Tag Archives: Emily

You Gotta Get Dirty to Be Beautiful

“New York is so dirty and the people who live there are mean!”

Ok, I’m not going to get into perception vs. reality, and how perception can affect reality, but i have to admit, we are a dirty bunch. I don’t think it is as bad as most people believe, but you can see overflowing garbage cans on street corners, the subway tracks are treated like one huge dumpster, and people don’t seem to have any problem with spitting anywhere and everywhere.

This is no excuse. If you ride the subway regularly, I’m sure you have heard the announcement condemning littering and reporting that it has contributed to an incredible amount of  track fires. Not only should you throw your trash in a trash bin whose sole purpose is to collect said trash, it would benefit all New Yorkers, and some could say the whole world, to go the extra step and pick up other, less considerate, people’s trash.

Last Saturday I went to Riverside Park’s Pier i to help out in their regular volunteer powered clean up. I was surprised, but pleased at the amount of people who had turned up early on a Saturday to help, especially because most were young people who seemed genuinely happy to lend their services. I have done the Riverside clean up before as part of the Pres Scholars push to impress the importance of community, generosity and giving back to others upon us. Previously, we have raked leaves, dug draining trenches and pulled weeds, but this time we were climbing rocks that descended into the river to pick up trash.

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Three other Pres Scholars and I formed a mini team that took a section of the riverbank and just started scavenging. At first it looked relatively clean and I thought we would be done very quickly, but boy was I wrong. The rocks were big, so although it looked clean, all the garbage was hidden in the crevices, and there was a lot. Part of my job was to keep track of what exactly we found and how much, so I am not exaggerating when I say the amount of trash there was obscene. And it’s not even a place where people hang out directly adjacent! By far the most garbage we found was plastic bottles and, for some reason, foam. There was SO MUCH FOAM. I guess it’s because foam doesn’t really disintegrate so it was probably just there forever? All I know is, STOP USING FOAM PEOPLE. IT’S BAD FOR THE ENVIRONMENT AND WILL BE HERE AFTER WE ALL DIE. I cannot express the monstrous amount of foam we found. We also found two condoms (still packaged, thank God), a used tampon applicator (gross), a syringe (scary), and a full ball of yarn (why?). Whoever left all of that there, y’all are nasty.

Look at all our success!!

Look at all our success!!

Despite being thoroughly grossed out by not only the physical objects we found, but also by the knowledge that there is so much trash that no one sees or bothers to clean up, volunteering was fun. It was a beautiful day out, we made a real and quantifiable difference in the beauty of our city, and by not sleeping in like  I wished to, I got a lot done today! Since I was already on the West Side I even went to Trader Joe’s to buy groceries and it cost HALF of what I usually spend at the grocery store near my apartment! (More on that later). Most people want to help, but always find a reason not to, whether that be they are too busy, intimidated or tired. But volunteering can be fun! Just find something you like to do, bring a friend and remember that you are being one of the few and the great who proactively improve our world!

–Emily–

Annoying Apartments

So, I finally decided to move out of the dorms and stake out on my own. I had heard that looking for real estate in New York City was hard, but heeeyy it can’t be that bad, right? “It will be fiiiiiine” I told myself.

omg totes gonna be my apartment

omg totes gonna be my apartment

Um…no.

There are many reasons why looking for an apartment in New York is so frustrating, but I think most stem from people changing their minds. One of the biggest issues I had was finding a roommate. This didn’t seem so hard at first, I was going to live with one of my friends who hadn’t moved in with the rest of our group in their place on Wall Street. Great, awesome. Fast forward to the middle of the summer before the semester starts and all of the sudden she is graduating a semester early and then moving back home to go to grad school. I mean, I’m happy for her of course, but it put me in a really crappy position. Then, I met this guy through a friend of mine who was also looking for an apartment near Columbia because he was going to start grad school. I met him, he seemed chill, so we decided to go in it together. However, neither of us was really doing a good job researching places and it kind of hung in the air for a while. Then a friend of mine who just graduated from FIT said he wanted to look for a place on the west side so he wouldn’t have to commute from Long Island for his job anymore. Great! I told Columbia guy “Sorry, I have to back out,” and he said he was going to tell me the same anyway because he got into med school! New roommate guy was an actual friend of mine and I looked forward to living together. Well, living with a guy who is not your significant other made finding the right apartment even harder (i.e. two bedrooms only, and railroads are not an option). Add in some inflexibility about location and price and the situation becomes almost impossible. Finally, after many frantic lunch break and after work trips up, down, and all over town I found one that would work for us! Only to have him tell me he decided he wanted to continue commuting to save money to go to grad school next year. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

