Weekend Reads #138

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jewel tones worn at the presidential inauguration 2021

It's not frivolous to discuss political fashion. There is a lot of thought and care put into what politicians (and their families) wear, and this has been a fact since the dawn of time.

The color choices, the silhouettes, the fabrics, the designers… it all has meaning. For some political figures over the years, fashion has been a way to separate themselves, to show their wealth and power. This Wednesday at Biden's Presidential Inauguration, fashion was a way to show the future of America.

Many wore purple on this historic day, which may be a nod to Shirley Chisholm, who used purple and yellow as her campaign colors when she ran for president in 1972. The color purple is also associated with suffragists and was first worn by the Women’s Social and Political Union in England to represent “the royal blood that flows in the veins of every suffragette, the instinct of freedom and dignity.”

Hillary Clinton, who was one of the many who wore purple (by American designer Ralph Lauren), stated, “I did wear purple with a purpose because I knew the theme that President Biden was striking was unity. I thought as you combine red and blue, the way that we are divided politically in our country, you get purple. I wanted just to send a bit of a symbolic message that we need to come together.”

Vice President Kamala Harris' look was by 2020 CFDA American Emerging Designer of the Year, Christopher John Rogers. Rogers, a 27-year-old queer Black designer who just started his line in 2016. As for her pearls? They were by Puerto Rican jeweler Wilfredo Rosado.

Michelle Obama rocked a burgundy monochromatic look from LA-based Black designer Sergio Hudson. Harris also wore Sergio Hudson heels to the ceremony and a Sergio Hudson look that evening. By the way, if you loved Michelle Obama's look, you can buy the belt on the Sergio Hudson website. No burgundy, but other colors and it goes up to size 40″.

First Lady Jill Biden wore Markarian, a very small American fashion brand by Alexandra O’Neill. Just as Michelle Obama brought Jason Wu to attention in 2009, Jill Biden used this opportunity to spotlight an emerging American designer. As for that shade of blue? It was supposedly chosen to represent trust and loyalty.

jill biden outfit

That evening, the First Lady wore a look by Gabriela Hearst, an American designer that has been passionate about sustainability and was just tapped as the new creative director of luxury fashion house Chloé. The dress was made in New York City's Garment District from already existing materials to minimize waste. Flowers from all 50 States plus the US territories were embroidered on it, with the flower of Delaware sewn near her heart. There was hand embroidery on the lining of the coat with a quote from Benjamin Franklin:

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”

Fashion is, and always have been political. I'm thrilled it is now fun again to watch and analyze, and I am thrilled to see these powerful women use fashion in such a manner to support our country and our future.

And I personally think these inaugural looks will make monochromatic looks and jewel tones a thing in 2021. I look forward to it!

Weekend Reads

America ‘needed’ Amanda Gorman’s words, her teachers say. She delivered. (The Lily)

Are you missing mail? Packages taking forever to deliver? Did you mail out holiday gifts that have yet to be received? You're not alone. (New York Times)

The Errand Friend. (Culture Study by Anne Helen Petersen)

My breast reduction surgery finally gave me the body I was meant to have. (Buzzfeed)

Did you hear Lane Bryant is extending their size range? (The Curvy Fashionista)

Jennifer King to become NFL’s first Black woman named full-time assistant coach. (Washington Post)

It's a relief to write about political fashion again. (Fashionista)

Krista, a reader of Wardrobe Oxygen and a member of the WO2 Community shared she bought this makeup mirror and loved it. I just got it this Monday as an early birthday gift to myself and dang… this mirror is amazing. It is BRIGHT (though it has a dimmer), and BIG, it angles, and it has three colors of light. It also looks very cool, like I am doing my makeup in a green room or backstage. It's a nice weight, and has a magnifying mirror with a suction cup you can add if you desire. It comes in four colors; I picked silver. It looks far more expensive than its pricetag. I'll do a review soon but wanted to give you a heads up about it awesomeness.

