A Shacket

Dear Dorigen,

The winter months arrived and so have the mighty shackets.

Shacket (a portmanteau of shirt and jacket) is an oversized button-down of a thick material (often plaid) and usually worn over a solid color turtleneck, t-shirt, or crop top.

left and right at Amazon, middle at Misspap

As soon as the weather dipped sub* 40°, shackets appeared on the backs of nearly every person I encountered. I recently got a bang trim and each stylist in the salon was wearing one, like they were handed their requisite shacket by the fashion police as they walked in for the day.

I like shackets in theory: they are gender neutral, they actually serve a purpose of keeping warm, they are available in a wide range of prices/colors/sizes, and they remind me of the snap-button shirts I coveted in college. While I have my eye on this color-block one, I am hesitant, because I don’t love when any fashion trend becomes so pervasive. As we each strive to find our unique purpose in life and present ourselves in the clothes we wear, why do so many of us choose to take on the day in a shacket, of all things? I suppose they’re more practical than a legging boot.

I must say that the word “shacket” reminds me of the word “shart” (a gross portmanteau of sh*t and fart). I learned this word from Cards Against Humanity, a game I played during a work holiday party my first (and second) year in the tech industry.

I shouldn’t have been so casual in my sharing with you that I played this card game at work, because when you asked me if I enjoyed it, I thought you were slyly inquiring about a potential Christmas present for me and Pete. Had I been more forthcoming about this game’s unabashed raunchiness, I could have saved you the embarrassment of blindly gifting Cards Against Humanity to your unsuspecting in-laws. This year, might I suggest a matching pair of warm shackets? Perhaps with pearl snaps?**

What article of clothing are you seeing everywhere in Nashville this December?



*P.S. Speaking of words reminding me of things, using sub + any number makes me think of video game speed runners, who always strive to achieve a time “sub” a certain theoretical threshold (like completing Portal sub 7m). The videos on Summoning Salt are especially delightful.

**P.P.S. Pete recently declared that his would-be drag queen name is Pearl Snaps.

A Landscape

Dear Dorigen,

The leaves are falling and I’m breaking out the annual turtlenecks and forever sweater dresses. In my restocking from basement bins, I discovered a design theme: landscapes.

#1 The Grand Canyon

This Top Shop t-shirt depicting the Grand Canyon commemorates my visit to Nordstrom online that one time. I hear the Grand Canyon is lovely and my fear of heights will have no part of it. The t-shirt is headed into storage until next summer.

#2 The Mountain Postcard

This turtleneck, from The Kit, is in the aptly named pattern “Mountain Postcard” and will be in heavy rotation in the coming months. I like to think a young Indiana Jones is skulking behind these rock formations, tucking his hair behind his ears and staying on the lookout for robbers of ancient artifacts that “should be in a museum!!!”

#3 The Abstract Landscape Made with Love

When I wear this abstract landscape sweater from Anthropologie, I am often met with the question: “Did a friend make that for you?” When it’s mistaken for an amateur handicraft, that’s when you know it’s FASHION!

#4 The Favorite

This landscape sweater from Barrie was a UAL find; therefore, actually affordable. It’s my favorite article of clothing, but it’s so distinctive that it only makes an appearance once or twice a year. The inverted color scheme makes me think of the imagined time of the dinosaurs and the little pink barn makes me think of the YouTube sensation, The Hoof GP. Do not watch The Hoof GP; it’s gross; it’s great.

#5 The Costume

Valentino is fabulous and I picked up an inspired version of this space “landscape” sweater on Poshmark. It’s best worn with jeans, because when worn with a skirt, the amount of Ms. Frizzle comments I received was enough for me to order a curling iron and design a Halloween costume around it. Stay tuned.

What is your latest fashion theme?



P. S. Also, purely hypothetical… Are you and the family puff-painting a landscape onto a sweatshirt for me for Christmas this year? No pressure. I’m a size L.

Quarantine Decadences

Dear Dorigen,

Like many of us, our world has gotten very small. Pete and I are gratefully able to work from home and we also don’t actually leave the house unless absolutely necessary (about once a month). My MS treatment has me at higher risk, so I am keeping all of the distance. I like to think that our two-bedroom, two-bathroom condo with a small kitchen and a two-chair porch is as tiny, precious, and decadent as Lizzo’s Valentino purse.

