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 Stories: End of Summer

Investment Piece: Summer Mood

At the beginning of every season I get so excited about all the outfits to come. I plan so many things that I want to wear, I sometimes even get over zealous in thinking about all the things I want to wear. Then-especially in the past two years- life happens and all the outfits sometimes don’t end up happening. We change seasons, I get excited about the next one and the end of the season sometimes goes without me properly enjoying all those outfits.

This year. While I am looking forward to fall, I’m determined to enjoy the end of summer. End of summer will be full of great plans and greater outfits. I’m spending a day or so looking at outfits from summers (and summers past) thinking and planning out what I want my end of summer to look like.

Investment Piece: Surprise Ending

Should I make sure to wear all my vintage swim?

Investment Piece: Don't go in the Water

Get in my fave summer shirt more than once? Maybe with white jeans?

Investment Piece: Ruffles and Stripes

Pull out all the straw acessories and the one of my most perfect summer dresses?

Investment Piece: Summer Version
Spend some time in my summer robe (I only wear as a dress)?

Investment Piece: Diving In
Swim sweater?

Investment Piece: End of Sumer
Spend the end of summer in the best caftan?

Investment Piece: How to Blow Out Summer
Wear all white?

Investment Piece: Days in LA

Wear all my bikini tops as tops?

Investment Piece: Summer's Greatest Hits
More crochet?

Investment Piece: End of Summer
Blazers with shorts?

This summer I attempted not to have too plans (I was worried about them not being fulfilled). But I did want to wear all the sundresses, all the swimsuits, and all the white sets. I haven’t worn everything that I wanted to yet, but I figure I still have a bit of time till the true end of summer is here. What did you want to wear this summer? What have you worn? What do you need to still wear? I’m still making my list and would love your I put- and of course I will share what I end up wearing!

Xo RA

Fashion Stories: TV Fashion: The Americans

Most of this is a repost. When I first started this blog, I knew that I wanted to talk (and show!) stunning fashion, outfits- and tell stories. As we know, for me stories and fashion are a part of the same thing. It’s taken me a while to really refine my vision and how I talk about our fashion stories, but the ideas have always been there. At first, I wanted to talk about fashion on TV and Movies (because, as an actress it made sense to me). This was one of my first attempts. Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot (again) about costumes and costume designers. I talk a lot about how what we wear tells our stories, and one of the most visible ways (and ironically, one place where we learn how to dress for what we’re trying to express) of fashion story telling are costumes. They let us know so much about a character- who they are, what they like, what they’re dealing with, who they want to be. Costumes are such an important part of any show or movie you’re watching. I promise. So, I’m looking again at what I was thinking about the Americans- and how the story of being a spy is one I’m drawn to. I’ve added a link to an interview with the Costume Design Team from this show- and I’m also currently shopping items like these!
Xo RA

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In case you haven’t been watching, “The Americans” is simply one of the best shows on TV right now (seriously, go binge). It follows two Russian spies, living in the US in the early 80s–and I love everything about it. So much goes into making a great, timeless, compelling show–the story, the actors, the production–but also, the fashion. When I completely fall for a show, like I have with “The Americans”, I find myself wanting to live in their world, and while that isn’t always possible, dressing like them can be.

THE AMERICANS -- (Premieres Early 2013) Pictured: Keri Russell as Elizabeth Jennings -- Photo CR: Jeff Neira/FX
THE AMERICANS — (Premieres Early 2013) Pictured: Keri Russell as Elizabeth Jennings — Photo CR: Jeff Neira/FX

Let’s be clear, I’m not calling for a return to all 80s fashion (let’s just say no to big shoulder pads), but when fashion is great, done well, and timeless, elements of any period can be added to your wardrobe. It’s a case of “classic fashion never goes out of style”. The fashion on “The Americans” is not only great and classic–a lot of it would look modern today!

A Great Coat and Boots
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It’s on every “must have” or “invest” list–a great coat and a great trench. When it’s paired with boots it’s a classic outfit–and all over Instagram as we speak. Spring is a great time to buy a coat on sale, and trenches are always a good investment. I’m a fan of high boots, they never go out of style.
Some of my picks:
Trenches: Ralph Lauren, Burberry, and Zara
Boots: Stuart Weitzman, Frye, and Steve Madden

Wrap Dresses

Subject: The Americans On 2013-04-08, at 3:50 PM, Yeo, Debra wrote: Kerri Russell as Elizabeth Jennings and Matthew Rhys as Philip Jennings in The Americans on FX. CRAIG BLANKENHORN/FX  The Americans.jpg
Subject: The Americans On 2013-04-08, at 3:50 PM, Yeo, Debra wrote: Kerri Russell as Elizabeth Jennings and Matthew Rhys as Philip Jennings in The Americans on FX. CRAIG BLANKENHORN/FX The Americans.jpg

DVF made it ionic, the shape makes it completely flattering. A wrap dress is great in every decade and in every way–short, long, dress up, casual, there’s just something about this silhouette that looks great on everyone. It’s a classic you need and here are some of my picks:
Wrap Dresses: DVF (on sale!), DVF, and Ann Klein

Great Jeans and a Top
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Ironically enough, high waisted jeans and tie blouses are back in style–but I think any jean rise that looks great on you and any simple blouse is a classic hit. There’s something both effortless and pulled together about the combo. Some of my faves:
Jeans:JCrew, , and MOTHER
Tops: Equipment, Anna Quan, and Zara

Read about the costume process here.

