All the leaves on our fair city’s trees have pretty much given up by now, having long since blown off and been trampled by a million pairs of winter boots stomping up the sidewalk. The only bright spots of greenery left now are from the Christmas tree vendors. Long lines of pine flank the sidewalk, which is a nice respite from the usual towering piles of trash and makes you feel like you’re walking into an actual winter wonderland instead of some kind of garbage hell world. In the absence of bright plants, the color palette of our city’s denizens tends to neutralize around this time as well. Suddenly everyone is in black and brown and grey, which makes me feel very at home. We are all cold and we are all dressed in black—ahh, kinship.
Ah, early December. It’s dark. It’s cold. There is slush falling from the sky. Somehow, this is worse than the frigidity of the true depths of winter—our bodies haven’t had time to acclimate to these new and terrible conditions yet. These are hard times, my friends. This is the era of clicking “no” on an event invitation after glancing out the window. This is the time of blanket nests and Netflix.
I don’t know very much about the finer points of aging gracefully, but am pretty sure it involves limited color palettes and houndstooth. At least, that’s what the chic older ladies of New York have led me to believe. The Upper East Side isn’t one of my usual haunts, but any self-respecting people-watcher knows that every once in a while you have to visit unfamiliar places to refresh your eyes and see what life looks like with a view of the East River. Also, a lot of museums are up there, which was the reason for my sojourn into that part of town. (There’s an Egon Schiele exhibit at the Neue Galerie right now.)
It’s Halloween! Wearing your costume out in public and to your job is generally frowned upon as unprofessional in the workplace, but I suppose it depends on your job. However, there are plenty of ways to express your spooky, costumed spirit without showing up at the office dressed as a sexy dinosaur.
My favorite instagram account right now is @fashiongrandpas, which as you might expect documents sightings of dapper elderly gentlemen. It’s refreshing to see older faces applauded for their style when most fashion blogs, not to mention the mainstream fashion world in general, cater to the young. Style isn’t something that stops after a certain age—it shifts and changes as subtly but surely as our personalities and interests do over time, and eventually we’ll all arrive at whatever personal aesthetics were waiting for us all along.
Stoopin’ and starin’
The art and science of sitting on a city stoop is a delicate one. If it’s your own stoop, you can lounge with proprietary pride, sitting at eye-level with passerby while you smoke or take a phone call or stare at your neighbors’ windows. If it isn’t your own stoop, however, you rest uneasily. There’s nothing technically wrong with parking yourself on someone else’s stoop for a few minutes, but it still feels like you’re intruding. When an actual resident opens the front door to come down the steps, do you smile? Apologize? Sheepishly explain that your feet hurt and you just needed to sit for a minute but it’s fine you can leave? Jump up and pretend you hadn’t just been taking up a bunch of space that didn’t belong to you? Ignore them and keep staring at your phone? (This one is the New York Way.) What is the Emily Post stance on stoop appropriation? Inquiring minds and tired butts want to know.