Musings

Weekend Vibes, Edition No. 278: On the Concept of Best Friends.

By: Jen Shoop

My Latest Snag: Discounted Swimwear.

I picked up a few of the swimsuits I found on sale in this post and am particularly excited about this Ephemera (plan to layer under my Julia Amory husband shirt dress, which I snagged in a blue pattern, as a cover up) and this Agua Bendita, which I would love to pair with the matching pareo…waiting to find it in this pattern on sale. Right now I’m looking for a good pool slide/sandal — I have been wearing the Tkees but they aren’t exactly right for wet feet. (Better for beach days.) I used to have a pair of neon waterproof Birks and while I liked them in concept (and on other people!), I just never really got into the style and even the smallest size was a tiny bit big on my foot. (BTW, Target has an excellent $10 variation.) I noticed Stuart Weitzman has some jelly slides that could be good, and then of course there is Gucci. I also have a pair of those Valentino jelly bow sandals from like six or seven years ago (maybe longer?) that I might need to pull out of retirement…other recs welcome!

You’re Soooo Popular: Summer Finds.

The most popular items on Magpie this week:

popular summer fashion

ABSOLUTELY STUNNING HIGH NECK FLOWING IVORY MAXI DRESS

HELLY HANSON PERFORMANCE SKI SHELL JACKET…SUCH A LONG LASTING PIECE IT IS WORTH GETTING OFF SEASON FOR HALF THE PRICE!

HANDMADE BELL SHAPED WOVEN DUAL COMPARTMENT HAMPER WITH SCALLOPED EDGES

NAVY WATERPROOF BOAT SHOES WITH ADORABLE RED ACCENT LACES FOR THE LITTLES

LIGHTWEIGHT FLORAL MINI DRESS WITH RUFFLED TRIM AND TIE DETAIL AT SHOULDER — AN EFFORTLESSLY CHIC AND FLOWY SUMMER WARDROBE ESSENTIAL

ONE SHOULDER ONE-PIECE SWIMSUIT WITH TASTEFUL BACK CUT OUT IN A BOLD NAVY FLORAL

WHITE LEATHER PLATFORM ESPADRILLE GLADIATOR SANDALS

COTTON POPLIN APRON-STYLE WHITE MIDI DRESS WITH SQUARE NECK — EXTRA PLUS THAT THE STRAPS ARE CONVERTIBLE! 

HIGH NECK SLEEVELESS SIMPLE KNIT MIDI DRESS

IVORY BATH MAT WITH CONTRASTING SCALLOPED PASTEL TRIM

SEAMLESS RIBBED KNIT CROP TANK WITH SCOOP NECK IN A VIBRANT ORANGE

GIRLS’ ONE PIECE SWIMSUIT WITH TIE-SHOULDER DETAIL…IN A NEON YELLOW GINGHAM IT WILL BE EASY TO FIND YOUR LITTLES IN THIS PIECE!

BUSTIER-STYLE FITTED MIDI DRESS WITH AN OH-SO-PERFECT THIGH SLIT…THIS HEAD TURNER IS TO DIE FOR IN CLASSIC RED

LIGHT PINK GINGHAM BANDEAU BIKINI TOP WITH TIE AND KEYHOLE CUTOUT AT THE BUST

ATHLETIC SHORTS WITH WIDE RUCHED ELASTIC WAISTBAND IN MINT GREEN

COCONUT OIL INFUSED DETANGLING WET HAIRBRUSH — A LIFESAVER WHEN BRUSHING OUT POST BEACH DAY KNOTS AND MADE ENTIRELY FROM PLANT-BASED MATERIALS

Weekend Musings: On the Concept of Best Friends.

I recently came across an enlightening post on Instagram in which the author Jedidiah Jenkins wrote:

“I was asked last week, ‘who is your best friend?’ I don’t know. I don’t use language like that anymore. It doesn’t fit. I have friends that hold the keys to different doors of my personality. Some open my heart. Some my laughter. Some my mischief. Some my sin. Some my civic urgency. Some my history. Some my rawest confusion and vulnerability. Some friends, who may not be ‘the closest’ to me, have the most important key for me in a moment of my life. Some, who may be as close as my own skin, may not have what I need today. It’s ok if our spouses or partners don’t have every key. How could they? It isn’t a failure if they don’t open every single door of who you are. The million-room-mansion of identity cannot overlap perfectly with anyone.