I mean I didn’t take it very personally, I know that I am not hard to live with, but it was incredibly frustrating to have seemingly every option presented pulled out from under me just as I thought it was really going to work out. Eventually I met my new roommate through the last guy I was supposed to live with. It was scary jumping into a year long contract with someone I had only met once or twice, but it all worked out fine. She’s super nice and incredibly easy to live with as well.

There are other issues, like the speed at which apartments are put on the market and then sold, pushy brokers and their exorbitant fees, picky landlords, and just finding a place that actually works and you feel comfortable in. Yet, I do find it really nice to be able to come home to my own place after class or work and truly not feel like I am still in school. It has also pushed me much further into becoming more responsible. I have to pay my bills on time now, budget my money and be extra careful about my own safety. Am I adult-ing yet?

my new room! yayy!!

my new room! yayy!!

–Emily–

I Made it to Santiago! (and back!)

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Hello again! After a very busy summer I am back in the NYC swing of things and there is so much to talk about, but I have recently found out that many of you readers were interested in the last post I made about doing the Camino de Santiago (read it here) so I thought I would give you a little follow up.

The few weeks building up to my start were pretty stressful, it didn’t help that I also had finals and was trying to figure out how to move out of my apartment and get all my stuff back home from Italy. I had done plenty of research on what to bring, what to expect in terms of weather and terrain, and how to get to St. Jean, but I knew that I wouldn’t really be able to know what the experience would be like until I was actually walking, and I liked it that way.

Getting to St. Jean Pied-de-Port was pretty difficult. I had to fly to Bordeaux (via London for some reason) then the next day I took the train to Bayonne and then a bus to St. Jean. It was a little overwhelming, there were a lot of pilgrims all arriving with me and I didn’t have a room booked yet, although there were plenty of places catering to us there so it wasn’t a problem. The first person I met was a school teacher from New Zealand who was doing the camino because teaching didn’t excite her anymore and she didn’t know where her life was going next. I also met four girls about my age who were from Kentucky. I knew that the first day of the walk was going to be the hardest because you have to cross the Pyrenees mountains, so I was a little nervous to go at it alone. To make the day better it was raining at 6 am when I got up. Luckily, those four girls were leaving the same time as me and also wanted to make it all the way across in one day, so I joined up with them. Before I knew it, I had my walking buddies. We ended up walking all the way to Santiago together and even picked up a few extra people along the way!

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To describe the entire camino experience would take pages and pages. Even then I don’t think I would be able to communicate the truly amazing time I had and all the fantastic characters I met along the way. It sounds corny to say, but this is one of those life changing experiences that can take you from crying and broken one day to looking out over a mountain range with exhilarated gratefulness the next.

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One of many incredibly breathtaking sunrises I was lucky enough to experience

I think everyone should do it at some point in their life. It is physically difficult, but not impossible. I met many elderly people doing the camino (and I mean 60 plus) as well as kids! One girl was 9 and doing 15 kilometers a day on her tiny bike; there was even a baby. A BABY. If a baby, well if a mother carrying her baby, can do it so can you.

The journey is more about the relationships you build with those who are also on this soul searching pilgrimage, and discovering about yourself. While it is important for your body to be physically prepared, I would say that preparing myself mentally was much more helpful. I definitely thought a lot about the questions I hoped to find  answers for, and things I wanted to improve upon in my everyday life.

