Fall’s Best Dresses | The Realest
Why should models have all the fun? Each month we’re finding a “real woman”—i.e., of any shape and size—and giving her the model treatment in The Realest. We bring the wardrobe, stylist, photographer and blog editor—she brings her anything-but-one-size-fits-all personality and style—and we all head out on location for an IRL photo shoot. Meet Lori Ramon, a banker-slash-singer and vintage-fashion lover with a stellar smile.
Lori took us on a tour of some beloved places in her Seattle neighborhood, Capitol Hill. Read on to get to know Lori, and see our stylist suggestions for some of our favorite dress silhouettes for fall.
COZY CHIC – Sweater Dresses
On her style: “Being a Jewish American Princess from Texas, I learned at an early age what it felt like to be an outsider. The fact that my mother was probably also one of the only brazen feminists in our suburban neighborhood probably added to that as well. I do think that my being so ‘different’ from everyone from the start definitely influenced my sense of self and fashion. I discovered that I enjoyed being somewhat unusual. It was freeing to be able to express myself without worrying so much about what others thought. I just try to remember the Golden Rule. Basically that’s all any of us need to do to live in a civilized society, right?
“I definitely express myself with my wardrobe. I love, love, love vintage clothing, especially dresses from the ’50s and ’60s. I really love the styles and the sounds of the early ’60s. Sammy Davis Jr. and Frank Sinatra are my jams. (I also love Wanda Jackson and Patsy Cline.) I have had a number of vintage eyeglass frames over the years: I’m rather nearsighted, so my glasses combine fashion with function.
“I like to mix modern and vintage pieces, too…like skinny jeans with a vintage Aloha shirt—I love tiki fashion! I also like to mix patterns. And I love dresses. So much easier than a skirt and blouse. A dress is an instant outfit! That said, I do love a black turtleneck and a skirt for fall.”
VINTAGE INSPIRATION – Retro Florals
On her beauty routine: “My hair is crazy curly and also very fine. I try to keep it in line, and I opt for short, fairly classic styles that require little maintenance. As far as my makeup goes, I try to keep it fairly minimal. A little mascara, a little eyeshadow, a bit of eyebrow pencil (so that I appear to have eyebrows) and lipstick. I never leave the house without lipstick. I like plums and reds, although my go-to lip product this spring and summer has been a tinted lip balm. I also never leave the house without polish on my nails. I tend to go for red or dark wine colors in the fall and winter, and then something a little lighter and more playful in the spring and summer.”
On her accessories: “I tend to keep my jewelry simple. Most of the time, I just wear studs in my ears…oh, and scarves. I love scarves. I learned to really get into them when I spent a year in Paris in grad school. The French women all looked so very chic with their scarves tied just so. As for my shoes, I love stilettos but I really can’t wear them anymore. These days, I tend toward flats (usually pointy toed), oxfords and boots. Who doesn’t love boots? I love short boots, tall boots, cowboy boots. BOOTS!”
URBAN CAFE – Shift Dresses
On what keeps her busy: “For the last many years, I worked in a bank, providing financial services (lending funds, sending wires, securing public deposits…all that fascinating stuff) to other financial institutions. Basically, I did a lot of math on the phone.
“In my spare time, I sing in a country band called Purty Mouth. I also love to travel, especially to Europe. I enjoy cooking and hanging out with my friends, who happen to be the most amazing people ever. A group of us gets together a few times a year for ‘Drunken Book Club.’ We pick a book that has also been made into a movie. After reading the book, we make a dinner party out of our meetings, where we discuss the book, watch the movie, and eat and drink. The food is generally based on the location of the plot of the books. For example, a while back, the book/movie was Zorba the Greek, so we chowed down on Greek food. It’s always a good time. Our next book is Lord Jim, by the way.”
EASY BREEZY – Soft Dresses
On her band Purty Mouth: “I’ve had the pleasure of singing with Purty Mouth for almost 10 years. It started out as a gay country band, fronted by two men who were a couple. Our music is very highly arranged; I’d say our style is a mix of traditional country and Elvis Costello–type pop, with a bit of rockabilly and punk thrown in for good measure. I think people are sometimes surprised by how serious we are as musicians, given the gender-bending nature of our lyrics.
“I think what I love most about my band is that it’s my family. We’re a very close-knit group of friends. That’s important when you rehearse twice a week. I’m also very proud of our original material (all written by [bandmates] Mikey and Graham), as well as how full our music sounds. I think we put on a heck of a show. I’m sure the fact that we all get along and are having so much fun ourselves has something to do with that.”
HAPPY HOUR – A-Line Dresses
On fall and how her style has evolved: “I can’t wait to start wearing tights and turtlenecks again! I’m also very much looking forward to wearing jewel tones…and cashmere. And, being a dress fan, I’m eagerly awaiting wearing sweater dresses again. Put one on with a cashmere scarf, tights and a pair of boots, and you’re set. So comfy and so chic!
“I think my style has gotten simpler. I’m not sure if I’m getting lazier with age, but I just try to keep it simple. I definitely have pared down the jewelry I wear. I used to love to wear big flashy earrings and lots of bracelets, but now I rarely do. I never want to appear gaudy. I also wear jeans more often than I used to, perhaps because the cuts are more flattering on me? I’m not sure. Maybe it just took me a while to figure out a way to wear them without feeling like I looked sloppy. I also have toned down the makeup. There was a time when I could not get enough eyeliner. But now, I prefer a more natural look.”
Images by Elizabeth Rudge. Styling by Senior Stylist Carmella Stroniola and Associate Stylist Tamala Ayres.