Have you heard of them? I hope so. If not, click through now and shop (it's no longer invitation only). I own an embarrassing number of items by them... sandals, bags, tees, sweaters, button-down shirts.
Don't tell my husband.
Actually, he's already noticed.
He resignedly refers to my personal style as 'Swedish minimal' or something like that. His description is redundant, but isn't really all that far from the truth. I'm doubly minimal -- mininimal... doubinimal. I keep it simple.
My shoes are black or brown. I buy multiples of the same item if it looks good -- the black jeans, oxford shirts, ballet flats, matte red lipstick... all have siblings. My only 'purse' is Clare Vivier's La Tropezienne in brown. I said absolutely not to an engagement ring as such a garish thing would clutter my simple gold wedding band. Can't have that. No clutter, domestic or sartorially speaking, thankyouverymuch.
Everlane caters to this neurosis beautifully.
It is exactly what I like... clean lines, good fit, high-quality fabrics and construction, a pleasantly tame color palette and tightly edited collection of SKUs. And (as as not to skim over their USP entirely) they are affordable because their entire brand ethos hinges on the concept of transparency in retail. They sell direct to you, their margins are (probably) smaller and no outside retailers need to take a cut.
The San Francisco-based Everlane comes to mind now because I had the good fortune to attend a pretty intimate dinner at Everlane HQ last Thursday, with the whole in-house team and 24 other random souls (like me).
My uniform: Tan sandals (Everlane), one of my multiple pairs of AG Skinnies, button-down silk shirt (Everlane), matte red lipstick (MAC).
I felt a bit like a geek wearing the t-shirt of a band s/he's about to go see live in concert to, you know, the concert. But I did anyway, and, as it turns out, so did everyone else -- including the Everlane staff. The band was wearing its own t-shirt! Sweet relief.
So back to the dinner party...
It was to celebrate Everlane's moving into a new (fantastic) space, and, I think, the brand's general awesomeness. The space is all white and window panes, lofty ceilings, soft natural light and painted concrete floors.
As dinner parties go, it was a success, probably because we, the invitees, were not granted a plus one to the event, thereby forcing us to -- gasp! -- mingle with one and other. Can you imagine? Not talking to the people with whom you arrived.
It was thrilling.
It was like the '90s, but way more stylish...
Frankly, that's not unlike how I am now thanks, in part, to Everlane -- like the '90s but, perhaps, a shade (rather than way) more stylish.
[Clearly the '90s are on my mind this week. Excuse the numerous references.]
There's loads... isn't there?
I wrote this post ages ago and, frankly, it sucked. Way too soppy for my taste. Anyway, I've given it a fresh look, tweaked some of the copy and have started thinking anew about if I had a DeLorean to crash land me back in the '90s so current-day me could take '90s me by the shoulders and shake a bit more sense into her.
All in all, though, I think I eeked through my personal dark ages okay in spite of the bowl cuts, braces, college weight gain, acne, insecurity, awkward young-person fumbling and sex, more acne, disasterous highlights, at times odd job moves, blah blah blah. Not amazingly but okay. I'm not winning any awards, but I've come through with my health, a career(ish), a mate, a dog... I still possess eyebrows and no crack habit. So there you go.
Mostly I wish someone would have given me a few frickin' pointers, beauty and non. The most I think I gleaned from my parents was wipe from front to back. Seriously. If that.
No one wakes up looking amazing. Except for Ryan Lochte and Kate Moss. Remember those gorgeous Italian exchange students in high school? They looked so casually amazing because they knew how to dress, talk, walk, do their hair/makeup, eat, etc. They didn't just put in a scrunchie and throw on a sweatshirt. You are guilty as charged. (Man, did the male Italian exchange students give me the stink eye. I was confused then, thinking myself to be quite the catch (delusions of grandeur, little one). I now understand their disdain for my bedraggled appearance. Mom might tell you that you're beautiful just the way you are, but she'd tell you that if you looked like Sloth from Goonies. Know your source. Those male Italian exchange students are right. Mom is just nice and blinded by maternal love.)
Just because the clothes in the department store don't fit properly does not mean there's something wrong with the shape of your body. It's because the clothes are all cut from one generic pattern. You don't have a generic-shaped body. One day you'll have enough money to buy the good sh*t anyway so don't sweat it.
Don't ever wear anything with a crew neck. Ever. Or cap sleeves. Moving on...
- You'll never believe it, but those Hammer pants (or Harem pants as the fash pack call them) you own and live in in 5th grade totally come back into style twenty years later.
- Buy your clothes in solid colors instead of trendy patterns (well, when you're the one finally doing the shopping and not mom) and you'll keep them and use them for longer. That batik-motif from the early 1990s you worn on a pair of overalls to match your scrunchie dates you. Tres Full House or Blossom, non? You, Kimmy and Six would have been besties. And you always end up throwing that stuff away because you're OCD and don't do closet clutter.
