Style

A Week of Outfits: Gina Rockenwagner

A Week of Outfits — Gina Rockenwagner

Gina Rockenwagner is a walking rainbow. “I just wear what feels good,” says the designer, whose colorful wardrobe explodes with pink, purple and gold. Here, the founder of ethical brand Poppy and Pima shares five outfits she put together in a week…

A Week of Outfits: Gina Rockenwagner

Cardigan: Poppy and Pima. Scarf: Poppy and Pima. Skirt: J. Crew, similar. Boots: Brother Vellies, similar.

“When I was a kid, my mom let us pick the colors for our bedrooms, and I chose pink. That was the first color I really responded to. After that, I went hog wild! Now even my hair is pink. Whenever I go to the airport, kids get excited and want to talk to me. They’ll say, ‘Mommy, is she a princess?’ I use Colorista for touch-ups and get bleach highlights once a year. I also love wearing gold and purple. I took one of those complexion quizzes, which tells you what ‘season’ you are and what colors are best suited for you. I was a ‘spring,’ and my celebrity example was Drew Barrymore.”

A Week of Outfits — Gina Rockenwagner

Printed dress: Gina’s design. Coat: Roberto Rodriguez, similar. Strawberry clutch: Welcome Companions. Shoes: Martiniano, similar.

“I’ve been making clothes since I was 14. It’s hard to find formal dresses I like, so I made this turquoise one to wear to my cousin’s wedding. I’ve worn it to four weddings now. My boyfriend and I go crazy — we’re always the ones dancing in the middle of a circle. At a recent reception, he was tearing it up with my German grandma ’til 2 a.m. My moves consist of a lot of arm movements. My dancing is very arm-centric.”

A Week of Outfits — Gina Rockenwagner

Jacket: Poppy and Pima. Collared shirt: Uniqlo. Sweater: Poppy and Pima. Skirt: Uniqlo. Booties: Acne Studios.

“I have four pleated skirts, since they feel so good on my body. I don’t wear jeans. When I went to college at The Art Institute of Chicago, we learned that pants are the hardest garments to fit. The teacher had everyone with a size 29 waist stand in front of the class. There were nine girls, and even with the same hip measurement, every person was shaped very differently and required different cuts. We expect things to fit off the rack, but they often don’t. If you’ve had this experience, there isn’t anything wrong with you!”

A Week of Outfits — Gina Rockenwagner

Cardigan: Poppy and Pima. Collared shirt: Uniqlo. Skirt: Uniqlo, similar. Leggings: Aritzia Activewear, similar. Cowboy boots: Ariat.

“Going outside without lipstick feels like going outside without a shirt on. I love MAC Feels So Grand, which I’m wearing here. And Ruby Woo is the classic red. If they ever discontinue it, there will be riots. Revlon Matte Balm wears well, too. You know how color fades when you eat or drink, and then it looks like you’re just wearing lipliner? This one doesn’t do that.”

A Week of Outfits — Gina Rockenwagner

Sweater: Poppy and Pima. Skirt: Aritzia, similar. Purse: Rachel Comey. Boots: Brother Vellies, similar.

“The other day, I was listening to the Rolling Stones’ song She’s A Rainbow. ‘She comes in colors everywhere…’ I love being the colors girl. It makes me feel good.”

Thank you so much, Gina!

P.S. More women share their favorite outfits, including a speaker and a law firm employee.

(Photos by Christine Han for Cup of Jo.)

  1. She is so FUN!

  2. Kelly says...

    I saw the lead photo and instantly thought “OMG HAND KNITS I LOVE HER ALREADY.” And they’re made of ethical, natural materials, and people are paid a fair wage? Swooooonn. While I mostly knit my own things, I also love supporting companies like hers for things I don’t personally like knitting but want to own. Thank you for the wonderful post!!!

  3. Greetings fellow pinky! I think the reactions of little girls is THE BEST part of having pink hair. Loved this post!

  4. Mrs D says...

    In love with every thing about her!

  5. Josee says...

    I would immediately gravitate towards her!

  6. Denise says...

    I NEED that dress she designed. SO GORGEOUS!!

