You’d think it would be easier to remember
but still I’m just like
In which we elaborate on the discussion of what it’s like to be a young career girl from New York City.
Basically, it can be summed up in the first two minutes or so of the following:
But let’s get a fresh perspective.
I’m Right on Top of That, Rose!
by Ariel Sims
Not just anyone can do what I do. It takes a calculated combination of apathy and grace to endure scoldings for things you aren’t responsible for, a special kind of schizophrenia to deny your last shadow of an ego while smiling gratefully. And it takes a large amount of bravery to trade in your previous, stubborn idea of self for a new, seemingly much less grand version. In my case, entering the workforce as a young, jaded admin is a coming of age story about growing up and dressing the part.
My experience with clothes began as a fantasy of dress up. Trunks of endless thrift store garb and heirloom accessories my mother kept stocked to meet all of my tinker-bell dreams. Every outfit a character; each an opportunity to feel myself differently. I was quite the cliché of a self involved, pretty pretty princess. The way I dressed was intricately tied into my self-esteem- and let’s just say, I wore a lot of pink sequins.
Being the center of the universe, I was lucky enough to have my inner god complex prolonged through college where I was sent off to “live my dreams” which, at that point, happened to still involve wearing pink sequins. It seemed natural that I continued my real life role-playing through acting school- gallivanting around Manhattan in what may as well have been the same princess/mermaid dresses from the dress-up trunk, spending money I didn’t have, believing, intrinsically, I was special enough to never have to grow up (or wear a pair of jeans).
Eventually, College ended, and the loans ran out, along with the fantasy that I could “be whoever I wanted.” So I moved to Brooklyn and got to know much different kind of never never land. With the absence of funds, my post-graduate fellow artists and I lived a life of fashion rebellion where the uniform tended toward the understated and worn: a look that another “ex-princess” friend affectionately refers to as “dressing in your own feces.”
I joined a band, adopted the uniform, screwed the man, and felt like a fashionably disobedient artist with a heart full of punk. As much as this seemed like personal growth, I was most definitely still the center of my self-involved, hipster universe, and relied, to a certain degree, on my outer expression to justify my questionable life choices. Dressing tastefully felt like accepting responsibility I didn’t want. At that time, growing up equaled giving up.
Now, entering act three of my fashion saga, I got a job. Like a J.O.B. In an office. With a Blackberry. Mind you, this lifestyle change didn’t just come out of nowhere- it happened after the realization that I had borrowed money from my dad one too many times. It was time to take responsibility for my life and my future. I needed clothes that were comfortable, nice, and appropriate- and I had no experience in these departments what-so-ever. So I went to some stores and tried on what felt like other peoples clothes. I bought a bunch of random stuff and tried to wear it. But it was all wrong. More than ever before, I was in survival mode- I needed to have confidence, I needed to keep this job. So I had to learn which things gave me power and made me better. I began experimenting with blazers, slacks, loafers, and the ever-elusive line drawn at “business casual.” I no longer thought of my clothes as opportunities to express my inner “why-be-normal” personality; they were tools for getting people to respect and trust me.
For the better part of my life, you could only find me, dressed in my own feces, at the second star to the right and straight on ’til morning. But when the time came for growing up, I learned how good it feels to present myself as a hardworking, competent professional that can handle anything. Some may say that I gave in: that I sold my childhood dreams of being a magic fairy princess to an evil corporation for a pay check. And I probably did. But I’m freakin rich now. And, boy… do I look awesome.
Ariel dressed the part, and has been able to keep the job. She still lives in Brooklyn and can occasionally be found dressing in her own feces on the weekends, but she no longer screws the man in any way. Last weekend we went out to dinner and ordered TWO desserts.
Career girls. Würk.
Ok, there’s a lot of shit going around out there on the interspiderwebs, so I just want to set the record straight and say, yes, I did in fact go to an awesome 1920s/30s-themed Ste Blau de Mayo party. And no, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Ste Blau, PhD, was born exactly 123 years after the Battle of Puebla. I think her parents probably planned it.
Like Cinco de Mayo before it, Ste Blau de Mayo was an unexpected victory filled with the blood of many Frenchmen…I mean dresses! And tragedy! And new friends! I was lucky enough to be able to provide three of my loveliest dresses that barely see the light of day to three of the loveliest ladies I know. Plus the stunner I wore. As the fortunes cookies I got in Montreal always said, “The first and last love: self love.” It’s as if they knew. So let’s start with that:
And with fur:
Next, let’s take a look at Ariel nailing it with thin-hipped elegance:
It’s actually kind of gangsta. Like “hey, doll, you got moxie” 1920s gangsta. I believe it was called gangster back then.
