lavender number is one of my constant go-to’s. So, is the sea of lavender something that’s coming, or something we’re already swimming in? Does it matter when it looks this good?

Yes, this dress is a Self Portrait number from years ago. However, I’ve linked similar styles and all the lavender you can handle for your shopping pleasure below. What sticks out for you in this sea of lavender?
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! XO RA

Investment Piece: Sea of Lavender

What Season Is It?

A woman in a kiss printed scarf and a purple maxi skirt sits on a stone wall

August might be my least favorite month. Yes, it’s the heat and the fact that the entire month feels like one long Sunday (even if your schedule is not tied to the school year). But because August -yep, still the summer- often feels as if we’re supposed to be knee deep in fall.

This is not supposed to be a knock against any Leos, August babies or even the last bits of vacation. And I realize that if you’re in certain parts of Europe, you’re on vacation this month and let me tell you, I’m so envious! Also- some of my favorite people were born in August. Perhaps it’s not the month but rather the mood of August that always leaves me feeling as if I have to ask: what season is it?

a woman with a open white shirt dress with red and white bikini bottoms and white sandals

Here are my issues with August: it’s hot. Like 104 (here) hot. And yes, it will be hot through October, but August heat feels so very oppressive. And it’s so very clearly summer. Yes, I know that school might be starting, and if you have kids or teach that’s a huge schedule change for you.

Let’s be honest, even if you don’t have kids-like me- our lives are usually said to be done around the school calendar, from holidays to retail sales. Every store you go into right now has signage about “back to school”, and so much fashion (even the fall fashion I’m excited about!) isn’t always weather orientated but school orientated.

So, is August, a summer month, summer or fall? Do we treat it as summer or fall? What season do we dress for?

FYI This is where I tell you, at least this year, it’s so hot (have I mentioned it’s like 104 every day) that I can’t really think about coats or sweaters, or even layering for transitional weather!

a woman sits on green grass in a Red Caftan

And yet, This is the time when I’m supposed to tell you about fall trends, style, home decor. At at time when the heat is so intense I can barely bother to get dressed for the day. (Seriously, there have been Augusts where I could get through the day only by wearing swimsuits. All Day.
Perhaps it’s just me that feels as if August, while a summer month, is also a month in flux because of schedules. Perhaps I’m the only one who feels weird pushing fall in the heat. Perhaps I’m the only one asking what season is it when August feels like it’s an in-between season between how it feels outside and what shops are pushing.

But maybe I’m not. I’m all for fall fashion – and there are trends and a few pieces I can’t wait to tell you about. But it’s also HOT. And summer. And if you can’t bear to think about anything that’s not a bathing suit I get it. I also understand if you’re looking forward to fall and shopping and in that mode. Here, we will try to accommodate both seasons (fall and summer) in the month of August. If you have strong preferences or needs- fell free to let us know!

What season do you consider August?
XO RA

Putting on the Fringe

a woman in a black strapless dress with a fringed shawl and a fringed purse stands on stone stairs
a woman in a black strapless dress with a fringed shawl and a fringed purse stands on stone stairs
a woman in a black strapless dress with a fringed shawl and a fringed purse stands on stone stairs

It’s an interesting time of year, right? It’s so hot and yet the styles we’re seeing are geared to fall (when it hopefully gets cooler). I don’t know about you, but there are times in these “dog days” of summer that it can feel very uninspiring. Everything I want to wear seems too s hot, and therefore when I look at my closet, it feels as if I have NOTHING to wear. To the last minute summer events from parties to weddings to dinners.

So, what do you do when it feels kinda blah and you aren’t sure what to wear? You put on the fringe.
AKA the most simple outfits can be special and keep you cool.

One of my friends recently hosted a birthday party at an outdoor facility. And I’ll be honest, I almost didn’t go- because of the heat and because I couldn’t think of anything to wear. And then, I realized that I could make my look be special and revamp my thinking with a little fringe.

