Undressed

How do you measure up?

By Rachel Monique Maskell

Hello Bella!


How are you feeling? I’ve been oscillating between hopeful and angry and sometimes dumbfounded at the state of the world. The fires and hurricanes on top of it all feel like Mother Nature is screaming out too, perhaps clearing out for what’s to come. 


So much to rant on but I promised that this email will kick off the series on body shapes and how best to dress for you! 


The five main silhouettes I will focus on include: wedge, triangle, hourglass, round, and rectangle. 

Wedge: shoulder width is greater than hip width

Triangle: hip width is greater than shoulder width

Hourglass: hip and shoulder widths are equal, waist is 9-11 inches smaller

Round: waist width is greater than shoulder and hip width 

Rectangle: little or no waist indentation


In subsequent emails I will dive into these more in depth with recommendations on how to balance the look, but to begin we need to know which shape best fits our current height/weight distribution. 


Steps to determine your body shape:

  • Dress in something form fitting so you can see the shape of your body, preferably in dark colors.
  • Using a friend or a tripod take a full length picture of yourself against a contrasting background. Be sure to get feet and top of head and take the photo straight on. If taken from above or below the measurements can be skewed. 
  • Print image on 8.5x11 paper.
  • Measure shoulder, waist, and hip widths using a ruler.
  • Compare widths to silhouette descriptions above to determine your shape.

Bonus: take a side profile shot with your ‘normal’ posture. How clothing looks on us has a lot to do with how it hangs on our bodies so having a better understanding of your posture may also help to inform what works best on your shape. 


Remember that this information is meant to guide us and be a useful tool. We are not measuring to judge or criticize our bodies. We are all beautifully unique. By knowing our silhouette we can choose what we want to draw attention to and what we want to minimize. Like much of art, fashion is how we direct the eye. 


Next up...the wedge. 


Until then, give yourself a hug and embrace the body you’re in! 


XOXO,


RM



Read more


What she said

By Rachel Monique Maskell

Hello my friend,


My socially distant friend. How are you holding up? I pray you are healthy and your family too. This pandemic is a game changer in so many ways. 


There’s so much to say about this time and what it means for everyone. Both now and in the foreseeable future. It’s overwhelming. And yet I am grateful too. Not just for my health but for the opportunity to start anew...globally. We have a chance to make the world a better place. 


Just take a look at the fashion industry. Bloated and wasteful they’re now having to look at their inventory and reassess sales. There are countries that were dependent on the fashion industry to survive. Some brands are refusing to pay for work done, leaving the countries even more devastated. The silver lining may be a chance to restructure the industry to being more resourceful and regenerative. Somehow. There are enough creative people out there to problem solve...we just can’t go back to business as usual. Somehow we have to fight back.


At least that’s what I believe. 


And more. I’ve started my third #the100dayproject series called Don’t Read My Lips. I’m posting a daily pic of me with a silk scarf around my mouth and sharing my thoughts and experience of this time. Would love for you to tune in and add to the conversation. That’s what it’s really meant to be...a conversation. 


All the scarves in the photos are from the shop. I’m donating $5 for each one purchased towards those in need from COVID. I’m looking for a good organization to help facilitate this so please lmk if you have any leads. Still a few details to work out but #the100dayproject started on the 7th so we’re off and running!


Glad to be connected through all this. Grateful to have community and others who care. We’re going to need each other, probably now more than ever. 


Xoxo,


RM

Read more


A new virtual reality

By Rachel Monique Maskell

Hello Beautiful,


Trusting you’re safe and well amongst this change. I was thinking about how I would’ve been preparing to go to LA this weekend for a pop-up market. How I’d probably be feeling a bit frantic attempting to juggle too many things but wanting to do it all. And now I’m embracing a quietness and a completely different routine.


It’s challenging sometimes to not get caught up in the fear loop of what will happen next. I’m meant to be doing a business plan for one of my classes and assessing current industry trends and all I can think of is, “who cares?” Why is the past relevant for what is coming next? Albeit, some of it is. History is determined to repeat itself so we must be aware of what was but we are definitely in uncharted territory right now. This thought is both frightening and wonderful. I’m choosing to stay in the wonderful camp. 