  7. All of these outfits gives me life. As a consent black wearer, I love the pop of color. I always try to insert some type of pop. Even if its gold, its something.

  8. Zara says...

    Really loved this post, even though Gina’s style is antithetical to my own. Wearing that much colour would stress me out, but she looks gorgeous and luminous – the power of personal style. I also liked that she owns an ethical clothing company. More posts on ethical clothes, cosmetics, and household items would be excellent – it isn’t reasonable for people in North America to beautify our lives on the backs of animals, not when there are accessible, effective, and affordable alternatives. And I don’t mean homemade woo woo potions (although, I use those too), but great companies producing high-quality products. Food for thought!

  9. Jillian says...

    Thank you for sharing, Gina!!! You seem like you have a quintessential ability to make people happy, and I LOVE all the color in your life, wardrobe, and spirit. Reading this for some reason called to mind one of my favorite Shel Silverstein poems:

    Colors
    My skin is kind of sort of brownish
    Pinkish yellowish white.
    My eyes are greyish blueish green,
    But I’m told they look orange in the night.
    My hair is reddish blondish brown,
    But it’s silver when it’s wet.
    And all the colors I am inside
    Have not been invented yet.
    -Shel Silverstein

  10. Kyla Sweet says...

    Love it, makes me want to be even braver!

  11. Love her style – so inspiring!

  12. Amy says...

    You rock on, mama. We’re often told to quiet ourselves, and I love that Gina’s outfits scream, “See meeeeee!” love love love

  13. AJH says...

    Absolutely adorable! Just looking at her made me smile :)

  14. Shannon says...

    ohhh this is exactly how I would dress if I had a dime to my name. haha! she’s darling.
    And, sidenote, I only wish I was a blonde when I see someone with light pink hair. #want

  15. Mary Margaret says...

    I feel the same about lipstick – naked without it! I think you win the airport when you get kid princess feedback.

  16. Teresa says...

    I am so happy to see Gina here. She is an incredible artist and entrepreneur. So inspiring. So beautiful.

  17. Nina says...

    I love her style. I had bleach streaks put in my hair last year and use vivid purple shampoo and conditioner by Celeb Luxury (I buy it on Amazon) and I get compliments all the time. I had it colored purple but with swimming and ocean water it washed out in a month so this shampoo is awesome. They have a ton of colors but I love the purple. It colors my whites a pale lilac but the bleach streaks are vivid. I need to go get some more put in soon. I was thinking of having all of it bleached to gray/white but I think streaks are fun.

    • Angela says...

      I’m imagining what this looks like and I’m thinking you must look like an absolute KNOCKOUT with hair like that! It sounds gorgeous!

  18. Kiley says...

    Aww! She has me singing “She’s a Rainbow” now :)

  19. Rebecca says...

    How adorable and vivacious is she?!?! LOVE.

  20. Sasha says...

    So much fun! If I saw Gina walking down the street, I would smile so big. Even though I’m a very subdued dresser, and I don’t like people looking at me, I LOVE to see other people expressing themselves like this. It clearly brings her joy, and it’s contagious

  21. Liz says...

    This is my favorite series on Cup of Jo. I feel so inspired by Gina to add more color to my wardrobe!!

  22. Samira says...

    Her tidbit about the way jeans fit hit home so hard for me! Our bodies are all specialties of their own, of COURSE we’re not going to fit into jeans the way designers expect. Thank you for the validation, Gina! <3

    • Samira says...

      P.s. her pink top knot…PHENOM

  23. Nikki says...

    Love Gina’s style- I love colourful clothes, home elements and life, a great part of being a South African.

    Been thinking of using She’s a Rainbow as my song to walk down the aisle! This seems like a great sign.

  24. Johanna says...

    Gina has my dream wardrobe! Definitely checking out Poppy and Pima for more inspiration!

  25. Heather says...

    Love love LOVE this!!! I have recently realized that I just don’t look good in grays or trendy blush or such near-neutral tones. I am trying to embrace color, and this is great inspiration!

    • Sasha says...

      I’m curious what kind of coloring looks pretty in blush? I too don’t look good in it.

  26. Rachael says...

    Love this! Gina is a beautiful beam of rainbow light–thanks for sharing it with the rest of us!

