I think I became a New Yorker today.
Well, not a full-fledged one — I’ll need to be able to rattle off subway stations with ease, navigate Fairway without bordering on tears, own a predominantly black and gray wardrobe, and pronounce the word “very” as “vah-ry” to claim true New Yorker status — but I’m certainly on my way, because today, for the very first time, I stood my ground. Literally.
You see, New York is short on space but big on attitude, and you will be trampled or nudged if you stand in one place for long enough–and by long enough, I mean standing still for over ten consecutive seconds. I get that. I’ve understood that principle since before we arrived in the city: if you need to stop and look at your phone, pull over to the side, out of the fracas, to avoid the stampede.
But what I do not get is how, without fail, if two people are walking towards one another on a crowded sidewalk, there will always be one person who moves out of the way of the other, and that one person is invariably me. I would “get it” if I felt compelled to move out of the way 50% of the time. I might even “get it” if I moved out of the way 75% of the time, because I consider myself more aware and alert than the average passerby, and I err on the side of politeness. But 100% of the time!? Meaning out of 100 possible encounters with a stranger, I am 100% always the weaker link who must move herself out of the way? Do New Yorkers smell my politesse? Do they sense I’m not from around these parts? Was no one else raised by a mother who taught good manners?
I’m not sure if it’s because a technician was an hour and half late for his scheduled visit to my apartment this morning, or because my doctor was an hour late to my appointment this afternoon, but as I prepared to step off the downtown C train at 59th street, a gentleman (gentleman is too generous — but we’ll deal with that later) started stepping straight onto the train, directly into my personal space, as if I were invisible.
The Usual Jen would have ducked to the left. She might even have instinctively muttered “sorry” under her breath–an utterance she’d letter scoff at with frustration. (Why does “sorry” roll off my tongue with such ease?)
The New Jen stood still. The man ran right into me, grumbled something, and then moved out of the way.
It was unpleasant. I did not enjoy the experience of a stranger’s stinky black overcoat brushing up against my recently-dry-cleaned trench coat.
But afterwards, I was elated: not only had I had been in the right (everyone knows that there’s an understood Subway protocol that permits those on the train to de-train before passengers board), but I had actually taken up space in this bustling city that can often make you feel sub-atomic or downright invisible at times.
Another way not to feel invisible in this city: wear gingham. Any print or pattern will do, actually, against the sea of black that is New York City, but gingham is v. hot RN (see statement look at top of post!) and I’m all aboard the check express. And, to be clear, you will feel visible, even though nothing can phase a true New Yorker!
Le Gingham Dress
Cautiously encouraged by the budding spring weather and inspired by the chic peas strutting the runway below, my mind immediately jumps to the Brigitte Bardot sexiness of a gingham dress, something like this interestingly-cut Milly, or this fit-and-flare beauty in the softest buttercup yellow (under $100!), or this ladies-who-lunch Moschino, or this damsel in distress OTS number. I was also *thisclose* to buying this trendy Alexis style for an upcoming gathering before it sold out in my size (<<on super sale!)
Finally, this shirt-dress style nails the look of the angry-mugged model on the far left below, and I love it.
Le Gingham Top
I saw a chickadee wearing this top (under $60!; shown below) the other day and thought it looked startlingly chic on her. Other picks: this statement-making MDS Stripes and this darling asymmetric top in blush, which walks the line between country mouse / city mouse very nicely.
Le Gingham Accessory
Lust-worthy pick: this Loewe patchwork gingham statement bag in a very of-the-moment shape.
Le Gingham Shoe
My TOP pick are these inexpensive slides (under $20!!), which also come in pink or red! They’d look adorable with an LWD, or with a contrasting color gingham dress!
Also love these Paul Andrew heels, but you can get the look for less with these (<<they truly look like a designer shoe!; the heel shape in particular is so elegant!) I’ve featured this pair in the past, too — but I love them so! They’d make an LWD or a pair of white jeans look amazing.