ON EARLY STYLE
Erica: I grew up in Peoria, Illinois—AKA the middle of the Midwest. As a child I was a tomboy who wore mostly Umbros and was teased by her friends when she did something girly like wear (gasp) denim shorts. At 16, I was in a black Gap tee, flared Calvin Klein jeans, and a platform boot. At 20, a black dress and maybe a pink, peep-toe pump. Today my husband would define my style as “Modern by not trendy, sophisticated by not fancy.” I’ll take it!
Claire: I’m from Wilmington, Delaware, the first biggest city in the second smallest state. I wear so much cream and tan and I harbor a real fondness for knits. One time our shared management coach asked Erica and I quite sincerely if we were responsible for starting the trend of tucking a top in just to the front of your pants. And, I think, for better or worse, my personal style has always been anchored by a desire to dress like an elegant older lady. Of course it wasn’t always this way. But I think the one thing that’s been constant is that I go hard at whatever phase I’m in. At some point it was loud, printed pants, at another it was all chambray everything. When I really love something I will buy multiples of it—sometimes in different colors but sometimes not even. I feel like I’ve always had a sort of “identifiable” style. All that said: I think the phase I’m in now is the one that’s lasted the longest and, who knows, but I think it might stick for life?
ON DRESSING FOR QUARANTINE
Erica: I’m getting dressed every day right now. And showering too, if you can believe it. I think maybe wearing real pants makes me more focused—or at least makes me slouch less. The fact that I bruised my tailbone, likely from bad working posture, before all of this is contributing to my behavior, too. What’s getting me by while in quarantine? A cocktail! Ideally with a Luxardo cherry or three in it. But also: the Libby app for borrowing audiobooks and ebooks from the library, and the sauces from the new company Omsom that had me whipping up a delicious larb in 20 minutes.
Claire: I’m also getting dressed every day. I’m weirdly embarrassed by my need to do it in order to feel good and be productive. But then I FaceTime with my mom and am reminded of exactly where I got it from: She’s in fully color-coordinated clothes and jewelry, down to her socks. Every day. Yesterday my dad asked her why she was so dressed up and she told him it was because they had a video call with their accountant. So.
CLAIRE STYLE VERSUS ERICA STYLE
Erica: Claire tends toward pale shades (white, camel), I tend toward dark ones (black, gray), and we share navy. Beyond that, there are just some silhouettes that each of us are drawn to. We also do a fair amount of personal shopping for each other, Slacking a link like, “This dress is very you.”
Claire: I think the biggest difference these days is our color palette and shoulder/sleeve preferences? She goes for a lot more blacks and grays, and I’m all creams and camels. I love a drop-shoulder, she likes a raglan or statement sleeve. Erica’s a very honest shopping companion. She will tell you when she doesn’t like something or doesn’t think you need it.
ON GREAT DESIGN
Erica: I was reading some criticism of fashion-y masks the other day, and I was thinking, “If you could make something look good, why wouldn’t you? And if something looking good makes a person more compelled to wear it, isn’t that a win?!” There were a few Of a Kind releases that I’ve worn to the ground: I worry what’s going to happen when I have to replace my OAD keyring wallet, and I definitely have more Machete earrings than a person needs but still have an appetite for more.
Claire: Something I think about a lot: There’s this wonderful book by designer Michael Bierut called “How To…” and one of the chapters is “How to destroy the world with graphic design” and it points out that bad ballot design is to blame for the disaster that was the 2000 presidential election. Beyond that 20-year-old example: Great design is coming into play in so many ways in the midst of all of this craziness. The bright red “Keep This Far Apart” signs that the NYC Parks Department has up all over the city felt instantly iconic. I’m waiting for someone to put them on a poster or t-shirt. And look at all of the critical information being spread across social media in support of the anti-racism, anti-police brutality movement: strong, clearly-designed messaging is a key part of communicating it effectively.
THREE THINGS WITH ERICA
3 things you never leave home without:
- Heather Taylor Home mask
- Jao hand sanitizer
- Nipomo straw visor as I can’t get a handle on the sunglasses-with-mask thing
3 things making quarantine more joyful:
- Bouquets from Park Deli, my neighborhood flower-slash-skate shop (what, you don’t have one of those?)
- Cute animal pics
- Favorite newsletters from Delia Cai, Ann Friedman, R. Eric Thomas, and Haley Nahman, to name just a few.
Your uniform in 3 pieces:
- High-waisted pants
- Something black on top
- Slide sandals for shuffling from my bedroom to my living room to my kitchen and back again
THREE THINGS WITH CLAIRE
3 things you never leave home without:
- My migraine medicine,
- This MCMC Fragrances hand sanitizer that smells so good I want to put it on even when I haven’t touched a dang thing
- Some sort of emergency snack—usually loose almonds in my pocket if I’m being honest
3 things making quarantine a bit more joyful:
- Grocery pickup from Hart’s and to-go cocktails from Ode to Babel,
- Sexy Unique Podcast, which is a weekly exploration of the most important show of our time, Vanderpump Rules
- (Earnest-but-true words ahead, I’m sorry) a renewed sense of perspective and gratitude for all that I do have
Thank you Erica & Claire!
Erica and Claire photographed themselves with likely the help of their husbands at their homes in Brooklyn, New York