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I will leave some pictures to try and give you a broad idea of what walking the camino (500 miles!) was like, and if you have any questions I would be happy to answer them! If people really show an interest I wouldn’t mind making more posts about my experience in greater detail, but for now I will be going back to New York/ FIT based posts.

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all the pilgrims in one albergue (hostel type thing) would make big family style dinners a lot. They were one of my favorite parts!

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–Emily–

I’m Going on an Adventure!

I know I said that this year was my “year of travel”, but I am about to embark on my biggest adventure yet! After my last final on Thursday I will be packing up everything I brought to (and bought in) Italy and sending it home. Fingers crossed nothing gets lost or broken in transit. All I will be keeping is my trusty bright red backpack, hiking shoes, the ever important Nalgene, and a minimal amount of clothes and travel necessities. When you have to carry everything you own on your back, the line between needs and wants becomes much more clear.

I am doing this because in a week exactly I will be walking. A lot. I’m going to walk from one end of Spain to the other. Actually I am walking from a little town in France called St. Jean Pied-de-Port to Santiago, Spain and hopefully if I have time to Fisterre or “The Ends of the Earth” – the last place people believed you could go before falling off the edge of the world. I can’t think of a better, or more dramatic, place to end my pilgrimage.

Full disclosure: I have never actually watched any of the Lord of the Rings movies, this is just too perfect to not include

Full disclosure: I have never actually watched any of the Lord of the Rings movies, this is just too perfect to not include

That is what I am doing, a pilgrimage. Specifically El Camino de Santiago de Compostela, as it is officially called, is a medieval trail that Christians crossed to see the remains of Saint James. By proving you walked a certain amount of miles (by getting stamps at stops along the way) each pilgrim receives a fancy diploma-like document in Latin that absolves you from all your sins. To be honest, I am not an extremely religious person (I don’t really see the point when the basis of all religions boils down to the same basic beliefs, but that’s a whole different conversation), so completing this journey will be less about being forgiven for my sins and more about focusing on making myself a better person, and just the fact I could do it.

Each one of those blue dots represents a day of walking

Each one of those blue dots represents a day of walking

This whole thing started a few summers ago when I went to go see a movie with my mom at the little, artsy movie theater in my hometown. It was called “The Way” and it started Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez. When the movie finished I just said to my mom “One day I’m gonna do that.” And here we are, I’m following through with the promise I made myself. (Also the movie is really good and still on instant streaming on Netflix ((I think)), check it out!)

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With only a week left I am getting pretty nervous. I was originally going to have a friend from high school who is fluent in basically every language come with me, but due to money issues she had to cancel. After that, trying to find someone not only willing to walk 458 miles, but who also had all of June and some of May free proved extremely difficult, and so, I will be doing this on my own. In a way I think it might be better this way. I will be forced to meet new people and I will be able to reflect on my own life in more peace. But that in itself is pretty scary, let alone the actual physical dangers that the Camino can hold.

On the other hand, you can’t have an adventure without a little danger!

–Emily–

Reflections on Italy

I love Italy. I love the food, I love the views, I love the art. Everything. There is one thing that I have been missing though. It is the one thing that has made me appreciate FIT immensely since I have been here, and that is our teachers.

I’ll admit that as a freshmen I really didn’t think that the teachers at FIT would be the absolute best. I mean, it’s not like we’re Harvard or Yale. But after three years I realized how wrong I was, and I didn’t comprehend how great they were until I didn’t have them anymore. This semester was the first time I have been exposed to teachers other than ours at FIT, and they were not all bad, but they just could not hold up to the quality back home.

I didn’t realize how much our FIT professors strive to make our lectures interesting and engaging, or how (relatively) easy it is to get help from them one-on-one. For example, I am currently taking a class called “History of Italian Fashion” and every time I walk into the classroom I find myself wishing that Lourdes Font was teaching the class. Professor Font is by far one of the smartest and most knowledgeable people I have ever met. She knows everything about fashion! I took her class “Costume and Fashion in Film” and despite it being a four hour long class on a Friday, it was one I constantly looked forward to attending. If you can make history of anything interesting to a twenty year old at six o’clock on a Friday, kudos.

