Category Archives: Things

Haute pink

Dear Dorigen,

I’m excited to hear that you’re a Winter. Bright colors abound!

Let me introduce you to hot pink and start with its disciple, Pierpaolo Piccioli of Valentino. See Valentino’s Fall/Winter 2022 collection, in which Piccioli shows that hot pink is an equal staple to black.

Valentino Pink PP is now it’s own Pantone shade. According to British Vogue, Pierpaolo Piccioli was:

“… fuelled by a desire to create a lasting shade that would communicate the legacy of Rosso [red] Valentino through a modern lens.”

see the full British Vogue article by Alice Newbold

And so he did. Hot pink is redder than red; it’s vibrant, daring, goth.

Hot pink is like science fiction. There’s a hot pink pigment that technically exists, but its vibrancy can’t be captured in film.

I wish I could twin with you on a hot pink quest.

Leaning into my Soft Summer palette of muted colors, greys abound and hot pink is currently relegated to the furthest reaches of my body. For example, these hot pink sneakers from Fila are especially comfortable and the mini heel backpacks hold enough change for the parking meter and the arcade at our local movie theatre.

If you’re looking for options closer to your face, I point back to our At Least Two Pair correspondence, where I piled on the wishful thinking and multiple bright sweaters from Loft. They’re still on sale, and the Fuchsia looks especially bright.

Or if you’re feeling daring and an intense chill in the air, check out the hottest of hot pink Cashmere Balaclava from Carolyn Rowan.

The most recent Valentino Haute Couture collection (Spring/Summer 2023) still includes pops of neon in yellow, green, teal, orange, blue, and the beloved hot pink. However, the vibrancy is no longer head to toe. I especially connected with the looks that paired the neon with muted tones, so us Summers aren’t completely left in the dark.

Is hot pink calling to you?



P.S. The Menu is great.

Tagged , , , , ,

Jeans on bottom

Dear Dorigen,

As mentioned, I have denim on the brain. It’s a rare wardrobe that doesn’t have at least one pair of jeans tucked in a drawer somewhere and the current options are anything but common.

For example, take these Mugler knockoffs from Ali Express, which offer the “idea” of jeans in the form of covering most of the lower half with wrapped denim and sheer mesh ribbons, which then pool at the heels like two world-collecting trains. Mugler pairs theirs with heels, but I like to image that (when worn with flats) these tiny sweepers help clean the earth.

In between moments of me lusting after AREA’s Crystal Mussel Choker, I stumbled on one of their diamond encrusted pairs of jean shorts, which spells out their brand name. For those unfamiliar with this brand, I wonder what they would think of this “AREA” wording. Would they think it’s referring to the general “area” that the cutout is exposing? If not in the know, I would likely guess it was the wearer’s name because I have dear memories of your gold-plated belt that spelled out DORIGEN. That mall kiosk artisan was a master to get all those letters on there and still have a functioning clasp.

Each jean brand seems to offer at least one pair that’s either been aggressively eaten by a dog or by a paper shredder (hugs and kisses to Jumpin’ Jack Flash). I own a couple pairs. I chose to share one I don’t own, this pair by 7 for All Mankind, because the sea blue color and especially exaggerated calf frays make me think of the (sometimes modern) pirate stylings of Our Flag Means Death, which brings me joy.

As another beloved reference, I kind of love Alaïa’s take on a jean with built-in black cotton biker shorts because it reminds me of the movement fashions of Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814. That VHS tape is still one of the best Christmas gifts I’ve ever received. If I didn’t thank you in 1989 (and then steal your gum), then I’m thanking you now (and my bad about the gum).

I could also rant about jean skirts getting so short, they’re becoming headbands, but the mom in The Wonder Years already made that joke when lamenting about the 60’s miniskirt and, really, to each their own skirt length.

Did you end up watching Lizzo: Live in Concert on HBO? It had so much <3, but if you didn’t watch it, I’m sure you felt it when you saw her live.



P.S. Learning that I’m definitely 90% certain that I’m a summer palette has me rethinking my entire jewlery game. I’m supposed to wear silver?! After decades of almost exclusively wearing yellow gold, I’m now sifting through old bins for wearable options. Thankfully I uncovered the silver dinosaur bones necklace that Pete got me when I was watching Raja rock it (in gold) on Season 3 of RuPaul’s Drag Race.

P.P.S. Dior is doing a live feed of their 2023 Spring-Summer collection tomorrow (1/23) at 8am Central. Perhaps we’ll see more of Cedric Diggory.

