In Limbo pt. II

The transition of seasons always calls for the purgatory period, the, what I like to call, in limbo period.

I've discussed this before (that's why this is the second part!!). Something about familiarity is so appealing to me right now, and maybe this is why seasonal transitions are my favorite time of the year. Every time the leaves change color or when they begin to fall, or when the flowers start blooming, or when those flowers transform into green, a common theme is found in fashion. A need to alter what we were doing for the past few months with our clothes and actually pay attention to the changes happening around us. And now we've come full circle! The leaves are starting to change color! Maybe they haven't hit this stage completely, but the four-season calendar tells us otherwise. So it's time to put pants on! Maybe a sweater or two. Pull out the knee highs and chelsea boots and, wait a second, are turtlenecks acceptable yet?

The sweat dripping down your forehead tells us these are not things we would willingly do. Yes, we'll still do it for the ~fall aesthetic~ but coercion is not something I like to do when I dress myself in the morning. I hope you feel the same way. So how exactly do we deal with this uncomfortable purgatory?

Jeans by Madewell. Slip dress (worn as a top) by Urban Outfitters. Neck scarf from Urban Outfitters. Sandals by Topshop (try a more out-there alternative here). Bag by J. Crew. Sunglasses by Madewell. 

Pants can still be worn if we widen the hem to a foot instead of three inches. Cooler weather tones (think dark!) can be seen in items meant to be worn in warmer weather. And accessories that we love to utilize in this season can still be worn -- just think light. I followed these rules exactly to create what you see above. I bought these Madewell wide-leg jeans a few weeks ago that somewhat represent gauchos, but I like to call them culottes to sound more ~fashionable~. As I purchased these, I immediately saw myself on the first day of fall, wearing them with some sort of tank and gladiator sandals. And here I am, one month later, making my outfit dreams come true. I chose my slip dress as my tank because it felt easy (the laziness from summer is still dragging along like a lost puppy) and something about silk and lace is so appealing right now. My neck scarf did a very fall thing -- it kept my neck warm!! But the sweat soaking through the scarf made me realize I did not need that warmth. My autumn-induced mood dismissed this discomfort and realized that fashion is pain. And that fall is finally here.

Photo taken by Maddie, near the Georgetown Waterfront.


NYFW Through the Eyes of a College Student

Pajamas are not just meant for sleeping anymore.

From left to right: Adam Selman, Creatures of Comfort, Alexander Wang, Tome, and Proenza Schouler.
Photos from Vogue. Collage made by me. 

An extended title: NYFW Through the Eyes of a College Student (Who Does Not Reside in NYC).

My new location of D.C. has made things tricky. A two hour plane ride to New York has transformed into a three hour train ride, so technically NYFW should now be a piece of cake. Skip classes, Natalie! Go live your dream!!! Unfortunately, my four and a half hour long photo class makes dreams die. Last NYFW, I spent the entire week researching shows and even being in the city to take street style photos. This year, my perspective went 360 and instead I spent ten minutes everyday attempting to take slight glimpses of the shows through Snapchat and Instagram which only resulted in my newfound contempt for Marc Jacobs. This failure then led me to frantically scrolling through Vogue and Man Repeller (she always reviews the best shows!!), desperately seeking for the best collections. This was a hard task. I'm not sure if it was my unfortunate situation of not being able to actually admire NYFW as a whole or if it was NYFW's fault -- am I the only one who thought it was underwhelming this season? Through my disappointment, I still found five shows that are worth [briefly] talking about. 

Familiarity is key when time is limited, so I immediately went to Alexander Wang for comfort. It didn't match with the excellence that was SS16 and AW16, but the idea that pajamas are in (this idea will be a recurring one) spoke to me in a certain way that only college students can understand. Lace embellishments and button downs with pinstripe pajama shorts opened the collection that showed off Wang's true intentions in fashion: simplicity. But his implications are far more complex than the look of the show, drawing from his California roots and sex (as always) through the rash guards shown off in the middle of the show and the revealing of a lot of skin. It may have been an underwhelming collection due to the lack of a shock factor, but maybe uncomplicated is good -- no fuss fashion seems like the perfect way to stay in style when effort is hard to find.

