Last week, I was fortunate to attend a reception hosted by Marlo Thomas (!) and spend some time talking about life, womanhood, Free to Be You and Me, education, kids, femininity, being sexy at any age, and of course, her chic new throwback clothing line, That Woman by Marlo Thomas. Which I’ll get to in a minute.
But first, ZOMG Marlo Thomas.
Please know this is a woman who has inspired me my entire life. And yes, she’s just as charming and uplifting and funny and smart as you’d hope.
She’s also reaffirmed my commitment this year to surround myself with as many inspiring, accomplished women as I can, with the hopes some of it may rub off on me.
Gah, sorry for the blurry photos! Indoor cocktail party mood lighting is not always great for iPhonography.
If, like me, you grew up on Free to Be, you probably can’t even hear those three words without immediately getting the lyrics to the theme song or Mommies are People or William Wants a Doll stuck in your head.
(I’ve been singing “…and they say it ain’t far, from this land to where we are” for the last week and it definitely beats the Pineapple Pen song, that much I know.)
She taught so many of us that girls could run fast and that boys could love dolls; that anyone could grow up to be a construction worker or a teacher or a nurse or a parent; that those ladies on commercials were only paid to pretend to like doing housework; that NFL-er Rosey Grier totally cries sometimes!
I think so much of these messages shaped my values today, and those I pass onto my own girls.
And if you were a fan of That Girl — if only in reruns like I watched them — you know she portrayed one of the first single, working career women, letting us (or maybe our mothers) know that maybe marriage and kids, while a choice, didn’t have to be your only choice.
Yep, blurry again. But I’m saving this one forever.
In chatting with Marlo, it was clear how passionate she still is about education and issues around gender roles and kids’ achievements. The many historical biographies, memoirs, and nonfiction titles that fill her living room bookshelves are also a giveaway. But what I found surprising and rather enjoyable, is how her eyes also light up when she talks about style, femininity, and self-expression.
I joked with her about my theory about “passing the hot baton” to younger women at some point in your life, something Kristen and I often laugh about on Spawned, and she pushed back, explaining that she likes that women can be accomplished and middle-aged and “still look kind of hot.”
She’s definitely a fan of showing a little skin if it makes you feel good about yourself. And I have to say, there’s something very third-wave feminism progressive in the perspective of owning your sexuality and femininity right along with your power and your intelligence.
Especially hearing it from an amazingly powerful 79-year-old woman who’s rocking an above-the-knee dress and killer heels.
I suppose it’s all of her perspectives and passions combined that helped inspire her That Woman by Marlo Thomas line, which she created exclusively for HSN — the reason for the party.
(As if we were just like…you know. Hanging out.)
The lines are very early-70s chic — think the final season of Mad Men if you never watched That Girl — and while not every outfit was exactly my own style, I was impressed with a few pieces in particular.
Especially that retro-fab colorblock dress, and the tan moto-style jacket in a perforated suede, though the photos on the website do no justice to it at all. It’s definitely a lot richer looking in person.
The best part was that at the party, the line was modeled by women in their twenties and women in their sixties, and they all wore it well. Especially Marlo. Who, by the way, made sure I ate a ton of pigs-in-a-blanket right along with her.
A woman who’s not afraid to eat or speak her mind? She’ll always have my heart.
You can find That Woman by Marlo Thomas exclusively at HSN, and she’ll be on air from 9–11 pm EST on 1/19/17 to launch the line if you want to try to call in and say hi. Do it — she’s so cool!