Tagged ,

Jeans on top

Dear Dorigen,

Throughout the years I sporadically wore jeans. Growing up I pulled on whichever jeans were handy (or to coordinate with my friends on a day trip to Six Flags), and then, in my goth teen years, I refused to own a single pair. In my early twenties, I was more concerned with work attire than jeans, and then, with a steady paycheck and a false sense of responsible spending, I scheduled fittings to overspend on “the perfect pair.” Now that I’ve embraced comfort and I understand the dangers of credit card debt, my go-to jeans look and feel “good enough.”

While practically is currently answering the Wear jeans? question, my fashion curiosity has an intrigued glance (and sometimes side-eye) towards the latest jean trends. Let’s take a look from the top.

At its best, denim material is being crafted into intricate gowns that win 2022 best dressed lists. I’m looking gleefully at you, Jodie Turner-Smith in Balmain (see HauteLeMode’s enclosed take at minute 16:42 or watch the whole video because it’s great).

At its worst, scraps of jean fabric are being taped to celebrities who mistook the red carpet for an impromptu play about #choices. For evidence, I submit slides 51, 55, 60, 65, 73 in Go Fug Yourself’s 2022 worst dressed list.

In the tangible wild, jeans aren’t just crafted for the bottom; they’re being turned into skirts, which are then given side slits and thrown on as a shirt, as in this example by Balenciaga. I love the whimsy; I hate the fit (especially from the back). I also wonder, if a cell phone fits into any of these pockets, can it be safely reached?

While the jean-skirt-shirt is a special artifact for a very small sliver of daring fashionistas, the jean corset top is having a real moment. You can shop these in a variety of styles.

I may not add a jean corset top to my wardrobe now, but my inner goth is delightfully reminded of my long-ago worn white rubber crop top which scooped up in the back to show my lower back tattoo. I used to pair it with wide leg black velvet pants and black wool blazer. I hope others have just as much fun styling a jean corset top and that parents are still spoken-word-poetry-to-music asking Where do you think you’re going in that?.

Staud’s Cindy Denim Corset

Miaou’s Denim Corset Top

Of course, if a corset top is uncomfortably formfitting, you can always cut a pair of overalls in half and wear the severed top as a vest.

As kids, I have a vague memory of us sharing a white jean jacket to which we likely sewed on a Guess patch. I don’t recall wearing a jean jacket since, but if my bank account allowed it (and if I left the house more), I’d consider this jean utility jacket from Isabel Marant because it looks cool and I’m 90% certain I’m a Soft Summer, who should wear more grey.

I don’t think I’d consider a business vest with optional cropped jean jacket because it seems like a fuss and the brown may work better for an Autumn. Then again, I’m 10% certain I’m actually a Soft Autumn.

I’ll keep you posted on my understanding of jeans for the bottom, which have also evolved into curious delights. For now, what’s your seasonal color pallet? My guess is something in the Winter range.



P.S. I have so many pairs of old jeans I’m cutting them up for a quilt and may force it on one of the kids in our family when they go to college.

Tagged ,

At least two pair

Dear Dorigen,

You recently admitted to purchasing two pairs of the same olive-colored “lounge pants” (aka “fashion sweats”). I too confess to recently purchasing two of (frankly too) many items, justifying these indulgences as “they’re on sale” and I “need to update my wardrobe” after dying my brown hair very blonde.

Before: Here’s me as a tomato for Halloween (inspired by Annie Collinge’s photo series Table For One):

After: And here’s me now (inspired by Paisley Grey of the Pistol Shrimps):

Below is the list of my confessed double purchases. I’m embracing dark hues and pops of color on top, so that I don’t completely blend into my mostly white interior walls. All of these clothes are in heavy rotation, and I included an * asterisk for the items I actually wore today.

Fingers crossed that this new look (and excessive purchasing) is the extent of my mid-life-crisis.


My first move was to replace the BCBGeneration Mint Green puffer coat (also shown in my first blonde pic) with the Black* version. These are the puffiest of puffer coats that ever puffed and I highly recommend.


From your recommendation of the Shaker-stitch cardigan at Old Navy, I picked up the burgundy (correction “Raisin Arizona”) and Black* versions. Both are great with a graphic tee.

To add pops of color into my life, I also got boldly colored v-neck sweaters in Bright Celadon and Capri Blue, both from Loft. They bring joy to my wardrobe, and (if my bank account recovers, which it may not) I’m considering their versions in Deep Fuchsia and Tango Red.


As a continuation of our discussion about cold-shoulder tops, I embraced the more classic off-the-shoulder top, acquiring this Free People shirt in Black and Jaded.

On a related note, when will The Kit drop a darker hued version of the Logan Sweatshirt?! My Smokey Lilac version is fabulous with not blonde hair and I need my body to be warm while my one shoulder cools.


Similar to your doubling up on lounge pants, these Nyluxe Utility Joggers from Calia (in Bronzed Topaz* and Carbon Grey) are super comfy.

