Posted in Man Repeller

Summer’s Simplest (But Arguably Best) Outfit Recipe

I can basically get through summer wearing nothing but some variation of this uniform: 1 part denim shorts, 1 part white shirt. Which denim shorts? Which white shirt? That’s the magic part. Start with whatever’s in your closet, and get creative.

That’s what I did here, in collaboration with two of my denim-shorts-and-white-top-wearing friends, Samra and Patricia. To come up with our ideas, we dove into conversations with you on Man Repeller’s Thoughtline and explored the comments from this personal shopping story. Here, our best bets for styling these two summer staples.

Make it Short and Sweet, by me (Elizabeth)

A vintage white blouse is one step more stylish than a plain, white tee—and it requires fewer accessories to pull everything together. I recommend a vintage cotton option with fun embroidery or other detailing. When buying a vintage blouse, check your material! Breathable linen or cotton will treat you best in hot weather. The sleeves will stay rolled-up far better than, say, silk, when it gets too hot to have your arms fully covered.

I paired my cotton shirt with a pair of casual cut-offs to tone down the top’s sweetness. I’ve had these shorts for many years; to keep them soft, I wash them minimally and let them have some time in the sun—giving them a bit of a fade, which I like. For a pair that’s a bit more fun, I very much love these $55 upcycled shorts from Studio One Eighty Nine, which come in size XS to XXXL.

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Samra Michael Embraces Length

Denim Shorts and White Blouses

I tucked my white sleeveless mock-neck top into my black denim Bermuda shorts, offsetting the casual combination with a pair of white loafers. I kept my accessories simple yet fun by mixing a pair of silver abstract earrings, a gold watch, and my favorite funky rings.

Bermuda shorts have been a staple in my wardrobe because I find them to be figure-flattering and also pair nicely with crop tops and cute kicks. You could say this is my summer uniform. I am also really just a sucker for longer-length shorts in general: linen, denim, low-rise, high-rise, distressed, I’m here for all of it. As for the top half: I paired the long shorts with the sleeveless top because I enjoy the little-top-big-pants aesthetic.

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Patricia Nygaard Deconstructs The Basics

Denim Shorts and White Blouses

Here’s the simple approach: I was inspired to mirror the knots on my favorite white knotted sandalsWhite button ups feel really proper to me, so having a deep open-neck and wearing it braless is a fun play on a classic look.

Denim Shorts and White Blouses

To take it a step further, I tied the sleeves around my chest and tucked away the ends of each sleeve. From there, I brought the tails of the shirt around the front to my waist. 

The tube top inversion creates an easy canvas for accessories, so I’m wearing all my staples: jewelry passed on from family and given to me by sweet friends. The fan is a summer essential from Glazed NYC’s 2019 “Follow Me” collection, created by my friends Shelby Macklin and Banna Nega, and it paired perfectly with these vintage gold foil and lucite heels.

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How do you wear your summer uniform? Any additional summer market requests for us? Pop ‘em in the comments below!

The post Summer’s Simplest (But Arguably Best) Outfit Recipe appeared first on Man Repeller.

Posted in Man Repeller

The Secret to Successful Search Terms on eBay, Etsy, and More

Have you signed up for MR Thoughtline yet? It’s Man Repeller’s new text-based service that lights up phone screens with good bits from around the internet, opportunities to chat with cool people, and digital recesses to help your mind take a break from the news in favor of a recipe, physical activity or, trust us, very useful WFH outfit ideas. Subscribe here.


If this story had a doormat, it would say, “THE REST IS SEARCH HISTORY,” and you might ask where I bought it. Welcome. Take a seat. Would you like something to drink? And would you like to hear the whole story of how I tracked down the Murano glass in which your drink is served? If so, you have come to the right place.

The Rest Is Search History stems from my inherent nosiness: I want to hear about other peoples’ hyper-specific search terms, guarded like sapphires at the Smithsonian, their laborious and surprising journeys down various shopping rabbit holes, and the elaborate shopping strategies they’ve honed over time.

Today’s guest is Allie Burns, a remarkably efficient and process-oriented person who knows how to find exactly what you want on the Internet. Her qualifications are impressive: In the past, she’s been able to find a Fendi backpack she stalked for two years and a coveted Miu Miu rain hat. Below, Allie details how to find high-value designer items for low prices on eBay—and how using Etsy like a social network can be the most streamlined way to find what you like.


Allie Burns, advisor in virtual communications and efficiency, vgoodthings.com

You’ve devised a particular system for shopping on eBay, specifically for fashion. Can you walk me through that? How did you cultivate this system? My dad was really into eBay when I was a kid, during the early days of eBay (1998-2002). So I understood eBay’s layout and how to search/filter eBay early. My first eBay purchase was a lot of Betty and Veronica comic books in 1998. I started buying bulk pink North Face fleeces and reselling them on eBay in 2002, making about $22 profit per jacket. I actually found it fun to be in the world of online commerce at a young age.

In college and early in my career (2010 era), I simply could not afford the clothes I wanted to wear. I wanted pleated skirts from the Prada runway, Brunello Cucinelli-level cashmere crop tops, and YSL floor-length dusters, but my wallet wasn’t really in tune with my taste. I spent many late nights browsing eBay (and Etsy and The RealReal), experimenting with search terms and “tricks” to find whatever I wanted in my wardrobe. I started to organize the most effective searches and the most effective methods of searching for a typical item. This developed over time into (1) quite a nice little wardrobe, (2) a reputation as a great gift-giver, and (3) consistent requests to “find something” for a friend.

eBay utilizes some of the same search logic as Google: This is called “Boolean” logic and allows you to use AND, OR, and NOT to get specific on the keywords included in a search. So if I want to see Chloé collection, I have to be very specific with my search, since writing “Chloe” will bring you everything with the word Chloe in it. My search for an item by chloe starts with |(CHLOÉ, chloe) (Phoebe, Philo, stella) -men -mens -see|. This ensures that I am not getting children’s dresses called “the Chloe dress,” nor am I getting See by Chloé, but I’m getting Phoebe Philo or Stella McCartney-era Chloé, which is important.

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At a certain point, I had a long Excel sheet of eBay search URLs that brought in the really good stuff. At the time, I was scraping Net-a-Porter, Barneys, and The RealReal’s designer index pages, then plugging those names into custom URLs. Once you understand Boolean logic and learn the language of an eBay search URL, you can start getting more custom in how you search.

Provided that my search was already filtering against designers appearing on Net-a-Porter (for example), I could search something more simple—like a black coat. For example searching |(coat, jacket, trench) (xs, small, 0, 00, petite) black| into eBay without the designer filter would bring you lots and lots of coats of many questionable qualities. But if you do that same search only against the Net-a-Porter designer index, you start your process with an automatic quality filter. Then you organize this search by watch count (the number of users watching an item) and voilà—you have some coat contenders for fall.

eBay’s search can be organized into an RSS feed through an RSS reader. RSS readers are a bit dated in 2020 (Google Reader discontinued in 2013, for instance), but many still exist: I use feedly.com, for example. You can plug custom searches into an RSS feed and create your own mini widget, for free! I created my first version of this in 2014 and found it extremely helpful. I wasn’t browsing eBay anymore; I was browsing my curated version of eBay.

In 2017, I worked with a fantastic developer to develop selected versions of my RSS feeds to the public through vgoodthings.com. Vgoodthings is a very simple website that runs itself (there’s no customer service or person behind this site), and the search feeds can get a bit wonky (the term “Vetements” was bringing in French auctions of bulk children’s clothes, for a minute). But the site does come through with some rare gems. I used to update the vgoodthings Instagram to show the most iconic items I was finding. It’s been a few years, but I’ll come back to it soon!