Knowing how inspiring Adam Selman's collection was last season, my second step in researching shows was instantly typing his name into the search bar on Vogue. Immediate gratification was delivered. Selman followed a similar path as Wang and wanted to make pajamas cool again, but instead of creating a deconstructed look, Selman went a different route and had bold and even vulgar themes. He drew from pop culture and the past, as per usual, by connecting to disco and the '70s, but he did so with subtle undertones that don't take away from the simplicity of the collection. The progression from morning wear (literally) to evening created a collection that only whispers practicality, and anything that has a touch of that description seems so appealing at the moment. Where would fashion be without refreshing collections like this?

Comfort is key in the collection by Creatures of Comfort (how shocking!!). This is a brand I've been eyeing for the past few seasons but never got into until now, when pajamas (yep, once again) and waistless, draping shapes made an appearance. What makes the collection as a whole so captivating is not the clothes itself, but the meaning behind the clothes, which is all on inspirations from Frida Kahlo -- just look at the embroidery and ruffles! The combination of comforting colors and slides in different shapes and forms makes me want to do one of two things: either hop on a plane to Mexico or stay in my bed all day. Both sound equally appealing.

Here's another newcomer to my fashion repertoire! Similar to C of C, Proenza Schouler  has been on my radar for a few seasons after Leandra Medine said it was one of her favorite brands a couple years back. After making a lot of bold decisions, they made the cut. I'm not sure if it's because it's so different than the above reviews (or really anything I've ever seen before), or if it's the geometric focus in both design and shape of the garments, but this collection spoke to me, loud and clear, with its daring patterns, unique silhouettes, and flatforms. This collection seems the most artistic out of all of NYFW's shows, and this could either be from the risks the designers took with color or the actual Greek art displayed on a few pieces. Where Adam Selman brought refreshment and Creatures of Comfort brought, well, comfort, Proenza Schouler brought awe, and maybe this is the one show that could wake us up from the first three. We can only stay in our PJs for so long.

And finally, we end with a younger brand that really knows how to experiment. Notice how I didn't end with Marchesa or Marc Jacobs or Rodarte, a.k.a. the ones every fashion blogger and her mother are obsessing over (don't get me wrong -- the collections of Marchesa and Rodarte were stunning). College has made me have a limited attention span and an inability to be captivated by even the most awe-striking clothes, so I had to search for something that turned my gaze the opposite direction. Tome  played with fabrics and shapes and textures of all formats, creating a collection that's, in one word, different. This different isn't too much, however, because the experimentation blended together so perfectly to create a show of beauty. At the end of the day, this is why I love fashion. A brand that's just reaching the age of five can evoke emotion and wonder just as much as any big name brand. Also, the paint on the models' faces is so cool!!!


A Lesson in Collegiate Style

The number one rule: keep it personal!!

As I've discussed in my previous post, I have felt this fear of losing my personal style and love for fashion with the transition to college. Actually thinking about how a combination of clothing can create not only something fashionable, but stylish in both the personal and public sense, is a great feat for only having to walk five minutes to get to that one lecture at 9:35 where literally no one will care what you wear. College is for sweatpants, right? T-shirts and, dare I say, flip flops? One of my friends here at GWU even wore pajamas to her morning class today. That just says something about the college body as a whole: we really don't care. This is only a stigma, I've come to discover these past few weeks. Going to a city school makes it impossible for someone like me to actually wear pajamas outside of my dorm. My style has not altered just due to the fact that I'm officially a college student. Yes, evolution will obviously occur, like it always has, but it does not connect to my new college life. These are two exclusive factors, not related whatsoever.

This realization opened my eyes, allowed me to understand that this is just the next step! My journey in fashion is only beginning. It's NYFW, of course I can't wear sweats to class.

Shirt by Madewell. Skirt by American Apparel (or try this one by Madewell). Bag by J. Crew. Shoes by Adidas. Sunglasses by Madewell. 

