Remember in 2010, when everyone wanted to dress like Alexa Chung in 2009? I was studying abroad in Paris and bought a gigantic, cropped leopard print teddy coat from Zara to contribute my part to the movement. I routinely paired it with a striped long sleeve shirt that had subtle shoulder pads and a pair of denim cut offs styled over black tights. Most commonly, I wore ballet flats, but never felt great about it — like I was missing an unidentified zing that could have blown the attempt at mimicry out of the water. Nine years later, I get it: my shoes were missing a single, mostly feckless band to strap across the front of my foot. But what a difference it makes!
Was I sleeping when Mary Jane flats came back into fashion? I can’t turn a digital corner without seeing a pair for sale somewhere, not to mention the overwhelming use of the silhouette that decorated the floor of the runway at Chanel’s cruise ship-inspired resort show last May. Miu Miu created the genius portmanteau-equivalent of the shoe when they put straps on their ballet flats, creating a viral impact as evidenced by their ongoing shelf life. Gabriela Hearst has a neat white pair on tap currently. The Row makes a great red pair (it’s 40% off). Roger Vivier, Tabitha Simmons, Pearl River! — I could go on — all have new renditions that suggest the ballet flat is being supplanted by the Mary Jane. Supplanted! This is hard hitting stuff, people.
But how to wear them without looking like my 10 month-old daughters, right? Without feeling like my 10 month-old daughters? (Though if I may speak for them: life is pretty good.) Here are three suggestions:
The One Where You Marry Disco to Apres Ski then Hang Out with Your Motorcycle Gang
Spoiler: Your motorcycle gang is a metaphor for the comments section at Man Repeller! I can’t think of a more appropriate outfit to speak for the basic principles of dressing for other women. You got your sparkle, you got your color, you got your great, reliable sweater — a fabric hug by all accounts — and the best thing about this dressing principle is that so long as you are dressing to it, almost every occasion save for a black tie ball or like, a board meeting (though this depends on the nature of the company you work at), is high time to wear it. Think about that for a second. Let it settle. You and these vibrant garments, warriors of the eradication of a winter doldrum, together at last. Forever and onward.
Alternative Option: The One Where You Can’t Get Yelled at For Breaking Office Dress Protocol
You’re wearing a pencil skirt, for heaven’s sake.
The One Where You Revisit Your 2010 Style Cues
You can do this without feeling like you’re regressing by simply shifting your frame of mind because there is nothing wrong with revisiting what interested you in the past so long as you are certain it still interests you now. Take it as a sign that you really know who you are! That is so cool. How did you figure that out?
The One Where You Honor Winter but Commemorate Summer
Love caftans, hate everything else, right? Summer is great because the clothes are more fun, and wearing them is easier. I am convinced that if we can make a collective case to wear fun clothes with ease through the course of a bleaker season, it doesn’t have to be so bleak. Also, these are compression tights, so I am warm as H. All in favor, say “Gfjdgfhbdshtfuwgyfshjwhgab.”
Photos by Edith Young. Nanushka coat via Frankie Shop in feature photo.