Weekend Vibes, Edition No. 139: The Rotate Floral Maxi Dress + Virtue Signaling in the Digital Age.

My Latest Snag: My Rotate Floral Maxi Dress.

I have had decision paralysis trying to figure out what to wear for Thanksgiving and a couple of other upcoming events. I think I am actually going to wear trousers (!) to one event — more on that in a future post — but I needed a dress to wear to a few dinners out. I had been eyeing this Rotate dress, seen above, for weeks (ahem) and finally pulled the trigger. I plan on wearing it with either my suede OTKs or ankle booties (<<mine are almost identical to these).

You’re Sooooo Popular: The Floral Blouse.

The most popular items on the blog this past week:

+This fun floral blouse.

+This black watch tartan dress (would work with bump!)

+These darling Christmas jammies.

+My current dream shoe.

+This blanket scarf.

+My beloved, cherished vacuum.

+Mittens for your mini or micro.

+A chic embellished sweater at a great price.

#Turbothot: Virtue Signaling in the Digital Age.

The NYC Marathon was last weekend and Mr. Magpie commented that he had seen commuters wearing their marathon medals on the Subway even multiple days after the race. We mused over this behavior for a spell. As non-runners (or at least non-marathoners), we have no claim to understand what goes into training for or completing such an athletic feat. All I know is that it is an immense physical and mental challenge and an incredible lifetime achievement, and though it is not one I aspire to tick off my personal bucket list, I have several close friends and family members who participate in them (including my own father, who has run dozens of marathons in his lifetime) and I therefore deeply respect their efforts. Still, we thought the medal-wearing a week after the fact a bit…strange?

But then — was it?

Scrolling through social media can occasionally feel like observing a string of self-congratulations. “We bought a house!” “I voted!” “I donated to this cause — please do the same!” “Look at my cool outfit!” “I’m in the Bahamas!” “I successfully made this complicated Thomas Keller dish!*”

Most of the time, I look on with bemusement or excitement or envy or encouragement. On my snarkier days, I tire of it, as some of the posts read like virtue-signaling or self-adulation. But that’s our generation for you: bleeding hearts that need to be seen bleeding. A desire for acknowledgement. A cultivated sense that we are all special snowflakes. (And lest you think I am tossing a stone from a glass house, I will be the first to admit that I share this mentality.) At any rate, as we chatted, we realized that the medal-wearing on the subway was an analog example of a behavior primarily and prolifically carried out on digital platforms every single day. It is simply easier and more accepted to tout our own accomplishments via post to Instagram or Facebook, and certain functionalities make that self-promotion ultra-easy: “Share on Twitter!” and “Invite 10 friends to do the same!” and “Post to Facebook!” The job is three-quarters of the way done! It would be so easy to just let everyone know…

Maybe I have this backwards, or maybe I’m being ill-tempered. Maybe these modalities (even the physical object of a medal!) afford us the means to celebrate people and their victories in our own communities, serving as visual cues to support the people around us.

What say you, Magpies?

*Well, this would elicit genuine reverence in my book.

Post-Scripts: St. Frank Sale!

+25% off everything at St. Frank through Monday! I both own and have gifted their alpaca throws (so fun with a saying beaded on the side!), but their framed textiles are ultra-covetable! (I included them in my roundup of my favorite sources for artwork for the home — please also read the comments on that post, as there are tons of other incredible ideas shared there.)

+A good everyday boot at a GREAT sale price. I’d layer this under my new snakeskin maxi in the black or nude.

+My favorite source for Boppy covers. They have the greatest fabrics!

+I think I need this letterpress Chesapeake Bay print.

+Love these patterned mittens in the black and white for myself.

+Such a cute quilted coat for a little one.

+Love these $10 striped Christmas jammies! Meanwhile these remind me of SZ Blockprints!

+Ordering some of these for mini.

+Read good things about this chic and inexpensive puffer coat — though do note that it runs really, really, really small and that apparently the company who makes them is hard to work with.

+A fun blouse!

16 Comments

  1. hi, i’m kelsey. i read a lot of musings but have never commented. my husband and i have been discussing this kind of “seeky” behavior for a while now – we think it has to do with an interest in gaining respect from whatever audience they have, via acceptance and admiration. medal-wearing is a more overt method, but we think everything from offering advice to posting on instagram often stems from the same root. given that, we try to acknowledge the needs of whoever in our life exhibits those behaviors. i.e. that person is wearing a medal in public days after racing, so maybe they want some admiration from strangers as well as people who know them intimately (who presumably have already offered it). ok, cool. i have admiration to give: “congrats on the race!”
    and what’s the alternative? yes, i can ignore them (and then potentially their needs, leaving them to ctn seeking elsewhere), or i can judge/reprimand them for being so flashy. but what stake do i have in how they go about getting their needs met? in our opinion, if we have kindness to offer and no chance of harm, it’s in everyone’s interest including our own to offer it.

    1. Hi Kelsey! Welcome and thanks so much for writing in on this front. This comment really brought things around for me in the sense that — well, who cares if they are flaunting a medal? I also flaunt medals of various kinds — a new designer bag! My dramatic pearl headband! These are all signals of different kinds, and I absolutely love when someone pauses and praises me for what I’m wearing. Thanks for this thoughtful and graceful response. xx

  2. I used to run cross country in high school and even a 5k is so strenuous. If someone ran an entire marathon (I truly cannot even fathom doing that, I haven’t run for years) I say they could wear the medal as long as they want!!

