The fashion of Ralph Lauren has always been an inherent part of my life. During high school, I opted to switch from private to public school, just so I could wear something besides a white starched shirt and plaid skirt each day. I didn’t grow up wealthy, but I was raised by my grandmother to always dress nice, no matter where you’re going. I loved reading the fashion magazines in her beauty shop, dreaming of an African safari wearing Ralph Lauren or attend a polo match in the UK while donning Polo by Ralph Lauren.
I spent my summers with the same grandmother and she would take me school shopping for my birthday each August. We’d spend an entire day inside of T.J. Maxx looking through clothing racks to find the outfits I had glimpsed in the magazines. I would find the items, or something similar, and they were always the brands I searched for. I would attend school each day wearing Ralph Lauren or other popular fashion houses and feel confident in my outer appearance.
As an adult, I continued to invest in a few classic Ralph Lauren items each season (although I no longer have time to search through discount racks). I even named my daughter Lauren. And I must confide, I was so excited to be on Oprah’s Favorite Things in 2005 where each audience member was gifted with a cashmere Ralph Lauren shawl collar sweater in camel. Divine! So when I went to Blogher in New York City this year, I was honored to be invited to a Ralph Lauren private party inside of Polo Ralph Lauren headquarters on Madison Avenue, hosted by MomCentral.com.
ThemeParkMom, MommyMusings, and I made our way past the security guard, up the elevator, and into the wood paneled world of Ralph Lauren. We listened to his son, David, tell the story of how his father’s original designs were inspired by travels he had dreamed of, including those African safaris. I stood there in the back of the well-dressed crowd, shocked, because I had never known the actual story behind the designer. He built a fashion empire from a desire to travel, in my opinion. I stood there daydreaming a bit about how this man’s fashion inspired me and how I did get to experience a European Polo Club and how I’m working towards that African safari.
Just when I thought the experience couldn’t get any better, David Lauren revealed a new technology for shopping through a children’s back to school storybook adventure – The RL Gang. It’s an online interactive story where viewers can click on the character’s outfits and purchase the items they like on the RL website. The story is sweet, but for me, hearing Harry Connick Jr’s voice gave me chills, especially when I learned that 15% of the hardcover book’s proceeds for the first month of sales (up to $25,000) will be donated to the New Orleans Habitat Musician’s Village. Knowing that this company is doing something to help a charity in my state of Louisiana endears me to them even more.
Fashion is important in travel, be it bringing our own look to a new place or immersing ourselved in the local culture’s dress. Style and celebrity magazines also inspire a desire to experience a destination through the fashion and photographs. While not all of TravelingMamas.com readers can afford expensive fashion purchases, we do suggest investing in at least one or two classic items each year to add to your wardrobe. Try and find items to mix and match, which helps when traveling with just a carry on. Be sure to check out The RL Gang’s adventure and take note of little Willow’s hats. I think I want one of those in a mama size.
Special thanks to Ralph Lauren and MomCentral.com for the evening’s hospitality and the gift of scented candles and personal copy of The RL Gang.