My Clothes-Up: Connie Loves Her Jenny Craig-Commercial Pants

For a person who works in fashion, I don't actually own that many clothes, and I believe that's as much a product of my thinking about style all day long as it is about NYC's limited square footage. I like all my clothes to have real stories behind them, in kind of the same way that I like the stuff I work on for my job to have a compelling story behind them. I can't help it — I've got a writer's brain!

I'm kicking off the first of a series of conversations with women to share their own perspectives, strategies, and thoughts — ranging from neurosis to addictions to pure, unfiltered joy — about the clothing they own. We're calling it "My Clothes-Up," and it will give some of the women with really distinctive personal style a platform to nerd out about everything that's in their closets, broken up into the categories that we think most define how people curate a wardrobe.
Photographed by Nicholas Calcott.
Collections, Addictions, and Weaknesses
I have a serious addiction to quirky button-downs. Some are long, like tunics, and others have buttons down the back as well as the front, and I have one that looks sort of like a Mennonite Spice Girl crop top. I have maybe 20 of them total, and I swear I wear them all. The more classic the material and the more offbeat the cut, the better — like if Gordon Gekko was also into DIY. I buy them a lot from East Asian fast-fashion sites like Front Row Shop and Style Nanda. Maybe I’ve been lucky, but the quality is always good and they fit well (though their sizes are closer to European sizing, so things generally run small). The only issue is that sometimes it takes a couple months to ship…but the silver lining is that usually by the time it arrives, you’ve forgotten you’ve ordered it, so it’s like getting a surprise in the mail.
Photographed by Nicholas Calcott.
How's It Hanging?
After leaving home, I’ve never actually had a closet in any of the apartments I’ve lived in. I’ve relied on Ikea’s range of rolling racks and wardrobes in various stages of durability, and even after moving into my latest and most grown-up apartment to date, with real closets, I still had to have my Ikea fix. I like the idea of building a little home for your clothes in a I-am-your-protector sort of way.

I hang up everything that wrinkles. T-shirts, sweaters, button-ups, pants — everything. Things that don’t get hung up are put into shelves and drawers. I learned a couple of retail-store folding tricks from friends of mine who used to work at Abercrombie + Fitch, and I find an weird amount of zen by folding laundry.

Shoes I rarely wear go in my closet — my everyday footwear is currently stacked in a 50-shoe rack in my entryway. I have a no-shoes policy in my apartment. I think it’s an Asian thing. I always want to d-i-e whenever I see people wearing shoes in houses on TV shows (or, God forbid, shoes on a bed — blleeeeeerchhh).
Photographed by Nicholas Calcott.
Photographed by Nicholas Calcott.
Closet MVPs
Out of all my button-downs, I wear this blue-and-red striped shirt the most. It’s got a row of buttons down the front and a row of buttons down the back, too, which I like to mostly leave unbuttoned so it flaps around. It works with everything and is professional enough to wear to the office and to important meetings, but as soon as I turn around, it’s like “party time!
Photographed by Nicholas Calcott.
I also love everything I own from the Chinese label JNBY. They used to sell here in America, and they had a SoHo store once upon a time, but whenever I go back to China to visit family, I always make sure to stop in their store. They make really amazing drop-crotch trousers, origami-style tunics, and awesome outerwear. Plus, the fabrics they use are just incredible, and the cuts are flattering but never “cute.” I have these gray trousers that are like a really long version of skorts (can I call them “skants’?) from JNBY that get me compliments at the office from those coworkers whose style I’m obsessed with — and isn’t that true for most women? To some extent, when you’re putting a lot of energy into your outfit, you’re not really dressing for men or yourself — you’re dressing to get noticed by other really stylish women.
Photographed by Nicholas Calcott.
"Going-Out" Clothes & The Fancy Stuff
I am so, so bad at dressing for nighttime or fancy occasions. I always feel like I’m putting on a costume, no matter what I’m wearing. Lately, I’ve decided to just go with it, and my current after-hours attire can only be describe as Adult Flower Child. It’s full-on swaths of taffeta, giant bows, and goofy skirts. I wear them with silly heels and a silly bag, and I look completely age-inappropriate.

