The Fashion Magpie Things I Need to Unlearn

Things I Need to Unlearn.

That I need to apologize for everything.

That I don’t know enough to have an opinion on something. The only thing worse than a blowhard is a waffling poltroon.

That I should fill empty spaces with mindless chatter. (Silence is powerful.)

That crying is a sign of weakness. (Many of you agree — read the comments here.)

That accepting help is selfish or imposing or a symptom of feebleness.

That compliments should be deflected.

What about you?

As an aside, I picked up some gridded notepads a week or two ago and have suddenly found myself filling its pages with list after list. I’ve always been big on list-making, but this is next level–and recursive, in the sense that many of them are less oriented around to do’s that I can check off and abandon than they are about organizing miscellaneous thoughts and yearnings into one place. I have lists ranging from “Mini’s Spring Wardrobe Needs” and “Activities to Do with Mini” to “Songs I Love Right Now” and “Post-Partum Goals.” Is it nesting? A bizarre kind of journaling? I love it. I’ll think I’ll start keeping lists more similar to the meaty one above more often now.

Post Scripts.

+Is anyone else watching the newest season of Queer Eye? A reader mentioned it in a comment and I immediately tuned in. I just love this show so much — the “fab five” truly meet people where they are, and with love and generosity of spirit and patience. I’m especially smitten with Jonathan Van Ness. In a recent episode, he gifted one of the participants one of these cosmetics brushes, which I’ve seen but never really considered, and now I’m wondering if they’re worth the hype. I love the idea that it applies skincare products and cosmetics like fingers do — but without absorbing any product.

+This linen button-down dress in the chambray blue color is SO in my wheelhouse. I own probably five or ten similar styles in the shirtdress cut and I simply love them for summer. They are so flattering and elegant and I love the versatility they afford: could be worn with Supergas to the playground or funky mules for brunch.

+This dress looks like a Saloni but rings in at under $100. YES.

+I bought mini an Easter basket nearly identical to this one last year that I found and had monogrammed on Etsy. I love it because it can be laid flat in storage (instead of taking up a ton of space as a wicker extravagance!) However — if monograms aren’t your thing — how about an inexpensive pack of two?! So cute! (And, I have to say that my favorite thing I purchased mini for Easter is this gingham nightie. So sweet!)

+OMG, dying over this botanical print dress with its darling shoulder ties. BEYOND.

+In the midst of my frenetic baby-readiness activities last week, I spent some time musing over how to essentially create a mini-nursery in a corner of our master bedroom. I think my solution will be to buy one of these rolling carts where I can keep his diapering essentials, some burp cloths and swaddles, and a couple of changes of clothes so that I always have what I need in our bedroom and don’t need to go rummaging around in mini’s room in the middle of the night. I like the idea that I can wheel it out of the way when it’s inconvenient or even roll it right into our master bathroom (or, heck, living room, if I do end up needing a c-section and need to sort of plunk myself down for the day). I also know we’ll need a small hamper for his clothes in our bedroom, and am thinking of using one of these adorable, multi-purpose Petit Pehr bins. My thought is that if it’s not in use, I can collapse it and toss it in our closet or something. And maybe one of these Pehr bins in the cutest rabbit print to corral his small number of interactive toys/books I’ll present to him in his first few months of life.

+We’ve been talking about getting Tilly a new dog bed for awhile. She currently loves to sleep on a mound of throw pillows and an old throw blanket she’s claimed as her own at the foot of our bed, but I know we’ll need to relocate her once the baby arrives and we have him in our bedroom. I love this.

+Ordered mini this adorable khaki coat for the transition to warmer weather. Can you EVEN imagine her wearing it with some skinny jeans and ballet flats?!

+Fun jumpsuit for spring.

+Still smitten with these polka-dotted flats. If they only came in my size…

+How sweet is this printed linen romper?

+Love this artful throw pillow cover.


  1. I love musing on what I need to unlearn. Love Mia’s suggestion of unlearning self-doubt — I, too, have fallen prey to impostor syndrome from time to time, especially over the last half year as I transitioned into a new job. I think this special breed of self-doubt is all too common in many women our age! Hmm.

    List-making! Yes, yes, yes. Love it. I have long been a journaler and a list-maker and have found myself making more lists and making proper journal entries less & less as I get older (and busier!) Still, I wouldn’t trade the trunk of journals from age 11-onwards for anything!!

    Loving those Easter baskets … I have traditional wicker ones, but you’re right, they do take up more space than I’d like. 🙂 xo

    1. Oh man – I kept a couple of journals/diaries from when I was studying abroad and I absolutely cannot bear to open them…ever. I was so painfully self-conscious and moody! Haha. Maybe one day when I’m super old and can laugh instead of cringe.


