Boyfriend Jeans

What girl doesn't want to be as cool as Annie Hall?
What girl doesn’t want to be as cool as Annie Hall?

We all make bad decisions when it’s 1am and the lights are off… sometimes it’s putting on the wrong pair of jeans.

I’ve always been a fan of the Diane Keaton/Annie Hall androgyny look. Ties, blazers, tuxedos, wingtips — they may be built for boys, but sometimes us girls wear them better. Especially, when we remember to keep our feminine touch.

But as much as we girls love borrowing styles from our men, men love it when we make their clothes our own. As soon as the sleepovers began, my exes were all keen to designate one of their t-shirts as “Kitty’s shirt.”

The t-shirts are almost always gray and almost always too long  and almost always washed in some over-scented detergent. One former flame also offered up a pair of what he called geisha pants, a gift his mother brought him from Japan. He was 6’4 but she had clearly forgotten that. On me, they were stylish lounge pants. On him, shorts. He kept the shirt and the pants on a “my-sized” “shelf” — the closet floor, on top of his extra towels.

I do not look as cool as Victoria Beckham when I wear boyfriend jeans.
I do not look as cool as Victoria Beckham when I wear boyfriend jeans.

While I’m always grateful for “Kitty’s” shirt because it means I can pack light, one thing I’ve never been comfortable borrowing from my boyfriend are his jeans.

To begin with, “boyfriend” cut jeans look ridiculous on me. I always envy those tall, slim women who can wear oversized denim and shapeless shirts in a way that looks effortlessly cool. Those same styles on my shorter, curvier (yet flat-chested) frame look like a hot mess.

Also, unless my boyfriend is an NFL linebacker with legs the size of sycamores, there is no guy who wears jeans I can borrow and look like I’m wearing “boyfriend” jeans.

See exhibit A:

Not only did an ex and I like the same inexpensive but well-cut classic line of Gap 1969s, we liked the same style and same wash: always skinny and dark indigo. His long, lean legs were an alluring part of his frame, even if both of his thighs together equaled the mass of one of mine. To put it mildly, his “always skinny” and my “always skinny” were not the same “always skinny.”

And this is why I don't borrow his jeans... Epic Fail.
And this is why I don’t borrow his jeans… Epic Fail.

But at 1am, when it’s dark and you’re a drink or two in trying to get re-ready to go head back out, one pair of indigo washed 1969 jeans looks like any other pair of indigo washed 1969 jeans.

“I think these are yours,” he said tapping me on my shoulder.

I turned to look, my eyes wide in horror. My feminized skinny jeans were practically falling off him — there was enough room to fit three more of him inside the waist band. Meanwhile, I could barely squeeze my ankle into the opening of the pair I’d retrieved from the living room.

“They look better on you,” I said, trying to pretend I wasn’t embarrassed.

“Doubtful, but you know I always preferred them off you anyway.”

I gave him credit for a good save and made him swear to never talk about this again. I’m pretty sure the next time I stayed over I purposely wore a skirt. #confusionadverted

As long as he wears his, and I wear mine, they really are born to git.
As long as he wears his, and I wear mine, they really are born to git.

 

 

 

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Learning to Wear Eyeliner and Life’s Other Little Road Markers

There are some nights I'm pretty sure I've gone out looking like this...
There are some nights I’m pretty sure I’ve gone out looking like this…

I am notoriously dangerous with eye-liner. Don’t hand me anything in liquid form because I’m likely to end up with a comma shaped black blob that transverses an entire side of my face. Despite an otherwise steady hand, pencils have been known to temporarily blind me.  I’ll confess, thanks to a single brush and some guidance from the professionals at Laura Mercier, I’ve come a long way over the last two years. But that doesn’t mean there haven’t been nights were I everybody calls me “Left-Eye.”

“No, I didn’t get socked by an artist at a studio visit. I just had a fight with my eye-liner… it won.”

I started wearing makeup in the 8th grade. Like most adolescent females, hormones were kicking in and wreaking havoc with my complexion. Boys no longer had cooties. We had graduated out of training bras (this is where I’m clearly dating myself, because I’m pretty sure Pink makes padded bras for 10 year-olds nowadays).  We were finding our identities and expressing them in outlandish nail polish shades while learning the subtle benefits of foundation and mascara.

This a caboodle, the girl's equivalent of a tacklebox
This a caboodle, the girl’s equivalent of a tacklebox

It was the 90s, and the caboodle was the girl’s equivalent of a tackle box — a feminine-toned, and often glittered, plastic case with little trays that folded out and mirrors that popped up. We filled it with all the tools of our trade: foundation, loose powder, eyeliner in every shade under the rainbow, eye shadow tones that complimented or clashed with our eye color, Tinkerbell brand blush, and lip glosses that tasted like cotton candy. We’d tote the box to sleep overs. A mini version lived in our lockers.

A few make-up consultations later and armed with lessons gleamed from manuals by Bobbie Brown and Kevyn Aucoin, I reconsidered my approach to “putting on my face.”  I gave the caboodle the boot.

