Dimitri from Anastasia is ruining your love life: the analysis

I recently posted an image on Instagram captioned “when you grow up on 60s sitcoms and Dimitri from Anastasia was your first crush, then the only attractive men will be ones that are extremely annoyed with you 95% of the time”.

The response was both hilarious and surprising. I got some DMs and comments from people who never realized just how much either of those aspects of their childhood influenced their adult life. The more I talk to people about childhood interests the more I realize I think a lot about my own formative influences. I had a great childhood, which is a privilege many don’t have, so I can consider things without fear of unearthing trauma, and also cling to aspects that have joyful associations.

The animated movie Anastasia released in theaters in 1997, when I was 8, almost 9 years old. Still carrying around my American Girl doll and reading through the entire Nancy Drew series, boys were not on my radar. I didn’t think they were gross (girls are gross too, like, please) but while friends were chatting about cute boys and crushes at school, I was decidedly still indifferent.

And then, Dimitri.

I don’t know what it was that clicked, but that was it, I could, and did watch that movie over and over and over again. It’s a movie about a young woman who doesn’t know she’s really a long lost princess?? Like?? Already appealing to girls who are about to seek their place in the world (the fact that this was long before superhero and action movies centered around women and gave options other than “princess” is a whole other conversation”), but they added a man who would ultimately influence an entire generation for a lifetime, and may not even realize it.

Dimitri is a balance of rough around the edges with a heart of gold. Tall, fit, with hair that’s constantly tousled and jumping into action without hesitation, he’s essentially laid a foundation for what’s attractive in a man. It’s the first time a major animated princess movie really rounded out the love interest, and since then we’ve seen more men of substance and even ones obviously influenced by him (the parallels between Dimitri and Flynn Rider are uncanny)

The following could explain what appeals to us as adults, if you viewed the movie during the formative early years of puberty. Cliché or not, it is what it is.

Once connected in the past

We know Dimitri spent part of his childhood in the palace as a servant, so his origins are much lower than the princess Anastasia. Right from the start we see his interest either in her, or the life of a royal, both could apply given what we see in adulthood. In the chaos of the overthrow Dimitri essentially sacrifices himself in order to save Anastasia and her grandmother, which sets the foundation for his character development as the situation will arise again in different forms.

Pairing up for selfish gain not planning to fall in love

When we see Dimitri again as an adult he’s using his insider knowledge of the royal family to try and find the perfect impostor of the lost princess to present to the empress and collect a hefty reward. He and Vlad stumble on Anya and convince her she could be the lost princess, knowing she isn’t, only after financial gain. There’s a strong element of deceit and beginning a relationship for all the wrong reasons.

Wit, dry humor, and snarkiess

Dimitri doesn’t hold back with Anya and seems to have met his match in wit and snarkiness. His dry humor is displayed up until he realizes they can’t be together, and he adapts a much more somber dynamic with her, essentially losing himself when he loses her.

Bickering and teasing as flirting

As Dimitri and Anya spend more time together they go at each other’s throats so often, Vlad actually keeps score in a little notebook. An attraction is obviously felt but neither character will face it so the sexual tension manifests in argumentative ways, as the newfound passion has to have an outlet somewhere.

The naivete and her guide

Anya essentially puts her life in the hands of Dimitri, both emotionally and physically. Not remembering half her life, she’s naive to the ways of high society and royalty, relying on Dimitri to teach her everything. They experience multiple things Anya never has before (in her memory) like train and ship travel, new cities, and social expectations. For everything, she relies on Dimitri to teach her, not just how to behave but also teach her who she is. The dominant/submissive, teacher/student dynamic is explored frequently in these situations, he pulling out aspects of herself she didn’t know capable of.

Slow burn

Anya and Dimitri have countless moments of obvious sexual tension, from each being aware how physically close they are to kisses being interrupted before they start.

Enemies to lovers

After constant bickering, they both start to realize their feelings for each other on the steam ship, Dimitri seeing her for the first time in something other than old rags, and Anya giving into his appeal. They share an almost kiss while dancing, then after he saves her from unwillingly almost jumping off the ship to her death, they both give in to a rather intimate embrace.

