not gonna lie to you, this month has been pretty fricking awful. i spent most of it sick with what was either bronchitis or walking pneumonia, which i couldn’t do much about. i not only have no health insurance, i also have no childcare, so i suffered through about 3 weeks of the worst cough ever and slowly, finally started to feel less terrible. i mustered the strength to put on actual clothes only a few days this month, pictured above. apart from feeling like physical hell, i’ve also been going through a sort of emotional hell, one that feels heavier than my usual bad weather depression. here’s hoping the clouds start to lift. throwing on my attico velvet ankle cuffs and all my pairs of boots to cheer up some.
a crazy october filled with threats of phantom illnesses and wildfires, heavy air and moody weather, so many family visits and semi-fancy outings. doing my best not to shop and so digging into my closet for a remix. feeling fully inspired by this celine outfit shown for spring, and real glad that i happen to own a pink ultra suede dress (a vintage bill blass one, found at a thrift store with the actual 1970’s i. magnin tags still attached). going through my annual boot crisis (the one where i feel like i am racing the clock against crap weather to find the perfect pair of boots- which does not exist or at least can’t be selected from the blurring masses of beautiful pairs). enjoying cooler days that allow for turtlenecks (which do a lot for my manky old lady neck) but don’t yet require a coat, but secretly savoring the random heat wave before another winter. cashing in coupon codes and gift cards to buy this satin culotte jumpsuit (because i so can’t afford the real thing). wearing said jumpsuit to see the incredibly staggeringly gorgeous solange and trying not to cry when too many plastic cups of cheap champagne forced me to use the bathroom where puddles of manky sewer water soiled my pant leg. upon exiting the bathroom i exclaimed to my best friend and all the sympathetic ladies in line, “i got toilet water on my beautiful outfit!” overall, embracing the toilet water smudges and school visitor name tag stickers and recycled outfits and walkable shoes.
i have a very romantic view of my grandparents. being the last of several grandchildren allowed me to blend in in a sort of inconspicuous way. at family functions i was often able to disappear into the crowd, and stand back and observe my grandparents. i always saw my two grandfathers as characters that were very specific to their generation: the irish fireman in cowboy boots and the real estate agent in a golf sweater. the working class hero and the president of every club in town. both of my grandfathers were defined by their experiences in the war, but they also both had a charismatic allure to them.
my grandmothers were perhaps the perfect opposite poles to them. on my father’s side my grandmother was the consummate housewife with the white furniture and perfect bee hive and kool cigarette always attached to her graceful fingertips. i remember her as elegant and glamorous and a bit detached. on my mother’s side, my grandmother always worked. she enlisted with the red cross and joined the war effort as a teen, and worked as a maternity nurse for most of my mother’s childhood. once she stopped nursing she went to work as my grandfather’s secretary in his real estate office. she was loud and unfiltered and larger than life if not overbearing. both of my grandparents were charming couples, living the post-war american dream in suburban homes with hi-fi systems and high ball glasses.
my grandmother’s respective senses of style cross my mind often. my grandmother on my father’s side had a sophistication and sartorial smartness to her style. my memories of her are always in the colors white and gold. she wore high waisted white trousers with sweaters that had gold lurex woven into them that would catch the light from her amber glass mid-century pendant chandelier. i remember her big closet full of heels with matching handbags in different shades of crocodile leather. i have a few photos of her from the 1930’s and 40’s, wearing little tailored dresses and peep toe mules, her hair in liberty rolls. she died at the incredibly young age of 60 (which my mother attributes to her declaring that she did not want to become an old lady). my grandmother on my mother’s side lived to be 89, and i saw her embrace a uniform later in life of high waist cropped wide leg jeans, white sneakers, and a crisp button-down shirt that she’d button all the way up to the top. as a young woman she was a sewing fanatic and would buy patterns for the latest trends and make her own clothes. for me, the images of her in her nurse’s uniform are the ones that stick.
recently i have been thinking about what an influence these women have on my own sense of style. a few unearthed photographs of them had my family reflecting on how much we physically resemble them, how strong the genes are that gave me my round jaw and wide eyes, my long legs and short torso. but i also realize that there were images of them that made impressions if not imprints on my sense of what is stylish. when i look at my closet the things that i collect, over and over in my life are high waist, wide leg jeans, button down shirts and ANYTHING with gold lurex woven into it. little vintage handbags in crocodile leather. dresses with cleverly tailored sleeves. and i am unequivocally, undeniably obsessed with high waisted white trousers, and vintage nursing pinafores. so perhaps style is, in fact, genetic.
another month down and i’m having trouble letting september go and with it, another summer. fashion month is happening as we speak and is it just me or is there generally a lack of enthusiasm out there? scrolling through street style photographs used to inspire me but this time around i felt like the fashion girls should have just worn sandwich boards advertising for zara and h&m. there is also, of course, the loom of the land and the constant drama surrounding our nation’s capitol weighing on everything. to my surprise the bright spots were to be found in the collections: in maryam nassir zadeh’s muted neon citrus pastel pallet and raf simons for calvin klein’s warhol cowboys and 50’s rubber couture silhouettes, in brock collection’s little house micro-florals and delpozo’s enormous raffia hair bows, and attico’s opulent casual glamour. in rejina pyo’s sartorial wit and a.w.a.k.e.’s surrealist army. these were the moments that brought me pangs of joy and inspiration, so perhaps the flood of advertising dollars into street style and the overwhelming awfulness of the news was what it finally took for me to dive back into the collections and find gold there. personally nostalgia seems to be ruling my outfit choices, i’m preferring to lose myself in decades past which is oddly comforting, in the parlance of our times.
lately i’ve been feeling like vintage is where it’s at and staring into my closet at the designer items i have that remain on their hangers for fear of chocolate smudges and sweat stains and the messiness of chasing around a 3 year old. i’ve also been burned this year by some purchases, for example the jacquemus dress pictured above that i have been hunting for months, lost out on 3 different times, finally found, paid too much for and then tore at the hip button while trying it on (guess i’m not returning that one). lately i’ve felt like online shopping is more trouble than it’s worth. also i have a lot more fun mining for gold in thrift stores & flea markets and putting together outfits i can actually wear. so my designer discount days may be done, for now anyway. otherwise i’m surprised to find that shorts are back, as are overalls & jumpsuits (three things i have always bought incessantly & also things i thought i’d sworn off). also yellow really is the new black. yellow, orange yellow, yellow on yellow, yellow and gold. yellow, yellow, yellow.