The red-pilled among us might argue that the Pleats themselves made me trans.
September 16, 2022
Contemporary fashion often seems to be in mourning for itself
Yesterday’s Pleats are in tomorrow’s seafood (microplastics, it seems, tend to proliferate in mollusks like scallops, mussels and oysters, fancy girl food and treif alike). Of all the myriad toxicities of microplastics, I was most tickled to learn that they are estrogenic and lower sperm count; the red-pilled among us might argue that the Pleats themselves made me trans.
January 23, 2020
Rise of the Blur
A specter is haunting photojournalism—an actual, visible specter
Because detective shows and soap operas use this blurry-foreground move so regularly, its sudden ubiquity in the news represents a significant shift in register, or even genre, for journalism. Photojournalism has for decades restricted itself to a stark framing of visual facts, never wishing to compromise its evidentiary role in the narration for a more theatrical one. The best news photos deftly capture the drama with a shutter click, but that is also the abiding rule: it either happens in that click, or it doesn’t make it to print.
February 24, 2017
Writing for Rejection
And reading Doris Lessing.
Of course I’ve owned feminine clothing all my life. But I wore it in public only as a gesture of deference toward my hosts or my audience—never as a way of being myself. For reasons I struggle to comprehend, The Golden Notebook made me feel that a woman can be as valuable as a man, as limitless in her potential, with the same right to drape her body in a lot of extra fabric. (Maybe you know Umberto Eco’s 1976 essay on the emasculating effect of putting on jeans when you’re used to a suit. He should see the jeans they have now.)
February 15, 2017
Agility Trials in Full Swing
Akitas to xoloitzcuintlis at the Westminster Dog Show
Unless you’re a dog obsessive, you probably haven’t heard of the majority of breeds at Westminster. To help, owners lay out pamphlets about the histories of their breeds, information on how to care for them, and related décor, in addition to the dogs themselves, either placed on tables or below them, depending on size. With so many breeds competing for attention, novelty is a virtue. Any dog of Asian or Middle Eastern ancestry is liable to be dressed in a way that would make Edward Said turn in his grave.
May 2, 2016
Will these hardworking and well-financed people pull off their lavish social event in time?
June 29, 2015
Failure's more spectacular than success
“Hollywood lighting” calls to mind dreamy high-contrast glamour shots and unattainably lustrous skin, but the actual light in Hollywood is unforgiving.
July 15, 2014
The Age of the Robe
To dress like a respectable middle-aged person in a Western country is not to dress for the heat: too much fabric and not enough ventilation.
The whole sartorial system meant that all summer long you were subtly humiliated, overinsulated, or both. And, thanks to global warming, the summers would only heat up! Just as global capitalism meant that the cult of youth and beauty would grow ever more extreme as the population aged and put on weight! We in the West were going to get hotter and hotter at the same time that we became less and less hot.
July 10, 2014
Mark Me Up, Mark Me Down
“Be. Better,” he says, something Ruth is already trying her hardest to be.
The people who succeed in retail are the people who succeed at mirroring the desires and demands of their customers and their bosses simultaneously. Ruth is not that employee.
For the last decade, the female silhouette has been dominated by legs and more legs.
May 8, 2013
The single woman wears a fedora to say, I want a man who is like a woman in a hat.
The fedora is not Monica Lewinsky’s sex-guerrilla beret made sweet with a bow, taking no prisoners with an infantile feminine twist. Nor is it Mary Tyler Moore throwing her beret to the sky—You’re gonna make it after all. We are not sure whether we’re going to make it, in a fedora.
June 3, 2011
The Accidental Bricoleurs
Like fast fashion, social media have brought with them a profusion of means and ways to reshape and display our identity. Constantly given new tools to share with, always prompted to say something new about ourselves (“What’s on your mind?” Facebook asks thoughtfully), we are pressured to continually devise ingenious solutions to our identity.