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30 Days of Mirror Selfies Might Teach You Something
12.27.16

Sometimes I feel so grateful that I have been able to commercialize a process that so many women count as a hobby — the act of trying on clothes just because — turning it into, at least, a small element of a larger business. I have spent the majority of my life thinking in outfits, putting shit together just to distract myself from otherwise worthless thoughts (e.g. Does anyone not die alone? Etc), and ultimately trying them on as a proof of concept; does this look as good in real life as it did in my imagination?

Starting in November for Consumption Month, I decided that I would chronicle an entire month’s worth of outfits. Canonize them unofficially through the $12.99 Bed Bath & Beyond mirror that hangs from a door that separates my bathroom from my living room. Originally I had this idea because I wanted to capture a month-long challenge wherein I would not wear jeans but incidentally, what I learned over the course of the first few days of the challenge is that I’m not actually over jeans.

What ultimately resulted was a curious exercise in documentation — forcing yourself to remember things you might want to forget, freezing moments and using clothes as the sentences that tell your story.

The timing was unique: I found out about halfway through the month that I’d lose a baby, so I ended up completing the exercise towards the end of December, when I gained enough of my vanity back to start taking photos again.

When I look back, with enough distance from the beginning portion of the photos, I don’t see a cluster of outfits. I see memories underscored by stuff. There is the day my shoe collaboration came out (1) and a set of days whereby I was so bloated, I could only wear leggings (9, 10). The Saturday afternoon (7) I spent eating my way through the West Village because I had nothing else to do (this was so weird: here you beg for peace and quiet, a to-do list-free day, only to find a unique sense of loneliness and lack of purpose when it arrives). The day I got back from Barcelona two days before the trip was supposed to end (on day 11, I left for Spain) because I couldn’t stop throwing up (12), and the night following Trump’s win spent in sequins to deflect reality (13).

I’m so jealous of my smile in 18, this was the last day I was blissfully pregnant. On day 19, in those kneecap leggings and sweater, I went for my last sonogram.

The gap between days 19 and 20 actually spans about two weeks. And the second part of this album is particularly important for me. I can see how defeated I still felt on days 22 to 27. But the light that resumes (which is so nuanced and pale that only I probably see it) on day 29 is a warm reminder that things get better faster than you think they can, or will. Even when you think they won’t. Until I saw this, I didn’t believe I had gotten better at all, but I’m reminded that we are stronger than we think.

The photos that made me jealous of a former me were hard to look at, I’ve really wanted to block them out, but they’re good to have and to see — a sparkling trigger that says I’ll be genuinely, really, honestly happy again. If I had it once, I’ll have it again — while many things are not in my control, feeling happy is completely up to me. You know, some of life’s grandest lessons, the stories we must tell ourselves, pop up in the most ridiculous places, least not being the cheap mirror that you use to take your selfies.

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  • Grace B

    Thank you for posting this Leandra. It’s incredibly inspiring (the clothes!!!!) and moving (the story behind them). Thank you.

  • Sara Harvey

    what I have always like about mirror selfies is that they document How YOU see yourself, unlike other photos which are taken by other people, and hence by other points of view. I have always heard that you look very different in the mirror then how people actually see you because of your own inherent biases towards parts of your body you hate (and what others probably don’t see). I started taking selfies (especially mirror selfies) as a way to combat this warped self perception, and I found that by turning the lens around on myself, I was forced to confront both the things I didn’t like, and the things I loved. Selfies have a reputation as a narcissistic, superficial mode of photography, but I think they reflect a real change in how individuals (and especially women) capture and memorialize their own identity and their own beauty within this crazy crazy virtual world we live in.
    KEEP TAKING MIRROR SELFIES!!!!

    Excellent read Leandra, thank you for sharing 🙂 xx

  • This is awesome Leandra, seriously. I love how photo-a-day projects can tell such a personal story, and your pregnancy story is so moving. Wishing you all the best when and if you eventually choose to try again <3
    xo, coco

  • Nat Ch

    I love how photography records things we did not intend to register. I’ve been reading this philosopher Byung-Chul Hang, he writes about the phosphorescence that comes after information is processed by our brains (meaning everything that happens externally to us, develops its meaning in time within us, even and mostly unconsciously).

  • Rosie

    This is beautiful, Leandra. Thank you for sharing your brilliant light with us!

  • This would be a great experiment to do whenever I feel like I’m not progressing in my life. It’s like when you’re on a diet and don’t feel like you’re losing weight until you see a photo of yourself from three months prior. So much can change in such a short amount of time.

    I’m glad that you’re smiling again!

  • Antoinette

    You’re so bloody gorgeous Leandra! Even on your down days you look stunning! Hope to see much more of your smiles in 2017 and beyond. Love and light to you lady!

  • Gabriela Cantú Kaire

    you look so pretty!!! loved every outfit!

  • Chetna Singh

    I love and admire the fact that you can put your pain out in the open, I know that it is not an easy thing to do. I can never share publicly but just putting my thoughts on paper helps tremendously. As a mom my heart bleeds for you but I am sure that there will be better and happier times. You are young and the fact that you can see the change in you as the days progress is wonderful! Wish you lots of luck and a big hug!

  • Lucy

    Leandra please tell us the brand of the pants and shirt of the exibit n. 26!!! Pleasee!!!

    • Leandra Medine

      Oh! The leggings? I am embarrassed to say they are Celine

  • Sabah Malik

    The feel good I desperately needed this week, thank you <3

  • Chloe Bruderer

    Leandra, I love you so. Thank you for sharing this.

