One quick look: the woke-me-up outfit template
Does getting dressed afford you a sense of release? I’ve described it before as the feeling you get when you click into a stationary bike with the right kind of shoes on but I think underneath that feeling is a sense of harmony — like my outsides match my insides, or reflect a version of them I’m pleased to display. I think the reason it (getting dressed) was feeling a bit like a slog last month is because so few of my dependables felt “right.” What I mean by right is like they produced the kind of harmony I’m used to accessing through them.
I understand the pattern of how this goes a bit better now: it’s a condition that comes up in some way most winters (though this has been a decidedly temperamental one) and the solution can be as obvious as not thinking about it so much — just wearing whatever is good enough to get you out the door. Or focusing on other pursuits to nourish you.
But I had a great moment two weeks ago when I went to meet my friend Christene for lunch in Brooklyn. I don’t see her often, but it’s always great when I do: she’s the kind of person who is diligent about creating a life that inspires her, and being around that energy when its in full swing is like stepping into a love bubble or something. I can empathize with the desire to create inspiration — and really understand the spiritual traits that underpin it: how turning pain or discomfort or misunderstanding into beauty or honesty or something truly pleasurable can feel like the greatest triumph of a lifetime.
After lunch, she took me to the store Salter House to show me the homewares (Cafe L research!) and the amazing quilts that they sell (more her vibe than mine) but I found my way to a rack of clothes as I do and towards a wrap sweater and nightgown that gave me the click-in feeling — the sense of harmony I’d been looking for.
You know what I think the thing is about being a woman? Or maybe this is just the thing about my being a woman: I am never not looking for connection. Even (maybe especially) when it is to myself. I love feeling a sense of closeness to my true nature. To the truth more broadly! And clothing is such a fun way (though not the only way) to access this portal. I think this is the real reason that I find style so important, that it continues to play such a central role in my life.
If I had to break down what about the look feels right, there’s a spirit of refined maximalism, a sort of rough-edged femininity that tugs at this era of personal style that I suspect we’re walking into.
Technically speaking though, I actually think it’s more about what doesn’t feel wrong.
Which is the weight of the fabric (thin cotton poplin — the dress is technically a nightgown) against the black sheer tights I’m wearing them with (Swedish Stockings, I’m impressed by how well they are holding up given the sheerness/frequency with which I wear them), and how they look over the rigid-shaft riding boots.
The sweater is flimsy and soft and wraps around my waist, which is not usually an accent point I pay much attention to, but there’s a femininity about it that has rarely mattered to me but that I’m into lately and I can’t quite access it through my typical true and true: jeans.
What jeans do give me is a sense of cool youthfulness. And I value that as a consistent trait to display, so the way I reconciled what’s missing in this look was through the hat, choice accessories (inconveniently large rings), and maybe the riding boots because there’s a classic, refined, unflinching coolness about almost everything Elin Kling (Toteme) touches. It’s not exactly a cool youthfulness that these accessories espouse, but it is its own brand of “uptown” personality.
The way I see it there are two predominant (though not exclusive) codes on the topic of how to get dressed when you live uptown: you’re either a practical mom running on Kronos time or a retired woman living on Kairos time.
I choose to subscribe to the style cues of the latter, even if the demands of my own life fall more squarely into the former bucket. That tension creates a more generous buttress around my self-definition.
To close the loop on release and harmony, I actually think finding that tension is one of the key things about getting dressed. It allows you to access an honest yearning just as much as it does the facts of your reality. Within the gap there is often among the most satisfying places to find yourself in harmony.
You probably have all or most of the ingredients to make this look, but here’s a breakdown of what you can use, featuring heat tech and some unlikely hat recs, with practical recommendations that will probably serve you through the summer too (poplin nightgowns are a great way to stay cool when the air is thick and your skin is salty):
Signing off yours today in sensational earnest,