When I first met Ripley I instantly lite up! Not only are we both "dancin fools" but we're southern girls and she's incredibly passionate about women feeling their best. My friend Melissa Meyers said, "you've gotta meet Ripley, you'll love her and her brand." She was right. Melissa and I did a Facebook Live segment with Ripley at her studio talking about her brand and the inspiration behind her designs. Meet the Hollywood's mover and shaker...literally, Ripley Rader.
"The jumpsuit is here to stay." So sayeth The Queen!
Meet "The Queen of the Jumpsuit" herself, Los Angeles-based designer Ripley Rader. Rader, an accomplished professional dancer who considers herself an artist first, launched her eponymous ready-to-wear label in 2013. Inspired by Southern California's eternally sun-drenched 1970s chic, her aim was to "encourage women to express their individuality through timeless silhouettes and softly tailored separates," all at an accessible price point. Celebrities like Gigi Hadid, Amy Schumer, and Kate Upton have all rocked her designs... Can you dig it?!
Cue the perfectly classic, totally effortless, infinitely wearable jumpsuit. If you're looking for a versatile piece that will carry you from an important morning meeting to a cocktail hour after a long flight, or a night on the red carpet, clear out some closet space! This is the line for you! The pieces are very flattering and feel incredible. The fabrics Rader uses are SO comfortable and soft, while still being carefully-crafted and luxurious. Seriously, you can wear Ripley Rader anywhere!
The designer attributes her particular form/function sensibilities to a lifetime spent stretching and pirouetting across dance studios. (ahhh woman after my own heart) "I like 'good-move' clothes," she says. "I live in dance clothes. I always like to feel free and move my body easily and I never want to put a lot of time into getting dressed. I like to walk out the door feeling polished and comfortable the next."
And that comfort level carries over to the bottom line, as well. One of my favorite things about Ripley's approach is her reasonable price point. "Our jumpsuits are all under $200 and 100% LA-made. I feel even $200 is an investment for the modern woman, and I wanted to really honor that," she says, "keeping it at that price point and having everything is made in the U.S. does present some challenges, but I can sleep at night." Another reason for Rader's frugality? Her roots in the creative community. "I'm an artist, so I just wanted to be sure my hippie/artist-friends could afford this line," she laughs.
Not sure if a jumpsuit is your Groove Thang? Fear not! Rader has a few suggestions up her (bell) sleeve. "Tailoring is key," she says. "Pay particular attention to hemlines--you shouldn't have fabric pooling around your feet, nor should your whole shoe be visible. Find the middle ground." What's better than getting your groove back with your girlfriend's in one of Ripley's Jumpsuits!
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Styling can also make a big impact. "Rock a great shoe, and try incorporating different belts, statement necklaces, or a high-end clutch to carry your look from daytime functionality into evening chic." This line makes incorporating the High/Low trend so easy and fun(ky). "For me, the jumpsuit works on all body types-tall, short, curvy, straight," she says, "with great tailoring and styling, you can really make it your own and make it feel fresh and modern."
This year will also see the line extending its sizing options to include Plus sizes, something that Rader says is of great personal importance to her. "I design my pieces so they can be worn at any age, and at any size. I want people to feel good in their bodies and I want to help them dress their bodies--no matter what shape that might be. I'm not trying to reinvent the look of the modern woman, but it is important to me to have clothes that not only can carry her from day to night but also pieces that are hearty - that will last and look good and feel good.
Dying to slip into one of these disco-dusted creations? The full line is available via the Ripley Rader website, and is slowly-but-surely coming to a boutique or shop near you! "We're in about 100 high-end boutiques nationwide," she says, "We were slow to break into the larger market because I wanted to make sure we were a well-oiled machine first. I wanted to be a company that grew organically. Now I feel we're ready, and I'm excited to be able to dress more women."
Since Ripley's initial outreach was purposely Boho-boutique, this true Hollywood IT-Girl used a little star power to build her brand. "I don't have a huge publicity team behind me, so I've always gifted pieces to stylists who love them so much, they refer their celebrity clients and word spreads out of a genuine enthusiasm." Organic press? Genuine love??
Hats off to my fellow dancing sister, thanks for creating clothing that's "got all the right moves"
Kumbaya and Long Live The Queen!
Check out Ripley's website to book an appointment or shop online. Her studio is so much fun!
"I think the best role models for women are people who are fruitfully and confidently themselves, who bring light into the world." —Meryl Streep
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