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On aging and trends
A few weeks ago I was waiting outside of Ursula, a trendy breakfast burrito spot in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, and noticed that half the other people waiting for their burritos around me were wearing an assortment of loose, wide-legged acid-washed jeans, Birkenstocks with socks, Crocs, and crop tops. I wondered aloud to my husband: when did the memo go out that this is what’s on-trend now? Why is everyone wearing ugly clothes ironically? Why would you seriously wear socks and sandals?
It reminded me of how I recently saw a tweet from a young journalist on the first truly warm day in May that read: “wishing everyone luck on the hard launch of their crop tops today!” I immediately thought: that will not be me, not ever.
Relatedly, there’s also been a lot of talk lately about the supposed “wars” between Gen Z and Millennials over jeans. Gen Z is bringing back low rise jeans, and Millennials hate it. Millennials are clinging to their skinny jeans, even though they’re “over” and looser jeans are in. A wave of defiant blog posts and Tiktoks from 30-something and 40-something women telling off the Gen Z teens, proclaiming they’d be keeping their high-waisted, skinny jeans.
When I first saw the conversation about the supposed generational wars over denim, my reaction was: I don't really care what the trend is — I like my high rise, skinny jeans, and don’t plan on swapping them out any time soon. I am not having even the slightest bit of FOMO about all the twenty-somethings wearing crop tops. At drinks with friends recently, I was wearing an olive green shawl-like open sweater, and my friend said it looked like “a millennial Eileen Fisher, in a good way.” Maybe my style is more menocore. (I did sort of cave and buy a pair of fun colored slides that bear a passing resemblance to Birkenstocks, but you won’t catch me wearing them with socks. Crocs are still a bridge too far for me.)
All of these collected recent moments made me realize that one of the great things about getting older and putting some distance between yourself and your teens and twenties is realizing that I no longer care about, or am even affected by, whether what I’m wearing is on trend.
There’s a difference between style and following trends, after all. It’s much more fun to cultivate your own sense of style, define what you like and dislike. The upside to getting older is feeling total freedom to just wear what you like, letting go of feeling the pressure to conform to trends. There is a sense of being comfortable enough with where you are in your life that you worry less about what other people will think, and realize that most of the time, people aren’t thinking about you at all; they’re busy worrying about their own issues.
Of course, that mentality, and the decision to willfully ignore trends, probably makes us uncool. Remember being teenagers and thinking that moms were so unstylish? (Except my own mom, obviously! Hi Mom!) In hindsight, I realize that the moms we deemed “unfashionable” weren’t hopelessly uncool; they had simply made a choice to wear whatever they wanted. They had attained a level of emotional maturity where they no longer felt chained to following trends. (And maybe they knew that their high-waisted jeans were going to be back in style by 2017.)
Now that I’m on the other side, closer to “mom” age than my teens, I get it. I relish it. It’s nice not having to worry about being cool anymore.
Good things to read
The real Zola, Vulture.
Why American women everywhere are delaying motherhood, New York Times.
The app that monetized doing nothing, The Atlantic.
Just be rich, Esquire. Why do celebrities like Chrissy Teigen spend so much time on social media? And related: Why Bo Burnham, Jenna Marbles, and Shane Sawson all logged off, Buzzfeed.
The cult of busyness, Vice.
An oral history of The Devil Wears Prada, Entertainment Weekly.
I hired a cooking therapist to deal with my anxiety, Bon Appetit.
You need a better out of office message, Galaxy Brain.
Good things to cook
Cooking with summer produce is the best! This week I made this sesame snap pea chicken salad, baked Greek shrimp with tomatoes and feta (I added zucchini too), and a rainbow veggie stir fry with crispy tofu.
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