No Longer Grey

The sartorial experiments and ramblings of a girl named Sarah

How much should we be spending on clothes?

by Sarah on April 2, 2019, no comments

A while ago, while eating birthday cake in New York, a friend of mine asked about these sweatpants. They’re a pair of cashmere sweatpants from Grana, bought on clearance for $60, one of the greatest deals I’ve scored in a long time. So I told her, expecting a “wow, you savvy bargain hunter you” response. But she was aghast and had no idea why anybody would spend that much on a pair of sweatpants, and suddenly, I was wondering the same thing.

Having worked for 3+ years in the business of selling clothes, I’m used to thinking about fashion a certain way. I know the general production cycle, how wholesale pricing works, and typical price models. For me, spending $60 on a pair of sweatpants wasn’t absurd, because I knew they were high quality, made out of a super luxe fabric, and were made responsibly.

On the other hand, I spent $60 on a pair of sweatpants, something I could have gotten at Primark for $12.99. It’s great that so many brands are turning to sustainable practices, better fabrics, more diverse hiring practices. In the long run, it will bring prices down. But the truth is that most of these “sustainable” brands just can’t compete with fast fashion pricing.

There’s a lot of stuff to spend money on. Food. An apartment. Transportation, medical bills, student loans, charitable donations, the stock market, a bowl of really good ramen, plane tickets to go visit a friend. But for me, shopping less but shopping sustainably is part of how I choose to practice environmentalism, how I try to support minority communities, how I express my creativity. It’s part of my personal style.

From a purely economics driven standpoint, consumption is good because it increases GDP, which is good for the country (cut a lot of corners there, but that’s the gist). How that consumption happens though is a much more personal problem. Buying a lot of less expensive things versus one of two more expensive pieces have the same net result, but impact a lot of different people along the way. One way isn’t necessarily better. That’s the thing about personal style- it’s personal.

So where’s the line? Would you spend $12 on a pair of sweatpants? $60? $236? At what point is spending irresponsible? 

The Creative Impulse

by Sarah on March 28, 2019, no comments

I took these photos a few weeks ago while I was overwhelmed in school, work, my personal life, feeling like I was alone and unsure of how to proceed. I wasn’t in the mood to deal with apertures and finicky tripods, much less capture and memorialize my mood. But I needed an instagram for that night (steady content correlates with engagement which correlates with a feeling of success, something my overtired brain craved), so I set up my camera, put on clothing that made me feel like the best version of myself and pretended everything was alright.

Creativity is a tricky beast. Sometimes it strikes in moments when it should come: after the second coffee, a good night’s sleep, a motivational Nike advertisement. Sometimes it comes half way through a fourteen hour plane ride, the moment your phone battery dies, while you’re reclining in the dentist’s chair. For me, the creative impulse is that moment of clarity when all you want to achieve seems within reach, like the world, though big, isn’t quite so scary anymore.

The first photo is one of the best pictures of myself I’ve ever taken. One of the best pictures, period, that I’ve ever taken. The colors are faded but strong, the lines unexpected yet approachable, the mood serene and joyful. I love the way the light hits my face, blending profile into wall, no clear end of beginning. The moment I took it, I was done with the shoot, the rush of creativity over but leaving me behind with the memento of a photo I could love.

Looking at these photos, I’m proud. Not just of their aesthetic or artistic merit, which still shoes that I’ve got lots to learn when it comes to photography. But mainly because I can be both the girl who’s writing three papers and studying for midterms and unsure of everything around her and still be the girl pausing for a moment, eyes almost shut, taking in a breath, hand on her hip while she feels the moment. Social media, photos, art, can all lie, but they can also reveal another side of the story, an alternative, often airbrushed narrative, but one that reminds us that things might turn out okay.

I had the opportunity to attend a talk with American Ballet Theater Principal dancer Isabella Boylston a few weeks ago, and her biggest piece of advice for young dancers was to keep creating. She talked about how as a beginning dancer she used to come up with choreography all the time, to constantly be creating and making something new. As she rose through the ranks, she stopped, and only recently remembered how importance the act of creation is. Though I won’t be slipping on pointe shoes any time soon, the core of the importance of continuous creation stuck with me.

It’s impossible to know when creativity will strike, when creation will result in something good. It’s not about the headspace, the gear, the ideal conditions. Sometimes, just the act of creation can be enough.

Note to self: keep making things.

NO LONGER GREY’S 5 YEAR ANNIVERSARY

by Sarah on March 12, 2019, 3 comments

No Longe Grey started as a daydream.

Actually, it started with that sentence, which seems a bit pretentious and flighty with five years between the me who originally wrote that and me now. I started No Longer Grey because fashion blogging seemed exciting and like a way to be in the fashion industry while still being fourteen and living in New Hampshire and not having easy access to capital-F-fashion. I didn’t know much about the industry, about style, but I did know it made me feel like I swallowed a whole greenhouse full of butterflies. It still does.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is DSC09683-1024x681.jpg

It’s been five years since I registered the domain, selected a theme and tried to wrap my head around the idea of creating a website, a little baby brand. It’s been five years since I sat my parents down and explained why they should allow me to have my own website and post a lot of photos of myself onto the internet (thanks guys). It’s been five years of thinking about fashion, style, and how clothing fits into the world.

