Last year, Rhianna Jones found herself in Paris, freshly fired from her job. "After years hustling to climb the fashion industry ladder, I finally got what I thought was my dream job as a fashion editor," she recalls. "My company asked me to go to Paris for Fashion Week, which I did with glee. On my first day there, I worked 12 hours straight. But then my managing editor called me that evening to let me go. No need to come back to the office, just finish my work remotely and goodbye."
Instead of getting down on herself, Rhianna used the distance from home as an opportunity to reflect. In Paris, she thought about all the things she loved: culture, femininity, and fashion. She realized she had to slow down and find a version of success that made sense to her without putting the opinions of other people first.
Here's how Rhianna describes the life-changing moment: "I went for a walk around Paris that night in my favorite cotton wrap dress, one that makes me feel like la vie en rose incarnate," she recalls. "As I was walking in this beautiful metropolis, an inner voice told me to start a new chapter and truly challenge myself and my creative potential." Today, that means she's a freelance writer and wardrobe consultant doing things on her own terms.
"Success should not be valued by status and materiality; it should be the product of our personal happiness and fulfillment," Rhianna says. It's the type of lesson her experience in Paris taught her. When asked what advice she would give to her younger self, here's what she would tell her: "You are beautiful, you are loved, and you are doing great!"
Rhianna, now in her late 20s, says she still struggles with comparing herself to others. "As you age, I find that sometimes you feel you have to downplay your accomplishments, so you don’t seem like you’re bragging in front of friends who might be struggling to achieve themselves." Or alternatively, Rhianna explains, you have to face acquaintances' boastful and celebratory posts on social media. "We can easily be proud of something we accomplish and then within a few scrolls go right back to it not being enough," she admits. Rhianna says she's learning to tune out the noise and focus on her goals: "It's a mindset I’m constantly striving for."
The attitude is working. "I used to melt down in the face of stress and take criticism and external negativity personally," she says. "I’ve come to realize with age that life truly is what you make of it and you have the power to change the way you react to any situation." Just like that night in Paris, Rhianna believes that oftentimes, a walk around the block to be with your thoughts is all you need.
"The magic of cotton is its second-skin, barely there breathability. It makes me feel like I'm in my natural state of beauty."
Rhianna's fashion choices are the perfect symbol for her journey to a more confident outlook. Thanks to its versatility, cotton is a staple in her wardrobe. "The magic of cotton is its second-skin, barely there breathability. It makes me feel like I'm in my natural state of beauty," she tells us. While she's a bona fide city girl, Rhianna likes to bike everywhere. She uses styling secrets to keep her look stylish but also comfortable. She'll swap a little black dress for a playful, colorful cotton dress. She might drape a denim jacket to take it from casual to chic, or add a bold lipstick to give her overall look some polish.
Rhianna has also learned how to dress her body with confidence. "I love my body and I find that dresses and jumpsuits suit it best," she explains. "I love cotton dresses, gingham cotton sets, '60s-style bathing suit rompers, and sheer dresses with bodysuits underneath," she divulges, letting us in on some of her secrets. "I like to accentuate my feminine curves and nipped waist, but always maintain a certain retro glamour and elegance." With the help of this wardrobe, she imagines she's the star of her own film. "That’s when I truly feel at my most fabulous, fearless self," she admits.
"The glowing energy I resonate translates into a confidence shield. I feel like I can take on the world."
In addition to getting her through exceptionally tough moments, coming up with a consistent, high-quality wardrobe helps Rhianna streamline her life on a daily basis. "The less time I spend thinking about how I look, the more energy I can channel on my daily goals and aspirations," she admits. She does this by finding a uniform that reflects her personality. When her inner self is reflected in her outer self, everything aligns. "I can remember a few times when I felt underdressed or misrepresentative of my true self. It was in those moments that I felt limited, uncomfortable, and withheld my thoughts," she recalls. Now she knows that it's important to feel at ease with both your mind and body: "That’s when you have the self-assurance to believe in yourself."
These days, Rhianna is feeling herself. "The glowing energy I resonate translates into a confidence shield. I feel like I can take on the world," she says, adding, "I magnetize more opportunities, open myself to whatever the universe brings, and feel more fearless in my thoughts and actions." La vie en rose, indeed.
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Photographer: Felix Wong; Art Director: Shanna Greenberg; Stylist: Andi Nash; HMU: Kim Weber; Producer: Cassie Doyle