I’m choosing to stay focused on myself and my home. Creating a safe, loving, space for my family and myself to reside in for a while. Working on my thoughts and being aware of who I want to be in this moment and beyond. Trusting that as I get to know my shadows and I learn to embrace the inevitable of being human, that all is well. That from this place I can serve and be healthy and happy. That I can be in a place of strength and peace to help build a new world. Because we’ll need to. 


And yes, it’s been a daily practice of breath and forgiveness. Of finding comfort in the little things and gratitude for all things. Thankful for my connection with you and a world outside of just my home. It’s a balance. 


And I laugh because last email I was talking about the importance of comfortable and quality loungewear and here we are...spending most of our time in pjs or some version. So if you’re looking for some ‘new’ cozy clothes I’ve added an automatic 20% discount to all loungewear items till the end of April. I’ll be adding a few more over the next couple weeks too so come back and visit. 


Sending you well wishes and virtual hugs. 


XOXO,


RM 

Read more


Who’s sleeping with who?

By Rachel Monique Maskell

Hello Darling!


How are you? Surviving this transitional time with the time change and full moon energy? 


James has been away for a few weeks, mostly in India working on collaborations and potential health care changes. It’s exciting but not without its challenges at home, especially since it’s also midterm time. 


When either one of us is away Kaliana moves into our bed. Neither of us put up much of a fight. A king size bed is awfully big even with our maltipoo who likes to take up at least half the space. And this might be a bit TMI but I typically sleep naked, so Kaliana has taken to this too when she sleeps with me. 


This new ritual has me thinking a lot about the textiles used in nightclothes and sleepwear. When thrifting I hunt mostly for silks which can be found in the pajama section. What I notice is that the majority of sleepwear is polyester. It’s been made to look a lot like silk and even feel like silk but the properties of this textile are much different. 


As a natural fiber silk likes water and will absorb moisture. A great quality for sleeping. I tend to wear my birthday suit because I get too hot at night. Polyester also attracts oil and will hold bacterial odor. Not so great. Yes, it’s cheaper and it may look lovely, but you may want to rethink it if it’s your go to for lounge or sleepwear. 


If you have the time and inclination you can find silk fairly easily at thrift stores. Or for a curated selection you can check out the loungewear collection on my website. Even if you’re like me and prefer nudity at bedtime, silk is great to put on at the end of the day or when you first wake up and haven’t sorted out what to wear. It feels amazing and can be worn frequently without washing. And it’s great for sleepovers or for a little va va voom.


 XOXO,


RM



Read more


Where freedom reigns

By Rachel Monique Maskell

Hello Bella!


Happy Spring! At least it is here in Sacramento. We had such a mild winter and now the trees are all in bloom and I’m watching the blossoms float in the light breeze. It’s beautiful!


Speaking of beauty, I missed last week’s email because I was in Uvita, Costa Rica for the Envision Festival. Not sure if you’ve heard of it before but it’s a festival in the jungle by the sea. Absolutely magical! This was their 10th year and I can definitely see us coming back. The people, the location, the food, the ease...all made it a wonderful place to feel safe and free to express myself and have Kaliana running around with other kids.


This freedom of self-expression is one of the main reasons I love festivals. It’s about the only place where men and women can dress however they please, in as little or as many clothes as they’d like. Colors or neutrals, feathers and beads, shoes or bare feet - the jungle takes it all. I am so inspired by the way others express themselves and the combinations of patterns and textures. How different would life be if we felt this free all the time?


Besides the fashion the food was wonderful and all compostable outside of the reusable plates and cups that were brought to the Dishoteck for cleaning. The stages were made from driftwood and reclaimed items off the beach. Only biodegradable glitter was used and no one left a trail of trash behind them. The sustainability and creativity of the festival was inspiring and a real tribute to the values and goals of this next wave of influencers, ie all of us. 


In the spirit of the festival season I am working on African print kimonos, festive hats, and visors. I’ll have some for sale at the next pop up which will be in LA on March 28th. See pic below for details. Hope you can make it if you’re in the area.


On that note I am working on the website to showcase where I’ll be each month. So stay tuned for more!


Big love and find ways to express yourself fully this season!


Xo,


RM


https://www.eventbrite.com/e/venice-beach-dressing-rm-pop-up-tickets-97209180275

Read more


They’re sizing you up

By Rachel Monique Maskell

Hello Bella!


