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Amelia and Leandra on Working With Your Best Friend (and Saying Goodbye)
12.21.18

On Dec 4, 2018 at 6:39 p.m., Amelia Diamond wrote:

HO HO HELLO. I cannot believe it’s December…

Last year Pandora shot a double-breasted Racil blazer that I’ve never been able to get out of my head. I loved how easy it felt, but also how instantly dressy-for-a-party/dinner it could be.

Do you think this satin shawl collar J.Crew blazer would do the trick, if I replaced the buttons? Will I ever replace the buttons?

Do I even need to change the buttons if I wear these Alessandra Rich earrings with it?

Should I get this puffer scarf in tartan??

Also, what do you want for your birthday???

On Dec 7, 2018 at 2:11 p.m., Leandra M. Cohen wrote:

Amelia! I can’t believe this is our last formal email correspondence linked by mutual MR email accounts about consumerism! Tell the people where you’re going! Then get that velvet blazer and the plaid puffer scarf. Such good fun. I worry sometimes that December ruins objectively good prints (like tartan), fabrics (like velvet) and finishes (like sequins) but also believe in the gift of reframing and know I can convince myself that there is an IMPORTANT case to be made for these materials through the course of Jan, Feb, March and April’s slog.

As for my birthday gift:

Lolololol, jk…

On Dec 11, 2018, 6:29 p.m., Amelia Diamond wrote:

I know! It is so weird! I have never used the word “bittersweet” to describe something more than I have about leaving Man Repeller, except for (maybe) the first time I ever ate a not-quite-ripe-yet cumquat. I’m still getting better at my elevator pitch, but here it is: I am going to pursue fiction writing. <- Six words exactly. Have you ever known me to be so succinct? (Doesn’t include the part where I sometimes add “Plus freelance creative jobs on the side.”)

And actually, I’ve started thinking a lot about what I will wear while working from home, writing. There’s no question that five years and four months of working at Man Repeller has changed the way I get dressed, and what I think about, and all the various thought processes I go through depending on the day and the outfit. Largely, it’s given me a sort of daily “stage” to try out things I’m not so sure about in my closet, or try on a different persona, or take risks — even when to the naked eye I may not look so risky! So I wonder how that will change once I’m out of this environment that champions all those things in the name of self-expression, and in…my room, or at the library. I know myself, and what I can’t do is think first and foremost about comfort. Weird thing to say, because comfort is obviously important, but I think, for a while at least, to trick myself or to keep myself from getting to freaked out or too swallowed by the internal yeah-rights, the keep-dreamings, the you-sucks and the what-ifs — I will need to focus on dressing as a way to manifest all that I hope to achieve.

WHAT DOES THAT LOOK LIKE?

The “Black Tie” pajama set by Sleeper that you have and I wore to MR’s holiday party but didn’t manage to get a picture in? (Although I’ll probably reuse that outfit for New Year’s Eve).

This black cable knit sweater by Pixie Market

These patent sock boots that I already kind of have a version of (but not with a patent toe) because they are low-enough that I can walk a bit in them and will definitely keep me feeling put together, but not so uncomfy and mean to bunions (oh oh, or are they) that I can’t concentrate?

These Tory Burch “Vanner Pants” in both black and navy? (Those feel like very good wardrobe staples that I should just have already.)

(Slightly off topic: Are these impractical plaid-cuffed Isa Arfen jeans with a velvet bow-belt a good idea, or no?)

In other news, I can’t afford these lavender Marni shoes, but I love them.

On Dec 13, 2018, 11:57 a.m, Leandra M. Cohen wrote:

Is this it? Are we really growing up? Between your transition to freelance and my transition from 29 to 30, I have so much on my mind lately! For the most part, I think I am actually absorbing what it means to be an active agent of your own life. The urgency to make decisions on my own behalf has never felt more pressing and I don’t feel like life happens to me so much as I do that I happen to it. It feels like it has taken me a weirdly long time to reconcile this intellectually because all the decisions I’ve made over the past decade are reflective of a person who is well aware of her own agency. So maybe I’ve just been feeding myself a story that is different from the one I’m living??? Do you ever feel like that? Is it why you finally pulled the trigger and decided you want to go freelance? One of the greatest things about writing from home before I turned MR into a business was doing work while naked. I’d love for you to consider wearing only this dickie while writing chapter 1 of your drugstore bestseller:

