I Could Be That Girl

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by Leandra Medine
January 30, 2014
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You know the one, she wears mini skirts and boots

Have you ever been walking down the street, or sitting at a coffee shop, or standing at a platform, waiting for any form of mass transit to collect you when suddenly, she walks by? In one poised glide, no matter what you’re wearing — it could have been the outfit equivalent of a Michelin star as far as you were concerned — it falls ineffaceably flat.

You now feel vulnerable — favorite shoes no longer prized, swing coat instantly defiled. But you don’t even know her. And she doesn’t know you, thus making it reasonable to assume that she absolutely did not want to make you feel like sartorial pond scum. So what did she do?

Put simply, she wore her personal style. And see, once the vulnerability begins to fade, a different feeling consumes the afflicted. It becomes far less about what you’ve done wrong and much more about what she did right. Slowly but surely, maybe unwittingly, you start to chant intrinsically, favorite shoes retaking their throne, coat swinging convivially: I can do that. I could be that girl.

I’ve been thinking a lot again lately about what constitutes good style and bad style and though I completely understand that the most accurate metric to gauge the two is actually just a deeply subjective and often inexplicable affinity or aversion, that doesn’t quite cut it for me.

One possible line of demarcation, which I really want to run with, might be in understanding the visceral reaction that a woman has to another person’s style or a specific object. In the case of the above-photographed outfit, I strategically combined items that I bought, well-knowing they weren’t “me” so to speak, but that my wanting to have them meant something good.

First, there was the tweed Marc Jacobs jacket, which I found on Yoox for $300 and bought because one time I saw Lauren Hutton wearing a Chanel version with a white t-shirt and jeans and thigh high boots and I really wanted to approximate at least one element of that look. Then there was the leather, full mini skirt which I frankly only really wanted to pair over a pair of leather pants which aren’t inherently me for the same reason that tweed isn’t: because they’re not denim. They were motivated by a combination of Barbara Martelo and France at large.

As for the shoes, which I bought with a gift card two summers before The Blogger Renaissance, I think I was trying to dip my toes into the beginning of what’s now the exhausted 90s redux but wanted to do it as modernly and therefore ironically as possible. (Because, really, what kind of Doc Marten wearing citizen of the expired era would spend upward of $1k on seemingly tantamount boots?)

Polygamously married to one another and conveyed using my body as the tarp, of course, I like to think I look so very me and maybe, too, that you could be this girl.

10ICBTG

Marc Jacobs jacket, Rxmance t-shirt, Opening Ceremony skirt, Helmut Lang leather pants, Balenciaga boots and Vint & York sunglasses

REPLIES
  • http://madamecouture.blogspot.com/ Emma Hager

    God, I’d love to be THAT girl. Love it when people can totally make you fall in love with something you either a) never thought about before b)laughed at before c)didn’t like before.
    Neither A, B, nor C apply in this scenario given that I truly like all items, but I probably — even if my meager babysitting money could afford it — would not have any of these in my closet, as I tend to gravitate toward other things (which, as you stated above, was sorta your point). Cool people, err ppl, always arouse a side of sartorial lust in us that we didn’t know we had the capacity for. Very good observation, Leandra.

    As for haircuts, you still offering curbside chops? I know you’re busy conducting the train that is Man Repeller, so please do let me know when I can make a reservation.

  • Natali

    I’m so obsessed with your jacket, it’s sick!

    http://lartoffashion.blogspot.com

  • http://www.fancyalterego.wordpress.com/ Heather P.

    Well said!

    It’s crazy, but I have the same reaction to other women sometimes. It usually happens when I see a woman wearing something amazing, and she looks so divinely comfortable in it. I sometimes crave having a better handle on my personal style, so that I can also walk the Earth feeling comfortable and confident that I’m getting death stares from girls in coffee shops too. ;-)

  • monkeyshines

    adorable!

  • Quinn Halman

    omg Leandra, you are that girl to me and so many others. I very clearly remember that fateful evening in October which brought us and 100+ others together; part of that memory is how many girls were emulating your look! I turn around and there’s 3 girls with bobs and red lipsticks, over my next shoulder there’s 7 ladies all arm-partying, etc.
    I think being thaat girl depends on who you are thaat girl to because style is so personal

  • Andie Schlather

    I’m pretty sure that the beautiful irony of that girl is she is unaware and/or unconcerned that she is, in fact, THAT girl.

    • Leandra Medine

      Yes! That’s exactly it. It’s just so damn insouciant. She’s like,”wuht? I was blind folded when I put this on…”

  • http://loveloosh.com/ Elizabeth Allora

    I think besides wearing your personal style you have to “wear” confidence to be that girl.
    loveloosh.com

  • Tamara

    one of the perks of being (ahem) slightly older (as in, almost old enough to be your mom) is that we learn what “works” for our bodies and personalities. me = jumpsuits (worn formally and casually), bare arms, black birkenstocks, frye boots, ray-ban sunglasses, leather leggings and anything, anything at all from DVF. when i’m wearing any combination of the above and add a denim or leather jacket, i am “that girl.” however, trench coats, blazers, “statement necklaces”, strappy sandals, khakis, cropped anything, or a red manicure…total impostor.