But I will say, my closest friends have a key ring on their hip with lots of keys, jingling.”

I absolutely loved this reconceptualization of friendship. It dovetails with and extends some of the nascent musings on “narratives of friendship” I shared here. Why expend the energy to categorize people as “best friends” in the first place? It’s a nailing down of things that don’t need to be nailed down. Relationships are fluid, and varied, and why force them into lanes? I am thinking specifically of two separate observations that tug on corners of this blanket.

In the first: earlier in my life, if I sensed a mounting distance between myself and a friend, I would anticipate permanent closure. “Well, that friendship’s over,” I would brood, mourning the fun we had. Now I know that friendships can retract and resume, and often without intention or ill-will. Sometimes life gets in the way: geography, work schedules, family, responsibilities, ailing parents, demanding hobbies and extracurriculars, newborn babies. Sometimes people — their priorities, interests — change. It is OK to let friendships wane for a minute. Perhaps that is a truth no one wants to say, myself included, as we all want to be the best friend who shows up, who answers the phone at 3 a.m., who moves mountains to demonstrate her loyalty. But people, relationships, can and will evolve over time, and I think only of that old quote: “The green reed which bends in the wind is stronger than the mighty oak that breaks in a storm.”

The second observation: it has surprised me, in my adult life, how much time and experience and — well, life — I share with people I wouldn’t necessarily refer to as “friends.” I am thinking specifically of neighbors, nail technicians, doormen (in NYC), nannies. Many of these relationships are just as intimate as close friendships, and just as valuable. As an example, during the long dearth of pandemic living in NYC, we still saw our doormen every morning on the way into and out of the building — a deeply-needed moment of interpersonal exchange that made life feel less strange and deprived than it was. Our doormen knew more about us than anyone else on the earth — what we were eating, where we were going, the habits and patterns of our waking hours, who are close friends were, when we were traveling. Our doorman Richie was one of the first people to meet my newborn son. I guess what I am saying is that I have long felt there is not an appropriate word for these important figures in our lives. It is as though we vault the “friendship” moniker, with its familiar contours of “hanging out,” “going through things together,” “eating meals,” “talking on the phone,” “going on trips together,” above all other permutations of relationship, when in fact, I have found meaningful companionship, support, humor, affection from the people in my immediate, everyday life, with whom I enjoy a much higher density of interaction than my friends. It is startling to think that my neighbors know more about my everyday life than my best girlfriends. But there it is. This is not to say friendships aren’t vital to a happy and full life, but to say that perhaps the work of differentiating between who is a friend and who is not, and what tier of friendship a particular person is on, is pointless. Relationships come and go, for different reasons and for different seasons. The important thing is that I remain open-hearted.

Shopping Break.

+Kule is running a surprise sale! You may need to sign up for emails to access, but as you know if you are a longtime reader, Kule is my favorite brand for striped tees, and several great colors are on sale. I take an XS and the fit is lean and actually not as “long” as the name suggests. I’m petite and it hits at mid-hip. Don’t miss their popular tank dresses and adorable totes!

+I have seen SO many chic women at the pool wearing Poupette St. Barth cover-ups — I found some on sale here, here, and here!

+Quick upgrade to the front of your home: these house numbers and a Frontgate doormat (<<we have one of these). Chic! (PSA: Frontgate does often put seasonal door mats in its clearance section!)

+I know many of you have been buying ahead with winter coats on sale, and I had to mention I found some Patagonia fleeces for littles and babies up to 50% off, and Helly Hensen ski parkas 50% off, and Reima winter parkas on sale, too (<<I bought mini a Reima for this upcoming winter already). Reima also carries very high-quality rain gear for warmer seasons and it’s all currently 25% off with code SUMMER25. Good rain gear was essential to NY life, as we’d still walk to school every day, rain or shine. (Rain pants are fantastic! I actually have gotten a surprising amount of use out of mine, which are from Marmot.)

+A lot of great end-of-sale finds at Matches (this maxi!) and Net-A-Porter (this caftan! this Hunza G!). NAP is offering an extra 15% off sale items with code EXTRA15!

+This $128 caftan reminds me of the much more expensive ones from Pippa Holt.

+Another caftan obsession: this Mille.

+I found a little trove of Alemais nautical-themed dresses on sale: love this and this!

