Musings + Essays

Weekend Vibes, Edition No. 141: The Ulla Johnson Indah Dress + Musings on HBO’s Very Ralph.

By: Jen Shoop

My Latest Snag: The Ulla Johnson Indah Dress.

I’ve written about this somewhat obsessively over the past many weeks (and already shown myself in this dress on Insta), but I finally tracked down an Ulla Johnson Indah dress (still available for rent!) in my size and it is even better than imagined. The sleeves are delightfully full and the waist is flatteringly nipped. I’m smitten. I’ll be wearing this on Thanksgiving and have also been into the look of wearing it with brown boots after, though I’m not normally a boots-and-dress kind of gal.

You’re Sooooo Popular: Le Best Hand Wash.

The most popular items on the blog this past week:

+My favorite Molton Brown body soaps and hand washes are heavily discounted at Nordstrom Rack. I stocked our linen closet and my mother bought sets for everyone on her Christmas list. This scent is my all-time favorite, but I also bought this for the holidays.

+My beloved bedroom rug! (See it in my bedroom here.)

+The chicest way to gussy up any old thing for the holidays. (Reincarnate an LBD from seasons past!)

+My favorite pumps.

+Festive top for the holidays.

+Great everyday black pants for work.

+Into the cut and plaid on this trousers.

+The sexiest/sweetest dress — and at a reasonable price! — for a winter formal occasion.

+An activity tray for a toddler for your upcoming car ride home for the holidays.

+Darling faux uggs for a little one.

#Turbothot: Very Ralph.

Have you seen the two-hour-long advertisement…I mean documentary (…?) on Ralph Lauren on HBO? It’s a stirringly beautiful spectacle that will leave you reaching for your tweeds and silk charmeuse gowns (ha ha), which is, to be sure, the intent. On a purely aesthetic level, I enjoyed it. I love the brand and ethos and have worn Ralph Lauren since I was a baby. The “documentary” (cannot use that term without quotation marks) reminded me of their perfume advertisement for Romance in the late 90s or early oughts — do you recall it? It was shot in black and white with two beautiful young people running through a field and embracing on a rope swing? I bought into that image hook, line, and sinker and wore their fragrance for several years of college as a result. The man is a genius at marketing his products as the gateway to an elegant lifestyle, and this film is no aberration. I’m curious about the provenance of this film and his role in its direction and design because the entire thing reads almost like a eulogy to a god — what brilliance! what enviable panache! what industriousness! (none of which I dispute, by the way) — while not-so-subtly asserting the relevance of the brand today.

It’s interesting in the sense that Ralph Lauren may be one of the only fashion labels that has not lost much (any?) brand equity in my thirty-five years on this earth. It’s a solid label that people have worn non-ironically for decades — can you say the same for any other? I mean, even when 90s labels like Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein boomeranged back into popularity a few years ago, it felt a bit self-aware, rather heavy-handedly “throwback” with its label-mongering. Even Lacoste can feel dated, retro. RL polos, by contrast, always feel relevant and modern. (Ahem, this button-down.) He makes this point in the film, too: that he has never been interested in “fashion,” in the sense of flash-in-the-pan trends. In fact, at one point, he describes his label as “anti-fashion fashion.” But all that to say, given the timeless appeal of his clothing and his seeming continued success, I wonder what the impetus for this film was. Why now? Why this moment?

I suppose the label can read stuffy and exclusive in a moment where inclusivity and rule-blurring are de rigueur. Maybe this is his way of re-entering the conversation? Or maybe this was just part and parcel of the 50-year anniversary the company enjoyed last year? Or…?

Just some scattershot musings. Curious to hear how others received the film!

Post-Scripts: Toddler Tights and a Showstopping Sidetable.

+Love this three-pack of tights for a little one. I’m usually pretty traditional/avoid things like prints on tight, but the colors and shapes on these are so darling!

+This nightstand in the indigo is showstopping.

+Intrigued by this diaper/children’s bag by Birdling — is anyone else familiar with this brand? I like the simple styling and the built-in pockets. Note you can unzip the bottom to shake out sand, crumbs, and dirt. So smart!

