“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.”—F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby (via lostsplendor)
I really hope you don't mind doing these, I just think the advice you give is always so spot on. I am a pretty curvaceous chick and spend every day in skinny dark denim, t-shirts, and flats. I am very much a pants girl, and skirts don't really do it for me, but I am about to graduate and I just abandoned plans of unfunded grad school for a bit of real adult life and I want to step up the self-presentation game a little bit, appear a bit more stylish. I don't know where to begin. Help? Please?
Msg continued: “For reference, re: the last question I just submitted, I love the Madewell/J. Crew aesthetic but am not exactly the size market they are creating clothes for.”
Congrats on your graduation!
I wasn’t sure if you were hoping to have some dresses/skirts recommended to you, so you could start to get used to them, or if you are staunchly against and looking for a way to do pants/tops that’s a little more polished. I took it as the latter.
I drew inspiration from the plus size line at ASOS, but if you’re like me and prefer to try things on, remember that you can keep these images, shapes, and styles in your head when you shop other places. Even a bit of digging at any department store is sure to turn up a few worthwhile pieces.
Ok, so we’re looking for polished, curvy, non-skirt items, in the style of J.Crew/Madewell. It’s good to have a focus.
Sometimes it seemed like other people approached their work the same way they approached their religion. They claimed they tried their best, but didn’t really, and then decided it was all up to some higher power in the end. A sort of general throwing up of hands and leaving with an empty head. I envied them. I’ve never been like that about work or about god. Never once said “what will be will be” and believed it. I don’t know how to pray because I only know how to worry. I run my fingers over my problems until they are like a memorized knot, something I can grapple with using muscle memory alone. For me, there are no hands of fate, no greater plan. Only my own endless untangling.
They jokingly call me OCD, tease me about my lists, my clipboard, my insistence on rules and consistency, my endless, wordy emails. They don’t know I am writing to untie all the knots in my chest. They don’t see the perfect, symmetrical beauty of doing the same thing in the same way over and over until the habit is worn smooth like an old coin. I am chastised for my rigid character, my over-analyzation, my questions. I crave structure and explicit expectations. I crave an A+ in red ink on my paper. It’s been a long time since anyone has said “well done.”
When they tell us we have to start pulling back our hair, Lily carefully puts bobby pins in mine and tells me I look younger. I feel younger, but not in a good way. I feel small and awkward and routinely ashamed of myself. I feel full of mistakes and flecks of mascara. I feel like a mess and a child, with my chipped nail polish and wrinkled skirt. My stockings hide bruised knees and spots that the razor missed.
After work at midnight, I put on jean shorts. The men on the subway platform leer openly, though I am pale, mosquito-bitten, chubby, with my hair falling out of the pins. Perhaps they are drawn to my brazen, sprawl-legged position, sitting on the dirty platform with my back against the pillar, swigging redbull from the can. It’s not often you see a girl so blatantly negligent at this time of night. They probably assume I’ve been drinking, though I haven’t. I’ve just learned to be careless with my body. I think I shock them. It’s difficult to read while they stare - I feel every glance like a piercing distraction.
Jamie asks me in an email what I’d do if I could disappear for an hour at a time. The answer comes to me now, too late. I’d escape all of those eyes on the way home at night. Rows of men who look you up and down, stone-faced and silent. I hate them sometimes. I’d find invisibility a refuge rather than a skill. Dear Jamie, let me disappear every night after work. Let me stop thinking for two minutes about whether or not my bra strap is showing.
Out of the blue, I remember the lines I underlined in high school from Anne Sexton’s “Noon Walk on the Asylum Lawn.” I don’t even have to look them up. I can hear the cadence with which I first read them:
"The sky breaks. It sags and breathes upon my face. In the presence of mine enemies, mine enemies. The world is full of enemies. There is no safe place."
It seems Anne knew about the subway platform, the awful, exposed walks home. The way the weather seems to press like a heavy palm against your skin, warm and uncomfortably close. Even the sky leers grotesquely as I shrink beneath its watchful eye. There is no safe place. No hiding from something that gathers and looms.
At home, I pull the pins from my hair, let it fall around my face. It is the best part of the day, this not being looked over. No distractions, no gazes boring. Somewhere nearby I can hear a man vomiting on the street. There’s no blocking out the unpleasant sound of labored retching, followed by an emphatic spit. It is a messy business, being human. My contacts go dry in my eyes. I feel like a disappointment, though I’m not always even sure to whom.
Anne tells me the world is full of enemies and I believe her. Even after I have climbed into bed and turned out the lights, I feel the ineluctable gaze. There is nothing to be done once it’s inside you. No asylum from something that hides behind your own eyes.
Hi, I love your blog! I see that you give a lot of fashion advice, so i would like to ask your opinion. i recently got a job as a hostess at the roebling tea room in Williamsburg,and i have to go through a trial period. they said they want to see how i would present myself. i dress well enough, but i have no idea what would be good choice of an outfit to wear as a hostess in that area. any tips?
Hi there! I’m awfully late on this, so I’m sure you’ve already figured it out by now, but I’ll send out an answer anyway.
My inclination is always to go a little more formal/conservative than you think you should. For a first day at a new hostessing gig, I’d choose a knee-length black dress with a modest neckline and a classy pair of black patent pumps.
Something like this is a good, practical standby and will serve you well on all kinds of occasions.