  • Josie Kim

    You are definitely “that girl” to me. You somehow are able to pull off anything with confidence, even if it’s something completely hideous in my opinion. And, it makes me think, “Maybe I can wear that too.”

    iloveworkclothes.wordpress.com

  • Dominique

    amazing post and amazing outfit!

    http://www.dominiquecandido.com

  • Oliver Lips
  • http://mafaldadotzero.blogspot.fr/ Mafalda

    I just love the Balenciaga boots, they’re perfect with a skirt. They’re my favourite shoes.

    Mafalda ❤
    http://www.mafaldadotzero.blogspot.fr

  • toni

    I like to think of myself as that girl. Minus the pricey clothes…. that will come in the future. ;)

  • hila

    I love that outfit. My issue is that when I am going through my closet every morning with one eye open, I never have the good sense to make such a put-together look. It’s more about how fast I can put something together that doesn’t look stupid. And anyway I end up trying 3-4 things on before I make up my mind. And who has time at night to put together tomorrow’s outfit (do people actually do that?) uugh.

  • Aubrey Green

    I’m obsessed with that jacket.

  • http://www.EatStylePlay.com/ Eat.Style.Play

    Love those boots!

  • Ellen

    Oh my, where did you get the boots? Craving them for so long now, but they’re sold out everywhere! :O

  • Liz Mikerchan

    I actually think that you used to be that girl. It really reminds me of your old style, which I really liked. I mean, totally love your current looks, but this look is girly and edgy at the same time. It’s always good to go back to your roots.

  • http://www.fashion-isha.com Fashion-isha

    At 45 I don’t really give a crap what other’s wear but I remember those painful days…only to learn 20 years later that people looked at me like “that girl” (sometimes). Regardless, you look amazing…this is one of my fave outfits on you and it’s so you without being exactly you..which is kind of what you said!
    xo
    Sharon

  • Cyn

    Dollface (Yes, I just called you that!) – you are that girl! I have total outfit envy right now! This is probably one of my favorite looks on you!

    xoxo – Cyn from popofcyn.com

  • Ia

    Please tell me, where can i buy this marc jacobs jacket?

  • jaclyn

    sometimes its a little mind blowing how fabulous you are!

    check my blog: http://stylevolver.blogspot.com

  • http://www.visceralmaze.blogspot.com/ Anu

    this is priceless. that moment someone accidentally makes you feel you are the least stylish person on the face of the earth lol.

  • Susan lloyd

    Love your reasoning, writing and evolved intuition. Great subject matter turned inside out and deconstructed!

  • Cel B

    “The girl with the Denny & George scarf ” from the book The Confessions of a Shopaholic always stuck with me.

  • http://www.winkydesigns.com/ Winky Designs

    You pull THAT look off effortlessly. Perhaps you’re THAT girl and ya just don’t know it…embrace it.
    Vanessa
    http://www.winkydesigns.blogspot.com

  • Dominica C

    the jacket is amazing .. I think you could see this as an alltime classic .. I really like how you teamed the skirt with the pants .. might try it myself with a lacy version instead of the skater skirt ..

  • Stefanie

    Ugh. That girl is everywhere! I love her and I hate her! Also, I love that you see her too. Gives me hope. :)
    http://www.evolstyle.me

  • thefloraldocs

    Confidence, happiness and a great fashion sense is what makes THAT girl :) Amazing blog post and photos!
    http://www.thefloraldocs.com

  • Sophia Simons

    this outfit reminds me of the one Anne Hathaway wears in The devil wears Prada, when she gets her make over and even Gisele is thinking “I could be that girl”, but instead says “Are those the Ch” “yes, these are the Chanel boots”.

  • Leah

    you are an it girl and have great style but i don’t like this outfit!!! its not you.

  • Leah

    so thinking after reading commenting and then thinking a bit… i thought well what if that girl thinks that about YOU ?!

  • Cristina Feather

    You, with your big eye bags, looking oh, so perfect!
    I always have a bad day efter seeing someone looking so damn good in God knows what. I stare, than I analize and think …hummmm, why didn’t I think of that!!? But the truth is I feel just that: vulnerable! Loved the article and thank you for being our inspiration in being “that girl”.
    http://www.cristinafeather.com

  • Vitalia

    sometimes im afraid to be “that girl” because I’ve never seen a version of the “that girl” that i will be portraying. I’m irrationally afraid that people will not see me as “that girl” but as “what the fuck is that girl wearing” i guess that makes me afraid of my personal style while simultaneously desiring it

  • Dina Luigi

    Love the whole outfit..but the jacket i adore!!!

  • deezdayz

    Oh yes, most definitely you are “That Girl” for so many, including me! However, I know that we all have days when we are someone’s “That Girl.” It feels best when we feel it ourselves. xo

  • http://newbornfanatic.wordpress.com/ Newborn Fanatic
  • HollyM

    Forget the expensive designer duds. I think, if you squint just a bit, you might see . . . other issues needing your attention.

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