When L.L. Bean stopped sending their Christmas catalogue to my apartment after an anonymous complaint was filed against me for repeatedly calling to inquire about the telephone numbers and whereabouts of their various male models, The J.Crew catalogue took its place.
Turning its pages is like opening a singing card at CVS. Only, instead of a homogenized rendition of “Shake Ya Tail Feather,” (or something), Bing Crosby’s greatest hits waft through the air like a perfume strip in a lady’s magazine. I had to be a part of it. And I couldn’t do it without my partner in No-One-Thinks-That’s-Funny-Except-You ideas, Leandra, so together, we tried the J.Crew diet.
Guidelines: attempt to look like a J.Crew catalogue model.
Finding an outfit in my own wardrobe was easy, and I learned that a true J.Crew model can never have too many layers. I also learned this means a J.Crew model must have inactive sweat glands, which I think is not only civilized, but the next big thing after eyelash extensions and shin-lengthening procedures.
Preparing the area above my neck was another story. My usual morning routine consists of waking up and then complaining about it. On J.Crew day, however, I woke up half an hour earlier than usual to do my makeup so that it would look like I was wearing zero makeup. I also spent a painstaking amount of time pulling wisps of hair from my ponytail, which made me wonder if this wasn’t better suited for the tiny hands of an obsessive compulsive hamster.
Here’s what I learned: I must look like a slob more often than I thought. Numerous people said things to me like, “Whoa, where are you going after work?” Where would I be going after work in a turtleneck under a denim shirt under a button down, tucked into a skirt, with a sweater tied around my waist? A parent teacher conference in Antarctica?
I also learned that putting effort into my appearance didn’t really take that much effort, that no one notices if you’re wearing a skirt with unshaved legs until you tell them about it, and jumping up and down instead of walking forward does wonders to your complexion, calves, and mood. Being a J.Crew model is fun, and fun/making the most of your restraining order is what the holiday season is about.
Amelia is an asshole, this diet was technically my idea but I understand that a good idea is only as impressive as its execution, of which I nearly did not execute at all. I forgot we were doing this diet, though happened to plod into work on J.Crew Day in a turtleneck from the anterior layered under a collar-less button down with medium wash, mid-rise stiff jeans and a pair of Golden Goose sneakers that probably were New Balance or Nike just a month ago. Then when I noticed the organized chaos manifesting north of Amelia’s pimply forehead, I thought to myself, self, you make a great male J.Crew store manager. And then you know what happened?
Keith, our UPS deliverer of dreams, came into the office to find me leaning over a Momofuku birthday cake and without prompting said, “Girl, why are you dressed like a J.Crew manager?”
Moral of the story: Jenna Lyons and her legion of adroit stylists have such a clear sense of what both their men and women look like and have subsequently, successfully created a lifestyle that so accurately matches the aesthetic, it is almost, if not entirely, impossible not to spot an inspired soul in the wild.