What do we wear in 2021?
This is not a question I want to ask. I did not expect the first half of January 2021 to be about sartorial politics at all. Of course, I have been looking forward to the inauguration, particularly to learning what the new administration will wear to this pared-down celebration, absent the traditional pageantry of parades and balls.
So, I was caught off guard when a friend sent me this text on January 5:
A question for you my fashion-inclined friend…Is all this camo print & “camo is the new black” advertising from my usual…
About a week before Christmas, one of my favorite people tagged me in a FaceBook post linking to this Washington Post piece on our collective pajama moment. She wrote:
I have recently had a clinical need to purchase nice pajamas — with button down tops. When I put on a new pair yesterday, I thought “Wow! This is a business pajama. Look at that gorgeous white piping around the collar and running down the placket. This is actually a PJ Blazer! I am ready to be taken seriously at my next meeting [with the nap chair].”
Amidst the uncertainty of last week’s nail-biter of an election, a new star emerged, complete with his own uniform. Steve Kornacki, dedicated worker of the big board on MSNBC, is now known the world over for his glasses, white shirt, striped tie, and belted khakis. Somebody on Twitter commented that fashion execs would be fools to miss the opportunity to market the “Kornacki Khaki.”
Last week, I taught four different topics to four different sets of students. It was exhausting, it was a particularly contemplative week for me. It straddled Yom Kippur, followed closely on the heels of the loss of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and marked the week that the winds brought extreme heat and smoke back to the East Bay, essentially trapping my family at home.
It was a tough week, and I was looking for some meaning.
It was no surprise that I found a clue in the main source of my exhaustion. A common thread presented itself as…
The Setting Is the Message
Like you, I have been processing a lot over the past few weeks. The news cycle has been moving quickly, as it has seemed to for the past three years, accelerating since March of this year. 2020 is a steamroller that feels like it is rolling right over us, daily.
One topic I cannot let go of, however, is this summer’s political conventions. They are old news by now, the DNC having met from August 17th through August, 20th, and the RNC a week later. …
Kamala Harris Disproves the Fake It Till You Make It Myth
At the urging of my friends, I have spent the week considering the meaning of Kamala Harris’s sartorial politics.
Harris’s suit game is strong. She keeps it simple: classic silhouettes, sharp tailoring, and a palette that stretches from black to charcoal all the way to light gray. She seems to prefer skirt suits but feels good in a pantsuit, too. She’s not afraid of a tonal plaid or a feminine touch, like a gentle peplum or an interestingly-collared blouse. She often sports not-quite-statement necklaces — not dainty, but not…
Recently, I read this tweet:
I am here to take up the challenge.
TL/DR: Ivanka’s aesthetic is confusing because she doesn’t know what role she is playing or what image she ought to project. This is unsettling because, as somebody who sometimes, sort of, represents our country and sometimes plays at least a nominal role in its policy-making, she really ought to know what role she is playing and what image she needs to project.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. First, I want you to consider: how do you know what to wear?
In day-to-day situations, how do…
Nobody understands sartorial diplomacy better than the women of the British royal family. To wit: the leek brooch the Queen wore to the 2020 Trooping of the Colour, honoring the Welsh battalion performing the ceremony; the maple leaf brooch Kate Middleton wore on her 2011 and 2016 visits to Canada, adding a Canadian touch to her British-designed dresses; the British designers like Safiyaa and Victoria Beckham that Meghan Markle regularly wore to official events, highlighting her commitment to her new home. (OK, that last example is a bit more complicated, but the point stands.) …
Masks have had cultural resonance for decades. For centuries. For millennia. Forever? Probably.
The oldest known mask is a 9000-year-old stone affair, housed in a museum in Paris. It bears an uncanny resemblance to a smiley face and seems pretty harmless, happy even. Masks have been used by ancient cultures on every continent to express emotion, to use in ceremonies, to ornament, to hide one’s identity or assume another, and to intimidate enemies and protect one’s face in battle. We wear them to celebrate holidays like Purim and Halloween. …
I’m interested in the intersection of politics, fashion, and meaning. Also, organizational misconduct and scandal. And bean-to-bar chocolate.