is this too much?

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I feel most comfortable in pieces that swallow me whole. I like when my body can move freely inside garments, free to gesticulate enthusiastically without fear of being “too much.”

I am always worried about being “too much.” I carry with me too much emotion. When I am happy, joy spreads throughout my entire body coaxing me to dance in inappropriate places. When I am sad, sorrow gulps me down into a pit of exhaustion, leaving me clawing my way back up in a very visible way. I am all or nothing. Some might consider it “too much.”

I worry my laugh is too loud, my stories too vulnerable, my embrace too intimate, my insides too much on the outside. But my clothes, the way I dress, is never enough. Though I feel self-conscious about the way my feelings fall outside my heart, my lipstick is never too bright and my clothes never too loud.

I wonder how that works. I had a rough go at finding a wedding dress, but ended up finding one that was very much my taste. (More on that post wedding.) But when I was scouring for a rehearsal dinner outfit, I wanted something that was me in every way. I didn’t want fussy or frilly. I did want some sort of Ode to Halloween.

I happened upon a local designer (Ilana Kohn) and her perfect structured jumpsuits designed for the workin' girl. It covers every inch of me from my neck to ankles and could double as a work suit. It’s baggy and has huge pockets. It’s all black and doesn’t even hint that I have a body.  And it’s entirely too much.

A quick history of me dressing too much:
February 2016
October 2014
November 2013
April 2013

[JUMPSUIT-ILANA KOHN, BAG-CHLOE]

Ok-toe-ber.

I love the way October feels in my mouth when I say it. It makes me giddy. I don’t get giddy often. And while I do love the caricatured scents of the season personified in candle form, my favorite scent is the smell of wet leaves and seasonal soups cooking on the stove.

This month I am in one of the most Fall-forward moods since my aunt made me a custom Strega Nona costume for Halloween in 1997. This month I will go apple-picking upstate with my new york crew. We will take the train and and drink ciders and eat lots of things on sticks. I will turn 26, for me a much bigger deal than 25. I will say yes ‘til I’m dead to my partner of three years. I am usually one to discredit these milestones in a sarcastic malaise of deprecating jokes, but this one’s pretty big and I am so ready.

This month is big for me.

I dress my best in the Fall months. Layering is kind of my thing. This outfit was inspired by my fervor for witchy women, and was topped off with my favorite seasonal purchase to date: this Zara blazer. It’s perfectly oversized and adds instant meme-worthy coolgirl vibes to any outfit. And then there’s the shoes. I was guilted into getting them after the Madewell newsletter informed me there were only a few left in stock. I’ve been needing a statement shoe to go with my rehearsal dinner outfit, and figured these would do the trick. I am not disappointed.

summer archives

[insert generic, half-hearted apology for being MIA for four months, knowing full well the only person that needs apologizing to is my pride]

I’ve taken three sets of fashion photos this summer, none of which made its way here. While I usually pose myself as a body positive cellulite champion, I’d be lying if I said the longing of my high school body didn’t come tugging every now and then. In my photos I had too much chin, too much arm, and not enough contrast between the hip and waist area. But looking at them today I see them totally different. I’m tanned and content. I look effortless. I honestly can’t remember why I didn’t post them. But there’s always tomorrow you know. So here's the mostly unedited me.

Next up… wedding planning, all of my exes and what they smelled like, and fall ramblings

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I look ok

Most days I hide my self-esteem issues with a bold lip or a silver loafer. Larger-than-life ensembles seem to help me compensate for what I sometimes view as a larger-than-life body. But when the bold wanes, what’s left is an insecure woman fighting each day, coaxing herself into believing she’s pretty enough. I don’t even have to be pretty, just OK.

I look OK. I repeat this to myself dozens of times a day. I catch myself in the mirror after a shower. I glance two seconds too long into the reflection of a window display.  I look OK, I tell myself again. 

I notice myself again in the bathroom mirror at work, the light highlighting my textured skin. I look OK. I take a bath and fill it with bubbles. I suck my stomach under the water to try on another size. I look fine. I imagine all the body-positive accounts on Instagram, the girls who let their stomachs curl in on itself. They wear their skin proudly, no matter how much of it hangs. I feel a little better. I put on my fiancé’s T-shirt, expecting it to fall daintily off my shoulders. It’s tighter than I remembered. I look Ok, though. 

But sometimes I’m not OK. At parties, I pray I’m not the only one who wears a medium-sometimes-large at Old Navy. When I arrive in a crowded room, I scan for someone, just one person, who maybe has broader shoulders than mine, or whose eyebrows are over-plucked, whose arms are rounder, hips wider. I frantically search for someone with whom I can compare my mushy middle and rippled thighs. Because maybe I’m not the least attractive person there. I look OK. It sounds sinister and cruel, but it feels primal and exhausting.

