The Real RM

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



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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

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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

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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

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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!

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Sparkle Responsibly

By Rachel Monique Maskell

Hello Beautiful!


Happy Holidays! I’m kinda awe struck that we’re at the end of the year, the end of a decade, the end of what seems to be some crazy astrological cycles...or rather I should flip that and say we are at the beginning of a new time, a new era. 


This feels like a time of reckoning, a time of clearing. It feels like we have been building towards not only an awareness of what needs to change, both globally and personally, but now we also have an opening to move forwards and make it happen. 


For me this means owning my vision and big goals. Not letting fear and doubt lead the way, or even complacency. The latter is the hardest. As I get clear on goals I’m also refining my values and leading with those. But this often means making different choices that aren’t always that easy to do. Some are habits that have set in over many years...yet the time is ripe for change!


Making changes can be simple things too. Like the type of glitter you choose. If you’re like me you love the sparkle even though the fall out, literally, ends up all over the house. I remember when I first heard that glitter was made out of plastic, I was devastated. Tiny bits that never biodegrade, that are impossible to clean and that end up in our wildlife. I was thinking about this again recently after listening to Dressed Podcast on the history of glitter and how it’s made. It’s fascinating, but they also stress the environmental issues with it. 


When I first learned about the dark side of glitter I did some research and found a company that makes a biodegradable version. So I made roll-on bottles of different colors to make it easier to apply and less of a mess. They’re super fun. I was inspired by the podcast to pull them out again and share with you. May your days be sparkly and bright...but please, do it responsibly and make the changes that future generations will be proud of. 


XOXO,


RMM 

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It’s more than a dress

By Rachel Monique Maskell

Hello Gorgeous!


Here we are, coming to the end of the year, the close of a decade, and ramping up the holidays. It’s pretty wild when I stop and think about it. Not that I’ve had too much time mind you. Being the end of the year it’s also the end of the semester and I’ve been on high drive finishing up projects for my finals.


The project that has been the most eye opening to me over the course of the past few months is my dress. It’s a simple shift dress that we are making in Construction 1. As we learn a skill we apply it to the garment: darts, sleeves, zippers, hems, etc. It’s this process that has me hyper aware of the clothes on my back and the labor it took to make them. 


I think of the history and the past of what it took to design basic patterns. The math and geometry. The draping and sewing. Each piece of clothing has touched so many people’s lives. From the farm to the textile production to the factory floor. From the shipping to the marketing to the department store. Each thread connects us all and every day we get dressed. 


It’s the simple things my friend, that we often forget that play such an important role in our lives. 


May your holiday be bright. May you see the blessings and feel the gratitude of what has come before. There is still much change needed but let us dwell on the magic and the creativity to close up the year. 


XOXO,


RMM

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Something fresh for you to chew on

By Rachel Monique Maskell

Hello Lovely!


Happy Turkey Day! Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. Despite it’s potentially unsavory beginnings, I love that we have a day in the calendar devoted to giving thanks, eating a lot of food, and sharing it with friends and family. At least this is my wish for you.


And in honor of all the food we Americans like to consume on this day, I thought I’d give you something else to chew on...some fresh facts you can share around the dinner table.


So here we go ranging in topics but covering areas I believe we can all be grateful for. 