Would you wear any of these costumes? Be a spy?

I’m game!
Xo RA

Fashion Stories: Grief

Investment Piece: Grief

My family has an old cat (21! Which is over 100 in cat!) I never considered myself a cat person, but this nugget wormed her way into my heart and was there for me a lot- that story could be a whole other blog. Starting last week, she began to decline and I’ve spent my time balancing work and being her nurse- including staying up late and watching her. However, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Grief is a wild and woolly thing. Grieving someone (or a pet) before, or as, they pass is also wild. This experience has made me think a lot about grief- how we deal with it, how we talk to other people about it, and how we dress for it.

About 5 years ago, I went through a 2 month period where both of my grandma’s passed, as well as an uncle. Funerals, wakes, various services- I became a pro at planning them, attending them, dressing for them (in hose, as that’s what my Mimi would have wanted from me). Black dresses and suits, nothing flashy, I even had mourning hats with veils. In some ways, that was the easy dressing part. If you see someone like that, you assume that they may be in the throws of grief (or literally at a funeral) and we tend to be compassionate to greiving people.

But what about when you’re not at a funeral? What do you wear to grieve when you’re at the grocery store or at a bedside or just so tired from loss that life seems hard?

Investment Piece: Grief

Societies, communities, all of us, have rituals to deal with grief. Widows used to wear black for over a year. In some communities you still refrain from certain things while you’re in mourning. However, there is not a universal way to mourn. And black is not exclusively for mourning- some cultures wear white for grief, others purple. And I wear all the colors all the time (and a lot of black a lot). On top of that, this year and the pandemic has been hard and full of loss for everyone’ and not being able to be together has often made the grieving process much more difficult. If there is nothing that can universally let people know you’re grieving, what do you wear?

Right now, I’m living in some version of sweat pants. I’ve been up late, and on and off, nights, need clothes that can get dirty and be cleaned easily. My hair is pulled up. My eyes are puffy (maybe that’s the tell). If I saw someone dressed like me at the grocery store, I would assume that they were going through something. But the thing is- I have a shoot and 2 video calls in the next few days. I’ll de puff (yes, hemroid cream helps! It’s an old make up trick!) and clean up and hopefully no one will know how sad I am.

If dressing for our grief is an outward processing of it, or at the very least showing people your grief; does it mean something when you don’t dress for your grief?

Investment Piece: Grief

I don’t know that there’s one answer to these questions. Grief and our fashion choices are personal. So personal. Some of us don’t like to share any thing about our grief, others over share to strangers. Would you want everyone to know you’re grieving by your fashion choices? Or not. There are times, even this week, that I wish that there was a little signal I could send out to explain to people that I’m not operating at my best as I’m grieving. Yet, I don’t know that I want to share it with everyone and be questioned or judged if I choose to dress in a “happy” way. Again, grief is wild and woolly.

I also want to reconginze that not all grief dressing (if that’s what we call it) is somber and black. Joy and the good memories are part of grief too. I have quite a few pieces that were handed down to me by my grandmas, every time I wear them (or an outfit they would like) I feel as if I’m honoring them. My kitty? Will probably make it on a sweater or necklace (in one of those pet collections that so many brands have), and when I wear it I’ll remember how lucky I was to love her. Wearing special or happy things that remind me of people and places I’ve lost are a way to honor them, just like wearing black.

Thinking about grief and what to wear for it can lead you down such odd paths. There’s no right answer and as we’re all carrying some form of loss (especially after this year). Perhaps we should assume that we’re all grieving a bit (no matter what we’re wearing) and be extra gentle with each other. What do you think?

Have any tips for grief? What do you wear?
Xo RA

Fashion Stories: Childhood Trends

This week I am so thrilled and grateful to be featured in Voyage Austin. Both the process of this interview and while giving it, I couldn’t help but think about our stories. And our fashion. And what shapes both. It’s always funny as I always think I’m SO DIFFERENT in various stages of my life, but when I look back- there’s always a through line.

This was one of my first fashion stories, chatting about childhood fashion and what I still wear. Believe it or not, I think about it all the time- or I should say I think about how my fashion has stayed constant. The fashion that really makes me who I am.

The Voyage article is so nice- and it’s even niecer to tie it back to what I’ve been wearing for life.
Xo RA

Loves, as you know, I’m a big believer that fashion helps us tell our stories. And our stories matter. This summer, I’ve spent a lot of time helping my mom clean out many things. In mom’s house? A lot of baby pictures, which got me to thinking:

Last month we talked wedding dresses (see here) and yes, those are an item most of us can’t get out of our closet. Another item we tend to hold onto? Baby clothes (though my mom has mine boxed in the attic, but still). It made me wonder: does how we dress as children influence how we dress as adults? Are the things that were in our closets as kids still in our closets?

