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29 Oct

I’m back in the swing of things with a shiny new outfit!  Please check out my new blog through my website,

With this facelift comes a new way of seeing blog updates, you must visit The Returnist through www.courtneyrust.comNOTE:  You will no longer be able to view updates through this URL,

I’m burning up with new topics I want to share starting this week.  Please keep checking back through the image below!

Awesome blog full of Father’s Day gift ideas.

13 Jun

I feel like this blog was made for Patrick (Christian Bale) in American Psycho.  If you really care about your raised type on your business card and your medicine cabinet looks like a museum display, you’ll especially enjoy this blog, Uncrate,  full of the “sweetest” men’s gear out there.  If you’re stumped on what to get your dad, I also recommend you give it a gander.  Click on the image below to direct you to being a better metrosexual.

Why aren’t kids working?

5 Jun

Maybe it’s just the teenagers I know, but I’ve noticed that there has been a serious decline in high schoolers that have part time jobs, or even college kids for that matter.  No one works anymore.  They’re just supported by their parents who think that their kids need that spare time to focus on their schooling.  I can’t speak for every industry out there, but I know in my world that the people who are booked all of the time are the hardest working, not necessarily the most talented.  What I mean by this is that you’re not going to get anywhere with your amazing talent if you don’t bust your ass on set and have a bunch of people recognize that.  The only way you become an ass buster is by having a bunch of jobs that sucked so badly that they drive you to want to get the most out of every opportunity.  The result is that nothing is taken for granted, and you kill yourself to not have to work at a gas station again (actually, my favorite high school job).  I became a full time freelancer at the spry age of 22, but that was only possible because my parents had me scoop ice cream at 13 in between field hockey games, which continued onto about 15 other part time jobs that made my clothes smell like pizza by the time I graduated high school.  Now that I’m older, I think my dad was a smart man when he told me, “You’ll never appreciate money unless you’ve been poor and you’ll never appreciate your job unless you’ve worked at your rock bottom.”  He created both of those things for me, which I didn’t understand at the time, but I truly value today.  I’m also appreciative of the fact my ice cream scooping arm is still much stronger than my left.  Thanks Dad….   Kids, go to work.

10 Reasons I’d go back to Vietnam.

9 Apr

I thought prior to my trip to Vietnam that with all the travel forum reading and youtube travel video watching, maybe I’d know what to expect once I got there.  Vietnam ended up being a whirlwind in the the best way possible.  I’m still trying to digest all the things I saw and experienced.  Here are some of the many reasons why I’d go back in a heart beat.

1. You don’t have to sit in traffic, ever.

Watch this: I shot this from a bar looking over an intersection.  You’re also expected to cross the street through this.

2.  A name means something.

In the U.S., we tend to name things after something from the past.  For instance, calling a hiking trail, “Buffalo Trail” would be an ode to the buffalos that used to roam the land.  In Vietnam, if something is named, “Buffalo Trail,” it means, “WATCH OUT for some mother f’n BUFFALOS!”  Here’s a photo I took of our road block.

Also, this:

3.  You can eat soup for breakfast.

Pho was our cereal every morning for breakfast.  On about every street block, you can find a lady set up on the street, and when I say street, I mean just that.  She’s cooking 6 inches from the pavement, which you then enjoy 8 inches from the pavement.  Damn delicious.

4. Thatched roof bungalow on top of a mountain is an hotel option.

What’s not to love?

Our excitement isn’t contained.

5.  There’s no limit to what you can throw on the back of a scooter.

I always felt limited as a stylist to drive a serious mom mobile because all the crap I always have with me, (hence, the Subaru Outback I tote around), but the Vietnamese have shown me I can do it on a scooter.  We saw a guy with an industrialize size freezer chest strapped to the back.  Don’t ask me how that works, but it did.  Here’s another common example.

6. It’s easy to pretend you’re a pirate.

We took a boat (for about what it costs to stay at a Hampton Inn) around some unchartered territory.  Sadly, there were no Johnny Depp sightings.

7.  1954 Russian Jeep is a public transportation option.

Lesson learned; always say YES if someone offers you a ride.  We took this hummer down a mountain, because only helicopters and Russian tanks can do the job since the “road” is actual a trail of aligned boulders.  (Again, a surprise.  We thought we were taking a shuttle bus with a bunch of bucket hat wearing travelers down the road.)

8. Public restrooms are never alike.

There are a wide range of public restroom possibilities in Vietnam.  The one that took the cake was in a mountain village where I was forced to balance on two adjacent boulders that harnessed a rushing waterfall next to a pig pen.  Check that one off the list.  Sorry, no pictures.

9.  I’m considered a billionaire.

In Vietnamese dong (country’s currency), but I’ll take it.  Vietnam is insanely cheap.  This room costs the same as it did to board our dog for the night, AND you get a free toothbrush and sample bottle of skin whitening lotion.  I tried the lotion, but my skin is still a pale pinkish blue.  Perhaps my skin’s starting point was already off the whitening promises chart.

10. Scooters, then cars, then you.

If you were to research Vietnam, you’ll find a lot about how to cross the street, which to westerners seems elementary.  You’ll rarely see a little green guy counting down to tell you when it’s ok to enter the gas fed mosh pit.  Instead, you lead with your rice noodle filled gut… slowly.  As a pedestrian, you come last in the importance of street occupancy.  You’re never going to find a break in traffic to feel completely safe, therefore you must enter like you enter a parking lot of drunk Jimmy Buffet tailgaters: slowly with both eyes open and a serious game face.

Back to work I go.

The Returnist doesn’t return everything.