+These dome pendants are amazing — love the unexpected teal color!

+Ordering this gray sweater. I love everything about it — proportions, shoulder detailing, texture!

+I have been looking for a lace-up winter boot and they seem to be all over the place right now. I love this Sorel style with the shearling!

+Such a pretty wintry floral.

+Most toddler moms will appreciate that this has made it into mini’s Christmas shopping basket. She is going to FLIP. You can record your voice with it!!! I remember my first Fisher-Price tape recorder. There is something so entrancing about recording your own voice as a little one!


+At the recommendation of so many Magpie moms (I did an informal poll on Instagram to solicit input), I have bought micro a Woolino sleep sack and it is beautifully made. SUCH high quality. Kyte also had a lot of upvotes and will purchase one of them for when Woolino is in the wash.

+Just ordered mini the cutest hat from this new-to-me knitwear label! OBSESSED with all of the designs.

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14 thoughts on “Weekend Vibes, Edition No. 141: The Ulla Johnson Indah Dress + Musings on HBO’s Very Ralph.

  1. Sooo much love for the Indah dress! <3

    I haven't seen the Ralph doc, but I think you nailed it in your paragraph about his enduring brand equity and general appeal. I am a fellow member of the lifetime Ralph-wearer club and for me, part of the appeal is that the quality has remained high for years (unlike some other brands in the same tier). Curious about the doc, and I chuckled at your memory of the Romance ad — I remember it clearly, too! So many of my friends either wore that or Clinique Happy. hehe! xx

  2. Haven’t seen the doc yet but I’m a bit disappointed to hear it’s so much aesthetic hagiography. Anyone who so successfully reinvents himself surely has a deeper story worth telling. And I agree about the brand’s stalwart status; I can’t think of many that compare (Chanel? J.Press?). My mother always dismissed it as strivey (she would remove the alligators from her polos as a kid, which was sacrilege to my very strivey teenage self), but apart from the outsized logo stuff, I disagree. The ocbds, especially, are timeless and last forever.
    Love the Ulla, btw! Anne Shirley would approve of the sleeves.

    1. Agree on all fronts — let me know what you think of the documentary if you see it! Curious to hear what others think, especially in re: purpose of the film. xx

  3. I have purchased or having coming to me almost every single item in this weekend’s links. The mango sweater is en route to me along with a few other things and H&M has been hitting it outta the park with kids clothes (especially boys). I purchased so many snuggly holiday sweaters and jumpers for my 2 month old and I’m only using their onesies since they snap on the side (no going over baby’s head which makes my little one so angry). I also ordered a few stocking stuffers from Maisonette and just love perusing their site, such a beautiful curator selection.

    1. I agree — H&M has been coming out with great pieces lately! Love! So glad a lot of these finds have been up your alley. xx

  4. We got my daughter her own camera for Christmas – though we gave it to her early, as we leave this week for Europe and wanted her to have it for the trip. She Loves It – and now she doesn’t take our phones to take pictures, so win win.

    For the previous commenter: we have puro sound labs headphones. They’re more expensive but came highly recommended. These ( have also been posted about quite a bit on a travel-with-kids board I follow.

    And I’m definitely getting those colorable crayons animals for stocking stuffers! Can’t believe I’ve never seen them before!

    1. Thanks for the input on headphones!! What a cute idea re: camera — I feel like Emory would love those. xx

  5. So much love for all of your posts. I need some advice from you or your many followers. Looking to buy some type of ear phones or headset for a 19 month old who loves music and is obsessed with his parents earphones. Want to get him his own for Christmas…hopefully under $30.00 since he is so little…could be out of his music phase tomorrow or it could stay with him for a long time. Thanks in advance.

    1. Thanks, Nancy! 🙂 On the earphones front, I bought Emory a pair of cheap toddler ones on Amazon for $16:

      They worked great and I have no complaints with them but not sure if you’re looking for something higher quality!


    2. P.S. — I didn’t see Jen’s comment & it looks like that’s exactly what you need (and what I was describing!) Haha!

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