Let “Past You” cook
Recover from embarrassment, pray for the haters & losers; plus wool gabardine sets, stripped slappers & more
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— Jonah & Erin
The other day we got a Personal Spyplane reader question on the subject of shame—
“How do you recover from embarrassment, sartorial or otherwise?”
The most common style-related embarrassments that come to my (Jonah’s) mind are of the deferred, “sweet g-d look at this pic from ~15 years ago — did I really think that haircut looked good??” variety. Some bygone mode of self-presentation registers as shamefully goofy now, not even necessarily because it was actually goofy at the time (though it might have been) but very possibly because your perception, and predominant trends, have shifted in the years since. We’ve written about the vexing phenomenon of “Jawn Dysmorphia,” which is a closely connected issue.
Why not think of it this way: You were experimenting, taking different swings, and not all of those swings connected. You should be no more lastingly embarrassed than a scientist en route to a breakthrough should be embarrassed by the false starts and dead ends they encounter along the way. Those are all steps leading toward epiphany.
Let’s dig a little deeper, though. Embarrassment implies the SCATHING HEAT of judgment, either self-imposed or external. With the latter, there might well be times where, in the process of beautifully expressing yourself through jawns, you rock fire s**t so advanced or “outré”-coded that other people don’t merely lack the vision to appreciate it, they actively spurn it and try to make you feel bad about it. In this case, find the strength within yourself to withstand the myopic reactions of these sauceless hall-monitor head-a**es, rather than bending to their shortsightedness and stifling yrself.
Relatedly: In these hustle bustle topsy turvy modern times there’s a hypertrophic kind of online “public shaming” that can be brutal. It typically doesn’t have anything to do with clothes, but there are online jawns-shaming instances when someone on TikTok or IG gets roasted for bricking a fit audaciously & spectacularly. Not long ago I read an interview with a woman who went anti-viral for posting videos of herself in ostentatiously bizarre outfits (like underwear as outerwear in the subway or something??) She didn’t quite rise to the level of the “Had to Do It To Em” guy or the “What are Those???” police officer — where you get roasted so hard for yr fit that you become a meme — but she did become an object of brief, intense internet scorn. (Not gonna link ‘cause the Plane is too blessed to participate in any such economy of harsh vibes!!)
In the extremely unlikely event you find yourself experiencing some version of that, ask yourself, Did you fail to live up to a standard you deem meaningful, or did you fail to live up to the incoherent standards of a bunch of strangers acting like haters & losers at their keyboards? If it’s the latter, f**k those dweebs, admit zero wrongdoing and keep it pushing, because any sign of weakness is blood in the water and nothing will ever satisfy a H.A.L.F.F. (“hater & loser feeding frenzy.”)
Of course there are cases where embarrassment performs a good & healthy function, though, hammering home the fact that you broke a blessed social contract. Let’s say you get caught stealing money from a local animal-shelter charity fundraiser for no reason other than greed and your community shames you for it. The embarrassment you feel is beneficial to the degree that it keeps you from trespassing again in the future.
Bricking a fit isn’t a transgression on the same order as animal-shelter thievery. But don’t simply ignore sartorial embarrassment if you think there’s some actually productive lesson to be learned from it, e.g., “lime-green neon doesn’t flatter my skin tone” or “when I wore that petite Balenciaga satchel with skinny jeans tucked into knee-high rubber boots just because Kanye was doing it I was not dressing in a way that comported with anything that felt remotely true about myself.” If you suppress such truth, you’re allowing a moldering kernel of shame to fester & follow you through time — creating the conditions for future shameful fit-bricking, on some “people who forget past swaglessness are doomed to repeat it” s**t.
But in the vast majority of cases all you really need to do to “recover” from justified embarrassment is chuckle at yourself — a wise practice generally — charge it to the game, and let “Past You” cook, because that’s the beautiful comedy of life!
There’s a little Pavlovian bell that rings for Mach 3+ clothes-rockers when they hear the words “wool gabardine” — conjuring up images of garments, cut from smooth, tightly woven worsted wool, with a drape that other fabrics can’t equal.
Well the Pavlovian bells were CLANGING for us the other day when we caught wind of some beautiful new cropped wool-gabardine jackets and pants from an indie L.A. line that has been making understated bangers for several years and took a leap forward with their latest drop. And ayyy the prices aren’t bad, either…!