My first outfit post featured a thrifted Dolce and Gabbana skirt, Everlane tee and blue trench coat, clearly what I thought a fashion blogger should wear and not what I actually wore in real life. Since then I’ve taken photos of myself along more roadsides and random walls than I ever thought possible, gotten stared at by countless strangers, worn really weird things, and had so much fun.

Other parts of my life have changed. I cut off a foot of hair. I graduated high school. I moved to NYC, then DC, then off to college. I worked for a company I’d dreamed about working for (that very first outfit post featured an Everlane tee represents a big full circle moment), and with companies on No Longer Grey that I’ve loved for years. I’ve connected with other bloggers who I never would have met or known about had it not been for the magic of the internet. 

This post is a not so humble humble brag, because I’m truly proud of working so long and hard on No Longer Grey. I’m proud because it’s something I made, a creation that documents my thoughts about fashion, evolving personal style, and some of the most formative years of my life. I’m so grateful to get to do what I do, so grateful for everyone who has ever read one of my posts, so grateful for the joy writing gives me. 

Thanks for reading. Thanks for sticking with me. 

Here’s to five years more.

A Thorough Investigation into All the Shoes that Have Messed Up My Feet

by Sarah on March 8, 2019, one comment

  1. Everlane Modern Loafer Mule. I can’t give these shoes all of the credit for injuring my feet, because I was the dumb one who decided to wear them for an eight hour shift at work to break them in. Genuinely terrible idea. Because they’re slides, you have to do a sneaky toe-cling to keep them on, which generated enough friction to give me a blister. Also, the patent leather is hard and unyielding.On a related note, Millie Bobbie Brown owns these shoes, which begs the question if we are blister sisters and if her feet are also messed up now.
  2. Everlane Modern Chelsea Boot. Another one that is kind of my fault, as I wore them last year to fashion week and ended up breaking a toe/ stretching a ligament/ causing some sort of foot harm that rendered it incredibly painful to walk more than two blocks in for several months. Reason for injury: ditto with the too long wear time (I was backstage and doing all sorts of deep crouches) and the stiff leather.
  3. Vans Sk8-Hi. For some reason these give me a blister on my pinky toe if I wear them for more than five miles. They’re not super breathable, which is probably the culprit. But they’re also my favorite skate shoes, and don’t give me a blister if I’m skateboarding, so you win some, you lose some.

And some shoes that have been nothing but good to me

  1. Everlane Modern Babo. These are the most comfortable shoes I have ever seen or worn. They’re like little leather slippers, perfect for dancing and walking and standing. Everyone at the store I used to work in wore these. They’re gorgeous and amazing, and their foldable back lets you switch up the fit, making them even more comfy.
  2. Everlane Modern Loafer. This is a hot take, because these shoes are notorious for being hard to break in. I bought mine a whole size larger than what I usually take, and they’ve not disappointed. I wore mine straight from the box to work, with socks at first and then without. Amazing.
  3. Calvin Klein T-Strap Stiletto. These are beautiful shoes, so beautiful that I wore them to two proms and one graduation. They gave me no blisters or lasting foot pain. I’m sure that when I’m an old lady I will have sufficiently messed up feet, and will smile back at my younger self who wore these for hours on end on the dance floors, but for now they’re actually pretty comfortable.
  4. Uggs. Mine are still in pristine condition, still have fluffy fur, and still are the most comfortable shoes maybe ever. They might inflict some sartorial pain (on others. Honestly, I think they make my feet look like little animals, which is kind of a look), but as far as foot damage, I think they’re a godsend.

 

Secret Love Letter

by Sarah on March 5, 2019, no comments

Dear Pinterest,

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? One filled with fruity popsicles and beautifully filtered pictures of sunsets and the elusive perfect high cut bikini? Your endless supply of braids and dewey highlights and photography tricks never fail to inspire. Your interior decorating boards are wonderlands of raw ceramics and artfully hung prints. And plants. Seriously, what’s with the plants? You’ve got so many that it almost makes me forget that deforestation is probably going to kill us all.

I know you love me too. After all, it’s been eight years and you haven’t left me. And though I know I’m not the only pinner in your life, I’d like to think what we have is special. Every day you understand me better and better, sometimes sending me ads for things I just saw on youtube. Which begs the question, are you taking my data dear? I almost don’t mind, because with every scroll you prove that you just get me.

But soft, my love. For ours is a tryst. Though I know the splendid wonders within: just how pleasing it can be to find the perfect backstage runway photo to stare at, street style photos that seem effortlessly achievable, inspiring cat eye flicks, others don’t understand you like I do. They think you’re just for the middle aged suburban mom named Carol, with boards named “healthy school lunches” and pins entitled “Funny Cat LoL xD”. They don’t know your multidimensional self, how you’re so much more than just that. And honestly, everybody could stand for a little healthy lunch inspiration.

So just like the board that I pin haircuts I wish I was brave enough to get, you will remain my secret. My love, this is how it must be. I’m sure you understand.

Yours,

Sarah