I think it must be an instinct remaining from thousands of years ago when we used to have to peacock ourselves, erasing the competition, to get a mate. Oh wait. I wish this instinct, this internal desire to devour the flaws of other for my personal satisfaction would abate. 

I feel my best me in extravagant looks I’ve prepared the night before. I have trouble sleeping lots of nights. But on nights when my mind doesn’t wander too far into the dark, I prepare my outfit for the following day,  piecing it together like a puzzle to hide my body shame. It doesn’t have to be flattering or even pretty, but when I’ve gathered all the pieces, it usually involves some sort of dramatic silhouette or a punchy shoe.

When each piece fits together - my body decorated, dripping in confidence - I am able to look just a bit longer as I pass a mirrored window. I can believe the compliments casually strewn on a social media photo, and I am able to appreciate the flaws that make other women beautiful. Because I have highlighted mine in an A-line skirt that emphasizes the largest part of my middle. It’s hard to do this every day, but most days, I do look OK. Maybe fine even.

This is one of my armor outfits, an outfit I spend a good chunk of time not sleeping over. I felt OK this day. I plan on wearing this metallic skirt year round and not just for special occasions.

skirt-habit, shirt-madewell, shoes-anthropologie, jacket-uo

I think I may be falling for you

My boyfriend accuses me of being too gloomy on here. I prefer "real," and real life is sometimes gloomy. But In honor of this perfect weather/my favorite season/almost Thanksgiving/this mustard turtleneck that is giving me life right now, I'll hit some high points. Note: it in fact does take at least one year to feel on top of New York. 1. I scored the above mint green coat from Banana Republic. I bought a petite medium in case you're wondering. When they say oversized they mean it.

2. I don't think I've ever experienced such beautiful fall weather in my life. The highs have been in the 60s!

https://www.instagram.com/p/9rHk1QFR2H/?taken-by=abbeycrain

3. I got a job at The Wall Street Journal.

https://www.instagram.com/p/8boesZFR4x/?taken-by=abbeycrain

4. I turned 24 since that last time I was here. That was cool I guess.

5. I am going home TWICE in the month of December. I can't wait to see my mom's new chickens. (and my mom)

6. My soul sista is getting married and I will complete my maid of honor trifecta. Y'all sure do know how to make a girl feel appreciated

https://www.instagram.com/p/2ePNzilRyF/?taken-by=abbeycrain

7. My beau is staying in New York on Thanksgiving to make just me dinner when I get home at midnight. I'm a lucky lady.

https://www.instagram.com/p/wUlNpAFR28/?taken-by=abbeycrain

8. I still live here.

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[coat-banana republic, sweater-loft (similar), boots-gap, bag-aldo]

photos by the lovely Alex Wood.

I'm here. I think.

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It certainly has been a while. I guess I'll just chalk this up to one of the more personal posts, as I usually focus on personal style and the like. I am in New York City with no ticket home. (Except for my best friends wedding, but I'm coming back right after so that doesn't count. I think.) It's exhilarating and scary and everything I've ever wanted in my short existence as a fashion-forward, liberal-minded, 20-something. Gag. I'm terrified. But the kind of terrified that usually ends up being the best decision you ever made kind of terrified. I've only been this scared one other time and it ended up landing me a couple of awards and a spot on CNN. So it's good. I think.

I am in Brooklyn job-searching and apartment hunting with a few of like-minded thrill-seekers. Gag. (I'm giving myself way too much credit. I never seek thrill. I just think you have to do the whole jobless, air-condition-less thing before you "make it" in this soul-devouring city.)

I'm bad at this whole personal post deal. So far I've just used a bunch of cringe-worthy millennial speak I usually make fun of, so I'll be real. I drink a lot of iced lattes with the money saved up from school and write a lot in my Macbook Pro...edit tests, journaling and the like. I'm lucky. Thanks mom and dad for your support. But it is scary not knowing what my next move will be, but I guess that's good. I think.

So here's to going on three weeks in the city. Heres to the Jamaican food I ate on Saturday that will go down as the best meal I've had in the last six months. Here's to the fun, supportive crowd I get to spend my time without AC with. Here's to the Birkenstocks I bought to help feel a part of the bigger picture in the NYC blogger scene. And here's to the unknown.

I can't leave this post without a pinch of fashion-related material, so below is an accurate portrayal of what I've worn while wandering around the city. Sorry, I haven't found a personal photographer yet. Plus I had to leave my camera at home, as my one suitcase had already exceeded the allotted 50 lbs.

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