Here’s where I begin to make a leap into life’s more significant realizations…

There comes a point when you stop experimenting and settle on a signature style.
There comes a point when you stop experimenting and settle on a signature style. I’m a black eye line and bold lipstick kind of gal

If in our teen years, we’re finding ourselves, in part through colorful experimentation, then eventually, there comes a time when we stop experimenting. Like learning to edit down word counts for papers and grants, we learn what we really need to make an impression. We find our perfect shade, our go-to routine and that’s who we are.

A Real Life Gallery Girl Speaks

These are the girls that make up Gallery Girls.

Okay, so I confess that I have yet to tune into Bravo’s latest reality TV confection and second foray into the contemporary art world known as “Gallery Girls.”

“Why do I need to watch a reality show about the New York art world? I lived it! I still live it every day! I eat girls like that for breakfast!”

Unpaid internships. Trying to woo notable collectors in the hopes they’d make my name. Throwing about the word “post-modern” like I actually know what it means. Dipping my feet into the “to-be-seen” crowd at openings. Contemplating ripping a page from a book a fellow grad student needed for their thesis. Crying the night before an opening.

When it comes to the “ugly” of a girl trying to make her way in a cutthroat job market, where the supply of the over-privileged with an “in” and bitchy, inadequate backstabbers outweighs the demand for jobs, I’ve done it all.

Luckily, I survived that stage of unpaid internships, underpaid assistant gigs, and digging for threadbare connections unscathed and with my dignity intact.

I want to still be me when I wake up one fine morning and have breakfast at Gagosian

“I want to still be me one fine morning when I wake up and have breakfast at Gagosian.”

Okay, so that’s not exactly the way Holly Golightly said it, but you get my drift.
I decided I wanted a career in the art world when I was a sophomore in college.
By the time I finished my masters, I had already been an unpaid museum intern, an unpaid gallery intern, a curatorial assistant at a marquee institution, and a paid gallery researcher.

While I was getting that degree, the bottom fell out of the economy. The bustling, booming art market screeched to halt. And the academic world lost interest in the unsung stories of women artists.

I took at unpaid internship at MoMA — an amazing opportunity that I never would have gotten without a graduate degree. Go figure.

What I learned en route to becoming a Gallery Director was that, just like any industry, getting a foot in the proverbial door is as much about chance as it is about skill set, bravado, and connections.

The job I wanted opened at MoMA four months after my internship ended. I sent in my resume to HR but followed up with an email to the curator I had worked for. I would learn months later that the email went into her SPAM folder.

“If I had known you were applying, I would have stepped in with HR,” she told me when we crossed paths at the museum.

Sometimes your resume goes missing.

Sometimes, you piss-off the wrong professor and get black-balled from admissions to the grad-school program of your dreams (what happened to me).

Sometimes the collector that family friends puts you in touch with gets you an interview at a great gallery (not what happened to me).

Sometimes that collector wants you to hand out napkins at their dinner party — but at least they’ll pay you $15/hour (what happened to me.)

Sometimes you land a paid internship that turns into a full-time job (not what happened to me).

Sometimes you land a paid internship — a $10/day lunch stipend in a neighborhood where the average lunch price is $15 and there is no public transport node near the gallery because it’s practically on the West Side Highway (what happened to me).

Sometimes you read an article about a person in a magazine and think, hey I want to work for her. And then you become an unpaid intern in her company, but never meet her until 3 years later when she’s interviewing you for a job. She lets you in. (what happened to me.)

The door’s open.  All that’s left is you and your experience, your eye, and your bravado to make something of yourself .

Once you’re through the door, it’s up to you, your experience, your eye and your bravado to make something of yourself.

If You were a Hamburger…

The Lin Burger that sounds absolutely delicious

“If you were a hamburger, you’d be something independent and classy,” my co-worker Lisa said to me after reading about the new Lin Burger New York restaurants are cooking up.

The Knicks’ newest sensation is apparently characterized in patty form as a pork burger with 5-spice seasoning and an Asian slaw. Yum.

I didn’t know what it meant to be an “independent” burger, so I asked for some clarification.

“No fills. A burger that’s meaty enough to stand on its own.”

I was flattered — I always wanted to be perceived as an independent and classy piece of meat.

“If you were a hamburger, you would be…” was an interesting exercise for someone who hasn’t eaten an all-beef patty since November 2009.

The last time I had a burger, it was here and the scene looked just like this

I remember the date well — it was the first time I’d eaten red meat since 2007, the summer I drove cross country more than once and spent large amounts of driving time alongside cattle drive trucks. It was a late night and I had just exited a rather disappointing MoMA event with a ravenous friend in tow. He suggested the Prime Meridian’s Burger Joint. I agreed.

I ate the burger.

It was delicious.

When I got home, I threw up.

He doesn’t know about that last bit — all he knows is that my doctor encouraged me to return to eating red meat because I’d turned anemic. I’ll let my friend continue to think he did good by my health…

Anyway, back to the KathleenBurger…

When I think of a classy burger, I think of one with truffles. I’ve never thought this seems right — I mean, truffle is a powerful taste. With mac & cheese, okay. But on a good burger? No. Too. Much.

