Several months ago, I was contacted by a clothing company whose name rang a bell. “Hmm,” I murmured… “You’re called prAna?” Suddenly it hit me where I’d heard of them.
TWELVE years ago, I bought a pair of durable black travel pants for my first solo voyage (Mexico), and the company that made these pants was called prAna. Why do I remember this? I am now 33 years old, and have worn those pants during every major trip of my life since then. You can see them all over my blog, all over the world: in 2012 at the “Little Taj Mahal” of India, in 2010 while being beaten with a cane in Ghana, and in 2009 during my motorcycle trip across Vietnam, just to name 1% of the occasions I wore these miracle-y durable and pretty pants. I still wear them today, and they still look good!
This is to say that when prAna contacted me to sample some of their new clothing styles, I leapt at the chance. Literally. I was determined to conduct a photo shoot with these fabulous clothes that was so epic, it would involve both a major tourist attraction, and leaping in the air. Anyway, after the professional clothing makeover I’d gotten earlier in the year, I was ready to rock out some great new clothes.
But there was a problem. Weeks and weeks went by and I still hadn’t done the photo shoot. Why? Because I couldn’t stop WEARING the clothes and getting them dirty! Every time I had a free moment to rope my husband into snapping some photos, the clothes were in the laundry again. Yargh, prAna! You brought it upon yourself for being so comfy and cute. I simply had to wear you.
Finally the day came when we were to travel to Washington, D.C. for the holidays. (I know I just returned home to Boston from a conference at the White House, but the lures of the city are many.) “This photo shoot HAS to happen this week!” I muttered as I opened the laundry hamper and pulled out the once-again sweaty prAna dress, pants, and shirt I had sworn to showcase. Luckily, you can’t smell through your computer, right?
The next morning in D.C., the weather was glorious: cobalt blue sky and balmy no-jacket weather. I packed all four clothing items into a plastic bag, lassoed my trusty photo assistant, and set off for the stunning National Cathedral of Washington, D.C. I’d done one neat fashion article in this city before, and I was determined to do it again.
Want a little history of this feat of architecture? Construction on the National Cathedral commenced in 1907, and didn’t technically finish until 1990, according to their official website. This building is of Neo-Gothic design, and when I first posted a picture of it on Instagram, several people asked if it was Notre Dame in Paris, France! That is how striking it is.
Tragically, in 2011, the cathedral was badly damaged in a freak 5.8 earthquake. Silvery scaffolding now spans most of the back section, and a sign reads that “a mere fraction of the $26 million needed to repair the cathedral” has been raised. Yikes! Given that it’s now years later, I wonder what will happen with those repairs. How do you even go about fixing such a hulking structure anyway? My hat is off to those who are.
This closes the history segment of this article, and we now float back into the present. A fashion-filled present. In the white-bright blaze of the sun, we began the photo shoot. My first item to showcase was the blue and black hooded “Meryl” sweater dress. I truly love this dress! I wear it with leggings, and it’s perfect for teaching and traveling (you know, the two things I do) in fall or winter. For the photo shoot, I jumped around in it, then got a close up wearing it with my husband (the third photo down) so you could see the detail a bit better.
The next two items were the “Audrey” yoga pant and the “Braiden” top. Did I change into them via a discrete form of “female clothing changing yoga” on the cathedral lawn? Yes I did. As you can see, the shirt is beautifully, intricately pattered. It is also see-through, and thus necessitates an under-layer unless you are scandalous.
I ordered the yoga pants in “Tall” (a feature that originally attracted me to prAna pants 12 years ago), and these pants are actually almost TOO long on me, which is impressive given that I am six feet tall. The pants are stretchy but durable, warm, and fashionable. You can see how they even accommodate a random ballet move on the steps of a church.
There remained one more item of clothing to photograph, so we headed down the hill to a new location. But first, we took a peek at the National Cathedral’s magical “Bishop’s Garden” pictured below. Isn’t that door lovely?
Our next location was the National Zoo, located a lengthy but walkable distance from the cathedral. Did you know that the zoo is FREE? (The National Cathedral is free to walk around the grounds, but does charge an entrance fee.) What a perfect afternoon attraction! On the way to the zoo, we had a brief stop to pick up the baby and change into the last item of clothing: the “Kara” skinny jean. These are my first skinny jeans ever, people! Thank you, prAna, for bringing me into the world of modern fashion.
Dusk fell, and the glorious National Zoo flipped on its holiday decorations. Yes, that is an elephant made of yellow lights, below. Our baby was wearing his hood, so I did a quick costume change and flipped on my dress hood. Like mother, like son!
I know I’m no “real” model, but I have the time of my life doing these photos shoots, especially at gorgeous tourist attractions around the world, with clothing that I truly enjoy. Thanks, D.C., and thanks, prAna! I have a feeling we will be seeing each other again soon.
I was provided with fabulous clothing by prAna, but all leaps and love are my own.