A Conversation With Linda, Mel and Sarah

As Taylor and I have mentioned in previous posts, our primary goal for this blog is to create a space where women can talk openly, honestly, and from the heart about their own style and what that means to them. We aim to have meaningful conversations about clothes that dive a bit deeper into why we like the things we like and why we choose the things we choose.

Because neither Taylor nor myself particularly enjoy being photographed (we both hate it, actually), when our friends Sarah, Melissa and Linda came down to visit Atlanta from Chicago this past weekend, we jumped at the opportunity to turn the focus onto these three amazing, intelligent, and hilarious women this week.

 

We selected some of our favorite interview questions from Women In Clothes, and what follows is a conversation we had over Hot Chicken Biscuits and Bloody Marys at Ladybird on Sunday, November 20th.

 

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L to R: Linda, Melissa, Sarah

 

Many people say they want to feel “comfortable,” or that they admire people who seem “confident.” What do these words really mean to you?

 

S: I think those words are almost interchangeable – it comes down to being comfortable in your skin, and that makes you confident.

M: Getting my hair cut on a regular basis and getting my brows done are what makes me feel confident. Like if my outfit is good but I can see stray brow hairs, I don’t feel my best. Sometimes I can be confident even though I’m not comfortable, though – like if I’m wearing something really form-fitting, it might not be easy to move in, for example, but I might still feel like a badass.

L: There’s an energy that people have when they feel confident in what they’re wearing. You can just tell. For me personally, hair game is important – when my hair is great, I feel great.

 

 

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Sweater: Forever 21, T-shirt: ASOS, Jeans: Madewell, Shoes: Penneys (Ireland)

 

What’s your process getting dressed in the morning?

 

M: I don’t have a lot of energy to pick out an outfit in the morning, so I use a clothing app where I’ve catalogued my whole closet, and then there are pre-loaded outfits to pick from based on what’s clean and what my schedule for the day looks like.

S: That’s very Cher Horowitz.

L : For me, it’s all contingent on clean underwear. And then I literally wear jeans and a T-shirt every day. With a sweater if it’s winter.

S: It’s contingent on what I’m doing after work, if I’m doing something interesting or not.

And if I got up for the gym that morning, honestly I’ll probably wear the laziest outfit in the world. Also, I work from from home fairly regularly, so on those days it’s just sweatpants and a sweatshirt all day, obviously.

 

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Jacket: ASOS, Dress: Study Hall (Chicago), Shoes: Clarks

 

If you had to wear a “uniform,” what would it look like?

 

M: Some kind of black dress with ¾ length sleeves because I get cold really easily, black tights, boots and scarf and earrings.

S: Definitely black jeans – I live in black jeans. Some kind of solid colored top—probably a sweater, because I also get cold really easily—tucked in front so it falls down on the sides. The top has to be form-fitting, too, because I look boxy if things are loose. And then a big necklace and earrings. Jewelry is my thing; I usually wear solid colors and then lots of jewelry. Oh, and my combat boots.

L : Like I just said, I basically do have a uniform: T-shirt, jeans, and an optional sweater. I guess also white Converse – but I don’t want to choose just one pair of shoes. I like having shoe options. That’s my accessory. I’m not a bag person.

TFO: Yeah, me neither. I don’t give a shit about bags. But I think we all do have an accessory we rely on to add variety to our wardrobe. I really want shoes to be this for me, but I’m too picky about shoes. I can’t build up a good collection. I guess mine is lipstick.

LC: I can’t have enough shoes, coats, or lamps.

 

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Sweater: Una Mae’s (Chicago), Jeans: Old Navy, Boots: Target

 

What would you say is “you,” and what would you say is “not you”?

 

M: What is me is a mix of the feminine, like florals and lace, with badass bitchery – i.e., lots of black. But I also have to balance dressing up with having a unique sense of style because I work in an office. It’s hard to say what’s not me. It’s so much easier to say what is. But I guess I would say preppy or sporty. I also can’t do shift dresses—I need feminine shapes

L : What’s not me is wrap dresses. Mel was showing me a bunch of dresses on ASOS recently, and there were so many wrap dresses, which I just can’t wear because I don’t really have hips. Also no florals, although I do love looking at them on other people. But every time I try on a floral I’m like, “Ew, no, what are you thinking?”

