Okay, take a deep breath. Do not throw everything out. You’re experiencing what I’d like to call “fashionitis”, a non-fatal condition in which you compare what you have to what everyone has and feel inadequate. The cure for fashionitis? Realizing that your style isn’t “iffy”—it’s evolving, and something that’ll take time to figure out. People develop fashion instincts over time, realizing what works for them and what doesn’t, what they love and what they don’t. I’m sure some of the people at your school were born with an innate sense of style, sure. They might be those types who always know exactly what they want to wear and it’s always effortless. More likely? They spend a significant amount of time planning their outfits daily so that they look effortless and like “Oh, this old thing?” There’s so much pressure on people to have a rock solid idea of their personal style at your age, but trust me—I’m speaking from personal experience—it’s an evolution. And there is a joy, whether in style or anything else, to taking time to explore and play and learn.
Honestly, I had no idea what people meant by “thigh gap” until I saw it in a few Instagram comments recently. I had to Google it because I thought it surely had to be a typo for “though gap” or “think gap” or something referring to the retailer Gap. That goes to show what importance I put on the trend, I suppose. Here’s my point of view on being a teen (or woman, period, it’s not really age-exclusive): it’s hard enough and there are enough hurdles (compensation inequality, gender stereotyping, etc etc). And in fact I think it’s exponentially harder to be one today than when I was a teen, since we’re in the generation of overshare, and it’s so much easier to feel judged for whatever: your body, your social life, your clothes, etc. To the people who are fixated on collarbones and thigh gaps… I would say, please, realize that in four years from now, you might be in college, working towards your dream job, an adventure trip of your dreams, making a difference in the world. Whether or not you have a thigh gap or how visible your collar bone is will not push you in that direction.
Well, I’ll start by saying that one girl’s reasonable is another girl’s exorbitant. But unless you have buckets of money to spare and can therefore afford to use thirty dollar tubes of mascara 24/7 or you get prestige ones for free (like, um, me—don’t hate me), I do usually suggest people use drugstore mascara. Why? Because a) if you’re like most people, you go through it like water b) you’re technically supposed to toss your mascara every three to four months anyway c) honestly, most drugstore mascaras perform just as well as designer. It’s just a matter of finding the right one for your lashes. Personally, I have ultra-fine lashes that droop easily (so sad) and like a long, defined, fluttery lash look (versus thick and gloopy). These are my favorites (including a few non-drugstore options in case you can’t not splurge): Covergirl Lash Blast Length (perfectly defining, lashes look ultra-long), Benefit They’re Real (thickens without droopifying), Neutrogena Perfect Volume (natural but has impact), Eyeko Fat (long, long, long lashes). Good luck and, remember, finding your perfect mascara is like finding a perfect pair of jeans. It’s trial and error, so be patient!
Well, to be totally frank, there’s no right answer to your question. Here’s my (probably more confusing than anything else) attempt to work through some logistics for you, though…
All in all, I would say if you want to work in fashion—yes, you should move either to NYC or LA. However, you can’t and shouldn’t do it blindly or the city will gobble you (and your bank account) up. Plan for the future, prepare a roadmap for your success, and don’t let anything derail you.
I won’t be disingenuous and say that “Oh, no one cares where you went to college, it doesn’t matter one bit.” Yes, people who go to Ivy League colleges in the US (the equivalent, I suppose, of Oxbridge in the UK) have a minor edge in that they have that glossy name on their CV’s. But, honestly, what it comes down to at the end of the day is your work ethic, attitude, street smarts, and personality. I’ve had interns from the best colleges in the world—who haven’t had the aforementioned qualities—and have had interns who’ve gone to community colleges who have. Quality, passion, and drive will always win. (And superior organizational skills). My advice to you is to network as much as you can—talk to your school’s alumni office and see who they can connect you to—and begin interning as soon as you feel ready to. You will have the incredible advantage of going to school in one of the major fashion cities in the world. Supplement the education you receive at your university with all that the city has to offer. Good luck!
I’m impressed—and you sound like you’re on the right track. Even if none of your products are explicitly labeled “Anti-Aging Cream For People Who Don’t Want To Look Old”, I’m sure they’re infused with antioxidants, vitamins, proteins, and other ingredients that are healthy-skin staples. And, honestly, the most important thing you’re doing is setting up a consistent routine. That’s the hardest part and what most people dilly-dally over. “But it’s so much… work!” people mutter or they’ll dejectedly ask “What’s the point?”: I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again. So much of skincare is being consistent. Skin, like a potted plant, needs to be fed and watered regularly. Anyway, I’ll get off my soapbox to answer your questions: a) I personally don’t use a neckcream. But I do make sure to put SPF on it every single day (and ditto for the backs of my hands (and face, obviously)). b) don’t ever smoke. c) add a retinoid to your daily routine. It’s the only ingredient that every single one of the many dermatologists I’ve ever met agree on and like an insurance policy for your skin—you won’t have immediate results (but when you’re 35 you’ll be very glad you’ve been using one). Keep up the good work!
