As a successful lifestyle blogger, I know that dressing up involves a meltdown of epic proportions. From anxiety over what dress to wear, to trepidation that my hair isn’t cooperating, to being fully convinced that I’ll be under and/or over-dressed, looking nice is an all-day ordeal.
When my friends Maggie and Charlie got married at a beautiful, elegant ceremony in Chicago, it was no exception. My dress and hair felt wrong, I couldn’t tell how formal the wedding was, and I don’t know how to put on lipstick. But finally, after a few tears, a small existential meltdown, and a lot of reassurance from patient pals, I thought, “Hey, I actually look pretty good!”
Once I looked nice, I had to make sure my effort was worth it by it by taking zero photos. The fun peacock-print dress I was wearing didn’t need to be shown off, even though the (A-line? maybe?) cut of the dress was so perfectly offset by the understated low stilettos I was wearing, and I felt downright semi-confident wearing it.
After all, I only put genuine effort into dressing up twice, maybe three times a year, so it’s best if it happens quietly for only a few to see, to be immediately forgotten by the sands of time 🙂
Like any successful lifestyle blogger, I haven’t gotten a haircut in months. Haircuts are expensive! They also take time, and involve conversing with a near-stranger. No thank you!
But, I still wanted a fresh new look – something fun, different, and sassy. So I did what any reasonable adult would do and looked back to my elementary school pictures. And that’s when I found it: braids.
Forget expensive LA haircuts, forget time-consuming upkeep, forget looking like you can get into an R-rated movie without an adult. And instead, remember braids. We all liked them, except that they’re not as easy as they look,they don’t look cute when they’re messy, and if you turn your head they’ll fall out. But that’s the price of a beauty, and it’s cheaper than the alternative.
I have entered my braid phase. Join me!
It’s hard to see the whole thing from this angle, but fun pool right?
A few months ago, I expressed my resolve to wear these nerve-wracking outfits. Well, it took some time, but I finally wore that romper. I wore it to dinner during a bachelorette weekend in Palm Springs, and the ensemble was quite a success.
The romper is cute! I added a thick belt for a more defined silhouette, and a lacy blue bandeau bra helped with the backless-ness situation. It also features straps that crisscross in the back and have to be snapped in. This makes peeing next to impossible – it involves completely undressing. Then when you’re done, you have to sort out the strap situation, contorting your arms behind you to snap it closed while someone bangs on the bathroom door at a Mexican restaurant in downtown Palm Springs and you can’t figure out why one of the straps keeps twisting. Anyway, big fan of the romper! Excited to wear it again.
Does this donut make up for the fact that I forgot to get a photo of the back of the romper?
Photo credit: Lori Lewis
As a successful lifestyle blogger it’s important to travel a lot to expand my lifestyle, so I took one trip and will milk it for two weeks of posts. When traveling, you can’t just wear any outfit, you have to wear an outfit. So I wore one.
I wore this outfit in front of a mural.
I love this ensemble I wore one day in Chicago, so I don’t know, maybe you should wear it too? The thing I love most about this outfit is that it contains articles of clothing that go together. It features a skirt I acquired at a clothing swap, some thrift store boots, an old white tshirt from Target, and a sweater whose origin I don’t remember. So good luck finding any of these pieces, but maybe try?
I wore this outfit in front of Del Close.
I wore this outfit while I ate a sandwich. (Not pictured: most of outfit)
I wore this outfit on the brown line. (Not pictured: outfit or brown line)
I wore this outfit while I looked at these toy cars in a parking lot. (Not pictured: me, outfit)
Photo and Train Friendship By Cynthia Bangert
Fashion is changing constantly, in every place except my closet. As the world moves swiftly forward, these pieces are staying put. It’s like the old saying goes: “It’s 2002-2006 somewhere!” and as the other saying goes, “I’m still a child!”
Zara Sweater. What’s black and white and stretched out all over? This sweater was purchased on a family trip to London in 2006 (“Hmm, I wonder what this Zara place is??”), and the cuffs have been losing elasticity since then. But shh, nobody needs to know. The narrow stripes – and fun row of buttons along the shoulder – pull the eye away from the sagging sleeves. How can sleeves sag? I’m not sure, but they’re doing it.
Gap Green Cardigan. I agonized for ages over whether to pay full price for this sweater as a high school senior, and for some reason I was so in love with it that I decided yes. It’s cable-knit and lumpy, which means it isn’t particularly warm OR attractive. I throw it on when I want to tell the world, “I had a weird idea of what was flattering when I was 17.” So, a lot. I wear it a lot.
Old Navy V-Neck Pullover. This black pullover was one of the first things I bought when I started at a high school that didn’t have a uniform. What I love about this piece is how it creates tension between memories of being terrified amidst a sea of new people, and the comfort of over-stretched fabric. In adult terms, this sweater is a total classic that matches everything. In 14-year-old terms, I was a boring and sensible child.
Monopoly Socks. Can you believe a pair of socks has held up for over ten years? I want to say I lost these in the back of a closet for a few of those years, if only to make it somehow acceptable that I’ve kept a pair of socks for this long. There’s a small hole in the bottom of one of them, but really, they look alarmingly good. Here’s to another ten years of these socks!
(Photography and small dog provided by Maggie Gottlieb.)
Your style is the most immediate way to present who you are to the rest of the world. And I keep hoping that one day, I can be someone else. I bought/acquired these things with the intention of wearing them, but I haven’t done it yet. Here are some of my favorite pieces that I love to stare at longingly in my closet:
Who, me? I’m always casually standing under trees.
Polka Dot Crop Top. I bought this shirt at Goodwill without trying it on, and I thought it was a few inches longer. I want to be a person who’s comfortable with showing this skin, but I’m just not. I love the outfit though, so I forced myself to wear it once. I got catcalled on a side street ten seconds after leaving my house, and felt self-conscious all day, silently willing the shirt to grow more fabric as I tugged at the bottom of it. I haven’t worn it again, even though I want to.
Backless Sleeveless Top. When I was talked into buying it I thought, “yes, I can be the kind of person who wears this shirt.” But I can’t. I can only be me – a person who does not wear this shirt. It’s backless which is kind of confusing – no bra, I guess? Seriously, how do people wear things like this? I want to understand.
Plaid Romper. Oh how I hated rompers for so long. But now I see people wearing them and find myself thinking…could I? This one’s cute! It’s plaid. And blue. But wearing it still feels like such a bold move. It’s backless, but I didn’t get a picture of that because by then I had crossed over into complete self-consciousness about being photographed (Exhibit A: Leaning Tower of Romper pose). It also might be too big, but that’s fixable. I haven’t given up on this one yet – my hopes are high for summer!
(Photography and insecurity-wrangling by Inae Bloom.)