“We can’t be together” emotional torture and longing

During an initial interview with the empresses companion, Dimitri sees Anya is in fact the real lost princess. He’s realized he’s fallen for her but their soon to be difference in stations will make the relationship impossible. While she celebrates her future he’s wrought with guilt over lying to her, and having to not only let her go, but watch her thrive without him.

Betrayal and self sacrifice to amend

When Anya finds out she was a pawn in his persuit of financial gain and was lied to, Dimitri begs forgiveness and tries to explain that what started out superficially turned into so much more. Anya won’t hear it and never wants to see him again. Dimitri may have come to terms with losing her, but won’t stop trying to give her the life she deserves, and convinces the empress to visit Anya, knowing from that moment on he can’t be a part of her life even if she forgives him, but he believes she’s better off with her remaining family.

It’s all for her

After the empress accepts Anya as her granddaughter she invites Dimitri to her Grand resistance to collect the promised reward. Broken and somber, he refuses, stating that while he would have taken it previously, now he just wants her to have her rightful place in the world. The empress is stunned but realizes that he’s fallen for her and Anya may feel the same.

The unobtainable

Dimitri and Anya cross paths on the stairs, he seeing her for the first time dressed in a ball gown, unmistakably royal. Their exchange is cold, and Dimitri is told he must bow to princess Anastasia, which he does, making Anya uncomfortable that this is where their relationship ends. The familiarity of previous bickering and physical closeness is gone for good.

Fighting side by side

When Anya is lured to the gardens where Rasputin intends to kill her, Dimitri unexpectedly appears and rescues her from certain death, then they join forces fighting side by side. Anya ultimately defeats Rasputin, but couldn’t have done so without Dimitri.

Realization of love when it could be too late

During the fight Dimitri is knocked unconscious, appearing dead to Anya, who realizes her love for him when it’s seemingly too late. When he comes to she concludes she’d rather be unroyal with him than a royal without him, Dimitri supporting whichever choice she makes even if that means losing her. But of course, it’s a happy ending 💗💗💗

Dimitri from Anastasia is ruining your love life: a visual guide

Things that Dimitri does, wears, and is, that ultimately shaped what we think is attractive in a man: a visual guide.

Sleeves: rolled, watch: on, waistcoat: undone, Henley: tight

Hair: tousled (also see: Tangled 2010)

The once over

Bickering as flirting

Effortlessly brooding in an overcoat

Near death experiences on trains are hot somehow??

Arms and hands and hands and arms

Slow burn

Sexual tension in the form of more bickering

Bringing you something he wants to see you in

Being forced together physically

Totally flustered while trying to give a compliment

Almost kissing no. 241

Bridal carry (also see: Star Wars the Force Awakens 2015)

Slow burn

Emotional torture realizing you can never be together

The “stunned because you look so glamorous and beautiful on the stairs” look


I mean

“It started out that way but everything’s different now

Would do literally anything for your happiness

This dramatic cape billow after giving up the love of his life

Not accepting the reward because LOVE

They officially can’t touch because SLOW BURN

The rescuer


He’s fine so let’s make out



He still thinks she’s better off without him

That thing where they dance and the camera spins around them and they spin around (also see: Pride and Prejudice 2005)


The bridal carry is so good they did it twice

Cleansing oil

When you have acne prone skin, and you grew up before skincare was a way of life, the idea of putting oil on your oily skin sounds absolutely insane. But you’ve also tried everything, and all these people on blogs and forums seem to swear by it, so sure, why not?

Switching from a Cetaphil cleanser to a nourishing oil cleanser was like giving my skin it’s first drink of water in decades. I was immediately hooked, my skin was not only looking healthy, but feeling healthy. After about a year of using an argan oil cleanser, I concluded that while my complexion was 10X healthier than it previously was, it could still be better. After some research I found that argan oil can clog pores if you’re prone to it, and while my most severe acne was under control, I still had a small, bumpy texture over my entire face. With some more research (bless the internet) I found this type of acne is called subclinical, and can be caused by a number of things, including skincare products. These tiny flesh colored bumps are clogged pores without forming into red bumps and black/whiteheads. I always just thought that was the natural texture of my skin, but since I solved so many other issues with the right skincare products, why not this as well?