How are things? School is back in session so my world is speeding up again with homework, projects and ideas. 


One recent project I’m working on for Dressing RM is a February campaign called, “How do you show your love?” For this I styled five friends with things from the shop, photographed them and asked them to answer the question above. These images will be released on Instagram and website starting next week. 


It was a wonderful experience and incredibly insightful when it came to dressing them. I asked everyone to send me measurements so I could sort through my inventory and put together 3-4 outfits for the shoot. And here’s what I found…

No two women were alike. Surprise! Not. 


I asked for measurements because I know the labels on clothes means little when it comes to fit. A size is simply a number based on a ‘standard’ model fit. And even this means nothing since now we have vanity sizing. But when it comes to dressing, It’s not about size, it’s about the shape of our bodies.


For years women have been conditioned to believe that their size dictates their worth, whether big or small. Women have attempted to fit their individual body shapes into mass produced sizes further adding to our distortion and our sense of self worth. But we don’t have to buy into that model, pun intended, anymore. We can use sizing as a general chart for what may fit us, but knowing your measurements and your body shape will help you find clothes that enhance your natural beauty and individuality. 


It’s my goal to share more information on this topic over time. I’d like to offer measuring tips and guidelines, garment recommendations based on face and body shape, and fabrics that compliment our personality and look. This will be an ongoing project so in the meantime if you have questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. Or if there are specific tips you’re interested in let me know here too. I’m sure others are wondering the same thing. 


So the next time you go shopping, whether online or in person, remember that clothes are mass produced, but you are an individual...celebrate it. 


Big love, 


RM

Read more


What’s it made of

By Rachel Monique Maskell

Hello Beautiful!


Happy Thursday to you. 


This week I started back at school. I could have done with one more week to catch up. Half the break was holiday and the other half I’ve spent working on my website which I hope to have more organized and streamlined for you soon. All good but there’s so much more I want to do...”so many things so little time.”


One of the courses I am taking this year is textiles. We get to pick apart fabrics, look at them under microscopes and learn about the different properties of the fiber that makes up the whole. In analyzing and understanding where the fabric came from we can extrapolate how it is best used in design and what it’s value or limitations may be. My analytical mind is thrilled and I can’t help but see this as an analogy for life and people.


Knowing what we’re made of and what our ancestral stories are can help to give context to where we are best suited. What activities and functions we may thrive at and when we are attempting to change ourselves or our environment to blend in


It’s kinda funny thinking about ourselves as made up of different fibers...but then again, it just may be an analogy that helps us to be more comfortable in our skin and find a place where we fit best. No matter how many layers we put on, or take off, under it all we are still ourselves. 


Here’s to finding, knowing, and loving your authentic self. 


Xoxo,


RM

Read more


Some things never change

By Rachel Monique Maskell

Hello Lovely!


Well, we made it. We’re into the Roaring 20s...or so they say. I think it might be too early to determine but so far it’s off to a good start. How about you?


I’m currently in Morro Bay, sitting in my car staring out at the seals and Morro Rock. It’s beautiful and calm. It’s a place I haven’t been in 20 years after I graduated from CalPoly. It’s been a whirlwind of adventures since so it feels a bit strange and nostalgic to be back. I lived in San Luis Obispo but would come out here with friends and surf or hike or ride bikes. A time in my life where I had time. 


And even after all this time there are still shops that exist, restaurants that have become institutions, and a culture that relies on the ocean to sustain them. Let’s pray that it still can. 


Watching all the sea life float by I am reminded of the delicate balance of the ecosystems around us. The codependency of each creature to another, no matter how insignificant it may seem to us. It’s why even the smallest changes we make to preserve our environment can have a profound effect on saving the wildlife around us.


I’m comforted by the familiarity that exists here. As I write I realize that change is a paradox. Constantly in motion and standing still. A need to be proactive and sometimes stepping back. We may not be the directors of all the cycles of life but we can choose how we want to exist in them and the legacy we leave. 


Here’s to a more beautiful world in 2020.


XOXO,


RMM


Interested in style advice and what you can do to decrease your fashion footprint? It’s free but not unsolicited so please hit reply to this email if you’re interested and I’ll send you a questionnaire to get us started. If you’re in the Sacramento area we may be able to meet in person too. Look forward to hearing from you!

Read more

Recent Articles