Leandra and Amelia Discuss What It Means to “Dress Like an Adult”

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On Sep 21, 2018, 12:05 p.m., Amelia Diamond wrote:


Important question: Are these khakis an important and necessary addition to my wardrobe and if so, what shoes do I wear with them?? They’re on sale for $296, which is a lot for khakis, but I think quality is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT when it comes to khaki pants or else they look like they’re school uniform kax.

(And if the shoe thing is complicated with them is it worth buying?)

I also need you to bear with me for a moment: picture this fleece a few sizes larger than this model is wearing — I should get that, huh?

Are you excited for fall dressing yet? I’m so-so, but feeling unprepared.

On Sep 22, 2018, 4:20 p.m., Leandra M. Cohen wrote:

Hi! I miss you. I know we sit next to each other in the office, but haven’t the past couple of weeks been especially busy? Sometimes I find myself catching my reflection on a Saturday morning and thinking “Hey! Haven’t see you in a while? How’s it going?”

All good stuff, the early inklings of fall always have me feeling like this, and I always know things are going well when I am still energized by the notion/prospect of getting dressed. So to answer your question: Yes! I am excited to dress for fall. Particularly, probably, because summer ended so quickly. As in, the hot weather didn’t linger at all. Here we waited months and months and metaphoric years for it to arrive and then it just left like a green light at an intersection near the Holland tunnel. The nerve!

Anyway, I don’t know about those khaki pants, Maryam Nassir Zadeh made a pretty great pair, though. I forgot I pre-ordered them but they just arrived and I’m thrilled. They’re like the perfect just-above-the-floor length, are tight on top but flare out slightly at the knee. I can’t find them online yet, but I did find this dress, which, granted, is not a pair of khakis, but if you are creative, it could serve the same function.

Also, I like that fleece a lot. Here is a less literal one by Sandy Liang. You might want a less literal one though because when I think about who you are behind the fashion, you are a fleece wearer, so to see you in one might feel, I don’t know, too intentional. This logic might be flawed — Mr. Porter is selling a Patagonia one that is not *not* literal, but it’s goooood.

Generally, I’m still pretty into half zips. Tibi sent this one during fashion week. It has a lot of character! Namely because it is neon and thus may as well be Nike. I wore it with a metallic a-line mini skirt and slingback flats over the holidays.

Now on to fall dressing my person! I am gravitating toward really simple clothes. High waist non-stretch jeans and sweaters and good boots and some coats. Maybe this is because last year at this time, when I was figuring out how to dress a pregnant body, I missed high waist non-stretch jeans the most, but essentially traded in good boots, sweaters and coats exclusively. Or maybe because as a reaction to how simply I dressed while pregnant, and how much I hate wearing pants in the summer, I looked like a lunatic six out of seven days a week over the last three months and now, as a reaction to that reaction, my pendulum is swinging back-2-basic. I can’t be sure, but I’m going to thicken the plot because I am also feeling this rather seismic shift in my relationship with adulthood most notably in that I am no longer trying to run away from it and as a matter fact am incredibly eager to grab and own it. I tie this to my style because part of coming to terms with your adulthood, I would assume, is also accepting/celebrating/coming to terms with the unwavering parts of your identity. And part of confronting what is unwavering about yourself could totally lend itself to settling into a uniform. And if that is so, this is mine.

The thing I’ll say, though, is that trying to find the tattoo equivalent of an outfit equation does not preclude me from using my appendages to continue appeasing the most hedonistic and indulgent parts of my fashion pursuits. Cue:

On Sep 22, 2018, 11:17 p.m., Amelia Diamond wrote:

Miss you too!

Just a heads up: I don’t feel well. That’s because I’m at my grandma’s house and my aunt made an enormous dinner and I didn’t breathe during the 23 minutes I spent consuming it. Then I got hungry just now and ate two mohn kichlach cookies (Does your family make/eat those? I just had to look up the spelling. Lotta poppy seeds.) and they are so buttery that I might be in a coma typing. I’m not sure how my fingers are moving. “Two cookies isn’t anything, Amelia,” you might be saying. Right. But that’s two on top of the three I ate after dinner, plus the one I tested before dinner, plus the twin cupcake of the cupcake I bought my dad for his birthday.

