Category Archives: Things

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?




A High Waist Pant

Dear Dorigen,

I love a high waist pant or jean. 99.99% of the bottoms in my wardrobe have a high waist. I am always tempted to buy more, especially when scrolling through Monogram’s site (they sell t-shirts, but always pair them with a fabulous high waist).


Check out Monogram for VERY cute t-shirts. That’s where I got my Man Repeller top. 

High waists look cool, cinch at the smallest part of my waist, elongate my legs, and suck in my pooch. The only problem with a high waist is the staggering amount of skin and underwear they show when I inevitably forget to zip up the fly, at the office, in front of coworkers who notice.

Do you appreciate a high waist?



P.S. Oh, and I guess I should also admit that sometimes the cut of a high waist pant makes my butt look like two loose pancakes (two, very fashionable loose pancakes).

A Canada Goose

Dear Dorigen,

I own a Canada Goose winter coat and I have my doubts about it. It’s expensive, it’s a bit too statusy (even for me), and it sparks entirely too many uncomfortable conversations with strangers that I lack the conviction to have.

Canada Goose coats run an outrageous $1000, and although I purchased mine during a rare sale, the exact price I paid was still $W0W.oh. I purchased it online (from a registered buyer; I feel compelled to add), in a cold rage, freezing at a train stop in the dead of a Chicago winter. Then, about a month into owning the coat, I was running errands and struck up a conversation with a woman at my bank. We became fast friends, and I insisted she try on my coat, because she was asking if it was worth the hype; meanwhile, I was at that bank, waiting to take out a loan, because my recent purchase of said coat tipped my credit card debt into a very uncomfortable area. I admitted this to her, and she gingerly took off the coat and delicately handed it back to me. Smart woman.

During Chicago winters, there is a sea of young professionals wearing these things downtown. Does that mean they can afford it? Or do they have loans out too? Or did their parents paid for it? What am I telling people about myself when they see me in this thing? There has been a recent crime spree in Chicago, where a man is stealing the Canada Goose coats off people’s backs at gun point. So, it’s entirely possible that when I wear my Canada Goose, I am telling people that I am rich (not true), that I am a young professional (I am not young), that my parents lavish me with expensive gifts (nope), and/or that I would like to be robbed (please, and thank you).

Strangers frequently ask me about my coat, usually with a smile and a “do you love it?!” My typical grumbled answer is – “I will know after 10 years.” That is one of the big selling points of these coats – they will last you 10+ years without the typical wear and tear of a hard-used winter coat. Unfortunately, the weight of my doubts about the price and the statusy nature of these coats have me giving less polite answers as of late. For example, I recently had lunch with a group of friends of a friend and one asked me why I decided to go with the Canada Goose. This was asked in earnest, because she was considering one for herself, but my answer was an inconsiderate “Because I’m an a$$hole.” My friend chimed in “Because she’s a label whore.” While I don’t believe that either flippant statement is entirely true, it does help affirm what I am worried I am unconsciously telling people about my #choices.

It IS very warm, I’ll give it that, but I think I should have done more diligence on similar options and/or insulating layers. So, I am seriously considering selling my Canada Goose and purchasing a new puffy winter coat in a less-aggressively “brandy” brand. Any suggestions?



P.S. Peta is coming for Canada Goose.

Dear Emily,

I am the type of person who cannot fathom spending that much on a coat and generally tut tut at label whores. I am vaguely aware of the Canada Goose phenomenon and not sure how it relates to the Triple F.A.T. Goose coat craze of 1992? I remember that because I was young and still cared about such things; everyone wore their parkas around Grand Avenue Mall showing off their expendable income like so many Jordans. That was also the time of the Guess jeans craze, where it was very important that your jeans have that Guess triangle patch on the back pocket. My (spectacularly cheap) best friend Loraine and I hoarded a few triangle patches and would sew them onto the back pockets of jeans from Target as a way to freshen up our wardrobes. So I guess the conclusion of that thought process is.. can you buy a knock-off parka and sew the patch from like, a pair of mittens onto it? Hopefully you got your new coat before the COLDEST DAY IN THE HISTORY OF CHICAGO hit you. Lord.


Wine Spectator Royalty

Dear Dorigen,

Did you sign me up to receive the Wine Spectator magazine, like that time you gifted me Teen Vogue? They suddenly started arriving and it’s a bi-weekly publication. They’re piling up so much Pete and I just started making collages with them. We made royalty.



P.S. I thought I only drank on the rare occasion (like a few times a year), but I’m currently tracking everything I eat in anticipation of another diet and discovered I’ve been having a couple glasses of wine a week; I blame the Wine Spectator.

a brown boot


Dear Dorigen,


I am on the hunt for tall boots again.

I own a pair that are black, over-the-knee, suede, flat/1” heel, and I am now looking for its “other” – brown, knee-high, smooth leather, 3”-ish heel (block, because I cannot take two steps in stilettos). I’ve been looking for a few years now, testing the waters whenever the boot stock replenishes in stores, and I keep running into the same issues: A) current trends and B) fit.

Let’s break down my requirements:

Brown – Seems simple enough, but apparently all brown boots need to be “riding boots” these days. I am not anti a cute riding boot, but, for my purposes, it’s just rows and rows of no heels.


Get them while supplies continue to last

Knee-high – If you are looking for a bootie (I already own a few) or something over the knee, you are in luck, because, those styles are everywhere and at every price point. For example: if you are watching a scene with a female character on Lifetime’s “You”, she is definitely wearing a bootie.


Only a minute in, and I’m already spotting booties

Smooth Leather – Go to a department store and look at the boot section – everything is suede or suede’s moody cousin, velvet.

Heeled boots – As mentioned, nearly all brown boots have no heel (or maybe 1”).

Basically, I think if I could transport to the 1970’s, I would be surrounded by perfect boots and midi-skirts.


Love this look – Zara

However, even if I traveled through space and time, it wouldn’t solve the main issue: fit.

Fit – Oh, boy, where do I begin. Let’s put this in context. Even after reading my gripes, you may have thought “Oh! I can find these boots!” and if you looked in earnest, even with the pitfalls I’ve mentioned, you would likely still find a handful of seemingly legitimate options. The problem is that those options would likely not even remotely fit me. My legs are proportionately smaller than the top half of my body, but my calves are apparently too wide for the standard boot fit.

My options are so limited that I once did the typical “wide calf” text search on a site, and the only results that came up were shoes. Let that sink in; a site, which sells boots, decided that if you have wide calves, you are better off skipping trying to cover your legs altogether, and just wearing shoes.

And they’re not wrong. I have ordered dozens of boots that simply cannot be put on. Plus-sized sites will sometimes offer a wide fit boot, but they are usually made of cheap material and/or are over the knee. Wide calf boots in any color are almost always flats/1”, and again, suede is rampant.

But, I still have hope. Even as I was writing this, I took a break and ordered a pair.

They’re not especially fashionable, the heel looks to be a bit short and narrow, the little strips with buckles feel dated, I would have preferred either a tan or a more berry brown, the black heel makes these look orthopedic, BUT still they are brown, they come to the knee, they have some heel, they are in a wide calf fit, they have not been infected by the suede monster, they aren’t shoes, and they are not legging boots.

We shall see.