Both Virginia Sole-Smith and Anne Helen Petersen sent out newsletters ruminating about loving clothes on your own terms, how fatphobic most fashion “rules” are, and how to keep (or get back to) the joy we all felt as kids when we out on an outfit we loved. (Plus, they both include descriptions of those kid outfits that are perfection: “My middle school aesthetic fell somewhere between Punky Brewster and Rayanne Graff, if they were also very into rainforest vibes.”)
Sole-Smith’s newsletter hits on how dressing for joy almost inevitably becomes dressing to blend in (and the thin privilege thereof), plus the intersection of navigating all of this as female:
Every creative kid goes through some process of deciding how much they want to stick out and how much they need to blend in, in order to survive their tween and teenage years. What once felt special, personal, and unique suddenly becomes “attention seeking,” which, we learn early, is one of the worst qualities a girl can have.
Petersen’s newsletter links back to Sole-Smith’s and talks about unpacking the years of blending in:
What does it look like to dress with the same joy as you did before you became conscious of your body? Is it possible to choose an outfit with the underlying supposition that the body is beautiful in it, is lovable, is sexy, simply because you have decided it is? What would it look like to talk about clothes without talking about bodies — which is to say, without talking about “flattering”?
They’re good bookends to each other. At the very least they’ll get you remembering your favorite outfits as a kid.