As much as you may believe your professors are trying to drive you to the loony bin for all the work they give out (especially during finals and midterms), they are truly invested in your success. Linda Sands was my first draping professor and she scared the crap out of me for the first half of the semester. Every time she came by my table to check my work I felt like I was going to throw up. By the end of the semester I realized she was so harsh because she was pushing us to pay attention and make our garments perfect. Needless to say our whole class ended up loving her and we even threw her a surprise birthday party! I was so happy when I got her the next semester for pattern-making. She can be a little scary, but it’s just her mamma bear claws. I know that if I were to show up at her office with a project I was working on, she would stop what she was doing and help me solve my problem.

The professors at FIT are the greatest asset I didn’t realize I had until I lost them. They always say one of the most important things you should do while in college is make relationships with your professors. I always thought that sounded really intimidating. I mean, they’re adults with lives, and there are so many of us how could they possibly single each one of us out to care about? But trust me, when you find a class you love taught by a professor you really admire, you will create that relationship. Honestly, there have been so many professors at FIT who have helped me grow, academically as well as personally.

And don’t always trust ratemyprofessor.com. You’ll be surprised.

–Emily–

It’s Happening!

I have some exciting news, but first read this post from a few months ago.

Done? Okay cool. Well guess what? I did it! I’m an adult!! Not really. Actually I just got my act together and learned to cook a few meals…but whatever, same thing right? And I did it without even taking a cooking class! (Which, to be fair, is one of my biggest complaints about this study abroad experience. Most kids here only take about four classes and those will include “Italian Style Cooking” and “Pairing Food & Wine”. WHAT?! I’m taking six classes and none of them have anything to do with food. Ugh.) But like the proverbial baby turtle crawling its way back to the ocean, I persevered. Just look:

Parmesan zucchini - Healthy AND delicious

Parmesan zucchini – Healthy AND delicious

Roasted potatoes, zucchini and pasta with shaved provolone

Roasted potatoes, zucchini and pasta with shaved provolone

family burrito night!

family burrito night!

Just makin' risotto

Just makin’ risotto

I am now the fried rice QUEEN

I am now the fried rice QUEEN

Spinach and ricotta tortellini with chicken, fresh cherry tomatoes and shaved parmesan

Spinach and ricotta tortellini with chicken, fresh cherry tomatoes and shaved Parmesan

the classic pesto pasta with fresh cherry tomatoes and melted mozzarella

the classic pesto pasta with fresh cherry tomatoes and melted mozzarella

I mean come on, that’s pretty impressive considering the first post, no? Alright fine, they’re pretty much all pasta dishes, but what can I say? I’m in Italy! (Also we thought our stove was broken for like, two months. Turns out we had one of the knobs turned wrong….oops!) Pinterest and Epicurious are two fantastic websites (who are we kidding, just download the apps) for cooking inspiration. If I can do it, you can do it! (Unless you live in CoEd or Nagler. Then you won’t have a kitchen, so you can’t do it, soz mate.)

–Emily–

Pantomimes Anonymous

Two different Italians stopped me on the street today to ask for directions. On the one hand, I was proud because these authentic Italians mistook me as one of their own. I get a strange sense of satisfaction from being able to blend in with other cultures. However, this happiness quickly became became uncomfortable and embarrassing. This is because, wait for it….I can’t speak Italian!

Yes, my name is Emily Bennett, I’ve lived in Florence for three months and I still cannot speak Italian. I am so ashamed. For most people, the biggest worry while traveling abroad is whether they will be able to understand the locals. This, of course, leads to desperate hopes that most people will know English and even conversations stating how much easier and better the world would be if everyone just spoke one language (i.e. English). But what a horrific white-washing of culture that would be! Can you imagine living in a world where no one knows the subtle romantic quality of the French language, or the explosive passion of Italian, or even the mysterious Swahili?