Below are some quarantine scenarios that I have been running into as I attempt to keep up the decadences.

  1. I have learned that my resting bitch temperature is 97°.
  2. I now own porch shoes.
  3. My face masks are just bandannas with hair ties and they are so thick that my glasses get fogged.
  4. So far, my coat closet and main bathroom are very clean, and I will eventually get to everywhere else.
  5. I also have workout plans.
  6. The one migraine I have had during quarantine was (I think) because of dehydration, so I am now keeping Gatorade in business.
  7. Thanks again for the many pajama bottoms; they have been especially handy.
  8. The first day that my bangs grew to barrette length, I mourned in a black shroud.
  9. Crawler earrings.
  10. Headbands take up too much back-of-ear real estate for glasses.
  11. Staying in the house for almost two months, my foundation is now 2 shades too tan for me.
  12. Basically, all that said, my phone doesn’t know me anymore. When I put my face to the screen, I am forced to enter a pass-code about 60% of the time. The phone is there to protect Emily, and I am no longer Emily.

I don’t know her.

How are you keeping up the decadences?



P. S. I have also put together a ton of little baggies with carefully counted two servings of peanut M&Ms / one serving of almonds, and I have been eating around the almonds.

On Lock

Dear Dorigen,

We were not prepared for these strange days of sequestering for Coronavirus. Being at higher risk, I still didn’t actually think to work from home until a single day before my company suggested it for all employees, and then just a few days later the offices were closed officially and we are all working from home.

As someone who much prefers to go into the office than work from home, I have taken a lesser-worn t-shirt and started adding tally marks for every day of this unsettling lock down. I don’t wear this shirt very often, because when I do, I inevitably get the comment that I look just like Velma, from Scooby-Doo (my brunette bob, black glasses, and snarky looks don’t help).

Thanks again for the PJ bottoms; I am now in a non-stop-rock-block of day to night pajamas bottoms with work shirts (just in case I need to dial in to meetings with video). Although, in the beginning of the lock down for about an hour each day I would put on jeans, so that Pete and I could aimlessly walk over to Walgreens again and pick up whatever we forgot the day before – laundry detergent, drier sheets, deodorant, toilet paper (thank goodness) coffee, peanut M&Ms, etc.

Last weekend we naively went to Whole Foods to stock up on Against the Grain frozen pesto pizzas, which were absolutely sold out, as were all other grain-free frozen foods. Instead, we picked up what we could find – a sack of frozen salmon, sardines, cans of coconut milk, cans of artichoke hearts, black olives, cheese, ginger, and a bag of lemons. We have since been able to get a more substantial grocery delivery and this morning at 6am we went to the store and picked up more sardines. Now that Illinois is nearing 300 cases, we are officially staying home as much as possible

So, while we work and live at home, in our free time we are catching up on laundry and getting creative with the cooking. Oh, and I did yoga the other day.

How are you and the family getting through?



That’s Three Scents Please

Dear Dorigen,

Since finding out that the “lingering pinched nerve,” is in fact relapsing MS, I have been doubling down on my fashion choices. In light of the diagnosis, I promised Pete that “I will always be fashionable,” which is my way of assuring him (and myself) that I will not let this illness dampen my hopefulness. Pete recently helped me discover a fashion element that I didn’t know my soul was missing – a new scent.

We don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day (Pete’s Gen X-ness is anti-corporations-telling-people-when-to-be-romantic); so instead, I receive flowers and many other sweet acts of kindness at other times in the year. Yesterday, after I randomly sampled a perfume at the mall, Pete offered to gift me a scent for non-Valentine’s Day. At this suggestion, one of the first things I was reminded of was that moment in Weird Science, when the boys were fumbling with samples of perfumes at the mall, looking for that classic gift for their newly made girlfriend.


I had such a crush on Wyatt. Check that vest.

As a couple who often expresses our love in non-traditional ways (e.g. blue wedding dress, decidedly not having kids, etc.), I was intellectually charmed by the novelty of such a traditional gesture, but then when I started smelling these different worlds, I realized how starved I was for such a stimulation of the senses, such a decadent, optimistic change.