Ha—you’re not alone! I too feel lost when confronted with the numerous choices sent to me on a daily basis. But in fact, that wealth of choice has helped me figure out what my perfect daily routine consists of. Here are a few of my must-haves for a light, fresh face:
And that’s it! I know makeup can feel intimidating but really, it’s all about fun and experimentation! Go out there and enjoy yourself, you’ll get the hang of it.
Ha, yes, it does sound dramatic. But I can sympathize. I remember being in high school—I went to a pretty intense all-girls school in Manhattan—and feeling the exact same way: what was I going to do when I was a grown-up? Where would I go to college? What would I major in? And then, four years later, in college feeling the exact same way: I didn’t love pre-med, the track I had chosen, but if not that, what? And then once I graduated and—as is inevitable for children of the recession—floundering again when I couldn’t find a job in editorial right away and worked at a… gasp… law firm for a few months. My point, my dear, is that what you’re feeling is totally normal not just at fifteen or sixteen but at twenty five or even thirty five. Life is a series of calibrations, assessments, and fine-tuning. What you want will continue to change over time. It’s best, then, to be flexible. The best preparation is to keep your heart/soul/brain open to possibilities. And, ps, of all of my very driven, very type A friends who were psychotically set on what they wanted in high school or college, literally only one (who wanted to be a marine biologist) is doing exactly what she thought she would be. She lives on a boat in Antartica and is as happy as a clam. Everyone else’s career? It was a journey. But a good one!
It’s impossible to contain my love for my hometown in just five recommendations! Okay, let’s start with touristy must-visits: Top of the Rock (that’s where I interviewed Chloe Moretz recently) or Empire State Building for views (go on a clear day, obviously). Chinatown—I would suggest Shanghai Cafe (bring cash) for soup dumplings and cheap, painfully good foot massages (Yan Mei is the name of the place I frequent. It seems seedy but it’s not). Central Park—when you’re done window-shopping on Fifth Avenue (a must, obviously. Bergdorf’s for tea and epic views if possible, Apple store/cube, Tiffany’s), the tip of Central Park is right there! The Metropolitan Museum of Art—that museum makes me feel like I’m back in high school. Onto shopping and beauty: Catbird in Brooklyn for the best, daintiest rings ever. Marie/Sakura/Valley nails for nail art (book now or forever hold your peace). Premium Laces in Nolita for awesome sneakers (they have a great selection of Nike wedges in patterns, ahhh. Almost bought like six pairs). Marc Jacobs on Bleecker (and that whole area/street in general. I know there’s Zara in like every city but the flagship on Fifth Avenue is mindblowingly epic. Also, check out my profile on Foursquare. I pretty much check into every new place I visit, so you’ll get a sense of some recurring favorites there. Happy NYCing—get swept away by this city’s gritty beauty!
Oh, I remember the days when I used to countdown the days until the last day of school. And then… I’d start summer school. Haha (sigh). I think it’s absolutely wonderful that you have a career goal/path in mind, but unfortunately it can be rather hard to get an internship as a high school student. Most larger companies (Hearst, Conde Nast, Time, etc) require you receive college credit. My suggestion: start by going to your high school’s college or career counselor. Ask them if they know of any alumni who work in magazines or fashion. Reach out to them and ask them for an informational interview (that’s where you sit with them for fifteen minutes or so and ask them questions). If you hit it off, ask them if they need any interns or help—even if it’s just shadowing for a day or two—over the summer. If that doesn’t turn up anything, I’d suggest a summer program in writing, journalism, or fashion design or merchandising. If you’re near Parson’s, FIT, FIDM, or SCAD, I know they all offer summer programs for high school students. (If not, check your local college as well). Relish the summer—remember, there’s no such thing as summer breaks once you’re in the working world… so enjoy!
I love that you’re calling Garnier’s oil “suspicious”, like it’s a shady character with a goatee in an episode of Law & Order: Beauty Crimes Division (first of all: if that doesn’t exist yet, it should. secondly, yes, I think goatees are shady. if you are not a goat, you should not have a goatee). So, my thoughts on the categories of oil: Oils get a bad rap. Certainly, there are oils that are bad (oil spills. oily hair). We spend so much time stripping our face and hair of oil—but we forget that not all oils are bad and that oils are naturally-occurring on the surface of skin for a reason: to create and seal in moisture. I think almost everyone—barring people with cystic acne, whom I think should consult a dermatologist—would benefit from oil on their face and hair. Hair-wise, rub a bit between your palms and then apply to ends or from the mid-shaft down (especially if you heat-style). Your hair will feel softer and, well, yummier. Skin-wise, in the winter months especially (not so much in the summer when the humidity helps out skin), I use oil as a serum. My favorites are this one (made for oily skin), this one (if you have ultra-dry skin), and this one (my most recent discovery). On a side note, your body will also benefit from consumption of oils, like healthy ones found in fish, avocado, olive oil. I take fish oil (sounds gross, because it is! But capsules aren’t too bad) and I really think it helps with my skin, hair, brain, everything, boosting it from the inside out.