  27. Brianna says...

    She is whimsy walking! Such an enchanting look.

  28. Cynthia says...

    I adore her colorful wardrobe! I’ve been sewing since I was 13, and pants are hard to fit. So when I work out the fit on a pants pattern, it’s the only pants pattern I use. Skirts are easy to fit and make. That’s why I make most of my clothes so that I will have clothes that fit. If a garment doesn’t fit properly, it won’t be comfortable. I actually think tights and a dress or skirt with boots are warmer than slacks.

  29. Becca says...

    This is awesome. How did I not know about Poppy and Pima before? All I ever do is look for large sizes of bright fun kids clothes or see amazing things for 6 year olds and wish they came in adult sizes. Love this!

  30. Abby W. says...

    Her style reminds me so much of Eleanor from Elenor and Park by Rainbow Rowell!!

    “She looked like art, and art wasn’t supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something.”

    I love all of these outfits; especially the pink sweater in the last outfit!

    Abby

  31. liz says...

    she’s amazing. also love her style!

  32. As a knitter, I find her color selections so inspiring! That scarf especially—I want to see if I can recreate it.

  33. Jessica says...

    I adore this. Her style is refreshing and inspiring!

  34. Heather D says...

    I love the pink hair and ability to absolutely ROCK a bright, colorful, free wardrobe. I work in politics, and my wardrobe is just downright depressing for work. This makes me long for a pair of fabulous gold ankle boots!

  35. Twyla says...

    I love the bright colors! The way Gina feels about pink is how I feel about yellow. Acid yellow, mustard yellow, chartreuse – I love it all! One year I wore a yellow coat and a yellow purse together all the time, and I joked I just needed a yellow car and people would refer to me as ‘that crazy lady in yellow’. Sadly – it’s much harder to find than pink right now. Thanks, Gina for showing us how to unabashedly be who we are!

  36. Heather D says...

    What a fun gal!

  37. I feel like she and I were meant to be friends! I also loooove pink in everything and have had pink in my hair and i just really want to be friends with her lol

  38. Tiffany Cain says...

    I love those pleated skirts!

  39. Mallory says...

    Beautiful!

  40. Meredith says...

    Now this is what PERSONAL style looks like! She has a completely unique fashion sense; I love it!

  41. Laura says...

    As soon as I saw her I thought of “She’s Like a Rainbow”! I love that she sees herself that way as well!

  42. Leah says...

    I absolutely LOVE this. I went to art school and Gina embodies the fabulous style of many of my friends. She’s a dream!

  43. I love her pink hair!

  44. Kimberly G says...

    I love this piece.
    I really want to be the shock of color on the sidewalk that makes you smile and snaps you out of your day-to-day funk. Gina is an inspiration.

  45. Marte says...

    100% agree on the trousers-are-hard-to-fit comment. I have been wearing only dresses and skirts for at least 10 years. No trousers in my closet. Only leggings and tights to wear in winter.
    I always feel bad for men that they are not allowed this freedom to breath and sit and have their stomach be just there without feeling it. My husband looks so great when he is wearing a towel after showering. His legs and figure are just totally made for skirts. But I don’t see a big change in cultural norms around the corner, so that he would be able to wear a nice shift dress in summer :-(

    • Carol says...

      He could always rock a kilt!
      Obviously they’re often worn in full dress with the socks, sporran, shirt, wasitcoat etc, but in Scotland plenty of guys wear them casually with just a t-shirt and sneakers or boots!

  46. LOVE. EVERYTHING. ABOUT. HER! May we all be rainbows.

  47. Katherine says...

    Really love these outfits! Particularly the last jumper. It’s so lovely when someone uses colour.

  48. beth says...

    Yay!! Lovely to see your style Gina!
    PS. check out Gina’s instagram, lots of awesome handmaking and her cat even has a hammock!

  49. I absolutely love the final outfit with pink on pink. Stunning.

    In Denmark, there’s sort of a “pink movement” going on initiated by Danish blogger and sweetheart RockPaperDresses (https://www.instagram.com/rockpaperdresses/?hl=da). Please do try checking out #onwednesdayswewearpink

  50. Sylvia says...

    Love, love, love Gina’s style!