I stated searching for a cleansing oil that didn’t include argan oil, but also didn’t include a lot of chemicals, I really just wanted an oil combo to fit into a double cleanse routine. Having already tried (and sworn by) Primally Pure’s body butter and lip balm, I checked their cleansing oil, and not only does it not have argan oil or any unnecessary chemicals, but they even have formulas for dry, normal, and oily skin!

THIS was the stuff I’ve been looking for. It’s simple, nourishing, smells AMAZING and makes every morning and night feel like a mini spa day, that oil just begs to be massaged in for a minute or two. I use the oily skin formula, and never would’ve thought a castor oil base would work, but that thick oil accented with a short list of other organic oils and natural scents is perfect.

I use it as the first step in a double cleanse, using just my hands and water, and sometimes use the recommended washcloth if I need a little exfoliation. I finish with Primally Pure’s everything spray as a toner, and some plant derived squalane. That’s it! They have small sizes if you want to give it a little try, and you can use my code SOLANAH10 for 10% off your order. Enjoy!

How to clean your leather boots

There are two items in my wardrobe I’ll guiltlessly proclaim I never have enough of: coats and boots.

I live in Washington state, and half the year is spent in both, unless you want to be particularly cold and wet. A good pair of boots can take you far, and I’m seeing more and more solid footwear which is great! However, something a little heftier than what people are used to takes more care. I’m a firm believer that a garment is only worth the care you put into it. You could buy the best quality boots, for hundreds or even thousands of dollars, but that price tag and lasting reputation doesn’t equate some kind of magic that keeps them healthy without proper care.

Besides the following photos that guide you in cleaning and conditioning, here’s a few things you can do for your leather boots and shoes to keep them at their best:

-don’t wear the same pair two full days in a row. Leather needs to breathe, and it’s also beneficial for your feet, (unless you’re guided by a pediatrician to wear something specific every day). Of course I’m guilty of breaking this rule, everyone is, so for those times absoloutly do the following:

-have an open spot for your frequently worn footwear to rest, in a well ventilated area. Set them on the floor or on an open shelf after you take them off, keeping them out of the closet for 24 or more hours. This allows them to breathe, and keeps your closet from smelling like stuffy boots.

-NEVER place your leather boots or shoes near a heat source. Heaters, blow dryers, and fireplaces will dry out the leather and cause it to split and crack. To help speed up drying, remove laces, and remove any insoles placed inside.

-regularly use a soft and coarse bristle brush to remove dust, dirt, and other debris. I keep both by the front door, using the soft brush on the upper, and the coarse on the outsole.

-if you get mud on your boots or shoes, allow it to dry completely, then brush it off. Removing excessive mud when it’s wet can just work it into the leather and cause future damage.

The following care guide is for oil tanned top grain leather, and can be applied to similar boots and shoes, but please proceed with caution on your own footwear. Not all shoes and boots are made of the same leather and conditioning can alter the color. Some softer more supple leathers on designer and trendier footwear may need a light moisturizer, a waxy conditioner being too heavy. Otherwise, it’s really very easy, and will keep your boots healthy all season long for years to come ✨

Boots – Custom made packers by Whites Boots ordered via Animal Traffic

Style and evolution

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This may sound ridiculous, but some time ago while watching a behind the scenes feature on “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” movie (one of my favorites), the costumer, Joanna Johnston discusses the wardrobe of one of the lead characters, Napoleon Solo. She describes his wardrobe as “very considered” and a lightbulb went off.

I started wearing vintage early in my teens, my aunt and sister-in-law wore vintage in the 80’s and 90’s and would give me hand me downs. 1940’s dressing gowns and 50’s circle skirts were part of my dress up closet, and as I reached my teenage years, I would pull from that closet for everyday wear. I came of age in an era where jeans were low, hips were slim, and bras were padded. Hair was straightened and pale girls tanned. I had a Bettie Page figure at 13, big frizzy hair at 11, and the sun gave me headaches (before I had braces I had little vampire teeth which I miss dearly). Vintage just fit me, specifically 1940’s and 1950’s styles. It was easy to wear, I liked the look, and you could still find things in thrift stores. After high school I was offered a job at a local vintage shop, basically because I was there all the time anyway. That’s when I really got into it, coming home with something new every week, and thinking back on it I wish I could’ve bought more (There’s a late 30’s princess coat that’s particularly haunting). Working at a vintage shop allowed me to experiment with style in a way a lot of people have to refrain from. I could basically dress however I wanted, looking like a dust bowl circus performer one day, and a post war housewife the next. I had the freedom, encouragement, and resource to experiment, and it was FUN.