    1. Oh man, you are so right — I can barely run a few city blocks and the athletic accomplishment of completing an entire 26 miles is actually mind-blowing to me. xx

  3. Very interesting medal commentary! I’ve always thought that people who do things akin to wearing a medal for days after the event simply want to talk about it. I know marathons take months and months of heavy preparation then it’s all over in about 4 hours. The immense pride and joy and whatever feelings finishing brings must be outsized of 4 hours. I see the medal as an invitation to help them feel like the rest of us can appreciate that this was an event that meant more than one day for them. I can totally think of things I’ve done that were over in a heartbeat but that I still wanted people to ask me about weeks after- it was just so important to me and I wanted to process it out loud!! I would kindly say to them, “Wow, congratulations! How was your experience?”

    1. Hi! You are absolutely right on this. I’m thinking also of my wedding day, when all I wanted to do was talk about it for like weeks after the event. Thank God for my mom, who was willing to go back over every single detail with me time and time again. Ha! I think you’re right that the medal gives people the space or prompt to continue to process and celebrate what happened. Thanks for sharing this insight. xxx

  4. Agree with Anna—buy the jacket (I always notice and give mental kudos to people in their BAA jackets); medals are for the trip home/after party . I don’t even remember if I wore mine after NYC, as I was in such a daze, but am assuming I didn’t remove it from my neck until I got home. That said, I’m as guilty of digital signaling as anyone. Will be interesting to see what happens to IG when the like counts go away—I’m for it, but I have no business reason to be there.

    1. Okay—I was mulling the medal situation over on my run and got to wondering if I’d been a bit uncharitable in my first response. I wouldn’t wear my medal after the trip home, but that’s me, and every runner’s marathon is unique. Maybe the medal-wearer was a relatively new runner, or had overcome an illness, or had completed it on crutches after falling off a cliff fleeing an attacker in Thailand (true story!). I guess point being: maybe they were wearing the medal for themselves, as a testament.

    2. Love you, Claire, for thinking on this and boomeranging back with another thought. I also waffled back and forth on this subject, especially after reading some of the later comments on this post, which were a reminder to me that — “Eh, who are they hurting?” Ha!

    3. Oh me too, Claire. Also very guilty of this behavior…or is guilt the right phrase? Not sure. But social media has definitely heightened my self-awareness…

  5. The ROTATE dress looks so comfortable as well as chic! Love.

    I hear you on the virtue signaling (though I myself am guilty of it, especially in the “I donated to this cause, consider doing the same” arena — cringe?) and interesting to think of marathon medals in this way. Like you, I have a parent who has completed dozens of marathons — but my mom never wore her medals after the walk to the car or subway post-race! Maybe it’s a generational thing? I don’t fully get it, and I agree with Anna that finishers wearing the marathon jackets are less side-eye-inducing than people who wear their medals days after the race. Hmm…

    I love that Chesapeake Bay letterpress print! I have a newly-rekindled love for Etsy … so much fun to find gems on there. I also love the North Face fair isle mitts and may scoop them up as a backup pair to my cherished black/gold Lululemon mittens!

    1. Hi! You bring up a really important distinction between medal-wearing and sharing a donation — in the latter case, you’re hopefully promoting others to donate as well, or at least raising awareness for a specific cause and so there is something bigger at play, in my opinion. The medal-wearing feels very different. Perhaps I’m conflating too many things in this post…thanks for writing in, as always!

  6. Marathon medals (or any earned medal) used to be hung in your room to remind yourself and loved ones of your accomplishments. Oh my how things have changed. I’m not sure I support this boasting and self centered accolade display days after said event. I must confess I did wear my NY marathon (and Boston marathon) medals home on the day of the marathon! You would see many people wearing them at the airport that day. That was the extent of my “boasting in public”.

    Thank goodness they do not give the medals out in multiples! They are earned!!

    On a side note…I absolutely love the print in micro’s room. So aptly masculine!

    1. Ooh, interesting to think about this as a generational thing as well. I’d touched on this by referencing the millennial set, but I don’t think I fully imagined whether there is a rift between baby boomers / gen-x-ers / millennials when it comes to acknowledgment for achievements. Super fascinating. And completely agree that medals are earned!! I don’t know if this will ruffle any feathers to say but I’m not comfortable with the trend in giving every kid on the team a medal or every student in a class an award. I was highly motivated by those extrinsic rewards as a child and I think it pushed me to work harder in order to achieve them. xxx

  7. Oh man, marathon medals are a weirdly touchy subject! I am a runner and yet I also side-eye the wearing of marathon medals in several days after the race. I think you’d be better off buying the official marathon jacket and wearing that instead. Side note, I’ve volunteered at the marathon finish line a few times doing medal distribution and more than a couple people asked for two medals so they could give one to their kid, their dying wife (yes really) etc. We had to say no because we need to make sure there are enough for all the finishers. Also, wouldn’t it be more meaningful to give your dying wife YOUR medal? You know, the one you earned? Anyways! People are weird.

    1. So interesting. I bet there’s a lot more to say on this topic (and award/medal-earning in general). Like, I’m sure there’s a reason we’ve been giving out medals since like the Greeks — there’s something psychologically rewarding about an outward symbol of achievement, right? Anyway, thanks so much for responding. I was actually biting my nails waiting for comments on this post because I wasn’t sure if I was going to offend anyone. Definitely not my intent — meant more to raise some observations we’d had and solicit input. So relieved that you and others seem to be on my same page. xxx

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