I also discovered some sites that had really useful access to “exclusive” eBay API. One of those is collectorsweekly.com, where you can organize a search based on how many people are watching a particular auction. A very helpful way to prioritize a very general search, you get the best items at the top as the “most watched.” Another is haberdashboard.com, which is a site specifically for curating the men’s search of eBay.

Specifically, what kind of fashion items do you search for? And what other items outside of that category have you found via your methods? Almost anything is on eBay. I imagine it can be a bit scary if you have hoarding compulsions. The developer I work with has repurposed the RSS feeds to find specialized music equipment. I’ve used the RSS feed to find rare plant sprouts, limited-edition Dior nail polish colors, cheap printer ink, Dolly Parton photo prints, ’80s runway invitations, Levi’s of a very particular quality for my boyfriend, forgotten dot-com-bubble branded T-shirts, and so on.

Do you keep a running list of things you’re on the lookout for (I imagine probably eBay alerts?) or is it more intuitive, like when you come across something you’d like to buy, you implement your process? A bit of both. I have RSS feeds always running against searches I’m interested in at that moment. For instance, right now I’m looking for luxury designer board games or decks of cards as a gift for someone, and I have that search plugged into all the tools with alerts.

Any other tricks for tracking things down online? When should I use eBay, and when should I search for something on Etsy or The RealReal instead?

For eBay

If you are looking for the lowest possible price for the highest quality items (i.e. you have $10 to buy something worth $1.5K), eBay delivers. It is high risk, high reward. There are sellers who don’t know the value of what they are selling, or they do what is called a “fat finger” and spell Ann Demeulemeester wrong (happens a lot) and no one can find their auction so a pair of $1,000 boots sells for $25. That’s where eBay is unique and especially rewarding.

I recommend only shopping eBay for one-size-fits-all items or items that can run the risk of being oversized without sacrificing “the look” (like jackets and sweaters). I rarely use eBay to find good shoes because it’s too much of a risk in terms of fit.

eBay is also a great place to find reference imagery or archival content. Their website only saves imagery for 30 days but it can be a great source for unique content if you are in a pinch.

For Etsy

I love Etsy for simple and harmless online browsing. In 2012, Etsy was truly for crafts, but over the years it’s developed a fantastic selection of vintage designer pieces.

Etsy also includes what I call “favorite tree links.” Located at the very bottom of the product page in fine print, Etsy links to “26 favorites,” or however many people also favorited the same item. This link takes you to a list of users who favorited said item, and then you can browse like-minded people’s favorites from there. Let’s say I spend three hours trying to find the perfect lamp shade, and you, on the other side of the world, are also trying to find the perfect lamp shade. Then it’s quite beneficial if you stumble across my endless lamp shade favorites and save yourself those three hours of cold-searching lamp shades. And if you like my taste, now you can just browse everything that I like! But beware: It seems like Etsy might be trying to phase this out, as they move the link to view who favorited a product farther and farther away from the above-the-fold eyeline.

The RealReal

Once I had grown up a bit and more dollars to my name, I started to gravitate more to The RealReal for high-price items that I could not risk buying on eBay. The RealReal allows you to return an item without much hassle (in 15 days). This means I can buy something, and if it does not fit, I can return it, which can feel revolutionary when you’re used to shopping eBay or Etsy. That being said, you will not run into $3 dollar Helmut Lang skirts on The RealReal. The prices on The RealReal speak to the true value: less risk, less reward.

Is there anything Allie Burns can’t find?!? This chrome plant potter, TBD. My boyfriend and I were debating on the name of a particular house plant, and I was using Google Images to show him the scientific name. This image showed up in the search results and caught our attention—not for the plant (although the plant is beautiful) but for the particular silver planter housing the plant.

I started by Googling keywords to find it like |(pot, planter) (chrome, silver, metallic) (round, circular) and “large”|. I probably spent an hour before realizing that the word “large” needed to be mandatory. I found some planters that were close, so I reversed-image searched those to get a bit closer. All of this was via Google. At a certain point, I went on eBay and Etsy to search the same keywords but wasn’t getting any closer. By then it had been about 2.5 hours, and I was frustrated.

I started over, went back to the original article that posted this photo and realized the designers were in Amsterdam, so I started including the keywords in Dutch and French within my search. I also targeted domains ending in .nl, .de and .fr to get some new results. This led me to something very close to the planter in the photo, but it was sold out, and I knew it still wasn’t the exact one.

After talking to a magazine editor and an interior designer about it, I finally resorted to what I could have done in the beginning: sending an Instagram message to the architects that seemingly own the planter, politely inquiring where I could find it. Now I patiently await their response.

I have reason to believe this is a custom piece, but if someone can find it, I want to meet them because I have a lot to learn from that person.

I did find many other great planters along the way, so in the end all was not lost. We did purchase a planter from eBay through this experience. It looks nothing like the one we wanted but perfectly complimented a smaller plant that needed repotting.

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Graphics by Lorenza Centi.

The post The Secret to Successful Search Terms on eBay, Etsy, and More appeared first on Man Repeller.

Posted in Man Repeller

I Trolled Etsy for the Best Lamps under $100

Have you signed up for MR Thoughtline yet? It’s Man Repeller’s new text-based service that lights up phone screens with good bits from around the internet, opportunities to chat with cool people, and digital recesses to help your mind take a break from the news in favor of a recipe, physical activity or, trust us, very useful WFH outfit ideas. Subscribe here.


If this story had a doormat, it would say, “THE REST IS SEARCH HISTORY,” and you might ask where I bought it. Welcome. Take a seat. Would you like something to drink? And would you like to hear the whole story of how I tracked down the Murano glass in which your drink is served? If so, you have come to the right place.

The Rest Is Search History stems from my inherent nosiness: I want to hear about other peoples’ hyper-specific search terms, guarded like sapphires at the Smithsonian, their laborious and surprising journeys down various shopping rabbit holes, and the elaborate shopping strategies they’ve honed over time. Today’s guest is, at times, my closest confidante and archnemesis: I am interviewing myself.


Edith Young, associate editor chez Man Repeller

Your shopping rabbit hole: Cool lamps under $100 on Etsy, because they said it couldn’t be done!

Can you walk me through what going down this rabbit hole entails? On behalf of pedestrians everywhere, yes. I am a firm believer in the idea that restrictions and boundaries inspire creativity, and my search for table lamps on Etsy supports this theory. Etsy, offering both vintage and handmade/upcycled options, promotes a system of recycling that really gets my gears going. To narrow my search, I visited the “Price” toggle with my cursor, adjusting the limits from zero dollars to a maximum of $100. Search terms? “Lamps,” (so crazy that it just might work!) and also “murano lamps,” to dredge up some dupes or kindred spirits to those mushroom-shaped lamps everyone on Instagram likes so much.

From there, I tunneled through pages and pages of lamps: lots of junk, but also a good deal of treasure. This is the part where I annotate all the good stuff I found and walk you through it like it’s my own personal Etsy sub-$100 lamp showroom:

Nothing says, “Restoration Hardware, for less!” like this pair of minimal Dutch lamps. Beauties:

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The product description describes this cornflower blue lamp as “shapely.” A photo of its luminance confirms that it turns sultry when lights are low:

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Simple! Lovely! You will write the next Great American Novel under its glow in the dark of night:

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Are you, like me, bonkers for banker lamps? They should sell green eyeshades (the visors that tax accountants wore) as a package deal.

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Midcentury, a phrase that seems to mean a lot of different things to different people! I must admit, the green Italian one from the ’70s has my heart.

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Here are a few that look like you got them from a flea market:

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Some Memphis-esque solutions for what some affectionately call “nipple lights,” installed overhead in your rental when you move in:

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My favorite bar in New York is the Trailer Park Lounge, which is the kingdom of kitsch, and I love it when I find something that I’d see there. Do you want to feel like you live inside a 20th-century sitcom? Then I recommend an owl lamp with glowing eyes. With regard to the wooden sailing ship—can you be an adult and have a pirate-themed bedroom?

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If you click on the link to the cowboy lamp and it’s marked “sold,” it’s because I bought it between the time I wrote this story and we published it. One step closer to this powder room by Miles Redd.

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If you’re going to hang a skateboard on your wall, it might as well function as a source of light?:

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Dr. Seuss books were harmed in the making of this lamp:

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Just add an oceanic noise machine:

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Does anyone have a Mini Heng Balance lamp? Would love to hear your review.

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Lamp arithmetic: Green porcelain enamel… + exposed Edison bulb… = results beyond your wildest dreams. And someone out there wants a Lego lamp, I can just feel it in my bones:

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There are a lot of people who gravitate toward household items in the shape of an animal. For those people, I recommend this pair of panther lamps. These seem to be designed to also accommodate a small plant:

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As all good searches do, this quest takes me on some inexplicable tangents: take, for example, this Popeyes poster, which looks like a college graphic design project, these truly nutty life-size lamps, and from the way other side of my taste’s spectrum, this gorgeous Flowerpot lamp.

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I am also quite taken with this poodle lamp, though it exceeds my poodle lamp budget at the time of writing:

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What ultimately satiates the quest? The cowboy lamp and the green, midcentury Italian number are the two finds that speak to me, and now they duke it out for a place on my desk.

Graphics by Lorenza Centi.

The post I Trolled Etsy for the Best Lamps under $100 appeared first on Man Repeller.

Posted in Man Repeller

How to Improve Your Home Office, According to a Chic Sock Designer

Have you signed up for MR Thoughtline yet? It’s Man Repeller’s new text-based service that lights up phone screens with good bits from around the internet, opportunities to chat with cool people, and digital recesses to help your mind take a break from the news in favor of a recipe, physical activity or, trust us, very useful WFH outfit ideas. Subscribe here.


If this story had a doormat, it would say, “THE REST IS SEARCH HISTORY,” and you might ask where I bought it. Welcome. Take a seat. Would you like something to drink? And would you like to hear the whole story of how I tracked down the Murano glass in which your drink is served? If so, you have come to the right place.

The Rest Is Search History stems from my inherent nosiness: I want to hear about other peoples’ hyper-specific search terms, guarded like sapphires at the Smithsonian, their laborious and surprising journeys down various shopping rabbit holes, and the elaborate shopping strategies they’ve honed over time. This week’s theme is homewares (yesterday, we tracked down Dakota Johnson’s tea set!), and today’s guest is a woman of exquisite taste, Jenni Lee, the sock designer behind Comme Si.


Jenni Lee, Founder & CEO of Comme Si

Your shopping rabbit hole: A floor lamp for my “home office.”

During the day, my apartment gets great natural light through our skylights—our reward for living on the top floor of a walkup—but I’ve been working irregular hours lately (my work day is more spaced out because of my corona feeding schedule), and I want to find a good floor lamp.

Is it possible to be *allergic* to overhead light? Overhead light sparks a visceral reaction from me, and I’m surprised that I don’t own a floor lamp already.

Can you walk me through what going down this rabbit hole entails? For context, my “home office” = my dining/living/sitting/TV room. Our walnut dining table is now a shared desk, and I’ve swapped our matching dining chairs—which need to be replaced—another rabbit hole for another day—with two Herman Miller Cosm chairs that I brought over from my office when it became clear that quarantine would be happening.

I have a logical/methodical approach to making purchase decisions, guided by a Vitruvius + Kondo philosophy: Is it beautiful, substantial, and useful? Does it bring me joy? This will be no different.

It starts with my dream list: What would I buy if budget was not an issue? From there, I try to determine whether it’s worth a) waiting and saving for said dream item (I’ll be saving for an Ettore Sottsass Ultrafagola mirror for years), b) finding an alternative that’s more affordable and serves as a replacement for the dream item, or c) buying something that’s cheap and gets the job done, but isn’t for keeps.

My rabbit hole begins via “digital moodboarding,” a.k.a. Pinterest. I have a pre-existing board for interior inspiration, where I specifically hone in on images with lamps. Before I know it, I’m rapidly clicking to add more images to the board (the “More ideas” feature is very conducive to Alice-ing down the hole). Pinterest reminds me of collecting Pokémon and Sailor Moon trading cards—you see so many things, you want to hurry and catch them all, lest you lose them.

Looking at the board, I realize that lamps have distinct categories by shape, and I need to determine which shape is right for my space.

I try to imagine the personality of the lamp and what the lamp says about me. Does my floor lamp hinge at its midpoint, in the shape of a V? It’s reminiscent of the Pixar lamp, but at five feet tall, it’s not as cute. Do I like the slender sloping body of a U-shaped lamp? Am I a lampshade person? Is it just me or does it feel weird when a lamp with a shade is shorter than you when you’re standing up? Should the lamp be a conversation starter, or should it blend into the background? Can you tell that my moon is in Virgo yet?

On my dream list is a Frances Alder Elkins street lamp, either as a singleton or as a pair. Rather than investing in lamps as art, it seems that going with a well-designed, affordable option is the way to go.

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I Google and Pinterest-search “interior design best lamps,” “floor lamps for designers,” “floor lamp designers” in separate tabs. I open each search result in a new tab, and it takes me to specific design sites like Flos, and retailer sites like Chairish, Lampsplus.com, Ylighting.com, and 1stdibs. Before I know it, I’m also on the desktop version of Instagram, looking through #floorlamps.

I finally narrow my choices down to two options that are artful but still require a few more days of ruminating: the Muller Van Severen standing lamp and a Flos IC Lights F floor lamp.

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What ultimately satiates the quest? As I mark the ideal height of a lamp on the wall, I look up at my framed art and prints and decide that the wall needs a refresh, too. I’ve been staring at the same William Eggleston/Untitled (cocktail on airplane) print for too long. It just reminds me of how much I miss traveling, and inspires me to make another cocktail, for which I do not need additional inspiration.

About six months ago, on a late-night whim, I purchased a vintage Rolex print ad with Yo Yo Ma, and now think that it would look better as a pair or trio of similar-sized frames on the wall. I search eBay and Etsy for vintage print ads: Rolex, Range Rover, Olympics. There’s something aspirational, romantic, and nostalgic about them. I decide to check out with a Chris Evert Rolex ad, and immediately feel a sense of achievement.

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I’m going to sleep on the lamp decision, but I’d invested so much time researching and eye-shopping on the internet it seems wrong to not have something to show for it. It’s kind of like spending hours trying on Manolos and Chanels in Barneys (RIP) and leaving with a $30 hand cream on your way out, because you feel you should leave with something in hand.

Graphics by Lorenza Centi.

The post How to Improve Your Home Office, According to a Chic Sock Designer appeared first on Man Repeller.

Posted in Man Repeller

Leandra & Harling Debate: Is Getting Dressed Only Satisfying If Other People See It?

Have you signed up for MR Thoughtline yet? It’s Man Repeller’s new text-based service that lights up phone screens with good bits from around the internet, opportunities to chat with cool people, and digital recesses to help your mind take a break from the news in favor of a recipe, physical activity or, trust us, very useful WFH outfit ideas. Subscribe here.


This unusual time we’re living in puts our relationships with our own style under a new microscope. It implores us to wonder: Is the satisfaction of getting dressed in the act itself or in the experience of the outfit being witnessed? Leandra and I have different stances on this sartorial conundrum, so we convened for a healthy debate. —Harling


Leandra: I have been thinking about Edith’s question in last week’s editorial meeting, about whether the expectation of being seen by other people is the ultimate incentive to get dressed. Do you think personal style is contingent on other people seeing it?

Harling: I sure do.

Leandra: And I sure don’t. Let’s debate if you’re up for it. You try to convince me “yes” and I’ll try to convince you “no.”

Harling: Definitely up for it. Shall we begin?

Leandra: Yes.

Harling: Style is contingent upon other people seeing it because “style” as a concept implies that there’s a transaction taking place. Style is perception-based, right? So it only exists when it is perceived. Without visual dialogue, an outfit is just… clothes. I think you could say the same about writing an essay–it only becomes a story when someone else reads it. That’s why I haven’t felt motivated to put thought into what I’m wearing while in quarantine. Doing so would feel like asking a question even though no one is around to answer it–a waste of time! I definitely miss the effort of turning clothes into an outfit–which is to say, I miss the pursuit of style–but not to the extent that I’m interested in a watered-down version of it. It just wouldn’t feel the same. What about you?

Leandra: I think the answer depends on whether you consider my own perception as a part of the transaction you’re describing. Meaning: Does my perception of the outfit I’m wearing count? Because I don’t actually think personal style is contingent on other people seeing it. I get dressed in quarantine because I feel like shit when I don’t–it adds shape to my day in a way that is similar to meal planning, preparing, and consuming.

I don’t dress the same way I would if I were going out (though honestly, I feel so good when I put on jeans), but I’ve definitely applied the tenets of my personal style to the way I dress to: be home, go to the grocery store, take a walk, etc. I don’t think I get dressed for other people to see what I’m wearing–my mom used to basically chastise me for putting on “outfits” to stay home–but it doesn’t sound completely correct to say I’m not influenced by another person seeing what I’m wearing, so I’m trying to untangle that. Or maybe that’s just the whole thing–personal style is influenced by other people seeing it. But is it really contingent on that?

Harling: I admire you for continuing to put on outfits during quarantine. I wish I was the kind of person who felt the desire to do that. There’s something very pure, or iconic, about it, like making art for art’s sake. Whereas there’s something very commercial about the other side of the spectrum–the need for approval or appreciation in order to justify the “art.” I feel a little guilty falling so squarely on that side of things. I wonder what it says about my relationship with style, that I’m willing to let it fade from my life so easily. But to your point, maybe contingent isn’t quite the right word, because even though I’m not putting tons of thought into my outfits right now, I’m still thinking about outfits quite a lot. I’m still paying attention. I’m still being influenced and inspired. I love seeing the stay-home looks people like Tahirah Hairston, Mecca James-Williams, Michelle Li, Jenny Walton, Laura Kim, and Reese Blutstein have been putting together.

Leandra: For what it’s worth, I’ve never really thought of myself as someone who does art for its sake, who makes just to make. I’m very outcome-oriented! So I wonder if perhaps I’ve just replaced the outcome I used to know with the one I have now–which is the even more pervasive, global gaze of social media DUN DUN DUN. That changes the conversation entirely, although I should mention that what I wear while at home is different from what I wear to Instagram (a destination these days, IMO). Your point about thinking about outfits is interesting though–what are you thinking?

Harling: I remember a conversation we had right when you got back from maternity leave, about how posting a photo of your outfit to social media can definitely scratch the same itch as parading it around outside and/or in front of actual human eyes–maybe even more so, since it amplifies the number of people who see it. I do get satisfaction out of doing that, but at the same time it feels more like dress-up than getting dressed. Not a bad thing, just different.

Leandra: Yes that’s a good distinction — it’s definitely dress-up.

Harling: I’m thinking about what I want to wear when we’re allowed to move about in the world normally again, though it’s very unclear when that will be. I bought one of these French Madagascan market dresses, which I am very enthusiastically looking forward to wearing in the future (and maybe even in the meantime, curled up next to a sunny window with a book). My “favorites” section on The RealReal is also particularly robust at the moment. I’m hoping this blouse goes significantly further on sale, and I’m very tempted to buy this nightgown and exclusively wear it as a day dress. Have been stalking Lacoste, too, because it’s really good right now. Can’t you picture me in these terry shorts and this oversized sweatshirt??

I’ve seen jokes on Twitter about how we shouldn’t count this year toward our respective ages, and I almost feel like the same joke applies to outfits–like their potential should be frozen in time, and carried over into next year, or whenever they’re applicable again. In terms of social media though, here’s a question: When you’re excited about what you’re wearing but no one else sees it for the entire day you’re wearing it, do you feel a sense of urgency about posting some kind of evidence of it on Instagram? It’s like that saying… if a tree falls in the forest, etc. If an outfit is worn and there’s no one to see it, did it even really exist?

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Leandra: I do want to say something about your first comment, though! Because I think that is what will happen–very little fashion is being made right now, so it’s tough to think that new trends and styles of dress will come online. We’re in backwash mode–I’ve been packing up my apartment (we have finally been given the OK to move) and thumbing through hangers, deciding what to keep and what to donate and the same sensation you describe keeps coming up. As far as the outfits, I don’t post everything that I wear generally, and actually, this might sound crazy, but tend not to post what I wear and love the most because they kind of become parodies of themselves when they’re immortalized. There’s something kind of freeing about no one ever seeing them, but that freedom, I think, is wrapped up in outward perception because for as long as they’re private, like you said, they kind of never happened. Whether by the gaze of another, or click of a camera, they never get “posted.” I love that part in the cycle of an outfit’s life.

Harling: Yeah, I’ve been considering how the lack of fashion trends is making space for trends of other types (see: personality vases, a hallmark of quarantine Instagram, still lives–still want to go halfsies on one of these with me?). Do you think this era we are currently living in has broadened your conception of style to include more than just clothes in a tangible sense? In other words, because clothes matter less–even if you still maintain an interest in them–what have the parameters of your style grown to encompass?

Last week you asked me what has been occupying my time now that I’m not thinking about getting dressed, and I told you food/cooking, but I’ve also been devoting a lot more thought to home decor, and what my “taste” is in general. And while I do believe that style is predicated on other people observing it, I think of taste a little differently, more so in the vein of how you described not wanting to post the things you love and wear the most, because it becomes a parody. Taste feels like that to me–a little more precious, and also more resilient to the effects of quarantine, because it manifests in other ways.

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Leandra: I’ve been thinking a lot about where my taste appears elsewhere, too, i.e. the things that compel me to want to take a photo (it’s also like my eyes become the camera lens for a second), and I think it comes down to what we respectively perceive as beautiful, right? Like that is the boiled-down definition of taste? And when you think about beauty and its purpose/function, it is pretty unilateral, right? Example: We buy flowers to decorate our homes not for other people, but to appease ourselves. I think if we’re revisiting the question that started this conversation, personal style is an expression of taste. And while you’re finding this taste in other areas of your life that are logically more applicable to the state of now, I’m still holding on to my taste as it relates to how I dress, even though its less relevant. But that’s not where the loop closes. It might actually be where it opens because taste is an expression of beauty, and beauty is much more intimate. But this is too philosophical, I don’t even know what we’re talking about anymore. Do you?

Harling: Us at the beginning of this conversation: Let’s have a rly tactical debate where we try to convince each other of our respective stances! Us at the end of this conversation: What is the meaning of life?

We’ve definitely led ourselves down a tangent, but I enjoyed it, especially because it reminded me of this quote from Dayna Tortorici’s delightful n+1 essay about Instagram: “Elaine Scarry writes in On Beauty and Being Just that it’s characteristic of beauty to compel us to reproduce what we see.” I agree that what we’re circling around definitely ties into our relationship with beauty, but to Scarry’s point, if we’re compelled to replicate what we see, then it makes sense that quarantine is affecting the nature of that replication. I’m quarantined at my mom’s with .0005% of my usual wardrobe, and the things I have here are mostly sweats and athletic clothes, so of course I’m not inspired to replicate beauty in the form of outfits. Maybe style isn’t contingent upon other people seeing it so much as it’s contingent upon what WE are seeing. It’s probably both.

Leandra: Opening this up to Disqus — what do you (yes, you!) think?

Graphic by Lorenza Centi.

The post Leandra & Harling Debate: Is Getting Dressed Only Satisfying If Other People See It? appeared first on Man Repeller.

Posted in Man Repeller

Please Help Us Find Dakota Johnson’s China

Have you signed up for MR Thoughtline yet? It’s Man Repeller’s new text-based service that lights up phone screens with good bits from around the internet, opportunities to chat with cool people, and digital recesses to help your mind take a break from the news in favor of a recipe, physical activity or, trust us, very useful WFH outfit ideas. Subscribe here.


If this story had a doormat, it would say, “THE REST IS SEARCH HISTORY,” and you might ask where I bought it. Welcome. Take a seat. Would you like something to drink? And would you like to hear the whole story of how I tracked down the Murano glass in which your drink is served? If so, you have come to the right place.

The Rest Is Search History stems from my inherent nosiness: I want to hear about other peoples’ hyper-specific search terms, guarded like sapphires at the Smithsonian, their laborious and surprising journeys down various shopping rabbit holes, and the elaborate shopping strategies they’ve honed over time. Today’s guest is my dear friend Harling Ross, ravenous to know the answer to one question: “Who the hell makes Dakota Johnson’s china???”


Harling Ross, brand director at Man Repeller

Your shopping rabbit hole: Dakota Johnson’s china

Can you walk me through what going down this rabbit hole entails? Thank you so much for asking! Kindly gird your loins. In the beginning of March, I—like many others who consume the internet for breakfast every morning—watched Dakota Johnson’s home tour video on Architectural Digest. The video is memorable for many reasons, including the rather charmingly unkempt landscaping, and a seating card with Patti Smith’s phone number on it, but there is one thing in particular that made a permanent impression on my brain goo: Dakota’s china. It’s hot pink and navy, which sounds terrible but in this case is excellent—likewise for the dishes’ texture, which can best be described as “mottled.” The overarching aesthetic is something akin to tie-dye, or paint randomly splotched on a canvas. At the five minute mark of the video, Dakota admits that she never thought she would be a “dish person” until this particular set of china came into her life: “I mean, can you stand it?,” she asks, holding up a navy and pink-splattered mug. “They’re the coolest.”

No, I couldn’t stand it!!!! I couldn’t stand how cool these plates and saucers and mugs were. So I immediately launched a quest to discover their origins, in hopes that I might procure a similar set for myself. I started by Googling the obvious: ”Dakota Johnson dishes.” “Dakota Johnson Architectural Digest dishes.” “Dakota Johnson L.A. home tour dishes.” I didn’t find any information about the china, but I did find what is seemingly the only 100% nice thread on Reddit to ever exist, populated by a group of commenters who all agree that Dakota is “adorable” and her home is “serene” (I highly recommend reading through them—it’s healing).

I then resorted to less-than-ideal search terms like “tie-dye plates” and “paint splotch plates.” Again, no dice, though they did lead me to discover Este Ceramiche’s delightful splatter motif, not to mention an excuse to scroll through endless pages of china patterns on Mary Mahoney.

What ultimately satiates the quest? I ended up posting a photo of Dakota’s plates in Instagram Stories and asking for help. Almost immediately, my friend Susan Alexandra texted me a link to these very fun floral enamel bowls, which were so close in spirit to what I was looking for that I felt a spark of optimism. Shortly thereafter, Madeline O’Malley, market editor at Architectural Digest, responded that she would check the fact sheets to see if any info was listed for them, which caused my optimism to double in size. Prematurely, unfortunately, since no information was listed. However, she did supply me with a clue in the form of a hunch: “I bet they’re vintage Majolica.”

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I looked through all 40 pages of the search results from the keywords “majolica set” on Etsy, and though I didn’t find Dakota Johnson’s plates, I did find some incredible gems. Like these turquoise plates, and these deep green teacups, and this coordinated set of tray and jars, and this pitcher. I even found myself hankering after a set of Majolica oyster plates, despite the fact that I don’t even like oysters. Every single one of these links went into my “bookmarks” folder, which I suppose would indicate that the quest continues–more satiated than when it began, but still hankering for a taste of something slightly closer to The One. The bad news is that I haven’t found it yet. The good news is that I’ve got the benefit of time: Since my wedding has officially been postponed to next summer, I have a whole extra year to tinker with my registry.

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Graphics by Lorenza Centi.

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12 Ways to Wear Athletic Shorts, According to Everybody From Leandra to Cat Cohen

Have you signed up for MR Thoughtline yet? It’s Man Repeller’s new text-based service that lights up phone screens with good bits from around the internet, opportunities to chat with cool people, and digital recesses to help your mind take a break from the news in favor of a recipe, physical activity or, trust us, very useful WFH outfit ideas. Subscribe here.


For those who can’t stomach wearing sweatpants once the thermostat hits 67 degrees, athletic shorts are sweats’ natural successor. I love every permutation of gym shorts: the mesh short, the track short, the basketball short, the tennis short, the bike short. And I’m not alone in my enthusiasm, based off of how quickly the Staud/New Balance shorts sold out in most sizes.

For whatever reason, unisex and mens’ athletic shorts often nail the silhouette with more consistency than womens’ do. I’ve got my eyes on some Only NY, Boast, and Tracksmith options in that genre, as well as the Everyday Shorts by Everybody.World and Petrified Goods’ take on the Patagonia baggie. Eric Emanuel’s shorts product page is like my adult equivalent of Dylan’s Candy Bar. Etsy reigns supreme as my personal favorite source of nylon soccer and collegiate mesh shorts: The site is ablaze with vintage options that combine a good, old-fashioned fit with high-quality materials and retro logos. Looking for ways to style the infamously casual gym short, I asked around and secured some recommendations from friends near and far.


Leandra Medine Cohen, founder of Man Repeller

Men’s Shorts Reign Supreme

How did you land on these shorts? I did not technically land on them as it seems like that would necessitate air travel, but I bought them last summer, about a year after Harling gently tucked them into my subconscious, with the intention of styling them for work/socializing (so not for exercise). A month later, I ended up finding these, which I actually like better, but this outfit asked for the white ones so here we are.

Walk me through your thought process of putting together this outfit: These days, I put on clothes to accommodate the desire to motivate myself to go outside (it’s not as easy as I’d have thought to push myself out the door when I’m leaving to walk aimlessly). To do this, the outfit has to be comfortable enough in the event that I’m compelled to walk really far once I’ve stepped outside, but it also must get me excited enough to get out there and parade around in, for example, a ridiculous collar, because putting on a T-shirt and leggings often won’t do it if, as mentioned, I’m doing so aimlessly. A good indicator that I have succeeded is when I want to take a picture and immortalize the outfit.

What’s the ideal location for wearing this ensemble? 89th and 5th: Hit up the reservoir (with your gym shorts) after a tango at the Guggenheim (funky collar, do you like art or something?) and breathe in the Fifth Avenue air (fancy jacket).

Catherine Cohen, comedian

Men’s Shorts Reign Supreme

How did you land on these shorts? I needed tight li’l shorts that wouldn’t go up into my hole when I jogged! Also, as someone who was traumatized by low-rise jeans in the early 2000s, I always need the safety/nuance/elegance of a high waist. I typed “high-waisted bike shorts” into a search engine and the rest is HERstory! XO

Walk me through your thought process of putting together this outfit: I’ve been wearing this fur-collared yellow cardigan on all of my business Zoom calls to “bring the fun.” Is it working? No one knows! Also, I took an improv class (brag) in 2011 with this cool girl (had short bangs), and she wore bike shorts with everything, so this is an homage to my past… in a time when we are so uncertain of the future? That’s beautiful. Top it all off with a bejeweled headband (star on top of Xmas tree vibes), and you’re set for a day of sitting near your devices!

What’s the ideal location for wearing this ensemble? This is a great look for lounging on the couch and comparing yourself to everyone you’ve ever met via Instagram or gazing into your open fridge while picking a fight about something your boyfriend said seven months ago as he does the dishes for the fourth time in a row. The possibilities are endless!

Harling Ross, brand director at Man Repeller

Men’s Shorts Reign Supreme

How did you land on these shorts? These are the ultimate sweats-to-shorts transitional style, because they resemble and feel like sweatpants in every respect except length. Speaking of length, they happen to hit at what I would consider the sweet spot: somewhere between thigh and knee. Not too long, not too short. As Goldilocks would say: just right.

Walk me through your thought process of putting together this outfit: I wish there was a thought process to walk you through! Beyond the fact that tie-dye and stripes are two of my favorite patterns to intermix, and that I tend to prioritize comfort above all else these days, there’s not much else to report.

What’s the ideal location for wearing this ensemble? I would love to add a navy bucket hat and white Tevas over the socks and wear it to a farmer’s market.

Ziwe, Comedian

Men’s Shorts Reign Supreme

How did you land on these shorts? These shorts are absolutely from high school. My athleticwear consists of free T-shirts from Walk for Hunger and whatever gear I didn’t throw away from my years running track. I got these shorts from a grizzly, bearded man named Blaine, who ran my high school’s equipment room.

Walk me through your thought process of putting together this outfit: The thought process behind this outfit is, “How do I trick myself into caring about anything?” Doing my makeup and turning looks are the only things that energize me during quarantine.

What’s the ideal location for wearing this ensemble? The ideal place to wear this ensemble is hiking through the Spanish countryside with my future husband, Raul (name + region subject to change!).

Ansley Morgan, stylist

Men’s Shorts Reign Supreme

How did you land on these shorts? I came back to Georgia for my birthday in March and never left. I only packed for four days. As a result, I have become reacquainted with my college wardrobe, which consisted of oversized T-shirts and Nike shorts—the uniform for southern sorority girls. I sold a lot of my Nike shorts before I moved, but held on to the most unique and fun ones. I kept this orange and pink pair for obvious reasons.

Walk me through your thought process of putting together this outfit: When I make the decision to wear something as bold as these shorts, I decide to commit to that color palette. This Nikki Chasin top, which I’m very thankful I packed, fit the bill. It is cool and comfortable, making it appropriate for spring and summer. I wanted to style the shorts in a fun way that also elevated them. So I threw on my necklaces from Brinker & Eliza and Hey Harper. The final touch were these shoes from Labucq that I can’t wait to wear on the streets of New York when I finally return.

What’s the ideal location for wearing this ensemble? I would wear this outfit to lay about in the park with my friends. We would all be safely distanced and dining on our own personal wine and cheese pairing.

Tiffany Wilkinson, creative director at Man Repeller

Men’s Shorts Reign Supreme

How did you land on these shorts? The past four summers, I’ve been a faithful Patagonia Baggies devotee. They are the perfect short to take you through a summer’s day, whether hiking, biking, jogging, swimming, or just trying to stay cool on the subway platform when it’s 100 degrees. They pack well and dry quickly. You can fit a tennis ball in the pocket, and the five-inch inseam offers a good amount of thigh coverage, without looking too frumpy.

Walk me through your thought process of putting together this outfit: Memorial Day is around the corner and like most folks, I’m going nowhere! As the adage goes: “Dress for the vacation you want, rather than the vacation you have.” So here I am ready for the beach. No travel, no problem!

What’s the ideal location for wearing this ensemble? This outfit’s spiritual home is Jamaica, a place I’ve never been to but would love to visit one day. Seeing as a trip to the Caribbean is off the table for the foreseeable future, I’ll be wearing this outfit to brighten up my regular walk through Greenwich Village to the Hudson River and back to my apartment in Alphabet City.

Naomi Elizée, Associate Market Editor at Vogue and Podcast Host

Men’s Shorts Reign Supreme

How did you land on these shorts? They’re from Outdoor Voices! OV is my go-to athletic brand, and I have these bike shorts in every color.

Walk me through your thought process of putting together this outfit: It’s all about comfort for me these days. I have an action-packed day full of Zoom meetings, so I wanted to remain comfortable but still be stylish. I opted for my beloved Chopova Lowena top so I can give the illusion on Zoom that I am more dressed up than I actually am! I paired the top with my OV bike shorts and these incredibly comfortable slippers from Nomasei. I added the sunglasses for a bit of flair for when I work out of the backyard this afternoon.

What’s the ideal location for wearing this ensemble? From my couch to the kitchen to the backyard! This is the ultimate WFH fit.

Elizabeth Tamkin, market strategist at Man Repeller

Men’s Shorts Reign Supreme

How did you land on these shorts? I saw someone wearing them on Instagram’s Explore page—which I frequently visit these days—at the very start of quarantine. I love that they’re sweatpants material, flare out a little bit, and, because they’re mens, a bit oversized. Oh, and the pockets are fantastic for hiding dog treats to distract my dog while I’m working,

Walk me through your thought process of putting together this outfit: I usually wear these shorts with just a tank top or cami and a bunch of necklaces (must look presentable on my video calls!). Here I am wearing a cream-colored fisherman sweater over the cami. I find myself dressing monochromatically a lot these days. So from start to finish: I pulled out the shorts from the pile of clothes I wear the most, put on my favorite ribbed tank, got chilly so added a sweater, and put on shoes that I actually just wear around my apartment these days (yes, their soles are clean!).

What’s the ideal location for wearing this ensemble? The Man Repeller office, which is where I wish I were. Or sitting cool and comfortable at brunch with friends… or more realistically with my quarantine partner—formally known as Man Repeller’s Friday Happy Hour bartender—on the couch with a giant bowl of cereal (light on the milk please!)

Iman Hariri-Kia, Sex & Relationships Editor at Bustle and MR contributor

Men’s Shorts Reign Supreme

How did you land on these shorts? These Nike basketball shorts were stolen straight out of my partner’s closet. I stumbled upon them when I was looking to steal a pair of his fun, patterned swim trunks, but I couldn’t find them, and thus, settled for these bad boys instead. (Plus, I don’t think he “balls” that often.) I love the navy, white, and gray color combo, and the fit reminds me of my high school P.E. shorts, pre-rolled, which I’ll admit I never thought I’d be nostalgic for. But alas, here we are!

Walk me through your thought process of putting together this outfit: Well, I started with the shorts, which are sort of hilariously long and oversized, so I knew from the get-go that I wanted to play with proportion. My white Dickies T-shirt is perfectly cropped, but this vintage lightweight blazer is similar in dimension and scale to the shorts. In some ways, they feel like a set, even though they’re complete opposites. The concept makes me giggle—the idea that I could break into a brisk jog or a power walk on my way to a business luncheon. If I had literally anywhere to go, I’d pair this with a naked heel from Staud. Instead, I’m wearing white ankle socks. Still chic, no?

What’s the ideal location for wearing this ensemble? I’d wear this to a breakfast meeting with an old co-worker, who started at the company as an assistant. We made our way up the ranks together, but he made a surprise departure from the business. Mid-way through deviled eggs and whipped buttermilk pancakes, he tells me he’s starting his own firm and taking half my clients. I’m devastated! I take my cold brew and splash it right in his face, blam! But then, the big reveal: I had him tailed and knew what he was planning. And I’m suing him for breaking his non-compete. He confesses that he’s in love with me, and we passionately embrace. Then I tell him that I still intend to take him for all he’s worth, before strutting out of the restaurant, still sipping on the remainder of my coffee and leaving him with the check.

Also, in this scenario, I am Samantha Jones.

Lauren Chan, founder and CEO, Henning

Men’s Shorts Reign Supreme

How did you land on these shorts? In a former life, I was a basketball player. These are the team shorts from when I played on Team Ontario as a teenager.