I get it, it’s intimidating and embarrassing to attempt to speak a language that you haven’t mastered, especially to people who have been speaking said language since they were babies. Trust me, that is what got me in this situation in the first place. When I was studying in France, it was a whole different ball game. I had been studying French for six years before I was living on my own there, so I had a sturdy background of the language and was well-informed of the culture as well. This is the first time I have ever studied Italian, and I know what you are thinking, if I live in Italy, I should be learning the language twice as fast, right? No, wrong, completely wrong. Everyone here speaks English! At least the French have the decency to refuse to speak English to you! Obviously, it would have been much harder for me to survive here if people didn’t speak English, but I think I could have done it, and forcing me to attempt even the most broken Italian in every situation would have sped up my learning immensely. However, I am a self-conscious little baby when it comes to Italian. Too quickly will I revert to English, or not say anything at all. I go to the grocery store at least once a week and I think the only things I have ever said to any of the cashiers are “si” “no” and “grazie”.

Now that my time in Italy is coming quickly to a close, I wish I had pushed myself harder to learn the language and speak it. Honestly, it is a really horrible feeling to be in a country and unable to speak the language. It is embarrassing! Not to mention completely disheartening. I don’t mean for this post to be such a downer, but if you can learn anything from my little failure, really take the time to learn the language before traveling. It will make your time there much more rewarding, and the locals will definitely like you more. Also, don’t be afraid to forget about English and instead rely on whatever of the language you do know (miming helps too). It is much more endearing to see someone struggling to speak the language than one who just starts speaking English and assumes whoever they are talking to will understand.

Buon viaggio!

–Emily–

Health and Safety

As I write this, I feel like crap. My head feels like there is a table clamp squeezing it, my cough makes me sound like I’m dying of consumption, and my nose is simultaneously constantly running, yet so stuffed up I cannot breathe. I. Am. So. Sick. And I realized that while at college, there is no one to take care of you when you feel awful. Sure, there is Health Services, but they can’t really do much for the common cold or flu. Being sick alone sucks, especially if you have a million things to do! So, here are some tips to just avoid it happening altogether:

1. Drink water. Lots of water.

I’m sure you have heard this before, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you follow it. I’ll admit that I am horrible when it comes to this. I know I should be drinking about two liters (68 ounces) every day, but I definitely am not drinking the equivalent of four Poland Spring water bottles every day (yeah four). I suggest carrying around a water bottle that way water is always on hand, and it will result in you drinking more casually, not just when you are parched. For example, if you fill a 32 oz. Nalgene bottle before you leave for class and refill it in the afternoon then you will have had about two liters/ 64 ounces! Success!!

nalgene water

2. Fruit juice: it’s like water but more exciting

Even more healthy than water is fruit juice! I mean water is still necessary on its own, but fruit juices contain essential vitamins that water does not have. However, many bottled juices contain a lot of artificial sweeteners, and do not actually have as many vitamins as they would like you to think. There are a lot of “organic juice bars” in New York City that offer fresh made “pure” juice. Other than that I would stick to good old o.j. and apple juice. If juice is not really your favorite, a cool trick I have seen friends do is fill their water bottle (see above) with fresh sliced fruit. There are many completely natural options, and they are just slightly flavored, so it is easy to drink a lot. Also, there is something satisfying about knowing exactly what is going into your body.

fruit water

3. Do you even lift?

Exercise and I have a complicated relationship. I love the feeling after a really great workout, and I do use running as a way to deal with stress, but sometimes it is just so hard to get up off the couch and go to the gym. Luckily, FIT has two very conveniently placed gyms! The larger one is in the basement of the David Dubinsky student center and classes are offered for free! The second is in the basement of the Kaufman dorm. However, this one is only available to students who are residents. Also, FIT actually has quite a few athletic teams. Less than the average college, but more than you thought I bet. If exercising with your peers doesn’t sound so enticing, you can always do what I do and run along the Hudson river. It is a five minute walk from Kaufman and maybe 10 – 15 from 27th street. I prefer to run outdoors and the city has renovated the area along the river and made it perfect for runners. Another one of my alternative workouts is yoga…at home! You can really find anything on YouTube. Why pay for a gym membership again?