Thanks, hipsamatic! You get me.
As always, it was a real treat to host The Lovely Scientist for the holiday,
wearing a dress I bought because it reminded me of that part in Home Alone where Catherine O’Hara is trying to do tradesies to get that old lady’s plane ticket and she’s like “oh and the earrings! don’t forget the earrings!” and the old lady’s husband is like “she’s got a whole shoebox of earrings at home, uh dannnngly ones.” You know. That part. Anyway,
Does this reveal something about my color palette?
And perhaps also my wily ways? Srsly tho, I’m closer than I thought to my goal of owning only [my-own-]flesh toned outfits. Step one: appear naked all the time. Step two: Inevitable world domination, obvio.
This brings us to the lady of the evening (but not in that way), dressed in frange,
and wrapped in the finest clothes from Bergdorf-Goodman:
The plethora of fab ladies was comforting, especially after the Ste Blau de Mayo treats were such a disaster, with
turning out more like
That’s what failure looks like, folks. Luckily we befriended Señor Piñata Bigote later in the night, who helped soften the blow (OH PUN WHAT NOW?)
And they all lived happily ever after.
Percussion, Strings, Winds:
AND here we are! Oh joyful, rapturous reunion!
What, you may ask, have I been up to in the past six months? Um, just like the most exciting things ever, mostly involving lavish NYC parties, during the majority of which I lie luxuriantly recumbent on a [bi]polar-bear rug, impeccably coiffed and awesomely self-styled to the highest standard, plucking individual grains of low-carb-high-fiber-whole-grain rice from my gifted gold-rimmed Waterford crystal bowl with my gibbon-breastbone chopsticks and bringing them seductively to my plump, red-glossed, restylane-aided lips. Why, just see for yourself!
Oh, man, I had you going didn’t I?! Come on, this is AMERICA and 99% of us are having an economic crisis, y’all. Even the Mittens those Kittens lost are down to a just couple Cadillacs apiece. GM? How plebe!
So, while I and nearly everyone around me continues to practice looking awesome, in preparing for the impending economic apocalypse I’ve sadly fallen behind on documentation. I could have instead sacrificed my OTHER hobby of wearing saddle shoes and being sad in front of Midtown street art
but, nah. So how goes my preparation, or as I like to call it, “Project Moving on Up”? Great, thanks for asking! Could I outline the steps of Project Moving on Up in a convenient list? Uh…yes, and I love making lists, so thanks again for asking you fine, fine human specimen.
INVEST? IN TIMES LIKE THESE? Stop shouting, silly goose! Your portfolio should consist only of the most valuable stock: bottled water, canned food, guns, ammunition, gasoline, and all the tools necessary to build a Jurassic Park-like electric fence. And as much of it as possible.
2) Run away.
Yeah, they don’t call themselves the Real McCoy for nothing. Modern. Day. Prophets. After you break free from the slavish Orwellian existence the economic apocalypse has no doubt trapped you in, flee to the remote land your gentleman friend owns in rural Virginia. Build aforementioned Jurassic Park-like electric fence around the land. Use the problem-solving skills you’ve developed from this experience to steal cows and chickens/protect your new cows and chickens/hunt Dr. Hammond’s grandchildren in the kitchen. This will hopefully bring you one step closer to your life long goal of being known as “Clever Girl” (if you are me)
3) Don’t forget sensible shoes. Perks if they’re stylish, it’ll boost morale.
I am notorious for owning exclusively inappropriate footwear (or as notorious as one can be for such a thing). So in planning Project Moving on Up, I looked to Spider Cahoots, owner of remote Virginian farmland and endless pairs of awesome sneakers, for inspiration. We took collective stock, and I think we’re covered for most occasions.
“The Spiffy Tricksters”:
“The Peaceful Gardeners”:
Of course, he is seemingly more prepared with additional provisions
NOT like it’s a competition or anything…but if it was…
RINGER! Oh what’s that? White snakeskin Adidas?
Well never mind then. Still, catch me if you can, apocalypse.
But Justin Case, best be prepared.
Oh creamy old England! I must say, I don’t quite share their enthusiasm…though Hugh Laurie can drive his bus down my Garboldisham Lane any day (gross!…but seriously, there’s a lovely village there). I’ve never been much of an anglophile, mostly due to my full-blooded, second-generation, Irish-American father, who throughout my life has thrown me gems like “When I was a kid, I used to march in the St. Patrick’s day holding a sign that said ‘England Free Ireland!'” and, my all-time favorite, “The English are tremendous pricks” (best Thanksgiving convo EVER).
