An '80s Summer Revival is Upon Us

All thanks to popular queer cinema.

Call Me by Your Name (2017)

Ever since November of 2016, I've been dreaming of summer. Yep. Almost 14 months of longing for a season that only lasts three months, meaning I've been thinking about summer for the span of almost five summers. Now that's depressing. But, according to popular media, the thousands of IG photos set in LA or Barcelona that praise summer, and the satisfaction most of us seem to get by wearing minimal clothing, it seems like I'm not the only one. My 16 and 17-year-old self would be laughing right now. I used to hate this season, but now, in the midst of winter, all I want is summer.

The appeal hit me in November of 2016, as I said above, when I watched "San Junipero" for the first time. If you haven't heard of it, where have you been? But I'll still explain: it's an episode of Black Mirror set in a beach town in the '80s filled with '80s music, a queer love story that doesn't end in tragedy, and summer looks that make me dream of the season for 14 months straight. First step: if you haven't already, watch this now. Go. Don't even finish reading this blog post; go watch it then return 61 minutes of cinematic genius later.

San Junipero (2016)

Did you watch it? Good. Now back to my point. You understand why all of it is so, in the simplest of words, enamoring? All I want to do is fall in love wearing breezy summer clothes, but only in the '80s. No other decade will suffice. Maybe this is why the runway is heavily pulling from this decade, bringing back the power suit and shoulder pads because nostalgia is just that powerful. Nostalgia sells! And maybe this is also why other cinematic pieces are also following this '80s summer trend—enter my other favorite queer love story, Call Me by Your Name, the film I've watched three times in the past three weeks and read twice in the past two weeks. Take everything from "San Junipero," switch genders, and amplify it all. "San Junipero" makes me want to fall in love in the summer in the '80s, but Call Me by Your Name makes me feel like I am falling in love in the summer in the '80s. Since this one's a bit longer (especially if you read the book), I'm not going to make you stop reading this post and watch it, but if you haven't yet, go buy tickets ASAP or spend the next day reading it before going out to see it.

Call Me by Your Name (2017)

It not only portrays the feelings of endless desire and selfless love in the span of one summer oh-so-perfectly, but it also holds a few of my favorite things: the scenery of Northern Italy; a mix of '80s hits, entrancing piano pieces, and heart-wrenching Sufjan Stevens songs; and a style that can be summed up by the word billowy, a term used in the novel to describe one of Oliver's (Armie Hammer) shirts. "San Junipero" made me dream of summer, but Call Me by Your Name made me long for it as I felt what summer should feel like in the 2 hours and 12 minutes it takes to watch the movie. So ever since watching the two, I've constantly been re-watching them, desiring that same bubbly feeling that I get that could only be a product of an '80s summer love story. Gay, that is (sorry, straight storylines, we've had enough of you).

Because I can't go on for years just re-watching these two pieces, I might as well find a way to make the hazy '80s summer last in some way. Finding the love of my life in the span of a short summer isn't necessarily feasible, so what about only listening to '80s music? That's a bit too much. What about moving to Northern Italy? A bit too random, at least right now. Maybe simply pull inspiration from the styles of each piece? There we go. Instead of just following typical '80s trends, these pieces seem to find the best, most refreshing ones, and while I can't wear practically nothing in below freezing weather, I can at least dream of wearing them when temps rise in the spring.

San Junipero (2016)

Bermuda shorts have never looked so good! I think I'll ditch my DIY cut-offs that I cut three inches too short and opt for some khaki bermudas. Oversized striped tee recommended, shoes optional.

San Junipero (2016).

And when the beachy breezes of the night hit, slip on a denim jacket. Fake glasses also optional.

Call Me by Your Name (2017)

Speaking of denim jackets, make double denim an '80s summer dream by pairing light-wash Levi's with a breezy striped button-down and a cuffed jean jacket.

Call Me by Your Name (2017)

And now that I mention stripes, why don't you just wear stripes 24/7? Maybe in the form of a Lacoste polo paired with denim, or instead in the form of a button-down shirt that's only buttoned twice with khakis. The key to flirting is to purposefully match with your crush but play it off like it was an accident, because stripes are so in right now.