I think there’s a thing that happens now where we don’t have any one single point or event where we enter into adulthood. Adolescence is muddled and extended, we no longer marry and 20 (lol except I did), have children at 22, and/or have a secure and established career at 30. Years ago I was sent a copy of Wife Dressing and every time I bring it up people roll their eyes. Despite my insistence it has valid advice, people can’t get past that dated title. Of course there’s some old-fashioned attitudes and advice, but there’s great guidance as well. One thing I do want acknowledge is the dated aspect. This book was largely intended for adult women, those who were wives, or wanted to look as put together as a wife. Marriage was the point where women crossed the threshold into adulthood, and that’s when you shed your literal adolescent layers and worked to look like a functioning member of adult society. We’re in a new era where not only do we have no turning point into adulthood, but we’re not expected to. Which of course gives the freedom to dress as you please without limit, but I know many who struggle in their late 20’s/early 30’s trying to figure out their style which no longer coincides with what they felt was right in their teens and twenties.

Which brings me back to Napoleon Solo. Looking at his clothing and style, I think Joanna Johnston succeeded in her intent. His wardrobe is considered. I took that one sentence and applied it to my own wardrobe. I felt I didn’t need to experiment so widely, I wanted to continue wearing vintage but in a way that was more refined and fit my real life needs. I really considered what I needed, for my lifestyle (not the lifestyle of “one day”), for the climate I live in, and for the amount of time and effort I’m willing to put into the care of my wardrobe. I’m fortunate to have the time, patience, and know how to care properly for a “small” vintage closet, and I wanted to take advantage of that. Quality and comfort are my top priorities, and after years of trying out just about everything in my path I know what garments are worth restoring and what feels right and comfortable on my figure. I am very selective of colors, if you look at my wardrobe as a whole, it looks cohesive, which is intentional. I no longer shop outfit by outfit, but buy things that round out my wardrobe. I am highly selective of color, and now prefer texture and detail over print. Glamour isn’t important to me but drama is. I think extensively of what my wardrobe needs, I consider every aspect of an item when I find it, and take care in dressing each day. Once I’m dressed, the whole thing is out of my mind, I don’t want my outfit to be a distraction, but an enhancement to my day. I don’t fidget with ill fitting clothes, I don’t worry where I step because of inappropriate shoes, and I don’t feel uncomfortable halfway through the day because I picked something restricting.

I know a lot of people just really love a lot of styles, but are feeling lost as to what is truly your style. This takes honesty with yourself which I think is a roadblock for many, and it takes time! Refining your style isn’t something that happens overnight, it’s a process. It certainly has been a process for me, nearly two decades of experimenting with fashion (please encourage the youth around you to have freedom in self expression in their clothing), brought me to the place I am now. I know what I like. Decidedly. I’m selective to the point people think it’s a bit much (“so what if it’s burgundy and not red?”) but at the end of the day knowing what you want and not settling for anything less is powerful. As far as wearing a wide range of eras including modern, for a time I greatly wanted to be dedicated to one era as some people are, and I tried, but it just doesn’t work for me. Some days I wear jeans and a t-shirt, which meet my same standards as vintage. I don’t have much modern, but what I do have is worthwhile, and thinking about it as just another era in my wardrobe is helpful. I like what I like, no matter when it’s from.

1905 mourning millinery

I picked up this little book at a very odd estate sale a few weeks ago. At one point in my life I was going to become a milliner (one of many careers that passed through my mind but never came to be) so I still have a soft spot for the craft. This gem is from 1905, when large wire framed hats were en Vogue for fashionable ladies, and morning was still practiced at the tail end of the Victorian era. During much of the 19th century morning was somewhat of a cultural obsession in the western world. So of course there’s a chapter in this booklet on mourning millinery, with what cords and veils to use, and which style is age appropriate. There’s even a paragraph on morning hat bands for men, with correct sizing and pleating.

I also included a few pages at the front of the book, much like today’s fashion magazines the advertisements are in the front, and these are works of art in their own right. Enjoy!