Speaking of super comfy, if you ever choose to revisit your hunt for the most comfortable jeans, I suggest starting with Democracy. Their pants with “AB Technology” have an interior elastic waist band that make wearing pants and jeans feel like I’m wearing my fashion sweats. No one needs to know that I’m essentially wearing maternity pants. I accidently purchased 2 of both of these bottoms (Ripped Ankle Jeans and Sky Rise Pants) and the excess shan’t be returned.

So, that’s my list. At least, that’s the extent to which I’m willing to share about my doubling up on clothes. 😉

As a fun exercise to see where I’m at with my new wardrobe, I completed this Personal Style Quiz. In the last question, I specified that my “People, characters or archetypes I find inspiring/fascinating or want to look like” are Jennifer Connelly and André 3000. Who are yours?



P.S. For Halloween next year, I plan to dust off the old office attire and dress as Principal Larissa Weems from Wednesday, the show I’ve been unable to get the family to watch, but it’s great.

Tagged , , ,

Le Labo Deux

Dear Dorigen,

So, here’s the thing, I cut ties with Neroli 36. I just fell out of love with that scent. I placed the half empty sampler on its pedestal with the other Le Labo (and Aveda) sprays and walked away. I sometimes peer at them.

I now fully embrace Fleur D’Oranger 27 and Bergamote 22, so much so that I’m usually wearing both. Bergamote is on the wrists and D’Oranger, on my neck (or basically straight up my nose and everywhere, at all times). Like, if I didn’t work remotely, HR would have written me up. Like, if I was a Peanuts character, I’d be Honey-Bee walking around in a cloud of orange blossoms and lime-oids and grass and mahogany wood blocks, probably. Like, if I was on a reality TV show, Dr. Kirk Honda would have things to say about my self-soothing through excess, while insisting he’s not pathologizing me from afar.

Pete is either immune or immediately used to this new scent layer, because he hasn’t commented. Except for that one time I retried Ylang 49; he complained that it “stings the nostrils” and he started sneezing.

Can you smell me from 500 miles away? Does it smell healthy?



P.S. Thanks for the pronunciation correction. Le-LA-boo. Not LEE-la-boo.

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Le Labo

Dear Dorigen,

Thanks again for the wonderful gift of Le Labo fragrance samples. These scents linger, so it took me some time to appreciate each on their own merits. I don’t have a nose for the specific notes of scents, but I appreciate the imagery and sense of place that they each gave me.

Presented in the order in which they were first sniffed and with my favorite two *starred:


For Santal 33, I get where Eddie Bulliqi is coming from with “10 Years of Santal 33: Why Did it Capture the World’s Nose?” Yes, it is a scent likened to an art gallery. But, like most art galleries, it’s perhaps too aloof. This scent is not inviting. Santal 33 is to be worn on other people propped on pedestals, while an audience admires and interprets notes from a distance. I don’t want to hug myself when wearing Santal 33.


Neroli 36: I want to bathe in it; eat it; sleep it; luxuriate it. I think Neroli 36 was created in a lab for nefarious purposes, a chemical for heightened intoxication. It’s like a return to the womb. It’s like a journey to another planet. Neroli 36 may one day kill me.


Rose 31 is a shade too floral for me. Or maybe Roses de Chloé already took me to the desert and captured my heart.

LYS 41

When first spayed, I immediately disliked Lys 41. It smelled mechanical? But that initial harsh note soon went away and then it smelled similar to Neroli 36, but less potent. A whisper. Or maybe that really was Neroli 36, seeping from my pores. Either way, I don’t trust Lys 41. It think it’s trying to trick me.


Fleur D’Oranger 27 is a kitchen-with-high-vaulted-ceilings. It’s not an empty kitchen. This kitchen has delectable foods in bowls on counter tops, bird of paradise leaves (not flowers), and ample sunlight. I want to spend time here chatting with you.


Bergamote 22 is a clean bathroom at a very expensive hotel. I appreciate the universal loveliness of the masculine and the feminine balance, but I don’t want to spend time in bathrooms, no matter how luxurious.


Ambrette 9 is a tan, speckled vitamin swallowed while at a beach.


Ylang 49 is a darkly lit room just before a long, relaxing massage. It also has the promise of candies. Like, someone’s grandma is waiting for you to finish your massage, so they can give you a handful of candies.


Likely because I’ve never tasted matcha before, my first sniff of Thé Matcha 26 went to something familiar: the image of a sphere of bright white shaved coconut. Sadly, in my ignorance, this false imagery has remained.


Patchouli 24 is a luscious campfire, set ablaze for royalty.  

I’m curious to learn which are your favorites and what you thought of all of these special scents.



P.S. I think about Neroli 36 when it’s not with me. In these moments, I wonder if it’s thinking about me or if that’s just part of its game.

