Ride, Sally Ride. Fearless Fashion Picks Inspired by an American Icon

Sally Ride aboard the shuttle Challenger in 1983 when she becamse the first American woman in space.

Sally Ride aboard the shuttle Challenger in 1983 when she becamse the first American woman in space.

So you’re about to become the first American woman in space. You’re all pumped at your press conference and then, wait for it, reporters ask you: Will you wear a bra in space? Will you wear makeup? Will you cry if things get stressful?

Such was the climate that Sally Ride, a Stanford student with degrees in astrophysics and physics, found herself facing when she was the first woman admitted to NASA’s space program in 1978, after answering a newspaper ad looking for potential astronauts.

(For the record: I do not go anywhere without a bra — including space. OK, especially, space. I want “the girls” to stay with me. Makeup? YSL’s Touche Eclat, at the least, to hide dark circles for the occasional space selfie. Crying? If I’ve been, say, accidentally left behind on a space walk, I’d say there would be a high likelihood of eye precipitation.)

Joking aside, it would have taken enormous strength for me not to go galactic on the reporters or, at the least, go Gwyneth on them, such as Gwyneth Paltrow did recently with a Time Magazine reporter when she spoke out against the misogynistic ways that entrepreneurial women are pitted against one another when asked about comparisons between her Goop Web site and those of Blake Lively and Reese Witherspoon.

But Ride, a native Californian, who was known for her cool-as-a-cucumber composure calmly told reporters at a NASA news conference “It’s too bad this is such a big deal. It’s too bad our society isn’t further along.”

Yes, Sally. It sure was! Thankfully, much progress has been made since this week in 1983, July 18 to be exact, when Ride became the first American woman to go to space. She flew aboard the shuttle Challenger during a six-day space mission, helped to develop a robotic arm for the space shuttle and would later become the only person to sit on both panels investigating the cause of the explosion of the shuttle Challenger in 1986 and the 2003 crash of the shuttle Columbia. And, a notably outspoken voice, at that.

Ride, who died of pancreatic cancer in July 2012, was also the first LGBT astronaut, although she was intensely private about her personal life. After a brief five-year marriage to fellow astronaut Steven Hawley in 1982, she eventually settled down with Tam O’Shaughnessy. O’Shaughnessy was not only Ride’s partner of 27 years, but today remains the chief operating officer of Ride’s company, Sally Ride Science, started by Ride to encourage girls to dive into science and engineering.

Gloria Steinem, editor of Ms. Magazine at the time of Ride’s first trip to space, summed up the excitement and the hope felt by her and no doubt countless of women at such an historic moment: “Millions of little girls are going to sit by their television sets and see they can be astronauts, heroes, explorers and scientists.”

Truth be told, there wasn’t really an ounce of scientist in me. I was 8-years-old at the time Sally Ride made her historic trip and — as stereotypical as it may sound — I already expressed a strong propensity toward all things sartorial. My daughter, however, loves math and science and I am thankful for her and all the other explorers out there that we have had pioneers such as Ride who have paved the way.

But you don’t have to only love science and math to see the wonder and possibility in Ride’s world-changing moment. I — like many other girls — watched with excitement and wonder at her journey and knew from watching that we young girls were destined to do stellar things — even if style, not space, was set to be my final frontier.

And so with no shame for our sartorially leanings, we at Fashion Trends Daily, have put together a lookbook of stylishly stellar picks for fashion, beauty and home that were inspired by Ride’s first trip to space. Ride, Sally, Ride!

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Author:Michelle Dalton Tyree

Fashion Trends Daily is the brainchild of Michelle Dalton Tyree. She is the former West Coast Retail Editor for Women’s Wear Daily, Fashion Editor for The Japan Times, and founder of former L.A. luxury boutique Iconology. Michelle is frequently quoted about fashion retail trends in major media outlets such as NPR, KPCC, The Inside Source and the New York Times. She has developed content for many luxury brands and retailers and has written for Allure, Worth Global Style Network, Footwear News and other media outlets.