That’s right.Perhaps the answer to anything we are facing is fringe. AKA putting on the fringe may save us all. In this case, I wore a simple strapless dress (a must have for me as they are so versatile, you’ve seen this one her) with a shawl that I got on a trip to Spain YEARS ago (though it does look akin to vintage piano shawls, of which I have a few thanks to my great-great grandmas, you can also find some wraps with fringe modern and all are linked below for you!) and a great purse (yep, your bag might need some fringe!) Add some special shoes (these are gold) and some details and what of you have- an outfit to beat the heat or whatever else comes your way!

a woman in a strapless black Dress with a shawl with fringe and a purse with fringe on stone steps
a woman in a strapless black dress and fringe shawl and fringe purse on stone steps
a woman in a strapless black dress with a shawl with fringe and a purse with fringe on stone steps

The thing about a classic base (be it dress or not) and accessories that have flare (be them fringe or not) that it’s a formula that works for heat (strapless and beyond) and cold (if we ever get there). Fringe is one of those touches that seems simple but is really a show stopper. A wrap or shawl? Show stopper. A purse with fringe? show stopper. Together? Show stoppers! And at a time of year when everything- from the weather on down- feels oppressive, why don’t opt for some show stoppers? AKA. Put on the fringe (or anything that makes you want to shake or uplifts a classic number and go from there!)

In all cases of uplifting classics I will reach for statements- aka the fringe or the shake that any outfit needs. This reads classy- a black dress, or LBD if you will, but glam it up with 2 accessories with fringe. And a vintage shawl always works. As for a bag, a statement is always more appropriate than not. AKA a classic with things that pop from heat on out, are always something to style.

And, to the surprise of no one, these fringe with a classic base made me feel alive or stylish in ways I hadn’t recently. I won’t lie- this summer has been kind of a funk for me- the heat (which makes styling awful), some personal stuff including some chronic pain (which makes me want to wear nothing cute), and all of the issues we’re all dealing with (waves hands in all the ways), but this outfit felt good to me and I felt good in it. Isn’t that what we’re after? A look we feel as if we LOOK in?

What looks have you been turning to in this time? What are your go-tos? Both tell our stories, and right now our stories matter so much!

This dress is vintage, the shoes are available, the shawl was bought as a souvenir from a vacation to Spain years ago (highly recommend buying fashion as souvenirs but that’s another post!) and the bag is from a few years ago. Options are linked below for your shopping pleasure!

XO RA

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

a woman in a strapless black dress and shawl with fringe and purse with fringe stands on stone steps

Ex Files: The High School “Friend”

Marlin Monroe accepts a drink from a man while sitting next to Sammy Davis Jr. Text: I love You. Thanks

In my attempt to not only be Carrie Bradshaw, but entertain us all with the horror stories that can make up single life it’s Ex Files! Every month you get a look at some (real) bad dates that I have endured, and lived to tell the tale. Names and some facts have been changed to protect people, but I own the stories!

Need more horror in your life? Check out: The One Who Wanted His Money Back, The One Who Got Married, The One Who Wouldn’t Take No, The One Who Commented on my Weight. And if you aren’t scared stiff, the search tab has even more stories for your dating horror pleasure.

This month we have : The High School “Friend”

Because sometimes dating horror stories come from those you never even dated, like your high school “friends”. Jon and I knew each other in high school, we had friend circles and activities that overlapped, we went to the same church, our moms were friends. But I never would have considered him a friend. He wasn’t NOT a friend, and wasn’t an enemy, but I (for the life of me) can’t recall any one on one time or conversation with Jon. We were friendly. And I didn’t hate him. But to this day I can only remember the bare minimum about Jon (and most of that is because of Facebook and my mom).

Again, it’s not that we weren’t friends, but Jon and I were never close or personal friends; it was more that Jon was in circles I sometimes ran with.

So, as it goes, Jon and I graduated from high school and went off to college. (Fun fact, I can’t even remember where he went!). We would see each other over the years when each of us come back home, on summers home from college and vacation as we became adults with jobs. (Again, I think Jon works in Tech but I am not sure!). As we got older what began to creep me out about Jon were the comments he would make to me about my body.

I wasn’t fat in high school, but I was much more chubby than I am now and didn’t have a lot of confidence. I always had a sense of style, but college and being out in LA really let me grow into myself (I’m sure I’m not the only one with some issues from high school and a less than Disney experience). As I found workouts and diets, style and confidence that really let me shine, Jon would always compliment me. Which is nice. But we all know that compliments are one thing and a guy leering at you and saying “WOW. You look SO Good” and almost licking his lips are two different things. (In a moment of petty, let me say the years haven’t been as kind to Jon, and while he would love to tell you how much smarter he is than you are, Jon is not my type. At all. In a kindness way especially.) Understandably, Jon became someone I never sought out while I was home.

