The Row Cowal Blazer

Feeling a little rebellious to be putting this out on blog format since the content du juor is anything that rides the algorithm or is behind a Substack paywall. After focusing solely on Instagram, long form content feels like a breath of fresh air, a nice contrast to the flood of ephemeral videos we can’t seem to escape. For 2024 I am aiming to revive this blog by diving more into the substance in my style, which is actually where my journey in content creation truly began almost 14 years ago. I set out here to share and discover more of myself and my style, so it feels like a full circle moment coming back “home”. Thank you to a handful of my friends and followers who gently nudged and encouraged me to revisit writing. I often have SO many ideas and thoughts running through my mind, but never enough time to compose a reel or aesthetic IG post for it. I’ve been slowly working on this blog for a few weeks now, I think I’m a little rusty but it feels really good. There’s a sense of excitement I haven’t felt in a while. Carving out a space on the internet that is just mine feels really special. 

The way we dress and how we decorate is such a huge part of who we are. It’s a physical manifestation of what we think and what we feel—it’s less about the stuff. And yet this past decade with the rise of social media, the perception of style has evolved into something hyper-commercialized and highly filtered. Do we even know who we are and what we like anymore, without the guardrails of the algorithm and the people we follow? 

A couple weeks ago I stumbled upon Ezra Klein’s podcast “How To Discover Your Own Taste” and it quickly made the rounds within the design + fashion community. It’s a really good listen. A must if you are a highly creative or visual person, are passionate about style and have been feeling a little uninspired with social media. Ezra and Kyle Chayka (author of forthcoming “Filterworld: How Algorithms Flattened Culture.”) discuss how our sense of taste has weakened due to the fact the algorithm does a good job of serving what we already know and like. They explore seeking content (like music and art) in unexpected places. A few excerpts I felt the need to immortalize:

There have been many moments throughout the years where I felt lost and questioned my own style. If we don’t live through the regular flow of doubt and curiosity, how can we evolve to be the best version of ourselves and have a style that communicates that? So while I think knowing who we are and what we like is important when it comes to style or taste, having a thirst for exploration and reflection beyond what we know is necessary for us to be confident without conforming

Style is a feeling, more than anything. It isn’t a set of rules, formulas or labels. At its core it is trusting in our own point of view. Learning how to recognize how things make us feel is the first step to honing our eye. And, in the process of honing our eye we can either be served inspiration or actively seek it ourselves. This goes beyond the visual. Exposing all my senses— sight, sound, scent, touch, taste—to new moments is how I’ve built a solid understanding of exactly what I am drawn to.

So, how do I apply this practice of staying curious and constantly seeking what lights me up? Online I often follow accounts that aren’t just about outfits or home decor. Plant Romance and Wardrobe Vs. Pantry are two pages I frequent for a dose of aesthetic respite. Food is art and I love to cook. The process of creating a dish and an outfit are so creatively similar and I’ve found so much joy in their beautifully composed images.

Travel is another huge source of inspiration for me. Apart from the obvious exploration of another culture, I hunt down hotels, spaces and local artists that pique my interest, whether or not the aesthetic resonates with me at first glance. It’s a chance to experience design that I wouldn’t normally think to apply in my own home and really unpack why I like it or not. I had the pleasure of visiting the stunning Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge last summer and I left feeling so renewed. The sense of ease and simplicity in every detail really spoke to me— two cornerstones in my personal aesthetic that I’m constantly striving for. When traveling, I take the typical “guides” with a grain of salt and focus more on under-the-radar recommendations so I can enjoy new experiences without any bias. During our Mexico City trip, everyone and their mama told us to dine at Pujol, one of the most renowned restaurants in the world. We didn’t plan our trip far in advance to be able to secure a reservation, so I searched for similarly interesting spots. I stumbled upon Lago Algo in an architectural publication (not the Michelin Guide) and it was one of the highlights of our trip. The perfect fusion of art, nature and food.

What lights us up and sparks joy can also be found in the most mundane everyday moments. During a recent trip to the grocery store I stumbled upon really cool oat milk packaging. The irreverence and simplicity caught my eye. Brilliant design, it stood out on the shelf and I had a chuckle. It’s that burst of emotion and curiosity I am constantly seeking. I didn’t purchase the said box of oat milk, but I left wondering what the story was behind the line art. I ended up heading to their site to learn more. Highly recommend a visit to their URL. I’m very captivated by their branding. After some digging I learned the brand’s character drawings were created by Andrew Rae. And this is the story of how a trip to the supermarket introduced me to a new graphic artist I wouldn’t have come across on IG thanks to the algorithm. 

Who knew I had so much to share on all the ways I fuel my creativity and hone my eye?! I’m going to pause right here since I’m currently drafting a follow-up post that focuses on one style exercise I constantly turn to. I hope that you’re feeling inspired to seek joy and beauty in unexpected places. I’ll let you take in Ezra’s podcast for now. Enjoy and thanks for reading!