Aleksandra Jassem and Nikita Stanley – the ladies behind The Rebel Mama – take their rebel status seriously, and fashion is no exception. For this vintage-inspired fashion duo, their closet editing insights are smart, trendy, witty – and anything but typical. And that’s exactly why we like them.
You’re currently on tour in the US with your book, The Rebel Mama’s Handbook for (Cool) Moms. Describe your typical on-the-go travel style:
Aleks: Always one pair of Converse / Nike’s and a soft sweatshirt for travel days, a few good basics (that Nikita mentions below) and limited cosmetics (only take what you NEED).
Nikita: Basic Outfit Foundation (jeans / silk blouse) and lots of varied accessories like earrings, hats, glasses and lipstick – all of which travel very easily.
Bonus tip: For high maintenance hair, get a blowout the night before you leave for three days of fuss free hair.
Best style tip:
Aleks: Edit your closet on a regular basis and recycle (give away) anything you will never wear again – aka anything you haven’t worn in over 2 years. Continue to build and curate your wardrobe with classics like denim, vintage blouses, multi purpose dresses, timeless blazers, cool jackets and good shoes. Practice putting thought into your purchases.
Nikita: The devil is in the details. Elevating your style can be as simple as steaming your clothes, getting things tailored, or just generally looking well groomed.
Typical morning routine:
Aleks: Before I even step into the bathroom, I start with warm lemon water to help detox my skin, and some vitamins. Then I prep skin with Mario Badescu lavender spray, Dermalogica Vitamin C Serum, Dermalogica Daily Moisturizer and apply a little makeup (with fingertips always!). Faves include Sephora Bright Future tinted moisturizer, Anastasia Tinted Brow Gel, and YSL lipstick for lips and cheeks. I love the look of simple natural makeup as opposed to a perfectly contoured face.
Nikita: I generally just splash some water on my face (but I’ll occasionally exfoliate in the morning too if I have a couple spare minutes), apply Dermalogica Vitamin C Serum, apply SPF 50 moisturizer, put on some type of primer (YSL touche eclat is a fav), a little concealer under the eyes, a touch of blush, and some tinted eyebrow gel. Slap on an outfit and I’m out the door.
Has your style changed, or at least, evolved since becoming a mother?
Aleks: Less is more. By constantly editing and simplifying my wardrobe, getting out the door is a hundred times easier as most pieces work well together and can be worn in various ways. With a simple update to shoes, a jacket, accessories and a little makeup… a daytime look can be transformed to nighttime in a few minutes.
Nikita: My style has definitely simplified. I don’t tend to stray too far from neutrals so that everything kind of goes together without requiring too much thought or planning – every once in a while I’ll throw in a pop of colour but it’s usually in the form of a vintage piece or an interesting pair of shoes.
The one essential piece in your wardrobe:
Aleks: Super Skinny Mile High Levi’s in Black. They are the spanx of denim and up every outfit a notch.
Nikita: A thigh-length, well tailored black blazer. It’ll never do you wrong.
While of course we agree, why do you personally believe it’s important that moms feel the freedom to dress and feel as sexy as they want?
Aleks: As modern women (and mothers) we dress for ourselves and no one else. My fashion choices always depend on mood… so if I’m feelin myself, I will damn well tend to that and allow myself to feel confident with my sexuality.
Nikita: It’s important because moms can be many things and your style is an extension of who you are. Some days I’m a sexy, powerful boss-babe wearing 4 inch Gianvito Rossi pumps with a cool outfit. Other days I’m running around at the park for 4 hours rocking a Nike Sweatsuit and a toque. I feel like both roles (and their accompanying wardrobe requirements) suit me well.
Teach us your vintage ways – how do you shop, source, and what are your favorite ways to wear vintage styles?
Aleks: We love getting inspired by street style online from some favorite vintage muses, like Jeanne Damas, Camille Rowe, Louise Follain, Caroline DeMaigret, Alexa Chung and Erin Wasson. We source then emulate the feel of looks we love at some of our faves in Toronto, inc. VSP Consignment and Chosen Vintage, and love to pop into cool shops when we travel.
Nikita: We often pick a day and hit three or four of our favourite shops in one go (they are great ones tucked in the Dundas West neighbourhood). Time is money, honey!
What other outside influences – travel, cultures, art, different eras, etc. – play a part in your personal styles?
Aleks: I am heavily inspired by the 60’s and 70s, as well as Parisian and LA vibes – so anything I spot that eludes to that feeling (and sometimes those aren’t necessarily vintage pieces) I like to play with. Most importantly though, remember YOU know yourself best, and YOU know what you look and feel most confident in. Don’t let those sales people sway ya!
Nikita: I’m really inspired by places where fashion is a part of culture – where people get up every day and put themselves together in a way that speaks to who they are as individuals. As Torontonians we can get a little lazy – revert to all black with sunglasses. I love to go places where you have to up your game a little: Montreal, New York, London, Paris – the usual suspects.
Image credit: Ariane Laezza