Which worked out! Jon married someone he met on an internship, they have 3 kids, and from Facebook look suburban happy! For the past few years, I haven’t really interacted with Jon at all, even on Social Media.

So, imagine my surprise when I got a DM from Jon recently. When I first saw his name I assumed it would be about the “unofficial” class reunion he was helping to plan. I was mistaken. Jon was messaging me to let me know that he had planned to go to a concert in my town and was expecting to sleep on my couch. Yes, that’s right, someone I had never been close to or spoken with in years was thinking that I (in his words) “owed” him a place to stay for a concert and he was “looking forward to catching up”. For many reasons, including that my couch is unavailable, I let him know that I wouldn’t be able to host him and that he was on his own for a room to stay in at the out of town concert he had planned for himself.

Surprisingly to no one, once I let Jon know that I couldn’t accommodate him, he got very angry. Jon let me know that he always liked me (yes, he’s still married), and that I should be a better friend to him after all we’ve been through (I think these Dms are our first real one on one convo). Even my mom, who I related the whole thing to, was appalled by Jon’s behavior. In my mom’s words: “Why would a married man assume that an attractive single woman he has no connection to would go out of her way to let him stay alone at her apartment?” Good question Mom. In fact, regardless of Jon’s intentions, I was incredibly creeped out by his behavior. I stopped responding to his messages, once he let me know how mad we was at me. Did he get a place to stay? Sounds like a Jon problem to me!

Have you ever had a casual acquaintance all of the sudden think that you owe them? Isn’t it the worst!?

XO RA

It’s a Wrap

a woman in a blue halter dress in front of a stone wall
a woman in a blue wrap dress in front of a stone wall
a woman in a blue wrap halter dress stands in front of a stone wall

It’s that time of year- it’s so hot that I can’t stand to wear anything. Any and all thoughts of fashion are so far back in my brain that I keep wearing the same (cool) sundresses and leggings. And then. Something comes along and gives you some inspiration. AKA this is a skirt you’ve seen before. Yes. A skirt (seen here be kind- it was one of our first posts!) but now worn as a dress. Yes, a wrap skirt that I tied as a halter (and some strategic safety pins JIC) because as much as I loved it as a skirt, I wasn’t wearing it enough. Then one day, over the “lockdown”, I tried this skirt as a dress.

And I loved it. It eliminated all questions of what to wear with it- other than shoes, and I have worn it with flip flops, wedges, Keds, and heels- so far it’s worked with all of them!

a woman in a blue wrap dress in front of a stone fence
a woman in a blue halter dress in front of a stone fence
a woman in a blue halter dress in front of a stone wall

Maybe it’s that simple. We take something that we love, and we turn it into something we love more. Or, perhaps, it’s that sometimes we need to try a few things out before we find the one for us. And I think that goes for our clothes- and especially how we wear them.

Is there a tried and true method for figuring out how to wear something – or more specifically how to switch up how you’re wearing something? I don’t know (I know, not the answer you were expecting). My advice? A bit of trial and error. When I wear this as a skirt I tend towards white tees, perhaps tanks, but on the safe side. It’s a bit amazing to me how changing the skirt to a dress has opened me up-to all kinds of shoes, to all kinds of styles. And it’s not that the skirt wasn’t easy to style (or that I won’t wear this skirt as a skirt again), but there was something about wearing this skirt as a dress that clicked for me.

I may not have a lot of answers, but I don’t doubt a click. From then on out, it’s a wrap. Especially in the heat. AKA when you figure out a look or a styling that works for you, go with it. And I’m hoping it helps you beat the heat!

While this skirt (wrap dress) is years old, I’ve linked similar styles for you below. These shoes are my beloved Sarah Fints, use code SARAHFLITN-BAINVESTMENTPIECE for $50 off your own pair!

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 blue halter dress in front of a stone fence

New Favorite

Investment Piece: new favorite

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is basically a one woman show, me. I hire photographers, showcase other businesses, work with people, but this enterprise? It’s me. The US, and the world has been (trying) to deal with its history of racism (yes, there is work to do). Many companies and stores pledged to hire and stock more Black-owned (especially Black Women)companies. I have no employees and I don’t stock– but I’ve made it a point to seek out designers and companies that are Black Owned. Here’s the thing- they should have been on our radar to begin with. It should not take BLM to make us seek out amazing stores. But. I’m grateful that I’ve found these companies. The products are amazing and should be a part of your closet.

