2.15.2018

Layer It Up, Baby

Feat. double red and double ruffles, just in time for the day after V-Day



It should come to no surprise that when it comes to layering, I am all. Over. It. This used to be the sole reason why I loved winter so much a few years ago—it's the only season of the year where layering two unrelated items on top of each other is acceptable, simply because it's too cold to wear one of them alone. Two is better than one, no? It gets even more fun when you introduce three or four items in one layering instance because even though you thought it to be impossible for a human to wear a turtleneck with a button-up finished with a denim jacket and a leather jacket to top it off, it actually is doable. Definitely a hassle to take off at the end of the day, but so worth it for those OOTD pics and cold-weather practicality.

My love of layers has stuck with me although my love of winter has not, which makes things a bit tricky—layering in the summer gets funky unless you're all about baby tees under slip dresses. This complicates my constant longing for summer when it's nearly impossible to layer in the aforementioned season. Fortunately, I've recently found a distinct personal style surrounding summer, including statement dresses, vintage jeans that hardly touch my skin, and mules. I seemed to forget the art of layering last summer, and when it got cold, I didn't take refuge in wearing far too many articles of clothing at once and instead went for chunky sweaters and heavy coats, a far easier alternative to the art of layering. My style rut didn't want to delve into this art—far too much time and effort.

But maybe the way to get out of a rut is to do what always saved you in the past. That seems feasible. Since I didn't actually intend on my layering frenzy to stop when it did, it shouldn't be too hard to get back into, right? Just go back to the basics, and it will evolve into what it used to be in no time. Fortunately, I was correct—a really cold day and a ruffled turtleneck would solve the problem.


Turtleneck by Madewell. Vintage blouse and vintage Levi's from The Break (aka my favorite vintage store in Greenpoint, Brooklyn). Shoes by Zara.

To dive back into layers, I immediately pulled out all of the turtlenecks I owned, which is a lot, if you already weren't aware of my obsession with the piece. I decided to opt for a neutral one, unlike the colorful nature of my tissue turtlenecks, so I could focus on the thing going over the turtleneck. This white one from Madewell has a lettuce-hem detail on the neck, making it the perfect layering tool to add a bit of detail to peek out from under that thing going over it. Now, what should that thing be? A short-sleeved button-up from Madewell that I own far too many of? Not really my style atm. Maybe a thick crew-neck sweater that will work extra hard to keep me warm? Not interesting enough. Maybe a bold vintage blouse that also has some ruffles to work with a potential frill theme the turtleneck began? Perfect. This top that definitely came straight from the '80s was my go-to in the summer and fall when wanting to wear vintage Levi's, but it got lost in my closet once temps dropped because the color seems to closely resemble parts of a summer sunset, something that we won't see again until at least June. I decided to bring it back into winter, because a) why the hell not and b) we love a pop of color to brighten our dull winter days! Speaking of Levi's, I brought those in to add a third piece, but new ones of a lighter wash and a longer inseam (aka me not cutting my jeans too short, as always) to change things up.


Not one but two items with ruffles made me feel fancier than usual, so I continued this trend by donning my pair of red ankle boots to complete the look. Something about this style felt v put-together. Much needed when my style (and potentially life?) is falling apart. Back in high school, I went to layering when I was stressed or felt out of control (no, really) to feel like something was going the way I wanted it to. Layering is hard! It requires a certain kind of confidence you can't get from only two items of clothing. So I dare you to go into your next layering endeavor with the same assertion as Veronica below:

But change "lick" to "layer," obviously.

Photos shot by Maddie.

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2.08.2018

An Unchronological Evolution in Graphic Tees

The piece of fashion that is aaaallll about stories.


Shirt by Lisa Says Gah (similar LSG one here). Bandana by Madewell.

We're entering that time of the year where it's really hard to get dressed in the morning. A few months ago, when winter just began, this was also true, but we used this cold to try all of our new favorite ways to beat the cold and also look really good doing it. The tried and true turtleneck can actually get exhausted to a point where I don't want anything touching my neck for at least three months, even though my instinct in the winter is to go straight for one of my three tissue turtlenecks and work from there. So instead, we just put whatever the hell we want on, hoping it looks decent, and if not, we always have our trusty winter coats and scarves to hide our looks from the outside world.

Depressing, no?