    Team CoJ, could you do a post about nine (or six, or four) differnet women with the same jeans size? I Think it would feel so enlightening and empowering. Maybe they would even be so bold to show the jeans that don’t fit, although they are technically the right size.
    I think language is so important in daily life. I always try to remeber that. Not long ago I went shoe-shopping with a teenager on a very, very tight budget for wide feet. Unfortunatly we didn’t find something that day and I told her to not let shoe industry ruin her selfesteem. – ‘Never!’

    • I would love this post too! The whole sizing issue for women’s clothing (esp. jeans) is just so ridiculous and frustrating.

    • Kate says...

      oooh I love this idea too! Would be especially cool to see it in 2 different sizes… say, size 8 and size 16 to see how vastly different people in these sizes can look and how clothes fit them!
      My roommate and I wear very close size in tops, but in bottoms, I’m a size 20-22, and she’s a size 12-14, which blows my mind, but she has a bigger bust and belly while I carry weight in my hips and butt. Bodies are so different!

  51. Laura C. says...

    She seems to be so funny and a really good company!
    “My moves consist of a lot of arm movements. My dancing is very arm-centric.” When I read this, I immediately thought of this:
    https://giphy.com/gifs/L253rIFQkyXSg
    I want to hang out with you, Gina!

    • Mary Margaret says...

      Hysterical! I love this. Inspired to try on some arm-centric moves!

  52. Selina says...

    I feel the same way about lipstick

  53. Laura says...

    Love love love this! And your pink hair and lipstick are divine. I would totally be one of those kids in the airport that come up and talk to you :)

  54. Lindsay says...

    These are just so fun. Life is short, dress how you really want to!

  55. Laura Murray says...

    ‘I just wear what feels good’ – I I totally get this! There are days when I wake up and everything’s just a little too much so I put on my ‘super-power jacket’ (that’s literally what I call it). It’s a loose-fit, boxy BRIGHT YELLOW jacket and is literally my favourite thing. It gives me life and the energy to just keep on moving through the day.
    I got the original jacket at a clothing swap (someone was giving it away!!) and wore it for 5 years straight. I recently had to replace it (covered in paint and had a broken zip) so literally spent all day scouring the internet for a new one. And lo and behold – the replacement I found is almost the exact same cut AND has an adorable embroidered cat on the front! It’s an internet-shopping miracle!

  56. Glamdoc says...

    Not my style, but dang she is rad and inspiring! She seems awesome and fun, love the integrity. Thank you :)

  57. Thea says...

    I respectfully rescind my dislike of the color pink. Gina looks awesome in this color. Why the heck do I insist on wearing so much black?
    Love the comment on pants fit.. Jeans are the worst. I feel like I now have permission not to wear them. Thank You!!

  58. Katherine says...

    Gina is like Lisa Frank come to life! Her spirit and soul shine in every photo. Also, her message about the jeans is so so important, thanks for that reminder, Gina!

    • Ellen says...

      Oh my gosh yes! Like, the adult-world-approved and elevated version of Lisa Frank that, let’s be honest, we’ve all been searching for for 20 years.

  59. Love this post. And love that Caroline is back!

  60. Bernadine S. says...

    Gina, you sound like a blast to be around. And can I say I love pink poppy & pima sweater with the fringe. I’m looking at the website right now.

  61. Marissa says...

    My favorite color is black and I am loyal to it trough every season. But I looked at these pics and could actually see myself in some of these colors too! Love the creativity.

  62. Morgan says...

    You ARE a rainbow! “Arm-centric” dancing – I love this.

  63. How colorful and fun! I’ve been wearing lots of neutrals, for the sake of ease, but this is a great reminder to liven things up a bit. Her wardrobe says so much about her personality. Who wouldn’t want to spend time with such a colorful soul?

  64. Jenna says...

    I love that she points out that there isn’t anything wrong with you if you’ve had a bad experience trying clothes off the rack.. I’ve recently been questioning to myself and friends and family – why do we always blame our bodies when something doesn’t fit right?? why don’t we say, “the pants are cut weird,” instead of, “my thighs are too fat!” I think we would all be a lot happier and body positive if we would learn to scrutinize the clothing (and embrace the styles that DO FIT) and not our bodies!