On Dec 15, 2018, 6:33 p.m., Amelia Diamond wrote:

Do I ever feel like I’ve been “feeding myself a story that is different from the one I’m living?” I’m not sure… but also, yes. I’ve certainly had plenty of ideas about myself or my life that no longer fit or never did, in retrospect. I don’t think that’s always a “bad” or a “wrong” thing though…even when the stories aren’t accurate. They’re probably coping mechanisms. Ways for us to organize and rationalize all of it, and maybe some of them do line up with reality for a while, but the moment they don’t — the moment you turn left even though the story goes right, or straight — the change feels so abrupt that it can make you question what the hell you were just talking to yourself about for all those years. I do think it’s cathartic to learn to release the negative stories we tell ourselves about ourselves, even if it’s like, “I’m terrible at math.” Why can’t it be, “I might be a math genius and haven’t tapped into my potential yet!” IDK, that’s the “Artist’s Way” mentality talking there.

Me deciding to go freelance could very well be one of those stories! A story I’ve written about myself for my future, based on stories that I wrote about my past and present self. (Which could all get very meta since I’m very literally trying to go write stories.) However, I have definitely, always, since I was young, pictured myself writing books in an environment that can best be described as Uncle Jamie’s absolutely ridiculous secluded French lake house in Love Actually, or somewhere in Wyoming, or like, in a lighthouse. The best way I can describe it is that I’m acting on a gut feeling.

I absolutely will not write naked but will very sincerely consider that dickie.

Oh and guess what? I found the world’s best 90s jeans ever, ever. They’re by Still Here NYC. Everything I was looking for during my November non-ripped jeans hunt.

I plan to wear them with loafers (in my dreams I’d get these black Row loafers on sale for $477), a black turtleneck (getting the Uniqlo one you just wrote about), my Tibi camel colored flannel blazer-coat (it’s sold out, but in looking for something similar I came across this camel Pixie Market coat, that I definitely do not need but …)

And I want to belt it with this belt by Blake Goods that I have my eye on. My friend Sarah told me about them. Just super simple and well-made. Want to see if they’d do black with gold buckle.

These are for you to wear on your flight to Australia with this tiara, since it will be your birthday, after all.

For real what are you wearing on your flight?

On Dec 17, 2018, 3:01 p.m., Leandra M. Cohen wrote:

You fed my comment about stories back to me and I rolled my eyes because I was like, whaaaaat am I even taaaaaaalking about? Agency shmagency, bla bla bla. JUST DO STUFF STOP TALKING ABOUT FEELING LIKE DOING STUFF AND DO STUFF. If there is a banner sentiment with which I am walking into my 30s, it is: stop thinking about feeling like talking about doing stuff and just do stuff. I think I’m going to blindfold myself for the next couple of years and see where I net out. I have a really good feeling!

Disappointed you are not down to write naked + dickie, but understand that winter in NY is cold. Are you going to write yourself into one of the fictional characters? Perhaps Amelia meets Legend of Zelda picking up her dry cleaning on a wet corner in Nolita? You know what’s so great about freelance life? You kind of don’t need shoes, and most winter outfits look best without shoes. Either that, or with sandals, which is unreasonable when it gets too cold. So you can up and wear sweaters like this and pants like these (or a dress like this!) all barefoot or with sandals and feel the unilateral luxury of stylistic on-pointedness.

Alt idea: never take this onesie off.

I’m wearing this set on the plane.

Weird that I’m missing my 30th birthday because of time travel, or great?

On Dec 18, 2018, 4:56 p.m., Amelia Diamond wrote:

Okay thank you re: “most winter outfits look best without shoes.” That is so messed up and so true but feels good to say out loud. I have been wearing commuter shoes to walk everywhere, and carrying my outfit’s real shoes with me (just did that to three holiday parties last weekend). This is not revelatory but I am starting to get better at accepting my winter outfits as incomplete while I’m in transit, and being okay with their incompleteness until I arrive. If only I had these glittery socks with an embroidered dinosaur on them to make the commute more fun.

I love fictional me’s outfit (I especially love those Emilia Wickstead trousers, good lord.) If fictional me were also a writer who worked from home, I’d/she’d do so in these yellow floral bikini briefs and this black & Other Stories sweater with different-sized pearls all over it.