  1. Women’s Suffrage: Next year we will be celebrating our 100th anniversary of the success of the women’s suffrage movement in the US. Just writing this brings tears of gratitude to my eyes. But researching dates I also learned that 2015 was the first time women in Saudi Arabia were allowed to vote. I know it’s different culturally than here in the States, but my heart goes out to those who are tired of the patriarchal oppression that has been running the world into the ground since its inception. No, patriarchy wasn’t heaven sent, it was established just like any other societal structure. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women%27s_suffrage
  2. Plastic eating mushrooms: I’ve always believed that mushrooms will save the planet. And if you haven’t heard yet, one of the biggest environmental issues affecting us today, plastic, is consumed by a rare species of mushroom from the Amazon rainforest. Pestalotiopsis microspora consumes polyurethane, the key ingredient in plastic products, and converts it to organic matter. Not that we should make more of a mess for them to clean up, but it’s nice to know that Mother Nature will outlast us all. http://yupthatexists.com/pestalotiopsis-microspora-plastic-eating-mushroom/ https://www.dezeen.com/2018/09/25/state-of-the-worlds-fungi-report-mushrooms-eat-plastic-kew-gardens/
  3. Shoes: The necessity of shoes means they have been around since at least 1600-1200 BC. But did you know that prior to 1830, there was no difference between right and left shoes? https://www.thoughtco.com/history-of-shoes-1992405
  4. Fire: The timeline ranges but about 1 million years ago ‘man’ began to control fire. As their knowledge and confidence in using this tool grew, differentiation of societal roles may have developed separating cooking task groups from hunting task groups. Was this the beginning of men in the field and women in the kitchen? Not sure I’m so grateful about that part but happy we’ve learned how to use fire for our survival! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Control_of_fire_by_early_humans
  5. Airplanes: We’ve all heard the Wright Brothers invented flying but this is not the whole truth. They actually invented the creation of a three-axis control system, which enabled the pilot to steer the aircraft effectively and to maintain its equilibrium. And their first airplane engine was actually built by their employee Charlie Taylor, ever heard his name before?! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wright_brothers
  6. Telephone: That classic children’s toy with two tin cans connected by a thread is actually the beginning of the development of the telephone. Sound waves can be carried through a cable or a string and harnessed into sound with a bowl shaped container, kinda like our ears. Simple beginnings with now very profound implications. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invention_of_the_telephone
  7. Handwashing and sanitization: The man who first discovered the importance of handwashing never got the recognition he deserved. Despite saving lives, the doctors were not quick to change and even ridiculed him for his ‘discovery.’ By 1865, when he was only 47 years old, Ignaz Semmelweis was committed to a mental asylum. https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/01/12/375663920/the-doctor-who-championed-hand-washing-and-saved-women-s-lives
  8. Sewing machine: In 1755 Charles Fredrick Wiesenthal, a German-born engineer, was awarded the first British patent for a mechanical device to aid the art of sewing. Although his namesake is familiar to most of us, Isaac Merritt Singer was not the original inventor. He was though an incredible marketer spending a million dollars a year on advertising during the 1850s. http://www.moah.org/virtual/sewing.html
  9. Electricity: Was it ever really invented? More accurate to say is we have learned how to harness it’s powers just like we have with fire. Many people are attributed to this gradual understanding and applications of it today, but Thales of Miletus was the first scientist to recognize the existence of electric power in nature in 600 BC. https://readanddigest.com/who-invented-electricity/
  10. Chocolate: fermented chocolate drinks date back as far as the 450 BC but it wasn’t until 1847 the first chocolate bar was invented. Joseph Fry & Sons found a way to combine the cocoa butter, cocoa powder and sugar and make it into a moldable form. They then displayed it for eating in Bingley Hall, Birmingham, England. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_chocolate https://www.chocolateuniversityonline.com/the-history-of-chocolate-bars/
  11. Art: the oldest piece of art ever found dates back to 33,000 AD. This discovery shares that we have been using art as a form of self expression and communication since the beginning of human history. In our modern world we often view art as a fun pastime or a good investment, but in light of its longevity perhaps it’s time for a re-elevated position. https://www.ancienthistorylists.com/pre-history/top-10-oldest-art-ever-discovered/
  12. Mother Earth: she is by far the greatest gift to us all. No facts needed here. We all live within her arms as she continues to embrace us and provide sustenance, keeping humanity alive and growing. In what ways can we share our gratitude for her unyielding commitment to life?

There are many many more topics and things I am grateful for, and I’m sure you are too. But I hope this list gets you started and may even help to initiate a conversation or getting the banter flowing. 


Big love and have a fabulous day. 


XOXO,


RMM

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