Scent 3 – The Old: Marc Jacobs Essence and Daisy

MJessence        MJdaisy

Did you know that you bought me my first designer perfume? It was Essence by Marc Jacobs. I was in my early 20’s and I couldn’t scratch the cost, so you generously gifted it for a birthday. I think you were rocking that pre-2008-crash, Financial Industry money. Essence will always be beloved and after it was discontinued, I purchased a travel size of the similar Marc Jacobs scent, Daisy. I still have and use both bottles, but after decades, their scents have faded and possibly turned into something other.

Scent 2 – The Inspiration: Chloé Roses de Chloé


Chloe’s Roses de Chloe is the perfume that I randomly sampled and that inspired Pete to gift me a new scent. True to its name, Roses does smell of roses and it makes me think of open, airy spaces, a glowing yellow desert. It warmed my heart and it was a close second to the scent that won my soul. Still charmed, I ended up ordering a small sample size of Roses for my desk at work if I ever need a moment of “airiness.”

Scent 1 – The One: Gucci Flora Emerald Gardenia


When I smell Gucci’s Flora Emerald Gardenia, I think of a lush, growing green forest, a mossy blanket of possibility that nourishes and welcomes my soul. For the last several months, my body has been painstakingly attempting to physically repair a feeling that I can best describe as “inner voids,” and then, suddenly, this singular scent has replenished a deep lack in something too personal to describe. It makes me smile.

I am also trying out a new way to wear perfume. Instead of the classic Marisa Tomei spray-then-dip of Untamed Heart, the internet suggests spraying behind the knees and/or elbows. It works. Are you still wearing your signature scent? If you need a fashion change that you can’t put your finger on or if you are wondering what I smell like these days, then the perfume counter may be calling you.



P.S. Valentino’s Donna Born in Roma Eau de Parfum smells like cotton candy fire.

Accidentally On Purpose Fashion

Dear Dorigen,

It was great seeing you and the family in Chicago recently. As you know I had some sort of mystery accident that caused pain and numbness in my side and has made my mobility challenging. With challenge comes great fashion responsibility, so here’s how I’m coping.

1) Summer Dresses

Likely the injury is a pinched nerve, and the first thing that was prescribed to me was loose-fitting clothing. I have been in a cute summer dress on the daily for over a month now; if I look like a drunken mummy when I walk, then I am going to make for damn sure that I am dressed like a fabulous, rich, cultured, fashionable drunken mummy. Some of my GO TOs…



Green African Print – Etsy | Multi-color Tiered Dress – Nordstrom Rack | Top Shop Striped Dress – I found it on Poshmark  | Green Etsuko – MM.Lafleur  | Printed Shirt Dress | Midi Floral Dress – Tory Burch – Sold out.

2) Disruptor Sandals

I am currently on another self-imposed clothing spending freeze, so when I spotted these exceedingly cushioned, yet elaborate Fila “Disruptor” Sandals that legit help me walk and make me feel fabulous, I made Pete buy them for me. Just sayin. As soon as I stepped foot at work in these sandals, I was shocked to be inundated with complements from the young bloods. I thought I was going old school, old person (or as you called them “clodhoppers”), but apparently these were THE sandal of Lollapalooza 2019. I have had strangers come up to me and say things like “oh, I’ve been wanting to see these in person” (because they are apparently in a bunch of fashion blogs, including ours now). Werk.


Fila “Disruptor” Sandals

3) Fashion Cane

I have been threatening to buy a fashion cane for years now, for the various innocuous injuries I incur (e.g. a stubbed toe, slight headache, etc.), and now that I absolutely need one, I bought a standard cane, and added my own flare. I just happened to already own an over-sized fur rabbit key-chain that has fulfilled my fidgety heiress fantasy.



I got both of these keychains on Etsy

I will know for certain if it’s a pinched nerve or something else after I get my MRI results. The MRI scan was a trip. They do absolutely everything they can to make you comfortable, so you don’t have a flailing panic attack when trapped within the loud coffin machine. I was given multiple pillows, wrapped in a blanket, eye cover, ear plugs, headphones, and they offered to play absolutely any music (I had them do a YouTube mix of Beirut). On further reflection, I should have gone with one of my “5 desert island albums” – Kelly’s Shoes, Marlo Thomas and Friend’s Free to Be You and Me, Digital Underground’s Sex Packets, Sonic Youth’s EVOL (you bought me that), and anything by Casiotone for the Painfully Alone.

So, that was my long way of asking you – what are the five albums you would take with you to a desert island?