29 Mar

For those who are scratching your heads at where I came up with the name, The Returnist, it is a hybrid from the famous fashion blog, The Sartorialist, and the famous back end of all styling assignments, having to do an insane amount of returns.  For those who don’t work in the industry find it really shocking that we return everything that we don’t use.  Here’s where the name, The Returnist is getting me in trouble, and getting all stylists in trouble; now with scrunched down budgets, everyone thinks that since we have tag guns we can return EVERYTHING.  Sure, we can.  You can also steal jewelry easily from Macy’s too if you wanted to, but that doesn’t mean it’s right.  Wardrobe budgets are getting silly small, UNREALISTICALLY small for the needs of the project.  If we kept everything that touched skin, meaning smelly crotches (pants) and boderific odor smelling shirts, we’d be limited to shopping at discount stores like KMart and Target.    The thing is, we all know that you can’t show up with only options from these stores when presenting to the client.  Of course, it all depends on what you’re doing, but with things like business attire, you can’t cheat a good looking suit or ladies button down shirt.  It’s true that things are probably OK if the model only wore it for a couple of minutes, but not all pores are the same when nervous and in front of the camera.

I’m writing this post to bring some awareness to the fact that putting stylist in a position to have to return soiled garments (ew), puts us in jeopardy of having bad relationships with the stores we rely on, or for having bad karma for the rest of our lives to ensure that we’ll catch bed bugs when we least expect it at Neiman Marcus.   My suggestion is that if you’re unsure what wardrobe and props will cost for a job, you should contact the stylist you’re thinking about using to give you an estimate.  Remember, if you can’t afford solid gold, you can’t wipe your armpits on solid gold.

Trendsetters speak at

26 Mar goes into trendsetters homes and asks them to explain what is in their closets.  All the subjects come from a creative place: whether they’re fashion designers, stylists, editors, musicians or artists, they all have strong feelings about why they wear what they do, and a story behind how each article of clothing made it to their rack.  Some interviews are better than others; I went from feeling truly inspired, to feeling like I’m watching a monologue outtake from an alternative 90’s movie.  Either way, this website makes you rethink why you buy what you do, and maybe will inspire you to put a little more oomph into your wardrobe.

Here are a couple of my favorite interviews:

Christene Barberich, Editor -in-Chief at

Kim Hastreiter, Founder of Paper Magazine.  (I first started stalking this woman when I saw her interview in Bill Cunningham NEW YORK.  She’s amazing.)

Tavi Gevinson, Editor-in-Chief of Rookie Mag, Style Rookie, and local Chicago native.  As you know, she’s my favorite.

Which wardrobe/and or prop stylist should I contact to assist?

20 Jan

Some people may disagree with me on this, but I personally don’t think you should be choosey on what wardrobe and/or prop stylists you want to assist.  You can learn from everyone, even if you think someone isn’t as talented or has a different personality.  Sometimes learning what not to do is just as valuable as learning the seemingly right way to do things.  It is best to team up with as many stylists as you can in order to pick up as many different techniques as possible.  We all do it a little differently.


18 Jan

I was recently talking about this with some work friends the other week and I thought it might be a helpful post.  For those of you who are doing your first round of reaching out to possible freelancing opportunities, be hyper aware of your tone, especially in e-mails.  Always sound excited, always sound appreciative, and always sound willing.  If you have these three things down, you’re much likelier to get a response.  It has at least worked in my experience.  It doesn’t hurt to mean it too.  That’s good tone.

Caroline Mode’s Stockholm Street Fashion

9 Jan

Caroline Mode’s Stockholm Street Fashion is new addition to my daily blog hit list.  It’s updated multiple times a day and you’ll rarely see anything that’s lackluster.  I can’t say I’m surprised since the Swedes crank out some of the best music.  It’s also good for finding names for your newborns and/or dog…  “Come here Zuzanna, ZUuuuZannnnnAAA.”  Bookmark, done.

Click on this link to jump on it or click on the sampling of fine looks below to bring you to the site.

Dressing for a Party

5 Jan

I know I’m a little late on this one because many of you put away your sparkles until next NYE, but this is a funny read regardless, and brings up a lot of hilarious points.  It’s written by a teen for the online magazine, Rookie.  It’s funny that I relate to a teenager’s point of view more than the lady on your daily morning TV show who’s face could break at any given moment who’s closer to my age.  This young lad gets it.  Dress with a plan, man.

Every article about dressing for a party focuses on things that I don’t care about. I mean, thanks, lady/teen magazine, it’s really nice that you took the time to liken my body shape to a piece of fruit and then pick out some items that are flirty or edgy, but what I choose to wear to a party usually has nothing to do with how I am shaped or what my “style personality” is, and more to do with how I want the night to proceed. Parties are condensed pockets of potential where anything can happen if only I go into the evening with the proper outlook. Getting dressed is just one way to set the tone.

Thus, instead of an article about outfits, this is an article about strategy. I talked to a bunch of my friends about how they decide what to wear for a night out, and distilled their answers into a few tactical plans. All of these are viable party-outfit strategies, because you are a real human with a diverse range of moods, and not a pear-shaped hanger for statement necklaces under $25 that will catch your crush’s eye from across the room.

“I came to dance.”

This is probably the most honorable party-dressing motive. You aren’t at the party to network or hook up or cry in the corner—you’re just there to have a good time. Wear flat, closed-toe shoes and clothes that won’t make you overheat. Jeans are good for maximum coverage if you plan on dipping it extra low, but outside of that they don’t do too much to actually enhance your moves. I like combining leggings with a fringy or twirly dress that moves when you move (just like that). A dress with pockets is doubly convenient, because it lets you leave your purse at home. If you want to wear makeup, go with bright lipstick instead of heavy eye makeup, which will run when you sweat. Ignore that advice if you are going for a “Thriller” type of thing.

Spontaneous unplanned costume party.

Read more….