Are you bored of skinny, super skinny, impossibly skinny jeans yet? I am. And it seems to me that there is only one way to go now given that skinny jeans have been popular for so many years running: wide, and even pleated. Karlie Kloss looks amazing in this pair (far left), and I wonder if they would look as good on someone (me!) who is nowhere near as tall:
And, guess what my pretties, Old Navy has a fairly similar pair, for under $40.00:
I am not sure that I feel compelled to give Kendall Jenner any more press than she already gets, but I can't stop thinking about this coat. Gosh, the bias cut, and the way that it falls over her body is just perfect. Makes me realize how good it feels to have a great fitting coat. I have not had one in years, since I bought myself a J.Crew Plaza coat and wore it for a decade straight, until it not longer fit and was beyond repair. I am trying to figure out who makes it. Probably costs an arm and a leg, but worth investigating.
This post is just a link to a Huffington Post article, but, man, I was so relieved when I found it this morning. I was thinking about resolutions, and how to explain that I don't normally do resolutions so much as set intentions for the year. Maybe the intentions are closer to goals, I am not sure. It is hard to describe how I interpret this ritual. What I do know is that after 36 years I have finally figured out this old, you already have everything you need mantra. You do. I do. And so I think that Pema is right: there is no need for "self-improvement." You look fine. Your house looks fine. Your fit enough. So maybe this year, the resolution might be to just keep doing what you are doing. Stay the course. Travel your path:
That doesn't mean you get a free-pass, however. It is more like you don't have to try to so hard, because the universe will serve up plenty of new opportunities for you (for us!) to deal with what we need to deal with. Pema says it as Pema says it: "Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to learn." And, I think, that when we see life as just one big learning project, one big day at school, maybe everything becomes less scary, and more evocative and exciting instead. I mean, what's so wrong with being schooled if you need to be schooled. (Plus: I was always so good at school!)
Women as one of my students this semester reminded me through her end-of-the-semester research project are always apologizing. Always. For. Everything. We need to stop. I need to stop. I am going to try to say, sorry, far less frequently this year. I am only going to use the word when I truly mean it, when I have a good reason to apologize and I am not going to use it every time someone steps in front of me, or every time I do something that I perceive as annoying to others. I am not, in other words, going to apologize for my very self, for existing. And you should not either.
What is your word-of-the-year for 2015? In response to a recent afternoon with a tarot card reader who used the Mother Peace deck––a copy of which I own, and which I found at a street-sale in San Francisco in the late 90s, and which was conceived of the year that I was born, 1978––my word is: ALLOW.
The "Magician" card came up in the reading, too, and well, in response, I am planning to wear a lot more leopard print this year. Have to get it out of my system, or have to get it in my system, I should say.
In Todd May's piece in today's New York Times he opens with the question that many of us ask ourselves at this time of the year: how can I improve my life in the coming year? Sometimes, for the morally inclined, this also means asking ourselves how we can become better people––better at taking care of ourselves, our relationships, our work, and other things that we try to dedicate ourselves to. He suggests that we often look toward philosophy and religion to help us achieve a "tranquil state." And one of the ways that Eastern religions such as Buddhism, Stoicism, and Taoism, teach us to do this is through detaching from desire and the emotional states created by desire (and the frustration of desire). While this detaching might help us create what May calls "invulnerablism"and may help us navigate the "world's vicissitudes," he suggests that it can also create a state in which we are too far removed from the world and do not experience a range of emotions - from grief to joy (although to be honest, I have tons of trouble with the word joy, but more on that later). Thus, his question is, do we want this kind of distance from our emotions, our very lives?
Invulnerabilism recommends that we secrete a distance between ourselves and the world so that ultimately it cannot touch us. The extremity of such a view can be illustrated by reference to the Stoic’s ratification of the ancient philosopher Anaxagoras’ reported remark upon hearing of his son’s death: “I always knew that my child was a mortal.” It is possible perhaps that some few among us can reach this degree of distance from the world. But the question is, do we want it? I suspect I am not alone in thinking that the death of one of my children should shatter me, even if it should not ultimately destroy me.
His answer is a resounding, no. We don't want so much distance between ourselves and the world, or from our emotions that we fail to experience life and all that it has to offer:
Most of us want to feel caught up in the world. We want to feel gripped by what we do and those we care about, involved with them, taken up by them. The price of this involvement is our vulnerability. We must stand prepared to feel the loss of what we care about, because that is part of what it means to care. Caring requires desiring for the sake of others, which in an uncertain world entails that that desiring can be frustrated.