Maybe there's a way to dress however we want and make it fashion. And when I say "however we want," no rules apply—this means you can take athleisure to the next level, only wear tees for the rest of the month, or don the same pair of jeans everyday for two weeks, to the point where they're so exhaustingly stretched out that they hardly fit anymore. So we could wear our graphic tees with our favorite pair of high-waisted vintage jeans and call it fashion. I've been doing that for the past six months, as I somehow have some new sartorial connection to graphic tees. I can't put them down, can't stop buying them. Here's some history:

A post shared by Natalie Geisel (@fracturedaesthetic) on

Exhibit A is me wearing my favorite band tee from my first time seeing Arcade Fire (one of my favorite bands) in 2014. The shirt has got some good mems attached to it, but also looks aesthetically pleasing for those of you who don't know AF (Call Me by Your Name, anyone?). I've worn this baby probably once every two weeks for the past four years in various ways—under slips, tied at the waist with Dickies, tucked into Levi's with a blazer.


Exhibit B is the first instance I wore a graphic tee that was not a band tee—this one is the first shirt I bought from Monogram, which I discovered through Man Repeller. While I wear band tees because they have a story behind them, I wear this one for only one narrow story in mind—because it looks cool! I paired it with the jeans that I wore nonstop before I discovered vintage Levi's, as one year ago I thought the only way to wear graphic tees fashionably was to do the whole denim thing.


Exhibit C, feat. my messy kitchen and my smudgy mirror, pays tribute to the band tee again, but in a different way—no dates or names are mentioned, it's just a black and white image of Angel Olsen, which most people would assume to be a trendy tee featuring some random woman, but Angel Olsen fans would notice at second glance who it is. This was in the midst of finals week, which is why I only styled it with jeans (but really cool Ref ones) and sneakers. It looked cool at the time, but now I do the whole graphic tee with sneakers and cool pants at least twice a week. As I said earlier, some things get exhausted way too quickly.



A post shared by Natalie Geisel (@fracturedaesthetic) on


Exhibit D, featuring the same pants from Exhibit A, is when I used my love of graphic tees for a good cause and to be proud of my queer identity. Two birds with one stone! If you happen to live under a rock, Everlane has been making their 100% Human tees very fashionable but also impactful, as they donate part of their proceeds to various organizations. This one donated to the HRC, and I wore it when I went to NYC Pride this past summer, paired with a shit ton of color, for obvious reasons.


Pants by & Other Stories. Shoes by Adidas. Socks by Urban Outfitters (similar glitter ones here).Photos shot by Lucy in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.




































And we finally have Exhibit E, aka current time. My 100% Human tee inspired me to continue to wear shirts associated with my identity and values, so shown here is one from Lisa Says Gah that I wanted for months and finally came back in stock for a short window (which is unfortunately gone, hopefully it comes back soon!). It's not only super colorful, which helps my New Year's resolution of incorporating more (bright) color into my wardrobe, but it also holds a lot of sartorial and feminist power. As someone who studies gender and sexuality studies, I'm really over people wearing shirts that don feminist chants without knowing its origin, or simply tees that don't really hold meaning at all. The first case mainly points out to those infamous "The Future is Female" shirts that Dior had on the runway one year ago, which actually has a deep history in the lesbian movement in the '70s and became popular after being included in a slide show titled "What the Well Dressed Dyke Will Wear." So to all the straight girls wearing these shirts: know its history! The one I'm wearing now features a term developed in the '70s by second-wave feminists, as the term "woman" is derived from "man," implying that we are a sub-category of men, or the "Other" to the dominance of men, and "womyn" makes sure to get rid of this male-dependence. Women's studies and etymology lecture over.

I wear the top to both make a shoutout to feminism, but also because it looks great with a pair of black wide-leg corduroy pants with a star-bandana and really worn-in sneakers (which I've finally replaced with these!). As I said earlier, right now it's quite impossible to put effort into what we wear, so being able to wear used-to-be-white sneakers and call it fashion is more than important. If I wore this same 'fit with a plain white tee, it would result in a boring, almost-there look, but adding a meaningful graphic tee to the mix really changes the game. It does all of the work for you! Which is maybe why they're so important to me right now, when the last thing I want to do is actually try too hard with my sartorial decisions. Anyways, fashion is a lot more fun when there's a story behind it.