Madewell is me—it’s a mix between chic and sporty. That whole store is me. For a long time I preferred men’s fashion to women’s—it felt to me like there were too many focal points, too many accessories. But men’s clothes are so classy. Like in New York, you see men wearing just like: shirt, simple bomber, jeans, and some hot-ass shoes, you know? I see that and I’m like “Shit, I want to look like that!”

S: Not me is preppy – anything with bright colors is not my thing, it doesn’t look good with my skin. If I put it on and look down, I’m like “What is happening?” But I also have to think about balance with work because you want to look friendly, not too harsh. But, yeah, dark colors are me. I feel so comfortable in them. Black pants are my favorite. Boots will always make me feel more comfortable than sandals. But honestly I think if I had to describe my style, it’s kind of like a mood ring when I wake up in the morning: it just depends. Like, as an example, the day after the election I felt the need to look put together and like I don’t take shit from anybody – like I needed to not have my gender boxed in in the way that it was during the election. Or, as another example, if I watched a sad movie the night before and was crying my eyes out, the next morning I’ll feel like I need to wear something super comfy, like a warm sweater that makes me feel like life’s going to be OK.

 

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Jacket: AllSaints

 

If there were a country or culture or era that you had to live in, fashion-wise, what would it be?

 

L: I’m drawn to the iconic Hitchcock heroine look, that ‘50s and ‘60s thing – not Marilyn Monroe, because I’ve accepted that my boobs are never gonna grow, but Grace Kelly. Audrey Hepburn. I keep wanting to say Stepford wife, which sounds bad, but that look is just so classy—like you get up and get dressed before you even do chores. And I love the quality and the tailoring of that era, the way that clothes were made to fit the body. I think it’s because my life revolves around security and groundedness, and tailored clothes speak to that.

… My other answer is the Renaissance, though. [laughter] Like there’s no in between. It’s either tailored or it’s a costume.

M: I agree with Linda – I love those tailored things that fit women’s bodies as they were. My grandma still dresses like that. She breaks out this robin’s egg blue pantsuit at the holidays (she wore it to a funeral once), and I’m just like “Grandma, why are you so cool?”

S: Mine isn’t really an era so much as it’s a specific character: Joan from Mad Men. She owns the clothes she wears. It’s that fitted silhouette that I feel most confident in. I almost feel bad saying that because that was a time when women were expected to look sexy at work, but there’s an air of confidence about her. She made big butts cool. Time period wise, I’d honestly say today. Like, we don’t have to wear specific things anymore. In the past, what women were allowed to wear was so narrowly defined, and now we can go back to certain time periods if we want, but we can also wear sweatpants and not give a fuck. It’s the best of both worlds.

M: Yeah, I feel like now we get the best of the things that have surfaced from each decade.

 

Tell us about something in your closet that you keep but never wear. What is it, why don’t you wear it, and why do you keep it?

 

M: I feel like I continue to buy lots of dresses that are only right for one type of event or time of year, and I try to save them up for the right occasion but then that never happens. And meanwhile I keep buying them. I mean, I do love them. They bring me so much happiness. I like to look at them in the closet, but I never wear them. I probably own 30 or 40 dresses and I wear each one maybe once a year.

L: Whenever I purge my closet I’ll try things on and outfit them out, and I love that Grace Kelly, like, classic English preppy, but it doesn’t fit in with my sportswear. But I keep that stuff. For instance, I have this peacoat from Anthropologie, it’s a beautiful print. It’s a great coat. But I’ve had it for 9 years and worn it maybe 10 times. I love that I have it, though, because it fits that classic style. And I keep it because—this is crazy—I feel like once I become a mother that will be the way I dress. So I hang onto it because it’s me, but it’s just not me yet. I hope to one day become that person who wears that.

S: This isn’t exactly one thing – but it’s clothes from when I was much heavier set. Because there’s always that fear that I’ll fall back into it. So I have these frumpier shirts that cover my middle because they come from a time I wasn’t comfortable in my skin – the more I could cover up and feel guarded from the world, the better.

And now I’m in a place where I feel pretty good most of the time, but there’s still a tiny section of closet where that stuff lives and will probably always live, because if I ever have to put those clothes back on that will be my motivation to get back out of that. It’s almost like a comfort blanket to know that it’s that there, that if I do gain the weight back I won’t have to go buy new clothes. I guess it’s part of my closet that I should get rid of, but I don’t have the balls to. Weight shouldn’t be something that defines you as a person, but it does. You don’t have to be a certain size, but you do have to be comfortable when you go outside every day.