I'm going to stop with all this philosophical bullshit (is college already changing me?) and actually move on to what's important: the clothes. Here's a few tips for how to dress for college if you actually care about fashion but don't want to spend all your free time, which probably doesn't exist, thinking about what to wear: 

  1. Keep it personal! I said this in the beginning in REALLY BIG TEXT because personal style is really important to me and it seems to be the one thing to keep anyone grounded in their own being, especially with such a drastic change like moving to a new place.
  2. Keep it comfy! This seems like a no-brainer here. You're walking around all day in what feels like an actual oven (or is that just DC?). 
  3. Keep it casual! Don't show up to class in a suit. Just don't. This is school, not a job interview (unless you're coming straight from a job interview, which is completely understandable because now adult responsibilities are an actual thing now.)
  4. But still dress like yourself. This is a repeat of the first tip but it's so important in this situation! 
All these rules combine into what you see above, an outfit I wore yesterday while attending my two classes (university writing about fashion and black American lit, if you were curious). I slipped into a tight denim American Apparel skirt (that's actually vintage!!) to keep it personal because I feel most like myself in this fabric, then I added a loose-fitting top that I like to call my Dad shirt to keep it comfy and casual even though the top is meant for fall/winter and I was already sweating by 9:30 in the morning. And this whole outfit comes full circle to my last point about dressing like myself. There's no clear way to explain why and how, but in cases like this, you will know. Fashion can be mysterious sometimes. 

And you may ask why have you mentioned personal style 20 times just in this singular post? Every regular reader should already know that I'm a big advocate of personal style, but it's even more necessary now. College is scary! Everyone around you is questioning their identity in every sense of the word, and style can be one of these big uncertainties. While everything around you is constantly shifting, style can be the one grounding point. Keep it personal. Make the clothes you wear you, if that makes any sense. Change is bound to take place, just like any other natural occurrence. So maybe a better way to put this is to dress naturally. You'll thank me when your entire life is transforming into something completely different but you still feel comfort because of what you are currently wearing. As I've said before, fashion is always more than fashion. 

All photos shot by Dom.


The Comfort of the City

It has been exactly nine days since I have been living in a new city and the best way to describe my experience is this: different. No surprises there. But different is good! Better than good, actually. It has been filled with too much freedom, an abundance of homework (syllabus week must be a lie), and an overwhelming amount of new people who already feel like my best friends. Being able to walk to my classes in the heart of D.C. has been this almost out-of-body experience that is, as I have just discovered, what I really needed. A wake up call. Living in the suburbs was my 18-year-long fantasy and the city is now my reality. Only one week of living here has given me this sense of productivity and the idea that "this is really happening". This new environment has inspired me to go out and off campus and use my experiences for the greater good of this blog. What used to be a high school hobby is now something I can put on my college resume. Things are becoming serious.

Skirt by Madewell. Shirt by Adidas. Bag by J. Crew. Shoes by Urban Outfitters.

Ever since I committed to attending GW this past spring I've been nervous that all my fashion-related dreams and desires of making it big in the industry would vanish and that I would want to randomly become a politician like everyone else at this school. I thought that the city I'd be living in would change me, but it's actually just enhancing who I already am. A fashion scene actually exists here, to my surprise, and when I'm walking to classes in Foggy Bottom during the week I see inspiration on every corner. My style might be more similar to the out-there edge (or, in simpler terms, the "weird as hell" style) of fashion hubs like NYC and Paris, but I have come to realize that I fit in with a part of D.C.'s signature style. Not the business-casual looks of the rapidly growing work force or the preppy trends of Georgetown, but the fashions of those who love clothing for artistic purposes but also incorporate the practicality of living in a fast-paced city into what they wear. I feel that this aesthetic is what I've been trying to accomplish for the past two years and that I've finally reached some sort of finish line in the "self discovery in fashion" game. It was a reassuring moment that told me I'm in the right place. Finally. To prove my discovery, I headed east of campus to Chinatown wearing an outfit that I truly felt myself in. An asymmetric skirt by Madewell that would work for a job interview or a casual Friday evening in Chinatown, depending on how it's styled, with an Adidas tee to loosen things up and add to my personal style. I've said this multiple times on the blog, but I'm a strong believer of dressing to feel more like yourself vs. dressing to become someone else. I'm not sure if it was just the bandana around my neck or if this was actually a revelation, but I finally felt like myself solely based on the clothes on my body (how superficial does that sound?). This idea simply felt comforting in such a new environment. D.C., I'm ready for you.

All photos shot by Gavin.