blazers, broaches, books

The last time I wrote to you I extolled the virtues of the new-new-new-new J. Crew, and, of course, since then, I have come to decide I hate all the things I purchased while in that fog (along with every other piece of clothing I own). Well, not quite true — I don’t mind the striped linen shirt, and I still have to try on this dress that a reader shared with me, which I can absolutely imagine haughtily strolling to/from meetings in, if I had that kind of job. The other day I told some friends I was hoping the Gossip Girl reboot would precipitate a return to Prep, which I think, if I’m being honest, remains my ideal aesthetic. I have never felt better about my style than I did in 2004/2005, my senior year of high school, when I wore cardigans and blazers and mini skirts and knee socks and broaches everyday.

Prep is one of few trends (among those I’ve lived through, anyway) that feels fully ageless, to me — one just does it differently over time. I keep cutting the bottoms of T-shirts and sweatshirts to go with the cropped look that I like so much on other younger people, but at some point not too long from now, I will be in my mid-thirties. Obviously, on principle, I believe anyone can wear anything they want at any age, but I do think there is such a thing as infantilizing oneself via fashion. Anyway, this blazer (in both grey check and black) is in my Madewell cart, tempting me.

Unrelatedly, and I’m almost hesitant to share this with you, because it’s such an identifiable brand and I’d like to keep it for myself, I’ve become obsessed with everything Farm Rio. I have this jumpsuit, and it’s so light and airy and comfortably sized (I usually wear an 8, and the medium has some spare room but not too much). Now I really, REALLY want this patchwork kimono, which is on sale for $100, but as longtime readers of the newsletter know, I’m simply not a robe gal, despite my vivid imagination. I get dressed right after I shower. I don’t swan around my apartment naked, in need of a thin silk covering. When would I wear this? No idea, but I love it. It reminds me (in spirit if not in print) of Carrie Bradshaw’s iconic glittering robe that she once wore as actual clothes.

One last thing: I know I don’t need more face masks. I know every face mask I have produces dubious-to-no visible effect. But. This one (made famous by Diplo??) is such a pretty blue. Sephora reviewers agree that it’s beautiful, but can’t decide if it does anything. My colleagues are equally mixed. Do you have personal experience with the blue face mask? Please let me know.

~things I read/am reading~

I read The New Me by Halle Butler on the Kindle app on my phone, as recommended by someone on Twitter when I complained that I fall asleep 20 minutes into reading anything otherwise. Much to my surprise, I didn’t hate the experience, and I blew through the book. I had fun changing the font size and background color. (It’s the little things.) I also liked this book! It’s pretty depressing, but in an honest, funny way, and it made me feel grateful for what I have, which is a nice feeling. I also recently completed the Three Body trilogy, and can’t imagine how anything else will ever compare. It feels like a really timely read, given the climate crisis. I haven’t been so moved by books in a long time. Next up: Socialist Realism by Trisha Low.

Speaking of books: Girl Crushed — my first young adult novel — is available for preorder now. Please buy it, read it, rate it, review it. Thank you.

xo,

Katie

is J. Crew getting good again?

Okay, I know, but hear me out.

J. Crew is having a big summer clearance sale right now, so last week I ordered a few things (linen shirts, mainly, for me and for Lydia), not necessarily expecting to keep everything. But everything came yesterday, and I … love all of it? I haven’t bought anything but pajamas from J. Crew in years, because, well, you know, but the sale brought me back, and I saw a lot of things I actually liked! Which is very hard to come by these days!

Some of their new early fall stuff is genuinely cute, too: see this cropped, bleached denim jacket; this little ruffle top; this lobster polo; this bright pink linen blazer! Not everything on the site is for me, certainly, but I like looking at most of it, which is more than I can say for most places. For the first time in a long time I’m seeing a return to structure in their clothing, which is all I’ve been waiting for, really. At the end of the day I will always come back to collars and seams.