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4. Sleep is for the weak. Just kidding, I’m tired and going to bed. 

Sleep is super important for staying healthy. They say you need eight hours every night, but  more is better. Let’s be real though, who gets eight hours every night? My advice would be just to avoid all nighters at all costs. There will probably be nights throughout your college career where you have to stay up all night to finish a project, but try to make these happen as few times as possible. Your body, and your grades, will thank you. A project is always better when it is not rushed. The biggest thing is simply learning to not procrastinate, and instead of binge watching Orange is the New Black, writing that paper, or sewing that shirt. Something that actually helped me a lot was having a roommate was asleep every night by 11 o’clock. Because she went to bed earlier than I did, it forced me to go to bed earlier because I didn’t want to keep her up with lights or noise I was making. As the semester went on, I began to plan doing my work around being finished by 11 so she could sleep, and I ended up being much more productive, and sleeping more! Creating (and actually sticking to) a schedule can really make getting work done at a normal time much easier to accomplish.

–Emily–

Are You There Housing Gods? It’s Me, Emily.

I’d like to say that the stress that comes from trying to figure out housing goes away after freshmen year, alas I cannot. Finding a place to live is always complicated, especially in New York City. Basically you have three options:

1. Live at Home

If you, like many FIT students, live in the tri-state area, it is probably possible for you to commute to school everyday using the Metro North, LIRR or Subway. The biggest pro of this is free housing (assuming your parents are not going to charge you rent). That is huge when considering the high price of rent in the city, and dorming isn’t exactly cheap. However, living at home has its downsides. First of all, most people want to feel like they are getting away and starting their own life at college. Living at home doesn’t really create this type of fulfillment and may detract from learning to live on your own, i.e. cooking for yourself, cleaning up after yourself, doing laundry, etc. Also, commuting is extremely tiring. I interned and did one class over the winterim session one year and I would get home around 7 or 8 pm and just crash. Sometimes I wouldn’t even eat dinner I was so tired. The commute doesn’t even have to be that long, just the stress, and dealing with other stressed travelers, can really take it out of you. Finding time for a social life is demanding as well. You can’t just walk down the hall, or decide to meet down the block if you are living an hour away. In terms of stuff, FIT offers lockers to rent for $10. These are reserved for commuter students, although they go quickly, so get one asap. To be honest, I’ve never had a locker so I cannot say whether or not they are big enough for all the stuff every major has. Trust me, everyone has so much stuff at FIT.

2. Finding an Apartment

I’m going to be honest, I have never looked for an apartment before, but I’m terrified of it. I am hoping to start looking when I get home from Italy, and it all is very overwhelming. Apartments in New York are small, expensive and hard to come by. I wish I could give advice on this subject, but instead I’ll just have to ask for some! As soon as I start the process I will definitely let you know what I find. *Gulp*

3. Dorming

This is where I have my expertise. I have dormed for three years at FIT (except for here in Italy) and there are definitely pros and cons. There are four different dorms. Alumni, CoEd and Nagler are reserved (for the most part) for freshmen. Kaufman, the biggest, is mostly upper classmen. Generally the biggest pro of living in the dorms is how close it is to the school. It takes about three minutes from bedroom to classroom at any of the 27th Street (freshmen) dorms and about ten minutes from Kaufman. All the dorms also have laundry machines in the building, which is a rarity in NYC, and Kaufman has a (small) gym. Each building has a workroom which can be convenient for finding a space to work on projects without going into a room at the school. Alumni and Kaufman both have kitchens in the room, and therefore do not require meal plans. The biggest complaint for all dorms is overnight visitation. There are many steps for requesting an overnight guest and most students are fed up with it by the end of the first semester. The dorms are also very strict about alcohol as FIT is a dry campus, even if you are 21. Many students prefer Kaufman because it has newer facilities and is slightly more spacious (or at least seems that way because of the extremely high ceilings). Dorming is pretty much a toss up for pros and cons, but as a senior I am definitely hoping to move out on my own. Fingers crossed, I can find a place.

