The Horrible, Terrible, No Good, Very Bad ‘What I Wores’

Leandra Medine | February 23, 2016

Closet, wardrobe — what the hell is wrong with you?

Remember that episode of Sex and the City when Samantha Jones is convinced she lost her orgasm and spends the course of the episode looking for it?

Well! I think I lost my style and that last week in New York was a metaphor for an episode that found me in pursuit of my lewk.

This is not a sympathy solicitation. The proof is in the slideshow. Save for two outfits (brown dress + shearling coat, white jeans + Matrix coat if Keanu Reeves doubled as a 1970s police officer) that were worn four days apart, the rest were a mess. Either a mess or even worse — plainly unremarkable.

So what in the good name of silk polka dot day time pajamas is happening to me?

Simply, I might be in the thick of a transition — that awkward period wherein all the stuff you’ve spent years collecting to build upon the identity you’re projecting no longer pushes the pressure points you need them to. I hate how cropped jeans look with ankle boots. Never want to see another pair of culottes. Need a break from collared button down shirts yet these items are kind of all I know — the easy, no-brainer-or-frills tricks that make getting dressed a quick process. When it takes too long you start to overthink it and when you overthink it you end up looking like this.



Of course, such a transition has its perks. Being forced out of the cleavage of your wardrobe’s familiarity allows you to test, explore — fundamentally get to know yourself better. Just when you thought you’d eased into the basic and unflinching principles of identity, poof! There they go. No longer relevant. Which is exciting, isn’t it? Because it means you’re a lot more complex than you think you are. You’re changing — evolving, and now you can build a new set of temporary tattoos to reflect that.

For what it’s worth, I do recall feeling similarly at Fashion Week’s finish line last February, too. So it could be that I’ve just not quite figured out how to feel good about myself during this time of year — but that’s the other thing, right? It boils down to exactly nothing more or less than the vital experience of feeling.

We can spend hours talking about the actual clothes, but it is so not about that. It never is. So what if I wore a black sweater and pants? Yeah it’s quiet, but it’s not BAD. The thing is, it’s also not me. It positions me in a box I really don’t want to fall into. So this swings right back around to that magical transformative stuff — the mood potion that changes our perceptions of self. Feeling like shit by simple virtue of what you’re wearing is a strong and powerful reminder of how easy it can be to flip the switch. To pick yourself out of a doldrum by the simple activity of changing what you’re wearing. Like anything else it’s a prison or a fortress and even if you do feel like you’ve lost it, there’s ultimately no such thing. Samantha Jones got her orgasm back. I’m pretty sure I’ll be okay.

Oh! And for what it’s worth, you’re totally coming with me as I figure this shit out. Stay tuned.


  • Nicki

    Love the grommet dress! Khalo has some amazing suede styles like the one you wore! You can buy them at curriculum!

    • BK

      Shit the bed this is amazing

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    • BK

      But also

  • mollie blackwood

    My problem with getting dressed is that as much as I love fashion and wanting to express myself with my clothes I fall short. Mainly because I get paralyzed on what to buy which has turned me into a “never” shopper. I’ve accidentally signed myself up for a capsule wardrobe. Combine that with my inherent Marie Kondo tendencies I’m down to the bare minimum. I want to spice things up but I feel like if I buy something that isn’t basic/black it will stand out too much. Therefore, I can only wear it like once a month so people won’t notice it’s my only “piece.” Help?

    • BK

      Buy the colourful/non-black “piece”. Then proceed to wear the “piece” all the time, like it’s an intended part of the wardrobe, not an anomaly. It can replace something else “essential” in the capsule! Then you HAVE to wear it all the time

      • mollie blackwood

        Ha, yes I should just do it. I really want an embroidered jacket. And high tops. Thanks!

    • Isabel

      I found a tip online suggesting to buy one amazing statement piece for every 4 basic purchases. Makes sense right? This helped me get out of the normcore rut

    • Heleen

      i feel EXACTLY the same.

  • Dear Leandra,

    thank you for sharing your pictures and thoughts, but speaking of temporary, imagine like you are a “temporary store”, you got it or you lost it. And I personally think that your prettiness authenticity is a never lost symptom. Therefore, I would like to shop @leandramedinecohen temporary store cause you are beautiful the way you are.

    stay tuned with the drawing soon

  • Anita

    Recognizable! For the last year or so I am shifting from a colourful, boyish style to a more classic, elegant one and three things seem to happen:
    1. On some days nothing in my closet seems to fit my sense of style for that day.
    2. I still buy things that fit my former style (it does still look nice in the stores), but have a hard time wearing it.
    3. I look horrible sometimes because I haven’t discovered yet what works and what doesn’t.

