Our Stylist Annette Raisky's musings about the Coronavirus and her love of fashion
I’ve been watching a dogwood tree from my kitchen window blossom over the past few weeks. Two robins have built a nest in the eaves of the building across the street. Daffodils are everywhere. The world may have paused, but spring didn’t get the memo.
Like many of us, I’ve been ping-ponging between utter stupor, and periods of manic cleaning and de-cluttering. We also haven't missed a meal in our house, so no need for the button pants, as Pluto the Internet Dog calls them.
Food and wine have pushed themselves to the forefront of my mind, while other things that were very important pre-Covid-19 have moved to the rear of the line. Anyone who knows me knows I live and breathe fashion. But lately, not so much. Since childhood I have loved fashion, when our mother introduced my sister and I to the magical kingdom, not Disney world, but Bergdorf Goodman, and the stalls of Orchard Street. I subscribe to tons of fashion magazines, blogs and influencer websites. It seemed only natural that when my husband and I made Newport our full-time home, I would find a second career in retail. And that path led me to Laura Jean, or as I call it, my happy place.
Since the Coronavirus has come to our shores, I can’t be in my retail happy place. I really miss it. Sheltering at home, however, has given me time to think about fashion and other things missing from my life, and what has value and what’s not so important. I didn’t really miss my clothes for a long time, as I now have a very relaxed outlook on my new style consisting mainly of athletic wear. As for hair and makeup, I prefer not to look in the mirror. The joke in our neighborhood is that when this is all over, we’re going to see a lot of long, gray ponytails.
Maybe it’s the longer days and milder weather, but I feel like I’m coming out of a slumber. I opened my closet the other day for the first time since this began. I had put some sweaters away, but that’s about it. So, I opened it up and guess what? It was still winter in there! My new project is to put the coats, boots, heavy sweaters, and scarves into our storage room downstairs. Normally, I would replace them with some transitional clothing.... but transition to what?
I’ve decided that, for me, it’s okay to start looking forward. I’m still stuck here, but lately my mind has been wandering to spring clothes. I’m more open to browsing websites and thinking about purging some things from years past. Working at Laura Jean, I have the advantage of knowing what has come in for spring. The clothes are beautiful, soft, colorful and inviting. I’m getting ready to go onto our online store and click on the Autumn Cashmere sweater blazer in a pretty Navy, as well as the Joie Bee top in white. Even if I just stare at them in my closet, I want them.
I don’t know when we’ll be welcoming you back to Bellevue Avenue, but every day brings us closer. We have missed you. Everyone involved at Laura Jean, however, understands we are all figuring it out—re-arranging priorities, worrying about ourselves and loved ones, wondering what life will be like. Is fashion frivolous or is it the foundation on which we see ourselves as we re-join the world?
More than 100 years ago, a group of boys sat on a stoop in New York City thinking about what they wanted to be when they grew up. One wanted to be a doctor, another, a famous actor. One wanted to be a musician. Young Barney Pressman, when asked what he wanted to be, thought about it and said: “well, you’re all gonna need some clothes.” He would go on to found the great Barneys empire.
At some point, we’re all gonna need/want some clothes. We invite you to browse the Laura Jean online store and shop if you feel like it. There will be lunches at the Mooring, cocktails at the Clarke Cookhouse, celebrations at Bouchard’s, or any of our favorite Newport bars and restaurants.
In this moment of anxiety and reflection as well as a new appreciation for life, please stay safe, be hopeful and we will get through this. Together.
When you are ready, we are ready for you.