Oh, and one needs a new lipstick or lipgloss to get through the winter as well. I couldn't decide what I wanted, I wanted some serious color but my old standby, Fresh's Sugar Lip Treatment in Berry, suddenly seemed too bright, too young, and not moody enough to match how I have been feeling lately. (But I bought a new Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment in Berry just to keep it around, because it is a never-fail, go-to.)
When in doubt, I go back to Bobbi Brown. Her colors for both lips and cheeks are pretty much flawless and the formula's are so wearable that you don't feel like you are wearing makeup, makeup. I couldn't land on a lipstick color that made sense, so I went to the lipgloss. I surprised myself by circling around and around and finally buying this one, a plum with gold flecks. It's totally ock n' roll:
Let's be honest, winter is not my favorite season. I struggle with seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and a general discontent for the holidays. But, a season is a season, and what the change of the seasons tell me is that it is time for a new scent and a new beauty routine. I struggled to decide on a scent for the season, winter scents are rich and heavy and sometimes too sweet. I almost went back to an old standby Stella by Stella McCartney, which is love for its rose base and moody amber notes. I love this one when I was in my late twenties. So worn out was I from writing my dissertation, that one of my ways back into the world was to wander around Sephora trying on scents and deciding what kind of woman I would like to become next, Ph.D. in hand and one way out of Pittsburgh. The Stella, by Stella McCartney got me out:
But, by now I don't want to go back to wearing the same scent that I wore when I was twenty seven, but I do want something equally sultry and moody and dark to get me through the winter Solstice, and the holidays, and the general darkness that is winter in upstate New York. I went back and forth about whether or not Elizabeth and James's Nirvana Black was the next place to go, and indeed it turned out be just the thing to get me to look forward.
I love the violet and sandalwood, but was less sure about the vanilla as I did not want it to seem too powdery or overly sweet. The vanilla it turns out fades out first and you are left with violet and sandalwood and a deep need to listen to the new Lana Del Ray album, Ultraviolence, over and over and over again:
It has been more than three months since I have posted anything. Suffice is to say, I have been busy. Busy good and busy bad. So, let's start small, let's start easy, let's star with shoes.
Dansko released this beauties a few weeks before the holidays. I should have bought them in black immediately, only I am trying to pay down debts and get to a place where I can start saving for bigger more important things, like having children and buying a house. Nevertheless, I should have listened to Lauren and bought the damn shoes. They are a brilliant and affordable take on the Sam Edelman booties that were hugely popular a few years ago. They also seem to borrow from No 6 clog boots, the one's that every hip woman in NYC wears. So, see if you follow the progression of influence here. I don't know if the Edelmans or the No.6s launched first, but how I saw the progression.
As soon as the cold weather arrives, I feel desperate for a change. I like to acknowledge mother nature's shifts by getting my haircut. I know it is superficial and trivial and, well, just silly, but a nice haircut makes me feel that I have marked time. This year, I am once again loving the choppy bob. It is a dangerous haircut, though, because it looks great styled and terrible un-styled. This year I am feeling more "punk-rock" than "hippy"––which is sort of how I felt (style-wise) last year––so I am especially inclined to chop off my hair right about NOW:
On crisp early-fall days, I love the simplicity of black-and-white dressing––black jeans and a white shirt.
I found a great "boyfriend" shirt at Old Navy, which makes more expensive versions seem less significant.
Pair with black jeans.
I also like it pink, which I would pair with grey jeans for a slightly more feminine feel. At the end of the day, though, I would probably go black-and-white. Either way, this combination is all kinds of east-coast cool.
Pair with grey jeans (as pictured). Or pair with black for a more punk-rock look.
These shirts are crazy-cool with black or grey jeans. Instant east-coast attitude with little effort––perhaps that's what signals east-coast attitude.
Kim France just wrote about these boots on her near-perfect blog, Girls of A Certain Age. And these boots seem near-perfect as well. They match the melancholy feeling that I get at this time of year. Also, a weird sense of desire to be seen. I don't like summer clothing very much and do not feel confident in my look during the summer. I am a fall person and these are the perfect boots for stomping down city streets and attracting a few glances.
I moved from New York City (really, I was living in Westchester) to upstate New York about a year ago. I love being upstate in the summers where the weather is generally cooler and the atmosphere appropriately laid back. But today, as I was walking around my small town, and finally recognizing the faces of other people who live here (more on this later), I suddenly got a WOOSH of nostalgia for New York City. Sometimes, I miss the crush of people, the sense of anonymity, and long walks. Today I wanted to walk the city streets for hours and just get lost in it all. Something about this cooler temperatures makes me miss New York, or at least the idea of New York.
But, then I look at images like this one and I think, "I'm done."
I wonder if I will ever live there again. And I wonder why New York always seduces me. I have lived there a few times, but I am getting to the age where I really want to settle down.
