Style Stories

The thought process of shopping The Real Real

by Leandra Medine Cohen
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I really do love a suede fringe jacket. This one is very specific. Not sure exactly what I mean by this, but think I want one that’s more cropped or something? That’s more like men’s Bode:

Khaite fringe jacket, Giuliva Heritage vest, Emi Mess pants, old Celine lace-ups (left); Bode Fall 2023 (right)

Let me launch a search for fringe jackets and see what comes up as I go.

[Search: Suede fringe jacket > men, women]

The pickings are too slim when refined down to suede.

[Search: Fringe jacket > women > clothing]

So far they are mostly tweed and collarless, like a Chanel jacket but not. And oh! Then this, its old Gaultier. I’ll bookmark it for Letter of Rec. Then I like this blanket-y one from 10 Crosby. Found the Gaultier in black and smaller. This is a fun vest from Isa Arfen. Remember Isa Arfen?

[Search: Isa Arfen > women]

I loved these pedal pushers when they first came out. I used to have them in pink! So much fabric around my crotch though. Maybe they’ll look different now. I’ll put them in cart, just so they’re there, and add this top; that could be good together.

Oooh, this baby is beautiful for someone who wears an 8. It’s like an exaggerated version of that gorgeous Bottega Veneta a-ish line wrap skirt that was styled with a button-down shirt that looked like two layered over each other for Spring ‘23.

I actually want to find a skirt that does the same thing to reproduce the look.

[Search: skirts > women > clothing > midi, knee-length]

Not the right vibe but I like this Oscar skirt, mental note to search colorblock skirts aafter this, and how is this Prada Sport skirt still even here?

Perfect for a blue button down with grey socks and gold sandals. Will add to cart, do I need to buy now? Don’t want to lose it.

Okay I’ve seen en—wait, this Saint Laurent skirt.

So perfect for the moment. But tiny. Add to cart to try? But you know what, they charge a $5 processing return fee now. Will add, but probably pass.

[Search: colorblock skirt > women > clothing > skirts]

This Dior for $345. Also good for a blue shirt, and probably knee-high boots. Or delicate little sandals like these. But maybe too womanly for my taste. Like soft, but also buttoned up, you know? Big Gabriela Hearst energy or something.

Someone needs this vintage Claude Montana set; think I’ll add this Etro skirt to my cart; oh wow and what a jacket.

Did love those opening Dior skirts on the runway last week though.

And I love the pleated companion skirt of this Marc Jacobs set, but wish it was sold separately. Would ideally get in a size 6 or 8 so it sits low on my hips a la Miu Miu. Will search for pleats next but first, another color palette on that Oscar skirt, and this one’s $45. Why?

And Jil Sander Navy! This one is better, and only $25.

These color combos remind me of old Derek Lam, I miss that Derek Lam.

Oh my god I am going to get this, I think this is the exact skirt silhouette I’m looking for.

[Search: Derek Lam > women > clothing]

These are good. But eh, I’m bored onwards to pleats? Nah don’t want to see more skirts but you know what? That Prada Sport skirt so specifically needs a pair of gold sandals with an ankle strap.

[Search: gold sandals > women > shoes > sandals > mid heel, high heel, low heel]

Like these, but too high.

[Refined search to eliminate high heels]

Or, could these work? They’re still too dated. Like they look too much like something Whitney Port would have worn on The City in 2006 with the exact same skirt, but by Millie. Isn’t it funny how that happens — like how there is some old fashion that can look so modern, and some old fashion that truly dates your look. I think the balance is probably in finding shapes that reflect what on trend right now. More angular, a bit wider, something like that.

These are probably the closest thing but still not perfect.

Onwards we go t—oh man, Sonia Rykiel! My grandmother used to have these wild Rykiel sandal clogs with a stack heel and single band in the front that was gold and plexi. It said SR in plexi and you could see her toe cracks through the letters. I fucking loved those clogs. Wonder if I can find them but a bit distracted because now I also can’t stop thinking about those Rochas platforms — do you remember the ones I’m talking about? From Spring 2012.

I was wild about the broken mirror heel. Let me go see what’s there.

[Search: Rochas > women > clothing, shoes]

This reminds me of that great brocade top I got for $49 a few months ago. Like this too.

And ahhhhh, these shoes!

I love them. The right ankle strap for right now. Wish they were my size. Lemme see if I can find them

No dice.

Old Rochas always reminds me of Old Bottega, and I love the shape of those coats.

[Search: Bottega Veneta > women > clothing > outerwear}

Add to cart.

Not sure this makes me think of that amazing red coat that The Row just showed in Paris. I have actually been thinking about this picture an unusual amount since I saw it.

The look drove me crazy! in the best way. In the fashion in Paris always does. I don’t know why it’s specifically Paris that incites the most provocative, or smart, or just emotional ideas but I think it has something to do with the lens through which I observe the fashion that comes out that city. There’s something, I have to tell you, about fashion in the context of a city like Paris that fundamentally understands how much its culture thrives on its presence. We have a bit of that in New York, but it gets shrouded by the capitalistic pursuit of success (the model of which looks like: nurture your creative spirit until you’re ready to sell, baby, sell!).

But anyway, about the look: The way she’s clutching her gloves and clasping her coat closed with her hand, holding her bag up over her chest, almost like she’s protecting it and herself from the gust of an incoming wind is so realistic and soft, it mimics what a woman really does in the cold, which somehow perked me up when I saw the photo this weekend. I love the way it idealizes and glorified and made so beautiful this banal but relatable and very tiny moment of the feminine experience.

I can’t believe how much time I spend thinking about what it’s like to be a woman. It came out after I had kids — I’m so acutely aware of the role I play in their life as a mother, which makes me a woman to everyone else, and it also makes me a woman because of them, but by those terms, I’m also kind of this invisible container that exists to keep them alive and safe and hopefully also to teach them something meaningful along the way so it’s hard not to think about the role I play, we all play within broader society too. But then I’m also in such close proximity to the sensations of little girlhood that it’s hard not to constantly feel the contractions of moving between one and the other.

Or, you know what? They don’t really feel like contractions, but for some reason when I write about it, it’s less fluid than how it feels. I really do think they activated a softness within me that I am finding I quite like to claim yet in the same sentence, on the other side of this softness, there is a lurking loss of independence and freedom, and the fire and rigor I used to feel when I armed up in a dress and approached my day…

I feel like looking for an embellished clutch. Something fabric and precious but also practical.

[Search: embellished clutch]

There’s a lot to sift through, but this is nice. And I think it might be time to revisit Judith Lieber?

[Search: Judith Lieber]

Confirming it’s not, but damn those belts are really good.

Maybe Dries.

[Search: Dries van Noten]

Oh, great skirt. And pants. Remember this skirt!?

Never forget fall 2015

I’m getting distracted.

[Search: Dries van Noten > women > handbags]

No dice. What I’m really looking for the classic Bottega Hutton 1980, but in camel and for under $700. For everything else, I’ll consult Etsy.

One last search before I move on. The theme is backless wedge sandals, but maybe too specific to include backless.

[Search: wedge sandals > women > sandals > szs 6, 6.5, 7]

Ding ding! Found them. But might prefer these?

I think I’m done, but I’m also still he—


[Search: satin clutch the row]

It seems to be decimated, but into the cart.

Okay, I’m satisfied now.