  2. On list-making… there’s just something about the act of it that helps me feel productive, even if that list is entitled as “dream destinations” or “things to save up for”. I have quite the collection of lists on my notes app, I find this is the easiest!

    Things to unlearn… oooh this had me thinking! For me it’s self-doubt. I often feel plagued by the impostor syndrome.

    Love what your reader Anna said about unlearning how to say yes when you’d rather say no… this is something I’m still learning as well. I have started doing this since becoming a mom and being more protective of my rest time (while balancing it with my own social needs and the family’s needs/social obligations). I’ve said no to a few invitations and not because I was already committed to another social activity but simply because I knew I needed down time at home. I responded with “can I take a rain check” and did not give a reason as to why I couldn’t join. I initially shocked myself with this as I wondered whether it was impolite, but realized that sometimes a simple, courteous decline will suffice… I don’t expect my friends to always give me explanations if I were the one to ask. Not sure if I’m in the minority on this one.

    1. Oh man — imposter syndrome! I can’t tell you how much I suffered from this in my former careers. Nowadays, I feel less that way, but I still occasionally catch whiffs of it when I’m doing motherly things that feel a bit out of my reach, as if I’m performing my own motherhood: “I’m supposed to toilet train? Me? What? I am just playing a role here…”

      Completely agree with you on the “saying no” observation, too. I read this somewhere: “No is a full sentence.” It sounds harsh but I agree with you; you don’t need to explain!


  3. I need to unlearn the urge to say yes when I really want to or need to say no!
    I clicked on the printed linen romper, and thought: that looks a lot like Rifle Paper Co fabric… and it is!
    Thinking about having one made for my baby L in one of the blue floral patterns for summer. So pretty – thank you for finding!

    1. Ooh — that’s a good one. It’s so hard for me to say “no,” too. Mr. Magpie just reminded me of this yesterday when I intimated that I would be taking on a fairly hefty project for some philanthropic work I am leading. He reminded me that I need to be mindful of my resources and not spread myself too thin. Thanks for yet another nudge.

      Oh man, those rompers!! Precious.


  4. Oh man, I also could stand to unlearn the urge to fill silences with mindless chatter. I think it ties back to concept of emotional labor, and how women are so often expected to “make things nice” for other people. Smoothing things over, steering the conversational ship, softening the edges of the world for others. But if someone says something that’s not okay, some well-placed silence can be powerful indeed!

    1. Totally. I sometimes find myself yammering away with nothings and it is so irritating to me. Just, STOP! Also, a well-timed silence/pause can be a powerful bargaining tool in general. Something my Dad taught me: if you say your bit and then stop, people don’t know how to handle the silence and will often negotiate with themselves, i.e., “Well, OK, I’ll actually give it to you for ___” Silence is powerful!!!


    1. !! I didn’t know there was a name for this, other than “list therapy” — HA! Thanks for the note. Going to Google this! xx

  5. Sounds like nesting to me! As an aside – I love gridded notepads, second only to dotted ones in my opinion.

    Those three-tier utility carts are SO useful – we have several around the house for various functions. (I have the one from Ikea – similar styles at Michaels and Target, and I think a wee bit less expensive than the one you linked). And after you don’t need it as a diaper caddy/storage, you’ll find so many other uses for it – optimal when you live in a smaller space!

    1. Oo, love the idea of a repurposable (and easy-to-move!) piece of furniture. Once you said that, I realized it’d also be handy in our pantry closet to house things like flour, sugar, etc. Easy to reach. Thanks for the idea! xxx

  6. I love lists like these! I periodically make lists of my favorite things at the moment (categorized in different ways), habits to form, dream vacations, house projects, etc. Things to unlearn is a good one. I’ve found it to be surprisingly helpful for me, at least, in focusing an anxious mind. It’s fun to find them years later and remember a favorite snack or outfit or walking route from that period. I also love to read others’ lists for a slice of their life at that moment in time.

    1. Love all of these ideas for lists — literally created new entries for a few of them. “Habits to form” is a beautiful one and had me thinking all morning long…one big one in that area is waking up earlier, before my daughter does. Maybe I’m just in a season of life where sleep is too precious (especially with baby #2 coming in under two months), but I absolutely love waking up before everyone and getting stuff done — writing, musing, etc.

      Anyway, thanks for the ideas! Love!

  7. “Bizarre journaling” – love it! Sounds like the kind of journaling that I might actually stick with!

    1. Yes – low commitment, easy to scribble down in loose moments, no pressure whatsoever to design something cohesive. Mom journaling. HA! Highly recommend.


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