I’m an Ambitious 31-Year-Old Woman. I’m Not What ADHD Is ‘Supposed’ to Look Like. (A Cup of Jo)

Chelsea Jackson Roberts is one of my favorite Peloton instructors; I enjoyed this interview with her. (Shondaland)

Baby boomers, to retailers’ surprise, are dominating online shopping. (Washington Post)

Tiffany Aliche, better known as ‘The Budgetnista‘ is on the cover of Money Magazine, and the first Black woman to have done so. Read her interview in the cover issue. (Money)

About two-thirds of Black women and Latinas don’t know where to get a COVID vaccine, showing a stark racial disparity on vaccine information and underscores the challenges in vaccinating those most affected. (The 19th)

If you practice dry brushing, when was the last time you replaced your brush? Over time it softens, and the hairs split meaning more chance to hold bacteria, dust, and other things you don't want rubbed against your skin. I just replaced my brush at the beginning of this month with this one; it's rough. Like barely touch my skin with it, but I personally like that because it does soften with use. If you prefer a softer touch, may I suggest this one for less than $10, or if you want to be fancy, how about this one from Gilded, a Black-owned body care brand?

How a transgender-owned alpaca ranch in Colorado foretells the future of the rural queer West. (High Country News)

This fossil helps us understand how dinosaurs pooped, peed, and had sex. (CNN)

Hate widescreens? Good news! Goodbye and good riddance to the 16:9 aspect ratio. (The Verge)

The ‘demic has changed so many aspects of our lives, including the SATs. (Forbes)

I wore my pink Barbie-inspired Biden/Harris sweatshirt for the inauguration (with my pearls!) and many asked where I got it. Etsy, and here's a link for it!

Yes, it could feel performative. But protest during the Trump years provided me with the civic training to undo the damage. (GEN for Medium)

While working at a shoe store in Washington, D.C., Salone Monet realized the need for color equity in nude shoes. She's now making it happen. (The Cut)


Last Friday, our kid had a sleepover at my sister's house (my sister is in our small pod). This was her first time out of the house more than a few hours since last February, and with it, the first time in almost a year that my husband and I have been alone. We ordered takeout that we knew she wouldn't like and decided to watch a movie. Wanting something different, we watched Tenet.

One thing Tenet had going for it was stunning cinematography.

Have you seen Tenet? It got good reviews but dang we were underwhelmed. We ended up turning it off and going to bed. We did finish it the next day thinking maybe we were in the wrong headspace but nope, still didn't like it. And I kept thinking, I'd like this movie better if the Russian's wife was Black. Like, if his wife had a kid from a previous relationship and he legally adopted the kid when they married, it would work and add a much better angle to this seriously cliche yet weird movie.

ted lasso juno temple

We finished ‘Ted Lasso', which is on Apple TV+. We miss Ted Lasso desperately. You don't need to like Jason Sudeikis or soccer/football to appreciate this show. I love that it's not too saccharine, and the female characters and their relationships with lovers and one another are really beautiful and healthy. I found the above image thanks to this piece on Medium about the women of the show (be warned, this article has a lot of spoilers).

My kid gave up on ‘Dickenson' and went back to ‘Stranger Things', which she is now the age to be able to watch without nightmares or confusion and be able to appreciate the storyline and characters.

Kaley Cuoco Runs Cover Dark Flight Attendant Trailer 001
Cassie Bowden, I feel you. I have no idea why I'm watching ‘The Flight Attendant” either!

I had a lot of friends say ‘The Flight Attendant,' starring Kaley Cuoco, which is on HBO Max, is a must to see. K and I watched the first episode and I was… eh. He was intrigued so we waited a couple of days and watched the second episode. I am still eh. For me, the best part of the show is the intro.

Cassie (Cuoco's character) makes SUCH bad decisions. Like if you're on your smartphone all the freaking time, why don't you Google a person instead of showing up at their place of work? Have you never watched a true crime TV show, read a crime book, or watched an action film? I'll keep watching to see what happens but it's really hard when you want to constantly slap the protagonist across the face.

the body is not an apology

Before this week happened, I was getting back into reading and am about halfway through The Body is Not an Apology by Sonya Renee Taylor. My friend Rosana has been raving about this book for months and even recommended it in this blog post where I asked my friends to share their best purchases of 2020. I too highly recommend this book.