    But I am a new me: older, smarter, more demanding and satisfying job, more involved with everything around me, more responsible and more confident. So it is time for a new look too.

    Luckily the world isn’t watching my transformation. Only my colleagues, friends and boyfriend make remarks sometimes. I must be harder for you. I’m very curious where you’re going so I stay tuned!

  • YasQueen

    I can relate to this so much right now. I’m definitely in a transition period. I feel like my sense of personal style used to feel very inherent to me. Now I feel a little lost. I often find myself feeling either bored or uncomfortable in my outfit choices. Things don’t go together as easily as they used to. You’re right though, transition is exciting! I guess we’re just growing up…

  • heather

    This. I can 100% relate to this. It’s nice to hear from a fashion blogger who is known for her outfits that she too gets stuck or is in a style rut. I have been feeling like this a lot lately. Some day my outfits are better then others…then there are other days (like today) a sweater, jeans, and boots will have to do.


  • Florence

    First things first, this piece is making my day. Wich is probably both sad and happy. I relate completely wich may not be your point since you are going through a fashion process wich does not require winning from others but since we are sharing! I’m in this wierd period where I find myself not atracted by any type of garment that is not underwear. I really don’t. I’d rather buy five lace panties than a white t-shirt and can’t figure out why!?
    Perhaps is the lack of clothe diversity in my city, or perhaps I’m going through a only feel like wearing panties period. Either way is driving me a bit crazy, because why, why, why is that happening to me?

    Staying tuned.

  • I’m feeling this so hard. I think part of it can be attributed to this time of the year when like, winter is just dragging its ass out the door and you can’t wait for spring to get here. I’m wearing the same damn scarf, sweater, pants, boots formula that I did before the shitty weather really set in. I swear I have fun things, they’re just sitting in my closet because it’s too damn cold out!

    There must be something else about experiencing a week’s worth of shows that are showcasing things you specifically cannot wear yet for a whole other season that creates further anticipation of your future self and anxiety around the difference between you now vs you in another time. (Did that make sense?! It’s Tuesday, my brain isn’t turned on yet.)

  • BK

    I liked the outfit with the Osman coat! And the nameless jacket one too. I know how you feel though, when it just isn’t your clothing day despite giving it a red-hot go and everyone else thinks you look fine but you’re all “DAMMIT PAM, a blind friar could see that not even a bandana tied around the wrist could save this train crash” and it just doesn’t work – I feel you.

    • BK

      Also ALSO ALSO – I find when I’m stuck in a deep and existential apparel funk, I sew something. It doesn’t have to be from scratch, it could just be an alteration on that thing you got from that place but you don’t wear anymore because
      But it gives me a sense of resourcefulness and purpose which can then sort of flow through into my dressing habits. GO.

  • Maybe it’s not you but fashion week? I took a little stroll through your previous What I Wores + old NYFW photos in general. Most everyone attending shows seems happier and more playful compared to this year which lacked the usual sparkle.

  • Claire

    This can be the hardest time in terms of everything, I’m definitely feeling it. At least you killed it with all of your coats!

  • I really love also outfit one! But I get it… when you feel that you don’t fit, there’s no way to be convinced… It happens to me very often, usually when I don’t buy new clothes for a while.


  • Ai-Ch’ng GB

    With regards to how you appear in the shot, I think it’s more S.O.M. – “State Of Mind”, than anything else. Because, to my mind (eye… Mind’s eye?), apart from the long shiny brown leather Matrix trench (not loving its voluminous stiffness much on your little frame), you look good. No doubt, the photos here show a (very) toned down version of your normally exuberant colour and textural quirkiness. However, it’s still what we’ve come to associate – and like – on Leandra Medine Cohen: a cool mix of textures.

    For me, the toned down vibe also comes from your choice of muted colours. And, possibly, your muted mood is also coming through in the photos. Listening to your podcasts recently (I love them! Some are very moving, too), you have much happening in your life that may be pushing out thoughts of clothing your body for NYFW. When that happens, nothing you wear will feel right.

    I’ve been there – going through that presently – and – for me – it’s an extension of where my mind presently is. All I’d like to wear presently are my comfy, baggy black yoga pants and grey marle wife-beater– infinitely less public-friendly (no way I’m going out in my present clothes… Guess I’m not going out today, then. I can’t even handle seeing women walk around in the streets in their tight singlets and skin tight stretch excercise pants) than your NYFW outfits for sure.

