I love the population density of NYC. I like people watching. Sometimes other women just stop me in my tracks.
I'm sitting in an outdoor cafe. This is not something I do often. A woman with dark hair walks by. Her hair is styled but not overdone. There is a name for this hair. It is called beachy waves. Magazines like to explain how to achieve these waves.
Some of her hair is its natural deep auburn color and some of it is dyed a rich forest green. It shouldn't work but it does. It's not haphazard. It’s not punky. It’s not garish. It is elegant. She is wearing an autumnal green coat that is darker than her hair. The effect gives me the same feeling I get looking at a beautiful painting.
This is a look I could not pull off. That is precisely what I love about seeing this woman. This would look good on very few people. She is one of them.
A middle-aged woman joins me on a subway platform. She's a style train wreck but there is one bright spot. She has this cloth tote. The construction and the luxe materials make me think that this is not a 5 or 10-dollar bag. My guess was that it sets you back 50 dollars. Maybe more.
It has a youthful whimsy that evokes the patterns of Marimekko if you mixed in a touch of Lily Pulitzer and Paul Rand.
This woman needs a total overhaul. Someone could help her match her bag. As it stands now, the bag would look better on me. In other words, I would like this bag.
I remember a woman from earlier in my life. A young social worker from a Jewish organization would visit us when our son Jacob was hospitalized. She was with us in some of our darkest moments. Jeremy and I discussed the support she gave us. But we also talked about her clothes.
She was a member of the orthodox Jewish community. She dressed modestly. Skirts had to fall well below the knee. Arms needed to be covered. You can't be flashing skin around if you're her.
She conformed to all of the rules and regulations that her culture asked of her. And then she totally rocked it.
The sweaters and skirts were chic. There was a little bit of irreverence to some of her choices. She'd be covered up but the fabric design would be fashion forward. Her pencil skirts didn't look frumpy. Something would be a little asymmetrical or there would be a flirty element in the sleeve detailing.
She brought to mind a modern version of Audrey Hepburn. And even though fashion was the last thing on my mind and I could wear whatever I damned well pleased, I borrowed elements of her look.
It's autumn. I stare at all of the shoes. I think that Cozy Mocs are over until I see this year's version. They are more streamlined and less bedroom-slipper-like. There isn't any fleece spilling out the sides. Indeed, the pair I have from 2014 are passé. This is where it's at now. I want a piece of this action.
Ultra shiny ballet flats that match the woman's skin tone exactly. Saturated coral lipstick on an otherwise subtle face. A young Columbia student wears too much makeup, but gets away with it.
A 50 year old with a long blond/gray braid without a hint of bright color on. She looks luminous rather than plain.
There is one man. His face, facial hair and man bun are perfect. He is the only man in the world who looks good in a man bun. There is a male fashion icon walking around the streets of NYC. It is he.
I jokingly think about women appropriating the man bun after men appropriated the man bun from women. Then I see a woman who is clearly doing this. It's incredible - no joke.
It's not the magazines or the runway shows that make me want to expand what I will wear, or at least try stuff on. It’s the streets and the subway. It's the hospital. It's Starbucks.
I'm on the A train now. A 70-year-old woman is sitting in front of me. She's wearing scrubs, Crocs, is carrying an out of style purse, and her glasses frames are neither here nor there. She has high cheekbones and gorgeous tawny colored skin. The right photographer and hair and makeup could turn her into a lifestyle model for AARP.
Her hair is thinning and is dyed bright magenta. I shouldn't like it, but I do.
I wonder if infinity scarves are still in style until I see a stunning young woman, sporting perfect mix of trendy and classic. She’s wearing one. Apparently infinity scarves are safe for one more season.
I'm obsessed with Ombré but don't want to try it myself. Same with matte lipstick and platform sneakers. I adore seeing this around. Just not on me.
I do buy myself a pair of multicolored winter boots.
I am a photographer. I rarely photograph people. I've been thinking about it though.
Last November, I was dining out with Jeremy and our willowy waitress was dressed entirely in shades of cream with a chunky sweater and thick infinity scarf. I went out of my comfort zone and asked if I could take her picture. She was awfully nice about it.
But because of my nervousness I worked too fast. That and the dim light made for a bad photograph.
I need to get ready.
I need to be ready to work quickly in less than ideal light. This shouldn't be too hard. I'm used to this with my non-human subjects.
I need to rehearse a polite and authentic script. I don't have to ask permission of the weeds and flowers and trash I photograph. I need to have a quick explanation as to why I'm doing this. I have some figuring out to do about that.
I need to anticipate a variety of responses. Some people are going to think I am crazy. Some people are going to say no. For people who say yes, I will have s small clipboard with forms where subjects can put their name and email address. I will have business cards so they can check out my work.
No matter how terrific someone rocks their handbag or outfit I won't stop them if they have that hurried look about them. I won't bother them if they're texting.
"One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation." - Arthur Ashe
I’m at a gathering. I had some fun getting ready. I’m engaged in an oft repeated, casual conversation with another woman. She admires my outfit and asks me where I got it.
I tell her that the top is from the 96th street Salvation Army, the skirt from Target, the tights and purse from Marshall’s and the ballet flats from Payless.
My companion looks incredulous and delighted. Before she asks me how I do it, I go ahead and tell her.
Most of the stuff you find in these places is crap, I say. What you’re looking for is the diamond in the rough.
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