Still, in light of working for an English company, and in an effort to subvert the bottomless mire of eternal negativity that is, unfortunately, my natural disposition, I’m trying to be more Brit-positive (and just more positive in general, HENCE THE DELIGHTFUL BLOG DUH). SO, since I haven’t made a list in quite a while (holy coincidence Batman! That list is American themed!), I’ve compiled my top five favorite awesome-looking English things.
#5 – Eddie Izzard.
Need I say more? He’s funny, he’s sexy, and you can borrow his tuxedo jackets and high-heel boots. Also, in real life he wears glasses, which means you can trust him.
#4 – Fish & Chips
Ok, so you can’t exactly wear it (or can you? Seriously Hugh Laurie, let’s do this), but awesome nonetheless. Besides, I enjoy how the vaguely handsome Englishmen at A Salt & Battery nostalgically flirt with me, as they recognize a pretty girl desperately trying to control the bad teeth and skin she inherited from her British Isle ancestors, and it makes them long for home.
#3 – The Mod Movement
I almost chose Teddy Boys, but I thought that movement wasn’t specific enough to England (despite the Edwardian twist, they’re too similar to American Greasers). Besides, the best part of the Teddy Boy-ish style were Widgies,
an Australian/Kiwi phenomenon.
I digress, comme d’habitude. I’m distressed. I feel oppressed. I’ve become depressed. Kidding, I’m doing it again! Anyway, despite the fact that everyone looks hungry all the time, the mod movement remains one of my biggest style influences. I’d like to travel back to 1960’s London and feed everyone deep-fried turkeys and ham sandwiches while looking awesome, a la Mama Cass.
#2 – This Commercial (note the references to Widgies AND Mods, though oddly not in that order)
In honor of a new shopping center in East London, some sexy ad men (I naturally assume that all ad men are sexy…Don Draper, Spider Cahoots, etc. And that they’re all men, because I’m ragingly sexist) made this RIDICULOUS commercial, which I cannot stop watching. It combines two of my very favorite things: dance and historical fashion.
#1 – Lauralou
Best thing to hit London since…reverse pilgrams? I don’t know, ever. If I’m not mistaken, the story goes something like this: Lauralou’s ancestor’s emigrate from England to the US during early colonization. When the colonists rebel, they flee to Canada, since they are strict loyalists and Canada is still under unwavering British rule. (What I’ve learned about Canadian history: X arrives on Canadian shores; current Canadian settlers capitulate without a fight; offer them polite tea and resentment; Canada is eventually offered independence from UK on moving day; Quebec is denied independence from greater Canada but granted the right to hold infinite parades and rallies; the Queen continues to hang out there on holiday, Kate Middleton wears awesome dresses.) One hundred and forty-four and a half years later Lauralou moves back to England and TAKES THE PUBLISHING WORLD BY STORM!!!!! I love her.
Strawberries and England y’all.
Ok, so are you PUMPED for this post??? Yeah!
9 to 5 can be tough. You can’t sleep until 11am. Museums are crowded whenever you’re free to visit. Sometimes people drink the organic milk you left in the fridge as a special treat for yourself because the milk delivery was delayed until Monday afternoon.
Essential to survival in these harsh conditions? Drinking lunches:
Tying up your boss and taking over management of the company:
(This option should only be employed in extreme circumstances, i.e., sexual harassment, theft of intellectual property, etc. As the old saying goes, don’t commit felony kidnapping over “missing” organic milk. For further clarity, see full feature film.)
Aaaaand, of course, looking cute:
For seriously though, it ain’t a terrible life after all (but I want my milk replaced). I recently read a story called The Goblin and the Grocer, which was billed as a “fairy tale for adults” in The Annotated Hans Christian Anderson (yeah, that’s right), about a kept goblin. The goblin lives with a grocer and his wife because they supply him with porridge, but in the story, he falls in love with the warm light of poetry. He considers moving in with a penniless student, who, though short on porridge, is rich with poetry. Then the building catches on fire for some reason (the destructive consequences of his unbridled passion?) and the story loses focus a bit, but it ends with this great line:
“‘I’ll simply have to divide myself between them,’ he declared. ‘That way, each one will have a little something. How can I give up the grocer? He’s the one with the porridge.’ And that was spoken in truly human terms! If we’re really honest about it, then we have to admit that the world is like that. The rest of us would end up at the grocer’s too. We need the porridge.”
Exactly. I don’t know about you, but my poetry sure comes with a price tag. So I’m off to make some porridge.
