And the Summertime Sadness Sets In…

Summer is soon coming to an end and as Lana Del Rey once sang, “I’ve got that summertime, summertime sadness”. I know I speak for all of us when I say I am going to miss the sun setting at 8:30pm, endless ice cream cones and beach trips. Nothing compares to watching the sun set over the edge of the ocean, lobster roll in hand.

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As each season ends I think it is important to reflect on how we have changed and the person we have shaped into over the past few months. This summer I got to call the Upper West Side my home for a month, living in New York City completely on my own for the first time. From this experience I have learned just how happy one can be by being in their favorite place and being completely independent. I often found myself running along the Hudson River at night, so thankful for where I was and the opportunities given to me.

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Living in New York City and working at EILEEN FISHER (which I talk about more here), has been a growing experience where I have learned more about myself than I ever knew. I like to think that my summer embodied Lana Del Rey’s “Born to Die” album. The songs in the album touch on being fearless and living your life for yourself, without any care of the opinions of others.

I can honestly say that I lived this summer for me. I enjoyed dinner at one of my favorite restaurants with simply a book as my company. I tried a new fitness class every day through ClassPass (FlyWheel will always be my favorite). I ran around the city working one job to the next.

Not only did I channel a Lana Del Rey attitude, but I also let her style inspire mine. She is casual yet glamorous with a vintage flare. She is known for wearing beautifully colored tropical patterns (her Coachella 2015 look will always be a favorite of mine). Lana is not afraid to express herself with her unique fashion sense. This tropical mini skirt, bell-sleeved top and copper sandals embody my summer.

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As we enter this coming fall I encourage you to step outside of your comfort zone and live a fearless life. Take the risks you have been too afraid to take. Do something that makes you happy, without worrying about pleasing others. It is amazing how much we can discover about ourselves when we live new experiences and do things for our own happiness.

 

The Science of Being “Cool”

What exactly does being “cool” mean to you? Does it mean you have the most friends? Does it mean you are always the center of attention at parties? According to Google to be “cool” means to be fashionably attractive or impressive. So, as it turns out, being cool has nothing to do with your social status but everything to do with the way you dress.

I think we can all agree that we all feel our coolest in clothing that we feel is stylish or unique from anyone else’s. Everyone wants to be positively perceived by others and many people often count on their looks to make a radiant first impression on someone. Each kind of style has its own connotations. Of course I believe a person should be judged on their personality rather than what they are wearing, but this just proves how powerful fashion can be.

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While many people consider fashion to be superficial, I see it as a way to shape other’s judgements of you. There are billions of people in the world that will never get the chance to talk to you and understand your emotional depth, so why not try to show this through your clothing? After all, hundreds of people pass by you and eye your look up and down every day, so give them something to look at that sheds light on who you really are.

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The brain actually has a part dedicated to processing what is “cool” and “uncool”, called the medial prefrontal cortex. This part of the brain processes what it sees and connects it to one’s social emotions. So yes, it is true that when we dress our best, we feel our best (Bain, “The neuroscience of ‘cool'”). Cool actually equals confidence.

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We all have those lazy mornings when we would rather skip the makeup and hair styling for ten extra minutes of sleep. I have been guilty of this a lot this summer; waking up at 6am and commuting two hours to work is definitely not an ideal situation. However, I believe it is so important to take care of yourself and step out of your house feeling good about yourself every morning.

This outfit is one of my favorites to throw on when I want to feel and look my best without putting too much thought into it. I often wear a dress, booties, and fun kimono when I am running late or am too sleepy to put together an Instagram-approved look. The mesh floral kimono is a particular favorite of mine because I sewed it myself. Wearing something I made and designed myself brings my confidence to a new level because I am representing my own creativity and expressing my personal brand.

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I used to be guilty of teasing my cousin for spending hours primping herself just to drive to the doctor’s office or to a yoga class. Now I truly understand the difference in perception of my own self when I feel “cool”. I am confident, productive, unstoppable, and friendly when I know I look good and I like what I am wearing. If you can put the best version of yourself out in the world, why wouldn’t you?

A Modernistic Feminist

The word feminist. What does this mean to you? Do you think of a raging hippy woman wearing a white t-shirt where her nipples peak through? Or do you think of a well-polished woman like Sheryl Sandberg, taking over the tech industry one idea at a time? The word feminist often has more negative associations to its name than positive ones. I know I have argued with my mother over exactly what this word means. She instantly thinks of the first example I named while the second comes to mind for me and many other women of the younger generation (or at least I hope).

I am a huge supporter of feminism and everything that it stands for. I am always trying to explain to people, like my mother, what exactly feminism means nowadays, or what it should mean. The exact definition of feminism according to Google is “someone who supports the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of political, social and economic equality to men.” Don’t we all want to be treated, respected and paid equally to the male gender? So why doesn’t every woman want to call herself a feminist?

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It is ashame that women automatically think of the radical feminists that were at a peak in the 60s and 70s, for it is the modern age and that is simply not what should come to mind anymore. We should be thinking of women like Sophia Amoruso, Jessica Alba, Emma Watson and Malala Yousafzai. These women have all broken the stereotypes of women by creating multimillion dollar companies, sharing their opinions on inequality with younger generations, and breaking cultural expectations.

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While I believe everyone should be a feminist and that many more women are opening themselves up to the idea of embracing the title, Google Analytics has shown that the talk of feminism was at an all-time high in 1998 (also the year Time released its famous cover with the title “Is Feminism Dead?”) and has been declining ever since. Why do you think this is? Are we third-wave and fourth-wave feminists digressing in the feminist movement or are we simply tackling the issue in different ways?

I personally believe the way we women dress is a huge part of feminism, not only on a large scale but on a personal scale. Today’s society makes it a difficult choice in deciding to wear what you want or wearing what others will take you seriously in. I often have found that I am degraded and turned into an object when I go out in something as simple as denim shorts or a crop top.

This is still a huge issue in today’s society; men often blame women’s attire for the reason they are cat called or sexually assaulted. I should be able to wear what I want without being degraded or blamed for encouraging this behavior.

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Fashion is a large aspect of the feminist movement whether you realize it or not. Do I wear clothes that people will take me seriously in, even if that isn’t expressing who I am? Or do I wear an outfit that I feel good in and showcases my artistic views? Fashion is an artistic expression and the struggle with feminism in today’s society often restricts that.

In this look I incorporate pieces that are sophisticated and timeless with trendier pieces that show off my playful personality. Something as simple as the slits in the side of this sweater are a way of showing a little skin while still remaining conservative. Aritzia is one of my favorite places to shop for just this reason; they combine business-like pieces with trendier, sexier items that allow you to show off certain parts of your body.

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Accessories are always the perfect way to show off your personality through what you are wearing. I have been loving the Fendi Monster trend, and while I can’t afford the actual monsters, I have been able to find ones similar to it at small vendors like those in China Town and at flea markets.

I am currently reading a classic novel, The Second Sex, written by Simone de Beauvoir, which discusses the history of the female race and how the sex came to be viewed as inferior to men. At one point she says, “The body is not a thing, it is a situation: it is our grasp on the world and our sketch of our project.” What we put on our body expresses who we are and leaves our mark on the world. It is so important that we wear what we want and the feminism movement is progressing in a way that just might allow us to be able to do this without being devalued or judged in a certain way.