To run outside, I’d/she’d/we’d pull on these joggers, grab either the yellow or pink 0711 Tbilisi bag (aPEARLently she’s a fan of what an oyster can do with its own belly button), and…….. the hot pink Balenciaga knife point mules but whatever this is fiction!!!!

What would fictional you wear?

Real you should celebrate on the plane!!! Pack these Lizzie Fortunato cups in your carry on, order airplane champagne and mix an Aperol spritz with this lil’ kit.

And wear that tiara I sent you earlier!!!!

P.S. If I give you this will you put my face in it?

(I’m getting sad.)

On Dec 18, 2018, 10:04 p.m., Leandra M. Cohen wrote:

Me too, I’m sad! I know these conversations don’t end — this series, though not always so obvious, has always been a distillation of our friendship but wrapped under the guise of the weird questions we ask each other about what we wear and why we wear it and how to amplify all the surroundings. Maybe they won’t be as formal henceforth, but they don’t really end.

And to that…I foresee an onslaught of stories revolving around what it’s like to work with your best friend, what it’s like to support your best friend’s transition out of your company and what it’s like to lose your desk mate over the coming six months that might take the place of this series but certainly won’t REPLACE it. It’s conflicting, though, because for the amount of grief I feel about no longer working together on a day to day basis, I also feel so strongly that you’re doing what is best for you, and I wouldn’t want it another way. If I could leave you with one parting gift, it would be a copy of Alice in Wonderland.

I know you may have preferred a Row sweater or whatever the perfect refined winter shoes are (what are they?) but it’s just that book because to me it represents the wild fantasy that you enable for anyone who is lucky enough to access your mind. I’m grateful you shared it with me and all of the wonderful people of Man Repeller. What’s that saying? It’s not goodbye! It’s see ya later!

As in, on Jan 4, when we meet for breakfast.

On Dec 19, 2018, 12:34 p.m., Amelia Diamond wrote:

You’re on your way to the airport, and I’m sitting at my desk pretending that there’s not a tear in my left and right eyeballs. If anyone asks I’ll say I’m watching a video of kittens meowing. This really is some sort of weird grieving process, which I expected but don’t think I fully prepared myself for. I’m still in the phase where it hasn’t hit me yet…but there’s nothing in my desk, and your desk chair is pushed in, so it’s starting to.

You know, your Alice in Wonderland suggestion sounds oddly comforting right now.

You and I talk about growing up a lot, and changing, and what the hell all of that means and feels like. Who even knows what those answers are, but I do know that working at Man Repeller, being a part of this company and this community, has helped me to grow into a person who feels so much more like me than the person I was when I started…even though I didn’t know I didn’t feel like me before, if that makes sense?? (You don’t know what you don’t know until you know, I guess.) What’s crazy is that if you think about five years, ages 25 to 30, that’s the same span of time as 15 to 20. Two entirely different people. So it’s possible that shift was likely to happen anyway. Saturn Return, and all of that.

Man Repeller made all the questions that float around these kinds of things so much less scary.

I wouldn’t even be leaving to try to write fiction if I hadn’t even started at Man Repeller, because Man Repeller is where I became a writer. Isn’t it funny to think back to the first time you asked me what I thought about coming to write for Man Repeller? I was worried about two things: 1. that I’d have no ideas, and 2. the internet, because it can be a scary place.

What I found is that ideas come when you begin to look at the world for ideas, which made me pay attention, and it turned the never-ending hunt for humor and weirdness (particularly where I might not normally look for it) into a habit.

I also learned that writing is just like any other job: it becomes increasingly more natural the more you do it, even when writing feels (to quote my favorite lines about writing, which you introduced me to, courtesy of David Rakoff) “like pulling teeth from my dick.”

As for the internet-as-a-scary-place. It is. The real world is, too. But Man Repeller — and the Man Repeller community: people who wanted to look for the humor and weirdness in life, too — offered a respite from all of that the moment I joined.

I guess the best part of all of this is, as you said, it doesn’t really end. For one thing, I’ll be down there hanging out in the comments section.

For another, I’ll see ya at breakfast in January. <3

On Dec 19, 2018, 6:32 p.m., Leandra M. Cohen wrote:

One last question! For posterity! Should I buy these? I’ll wear them to your wedding someday.

Photo by Louisiana Mei Gelpi featuring: Marni shoes, 0711 Tibilisi bag, Tory Burch lemon locket necklace, MR Holiday Buffet tortoise Unibrow Sunglasses, Work-A-Day tortoise shell cup.

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