Oh hey, happy Friday y’all. In the same vein as last post, and while I’m still conducting research for next post (i.e. watching Dolly Parton movies), this really nice guy said something awesome to me this morning:
“Your casual Friday outfits aren’t really casual, they’re more like ‘I am Kim, all shall love me and despair!!'”
Although I’ve always considered myself more of an Arwen (and a COMPLETE nerd, apparently), this was a nice way to summarize that uptight attitude toward dressing to which I was previously alluding:
(Side note: how do you like that totally ghetto video?) But seriously girl, get a grip. There are plenty of ways to accessorize besides that “one ring”. Oh hello pun town!
For more on the Dark Lord, please see: http://www.sybarites.org/wp-content/uploads/2008/08/karl-lagerfeld-x-steiff-01.jpg
Truth be told, moving to Brooklyn has prompted a sartorial crisis in my life that’s sort of been getting me down. I am seriously too uptight to deal with the overall casualness that is the Williamsburg/Bushwick wardrobe, where as far as the eye can see deconstructed tops and cut-offs are uniformly paired with the perfect combat boot.
Really. Combat boots! In summer! And yet, not only does it look cool, no one is dying of heatstroke. Like I said, too uptight. Compound this with the common workplace dilemma of trying to dress well without looking either dowdy (like Michelle Pfeiffer in Batman Returns, before she becomes Catwoman)
or slutty (like Michelle Pfeiffer in Batman Returns, after she becomes Catwoman)
and it becomes clear why I’ve fallen behind in documenting my beloved practice of looking awesome (aka anxiety is a dish best served alone, with only a cold bottle of flat inertia to wash it down).
So I took this weekend to cool my jets a bit by practicing my own version of super casual, better known (in my head) as sup-cas.
Friday, to work:
and possibly the worst picture ever taken of me.
Saturday, to the four hour wait at the Savage Beauty Exhibit:
oh wait, that’s not me…
Fuck, that’s not it either! Though I do sometimes like to wear this on a casual night out with the girls
yeah, that’s more like it.
Sunday [and the premiere of my gentleman photographer, who will surely up the production value of We Look Awesome with his mad skillz (aka new iPhone/Fine Arts degree)]:
Not so bad, eh? But alas, back to the grind tomorrow…are you sure that catsuit isn’t work appropriate?
In the midst of prolonged camera troubles, I must break the silence to honor the birth of one of the loveliest ladies around, the very event with which We Look Awesome got its start,
Sweet Lauralou’s birthday. Roommate, photographer, best friend, awkward co-dependent, fashion inspiration. At this point, Lauralou has pretty much transcended it all, firmly planting herself in my life, and the lives of most who know her, under the general category of “person I would die for, except I won’t because my death would probably make her sad and her happiness means more to me than anything else in the world.” You know, that category.
Above all else, the thing I find most inspiring about Lauralou’s ingenious style is her utter commitment to narrative. This manifests itself most prominently in one concept:
Never before have I seen a (technically) grown woman so joyously ecstatic over a large horse that, aside from cookies and bizarre synth music, her favorite markers of the holiday season are the Budweiser Christmas Clydesdales
Also often seen in Budweiser Superbowl commercials
which, though superfluous, I was forced to include on account of its excessive awesomeness. Seriously, that’s a fucking clydesdale high-fiving a dalmatian. Talk about inspirational.
Oh goddess of digression, lead me not astray! I learned that Lauralou’s obsession with clydesdales had bled into every aspect of her life pretty early in our relationship, when she explained to me that highlights of her 2009 Christmas break included the discovery of shoes that made her feet look like “a sparkly clydesdale”
In fact, when she sent me these pictures she described them as “pictures of me trying to be a sparkly clydesdale” (my emphasis), indicating that she didn’t merely think they made her feet look like a clydesdale’s, but that by wearing them, she may actually be transformed into a clydesdale with sparkly feet. Amazing.
But the point of this clydesdale quest that I found most admirable occurred about a year and a half later, when, during a skype date I’m pretty sure was exclusively dedicated to talking about and showing off new shoes, she told me that she had finally found the penultimate in cyldesdale-inspired shoes. She described them thus (tight paraphrase), “they’re not really flattering, but they make my feet look like a clydesdale’s, so I’ll probably get them.” That, dear friends, is commitment to narrative fashion.
She eventually did acquire said shoes:
and they lived happily ever after in horsey-foot heaven.
So follow your dreams y’all, and one day you too can be transformed, through style, into a majestic clydesdale, or whatever it is you want to be.
Happy birthday, Lauralou!!!