For any more specific information on the dorms I can answer any of your questions in the comments!

–Emily–

Fashion Advice from the Famous

As one of the world’s foremost fashion philosopher-sociologist-historian-genius, I thought I’d breakdown some of the most famous slices of wisdom from the leaders of the fashion world. (Ed note: I haven’t heard back from the board of directors of fashion geniuses of the world about my self-proclaimed title, but I’m sure they’re fine with it).

“Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and remove one accessory.”

— Coco Chanel

Now I’m not one to restrict anyone’s accessory affinity, I myself have been collecting rings from my travels and my fingers have filled up very quickly. However, I think of this more as look at yourself before you leave and remove anything that could interfere with your activities for the day. The fashion industry is all about getting work done and getting it done quickly. Personally, I have given up on bracelets (especially bangles) because all you hear all day is loud clacking as they bang against your desk when you type. Extremely infuriating. If the hat won’t stay on your head when it’s windy – ditch it. Basically, don’t wear anything that is going to require more time to deal with than it takes to put it on in the morning.

“Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.”

—Kate Moss

Completely untrue. Have you never been to Shake Shack? Or eaten a burrito before? I mean hello, CHOCOLATE. End of story.

“You can have anything you want in life if you dress for it.”

—Edith Head

I mean we are in the business of fashion people, this shouldn’t really be much of a shocker. It is important in any aspect of life to convince people you are whatever they need. As much as we try not to judge a book solely by it’s cover, that cover is the first message, and sometimes the only message, seen. Don’t waste an opportunity, be convincing.

“Fashion is the armor to survive the reality of everyday life.”

—Bill Cunningham

Let’s face it, fashion is a luxury. All that is necessary is something to keep you warm when it snows and protect you from the sun when it’s hot. Anything you want for the sake of having it is a luxury. It has been said that Vogue magazine is meant to create aspirational dreams, not be a catalog for the everyday woman, and that is what fashion is – an aspirational, dream-like distraction. Fashion is supposed to be fun because it’s fun to pick what you wear and how people will see you today! Did people wearing the Mao suit look like they were having fun? Embrace the frivolity of fashion.

“Fashion is what you’re offered four times a year by designers. And style is what you choose.”

—Lauren Hutton

Fashion designers do not determine style, they influence it. Style can only be created by the individual, that is what makes it so exciting to see someone with truly great style. If one designer determined style all you would have to do is dress head to toe in that label, but you don’t see anyone on the best dressed lists wearing head to toe Michael Kors or even Saint Laurent. Not to get to in depth with the trickle-up vs. trickle-down theories, but it is obvious in our current fashion climate that designers are taking much of their inspiration from the streets and the boundaries of who is who is influencing whom are blurred. Fashion trends fade, but style is eternal, right Yves?

“A little bad taste is like a nice splash of paprika. We all need a splash of bad taste—it’s hearty, it’s healthy, it’s physical. I think we could use more of it. No taste is what I’m against.”

—Diana Vreeland

With all the stuff available in fashion now, it is easy for clothing to start looking homogenous. Staying relevant in fashion is all about being new and different (even though we all know fashion runs on an ever quickening pendulum of trends that is catching up to us). I love people who can dress totally kooky and be completely confident. They make my life more interesting just by existing. Vreeland captured this spirit perfectly in her famed “Why Don’t You” column for Harper’s Bazaar. The worst thing you could be in fashion is boring.

Why Don't You

Why Don’t You

(and lastly, my personal favorite:)

“People will stare. Make it worth their while.”

—Harry Winston

–Emily–