Really into the Sandy Liang fleece you just showed me, but that Patagonia one you sent over is realllllly calling my name. I’m thinking on it.

Also really into your psychology behind adulthood dressing. As I’m typing this, in addition to never wanting to look at another poppy seed nor related cookie ever again, I’m feeling a sudden urge to clean out my closet and strip it of all I-never-wear-this-but-keep-it-just-in-case frivolity. It would just be so nice not to think.

…It would also be so nice to not think about this blazer with faux fur cuffs, which I cannot afford, nor am I going to try and DIY.

Part of me wonders if I could just be a black turtleneck and jeans ONLY kind of person this fall and winter. I’d just have to change up accessories. These Rebecca de Ravenel earrings could be emotional game changers.

Oh, and maybe I’ll get into bangles!!! …Although, these Cult Gaia ones look terrible to type in — but is that even the point? Maybe they’re meant to be taken off, stacked on your desk and admired.

On days when I’d need to feel like a lady, I’d do non-ripped jeans (the hunt commences) or “fancy pants” and these shoes…

Do you think I should get this skirt, yes or no? And also, I’ll never wear this shiny sheer blouse, huh?

On Sep 23, 2018, 12:48 p.m., Leandra M. Cohen wrote:

For what it’s worth, I’ve never heard of those cookies you mentioned, but I did eat two-day old salmon that I made with lentils, cilantro and flax seeds before the clock had deigned to strike P.M., because man, Sundays are a different beast when you have kids. Most evidently in how early they start (5:45 a.m.). I think I am still adjusting.

On to clothes!

I sympathize and empathize and all the other -thizes with your wanting to have a closet full of clothes that preclude you from having to think but never compromise your looking/feeling like yourself. I know you didn’t say the second part, but I have a hunch you similarly feel it. So is it that we are growing up? Is this what approaching (for me) and recently having reached (for you) 30 is all about? To be honest, sometimes I feel like I’m getting closer to my truer self (see: my last e-mail) and other times I wonder if I am actually straying even further (see: me right now). I say this because I am trying to pack for Paris right now (obviously in a carry-on) and so far I have set aside:

+White jeans
+High waist blue jeans
+Two pairs of black leggings, both with accent zippers
+A white t-shirt
+A black t-shirt
+A purple half-zip
+A denim button down
+A tuxedo jacket

I am planning to travel in a trench coat but…but…but…where my quirk at? Realistically, I know that if I don’t take a single mini skirt, or dress, I’m going to get there and ask myself why I brought the contents of Fran Lebowitz’s wardrobe only but if I lean too heavy on novelty clothes, I will get there and wonder why I thought I could successfully pack Anna Dello Russo’s suitcase into my carry on. So now I’m trying to find myself somewhere in the middle. And also still trying to crack the damn code on shoes that are neither masculine, nor feminine. Not boots but not ballet flats or loafers (or sneakers) either to pair with all those pants. As of this writing, here is the best I’ve come up with (granted, the market research is biased because I am the designer of one pair):

I’d wear those heels with something like this:

The monkstraps with something like this:

And tbh, I am also v inspired by what Alexa Chung wore to the Christopher Kane show in London (a high neckline makes such a different on a mid-length dress, huh?), so I’m trying to approximate that, too.

Photos via Getty Images

But see, all of these looks demand some souping up care of a good bag, some sunglasses, maybe an earring. A hat! Not to mention, I have not packed a single of the cited pieces. Suddenly all black everything is starting to make more and more sense to me.

On Sep 24, 2018, 10:24 p.m., Amelia Diamond wrote:

I do think it’s part of growing up. Simplifying your wardrobe/outfits because life is more complicated… But also, I think as you dig deeper and deeper into your identify and truly get to know yourself better, expressing yourself on the outside through wild clothes becomes less desperately important. It’s like the clothing equivalent of not needing to have everyone like you, I guess.


I will say that — and we’ve talked about this — I get more excited these days by home stuff. Just look at these beautiful caramel striped drinking glasses!

