Dingus of the Week: Women’s Fashion
It’s either Coyote Ugly or Little House on the Prairie
This is the Weekly Dingus, the Friday newsletter, where I round up my internet reads, share a drink recipe, and vent about something really dingusy that happened in the news. This week, it’s women’s fashion. But once it was the groundhog. Another time it was milk. Will it be you? Stay canny and cautious.
There is a lot going on in the world. War. A tanking economy. A continuing pandemic.
But, I think it’s important that we address a real crisis: women’s fashion.
To quote a TikTok I once saw (but can’t find again, but that’s okay, because the video probably ripped off a viral Tweet), all women’s fashion looks like either Coyote Ugly or Little House on the Prairie. You look like you are either going to dance with LeAnn Rimes on a bar in New York City where people go to cosplay as Republicans, or you look like you just barely survived the long winter.
There was a time between 2020 and 2021 when women’s fashion was great, because fashion brands were like “fine, here are 20,000 kinds of soft pants and fleece-lined jumpsuits.” Thank you. But of course, like the Child Care Tax Credit or your boss being understanding about working from home, it was never going to last.
No. The women got too comfortable in their leggings and nap dresses. They started asking for things like equal pay and healthcare. So, crop tops are back. And now we have to worry about how our stomachs look in low-rise jeans instead of trying to pass the ERA.
Of course, if you don’t want to look like a sexy coked-out baby from Euphoria, you can look like you just escaped a forced marriage to a Duggar son. Or, like you were homeschooled in Texas in the early ’90s.
It makes sense that there is a resurgence of jean skirts, long prairie dresses, and ill-fitting sacks. It’s a throwback to a simpler era when there was no internet, no Facebook, and men were men and women died in childbirth like God intended. This fashion regression mirrors a regression in our laws, with the rise in laws restricting women’s access to healthcare, laws targeting trans women, and book bans.
There is a third option and that is Coastal Grandmother, where you can dress in flowing linen, dress shirts, and hats. I like this option, because it feels like the most honest reflection of where women are at the moment. Absolutely unable to put on hard pants, but still expected to try. Also, we’ve all aged so much in the pandemic, there is no point in pretending we are anything but old, exhausted, irritable, and more into our heirloom tomatoes than any of your bullshit.
Last week, I put on an outfit (flowing pants, comfy tank top, denim shirt) and realized I looked like my mom in the early ’90s. Or, as my friend and genius Kelsey McKinney pointed out, like Chessy from the 1998 remake of The Parent Trap. This revelation was both devastating and then encouraging. Because, listen, I turn 40 this year. I’m too old for trends. I’m exactly the right age to wear whatever the hell I want, and if I look like I’m going to star in a Nancy Meyers movie about menopause, then great. LET ME LEAN THE HELL INTO THAT.
My aesthetic is actually feral crone with wolf. In the sense that I dress like a poor coastal grandmother and accessorize with dogs.
What I Am Reading:
Alex Shephard had this take on whether journalists should save scoops for books. And it’s a look at publishing and reporting and profitability. And worth the read.
I loved this interview with Rachel Fershleiser about social media and book publishing.
As the Biden administration toys with the idea of canceling student debt, it’s worth revisiting this conversation between Tressie McMillan Cottom and Louise Seamster about how college debt increases inequality in America.
My daughter read a gothic horror young adult novel called Mirror Girls. And she loved it so much, she bullied me into reading it, and it was wonderful. I highly recommend it. It’s about twin sisters, one white, one Black, who have to reckon with their identity during the Civil Rights Era. Also, there are ghosts.
Also, in this newsletter, I wrote about the art of losing. And I have to say, I don’t think any newsletter has generated as many DM slides from local politicians.
I honestly didn’t read much this week. I had a very weird week, where I had to worry about my personal safety after a third date gone very awry. I’m not ready to go into details, but hip tip: Maybe don’t follow a woman around in your truck. It’s not great. She will no longer want to see you ever again.
I think it’s worth pointing out that I am so very glad that I live with a large wolf dog who looks scary. And listen, is my dog a sweetheart? Yes. Do I believe she’d hurt someone? Also, yes. That said, I am done dating for the rest of my life. I’ve decided to retire and focus exclusively on becoming a feral crone with a wolf.
Also, contributing to my functional illiteracy, one of my kids had Influenza A and the other broke my computer by stepping on it and smashing the screen. This brings me to my next point…I had lots to drink this week.
What I Am Drinking:
This weekend, after running a half marathon, I had the best margarita with friends and ate so much post-race queso that my stomach ached. Also, my mom came to help me with the kids last weekend because I had an event in Des Moines, where we ate the most delicious pie and drank sangria. If you live in Des Moines, visit Storyhouse Book Pub; they’re marvelous and Abigail, the owner, is incredible.
I also used some mulberry gin to mix my mom a little drink with some simple syrup, lemon juice, and topped off with a berry La Croix. The drink was light and refreshing. And my mom, not a big drinker, loved it.
Also, on Tuesday night I drank wine in my bed while watching Yellowstone, which is basically where I lived this week. This weekend, I’ve decided to leave my bed, do some gardening, and get very involved in making Moscow Mules.
This week was the 25th anniversary of Shania Twain’s “Any Man of Mine.” An icon. A queen. Here is the band Haim with the best cover of “That Don’t Impress Me Much.”