Perhaps I am a bit behind the trend ball here, but I have been seeing some platform Birkenstocks around town as well. They are amazing. What a great idea since Birkenstocks put you incredibly low to the ground, especially once they are well worn.
Apparently, they sold some version of these at Colette in Paris, but on a far more reasonably scale, you can find them here:
Funny, that these and the shoes that I posted yesterday make me worry that my days of caring about shoes are over. I mean, maybe this is a good thing, but what it really speaks to is how much more quickly time appears to go, go, go, after a certain age. I used to think of fashion and beauty as a way to mark time, i.e. you buy a new lip color for a new season. But, frankly, no one I know, myself included has the disposable income for such frivolity, but even if I did, what I am trying to say is that I don't think that the new shoes would in fact mark time, as they once did. Eras can no longer be fashioned, created, because time just moves too fast now. I can't fully explain this. Perhaps I will come back to it. But if you are a bad-ass twenty-something with money to burn and I eye for the quirky, buy these shoes, and wear them for me! (Maybe what I mean is: when you see a young person a year after you last saw them, they tend to look different. When you see someone say, over thirty-three, a year after you last saw them, they tend to look the same. Does this make any sense?)
I have been seeing these platform gladiators on the 22-year-old set all over town. If I were, say, under 28, I would buy them, too. They sort of remind me of shoes that I might have bought at Easy Pickins twenty, read that, TWENTY, years ago:
Over the past year or so, I have not done too much shopping. This has left me in need of basics, the staples of an everyday wardrobe. I am often impressed by Old Navy's jackets and coats and I can imagine buying each of these and putting them on rotation.
A bomber jacket for the last days of summer, and early fall.
A collarless jacket for back-to-school and work.
A riding jacket for fall.
A simple puffer vest for the first chilly days of the season.
A collarless lady-coat, for early-fall sophistication.
It has been a long time since I wanted a pair of shoes as badly as I want these babies. Dansko's Rebel might just be 90s redux perfection. They are a naughty cross between a bootie and a Mary Jane. And, well, I'm in love:
Add thick black tights, and the prospect of a cold, dark winter doesn't seem so bad.
Part of me loves this jacket, the other part of me knows that it is a bit too far outside of my wheelhouse and that I might not wear it as much as I would like. What I like about it is the relaxed, cocoon shape in juxtaposition to other more waist-centric styles. This coat seems to be in keeping with the soft dressing trend.
Summer's gone again. A line from a song I heard once, I think. Summer leaves town early in upstate New York. I both love the cooler temps and feel like protesting the end of summer. My protest this past weekend was to pain my toenails red one last time for the season. I love orange-y reds. They are badass.
I am not going to lie: I am doing the online or digital dating thing. And it is not fun. This recent article from the New York Times nails one of the reasons why: too much choice, does not necessarily make for happy human beings:
"Here's the problem with bigger numbers and endless possibility: They don't go well with humands. We don't have the processing power. Dating is not simply about finding like-minded people, but about limiting your potential set of choices. When we're making a selection from what sociologists call a bounded set of choices, we can 'satisfice' ––that is reach a kind of threshold of satisfaction. Once we find something above that level great, let's try it.
When the number of options increases, we become maximizers––unsatisfied with those options, and wanting more. On Tinder, we can judge, swipe and date as if there is an unlimited number of matches. Faced with boundless choices, can we ever choose?" (Reich).
I would be remiss to say that I have "boundless choices" on the dating front, but I do have a few and it can feel overwhelming.
Have you digital dated?
What has your experience been like?
A few weeks ago, when it was dreadfully hot, all I could think about were boots and how great it would feel to wear them when the weather cooled off. I started fantasizing right then and there about these harness boots from Fry. They might be a bit too tough and masculine for me, but then again, every fall I start to think about their virtues once more:
Harness boots, by Frye.
Fry also makes a sweet pair of engineer boots, but I think the harness boots are more versatile and suited to just walking around town.
I am pretty sure I remember a spread from Sassy magazine that paired prom dresses and engineer boots. Had I had my druthers back then, that's what I would have worn. We'll skip the horrid details of what I actually wore––for now.
I am not ordinarily an Urban Decay fan––their colors and formulas seem a bit harsh for me, or not appropriate for someone my age. However, I am willing to entertain anything that pulls on my 90s heartstrings. Urban Decay's Pulp Fiction capsule collection does just that. I am specifically drawn to this lipstick in, Pulp Fiction. Apparently, it is the twentieth anniversary of Pulp Fiction, and Nars, and Instyle, and well, lots of 90s things. And it's VEGAN:
You have to navigate around the website to find the rest of the products in the Pulp Fiction collection. See it here: