The Closet Conspiracy (Introducing “My Most Recent Obsession”)

Probably due to the number of podcasts I listen to, I’m deeply engrossed in a new subject just about every week: from weird beauty hacks to the effect of technology on our brains to personality tests and beyond. I’m starting this newsletter so that I can share those intense yet short-lived obsessions with you! Here’s a peek at what I sent out this week.

I’m kicking off the inaugural edition of my newsletter with my most recent obsessions in the fashion and beauty category. But first, some context: I love fashion and beauty. I’m fascinated by personal style. I love thinking about it, talking about it, and writing about it. But I’ve also always felt a tension inherent in loving these things because society paints them as silly and frivolous — not something that intelligent or successful people are interested in. That idea is reflected in everything from the tee-and-hoodie uniforms of tech CEOs to a mortal fear that many women (including myself) have of looking like they’re “trying too hard.”

But I’d like to propose a different take. It’s one that many of my friends and style icons have already embraced, but I think it bears repeating here: Fashion isn’t frivolous. Personal style is a form of intimate creative expression that we engage with on a daily basis and in a very public way. I’m not talking about dressing “for your body type” or looking conventionally attractive. I’m talking about arming yourself with the clothes that make you feel like your most capable, confident, true self — whether that’s sweatpants or a silk duster or wide-leg cropped pants. (Don’t worry, we’ll get deeper into that later.) Now on to the links!

Fat Mascara Podcast

You wouldn’t think that discussion of beauty would lend itself well to an audio format — but you would be wrong! In this weekly podcast, beauty editors Jessica Matlin (Teen Vogue) and Jen Goldstein (Marie Claire) discuss problems, products, trends, and hacks in between interviews with beauty industry insiders. My favorite so far has been this one on the science behind perfumes.

Why I Love It: There’s something about women unabashedly discussing their makeup and skincare routines that makes my heart sing. It’s like being at a slumber party with your best girlfriends if those girlfriends had access to all the latest beauty launches and weren’t embarrassed to talk about bleaching their mustaches or the current state of their bikini line.

Why I’m Not Looking in the Mirror for a Month

During a month-long mirror fast, the author keeps a log of what she learns, like how prettiness is often seen as politeness, how knowing what you look like affects your interpretation of the world around you, and what it’s like to abandon the emotional labor of constantly checking your own image. 

Why I Love It: A woman is almost continually accompanied by her own image of herself. “Whilst she is walking across a room or whilst she is weeping at the death of her father, she can scarcely avoid envisaging herself walking or weeping.” This series explores what happens when the image of oneself is withheld — and what happens as a result is pretty profound.

Skinny Jeans Are Killing the Fashion Industry

I don’t want to alarm you but there’s a conspiracy happening and it involves your closet. As of 2017, skinny jeans have dominated the denim world for 10+ years and the fashion industry is panicking. People no longer have a reason to shop. This podcast dives into why clothing companies have devised an entirely new silhouette just so you’ll be forced to update your entire wardrobe: “Once the bottom changes, all the tops are wrong — and that gives consumers a whole new reason to spend.”

Why I Love It: It dives into the inner-workings of the fashion industry in a way that makes me feel like Anne Hathaway getting schooled by Miranda Priestly on the origins of her blue sweater. It also reminded me of a time when people had the exact visceral reaction to skinny jeans (“They’re so unflattering!”) that I first had to the styles that are coming out now. But mostly, it explains a phenomenon that has perplexed me for over a year: the increasing prevalence of wide-leg pants!

…and why I have so many pairs of them saved to my Pinterest board right now.

I’m excited to put together these newsletters each week, so make sure you sign up!