Call Me by Your Name (2017)

Summer implies that almost-outfit-repeating is completely acceptable, making it possible to wear that same breezy button-down over and over again but this time, with even less buttons done and with a bathing suit that also acts as really short shorts. If you want a change, wear the same shorts you wore while swimming earlier that day and pair it with your favorite band tee (bonus points if your favorite band tee is a Talking Heads one, like Elio's (Timothée Chalamet)).

San Junipero (2016)

The bermudas are back! Instead of wearing a mostly undone button-down like Oliver, only leave the top button undone and tuck it into belted shorts. Pair it with a (you guessed it) denim jacket to lessen that business-professional vibe.

Call Me by Your Name (2017)

Here's billowy! Wear your best-dressed button-down with belted trousers on your first day of summer, but make sure to still leave most of the buttons undone to show off some skin or your jewelry. It's summer, remember? Also, make sure the shirt you wear when meeting your future soulmate is a good one, because...

Call Me by Your Name (2017)

...he'll ask to keep it when the summer comes to a close and decide to wear it everyday you're apart. Two birds with one stone: sustainable fashion and holding on to a lost love through their most personal possessions.

Call Me by Your Name (2017)

And when summer's gone, exchange the bathing suit for wool trousers and the summer button-down for a winter one layered over a turtleneck, because summer doesn't last forever and it just got really fucking cold.

What I've come to realize is that the sunny season is a dream-like state, which is what makes it so enticing, and these two pieces of cinema somehow translate summer to literally and figuratively feel like a never-ending dream that's fueled by love. How romantic! If only we could live in summer forever, but instead, responsibilities and negative temperatures face us. I'll be counting down the days: 161 more days until I can live in a dream again.

Call Me by Your Name (2017)


Can Sartorial Uniforms Work in the Winter?

... And be interesting? Let's find out.

Six months ago, if you can recall, I thought the concept of sartorial uniforms was, to put it lightly, absolute bullshit. Nothing angered me more than people, especially the type that cared about fashion, to take the easy route when it comes to style and clump their sartorial decisions in a uniform generator that stripped all free will. Was real style dead? Could even the most fashionable of people be incapable of using their own creativity to form their outfits, overall looks, or, more generally, personal style? Can personal style even be called personal anymore if it's only molded by others? The cynic in me asked myself these questions on a daily basis, as I reached into my closet and formed outfits completely on my own. Or so I thought. I realized soon after this style crisis that maybe, just maybe, all outfits we wear are some version of a style uniform (out of infinite style uniforms) that we have stored in our fashion memories, and sometimes we need to use this capsule more than other times, when we're feeling less creative. It happens to the best of us, really. And it's not necessarily a bad thing—not using others for style inspo or stating that you never have used a sartorial uniform is kind of like living in a style vacuum. Personal style is a social construct*, if you didn't know!

After I had determined that uniforms were not only okay, but an acceptable form of getting dressed that we will all, at some point or another, run into in our lives, I felt all those struggles associated with my fashion challenges dissolve, as I knew that I was not perfect. Whew. Glad we got that out of the way. But suddenly, fall semester came along and I started depending on these crutches a bit too much. It started with me wearing the same outfits I wore in the summer since a) my creativity to get dressed uniquely disappeared, b) I had zero time to even begin to think of new looks, and  c) it was still warm outside, so why not just repeat some award-winning looks? I thought things would change when the temps dropped, as this need to wear more clothing should result in my fashion creativity reviving, but I was wrong. The style uniform became my main method of getting dressed, especially when 55 degrees turned into 40, then 30. I'd slip on the same pair of jeans, rotate between three different sweaters, and typically finish the look with one of my two kinds of sneakers, of all the kinds of shoes in the world. Sneakers! I had truly given up. My lack of blogging this fall is proof that my fashion senses were just at an all-time-low. Although my New Year's Resolution is to get back into regular blogging, implying that sartorial uniforms should just cease to exist in my brain, I decided to end the year by reclaiming this term, proving that maybe, just maybe, even after months of looking like, to put it lightly, a piece of garbage, sartorial uniforms can work in the winter. 

Time for a test drive!

This feels interesting, right?

Jeans by Reformation. Sweater is vintage, bought from @courtyard_la. Jacket by Madewell (blue version here). Boots by Zara.