    I hope you feel like you’ve found your fashion mojo (according to how good it makes you- and no one else feels) soon- I know you will.

    P.S. I went back into my wardrobe, re-discovered a very loud print silk shirt I had purchased three years ago, am now wearing it with a pair of cropped, flared black suede (very used and loved) pants, with your now pet-hate – flat ankle boots (but they are my honey RM Williams ones, so I like to hope that makes them legit, rather than fashion-y) —- and I feel (not sure about “look”, but that’s all right) good now.

  • Bello!!! Adoro pezzi denim e si indossa perfettamente !!

  • Camilla

    Blame the weather, don’t give up on button downs!

  • Jessicaaaa

    I really love look number two, the hem on the Céline dress is sooo gorgeous and I love it with the length of the coat! Your matrix coat and little yellow bag are on point, Keanu! And the DVN boots and the grommet skirt are both total cutie pies! So, you actually nailed it in my opinion! Also, weird comment: your ankles look so *elegant* in heels and socks >.<

    • Jessicaaaa

      Also you are so good with Olympia Le Tan clutches! Not everyone wears them as well as you do! I recently bought one second hand in part because of you and in part because of Ursina Gysi so there hmm

  • Kristie

    Leandra’s coat in slide 2! who what where?

  • ultracookie

    Well ok, I see what you mean here. It’s not the typical Leandrafab look that you are used to. So what about this idea: have you gotten to the point that you feel like you have to “Do Leandra” to be interesting in fashion? I mean look at those cuffs (and many other elements) at Michael Kors. People are clearly looking at you for inspiration. Do you feel the pressure of that? If so, has it informed your decisions about what to wear out of obligation instead of excitement? I don’t know if I could deal with feeling like I had to do the thing that people want me to do in order to feel like “me”, so let me just say this…eff ’em. You are you and if you want to wear the same button downs and culottes 365 days a year you will still be a brilliant voice who brings something valuable and relevant to fashion. I suppose that’s the Manrepeller paradox: incredible fashion that is sometimes confounding does not conceal OR reveal the beauty inside. Shocking revelation…you are NOT just your clothing, Leandra.

  • The Saks Potts coat with the Céline dress is excellent.

  • I’ve been thinking about this since I read the piece yesterday, and I think it also has something to do with the way in which trends are kind of all over the place “wear anything you want” and “you do you”, which is awesome and liberating on one side, but also makes it even harder to “do you” when everybody is doing that, no? And to top it of, trends are spinning so fast and the media shows us new things ALL THE TIME. So it make us feel like we need to keep change, buy new etc. at that pace – but most likely our minds cannot adopt new trends THAT fast!? Today im wearing a DIY skirt and a shirt that is turning 6 this year, with a pair of new sneakers, and It still works and makes me feel good. So sometimes it might be about going further back to those things that deeply resonates with you, and letting the trends pass by.

  • Alexandra

    I go through the exact same experience during this time of the year, precisely because i never feel good (general loss of confidence, weight gain..)and the same thought process, effrayant. Your style will come back naturally and unexpectedly:)!

  • nope. you’re perfect.

  • Sara Faye

    Love this post! I feel like lately I’m going through a style transition/crisis as well, so its refreshing to know I’m not alone. Here’s to hoping we get our grooves back!

  • Vicky Piazzalonga

    loved this post! i feel really represented.. the problem with trends is that they become ultra consumed ultra vandalized by everyone -us- this days, trends make me feel dizzy! there’s a lot everywhere, and not falling into a “follower type” is really really complicated.
    is hard to explain this feelings in english, sorry 🙂

  • ziggyplayguitar hero

    i see you a lot lately in pants + sweater combo lately. Maybe trying more dresses? I know it’s cold, but is just a thought.
    I love the way you look so different from all the other fashion bloggers in FW, tho

  • Carissa Lynn van Raak

    #14 is so cute!

  • LaCondesa Conde

    You can’t remember who made that amazing military jacket? Do you want to make me cry?

    Leandra Medine your Spanish flamenco dancing teacher is highly dissapointed, first, I can’t see no improvement on your moves, second, you can’t remember LA CONDESA??? I’m calling the factory right away to start stiching labels twice the size bigger.
    Anyways, I am very happy and very proud you still wear it after all this time. It’s like your first kindergarden crush, you can’t remember his name but you still love him.
    Sending you all the love (and memory pills) all the way from Madrid

    (La Condesa)