Style Stories

What do you wear when you don’t know what to wear?

by Leandra Medine Cohen
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What’s it called when you don’t exactly have a uniform but do wear the same thing over and over until you can’t look at it anymore? I think the thing about uniform dressing that lasts is that its more like template dressing — like it’s adaptable enough to change as your taste does without the basic principles being compromised, whereas what I’m describing is more like filing the particulars of one look under the category of “good enough to repeat until I can’t look at it anymore.”

One thing I have noticed about how I get dressed lately is that I fall into these pockets of time that are punctuated by this phenomenon exactly: the profuse wearing of the same exact things until…ya!, I can’t look at them anymore.

It may sound wild to you given how many outfit photos I publish on a weekly basis but I consider those outfits more like physical ideas, the sort of performance of thinking, or running through the vastness of how many ways one can wear a thing.

In reality, most mornings don’t encourage me to spend much time thinking about what to wear. It’s hectic and kind of chaotic and my mind spends most of its force fielding questions about whether cats can use their paws to wipe the floor with a towel if they accidentally pee, so when I find something (an outfit) that makes me feel good, I stick to it until it stops feeling good.

How I define good: my body feels supported by the clothes, my psychic idea of what I’d like to look like is accommodated, and I don’t feel like a former version of myself or one who's not quite here yet.

For about 6 weeks, I wore a fringe jacket over grey knee cap leggings or tiny black shorts at some point every day. For the past 8 days, since I got these pants from Matteau, it’s been them on repeat, surrounding 5 other good things.

They are:

Vintage t-shirt, Matteau pants, Tibi flip flops, Estelle Galeries ring

A vintage t-shirt. 

I got the one I’m wearing at Club Vintage— not much of a hockey fan, but do appreciate that so many of the team colors within that sport incorporate some combination of red, white, and blue. I think the key to getting a vintage t-shirt right is striking the appropriate graphic and color balance. You’ll want a neutral base, like black, grey or white (I prefer white), and a combination of some primary colors. That might be a uniquely personal preference to the extent that the primaries make the most sense with what’s already in my wardrobe, easily casualizing fancy things or complementing the normies. But I do think it’s relevant more broadly — the colors are good with basics like denim and khaki, and also give a little life to black/white.

Vintage Butterflies of Costa Rica T Shirt
$50 USD
SEARS Store T Shirt
$18 USD
Vintage New York City T Shirt
$63 USD
Vintage Kraft Cheese T Shirt
$112 USD
Vintage Tennis US Open 1995 T Shirt
$76 USD
Vintage Tropicana Summer T Shirt
$50 USD

Matteau’s fisherman cotton drawstring pants. 

The right shape for a fitted tee/tank/going out top/knit. Rigid enough to fold the hem into a cropleg, solid enough to wear full inseam out. They’re pretty lightweight and not exactly breathable, but so far it’s okay given how huge they are — like if I wear them all throughout summer I’m confident I won’t drop to the ground from heat exhaustion. But then again you never know.

For context, mine are a size 2 on their sizing scale from 1-5

Fisherman cotton-twill pants
$460 USD
Fisherman Cotton Drawstring Pants
$460 USD

Plain black flip-flops. 

I hate myself for having gotten rid of a sole-worn-down pair of black Havaianas that could have looked exactly like The Row’s black rubber flops today but it’s never too late to start over (or to get the pair with the slimmer thong). A more refined option that’s not too precious are these.

A stand-alone gold ring on one hand.

This is a gold-plated Dome ring from Estelle Galeries. It’s got a vintage Tiffany/David Webb vibe about it that reads Italian sciura to me, which is a nice contrast against my Wet Hot American Summer clothes. Is also heavy (and large) enough to hold court for the whole arm, so no need for a bracelet or watch or whatever.

Gold Bold Dome Ring
Anine Bing
$138 USD
Oli 18kt Gold-Plated Ring
$63 USD

For your other arm/hand: a signet ring if you have one, with either a single gold chain bracelet or, idk, a watch that doubles as a bracelet? Something like this or this or this. A woman can dream! A woman must dream.

A bag with a chain strap.

The next frontier of handbag trend! I think I’m going to deliver a full commercial market report (meaning break down the most pervasive trends cycling through the shoppable internet right now) — does that interesting to you? In the mean time, I love this new guy from Khaite. Not the same, but at least it’s a two-for-one?

The Augusta Tote
$1,850 USD
Maud satin shoulder-chain clutch bag
Anya Hindmarch
$285 USD

So, what do you wear when you don’t know what to wear? The same thing you wore the last time you knew!

That’s all I have for you this week: a t-shirt, some pants, flip flops and gold things including a bag chain.

With the exception, actually, of this PSA that Charlotte from Venstore (the maker of all those knit polos and sweaters and track pants I wear) is winding her business down, so there is a big sale (50% off everything) on what inventory is left, which you can visit here.

That concludes this edition.