For us women, it can sometimes seem like we are expected to choose some ready-made niche and stick with it ad infinitum - wife, mom, lawyer, scientist, Bohemian, athlete, whatever. Or better yet, we feel like we're supposed to do everything at once without ever knocking a hair out of place. Yet for all this pressure, there is still a great deal of value, comfort, and security in following an established process and reaping the knowledge gleaned from our predecessors. The truly terrifying part comes when we do decide not to follow the prescribed path - to strike out on our own, blaze a new trail, and basically make up the rest of our lives as we go along. No templates. No company handbooks.
And no pre-published, pre-sanctioned, time-tested dress code, either.
So when I met Christine Rapsys and learned more about her life as a behavior therapist-pageant-gal-screenwriter, I knew I had to pick her brain about how she translates the complexity of her lifestyle into her personal style.
This woman wields degrees in both Acting & Music and Psychology. She's placed 2nd Runner up at the Ms. North Hollywood and Mrs. Hollywood pageants as well as 1st Runner up at Mrs. Los Angeles County. She's modeled and acted. Now she's writing screenplays while also working part-time as a behavior therapist for children with autism and other developmental disabilities. She's also a stunningly beautiful person who places more value on inner beauty than on looks (no, really). When I asked what attributes are most important to her style, Christine replied:
"Hasn't image become such a detour to what is really important about an individual? In our society, we are raised looking at images of the "ideal" woman or man, and desiring to measure up to them. Now a days, having a smart phone makes it pretty easy to distort a raw image into a model head shot, and I think we are all guilty of engaging in the guilty pleasure of wanting to share the perfect selfie... During the last couple years I've been on a journey of self discovery, and I've realized that in order to be happy, I need to love myself for who I am, imperfections and all (for we all have them)... So for me, the three attributes most important are confidence, grace and happiness."
Her interests are unmistakably diverse - yet from my point of view, everything stems from a central willingness to treat life as a journey and not a destination (or predestination, for that matter). "I'm a warrior," she says. "My philosophy on life is that what doesn't kill you, only makes you stronger. No matter how many times I've thought about giving up, I believe that challenges in life are only lessons meant to guide us to exactly where we are supposed to go and who we are supposed to be. When one door closes, another opens."
And if Christine is in a continual state of discovery, so is her wardrobe. When I arrived for our photo session, I noticed that she keeps everything organized for versatility - no hard-and-fast categories, but rather a palette of items to be mixed like paint. When I asked how she deals with various style challenges, she responded, "I've tried to simplify my wardrobe over the past year or so. My husband and I have been trying to save money, so shopping has become a distant memory lately. It works for me right now, because I don't go out much, so when I do, I just pull out options of the old clothes and try to combine them into something fresh and new."
In keeping with the theme of repurposing and refreshing existing items, I thought it might be fun to style Christine with her creative profession in mind. At first we tried to incorporate a lot of color to reflect the uplifting messages in her writing, but after some work it hit me that I'd initially met my friend without her purple hair. I was still thinking of her as a traditional blonde, and I needed to do a bit of rediscovery myself!
To let her edgy hair color stand out, we ultimately dressed up a navy tee with a black knit pencil skirt and sheer bomber jacket, finished with a statement necklace, spring-appropriate sandals, and a bag large enough to accommodate her work materials. The result reflects her three signature style descriptors - "casual, moody, and hip" - by utilizing relaxed fabrics, an analogous color scheme, and a trendy statement piece (the sheer bomber).
For more casual outings, I fell in love with her chiffon leopard maxi skirt, paired with a comfy and almost tomboyish white tee shirt and simple-statement gold jewelry. This would be a fun and modern look to wear when she travels to the Westside or near the beach for leisure and informal writing lunches.
Thank you, Christine, for doing this interview with me, inviting me into your wardrobe, and sharing so much about your views on inner and outer style!