Dear Emily, 

I am so glad to be on this journey with you! I generally hate perfume and have left rooms because of overly scented people (including one young man I was interviewing for a job. He didn’t get it). I have tried over the years to find a scent I could wear but most perfumes are too floral, sweet, clingy (on the “feminine” side) and too musky, oily, heavy (on the “masculine” side).

Kudos to Le Labo, because they have figured out the formula for beguiling a lifelong perfume-hater like myself into spending hours sniffing and researching scents and spending my childrens’ college money on their wares. I have drunk the Kool-Aid. And my home smells like a bordello. I had heard about Le Labo and learned that every striving artsy New Yorker smells like Santal 33. I also learned that the Santal 26 candle is the official scent of the illuminati, so obviously I was ready to jump on the bandwagon and give it a try.

I ordered the 17-scent “Discovery Box” and embarked on an olfactorial (now a word) journey, which obviously, you had to join me on. The rest of the world appears to be embarking on the same journey, because when I tried to order the box for you it was wait-listed. I went ahead and ordered you the 10 I liked most. In this way, I have spared your nose from some of the more offensive scents in Le Labo’s arsenal (I’m looking at you, Baie 19 and Labdanum 18. I still have nightmares about Jasmine 17).

The entire line (even the florals) have masculine notes of either musk, cedar or smoke, and when they go full macho, it’s pretty gross. Another 13, for example, per my notes, “smells like an expensive men’s barbershop that Johnny Depp (himself an arbiter of scent) goes to.” It was commissioned by highbrow arbiter of fashion/arts/culture, AnOther Magazine, which was founded by Kate Moss’s baby daddy Jefferson Hack, so, you know, “cool.” Unwearable, however, if you are not an aging, but still virile multimillionaire clinging to your rock n’ roll youth. Now that I think about it, I might need to send you this one just because it is apparently so evocative.

On to the scents. They are each named for the primary scent note and a number, which indicates the total ingredient count.

My favorites:

Bergamote 22

Per the naming convention, the main scent is “Bergamot (Citrus bergamia), a type of citrus fruit native to Italy NOT to be confused with other citrus fruits such as bitter orange and sweet orange” (fancy) and as you can see from this tastefully art directed image, other ingredients include cedar, grapefruit, cotton, a matchstick and part of a floorboard. I love it. It’s fruity and a little floral and has that cedar note that apparently is my kryptonite. I learned through this process that my scent MUST HAVE CEDAR. I want to smell like I’ve just run in from the rain through a grove of orange Italian citrus trees and have just changed into the cashmere lounge-wear that I store in my bespoke cedar closet. This is ALMOST it.

Le Labo image

Santal 33

The beer that made Milwaukee famous. The sauna in an expensive spa that is harder to get into than the Met Ball. Sandalwood. Musk. Cardamum. Deep floral notes. It is masculine, but beautiful.  

Thé Matcha 26

THIS is my favorite. According to Le Labo, it is “Introverted and deep by nature. It carries a noble stillness… it is a scented reminder of home, of welcomed solitude, and of all things familiar and treasured.” Yes, that sounds like ME. I love it. It has the cedar and bitter orange that I like from my citrus grove/cashmere closet fantasy home and a deeper note that I can’t place and will just call “crack pie.” Is it Matcha? Is it Vetiver? What are these things? One can spend hours, days, a lifetime reading about arcane scents used in perfumery: their Latin names, their ancient roots, their medicinal properties, their complex extraction processes. (Vetiver is derived from the Tamil word meaning “root that is dug up” and is related to fragrant grasses such as lemon grass, though it is the extracted oil of its long roots that is used in perfumery. Vetiver smells “dry, earthy, woody, leathery and smoky… like uncut grass on a warm day.”) As I said, I love it. It’s woodsy, earthy, a little tart, very dry, with no cloying floral or musky scents. It is the scent of the best version of myself. The intellectually curious, effortlessly chic woman who runs with the wolves. The sapphire- and amethyst-adorned rover of ancient forests. I found myself breathing into the wristbands of my clothing, feeling my body relax.

I proudly held my wrists out to my husband, declaring that I HAD FOUND MY SCENT. “Eh, he said. Not for me. Smells like a man.” I am heartbroken and may never wear perfume again. 



P.S. A few more notes:

Neroli 36: This one dragged up a strong scent memory for me. I am in a small shop in Cambridge, MA that sells bongo drums and serape hoodies. I am 19. Essential Oils have just become a thing that people wear. Patchouli is a common one, but too crusty for me. I loiter at the oil wall as only 19-year-olds avoiding homework can loiter. I have found my scent. It is floral, sticky and sweet. It smells like Neroli 36. 

Baie 19: What young men think they smell like when bathed in Cool Water Cologne.

Rose 31: An incredibly wealthy, impossibly chic italian woman

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,