Another thing I’ve been pursuing lately is necklaces that will make me look like Megan Rapinoe — we’ll see if this cheat trio (purchased on anniversary presale at Nordstrom with the Nordstrom card I accidentally opened… ugh) does the trick. I followed Kara Welch (Megan’s new stylist, and stylist to many other cool, famous women) on Instagram, hoping that I will become more stylish as a result. She has a collab with Express which, while very chic, is bandeau-heavy, and doesn’t come in any colors that suit me, but maybe you will feel differently.

Isn’t this a very cool outfit for somebody else?

Another thing I want is this $600 Marc Jacobs dress. I love a black sheer neckline. This would be “a good book party dress,” if that were something I actually needed. (I can’t tell how much of it is my age and my friendships, but even in NYC, it feels like ~social book culture~ has really dropped off in the last five years. When I first moved here everyone was always having readings, and lots of people went to them! Now everyone does a solo reading at Books Are Magic and exactly 30 people come.)

Another thing on my list is wine glasses, which I keep realizing and forgetting that we just… don’t have? Neither of us drink much at all, but it just feels like something we should have. But maybe that’s just because I’ve been watching so much Real Housewives lately.

Love,

Katie

you'll never believe it

… but I broke my own vow not to shop!!!

Hi, hello.

After I got my book check, and paid off a small chunk of my student loans and my credit card bill and put some in two different savings accounts, how could I help myself? Especially after so many of you alerted me to the wonderful world that is searching “linen” on Etsy? (I ordered this dress — we’ll see!) Even better, though, was commissioning a dress from my friend Kaela, who is in fashion school, and is making me the emerald linen maxi of my dreams. This feels less like rule-breaking to me because I won’t technically pay her until July/August.

What else? I bought a few books, a new water bottle (to be fair mine would not stop leaking), some stainless steel straws to support my new addiction to La Colombe canned cold brew, some microfiber towels for my no-AC gym. Oh — shit — and two of these Instagram ad bras, which almost certainly won’t work, and which I will then return. (Wireless/comfy/semi-flattening everyday bra option ideas welcome!!!!)

A lot of my life is devoted to weighing how guilty to feel about something. I am still trying to decide how guilty to feel about how much I love to online shop, scrolling endlessly through store after store while I’m “watching” a movie with Lydia. I love this activity so much! I love adding things to my carts that I will never buy. I tell myself it’s a way to stave off actual spending — all the thrill of intent, none of the buyer’s remorse. But then of course sometimes I do buy the things, or I just buy different ones. I don’t know. I would like to want less just as I would love to want to be different in any number of ways. But I don’t. My carts are full and it’s almost July and I’m taking on a freelance piece or two to justify buying some of it. Maybe.

For instance, these pjs:

They’re too expensive, obviously, but they’re cute, and a coworker suggested them to me yesterday when I complained that I couldn’t find any matching summer pajamas that were neither sexy nor babyish. I think these fit in that apparently narrow window. Do I need more pajamas? No, never. I got these ones from Uniqlo and they’re great, and much cheaper. Do I want more pajamas anyway? Yes, always.

Other things I want include: candles (Bobby and Lindsey talked about Yankee Candle on Who Weekly today, not in a positive way, and yet the end result was that I wanted to buy more candles); a thousand of these tank tops to get through this already-horribly hot summer; this $1800 Prada belt bag, lol (it comes with a strap, too! It’s too small for basically anything!!).

Keep me in your frugal thoughts and prayers!!!!

xo

Katie

linens 'n things

Hi!

I don’t think I did this last week, did I? Oh, well. I go eight months without posting and then going two weeks feels bad…? This is why people say having good habits/healthy routines isn’t worth it and frankly, in this moment, I agree.