I had decided from day one of fall that I would solely wear pants during this season, and also well into winter. My days of tugging tights up my legs to only feel slightly warmer were long gone, so pants it is. Anyways, pants feel so in right now, or maybe they just feel very fitting with where my personal style is going, if I'm even allowed to say it exists anymore after this dreadful fall. After accepting that wearing pants was not off limits to get back into my top fashion game, things felt easier—pants were, in fact, an embedded part of my sartorial uniform for two seasons of the year. However, I told myself that I couldn't go back to the same pair I'd wear everyday for two weeks straight. Those worn out Levi's would not touch my body unless I was only trying to look bad (aka me all winter break). I would deem them equivalent to sweats, which was truly the only way to ween myself off of them. The no Levi's rule forced me to look for something else, maybe a pair that hardly imitated jeans but rather a really cool pair of pants that Emily Ratajkowski would wear. After months of pining for these beauts (that also clean 1,000 gallons of water after purchase, which applies to all Ref jeans!), my size came back in stock and I slipped these babies on the minute they were delivered. I felt my sense of style come rushing back to me in full force—I hate to use a new purchase to be the only thing to get me back on my feet, but in this case, I truly think these are what saved me. Thousands of 'fit ideas flooded my mind that were perfect for winter but also that transcended this season. I had never been more excited for an article of clothing since the summer!

To keep that uniform idea in mind, I paired them with the sweater I've been wearing twice a week for the past two months. This overuse made this magical (and vintage!) sweater lose its magic, but I felt that I could bring that magic back through the pants. And it worked! I layered my white denim jacket over it to make things more ~interesting~, as I said I would do in the beginning of this post, and instead of wearing the typical sneakers, I finished the look with brand spankin' new boots. You know that feeling you have when you get a new outfit and feel like you can rule the world? That's exactly how I felt. I had been able to reclaim this idea of sartorial uniforms to become something even greater than I had ever imagined.

So moral of the story: style uniforms are fun and games until you depend on them a bit too much, but it is possible to revive your style through the same method, especially when a new pair of Ref jeans is involved. My wearing habits with these bad boys is already turning into something unhealthy; will they lose its magic pretty soon? All we can do is wait and see, but in the meantime, it's comforting to know that I still got it.

*After my Philosophy of Race and Gender class, it's safe to say that almost all things are social constructs. Including style.

Photos shot by Kendall.


Holiday Knits

It's like a sweater... but for your entire body!

Winter is approximately 13 days away! Time to start using the snowflake emoji in every Instagram caption, drinking a sickening amount of hot cocoa, and living in tissue turtlenecks and bulky sweaters. Sounds like a dream, if you ask me.

Unless that dream consists of below freezing temps. Count me out.

Unfortunately, I don't live in California or the Caribbean, where this thing I like to call winter weather magically does not occur, so I must face the freezing temps along with all my other East coasters. I used to love this weather a few years ago; it called for so many layering opportunities that just wouldn't be possible in any other season. Also, this was before I knew what cuffing season was. Oh, the glory days. Now, as I no longer have the privilege of being able to hop in my heated car to drive anywhere I please, winter has changed for me. The once inspiring dark skies are now depressing, the once beautiful snow is now annoying, and the creative layering opportunities are now just... hard. For the past month, I've been living in my old Levi's that are getting baggier by the minute and the same thick turtleneck I bought from my favorite vintage IG account that I've worn three times a week since I received it. I've even given up on shoes; my already too-worn Adidas are getting even more wear instead of all the statement boots that should be getting more wear but are nothing like the comfort of a pair of sneakers with too many memories to count. I've definitely hit a fashion rut. Should I blame winter, or is it really just my too-busy schedule that has prevented me from getting creative with my style? The latter reason is probably more accurate; I haven't even had time to blog more than three times this entire semester (which, by the way, will change next semester!). But instead, I'd rather blame winter. It's way easier.

So, what's the solution to stop wearing the same thing over and over again?

I could go the style uniform route and simply accept the fact that I'll wear the same thing over and over again this winter. Maybe make it more interesting, like with a blazer? These methods are too, well, easy. What's the point of being so into fashion if it's easy? That ruins the fun.

I remembered from earlier that all I want to do is wear sweaters the entire season. What if I took that idea a step further?

Jumpsuit and turtleneck by Madewell. Shoes by Sam Edelman. Sunglasses by Lisa Says Gah.

