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What Does the Word 'Cool' Mean?

I'm going to be completely honest with y'all right now: the title of this blog post was going to be Shorty Got (Lud)low (Low Low Low Low Low Low). But since I'm not in the business of titling my posts about 2008 classics, we're going to just make note of it and then move on and pretend it didn't happen.

I just want to talk about the word "cool" today, which I know is something I throw around on this blog every two seconds to describe something. This handbag is cool, that song is cool, this person is get the idea. I've also talked a lot about thinking that I'm not cool enough to wear things. Remember that time I thought I wasn't cool enough to wear sneakers (sneakers y'all...just sneakers)? What does that even mean?

Sweater: Saks Fifth Avenue | Jacket: Target | Jeans: Levi's | Shoes: Adidas | Bag: Saint Laurent | Sunglasses: Miu Miu | Necklace: Gift from friend | Book: You'll Grow Out of It by Jessi Klein

Cool, by definition, or rather, the second definition is to be "fashionably attractive or impressive." That's literally it. There's no long, detailed definition that explains every single facet to being "cool." There's no guidebook to being cool. And then I go to think about all of my phases of thinking that people or things were cool and it's just a fluid mess. I mean, there was a point where I thought layering an aqua lace-trimmed tank top underneath a pastel yellow racerback tank top was cool. You wouldn't catch me dead in that today, but at some point in time (see: 2008) it was cool.

But is cool trendy? Is cool what everyone is wearing? Or is cool just a marketing ploy? The cool kids wear this, the cool kids go here. Is cool just an arbitrary empty word that we use to describe something that we aspire to be?

Ludlow Coffee Supply looks just like the inside of an Urban Outfitters on the west coast and I love it. Also, I ordered some kind of vanilla latte and it was amazing. I tried so hard not to ruin the foam heart and I suceeded until the last few sips. Huzzah!

This came up in a conversation with my friend (the one who graciously took these pictures for me down near Ludlow) while we were sitting on a bench people watching. I can't remember how it actually came up, but I think we were commenting on people's outfits as they walked by. Nothing mean because nobody has time to be mean for no reason. It was really just a bit of an extended fangirl moment. We saw a lot of "cool" outfits and looks and I'm sure we both expressed the fact that we wished we could wear certain pieces.

I always like to bring up this one point when people talk down about their personal style. First things first, it's your personal style and if you feel good in it, that's legitimately all that matters. But now to get to the point, I struggle with taking compliments in general, but I struggle with comments on my outfits. I care about my outward appearance. I care about what I'm wearing, I can't even lie about it. I mean, I have a fashion blog! Clearly, I care a little bit.

Compared to Leandra Medine from Man Repeller, my style is pretty mild. I don't wear strange combinations, mostly because I don't have an extensive enough of a wardrobe or disposable income to buy pieces that are mega-trendy and not timeless. To me, my style is fairly plain. I could see a girl on the street wearing the exact same outfit as me and I could think that she's the coolest girl on the planet. A pair of Levi's, oversized white shirt, a pair of interesting sneakers or mules and some messy hair? I'll be hashtagging #OutfitGoals in my head for two hours. But if I wear the same outfit, I'll think that I'm being the laziest piece of shit in the world and I should really work harder on putting together better looks. What the fuck, am I right?

Just like our physical features, we become somewhat numb to our appearance. How long have you stared at yourself in the mirror in the course of your life tearing your looks apart? I've spent entire mornings angry at my reflection and something that I'd done wrong to myself that morning, like messed up eyeliner or a bad hair day, and then two hours later someone can compliment me on the very thing that ruined my morning. How does that happen?

The same thing happens with outfits. We're so immune to what we put on our body, whether it's makeup or clothes, that we don't think of it as anything special. It's just another layer to us being too hard on ourselves. Just because it's not a nagging voice in the back of your head tearing you apart piece by piece doesn't mean that it's not an insecurity. It's just a baby insecurity, one that almost slips beneath the surface.

I should probably start to make a conscious effort to stop calling things cool without any explanation. "Cool" is just an empty word that doesn't really mean anything at all, does it? Cool could mean two completely different things to two people and I don't think I could even explain what it means to me. It's just a word I use because it exists and I don't have to think about it...well, at least, until now.

Also, here's a picture of me cheesing the hell out. My friend Naureen took these pictures for me, another prime example of me taking advantage of friends when they just want to hang out and get lunch and end up becoming my personal photographer. In my defense though, Naureen did drag (just kidding, I went willingly!!!) me down to Ludlow because she thought I'd want a picture with the neon signs. And damn, was she right.


  1. The part where you said you could hate your outfit but see it on someone else and love it... YES. I feel the exact same way. I was actually having that exact convo with a friend recently but about house decor/set-up. I feel like my apartment looks plain and boring, but if it was someone ELSE'S place, I'd probably envy it and think it's cute. Frustrating!! We should all give ourselves more credit.

    1. I feel like it's such a common thing, which sucks! Totally agree with you though–we all need to give ourselves more credit in pretty much every aspect of life.


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