- Don't cut off your hair! You get bobbed like 5 times before the last time -- finally (hopefully) -- at 27. You always let the stylist convince you that your hair is the perfect texture for it. (It is not.) And every time you cry... and end up getting hit on by girls because you look like the butch half of a lesbian couple missing her other (more feminine) half (nothing but love for my lesbian friends but I am not and my bob definitely sends out mixed sexual messages). You have an *athletic* frame that cannot carry it off. Well, you can, because you're strong and literally built like a tank, but not in a stylish sense.
You can expose your legs or your arms/decolletage but never put both on show at the same time. You'll feel like a hooker. Probably look like one too. All that skin is acceptable to expose at once whilst at the beach or poolside.
- Never ever wear knee-high boots and bare legs. EVER. Cardinal fashion sin. Refer back to hooker look above. London living will teach you the virtues of wearing tights.
Avoid products labelled oil-free, for acne prone skin, etc. That sh*t is like napalm on your skin. PS: You'll have bad skin well into your 30s, at which time you will suddenly start to get compliments on how nice your skin is. It's probably the acne that makes it look youthful! Ha!
Have more confidence by simply thinking better things about yourself. Punch the a**hole in your in head in the face and get on with it.
If you wear anything that stands out, some people will sneer “why are you wearing that”? (Because I want to, jerk. Feck. Off.) Sometimes people feel threatened if you're not their uniform of choice (often boot-cut jeans, Northface polar fleece). Ignore them too. They are like the a**hole in your head.
You should always make an effort, even if a small one. (And read Franny and Zoe.) It really is just as easy to put on a dress as it is to pull on a pair of jeans. Ballet flats vs. trainers. Whatever. In the words of modern-day sartorial sage Kimora Lee Simons, "always dress like you're going to see your worst enemy". Or not. A bullet-proof vest might do wonders to boost a flat chest but not in a good way. Basically, don't look like sh*t.
Whether you like it or not, you're judged on your looks. Like all the time. Life is easier for pretty people. That's 100% true. And they don't even know it.
Learn the art of dressing to your silhouette and not the silhouette you wish you had. You'll feel comfortable and look waaaay better. Way better.
Learn how to sew and number 14 will be even easier because you can tailor your own clothes. Or just bring them to the dry cleaner to tailor, you cheapskate. Okay, probably this won't apply to you until after college when you have more spending money than the $120 per week you make at the time. But still. Keep it in mind. Those handsomely husky shoulders and peasant arms you posssess will eventually fit into your clothing.
Don't spend loads of cash on fast fashion. It's is the pits. You always look that tiny bit ratty after one wash cycle.
Never wear long acrylic nails unless you're on the cast of Mob Wives. Then I'm pretty sure it's requisite attire.
There is nothing that says you have to gain the Freshman 15 when you go to college. Eat less, drink less alcohol and walk more. Go in with good habits and you'll be fine. Or eat a box of Pop Tarts as an APPETIZER (alone, in your room) before the all-you-can-eat dining hall buffet dinner and, you know, see what happens. Jesus... pair the 'after' body in that scenario with a butch bob and, hullo, senior year. So. Hot.
On to bullies... us girls can be the worst. Seriously, why are we so mean to each other sometimes? Girls are the absolute best. Until they're not. For reference, see Mean Girls, Awkward, Heathers, Queen Bees and Wannabes et al. Talk about a**holes.
The older girls in high school will be mean, especially when 'their' boys talk to you. Ignore them. Or punch them in their respective faces too like the a**hole in your head, but be prepared to rumble if you do the latter. Actually, things won't get that far, because when you accept the challenge to a throwdown outside with two of them, they'll back down. Called your bluff, suckers! Lauren Davis and Becky Smith were a**holes. Probably still are.
That one time in 8th grade when you're mean to that one girl (the first and last time you'll do such a thing (you were at the mercy of someone prodding you to do it, but still no excuses... my deepest apologies, Christina)), DON'T DO IT. You momentarily became one of them. Never again, my friend, never again. Most of us remember if/when we've been less-than nice to someone, unless your name is Mitt.
- Girls don't stop bullying as they get older... they just change their methods. They go underground. Sh*t gets real.
- Give a wide berth to people who are toxic/needy/narcissistic/who lie/do drugs (except for the pot smokers, who are actually a delightful bunch)... Just cut and run.
- Not everyone will like you and it doesn't matter. Seriously, who wants everyone to like them anyway? Most people are awful. Do you want awful people to like you?
- The same people who always ask you "why you're dressed like that" when you've ditched the jeans-polar fleece uniform are bullies too. Punch them... in your mind. Clearly you can't go around punching everyone.
What do you wish you had known when you were 13? How about 21? Or 27? For what it's worth, I'm still learning and surely always will be. At the ripe old age of 32-going-on-33, I feel like I've just about reach the level of knowledge that I should have gained upon leaving college. Maybe when I'm 50 I'll finally feel grown up.
Especially if I still have acne.