Q&A w/ Emily Bargeron of Mamie Ruth

Meet Emily Bargeron, the designer of Mamie Ruth, a modern bohemian clothing line you’ll want to play dress-up in for days or for life.

(Fun Fact: the clothing line is named after her grandmother, Mamie Ruth. As a young girl, Emily would spend hours playing dress-up in her grandmother’s closet – the early stages of a fashion designer in training.)

Emily’s also one of my homegirls from back in the day.

Our friendship evolved like a cycle of fashion – once hot and trendy, we declined into obsoletion until our friendship was reworked and redesigned as a classic that will live for years to come.

Wanna a juicy backstory? Emily is known as “Lily” in this I Heart story here!

Emily’s a pro at dressing modern, festival-going hippies. And since she’s logged many miles on the road herself, I had to ask if she had any tips to share.

(Read: I needed her advice on what to wear since I am currently cruising on a 34-foot sailboat. And, like an awesome friend, she sent over some of her sweet designs and spilled some travel secrets, too!)

“We travel to a lot of music festivals and ‘rough it’ in tents and bathhouses with moderate electricity,” Emily says. “Here are some tips for traveling without the luxury of home.”

Get your pen, paper, or just screenshot you a pic or two – time to learn from a bohemian master of how to pack for a legit #gypsylife.

A black-and-white Mamie top makes this printed cotton skirt (found at a thrift store) look super dope and put together. Thank you, Em!

What pieces can you not live without when you travel and why?

Kimonos are the multifunctional masters of travel.

They provide warmth on a cool night while also making any outfit look effortlessly chic plus, they double as a bathrobe to throw on if you have to make a late-night trip to the bathhouse.  

A good, wide-brim hat is also mandatory for any Mamie trip. 

Research shows that people look more interesting when wearing a hat and who doesn’t want to be interesting when traveling?

Plus, it helps you make new friends and hides a bad hair day. 

Win, win.

Suitcase or duffle bag and why?

I always travel with a duffle, a backpack, and a fanny pack. 

A Mamie Ruth Essential: Festy Fanny Pack to keep your shiz safe.

Soft bags are able to be squished into tight places easily and prevent the dreaded “it doesn’t fit” scenario. 

I always pack a backpack for essential pieces that are needed for day trips and a fanny pack to keep all the ultra-important items safe.

How do you transition a piece into several looks?

The ability to transition a garment into several looks is imperative when you are spending weeks on the road. 

I always travel with scarves because you can wear them so many ways. 

You can use them as a headband, tie them around you numerous ways as a top, wear them over a swimsuit like a sarong,  or over your shoulders at night when it’s cold. 

I also love any garments that are reversible or can be worn in several ways, like our Mamie Reversible Festy Top (seen below).

Mamie Ruth Reversible Festy Top and printed pants. Instant cool.

How do you manage to wash your clothes on the go? Because in Gypsy life, funk gets real!

Yes, indeed it does.  After two weeks of festival and tent life, things can begin to get funky.

All festivals these days have decent bathhouses for festival attendees, but lines can be long and costly. 

Tips of the trade: Don’t go during the busiest hours. 

Duh, right? 

Festivals charge more first thing in the morning and at night.  If you slip to the showers mid-afternoon, there are no lines, and it’s half the price. 

Make sure you take shower shoes and soap. 

We also take tons of baby wipes for in-between shower “baths.”

Also, use a deodorizing spray like Febreeze in your tent or bunk each morning.

The Hippie Passport Stamp: Custom iron-on patches designed by Mamie Ruth

On washing:  it’s really hard to wash on the go without clothes smelling mildew-ish, so we just take a laundry bag full of dirty clothes and stop at a laundromat when possible. 

Most hotels have washers and dryers.

And we usually deserve a mattress and hot shower between festivals, so we wash clothes then.

The top and pants are limited edition Mamie Ruth goodness, so get yours while you can.
“From eco-friendly sustainable materials to rescued dead-stock fabric that was originally overproduced…our garments are made from it all.” – Mamie Ruth

What are your must-have shoes and accessories you always bring to be Instagram-ready?

A comfortable pair of boots is a travel staple for me. 

They protect your feet from gross ground funk but also look really cute. 

I also travel with a good wide-brim hat and a fun trucker hat to protect my face from the sun. 

I usually don’t pack a ton of accessories because they get tangled in my suitcase.  I wear my favorite staple pieces every day of the trip. 

A Mamie Ruth girl ready to rock in boots and a Birds of a Feather Kimono (next on my list).

How do you layer clothing and jewelry?

I love layering clothing and jewelry. I don’t think there is a wrong way to do it. 

I collect jewelry from all the places that I travel to and wear each piece as a scrapbook of memories of where I have been. 

I don’t think that you can wear too many accessories (except in the TSA check, maybe). 

I also love gifting pieces of jewelry or small trinkets to memorable people that I meet along the way. 

What’s in your fanny pack? 

A square credit card reader, pen and tiny notebook, lip gloss, Mamie Ruth business cards, and stickers to pass out to new friends I meet. My phone, wallet, and all the basic boring stuff.

This Mamie Ruth dress was made for this beach in Mexico. Or any beach. Or anywhere in the world, actually. 

Sunglasses: how many are too many? What styles do you bring?

Truthfully, I ALWAYS forget to pack sunglasses. 

Every. Single. Time. 

So, I love picking up a cheap pair of oddly shaped sunnies from gas stations along the way.

What clothing or accessories do you look out for to buy when you travel?

I don’t really buy too many things prior to traveling because I know that I will want to buy special pieces when I get to my destination. 

I am a very low-key packer and usually forget a dozen things, but it always works out. 

“The Traveler’s Denim Scrapbook.” Mamie Ruth makes it so easy to look like you’ve been a boho chick your whole life.

What’s something you recommend NOT buying while traveling?

A baby goat. 

I thought about it one time in Virginia but decided it was a bad idea.

Mamie Ruth


Instagram: @mamieruthxoxo

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  1. Becky sent me your article to read, and I enjoyed your writing and Emily’s story. Remember me? Matthew Pierce’s Mom. So glad you are happy and doing well. Good luck.

    • Hi Mrs. Pierce! So nice to hear from you and thank you for the kind words! Friendships can go on incredible journies (as seen in this story re: Emily). I bet you and Mrs. Becky have some great stories of your own to share. So beautiful that you’ve been friends as long as you have sharing memories of kids, marriages, life… Thanks again for reaching out and most of all, thank you for reading! I hope you and yours are doing well! (I saw Gabe and Catherine last spring in Charleston and it was such a treat!)