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Oh, This Kimono? It's From My Uncle Who Was in the CIA

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Fox Stoles (With Toenails!) and White Silk WWII-Era Kimonos

We asked our readers to tell us about what lives in their closets. Wanna tell us about yours? Email stephanie.talmadge@racked.com!

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Tell us about yourself.
Ruth, 74, a writer living in Los Angeles.

What’s the oldest thing in your closet? The newest thing?
The oldest thing in my closet is Grandma Minnie’s two-piece wedding dress: a silk skirt and handmade lace jacket, circa 1909. In 1954, my mother had them tailored so that they fit me for a Halloween costume! They actually still fit now, and I wore the jacket to my niece’s wedding. The newest thing in my closet, which you can see, if you look closely, is a pink Trina Turk dress.

What lives in the “dark corner” of your closet? In other words, what do you continue to keep in there even though it never sees the light of day? Why do you keep it?
The item that I keep in my closet that never sees the light of day is a white silk Japanese kimono with real gold thread that my Uncle Paul sent when he was working for the CIA during World War II. He sent one to each of us, but since I knew my sister was never going to enjoy hers, I told her that I wanted her to give it to me for my 70th birthday. She wanted to give me a year of maid service, which I could use but was not special.  

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How do you have your closet organized? And what about shoes? Where the heck do they go?
My closets are organized by items I wear regularly, dressy things that I wear occasionally, and things I never wear but have purchased as treasures over the years.  My shoes are lumped together in two piles on the floor. My UGGs and handmade boxing boots in one group, and thenmy Mizuno sport shoes that I wear daily, as they are the only shoes I can walk in without tumbling and that do not hurt.

Wax poetic to me about hangers.
I own two kinds of hangers: ones covered in fabric, which I think are easier on garments, and then a few wire hangers left over from the dry cleaner. I have a passion for silk-covered hangers, and I have many items hung on those.  

What’s the weirdest thing in your closet that’s just there because it has nowhere else to live?
The weirdest thing in my closet are Grandma Minnie’s foxtails, complete with head and feet (including toenails). One is pictured. I don’t wear them, but I do feel very close to them, as they seem quite alert/alive, and they were a gift from my Grandma Minnie when I got married in January of 1965. She died very soon thereafter.

Feature
Clothing Brand Mott 50 Wants to Protect You From the Sun
Model in a turtleneck.

By now, if you’re not wearing SPF year-round, you’re not paying enough attention to what can happen if you don’t. But sunscreen is just one piece of the skin protection puzzle. Another you may not have considered is sun-protective clothing.

Sun-protective clothing is a thing, and it’s actually not a gimmick. The women’s (and kid’s) clothing brand Mott 50 specializes in the category — every item it makes contains UPF 50. (UPF stands for Ultraviolet Protection Factor, and it measures the UV radiation that can penetrate clothing.)

“There’s no clothing brand on the market that is producing fashionable sun-protective clothing,” says the brand’s founder, Anne Reilly. “We want our customers to be comfortable, look good, and [be able to] prevent premature aging and wrinkles on a daily basis.”

And dermatologists do agree. Elizabeth K. Hale, MD, a clinical associate professor of dermatology at NYU Langone Medical Center, explained to me that the concept of sun-protective clothing is legit. “We do know that sun protection is the best way to minimize your risk of skin cancer and slow down premature skin aging. I’ve become such a convert, and personally wear these SPF shirts all summer,” says Hale.

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Surprise! I first saw the Cult Gaia Ark bag ($88) on Instagram, like everything else I lust over and subsequently purchase. I don’t remember who posted it, or from what account, but I know the bag was the only thing I was paying attention to in the photo — mostly because I had to double-check to make sure it was an actual bag used to carry things. Turns out it is, indeed, an actual bag used to carry things! And it’s probably my favorite bag I’ve ever owned.

The bags themselves are all made of bamboo, held together by super flexible plastic, allowing the top to open and close as you press the sides together. When I’m not using it — a.k.a. when I need to carry anything more than my ultimate essentials — it sits up on its own on top of my bookshelf. I know what you’re thinking: $88 for a bag that doubles as chic home decor? A steal.

I sprung for the small version, which is $10 less than the large ($98), because I wanted it to be my go-to summer-weekend-stroll, out-for-drinks bag and didn’t want it to take up too much space. But if you’re worried about how much it can actually carry, don’t be. It’s accompanied me on many a night out since I bought it, and I can attest to its ability to comfortably fit my wallet, phone, the repurposed Aesop drawstring bag I use to carry my keys and makeup, and a small bottle of Hennessy. Like I said, my ultimate essentials.

Also, okay, sure: It definitely gives off that “did you know I work in fashion?” vibe, but minus the cult Instagram following and “It girl” qualifications, it’s just a really fun, unique bag for anyone — whether you work in fashion or not.

Plus, I did mention that it’s under $100, right? Because it is, so like the product page says, “Get it now or regret it later.” —Tanisha Pina, associate market editor

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