First I will let you know that I violated the terms of No Shop June, or whatever I called it, because a girl I follow on Instagram posted a thirst trap in cute lingerie and someone in the comments asked where it was from and she replied with the brand and I got trapped. It wasn’t expensive, and so far I’ve succeeded in not jumping totally off the wagon because I already slipped once, but, in the spirit of transparency: I FAILED. Again. (Oh, wait — I did also buy some perfume. Ughhhhhh.)

It’s been raining for 48 days straight here in New York, so I am depressed, and I turned to retail therapy. My actual therapist, whom I loved, moved to the Midwest, so I have to get a new one, and I emailed her yesterday to set up a consultation. I have spent 12+ hours evaluating the response she sent me, trying to figure out if we’ll be a “good fit.” She said something to the effect of “The idea of starting over must seem heavy,” and I was like, uh, it didn’t, but now I am crying, thanks.

Anyway — yesterday I saw this list on the Cut about linen dresses, and now I want ten. Especially this one from & Other Stories:

Millennial green, baby!!!!!!!!!!!

But then, I don’t know. Last night I was like “whatever I’m doing it” but today I woke up sad and it’s raining again and I just can’t bring myself to care. Lol. So that probably means that I should not buy it. (And definitely not before July.) It’s just been so muggy, and I’ve been sitting around sweating in jean shorts, and I like the idea of breezing around in this roomy one, though the color would look bad on me, and it’s $700. On sale from $1000 though! Ha.

Here’s what I want: a linen dress as roomy as that gold one, but without sleeves, and a higher neck, and not yellow, and it’s $200 or less, and it’ll still be there for me in July. Have you seen this dress??? Will it make me happy? Send it to me, please.

xo

Katie

5 days down, 25 to go

Hi friends!

Okay! Here we are!! Half of one week into June!!! I haven’t bought anything yet, and I’m feeling good about it. I love the start of a challenge. It’s how I feel in the immediate hours after folding clean laundry, when the hamper is empty, before it’s ruined by the introduction of even one piece of dirty clothing. (This is also how I feel when I’ve dropped off returns at the post office, which I also did last week, returning the dress and two of the three loafer alternatives I bought, as promised. Looking forward to the moment that $400-ish dollars rejoins my credit card.)

It hasn’t gotten too hot yet, so it’s probably for the best I chose June for this trial (I’m playing Zelda: Breath of the Wild on my Switch, and thus calling everything “a trial”). Summer dressing really stresses me out. On the whole, I don’t find outfit-planning fun the way I did when I was a teenager/in my twenties, which makes me sad, and it’s even worse in the summer, when I often feel trapped between my desires to 1) stay cool and 2) cover up and 3) present my gender somewhere along the tomboy/femme spectrum. Dresses are so obviously superior as a summer garment, in both ease and physical comfort, but I don’t often find ones that I’m actually comfortable in.

I like this shirt dress, for instance, but it doesn’t strike me as particularly breathable, and the shapeless thing is hard to make work if you have a bigger chest, which I do. That, actually, is my main issue with summer dressing: I can’t keep my breasts under the radar as easily without also looking sloppy, like a kid drowning in their parent’s t-shirt. Occasionally I’ll dream of becoming a Reformation girl in bright floral bustiers, but I don’t like the attention, real or imagined, and ultimately that brand isn’t made for breasts anyway. It’s not that I don’t like my body, but — I think largely as a result of lifting — I like it more for what it can do than how other people perceive it.

Rompers don’t work either (generally exposing too much leg), and so I end up spending summer in an endless rotation of black or white tank tops with jean shorts, or overalls, which I tend to think I’m getting too old for. I end up bored and boring, and I don’t know how to fix it. This month, at least, I won’t, and it feels a bit freeing to consider a solution forbidden rather than simply unattainable.

I am considering this dress for my July wedding party, if it’s still there when my ban is lifted. I think it might manage to strike that modest/comfy/femme-lite balance. I just to look STUNNING and entirely unavailable. I want to adopt Stacy London’s whole thing. Tips welcome.

Love,

Katie

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