Here’s what my eyeballs are eyeing:

A black cardigan (NOT TO COPY YOU OKAY) because I want to wear it with high waist “vintage style” denim with no shirt but probably pearls a la Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy/this outfit Gabby Katz wore over to my apartment recently. I need a high neck and inconsequential buttons for my look to work.

I’d carry this tortoise shell bag

And as with those khakis, I’m still working on the shoes.

Some other things I’d wear with that cardigan:

These leather trousers by &OtherStories

(Not for the cardigan, but look at this croc embossed skirt — I should definitely get this, huh?)

MAYBE I’d wear it with this Georgia Alice silver skirt…although that combo doesn’t feel right — but the skirt does.

Better yet, that skirt + this Mango sweater with a scarf next.

Mango has SO MUCH GOOD STUFF RIGHT NOW, as a fun PSA. Their website styling is also making me want a pair of white tall boots.

None of this is good for the cleaning and realigning of my closet. Oy.

P.S. I wonder if you’re going to go to Paris, then come back and be like “I WAS WRONG ABOUT EVERYTHING I EMAILED YOU. IT IS ALL ABOUT GRAPE COLORED EVERYTHING AND PRINTED LLAMAS” (or something).

On Sep 25, 2018, 11:59 p.m., Leandra M. Cohen wrote:

Haha, here’s hoping that’s what happens! I managed to fit the sum of 12 outfits (made up on like, 10 garments) into a carry on suitcase but am pretty sure I’m going to get there and feel like ???????? I have nothing to wear! ??????????

I am very inspired by your bare-chested cardigan and “vintage style” jeans + pearls. Or maybe I’m validated. I prefer a v-neck cardigan partigan but if you remember this, I wore one with pearls and some leggings and clogs during NYFW. To synagogue on Rosh Hashana, I wore a navy one with that gigantic Cecilie Bahsen skirt, which I wish I was taking to Paris, but it doesn’t fit in my suitcase for ants. Maybe I’m not as lost as I think I am! Or maybe we are lost together. Remains to be seen.

I’m inspired by all your links, tbh. That Mango sweater is really good. So is the Georgia Alice skirt (I am more and more interested in bias-cut anything these days). This skirt by Edition 10 is good too! But I still prefer the silver. I’d go for this Staud bag in place of your link, though, and you know who has cheeky stuff for the home? Shopbop. Cermaic ice cream cone? Sign me up! This Venetian glass thing from The Line is beautiful too.

One other look I’m going to explore for fall: a satin gown like this one, with a fuzzy jacket like this one and combat boots. Also needs a pair of good earrings. I really like all the silver stuff Agmes is doing right now.

As a non sequitur, I like this gold chain necklace from Mango to wear with a navy blue sweatershirt (why is this one $5???) and leggings (I can’t find good navy leggings, do you have a rec, or what?) plus flat mules as well.

I tracked down that Christopher Kane dress, btw. Should I get it or what? It’s not cheap but fuck it I’m feeling reckless! And in things I definitely will not be buying but so, so, so enjoy looking at and appreciate for existing, this Gucci puffer coat. The most satisfyingly ironic evening coat I have encountered in recent memory. These joggers from Gucci are also pretty neat.

What are your thoughts on faux fur, btw? This robe coat by Toteme is great. They just started making a tote in the same faux fur. Man Repeller needs to make a tote. Long live Hervé Chapelier!

On Sep 25, 2018, 2:48 p.m., Amelia Diamond wrote:

Leggings first while the hunt is hot on my mind:

I like Tory Sport’s. Here are the “Essential” cropped, and the “Essential” long.

There’s also Girlfriend’s compressive high rise leggings in navy, but also a million colors.

And that sweatshirt is $5.00 because it is for kids! (Did that just give you a cereal craving or what?)

