Does Anyone Else Want to Burn Their Jeans and Sweaters?


It is September 15th and New York Fashion Week has just ended. Though it’s still warm outside (I am wearing an ivory and red wrap dress with black satin, open toe slides), there is a hole burning through my pocket asking me to buy every wool garment the Internet is stocking. There are so many things in all of my carts: at Matches, that means a houndstooth Gucci suit (I won’t buy this; it is in there for the pure purpose of social proprietorship), on Net-a-Porter, there are knit shorts and a marled turtleneck, a chevron sweater and knee-high, round-toe boots. There is a one-shoulder dress on Need Supply that looks more like a breast feeding skirt than anything, and, like, five different permutations of trench coats are trying to satisfy this Céline itch that is all up in my groin.

There are stirrup leggings in my H&M cart, white ankle boots in my Moda Operandi cart. On Shopbop, the entire Jacquemus collection is waiting for retrieval and I think I’d like some silk — no, velvet! — pajamas. To wear with ballet flats.

But to pull the trigger on any of the above would be foolish for the simple reason that when the New York season ends, I am eager and overzealous and coming off a week of looking at clothes both on friends and models and thinking to myself: can I be that girl? Can I wear that look? Of course, context is everything. And over September fashion week, that context propels us into a paradoxical vortex of past and future: what we should have worn last summer, what we might still want to wear next summer. So the itch to shop is conflated — you aren’t really working off a roadmap of what you will want to wear next season so much as you are just appeasing an urge based on clothes you can’t wear for another eight months.

So I wait until after Paris Fashion Week anticipating that the season will have provided, through its prolific street style, at least some version of an idea of who I’d like to be over the course of the upcoming season.


This year, though? Niente. (For the record, it is no longer September 15th at the time of this writing). I am still very much caught at the intersection of What Do You Mean I Can’t Wear My Tiki Skirt Anymore? and I Hate How These Shoes Look With Jackets. Don’t get me wrong, the clothes look great! But they don’t look so different from the way they did, say, last year. Or the year before. Where is the new? The weird! The so-ugly-it’s-cool? So much of my relationship with clothing is tethered to identity and when I can’t get dressed or feel like I’m saying something new, I genuinely feel like I don’t know who I am, or have stopped evolving.

My nipples are freezing, but I want to wear a green silk tank top. The hairs on my legs are sticking up like they’ve been individually administered through electrical sockets but the thought of jeans (and a sweater) makes me feel more plain than an unsalted rice cake.

I keep this note in my phone with all these outfits written out. They’re mostly collected during downtime, when I’m on the subway or getting a pedicure or listening to Amelia ramble on about who-knows-what. Currently, there are about 40 fall ideas in there but I don’t want to try any. They all make sense and sound like a good idea —

“White mid-length prairie dress with beige patent leather trench coat and black ankle boots”

“Ivory suit with red and blue striped sweater, green loafers

“Brown dress, black stirrup leggings, polka coat with green fur sleeves and velvet pumps”

“Grey wool bralette worn over navy turtleneck with houndstooth pants”

But I’m stuck. I wish I had more to say and that this held more gravity but I don’t and it doesn’t. I feel like a braindead walrus. Does this ever happen to you?

In case you’re wondering, here’s me today. It took me 42 minutes to get dressed — 34 of which were spent staring into my closet blankly and naked.


I feel like 42 minutes is a long time to turn out looking like a librarian with soggy knees.

…Does this ever happen to you?

Photo by Claudio Lavenia via Getty Images; Feature Photo by Christian Vierig via Getty Images.

Leandra M. Cohen

Leandra M. Cohen is the founder of Man Repeller.

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