Fashion in the Wild: the SwimSuit

Loves, I have some shocking news for you. It’s summer. And I’m in a swimsuit. In fact, I’m wearing a swimsuit with EVERYTHING. Pants. Skirts. Shorts. Capes. Alone. With anything I can get my hands on. I have a thing for swimsuit fashion. So much so that I made a little video about it:

It happens every year : the temps go up and my bathing suits come out. Not just to the pool, beach, or under a cover up, but as a base for many, many outfits. This summer may see me hang out more in the back yard, but I’m still using my swim suit as fashion inspiration.  As I shop and put together outfits, I’ll be sharing them with you. In the mean time, stay cool and healthy and in your swimsuit!

I’ve also rounded up some of my current fave swimsuits for your weekend shopping pleasure!
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!

Finding Your Personal Style


I can tell you how to style your style (no matter what boundaries are). But what is your style?
I have a feeling that question is harder to answer than we would like to admit! Even for me- if I had to give an elevator pitch for my own style I don’t know that I could.
So. How do we figure out our own style? Is is part look for inspiration? Is it part play in your own closet? Is it look at what fits your life and part what you want your life to look like?
And with those questions I have a challenge for you: meet me here in a moth ( July 13 or so!) and let me know or see what a perfect outfit is for you. AKA what is an outfit that let’s me know who you are and what the story is you’re try to tell. I’m cultivating an outfit to show you and I hope what you can show me here an outfit that is You. What do you think your style is? What do you think is your perfect outfit? I can’t wait to share with you!

XOXO RA

Fashion Stories: Raiding Mom’s Closet

Today is my mom’s birthday. And tomorrow is mine! There have been a few posts over the years that have felt like “tradition” to post on our days and this is one of them. Today my mom (and sis and dad) will be headed to lunch- and I won’t be wearing this, though Mom did approve the dress! It feels great to be able to celebrate and mark our birthdays with fashion-because, like playing dress up with this number growing up, fashion (no matter how much mom and I differ) fashion is what can bring us together. Hoping you have a great Monday and that this post gives you some inspiration – even to raid your mom’s closet and restyle her pieces! xo RA

This post was originially just an outfit post. But even then, I knew that this vintage piece, from my mom’s closet was a story. And what’s that I’m always saying? Fashion is just a way to tell our stories. My mom wore this in her 20s. It was in my sister’s and my “dress up box” growing up. My sister and I have both worn it-to parties, as business wear, even as a costume. To me it tells the story of my mom’s hope and dreams, and how my sister and I carry that on. I am so fascinated by what we keep in our closets. And in this case, what we keep, use, and keep going back to. What’s in your closet?

Investment Piece: Raiding Momo's Closet
Investment Piece: Raiding Mom's Closet
Investment Piece: Raiding Mom's Closet
Investment Piece: Raiding Mom's Closet
Investment Piece: Raiding Mom's Closet
Investment Piece: Raiding Mom's Closet

As someone who loves vintage clothes, there’s a special place I love to go for vintage: Mom’s Closet. I don’t always get the chance to raid mom’s closet, but when I do, I think it’s magical. This dress/jacket set is from my mom’s wedding, it was her going away outfit. I love that she saved it, that she lets my sister and I wear it, and that it’s a vintage piece that lends itself to modern style. Everything about this vintage dress is great–the button detail, the drop waist (though I couldn’t resist belting it with this stunner), and the flair.

Here’s part of what I think is magical about fashion: it can transform itself and you. While this dress holds special meaning for my family, it’s easy to make this a “new” look”. The belt is a way to dress it up, and socks with shoes are one of my fave things ever. ( See here, here, and here for some examples). The look feels fresh, yet it’s an homage to my past. Raiding my Mom’s closet is one of my favorite things. I’d love to know: who’s closet do you love to raid? And how do you do your vintage?

The dress/jacket are from my mom’s closet
The socks are Gucci, the shoes Brian Atwood
The belt is vintage from RecessLa. Pics are by the amazing Megan Weaver!
I’ve picked some similar picks for you below!
XO RA

Fashion in the Wild : Sheer

Loves!
I’m so excited to share our first episode of “Fashion of the Wild” with you! We’re taking trends, high fashion, and everyday looks into the open to see how people react! First up: sheer clothing! You know I love it (proof here,

Every season there is a “sheer trend”. We chat about how to wear sheer, how to make sheer work appropriate, how to layer sheer tops and dresses and more. I am a big fan of sheer, see:
here,
here,
here,
here,
here and so on, trust me: search “sheer” in our search tab!). There are so many ways to make sheer work appropriate (slips, tanks, etc) and I’ve tried them all. This past week I went back through some of my favorite outfits (some sheer) in a way to look for inspiration and also clean out some of my closet. Sheer can be so versatile, so many things.

But loves, what if we let sheer clothing be sheer?

I give you: Fashion in the Wild! It’s me- in all my fashion out and about, no planned shoots, no controlling it. Of all things sheer can be, it’s also fun!

What do you think? Any trend you’d like to see in the wild?

Shop my current sheer picks below and keep it wild out there!
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

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.

Fashion Stories: Fashion Books

investment piece, fashion, blogger, high fashion, fashion stories, fashion books

I truly believe that the fashion we wear is one of the ways that we tell our stories. Yet, I can’t help but also loving fashion stories- aka books about fashion. From biographies of iconic designers to histories of textiles, coffee table books to novels, reading about fashion not only inspires my outfits, but helps me understand fashion from POVs I sometimes didn’t even know existed. This past month, it feels as if we’ve lost a lot of fashion icons- from Andre Leon Talley to Mugler, and reading about them helps me feel as if we still have them.