It seems as though designers have realized that not only I wish to be covered head to toe in sweaters all winter long, but that almost everyone would find this sensation more than appealing. Enter the knit jumpsuit: one part sweater, one part jumpsuit. Isn't that genius? I kind of felt like Gigi Hadid when she takes knitwear to the next level and only wears knits in a single outfit. Unlike Gigi, I don't have exuberant amounts of confidence and matching knits, but the jumpsuit made up for that. Instead of worrying about pulling together a matching sweater set, I just slipped on this bad boy over a simple turtleneck (also a knit!) and felt my winter dreams come true. Being fully immersed in a sweater is not just an experience, but one that feels too good to be true. Instead of wearing sweats and a raggedy sweater, just wear a sweater jumpsuit, and you'll get the exact same feeling. Plus a look that's too good to pass up!

As I said earlier, I was trying to find a styling method that actually stimulates my fashion sense and makes it a challenge, not just a routine that I follow every single day. Unfortunately, this was definitely too easy to accomplish, as it was a short, two step process of getting dressed that day. No zipper required. Yet this simplicity still resulted in something I haven't felt in a long time, a.k.a. a sense that my style is no longer in a rut, but is rather progressing into something even greater than I ever imagined. No one can stop me. Not even the winter blues.

Photos shot by Lucy.


The Power of the Blazer

I swear these things have superpowers.

Just before the fall semester had begun, I began to notice a specific trend—styling structured blazers in non-professional ways. Were the 80's finally back after years of rejection? Was business professional trying to be back in style, sans the whole three-piece-set suit aspect (unless you're into that)? Or, maybe more answerable, is androgyny taking over the likes (and styles) of people who were once completely opposed to the term?

With (or without) these questions in mind, it has now become more than obvious that blazers are back in fashion. Maybe they're too back, if that's even possible. Zara has an infinite amount of them and even has their own sub-category for blazers apart from outerwear; they're on every single fashion blogger, street style star, influencer, and person who is somewhat interested in fashion on Instagram; and now they're on me! I've succumbed to trends. Someone call the police.

My search for a blazer was not rooted in Zara's massive collection or my desire to imitate Spanish blogger María Bernard, but it was rather a quest that began when I noticed the resurgence of the vintage blazer at small vintage shops in Manhattan and Brooklyn this summer. After no luck of finding one that both fit me and one that I fell in love with, I took to Instagram, as one normally would, and scanned every vintage IG page that existed. Months of turning on post notifications for one too many accounts and DMing at every potential opportunity, I had found myself a vintage, wool blazer, all the way from Paris! How romantic.

Blazer, Levi's jeans, and slides are vintage. Lace slip by Urban Outfitters. Sunglasses by Lisa Says Gah.

Upon getting this baby in the mail over two months ago, my entire outlook on life changed. Am I being a bit too dramatic? Probably, but my excitement began when my DM to one particular Instagram account resulted in them finding me a blazer that hadn't even been posted to their page yet. I felt more than special—they had a reserve of vintage pieces that were practically on hold for people, like me, who came to them who had specific items in mind. As I claimed the piece before it even went on sale to the public, I knew it would have transformative powers. And as I slipped it on over a graphic tee seconds after opening the package, the myth of the superpowers became a reality.

Once again, am I being too dramatic?

Important background info is that I've never worn a blazer in my life until this one, making my strong reaction to the item completely acceptable. I had always associated them with strict business dress codes that I never had to partake in, making the act of wearing a blazer not one I wanted to associate with. But now! I want to wear this bad boy

Which I did the first week I had it, if I'm going to be completely honest.

Slip it on over a band tee and jeans and sneakers, and you immediately transform a lazy look into an effortlessly cool 'fit. Wear it with a lace slip, vintage Levi's, and slides to hold on to that last bit of summer but still show you're ready for winter (as seen on me in the above photos). Layer it over a rust turtleneck with heeled ankle boots, and you transform into a fall trends kween. Pair it with a hoodie and add a leather jacket over the blazer, and you just mastered the art of layering in two easy steps. The options are endless. Just do anything but what you would normally expect from a business staple, unless you want to own that look and go full-on CEO. Because that's also completely taking over the fashion world. Pantsuits are cool now! And maybe the beauty of the blazer lies in just that—even if you're not a CEO, you could easily look like one.

Fashion is transformative, remember?

Photos shot by Maddie.