 

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Do you remember the biggest waste of money you ever made on an item of clothing?

 

L: Ugh, yes. I’m always on the lookout for the best leather jacket, so a couple of years ago, I purchased, on a whim, a $750 leather jacket from All Saints only to find out that it is not returnable, I could only exchange it. [Everyone gasps.] I know. I was like, “Linda, WTF is wrong with you.” The sales people pushed it on me, and I thought I looked so great in the store and then I got home and didn’t like it. So I returned it for store credit and ended up getting two wool coats, which did make me feel better. But I was like, “Linda, you’re so fucking stupid!” I was deeply, deeply embarrassed at the time, and I felt terrible returning it. But, you know, it was a lesson. Now I don’t give a shit. I’m like, “I don’t want this $5 shirt – give me my money back.”

M: I feel like I’m easily influenced. I bought this like dusty pink Betsey Johnson dress at a beach front store once. My dad’s girlfriend talked me into buying it. It had those satin spaghetti straps, so those were always falling down, my boobs were always falling out, but my dad’s girlfriend was like, “You should buy it,” and I knew it was a little too small for me or just didn’t fit right, but I did. I don’t know where it is today, but I didn’t return it. I’m also really bad at returning things. It was $100.

S: I bought a vest. A black Eddie Bauer vest. Really wanted to own that look. I bought it; it was so bad. I spent $80 on it, which is not a lot of money for something you like but it is a lot of money for something you don’t. I wore it a couple of times. I just looked weird in it, like somebody told me to put it on so I put it on. I ended up giving it away to someone.

 

Are there any clothing (or related) items that you have in multiple? Why do you think you keep buying this thing?

 

S: The [gray cropped sweatshirt] Lindsey is wearing right now. I own 3 of them – I can wear it with anything. I can wear it to a bar with jeans or with spandex for a road trip. I also feel like once you find the right pair of jeans you never stray. So I buy the same pair of Old Navy jeans over and over in black and blue. They’re cheap, too, which is nice. Like I can’t wear J. Crew or Gap jeans because I’m curvy on the bottom and those are cut straight up and down. But Old Navy’s fit me.

M: I’ve been wearing and re-buying the same pair of jeans from Urban Outfitters for six years now because they are the only pair that fit my hips and butt. I’m a creature of habit: if it’s working, I won’t change it. Same thing applies to work clothes. I have to dress up for work, so I have the same pencil skirt from j crew in 3 colors.

S: It’s hard to find work skirts when you’re curvy, because they go over your butt and then pooch out under the butt and it looks slutty for the work place. I know I shouldn’t have to think about that, but I do.

L: I’m always searching for the perfect white T-shirt – I own multiples of Target’s white T-shirts. That’s the only thing I own multiples of the exact same thing of, but I do continually buy similar styles of sweatpants.

 

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Earrings: Una Mae’s (Chicago), Sunglasses: Ray-Ban

 

In what way is this stuff important, if at all?

 

L: Largely first impressions. One of the things that we have control of is our bodies and our faces; it’s all part of that set up. It’s a way to form connections with other people and tell them something about yourself. So many conversations I’ve had simply because of something I’m wearing, not because I was doing anything in particular. Like that girl in the bathroom at brunch that said she liked my shoes – clothes start conversations.

S: I think it’s important that you feel good in what you’re wearing because it reaches out into other parts of your life – it can boost your confidence at work, for example. I also just take a lot of enjoyment from it. Once I honed in on my own style it became a more integral part of my life, and that’s a good thing.

M: I also think it’s important because dressing is a way to express yourself. It’s a reflection of society. What we can wear now is crazy compared to what women wore even thirty years ago. Like, my Grandma would clean the house in a full dress. That’s nuts.

 

 

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That’s all for this week, kittens! We hope you enjoyed getting to know these three ladies as much as we enjoy already knowing them, and if any of you readers out there would like to share any of your own answers to these questions here or on our FB page, we’d love to hear from you!

 

As always, we’ll C U Next Tuesday!

xoxo

TST

 

2 thoughts on “A Conversation With Linda, Mel and Sarah

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