“Your 20’s are your ‘selfish’ years. It’s a decade to immerse yourself in every single thing possible. Be selfish with your time, and all the aspects of you. Tinker, travel, explore, love a lot, love a little, and never touch the ground.”—Kyoko Escamilla (via livefortravel)
if you wear headphones in public, you will never have a chance encounter on the street. you will never meet and fall in love with a stranger. you will miss hearing the cooing of pigeons, the squeal of delight of a kid splashing a puddle, the thank you an older lady utters to someone holding open a door for her, the “hey! nice dress!” you get from a passer-by.
in essence, you’ve sacrificed life, for the sake of hearing the same fucking coldplay song you’ve heard 100 times before.
As much as I’d like to dream that my headphones are separating me from a beautiful, sweet world in which old ladies in New York thank anyone for shit, and strangers love me and my dress, in reality, my earbuds are just ever-so-slightly dampening the ever-present crush of whistles and ringers, engines and construction work, and reducing the volume on scores upon scores of inane conversations that people must imagine I can’t hear because I have my headphones on.
Also, this is just plain untrue - people do not give one damn if you have earbuds in, that will not stop someone from talking to you. Unfortunately, I’ve had many chance encounters whether I’ve liked it or not.
I like this quote, in spite of the truth of the above reactions. I don’t know if it will have any effect on how often I wear my headphones in public, but it’s nice to think there might be something I’m missing.
“Are you actually, as your caption claims, not wearing any makeup?! Thank you for pointing it out. You are so naturally radiant. If you hadn’t told me, I would never have known! And then where would we be? My stars, I sure do wish I could look like that without dipping an oven mitt into a gallon of Sherwin Williams Chivalry Copper to spackle my moon crater pores.”—paulina banina: Is it really true?
I loathe when people think that I’m shy rather than introverted. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being shy, I’m just not, and they are two separate things. People cajoling me into social situations try to assure me that I “don’t have to talk to everyone” or that “everyone will love me.”
Bitch, of course they will like me. I am delightful. I just find prolonged social interactions to be extremely exhausting.
“take a shot every time you’re watching a romcom and there’s that part where the male love interest sneaks up behind the girl to be cute and she thinks he’s like a rapist and punches him and then is like “oh no i’m so sorry.”—well, alright:
“You ever notice how the phrase “I’m going to be honest with you” is never followed by something pleasant like, “We’re bumping you up to first class,” or “It’s all blowjobs from here on out”? Honesty sucks, apparently.”—Alex Balk:
Today Lily and I had brunch with unlimited mimosas. It was lovely and we sat outside. We happened to notice some balloon animals on the street corner and wandered over after we had finished. We were pleasantly surprised by an amazing, giant street fair that stretched for miles through my neighborhood!
“A number of men tried to catch her eye, but she walked close by my side, holding my arm. Few beautiful women were willing to indicate in public that they belonged to someone. I had known enough women to realize this. I accepted them for what they were, and love came hard and very seldom. When it did it was usually for the wrong reasons. One simply became tired of holding love back and let it go because it needed some place to go. Then usually, there was trouble.”—Charles Bukowski “Women” (via takesamuscle)
thanks for letting me spend my last half hour of sleep dreaming about killing a giant pile of ants in my bedroom and then disposing of their lifeless carcasses. That was super fun. Really glad I hit the snooze.
“I was drawn to all the wrong things … I was settled into nothingness; a kind of non-being, and I accepted it. I didn’t make for an interesting person. I didn’t want to be interesting, it was too hard. What I really wanted was only a soft, hazy space to live in, and to be left alone.”—Charles Bukowski (via dysairs)
“Some people are uncomfortable with silences. Not me. I’ve never cared much for call and response. Sometimes I will think of something to say and then I ask myself; is it worth it? And it just isn’t.”—Miranda July (via vashti)
“If you know what you are going to write when you’re writing a poem, it’s going to be average. Creating a poem is a continual process of re-creating your ignorance, in the sense of not knowing what’s coming next. A lot of poets historically have described a kind of trance. It’s not like a Vedic trance where your eyes cross, and you float. It’s a process not of knowing, but of unknowing, of learning again. The next word or phrase that’s written has to feel as if it’s being written for the first time, that you are discovering the meaning of the word as you put it down.”—Derek Walcott, as cited in Advice to Writers by Jon Winokur (via litverve)
“Let us not underestimate how hard it is to be compassionate. Compassion is hard because it requires the inner disposition to go with others to place where they are weak, vulnerable, lonely, and broken. But this is not our spontaneous response to suffering. What we desire most is to do away with suffering by fleeing from it or finding a quick cure for it.”—Henri J.M. Nouwen (via remnant)
I draw lines in the condensation on my sweating glass of white wine. In Brooklyn, the humidity is 94% and my hair goes curly on the ends. The bedroom door sticks. I stay up late. It’s 100 degrees in Arizona.
The weekends move too quickly. It feels like I spend them all doing dishes. The laundry pile never dwindles. Every afternoon is overcast. But in the evening, there is wine. Black bean soup. Strawberries. The living room glows. I am blushing and content. I light candles - lemon verbena, sugared orange, eucalyptus spearmint, volcano - and let them flicker for hours. I finish the bottle. We talk for hours. It all feels wonderfully immoderate.
I have nightmares about being on LSD and nightmares about marrying the wrong man, and somehow they are nightmares about the same thing: a loss of control, an inability to carry out my own plans. Upon waking, I feel relief, and a strange dizzy exhaustion. The bedroom tilts. I turn over and let the A/C run, listen to the voices on the sidewalk. I save all my talking for later.