Now’s the Time to Turn Your Fashion Dreams Into Reality

Words by Max Berlinger | 5.2.21

It’s time for revenge shopping. People are making up for a lost year by putting their credit cards into overdrive.

And a look at what shoppers are buying on our site gives a snapshot of where our heads are at. Spoiler alert: the cultural embrace of sweatpants is on the wane. Instead, guys are buying dress shirts in droves, while women are trading the slippers for pumps. Dresses are flying off our digital shelves, and you’re not the only one who has a case of wanderlust: bags and luggage are selling like hotcakes, a sign that everyone’s planning a post-covid vacay.

Everywhere you look, you can feel it: We’re ready to put the nightmare of last year behind us and get capital-D dressed again. That’s why our latest commercial is all about stepping into your dreams. Maybe you’ll watch it and relate with our heroine’s desire to get back out there and get dressed again.

Or, as stylist Malina Joseph Gilchrist, who created the looks for the commercial, said, “After a year of comfort and being homebound I think, collectively, there is a desire to dress again, take risks, and wear clothes that feel good.” We couldn’t agree more. She felt the time was right to elevate. “I looked to items forgotten over the past year: big shapes, bright color, and print. Statement accessories … and high heels!”

Gilchrist chose pieces that embodied a sense of joy, optimism, freedom, escapism, and even a little risk-taking — something we all should take a chance on  this season because if not now, then when?

stylist Malina Joseph Gilchrist working with model, Elle Dawson. Photograph by Lewis Mirrett. Molly Goddard dress and hoodie, Celine sneakers. Malina Joseph Gilchrist and model, Elle Dawson. Photograph by Lewis Mirrett.

That means wearing something quintessentially feminine and a little over-the-top, like a dress of exploding hot pink tulle by the British designer Molly Goddard along with a checkered hoodie, an unexpected mix that’s one of Gilchrist’s favorite looks. Or a dramatic top and pants set from Loewe with a romantic silhouette for a night out to dinner — in an actual restaurant! 

Photographs by Parker Woods. Model Elle Dawson in a Molly Goddard hoodie holding a tennis racket, looking at the sky with sunglasses on, smiling. Elle wearing Loewe top and pants and Bottega Veneta pouch bag. Photographs by Parker Woods.

“I think clothing expresses my mood more than anything,” Gilchrist says. “I like to wear things that make me feel good and are interesting.” (Her most beloved resale purchase? A Phoebe-era Céline jacket). With summer ahead, she feels in sync with our mission to embrace our dreams and wear them — quite literally — on our sleeves. “I’m aligned with The RealReal, I want to have fun.” She’s been eyeing a red sequin dress from the New York avant-garde collective at Vaquera.

Fashion has always been a vehicle for us to express stories about ourselves. This summer, think of life as a hit Broadway show and you’re going to need a fabulous costume; so plan your wardrobe by thinking about this: As you re-emerge into society, who do you want to be? What do you want your clothes to reveal about who you are and who you’ve become?

This idea rings especially true for Elle Dawson, the star of our commercial. “You can really visualize different phases of life through how you choose to express yourself in certain moments,” she said. “So, to me, my clothes almost act as a sense of accountability. They serve as a middle-ground between exploration and identity, so each piece I buy and each outfit I wear are as intentional as my daily rituals — except during 2020. That doesn’t count, right?”

Dreaming extends beyond our appearance. Over the past year, our dreams include a desire to not simply return to normal but make the world better — and that includes fashion taking sustainability seriously. We now dream of an industry that honors the environment. Thoughtful design is not ephemeral, it’s lasting. It’s part of the reason why The RealReal exists, to extend a timeless piece’s lifespan and the dreams it represents.

Elle, for instance, certainly appreciates that The RealReal helps reduce her carbon footprint, but more than that, she uses it to find unique pieces that aren’t readily available elsewhere. “The more superficial side of me likes that I can curate a world from clothes that aren’t as accessible,” she said. “The hunt of finding that one piece that makes you crumble inside, the feeling of tracking the package obsessively, the relief when you open the box to realize it’s even more perfect than you expected, the curiosity behind the lives that pieces have lived through already; I could go on forever.”

I think that it’s really important to shop somewhere that aligns with my values without having to compromise my personal taste,” she added. “I love shopping designer, and love even more than I can do so in an affordable and ethical manner.”

So what are you dreaming of? 

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