No Longer Grey

The sartorial experiments and ramblings of a girl named Sarah

Some Things I Never Saw Coming

by Sarah on March 31, 2020, no comments

The immense gratitude to songs for being able to transport me to days past

Having to leave college in five days. Pack up, say goodbye to people, a place, a feeling that’s become as much a home as home can really be when you’re 20.

The bitterness over changed plans. Changed summers, changed semesters, changed friendships. I felt entitled to a certain sort of control. 

The gracefulness and generosity of people around me. 

How, even when the clock was ticking, we all collectively decided to spend several hours watching the sun go down and the stars come out. With no time left, it finally felt like there was time enough to linger. 

How much I do not want to be wearing jeans. This is not the moment for 100% cotton raw denim. This is the moment for turtlenecks and sweatpants and oversized button downs and socks with slippers. This is the moment for slip dresses layered with college sweatshirts, leggings and favorite tee shirts.

How fast my relationship with technology could change. I am so lucky to get to take classes. So lucky to get to talk with friends, to spend hours on the phone, to be in group calls with people I don’t know, unified around the shared experience of wanting to talk with somebody. How much my head aches after looking at the screen, how I cling to headlines but feel a sinking sense of dread looking at Instagram stories, even when they show art and hope.

How delicious home cooked food really is. HUDS could never. To be fair, I saw this one coming, but I am continuously amazed.

How creativity ebbs and flows. One moment I want to make it all, write and sew and snap photos of everything. The next I’m under my covers in bed, not even wanting to respond to texts because it all just feels like too much.

Really, never saw any of this coming.

Useless!

by Sarah on January 29, 2020, no comments

shirt- Reformation, jeans- Levis, shoes- Primark, jacket- Gap

My professor yesterday turned up to the first class in a double breasted pin striped blazer, enormous tortoiseshell glasses with light-adaptive lenses, and two enormous silver rings on each of his pinkies. While he talked, he would clasp his hands, the metal covering the bottom third of each. Frankly, I’m not sure if it was the lecture on immersing oneself into conflict and literature rather than taking a peripheral view, the reading list, Du Bois, Rhys, Morrison, Coetzee, or the outfit that made me want to take the class.

I love thinking about why people where what they wear. The pinstriped blazer was an updated take on an old tweed look. Professional. The glasses could have been a functional choice. Enormous and statement making, the clear-to-sunglasses is, if nothing else, utility. But the rings. Those were just plain cool.

Right now I’m wearing a puff sleeved blouse, because I never wear it. I’m the worst at wearing pieces I think are beautiful. They always seem too fussy. I can play off a nice sweatshirt as utility, but a puff sleeved is simply not useful to anybody. If its only use is to make me non-naked and to be beautiful, it feels like something that needs to be kept as special.

But I feel nice. I feel fun. I feel like Anne of Green Gables in her first puffed sleeve dress. Begone utility! Let me enjoy my aesthetics in peace. Let me gain use out of the beautiful.

Well Suited

by Sarah on January 14, 2020, no comments

dress- vintage, blazer- Everlane

Things that make me laugh:

1. My application to art school was basically a bunch of pictures of me wearing a suit (some of which live, to this day, on this blog). Actually, it was a bunch of pictures of me wearing an thrifted blazer and some itchy black pants, climbing trees, running uphill, pretending to ski, and jumping into the freezing cold Connecticut river in October.

2. I honestly haven’t liked myself in a blazer since then. 

3. Sen. Tammy Duckworth had to dress her newborn in a jacket so that the baby could go on the Senate floor.

4. This is the first time I actually wanted to wear a blazer in a very long time.

5. These tights are covered in cat hair.

2020

by Sarah on December 31, 2019, no comments

I’m on break!

I’ve been slouching in grey sweatpants from a school I don’t even go to, sitting by the fire with wool socks on my feet. I’ve been avoiding taking too many pictures of myself, age? Self awareness? Laziness, preventing the narcissistic egoism that it takes to shoot life on selfie mode. 

So let’s not worry too much about the pictures.

Last year I resolved, in somewhat flowery language (ha!) to bloom. In my personal style, in school, in the way I lived my life. To an extent, I think I did that. 