Another great thing about books? They make great gifts, they are one-size-fits-all, and they let you own a bit of fashion history. Below are fashion books that are on my wishlist for Valentines Day (and beyond), maybe there is something for you or someone you love may love!
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!!

Holiday Dresses

When I was little one of my favorite things about the holiday season was my holiday dress. My mom would spurlge and usually I would pick out the prettiest dress I could find. I loved showing it off at church or family holiday parties, or yes, even when I was little I would wear my party dresses everywhere (school, errands with my mom). Nothing about this story is shocking, and not much has changed.

I still love getting and wearing holiday dresses- the choosing of one, the wearing of one, the showing off of one. Even when we’ve been inside with the pandemic. Even when I have no parties or events to attend.

As you know, I’ve been thinking a lot recently about why I love party dresses so much (see here and here for starters), and when it specifically comes to HOLIDAY party dresses I think I can finally articulate what it is that I love so much. Yes, it’s the hope. But for me- the holiday dress is how I know it’s finally the season. I do love a great party dress, but if I’m honest, I can get away with wearing sweats or my workout clothes, or chic lounge wear (WFH is a blessing and curse). So, for me, I think part of the appeal of a party dress- especially a HOLIDAY dress- is that they mean something. They represent our hopes and joys, they make things EVENTS, they mark my days.

I’m still into getting holiday dresses. And showing them off. This year I have a few more to share with you, and I’m so excited about them. Then in the new year? New goals- and more party dresses. I am who I am.
In the meantime, I’ve linked my current favorite holiday dresses.

Again, I would love to know any and all takes you have about holiday dresses, party dresses and the like- what you’re wearing, what you’re buying, and what you’re loving!
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!

Holiday Dressing

We know that I love a good party dress- I’ve never met one I didn’t like! So as we move into the holiday season, I’m beginning to think about holiday dressing. What does it really meant to dress holidays? Why does it bring me so much joy? What is needed to dress joyfully- because I know it’s not just holiday dresses? And if you don’t necessarily need a holiday dress (or even a holiday suit or jumpsuit), what do you need for holiday dressing?

We’re going to be chatting about it all season. To start, an overview of my holiday dress collection (this is just a fraction!) and an overview of holiday dressing!

What does holiday dressing meant to you? Below I’m linking some dresses that I’m loving this holiday season!

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!

Fashion Stories: Her Mom’s Dress

Investment Piece: Her Mom's Dress
Investment Piece: Her Mom's Dress
Investment Piece: her Mom's Dress
Investment Piece: Her Mom's Dress

As someone who is just fascinated by the stories we tell with our fashion, the things we keep, the ones we let go of, and the stories the get told after we’re gone- it’s always a honor when someone gifts me a special fashion item.

This dress is chic enough on its own: the way you can wear it on or off the shoulder. With or without a belt. With almost any shoe, heel, boots, even sneakers. The tassel tie. It’s a vintage Arpeja-California, under the label Young Edwardian. Known for their styles influenced by 1960s British boutique fashion, retro trends, and focusing on youth and trend-oriented clothing, one of my favorite things about the brand is that its ads featured Lynda Carter.

If Wonder Woman likes it, it has to be fantastic!
Investment Piece: Her Mom's Dress
DInvestment Piece: her Mom's dress

I’ve worn this dress to a neighborhood party. To run errands. And to meet a friend for lunch.

But what makes this dress so incredibly special to me? It’s from one of my dearest, bestest friend’s mom. That would be so kind on its own, but not only did my friend’s mom pass down the dress, she passed down her story of it. My friend’s mom wore this number to a wedding in the 1970s. It made her feel magic and sparkly, and she hung onto until this summer when it was gifted to me- to make more magic in it.

To be trusted with that, to be given the chance to carry on someone’s fashion story? It’s much more than a dress (which I love), it’s a honor. I only hope to give this dress all the stories it deserves.

Investment Piece: Her Mom's Dress

What thing has been passed down to you? How are you carrying on its fashion story?
I would love to hear all about it!
Xo RA

Fashion Halloween: A Look Back

I LOVE Halloween. And I LOVE costumes! Maybe it’s the actress in me, but especially with fashion Halloween, I love thinking about a character, getting an outfit together, and getting to be someone for a night!

Full confession: by Halloween night I’m usually in this:

Investment Piece: I put a spell on you

On the couch watching “Hocus Pocus”. But I still love playing dress up throughout the month.  Last year, I did 2 looks for Fashion Halloween:

Investment Piece: Fashion Halloween

A Mrs. Maisel from the first season

Investment Piece: Fashion Halloweend

And a Moira Rose. Yes, both involved pjs (it felt very appro for 2020). This year, as much as I love Halloween, I am not quite sure what to be. Of course, it would be so easy to be a witch or a queen (things I’ve avoided because it seems so obvious). I have a few flapper dresses (and authentic 1920 pieces), so it’s tempting to do a 1920s “roaring” theme- but I wear those clothes all the time so it feels odd to now call them a costume.  Since my favorite movie of the season is “Hocus Pocus”, it might be fun to dress as the Sanderson Sisters (but that involves getting 2 more friends in on it).

 

In sum, I’m a bit at a loss for what to be this year – I love coming up with glam costumes that not only seem high fashion but are great ideas for Halloween. I would love to get some input- anything you’ve been dying for me to try? What comes to mind when I say Fashion Halloween? Any ideas?

Do you know what you’re being for Halloween yet?
Xo RA