I never got to see you on your cardigan day! But I saw the picture and the outfit rules. You looked like how you (Leandra, specifically) hang out in your apartment, in a really good way. Just last night as I put on this weird blue sweatshirt that I only wear around the apartment, sometimes to the gym, and this really weird T-shirt that I’m not sure how I acquired and these PJ shorts that are cool with their PJ top but random without the context, I thought about how it would be nice to even start to discard the things that are cozy but don’t exactly make me feel like I look my best. Although sometimes I find that I fully gravitate toward that deliberate coziness-that-is-also-kind-of-ugly, like if I’m sick or something. I know a lot of people do the opposite: dress up when you’re feeling crappy or cold to combat the negativity, but there’s someTHING about leaning into it, too… Either way, I’d rather not have a T-shirt that I don’t know how I acquired if it doesn’t make me feel good because it’s neither comforting NOR cozy if it bothers me in the mirror.


(Note to self.)

Ok re: Christopher Kane… I don’t know… It is so much! It is also definitely very fun. It’s certainly a closet treasure. Did you get it already? Is it the marabou you like since that’s also on the Staud bag you sent me? I love that bag but I was actually about to send you a similar Staud dress to see if I need it. I’ve been thinking about it since Haley sent me the purple top version and think the answer is yes probably, although it is SUPER holiday and the purple top (which might scratch your Christopher Kane itch? Maybe?) is a little more wearable.

Really into those Agmes earrings and the fact that you’re back into silver. Don’t mind me if I get back into silver, too.

As for faux fur, to quote Randy Jackson from American Idol, it’s a yes from me. Have you shown me that robe before? It looks so perfect for this rainy day. Not to wear outside but to cuddle up in. On my couch where this pillow could potentially live, if it wanted to.

Just a few quick stream of conscious questions for you, please, before I sign off even though by the way I’m writing I can already tell my brain is out to lunch (meanwhile I’m really hungry, just had a weird soup, and I HATE soup):

Y/N should I get these stamped croc mules? I love them. Wish they didn’t have the bow so they were more subtle but non shoemakers can’t be choosers.

What about this Lizzie Fortunato necklace? Do you have it, actually, and that’s why I like it?

And what are your thoughts on this pink oxford with distressed seams by Rowing Blazers? Is it cool or does it look like “why would you spend that on something with distressed seams?”

I g2g, time to hunt for ye olde “vintage style” jeans.

On Sep 25, 2018, 8:43 p.m., Leandra M. Cohen wrote:

I have so many things to say. The first is that I’m pretty sure soup is making a culinary comeback, so not to mine your personal narrative for material, but if you want to expound upon why you hate it, it really might make for a nice model congress accent against my plea for its resuscitation. That’s one. Two: I totally hear you on deliberately looking “bad” at home — it can be so satisfying! Like eating a pack of m&ms when you’ve just finished a sleeve of Oreos. Fashion has co-opted deliberately-ugly style all together, though, so even though it sounds like what you’re getting at is essentialism, it might also be act of rebellion towards what is so blatantly on-trend now. Three: The thing about the Staud top to scratch my Christopher Kane/Alexa Chung itch is that it deliberately needs to be a high neck! That’s the nuance about all the tops/dresses I want right now. No open necks here — something about them feels a bit dated with jackets worn over them. Do you know what I mean?

Now for your questions!!! Would you wear the Brother Vellies sandals with socks? Because I like them for socks — you’d just need to make sure they’re like, fancy SLT socks with grips on the bottom of them so your feet don’t slip out of them. I don’t have that Lizzie necklace, no, but I have a similar one, which I would love to lend to you because that’s what friends are for. And I say eh to the Rowing Blazers top — I like that brand so, so much, but feel like that top is a parody of your personality and I’d rather see you wearing this top with these jeans, a jacket, and then throw in these sunglasses and this bag (can I borrow the sunglasses tho?).

Meanwhile, I fell down a Tory Sport rabbit hole because of your links, and on a scale from 1 to Not at all, how badly do I need an ivory tennis polo (I don’t play tennis). This Ganni one is cute too! To pair with some bright green pumps? And knit pants?

Eh, the green and red together is aggro. I’ll stick to leggings, flat mules, and coats RN. About to board a flight, but here are your jeans!

You’re welcome, good night, I love and will see you when I am back!

Photos by Louisiana Mei Gelpi featuring Maryam Nassir Zadeh pumps, Trademark bucket bag, Oliver Peoples sunglasses, Montunas tortoiseshell box bagBrother Vellies mules, Lizzie Fortunato necklace, Laguna B glasses

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