I just finished reading the book Autumn Light, by Pico Iyer. Iyer talks about the fallacy of works with clearly delineated ends and beginnings. The book is a celebration of the seasons of change, but also how time loops back on itself, season repeating, the maple leaves budding, growing, yellowing, and falling, over and over and over.

I’ve noticed I don’t like wearing black as much as I once did. Part of it’s a byproduct of living with an exceptionally furry cat who likes to leave her hair on everything. A black turtleneck is her favorite canvas. Part of it is boredom, in wearing the same things I’ve been wearing for years. There’s nothing quite like the mirror-shock after coming home for the holidays and putting on the clothes of a self of five years ago. Part of it is wanting a little more light in my outfits. It’s so dark out: why bring the darkness with me everywhere I go?

(My trusty black overalls, don’t worry. This is not about you).

This won’t last. It’ll come and go as all style moods do, as all phases of life do, maple leaves yellowing. So much of fashion is searching for classics, for the perfect white blouse and pencil skirt that are timeless, ageless, personality-less, because how else could a shirt work from ages 15 to 52? Nobody is the same through time. Even these words won’t necessarily be here forever, something I learned about via a hacked blog and a necessary two month hiatus, along with a good amount of head banging on my keyboard.

Anyways, on to the new year. Bring on the glitter. For once, a LBD simply won’t do.

Here’s to 2020.

Heels on Wheels: Primark On Tour

by Sarah on November 9, 2019, no comments

Beep beep! I recently rolled up (it rolled up to me?) to the Primark on Tour bus. There was a prize wheel to be spun. There was a candle mysteriously scented “cashmere”, which sounds like it would smell like smelly goats but actually smelled like a warm night in. Also there was me, because aforementioned bus came right to Harvard square. And as a college student who basically lives in a bubble and rarely leaves campus, that the bus came to the square was amazing (they parked about four minutes away from my bed). 

Primark’s business model is almost completely opposite from most brands. We’re in the era of direct to consumer models, online first, cutting costs by cutting overhead by staying out of brick and mortar. And as much as that’s changing, with major DTC players choosing to open up more and more storefronts, a huge retailer like Primark that doesn’t actually have an online shop is an absolute rarity. You can’t tap through on instagram, you can’t do one click shopping. You have to go to a store (or a truck!), see it in person, interact with each and every piece in a tangible way. As branding today isn’t so much about a logo as it is about an experience, an alignment of views or interests on a deeper level than just visual, the truck stop with its games-and-freebie-fun mixed with fashion-fun really came together as a brand, not just some faceless store in a mall. 

For the uninitiated, Primark is 50 (!!) years old, sells trendy things and basic things and lots and lots of fluffy things. My first Primark purchase was a pair of maroon sweatpants that basically started off my revelation that comfortable clothes are inherently superior to uncomfortable clothes. They also cost $12. I’ve worn them about once (okay, sometimes more than once) a week for over a year, and they still nail that tight at the ankle, thick but not too thick jogger style. I also recently got a pair of platform boots ($23!!) which prompted me to write about more being more, and are also great for stomping around and being approximately 1.5 inches taller. Primark is where I took my Freshman year roommates, who are all from the south, sweater shopping once temperatures started dipping under 50 last year. Affordable style is central to the brand, and as a college student, that’s pretty central to my brand too. 

Snuggled up in some pillows by the back of the bus, surrounded by Gilmore Girl-esq fall clothes, I got to wondering more about the brand’s practices. Primark publishes a sourcing map, along with lots of information on employee training about sustainability and ethical practices (you can read it here). It’s the kind of transparency that acknowledges the difficulty for a major retailer like Primark to completely monitor all of its supply chain. They’re clearly trying; are a part of several ethical initiatives, and a part of the conversation about ethicality and sustainability in fashion. Which to me made the whole event much more meaningful and exciting. 

So they’re going somewhere, physically, in the little blue truck, and less concretely, in a more environmental and ethical direction. Also, I got to spin a prize wheel, which made me feel like a little kid in a candy store. If you’re in Boston, check out where they’re headed to next, and definitely swing by!

This is a sponsored post in partnership with Primark and the InfluenceHer Collective. All words and opinions are my own