In my case, yes!! I was never one to turn down a party dress (I refused to wear pants till I was 5); and I’m still very partial to a great party dress (and shoes). There are direct lines between what I wore (and many times a day I changed) as a kid, and what I wear (and how many times a day I change) a day now. Ironically enough, my mom used to take pictures of all of my baby outfits, now I take pictures of my outfits. Everything comes around?

I hope you enjoy this video I made about these thoughts. I’d love to know:
What was in your closet as a kid? What can’t you get rid of? Did what you wear then affect what you wear now?

XO RA

***Note: I think I ramble too much. At one point, what I was trying to explain was I danced as a kid (yes, I still wear leotards around), and it got me in the habit of wearing a bun ALL the time

Fashion Stories: FashionxSports

Investment Piece: Play Ball

I’m endlessly fascinated by all of our juxtapositions. The corners and opposites that make us who we are, and make an outfit interesting. One of mine? I love sports. LOVE them. I’m a huge football fan (here, here, and here) I can’t miss basketball playoffs. And while I’m not the biggest baseball fan, I do enjoy watching my college team (and pay attention. Also- going to games is fun! I can’t wait till we can do that again! I wrote about baseball and fashion here)

There are people who are endlessly surprised that I can like both fashion and sports. Which is always so interesting to me. Sports stars are often seen as fashionable (and some even have their own lines). And fashion in its purest form is about a show, and sports is a spectacle- to me they don’t seem that so far apart. And if fashion is a way for us to tell our stories, wouldn’t it be natural for our fandoms- no matter what they are- to be expressed through our clothes?

Investment Piece: Fashion X sports

And if I’m telling my stories, I want to be in charge of them. While there are hundreds and hundreds of women who love sports, often our fashion options for our sports teams is lacking. In my opinion.

I’m a fan- I love the game. And I want the fashion I wear to show that, not be a beacon that I’m a woman. Pink. Sparkles. Rhinestones. I hate it all. If my team’s colors are purple. Or blue. Or green. I want to wear those colors. I want the shirts. And shorts. And sweaters. And more. That I wear to look like something the players would wear. Not a beacon letting the world know that I’m a girl.

Investment Piece: Play Ball

And I think there is a way to make sports wear look fashionable. Some of my tips? Wear heels. Pair fan gear- from hats to tops to pants- with a neutral. Let the team item pop. Wear your fan shirt like any other shirt. Dress it up. Be unafraid to be casual with it. Treat it like it’s any other outfit. Only wear your team’s colors- not logos. Don’t be fair to dress up for a game. Don’t be afraid to be casual.

There is no right or wrong way to show your love of sports in fashion. And if you don’t love sports? Nothing wrong with that either. After all, if you love sports like me, this is just another way to tell some of your stories.

Investment Piece: Play Ball

I would love to know. Do you love sports? Do you dress for it? How?

Xo RA

Fashion Stories: Restoration

Investment Piece: Restoration

Have you been following the saga of the Givenchy dress found and restored by Henry Wilkinson? I’ve been paying attention on Instagram– and it’s amazing and I love it! Henry is a costume designer who happened to find part of a vintage Givenchy gown. It looked like this:

Investment Piece: Restoration

After research, care, and a lot of work, Henry got it to look like this (again):

Investment Piece: restoration

And! It turns out this gown was owned by Princess Lee Radziwill (Jackie O’s sister!)
Investment Piece: Restoration

Following the journey online was just thrilling. I learned about zippers! Henry showed us how to shape! And it fed my love of fashion as a means to tell our stories- the night the Princess wore it, what happened to it, and how it transformed all of us by being restored to its former glory. For the full story, I’ll let Henry tell you:

If you want to read all about it you can, at:
Vintage Fashion Guild
Town and Country
Yahoo

And I whole heartedly recommend following Henry on Instagram (@henryjjwilkinson) for his documentation of this project (and other fashion stories).

As someone who loves wearing vintage, I love to think about who has worn/owned my beloved vintage gowns before me. Now, I’m thinking about who will wear my clothes after me. What will happen to them? I can only hope that they recieve the care that Henry gave this gown. And we can all hope to wear something so beautiful!

To all the stories our fashion holds!
Xo RA

Fashion Stories: Ossie Clark

Loves! It’s the time of month where we go into our closets to see what stories live there. This month? I was lucky enough to chat with Lauren from Timeless Vixen about her Ossie Clark collection. It’s amazing. And I can’t wait to get back into her closet and really play. Also –I’d love to come play in your closet! What do you collect?

In the meantime, let’s enjoy my convo with Lauren about her 109 pieces of Ossie Clark (yes, her closet is #goals)

Hope you enjoy!

Xo RA