Walk me through your thought process of putting together this outfit: Since the shorts are super Canadian, I grabbed the most Canadian top I could find: a vintage Roots sweater. Everything I’m wearing these days is comforting, and above all else, easy. No styling, all ease.

What’s the ideal location for wearing this ensemble? Am I socially allowed to say anywhere beyond my apartment?

Zoe Schlacter, textile designer and artist

Men’s Shorts Reign Supreme

How did you land on these shorts? I picked out these athletic shorts because I like that they are masculine-looking while still fitting well. Wearing them right now because they have an elastic waistband.

Walk me through your thought process of putting together this outfit: This top by my friend Tyler McGillivary is my current favorite garment—I’ve been wearing it a ton lately. It’s pretty silky and glam, and I love how it looks with something casual on the bottom. I’m wearing the boots because they make me feel tough!

What’s the ideal location for wearing this ensemble? For a walk around the block with my partner and their dog!

Hannah Mosman, apparel designer & stylist

Men’s Shorts Reign Supreme

How did you land on these shorts? I love these shorts because they’re made from a super comfy tricot knit and have piping down the front. They also remind me of Armie Hammer’s shorts in Call Me By Your Name.

Walk me through your thought process of putting together this outfit: I enjoy looking to athletic styling from the 1980s and ’90s, when workout pieces were less “technical” and more casual, and often paired with denim, button-downs, or other non-athletic apparel. Taking that direction in combination with any excuse to dress like Leo DiCaprio in Romeo + Juliet, I paired it with my favorite tropical-print camp-collar shirt belonging to my partner. I live in this cotton Calvin Klein sports bra already, but it also felt like a key inclusion. Tube socks and neck chain followed suit as parts of a natural ’80s progression.

What’s the ideal location for wearing this ensemble? Ideally, I would wear this ensemble with a tan while exploring Old San Juan, Puerto Rico.

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The post 12 Ways to Wear Athletic Shorts, According to Everybody From Leandra to Cat Cohen appeared first on Man Repeller.

Posted in Man Repeller

I Only Want to Wear Button-Downs Right Now (& These Are the Best Ones)

Have you signed up for MR Thoughtline yet? It’s Man Repeller’s new text-based service that lights up phone screens with good bits from around the internet, opportunities to chat with cool people, and digital recesses to help your mind take a break from the news in favor of a recipe, physical activity, or, trust us, very useful WFH outfit ideas. Subscribe here.


I was surprised when the edit team asked me to write this story, unaware I had developed a reputation as an aficionado of the button-down shirt. As I sat down to write, though, I realized that my ardor for these shirts had grown over time, without my even noticing it—basically, it’s the plot of all the best love stories. 

Here’s where it starts: When I was a child, my mother drilled into me the importance of keeping your shoes shined and having a smart coat. Maybe this is an English obsession—this longing to look “smart.” Carrying anything (besides groceries) in a plastic carrier bag was forbidden. Smart—never sloppy or schlumpy—was always the goal. 

The other factor is my weight. Throughout my adult life, it’s fluctuated up and down, along a 50-pound range. Sometimes I can wear my most beloved garments—and sometimes I can’t. By this point, I’ve developed a filing system of “too small right now” and “too big right now.” My most cherished items are the ones that I can wear at both ends of the spectrum, and oversized button-down shirts fit firmly in this category. (Along with Pleats Please and Chantelle Soft Stretch Underwear, which are also the shapeshifter’s friend.) Now, in my sixth month of pregnancy, I’m experiencing an entirely different kind of weight gain. I’m now at the point where I’ve maxed out even my biggest pants, but the button-down shirts still fit. 

Pregnant or not, I still maintain that the button-down shirt may be the most valuable player in your work-from-home wardrobe. If you’re shopping right now, adding a button-down to your cart can provide flexibility, comfort, and pizzazz in one, tidy package. (If you’re not shopping presently, I bet you have one at the back of your closet that’s due for a reevaluation.) Here, some advice for how to style it like a pro.

The First Date

My shirt obsession started with Phoebe Philo’s Céline. Here was a silhouette that looked smart, comfortable, AND fashionable. I was hooked. 

I purchased one at a Barney’s sale: oversized and white. I wore it at least once a week, with narrow black pants and sneakers—mostly Stan Smiths or slip-on Vans—for Phoebe’s entire 10-year tenure. I added similar styles from Cos so I could give my prized shirt the day off.

Phoebe styled the humble shirt with pants (of course) and as the foundation to a suit, but also in more unexpected ways—with the shirttails peeking out from under a mini skirt or as the underpinning to a short, sleeveless dress, making what would have been merely a sexy LBD suddenly more intriguing. In case you need further evidence of the powers of a button-down shirt, I present to you, 50 ways to style a shirt, courtesy of Phoebe Philo. 

 

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The Rose Ceremony

After Phobe left Céline, I searched for a new look. Around that time, The Gentlewoman profiled a pregnant Martine Rose in her London studio, and I knew I’d found my gal. (This image of Martine, beautiful and smiling with her pregnant belly peeking out from her sweats, remains burned into my memory.) I was working for Outdoor Voices at the time, and Rose’s sporty, genderless collection, with a little twist of English humor, felt completely aligned with how I wanted to look.

Martine Rose’s Spring 2018 menswear collection was inspired by Canadian photographer Trevor Hughes. I became obsessed with his photographs of bike messengers and bookmarked half the collection in ShopStyle, waiting for my favorite pieces to be reduced. Come sale time, my main score was the pink shirt from look #19. If you know me, you have seen this shirt a hundred times—I wore it mostly with biker shorts or with something sporty (like Patagonia Baggies or an Exercise Dress) underneath. Most recently, I’ve been wearing it with these Juliet Johnstone pants. You can find other shirts like this pink one for a similar look.

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The Perfect Shirt for a Zoom Call

As my pregnancy progresses, I’ve been reluctant to shop. Not only because we’re in a global pandemic and shopping feels different, more loaded now, but because maternity clothes don’t appeal to me. (Maybe I haven’t found the right maternity brand? Please tell me in the comments if I’m missing a trick here!) I’ve slowly watched my wardrobe get whittled down, as my belly outgrows everything. 

Thankfully, this shirt from Kwaidan Editions—the last of my pre-pandemic purchases—is still serving me well. If you’re a regular Man Repeller reader, perhaps you’ve seen it before, here and here. The strong color and interesting collar make it exceedingly Zoom friendly. I’ve mostly been pairing it with sweats during WFH hours or just underwear and socks for some big Risky Business energy.

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The European Vacation 

As we approach Memorial Day with non-essential travel off-limits, I’m looking for a sartorial vacation in a shirt. I have my eye on these Jacquemus options, which feel like two weeks island hopping in the Mediterranean with Luke Edward Hall

‘La Chemise Soleil’? Don’t mind if I do.

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The post I Only Want to Wear Button-Downs Right Now (& These Are the Best Ones) appeared first on Man Repeller.

Posted in Man Repeller

Dispatch #010: Cooking Is My New Getting Dressed, Madeline’s Like Her Dad

Have you signed up for MR Thoughtline yet? It’s Man Repeller’s new text-based service that lights up phone screens with good bits from around the internet, opportunities to chat with cool people, and digital recesses to help your mind take a break from the news in favor of a recipe, physical activity or, trust us, very useful WFH outfit ideas. Subscribe here.


Last night was one of those nights that find you awake at 1:30 in the morning feeling like it’s time to wake up, or at least certain that you will not be going back to sleep. Instead, you will lay awake and chew on thoughts that will make you feel like you’re running an emotional marathon even though when you return to the present, you will remember that you have not moved an inch. Perhaps an hour, or two hours, maybe even three, have gone by, and you probably can’t even remember what you were thinking, even though it seemed so urgent while you were thinking it. You are still physically in exactly the same place you were when you woke up all that time ago.