    • Melinda says...

      My friend KK once told me something so great – she pretends she’s a judge from American Idol when she’s trying on clothes. If something doesn’t fit, she gently says “it’s a no from me” and puts it back. I love that the emphasis is on something being not-quite-right with the garment and not your body! I’ve been using this trick for years and it works.

    • jillian says...

      “The pants are cut weird” is going to be my new dressing room mantra. Thanks Jenna!

    • Yes! I love the idea to say “the pants are cut weird.” It became so obvious to me that most fashion is not designed for 98% of women when I worked a short time at a J.Jill store. We’d see all sorts of women try on our clothes, but the only ones who looked TRULY meant to be in those clothes were the size 2s. It was clear that all of the clothing was designed for tiny women, and every other size up just made allowances for size and not cut. It’s ridiculous.

  65. Lindsey says...

    I sincerely feel like she’s my spirit animal! LOVE!

  66. Stacey VD says...

    She is so beautiful and her clothes are like whoa.

  67. Sandra says...

    I love her style…so much color! And that is SOOO true about pants!

  68. Sharon says...

    Her comment about her dance style being “arm-centric” had me laughing out loud! What a great spirit!

  69. Marie-Eve says...

    I love Gina’s style!! An I looked at her company and wow, she is incredibly talented. I love her knits!!!

  70. Anna says...

    I don’t often comment, but feel compelled to, as this was just such a wonderful and energising post. I love Gina’s feeling for colour, and how completely liberated and frank and genuine her beauty is. Like a previous poster, it really reminded me of that visceral connection you have to clothes when you’re a kid. Would love to recapture that.

    I also really love the comment about pants, and their trickiness to fit! Even though I know it theoretically, this really hit home for me. I always want to wear pants/trousers and always fail to find ones that fit and then somehow berate myself if they don’t look how they’re meant to. I loved Gina’s take on this – it’s not your fault; it’s the pants’ fault!

  71. That last outfit is everything.

  72. Susan says...

    Gushing over her shoe/boot collection. Whoa!

  73. Clare says...

    She is so beautifully, unabashedly herself. <3

    Also, I aspire to these levels of lipstick-wearing.

  74. Ashley O says...

    Is Caroline back?! She’s the best!!!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes, she’s filling in for lexi, who is on maternity leave! she’s working 2-3 days with us right now and it’s great :)

    • lulu says...

      Ashely you are so right! Caroline being back is fantastic news!! Congrats to Lexi too!

  75. sarah says...

    I just love this. Gina is clearly having fun in life!

  76. Jennifer says...

    I literally just posted a comment, but I wanted to add PLEASE DO A GIVEAWAY from her brand!!! just checked out Poppy + Pima and I wish I could afford those pieces!

  77. Rae says...

    LOVE. Every image and every line of this post is inspiring to me. I love the peeks at her studio and work and the wardrobe is fantastic. Thank you Gina!

  78. Jennifer says...

    yes!!!!! one of my faves, to date. I love that she goes crazy on the dance floor until 2 am. girl after my own heart <3

  79. I. love. her. Gina came across incredibly authentic, and that her authenticity has so much eccentricity makes her seem that much more kind, approachable, and fun. I bet Gina will be very fun pink-haired old lady too :)

  80. Carol Wynn says...

    I just love her style. She has such confidence and wears it well!

  81. Emilie says...

    Love her!! She reminds me of my childhood – of all the colors I used to wear and the cool art teachers I had. And I always have a hard time shopping for jeans so thank you for the pants wisdom!

  82. Tiffany says...

    I always see these great outfits on your site that include tights and it baffles me. I have never found a pair of tights that weren’t completely miserable to wear. They either compress my stomach in unpleasant ways, roll down, gap in annoying ways st the crotch. It’s always something. For the record, I feel the same about shape wear. I would love to see a post about comfortable tights.

    • Alexandria says...