What about a Kobe burger? No fuss, just salt and pepper in the mix. That’s pretty independent. Grilled to a medium… juices dripping.

For a girl that doesn't eat red meat, she's sure getting a craving.

Yes.

Now we’re on to something.

Add some thinly, thinly sliced red onion.

No cheese.

No ketchup.

A soft, not too thick whole wheat bun.

Some chutney, with a mild kick.

With a pickle on the side. Gotta have my pickle.

Yea, that’s my kind of burger.

Okay, now I’m hungry. There’s an Energy Burger across the street from my gallery. I think I’m going to go order me a veggie burger… that tastes just like Kobe beef.

 

How Many Capes Does One Girl Need? The Real Question is, How Big is her Closet?

Capes have come a long way from Banditos and Sherlock Holmes. Now they're the hottest trend in fall outerwear.

It’s fall’s hottest outerwear trend — capes. In all colors, in all patterns. Equal parts Victoriana and Wild West, drama and practicality, free spirit and buttoned up, the cape is as timeless as it is versatile. Worn over slick, fitted silhouettes and sharp heels, they are modern and elegant (even the NT Times agrees.)

For me, the cape is nothing new. There’s always been one or two or three in my closet, in some incarnation. When the recession hit and I decided the most sensible shopping destination was my mother’s closet, I quickly accumulated a few more.

Here’s what I’ll be wearing now that the leaves are changing their coats and the temperature is dropping (note: I’m no Heidi Klum. I’m more Ben Stiller with my blue steel):

I bought this fringed poncho in 2004, when I was a student in college and in need of something I could quickly toss on as I bolted out the door to class. It’s become a mainstay this fall as my daily go-to outer layer.

A wool poncho by Aqua. Reasonably priced and a mainstay in my closet since 2004

Technically not a cape, this cloak-like draped jacket is one of the most exquisite things in my closet.  My mother bought it in Ireland nearly 30 years ago. It’s bold and elegant, and the neon-plaid makes it a perfect fit for this season’s highly saturated color palette. It was matched with a royal blue tweed pencil skirt that I had re-tailored and wear separately with more understated accessories.

This exquisitely draped jacket may not be a cape, but it has all the drama

Sometimes, my inner Victorian needs some drama. A London purchase my mother made, before I was born. The high neck accented with big wooden buttons and long hemline are what I love most about this cloak, but the orange and mauve plaid make it a classic for fall.

The length and high neck make this a dramatic piece worthy of a Victorian centerfold.

I’ve always had a thing for the wild west. The hooded, fringed cape is sophisticated and warm. Paired with black leggings and patent Farragamos, it’s already made more than one Saturday night downtown appearance in 2011.

It's missing a toggle, but it's made several downtown NYC appearance already this season

Purchased in Ireland in the 1980s, the lightweight navy blue wool with the plaid accents and wrap around hood is probably the most practical of all the capes I’ve inherited.

Navy blue with plaid accents and a wrap-around hood, this is my most versatile cape

 

Woes of the Newly-Minted Working Woman, No. 231

“How are you adjusting to life as a  full-fledged working woman?” –> This is the question I’m most frequently asked by those that know me. Not “how’s the new job,” or “what’s your boss like,” but how are you coping with this foreign concept of a 9-5.

Standing in the locker room, in nothing but a towel, I realized I'd have to go to work braless. This wasn't an option.

Overall, I’d say I’ve adjusted pretty well. And then I have days like yesterday and I realize adapting to my new lifestyle is still a work in progress.

This time last year, I was a full-time athlete. My 9-5 involved wearing no make-up, traveling abroad, and working out twice a day.

Since I started my job as a gallery coordinator, my biggest challenge has been balancing the regimented fitness routine  I’m used to with the new demands of a workweek. Despite not being a morning person, I’ve committed to a morning gym schedule — a decision that reminds me why I try not to face the world until I’ve have my two cups of caffeine.

Yesterday, standing in the change room post spin class, wrapped in a towel, I assessed the contents of my locker:

  • Linen military jacket: check.
  • White, curve-hugging, scoop-neck top: check.
  • Printed linen ankle-length skirt: check.
  • Custom made cowboy boots and Navajo belt: check and check.
  • Outfit resembling costume for an extra in the movie of Custer’s Last Stand: assembled.

But wait… where’s my bra?

Had I gone bra-less, I would easily have been mistaken for another kind of working woman.

I held the skin-tight shirt in my hand and considered my options. Being small chested, I’ve frequently ventured out into the world sans support wear. But the elasticized and someone transparent material I was about to don made the decision for me.

Going bra-less would make me look like another kind of working woman.

It was settled: I’d wait for the Victoria’s Secret between my car-park and the gallery to open and buy a new bra. I’d be late for work, but at least I’d be setting the right example — only the day before I had lectured my assistants about “gallery-appropriate quantities of boob-age.”

I inherited 2 filing cabinets at work. One came filled with loan agreements and checklists from past exhibitions. As of today, the other is stocked with clean undergarments.

A working girl must always be prepared.

To avoid future post-gym forgotten underwear calamities, there's now a filing cabinet under my desk that looks like this.