This seems to be a recent theme on the internal hamster wheel. Do you ever feel like you’ve run an emotional marathon even though technically, nothing has happened? I have been trying to ground these dispatches to the anecdotal events of my life—the way in which The First Big Quarantine Fight incited a revelation, how Laura running across the street unattended invited me to map out the kind of parent I’m becoming, but you know what? I have nothing to report today. I had nothing to report yesterday, or the day before, and I might not have anything to report tomorrow.

I have been taking my coffee the same way every morning, and toasting the same kind of bread, and blending the same kind of smoothie, then retreating to my room, which sweeps me up into a haze of self-imposed deadlines and video meetings and all of these conversations that are so difficult because I’m terrible at saying what I mean in a direct way. I didn’t realize this until quarantine. I mean, I must have realized it, but I never paid much attention to it. Look at that sentence, even! “I am terrible at saying what I mean in a direct way.” Wouldn’t the easier, more straightforward sentence read, “I’m not direct”?

Or maybe that’s not it, because it doesn’t sound right. My thinking is direct, but maybe my language is not. Or maybe there is something else. In any case, it’s all the same. I look out the window and when the sun is shining, I feel a wave of pressure consume me because I wish I was among the masked walkers huffing down the West Side Highway. But I’m on self-imposed deadline, so I stay inside and think about whether the muscles in my legs are starting to atrophy.

Then I hear my kids in the other room and think: How is it possible that even from quarantine, I don’t have time for them? Then I look at the time and realize it’s about to be 12:30 p.m., which means that the morning shift—time I set aside to write and think and do “the deep work,” has ended. And thus the flurry of meetings begin until it’s 5 p.m. and the greatest treat—making dinner—meets me on the other side of this door.

I set out crackers and olives and cut up vegetables, which my kids and husband eat while I basically continue to iterate on my newfangled creative pursuit of cooking. It’s no doubt replacing the mental space that getting dressed used to occupy.

And by the way, the reason it’s possible that even from quarantine I don’t have time for my kids is because I have designed it that way. I’m on a self-imposed deadline and prioritizing that. I didn’t realize this before I asked the question out loud, but Abie often has to remind me that “I’m the master of my domain” because I routinely act like someone else is ordering me to live my life this way.

Back to the cooking: It’s different from getting dressed because even though the desire to do it is the same (create something new), it is much more satisfying to create something for the express purpose of giving it to another person. Sure, an outfit can inspire an onlooker, even provoke joy or incline them to take action, but the direct satisfaction of making something that fills another person up… it is a different kind of pleasure. Last night, for example, I fried shallots and capers in olive oil then poured it over a bed of arugula to serve with the fish I was baking, also drenched in capers and olive oil—with pitted kalamata olives and a couple of Meyer lemons, sliced up.

It was tasty as anything— I loved it so much, but even more, I loved that Abie loved it so much and that my kids scarfed it down. At one point, Madeline bit into an olive that had a pit in it and Abie yelled, mostly because he was scared she would choke, but it embarrassed her, it seems, and she started to quivering-lips-blue-in-the-face cry rather hysterically. This isn’t the first time it has happened—this enormous sense of embarrassment that arrives when she thinks she has done something wrong even though she has not. It causes her to cry hysterically which leads me to believe she’s very sensitive. I don’t know what that feels like, but Abie does, which I know because every time it happens, he’s triggered. He says, “Oh, Madeline, you’re like your dad.”

So I try to think about how to expel the shame. Is she feeling shame? She did nothing wrong. She is not wrong. Lately, instead of saying, “Don’t cry, it’s okay,” which I admit is a tempting reaction, I explain to her what is happening. I say, “You bit into an olive that had a pit in it and Dad got scared you would choke on it and that scared you. I know.” And I let her cry. I don’t say anything about wrong or right and I don’t tell her to stop, but I hold her hand if she will accept the grasp. I’m not at all sensitive, so theoretically, I could say I don’t know if this is the right response, but I know that it is because when I do it, it opens up my heart too. It enables me to see that:

-I’m not a terrible communicator. It just takes me more time to get to the point.

-I’m choosing to sit in this room and write. It is not a dungeon. It’s a fortress. My leg muscles are fine.

-If I feel that I’m not spending enough time with my kids, I can change my process. It is as simple as that.

I am the master of my domain and this—approaching a conclusion, feeling the relief of giving myself permission to unleash the process of getting there—is my domain. What is yours?

Graphic by Lorenza Centi.

The post Dispatch #010: Cooking Is My New Getting Dressed, Madeline’s Like Her Dad appeared first on Man Repeller.

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I’ve Upgraded My Beauty Routine to… Bronzer and Perfume

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I caught a glimpse of my reflection in the mirror the other day. My skin was so white it was green—that same, drained-looking translucency I see in the winter when I’m spending so little time outdoors that we—my skin and me—become a stranger to natural light. The bags under my eyes were starting to droop and there was a ring of white around my lips like I had not washed my mouth after brushing my teeth.

Damn, I thought, I don’t think I can’t go on looking like this.

Now, this thinking might run counter to what you believe about me and the broader Man Repeller brand given that: (1) I don’t really wear makeup and (2) There is a misconception out there that our philosophy is rooted in looking “ugly.” But I will debunk these ideas and clarify that (1) I do wear some makeup (brow gel, lip tint), it’s just the no-makeup-makeup kind. And when I do choose not to wear any, it’s not because I’m trying to make a point. I genuinely prefer how I look without it, so the reason I don’t wear makeup is motivated by the same vanity that would probably compel me to wear it. And (2) this brand is not rooted in looking ugly. Looking ugly is as subjective as is looking pretty, but I never wish to look either because I don’t think such opaque adjectives, co-opted by predefined standards that don’t leave enough to develop my own, allow for the kind of nuance that makes an outward aesthetic interesting to discuss.

Beautiful, on the other hand, that’s a loaded fucking word. And I have a strong opinion on what is beautiful. You might call it ugly, you might call it pretty, and I am very loyal to this opinion. I do not wish to persuade you to buy into it but I do wish to persuade you to reconcile the world’s beauty standards with your own, then act out the latter. That’s what Man Repeller is really about.

When I say I could not go on looking like this, by the way, what I meant was: I could not go on feeling like this. The wilting in my face was at risk of becoming the wilting of my spirit, so I went to my bathroom to visit my makeup cabinet but did not extract the quotidian “essentials” of my erstwhile routine (the aforementioned brow gel and lip tint) but rather picked up two artifacts that would become the sum of a new routine.

See All 2

Under a “regular” circumstance, I would probably consider them the frivolities—as interchangeable and insignificant to the beholden’s gaze as the color of my underwear, but from quarantine, they have become the most used—the only!—products in my paltry rotation. I’ve spent the last 48 hours trying to figure out how to put in words the reason why, but I think it’s simpler than I’m letting on.

The reason I’m loyal to my opinion of what’s beautiful is because as time tweaks me, I let it (the opinion) change. It contracts and fluctuates and redefines itself to accommodate my shit.

And right now, I just wanna smell good. I wanna smell good because I don’t shower as much and even though the perfume does not stop Abie from participating in his new favorite hobby of shoving his nose in my armpit to see if I have body odor (nor does it change the fact that most days, I do), catching a whiff of 11:11 is a unique kind of unilateral luxury that provokes this little voice in my head who says, “See, Leandra. You haven’t given up.”

And I want my skin to look like it has been kissed by the sun because there is either a gigantic window or a cloth face mask that stands between our contact under a normal circumstance, but when I feign liveliness on my face with a dab here and a dab there, I am reminded that I’m not dead inside. It’s not a great thing that I have to be reminded, I admit, but it’s refreshing to remind myself that I’d never let that happen! I care too much!

And that caring—it’s a beautiful thing, you know?

The post I’ve Upgraded My Beauty Routine to… Bronzer and Perfume appeared first on Man Repeller.