a striped flapper dress on a rainy day

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I am, dare I say, privileged to be able to dress the way I do in public. I’m the office manager for my family’s business; my boss is my idiosyncratic father, who wears “Eat More Kale” shirts, running shoes, and a ponytail. Our clientele is mostly charmed by my appearance. A few of the older regulars even see their own youth in me, which I appreciate.

Maybe it’s a #firstworldproblem, but I don’t think I could work somewhere that didn’t allow me at least some sartorial freedom. Dressing up is a big part of self-care for me. I get very anxious when my physical presentation doesn’t match how I think of myself. I don’t wear red lipstick every day because I’m in a rut; I wear it because I literally feel wrong without it.

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I’m very fortunate not to have my credibility eroded by the way I choose to present myself. I’m surrounded by people who understand that there’s no inherent connection between physical affect and ability to do one’s job. I just wish more people could come to terms with that.

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As much as I dislike those tumblr-y “destroy that idea that ___” posts, I really do want to destroy the idea that personal life/personal aesthetic is a fair metric of judging one’s ability to do their job. If I’ve hired you to perform a service, then your performance of that service, and only your performance of that service, is relevant. This seems so simple to me.

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I think we as a culture generally have a hard time with the idea that those who serve us are human. You see it in small ways, like yelling at waiters and cashiers for things that aren’t their fault. Like allowing someone’s haircut or tattoos to occlude your impression of their work. And in big ways, like how we gasp collectively when teachers do “kid-unfriendly” things in their private lives and how politicians’ sex scandals end up overshadowing their actual policy. We pay these people to be better than us. Different from us. Fundamentally Other than us. We simply cannot fathom that they are allowed to be human too.

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flappers don’t smile

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…except when we do, because we gotta keep y’all guessing somehow.

In yet another amateur-photographer cliche, I’ve tried my hand at the ubiquitous train-track pics. There’s a right way to do those, but I’m not entirely sure this batch of photos falls under that umbrella. They weren’t quite as evocative as I wanted, but I figured I’d post them for the outfit porn and get critique on my photography technique later.

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Sometimes in photos my hair falls into an A-line bob. I’m debating getting it cut like that once and for all.

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I can take or leave monochromatic (and I usually leave it), but I’ve got a lasting love affair with sharp, succinct duochrome. I’m always looking for clothes that seem likely to stand out on a stage, to broadcast their symbology loud and clear across a packed house, and concise duochrome, with maybe a pop of a third or fourth color here and there, is one of the best ways I know of doing that.

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My style is perpetually indecisive about whether it wants to pledge loyalty to flappers or to the New Look. I go back and forth every damn day – sometimes in the same outfit, as you can see. Tim Gunn writes in his Fashion Bible (one of my favorite fashion books ever, by the way) that dresses can be divided roughly into “Cleopatra” (fitted) and “Helen” (draped) styles. Most women apparently prefer one or the other. If that’s true, then I’m fucked right and proper. As personal styles go, mine isn’t terribly defined. I don’t consistently favor certain silhouettes or even fabrics. I like interesting clothes, plain and simple. I’m more invested in exploring the fashion world in all its schizophrenic glory than in hewing to one particular style.

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Dress, Belt, & Blazer: Goodwill Bracelet: Old Gold Necklace: Battery Street Jeans Hat, Shoes, & Tights: Gifted

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