  • Your personal story is so moving, thank you for writing this, and I hope all the best and lots of happiness for you in the future.

    I have never read something like “I was so bloated I could only wear leggings” in a regular fashion magazine… but it’s so true!! It happens! We are real women, we have to wear clothes every day, we have real bodies that do their thing, and our comfort is crucial. It is really, really great that a famous figure of fashion discusses these problems, it makes me feel more normal.
    So thank you for being you, and thank you for sharing this!!

    • Suzan

      Seconded!
      Wishing you all the happiness, Leandra!

  • Setare IR

    thank you so much for sharing your emotions with us! you’re an amazing human being and a true goddess in fashion! from the bottom of my heart I wish you a blissful life full of happiness and laughter and I wish to see you ,with that gorgeous smile of yours, holding your baby 🙂 <3

  • Tim Brooks

    This was so touching, even as a gay 21 y/o male who feels very removed from this discussion, I still feel moved by this piece. Thank you!

  • thank you for so succinctly writing this. sending you a hug from the other side of the country. xo

  • Cómo te admiro, Leandra. Un abrazo muy fuerte desde Barcelona 💘

  • Emma

    HELLO these outfits are pure genius

  • ashley

    beautiful. and number 13 is so sterling, it’s a close second to hil winning it all

  • Greer Clarke

    This is what I love and started reading Man Repeller for. Just you, what you’re wearing, how you’re feeling, and how those two things intersect.

  • Ana Zeta

    You’re such an honest writer. I love your articles and your latest ones even more. I wish you a life full of smiles.

  • Nadya

    If you were pregnant once, you will be again. Happy and positive thoughts dear. Relax and take more breaks. 2017 will be your year.

  • Ché Hot Chocolate

    I looked through the slideshow and thought, wow! Leandra! You look amazing in all these! I totally want your closet. Then I read the post and looked at the pictures again. It’s amazing how pictures can tell a story about where we are at the time. Thank you for sharing and I’m glad you’re doing better.

  • Bruna

    You are such an exemple. Thank you for being you <3

  • This is such an amazing post. It shows how our obsession with taking photos that everyone hates on can actually be a catalyst for more self discovery and unbiased recording of memories. Thank you!

    http://www.gymbagsandjetlags.com/

  • Pandora Sykes

    I am so jealous of your trouser game it’s a joke. Especially the $$$ but amazingly cut Brock jeans. Even when heartbroken, you remain forever stylish x

  • Samantha Lee

    Wow, this went somewhere I wasn’t expecting. But this is why I love Man Repeller. Thank you for sharing your heart honestly. <3
    http://www.wonderlandsam.com

  • Haley Nahman

    Loved this so so much LM

    • Leandra Medine

      Me you HN

  • You never fail to amaze me. Everyday there is something new that makes me love you even more. You are such an inspiration and a transparent soul. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and your heart. We love you! <3

  • This photo challenge is such a good idea — I never thought that the clothes we wear on a certain day could remind us of what that day meant for us at that time in our lives (is this the reason I love fashion so dearly?).

  • Ellie

    You are simply wonderful (as are those celine gingham trousers) and im sending so many good vibes to you in the hopes you can feel some of the goodness I do when reading MR

  • Sammi Coppedge

    Thank you for sharing such a personal and moving story! You are an inspiration. Not to mention, I love mirror selfies! Power to you. Happy New Year!

  • Hannah

    Really beautiful piece. I loved your outfits. Happy new year : )

  • Hannah

    Thank you for your vulnerability, your gentle honesty and bravery. What moves me is the most valuable to me. This is very moving.

  • Taste of France

    There’s a lot of oversharing and TMI on the Internet, and then there’s honest straight talk like this. Thank you for this human post. Best wishes for 2017. Looking forward to reading more of your unpretentious takes on the world.

  • su

    Thank You so much for being so relentlessly open and vulnerable. This is so much more than clothes and Fashion!
    I wish You all the best in 2017
    su

  • Ashley Napoli

    Leandra, why are you such a fucking Queen?!? Rock on my sister!
    http://www.thedailycroissant.com

  • Cynthia Schoonover

    This post is amazing! Thank you for sharing your personal thoughts. You really rock these outfits. I started reading Man Repeller just to see your clothes. All the best to you in the new year!

  • what an incredible post! i love this whole idea and you’ve completely brought a new, deeper take on selfies. Youve inspired me to do this now and see how my own story plays out. i imagine it’d be a great thing to keep and look back on in a decades time.

    http://www.thewhimsicalwildling.com/

  • Thank you for sharing all of it, Leandra. <3

  • Molly D

    Just got back from vaca and the next day or so of catching up here is going to save me

  • We’d take on this challenge too! Good way to document our lifes and reflect on it from a different point of view 🙂

    Viviene Kok
    http://www.vivienekok.com

  • Eve Oswald

    You are everything I want to be in life. Smart, stylish and funny. I just wanted you to know that. Xx

    http://egoeyestyle.squarespace.com/home/2016/12/5/evchrx1y3w2mw1xd118sbjc16o1uto

  • sarah

    I looked thought the images before i read the story and there was definitely a change, a very pretty and pale sadness. and then reading the story i felt weird thinking how lovely you looked in the mid 20’s after the loss. very brave to put this all out there to the public, i’m sure many will be grateful. x

  • Daisy

    Selfie number 26 – where is the pants/ leggings from?