For Your Entertainment

melanie c

Those of us in the US may only know her as Sporty Spice, but Melanie Chisholm, now known as Melanie C has been an award-winning solo artist since 1999. Last year, Melanie C came out with an eponymous album, and her video for “Into You” came out earlier this month. I think it's a fun dance song, it's empowering to see her 47-year-old self looking so fierce, and the lyrics of loving someone because you want to, and after coming to love yourself, is also empowering.

“I don't need you to tell me I'm beautiful
I do it for myself, it's better for my health
I don't need your money for diamond rings
I'm shining by myself, I'm good without your help”

A woman with curly hair wearing a plaid blazer holds a green fur coat over her shoulder on a city street.

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  1. More: I don’t like running errands with people. Let’s spend time together if we have it, and if we don’t, let’s not. I have zero interest in your errands. I feel bad now. 🙂

  2. Oh my, the Errand Friend. Once, years ago, a very busy friend asked if I could come with her to do errands, as it was the only time she had. I’d never heard of doing such a thing and it totally took me aback. Why would I want to do that?! I went along and it wasn’t unpleasant but I hate errands and I’ve never done it again.

  3. Thanks for the inaugural fashion recap. I read more articles than ever before about the fashion. I appreciated how lovely yet accessible the fashion felt.

  4. I also enjoyed Amy Klobuchar, and the inauguration special. I’ve never felt so invested and included in an inauguration. Living on the west coast we felt invested in watching and crying as a family. The fashion, and sense of sanity returning has been so gratifying. Thank all that is good

  5. Thank you for the link to the Ted Lasso article. I lived the 2 women characters as much, if not more than the lead character. Both Hannah Waddingham and Juno Temple played their well-written characters perfectly. Expect to see more of both actors in other stuff. And doesn’t Waddingham look like she’d be perfect for a soapy show like Melrose Place or Dynasty??
    If you haven’t checked it out yet, Little America on apple tv+ is also great — anthology series of terrific little short stories about immigrants in the US, supposedly inspired by true stories. Speaking of first ladies, first episode doesn’t reflect well on Laura Bush.

  6. I’m going to go on a bit of a limb and say that of all people, Laura Bush really held her own. She’s a former First Lady of the party that was ousted (though not a fan of the outgoing occupant) so it had to be a touch awkward. She’s never been a fashion icon like Michelle Obama or a groundbreaker like Hillary. Her husband? Not very loved. But she showed up and looked fantastic and I was happy to see her there.

    I enjoyed the article on protest and remember how poorly many career activists treated those who were just starting. Everyone has to start somewhere and those of us who cut our teeth on speaking out during this four-year nightmare are going to have no problems speaking out during a functional government.

    Happy Weekend!

  7. My favorite of all the fashion commentary Wednesday was someone remarking, as the Biden granddaughters walked in in different monochromatic outfits, that they thought the LA group Haim was arriving to perform. LOL!

  8. I very much enjoyed all the beautiful fashion on Wednesday & all the info we have read about it since then. And then all the Bernie memes—such hilarity! It’s nice to feel relaxed again and find joy in both the big & little moments. It was also fun to see what the younger members of the Biden & Harris families wore. One of Biden’s granddaughters wore tennis shoes (Nikes, I think) with her dresses—loved that she could be herself & dress comfortably! Both Hilary Clinton & Laura Bush wore shoes without heels (looked like Hillary had boots or ankle booties with a very slight heel)—good for them!

  9. A few more fashion notes:
    Amanda Gorman in Prada, with a birdcage ring given her by Oprah, in honor of Maya Angelou, an earlier inaugural poet.
    J-Lo in suffragette white by Chanel.
    Lady Gaga in Schiaparelli, with an unmissable peace dove.
    All so different from one another, and all so completely appropriate and gorgeous.

    1. Also loved Elizabeth Warren (my personal pick for president) in purple with her Planned Parenthood scarf. And Klobuchar’s no-nonsense, everyday coat.

      1. I thought Klobuchar was the sleeper hit of the event. She was so poised, humorous, and seemingly happy to be there.

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