      I’ve had a pair of tights since I was 15 (I’m now almost 26) and they are the best tights of all time! They’re soft, completely opaque, don’t squeeze in any weird way, are never itchy, and I’ve never snagged them. I’ve washed them countless times, and they don’t pill or fade. They’re magic! I’ve been searching for a replacement pair for almost a decade. I think I got them at TJ Maxx before a high school formal. I finally ripped them last week and I’m SO SAD. Anyone have a great recommendation for opaque comfy black tights?

    • Katrina says...

      I actually found a great pair of tights this year through another “week of outfits with Kelsey Miller”. At the bottom of the story she linked to a blue pair from American Apparel I believe. BUT the “similar” pair is from Berkshire. Got a black opaque pair and I can wear them all day with little to no problems. I am 5′ 3″ so I always find all tights too long but these stay in place and are nice and comfy! Totally get your tight envy though!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      great idea, tiffany!

    • Kirsten says...

      I really like Uniqlo’s opaque HeatTech tights–I’ve found them to be pretty durable and they are tight enough not to sag without being uncomfortable!

    • Laura says...

      I almost never wear tights because they’re always so tight on my stomach(or I’ll go up a size and they’ll fall down). I did once have a pair from Old Navy that were soft and stayed up without hurting, but now I’m mostly a leggings girl! The lululemon align pant is $$$ but so comfortable I wear my one black pair almost every day.

    • Kathleen says...

      I’m a huge fan of Girlfriend Collective leggings. They are so comfortable with a wide, flat waist band and never sag. I wear them under dresses or with a long sweater. They also use models of all shapes and sizes in their advertising which I really appreciate and use more eco-friendly, recycled fabric.

    • Morgan says...

      I’m old school and still like Hue tights – my hack is to always buy “tall” even if I’m not.

    • S.H. says...

      I just looked up Girlfriend Collective leggings, and was soooo impressed by the diversity of models!!
      So refreshing to see.

    • Jenna says...

      Totally agree about the Girlfriend Collective.

    • Andrea says...

      Hue makes great tights. They have a wider range of sizes, which helps you find something closer to what you need. FYI, they have a breaking in period, but then they are indispensable.

    • Nathalie says...

      Hue Wide Waistband cotton leggings – I pretty much live in these. During my pregnancy I realized how comfortable clothing could be and I can’t go back to constricting jeans and trousers. Puts me in a bad mood when my stomach is pressed :-)

    • Krista says...

      I’m a big tights fan, I only wear skirts/dresses to work so I have to wear them in the winter. I usually stock up in the fall. My favorites are the Vera Wang tights from Kohls. I bought a pair of the Vera Wang fleece lined tights this year and I love them!

    • L says...

      I also recommend Uniqlo heat tech. They’re a bit more warm and durable than other tights I’ve tried and I think that helps keep them comfortable, because they don’t get loose and sag.

      I’m also a big fan of just wearing leggings under dresses if I’m also wearing boots or shoes that completely cover my feet and ankles.

  83. Kate says...

    Love love love love love love love. The part about the jeans was amazing.

  84. Jamie says...

    She’s so adorable and inspiring! Love her style and outlook.

  85. Julee says...

    I love this woman and her vibe. Not only is she beautiful, but she exudes confidence and joy. Hey if I ran into her at the airport, I’d try to be her friend too.

  86. Max says...

    This series is my favorite, always some wonderful nugget of wisdom (clothing or otherwise) to glean from each entry. Love Gina’s colors and patterns and enthusiasm. Really gravitated to her outfits especially as it’s been so glum and gray and I need some motivation to pull out the fun stuff in my closet!

    Also so excited to see Gina make that comment about pants. I pretty much don’t wear pants because of this fitting issue and just gave up when I got to what felt like a thousand :)

  87. Caroline says...

    What a gorgeously sunny collection of outfits. Perfect for spring! I loved her comment about wearing the same dress to 4 weddings. So often I feel pressured to get a new outfit for those kind of occasions but why bother if you already have something you love and feel good in?

  88. Alexan B. says...

    Love her bright, funky wardrobe. Great piece! These are my favorite posts and always inspire me to branch out a little with my wardrobe. It’s way too easy to get stuck in a pattern of grays and neutrals.

    • Morgan says...

      Same! I always feel braver about layering and adding color after reading these posts; the women featured have such unique and unforgettable styles.