There is a section of my closet, though, of your stereotypical “going-out” dresses that I haven’t been able to get rid of. Not that I’m harboring any dreams of becoming a party animal again in the future, but every once in a while when all the oversized, boxy stuff I wear starts to really mess with my mind, I stuff myself into a bandage dress, put on a pair of heels, and just walk around my bedroom tidying up like a crazy person. It’s important to remind yourself that you still got it, even if you don’t plan on telling anyone else so.
Photographed by Nicholas Calcott.
Jeans & Denim
I love baggy jeans. Love 'em. I think it’s my body’s total rejection of anything super-tight and suffocating. I experienced puberty in low-rise jeans, and I swear that fucked up my body — I remember that my belly fat would literally stop at my hips, where my jeans waistline would be. So, no thanks.

Now, my jeans are usually slightly cropped and oversized — like, I will actually buy jeans two sizes too big because I like a slouchier fit better. I have these men’s jeans from the Marni outlet in Milan that I bought with our editor-in-chief, Christene Barberich. She was like, “There’s no way those are going to fit you,” and I was all like, watch me. I call them my Jenny Craig-commercial jeans — without a belt, there’s a good three inches of space I can pull them out to do that “look at how much weight I’ve lost” pose. They’re painted with stripes of black, and I love them so much.

I buy a lot of my jeans at thrift stores — I love how stiff and non-stretchy jeans from the ’80s are, and one of my favorite pairs is this leopard-spotted high-waisted one from Jordache that make me feel like I’m in Whitesnake. Otherwise, I’ve been into Abercrombie + Fitch denim lately (though I have to size up significantly in them), and Gap’s petite, cropped jeans are the only kind of skinny jeans that really fit my frame.
Photographed by Nicholas Calcott.
At Home, By Yourself
I heard somewhere that what you wear when you’re by yourself at home is indication of whether of not you really love fashion. And if that’s the case, it would appear that I don’t love fashion very much…? My at-home wardrobe consists solely of grubby athletic shorts and T-shirts that I’ve been collecting since high school. They range from promotional freebies to souvenir tees to a few misguided ones I screen-printed myself back when I was obsessed with a few mediocre bands, public radio, and puns — Lake OKGobegone was probably the most cringe-worthy of the bunch.
Photographed by Nicholas Calcott.
The one nice, pretty piece I wear regularly at home is this vintage kimono I bought in Kyoto. There’s this stigma in lots of East Asian countries about buying used clothing, so most of the vintage you can find in Japan is catered toward tourists and Westerners. It’s a pretty elaborate style, with sleeves that I learned are meant for geishas-in-training (called maikos), and it’s so cozy and comfortable, despite making me look like a queen.

I will say, though, that I’m pretty neurotic about changing into my at-home clothes as soon as I get home. I used to resist when I was younger — I felt like changing out of the clothes you dressed up in as soon as you got home was kind of like closing the book on your day and preemptively saying no to going out again. But as I’ve gotten older, I need that book to be slammed shut. I will literally spring from the front door to my closet to change out of my what I’m wearing, pending plans be damned.
Photographed by Nicholas Calcott.
The Extras
Function is the most important thing about accessories. If I can’t walk in a shoe or fit my phone in a bag, I will never wear them, no matter how cool they are. I also don’t tend to buy very expensive shoes — I wear them hard, so no matter how preciously I treat them, my shoes will end up chewed. I have quite a few heels, and I got most of them as gifts. I’ll wear them to certain events, but I don’t like how I feel in them — like I’m always so hyper-aware that I have feet.

I’ll spend more money on bags, but I have an affinity for really silly bags that have weird critters on them or squiggles or patterns. It’s like, I will be that girl with the Birkin bag in a stupid color (not that I have one).
Photographed by Nicholas Calcott.
My favorite bag is definitely my Issey Miyake Bao Bao bag. It’s roomy, convenient, and so bright and disco-ball shiny that it makes everyone — grandmas, and babies alike — happy to see it. I also like that it’s a bag that looks like it came from a science museum gift shop, but some fashion die-hards recognize it.
Photographed by Nicholas Calcott.

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