This dress is from Mie, and it’s my fave fave. Pockets. Sexy. But functional. Good for everything from a backyard staycation (the pandemic isn’t over!) but will look stunning when you’re out and about. Everything from this store is stunning. The service was stellar. I highly recommend everything about them!

Investment Piece: New FAvorite
Investment piece: new favorite
Investment Piece : new piece
Investment Piece: New Piece: New Piece

Have I mentioned the pockets? This dress is linen but thick, so will be great for fall transitions, or even layered with t-shirts. It’s sexy, but not overly so. I’ve worn it with sneakers to go to the store. With sandals for backyard drinks. Barefoot. It’s become my go-to dress. It’s comfy but makes me feel special.

I love finding new brands, I love clothes that make me feel special yet seamlessly fit into my closet, and I love sharing them with you. I’m a bit embarrassed that it took a movement for me to really seek out new things, but I’m ever so grateful for this discovery.

Shop all the wonderful things from Mie here. And I’ve linked these shoes and similar items below!
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!

Investment Piece: New Favorite

Sunday Chronicles: Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris

movie poster-pink- with an older woman in a skirt suit and hate, holding a briefcase with Dior dresses, a man raising his hat and two women in the background with text Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris

This week I went to the movies for the first time since the pandemic started. There’s a whole post to be written about my love for movies, how I used to go at least once a week, and how nervous I was to go back to the movie theater. I did wear my mask the whole time, chose a smaller theater, and a weekday matinee. All which made me feel more comfortable. But. This post is about Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris, which was not only a great movie to see (and about fashion!) but a movie that reminded me why I love movies and stories so SO much.

Not giving the entire plot away, but in Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris a London cleaning lady in 1957 saves up to buy herself a Dior dress (when it was still all couture), and her adventures doing so. I will never be the one to discourage you from saving and buying yourself something beautiful (Dior dress or not), but that wasn’t the only thing I loved about this movie!

I loved that Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris reminded me that:

Fashion is Magical
an older woman in a teal cardigan and red hat looks on in awe , behind her sit a woman in a floral dress and a man in a black suit

When Mrs. Harris gets to Paris, specifically to the House of Dior, she stumbles into a fashion show. Her expressions during the display of dresses, suits, coats, and hats is simply one of awe. She even claps at certain looks. I understand that impulse- I’ve clapped when buying shoes. But it was a reminder that fashion is magical, it can make you feel things, it’s awe inspiring. Yes, fashion is functional and tells our stories, and is often beautiful, but I think that sometimes we forget that the combination of all of those many things that fashion is can be magic. And sometimes, in a couture house, or when we see fashion that moves us, or when fashion is incredibly beautiful, I think the appropriate response is to call it magic and be awe struck by it.

Fashion is mad of details
One scene in the movie, one of the workers gives Mrs. Harris a tour of the Dior workroom. From buttons to patterns to embellishments, there was an attention to detail- from the magical to the mundane. Yes, the movie reminded me that fashion (and we) are magic, but there is also function, business, work, and detail that goes into fashion. Yes, there are conversations to be had about who makes our clothes, how they make them, and our own needed details. I loved that this movie- about the magic of fashion- took the time to point them out. And it was also a reminder to me that the little things about our outfits- the ones we think maybe no one notices? They matter.

Our Stories Matter
In the film, Mrs. Harris is a simple war window, a cleaner called an “invisible woman” by more than one person. Yet her story- falling in love with a dress, yearning for that beauty, saving and coming to live out her dream inspires others. From love to work, Mrs. Harris inspires and changes the lives of those who she comes into contact with. In this blog I’ve made it my mission to tell our stories, with fashion, to make sure that our stories matter. There was a part in the movie where it’s mentioned that even if Mrs. Harris is simply going to keep her Dior dress for herself that it’s worth it, and I agree with that. I also agree with the notion that the stories we tell- who we are, what we do, what we wear, can change others.

There is so much more to this movie. I truly loved every minute of Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris (I may have to get back to the theater more often!), and highly suggest seeing it! It’s also a book (which I’m reading), and I believe that you can get the entire Mrs. Harris series (she also goes to New York and Moscow!) on Kindle for under $10!! And because of who I am, and the stories I tell, I did make my movie going outfit an occasion:
a woman in a blue silt shirt, white pleated silk skirt, studded brown sandals stands in front of a red wall, brown door, sink
(The skirt is vintage Dior because I love a theme!)

Have you made it back to the movies? Have you seen (or read) Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris? What were your take aways?

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