I’ve talked endlessly about my first internship at a magazine (visit my Ask Eva archive should you want to read about it… I know I’ve written about it at least 9842 times), but my first real job was at Lucky magazine in the fashion department. I was hired as a freelancer, which means I wasn’t full-time, with benefits and health insurance—but I didn’t care. I was so happy. Why? Because I had spend the last nine months in veritable misery. You see, when I first graduated, the magazine industry was in a time of transition (much as it is now) and magazines were folding (politespeak for going out of business). I couldn’t find a job in magazines and took a job at a law firm. My soul died a little, working at the law firm, but I did learn a lot—how to work 110 hour weeks, how to file and redact like a champ, and how much I didn’t want to be a lawyer. When I got that lifeline from a former colleague at my first internship, I was so grateful. At Lucky, I helped compile the credit (where to buy) information for hundreds of items in each issue (such as: Marc Jacobs Daisy Eau de Toilette, $90 for 4.2 oz, sephora.com). It was very detail-oriented work, and the sheer volume of it was rather insane, but I loved it. I was so happy just to be surrounded by and immersed in the magazine world again. I suppose what made me good at it was my previous job, actually: the crazy, microscopically detailed work I had to do at the law firm. What made me bad at it? I’m not sure—perhaps the fact that I got a full-time job after just six weeks. So, the lesson to be learned from this rambling response? Find value in every job you do. Even if it’s not strictly related to your field of interest (like, say, working at a law firm if what you want to do is magazines, or temping at a doctor’s office, etc)—maybe it’s organizational skills, perhaps it’s dealing with difficult people (I feel like working in retail or the restaurant business can be so helpful as you have to deal with all sorts of people)—there is always something to be learned.
Wow, congratulations! Ah, how am I going to squeeze in all my advice into one little post. Hmm, well, to begin: A) In terms of beginning working and interning immediately upon getting to NYC, I know the first instinct is to be like, “Hooray, my ‘real’ life is finally beginning! Off to work/network I go!” Don’t do it. Give yourself one semester. Your freshman year first semester is a magically fun time. Meet as many people, try as many wacky classes, and enjoy it as much as you can. You will never get that time back and you will not fall behind at all by taking your first semester off. You’ll still have 10+ (2 per school year, 1 per summer) internship semesters ahead of you. B) even though you’ll have friends who know their major (or seem to know it), wait to declare until the last possible second. Again, try as many things as you can before committing to one major. You never know, you might discover you want to be a sociology major and a zoology minor. You never know. And—a minor piece of advice—C) don’t bring too much stuff to NYC. You’re going to end up buying a whole new set of everything—clothes, furniture, cute tchotchkes. Travel light and with your eyes and heart wide open.
You’ve mentioned three great ones already (I particularly love Jean’s writing style—her columns for ELLE magazine in the 90s were one of the reasons I gravitated towards magazines, and beauty, at all). I would also look into Diana Vreeland’s memoirs, The Teen Vogue Handbook (not just saying that because I worked on the book. It gives a great baseline knowledge of the different careers in fashion, from art department to designer), and—this may seem random—The Mailroom. The latter is a book about working in the mailroom (basically as an assistant) at top talent agencies (CAA, William Morris, UTA) in the 80s and 90s. It may seem like an utter disconnect but when I read the book, I saw a lot of parallels in what it takes to make it as an agent as it does an editor: the same drive, ambition, organizational skills (truth!). Lastly, I would encourage you to be informed about the world as the whole, not just the fashion world. It’s important to be attuned to current events, local issues, and culture—you can live for fashion, but remember that you live in a larger community that informs fashion. Make yourself as well-rounded as possible. (And to answer your last question: yes, it is in the works ^_^)
Personal style: it sounds (and looks) so simple yet it’s an elusive, tricky thing to nail down. Because, really, at the end of the day it’s personal. There are some people who find their so-called personal style and are self-assured of it from an early age; others, it might take high school, college, twenties, thirties. Really, though, I think personal style is less about a signature look and more about the confidence to wear what you want to wear. Sounds simpler than it actually is, though, right? So, where to begin… I would start by incorporating some fashion items (maybe it’s a pair of boyfriend jeans, penny loafers, overalls) that you love but are somewhat unsure of. The more things you try on and say, “Oh, hey, I loved that! I want to wear it again” or “I didn’t feel comfortable in that”, the better. Personal style is trial and error and, most importantly, ever-changing. Enjoy the evolution—don’t over-think it or worry too much about it. Fashion should be fun, an outlet, not a burden.