+I’ve been doing a ton of research on attractive mens fitness clothes for Mr. Magpie. We got most of his tennis gear from Nike and Lacoste, but for golf, I’m drawn to the shorts from Rhone (more colors here) and Redvanly — both of which feel a bit more modern than Peter Millar — and for performance polos, the ones from Rhoback (a sportswear line built by UVA Darden grads!) and Holderness and Bourne.

+This would be handy at the beach…

+Swooning over this Alexis dress.

+$13 slides that serve up YSL Nu Pied energy.

+Adore these striped, scalloped-edged pajama pants!

+Fun evening shoe.

+Love these lacquered trays — a good gift, don’t you think?

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12 thoughts on “Weekend Vibes, Edition No. 278: On the Concept of Best Friends.

  1. A second vote for Freedom Moses! Not sure about smaller sizes, I’m an 8 and wear the 38/39. I think they’re much comfier than the Birkenstock/Target dupe as they feel less squeaky-rubbery. I can’t live without them in the summer! Just took them on vaca and they were as great at the pool as the beach (and runs to town, etc. etc.)

    Appreciate the best friend reflection — I think this process begins with the oft-quoted Mindy Lahiri (Kaling) observation that “best friend is a tier,” but that eventually, as older women, that tier is simply what remains of the winnowing down of our time and energy. I don’t have so many “going out friends,” “study buddies,” etc. like I did in my twenties. If we are truly friends at this point — we are probably “best” friends.

    I do agree that a rich life includes all the other types of close connections you name — intimate acquaintances? I’m sure I read something about how during the pandemic, especially the early days, those connections were what was lost the most. We found ways to stay connected to the “best friend tier,” but we all craved the myriad other people in our lives. (Your doorman example is an interesting exception!)

    1. Such a good point re: the pandemic. It did kind of “erase” a lot of the happenstance run-ins with people in our community for awhile — fascinating that NYC living kind of forced the opposite? Like I was still seeing neighbors, doormen, etc, simply by virtue of proximity…

      I hadn’t heard that Mindy quote!

      xx

  2. How about the Ancient Greek Eleftheria sandals? I order one half size up and absolutely live in them!

  3. The plastic birks didn’t work for me either. I felt clumsy in them and was constantly tripping. I love a simple pair of havaiana flip flops for pool.

  4. I really enjoyed reading these reconceptualizations of friendship. I agree with Jenkins’ quote and I also really identified with what you wrote about the different relationships we have with not-quite-friends in adulthood that are still important, enlightening, nourishing, etc. The term “best friend” generally smacks of elementary school to me! To me, it doesn’t make space for the full spectrum of relationships that make a fulfilled adulthood.

    On the topic of waterproof sandals: have you tried Freedom Moses? Not sure if the sizing would work for you, but I am a convert. I was against them for a while due to the injection-molded aspect (I preferred the EVA Birks with their functional buckles), but I actually really like them. I have a pair that I use as my summer “house shoes” and a pair that I use for the beach, pool, etc.

    xx

    1. I so agree with this about the phrase “best friends”: “it doesn’t make space for the full spectrum of relationships that make a fulfilled adulthood.” AMEN!

      xx

  5. I love the idea of ditching the “best friend” title! The friendship key ring is interesting, a concept I’m going to sit with for a while. But I’m convinced that having one single best friend is not going to serve most of us as adults (except maybe if your spouse is your best friend?). I vividly remember being at dinner with a former college roommate (who I’d consider my best friend, if I had one) about five years ago, when she casually referred to another friend of hers as her best friend. She didn’t say it to be hurtful, I think she just has several best friends. But man. Hearing that was…like a demotion? If that makes sense? And honestly it’s still a bit hurtful, which is why I love this idea of not categorizing friendships that way. It’s so easy to feel on the outside within a friend group if you’re not “best friends” with someone in it. Great food for thought this weekend!

    PS – my husband loves Holderness & Bourne polos and quarter zips for golf. Also Travis Mathews 🙂

    1. Thank you for the Travis Mathews rec! Immediately added to my Excel sheet containing all golf/sport related clothing finds for him. Good to have a trove for holidays, birthdays, when he needs new duds, etc!

      I can viscerally relate to the bite of a dear friend referring to someone else as a “best friend”! Instant hurt!

      xx

  6. Loved your reconceptualization of friendships. So thought provoking.
    Stick with your Valentino jelly bow sandals! I’m taking mine on vacation this week. They go with everything!

    1. Digging them out for sure!! Mine are black and would look good with my black Marysia suit I’m realizing!

      xx

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