An emptiness about the heart of life

I will share a few photos from our weekend in London with Grace and Jack, but I feel like I can’t post anything without saying a few words about Sunday’s massacre in Orlando.

I am so heartbroken and grieved for our country. We are such a disaster right now. I grieve for the LGBTQ community in Orlando and in the United States at large. I have ignorantly and naively believed that homophobia is passé, that we have progressed beyond such hatred and bigotry, and that gay people can finally exist, on the whole, in freedom and safety. Sunday was a horrific reminder that they cannot and do not.

And our country cannot and does not dwell in safety — but rather wallows in paranoia — because we are ignorant. Because the NRA lines the pockets of our legislators. Because we have chosen to believe that more assault rifles, legally, in the hands of civilians is a virtue. Because our elected officials would rather give people on terrorist watch lists access to guns than curtail the expression of the sacred (and I declare, fraudulently interpreted) Second Amendment. Because we would rather prop up a military state controlled by a reality TV star-cum-tyrant than live in freedom. We seem prefer this world of terror to the humanist and democratic ideals that the United States of America was supposedly inspired by.

Racism, fear, and ignorance will never make America great again. Trump and the Republican party seem to believe that they will.

But I can only hope — with no small degree of desperation these days — that the majority of Americans will look to Orlando, will look to the monthly mass shootings, will look to the faces of refugees and imprisoned black men and transgender people in North Carolina, and say: We reject fear. We choose freedom.

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Style icon: Amirah

Style icon: Amirah

One of the first things I noticed about Amirah, aside from her bright eyes, was her persistently perfectly selected lip colors. That, and she always looked dressed to either host a gallery opening or dance at a discothèque. Regardless, I’m delighted to feature her in the Style Icon series!

Amirah lives in London, where she works at Good Business, a boutique consulting firm. I’m grateful to Grace for introducing us, and I’m looking forward to sharing lots of gelato with Amirah this summer when we’re living in London. So, take it away!

How would you describe your personal style?

Slouchy structured. I think a lot about my silhouette and tend toward loose and boxy tops and dresses that don’t (I hope!) look shapeless. Same with trousers and skirts. I prefer structured over flowy or billowy, and though I often wear slim or skinny trousers, I very rarely wear an outfit that is totally fitted — I find it too restricting.

I’m also a huge fan of prints and pops of colour. Grace has said the things I wear look like they belong in a museum, and another friend has compared my style to “going to a different exhibition every day.” I think this is because I’m often drawn to things that other people would never try on because the shape is a little unconventional or the print “too loud.”

I also like to think my style is pretty consistent. Pretty much everything I wear is smart casual, and (much to my mother’s chagrin) I will wear the same clothes and makeup (often just a bright lipstick) whether I’m going to the office, to lunch with friends or “out” in the evening. I don’t really know how to dress “up” or “down.”

Style icon: Amirah

Has your personal style changed over the years? If so, why do you think it changed?

It definitely has! I’ve always been drawn to prints and the silhouettes, but I think I’ve gotten better at putting things together, and over time, my style has evolved into something more consistent.

The change has mostly come from being forced to purge my wardrobe regularly as I’ve moved around a lot over the past four years. Keeping a wardrobe of only things I love and wear relatively often has also made me a better shopper. Before, I would enter a shop and walk out with lots of impulse buys that seemed like good value, whereas now, I decide what I’m looking for (down to specifics like colour and cut) and try not to settle for less than what I’m imagining in my head. I will now also only buy something I can see easily working with things I already own.

Style icon: Amirah
What do you hope you communicate by what you choose to wear?

Perhaps something similar to what I hope to communicate when I talk to someone: that I’m open-minded but have a point of view, that I notice the details, that I’m able to blend in but not afraid to stand out.

What are some crucial pieces of your current wardrobe? Items you wouldn’t feel complete without?
  1. My black ankle boots. I’ve worn them every day since I got them (on sale!) a few months ago. They’re from Geox’s Ambhiox range, which means they’re totally waterproof (not just water repellent), and they’re the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever owned even though they have three-inch heels.
  2. Besame Lipstick in Red Hot Red. My new favorite red lipstick; it’s matte and pigmented and super moisturizing.
  3. My collection of printed trousers.
Style icon: Amirah

What is your most recent purchase?

Ladder resist tights from M&S. They are amazing! I’ve worn them four times at this point, and they still haven’t yet laddered which is a record for me.

Is there anything you’re on the hunt for right now?

A warm scarf that isn’t too long or too heavy and doesn’t make my hair staticky. Also slim (not skinny!), well-fit high-waisted black jeans.

Style icon: Amirah
Who are some of your style icons?

Iris Apfel. Keira Knightly’s character in Begin Again. My friend Noam for her consistency. My friend Lina for her elegance. Grace for her ability to wear anything well.

Style icon: Amirah
What do you most notice or admire in a well-dressed person?

My mama has always said, “It’s not what you wear, it’s how you wear it,” and I have come to agree.

I think being well-dressed is less about having the best good individual pieces (though of course having great pieces helps!) and more about combining them into an outfit that makes you look and feel comfortable and confident.

Thanks so much, Amirah! Delighted to feature you, and I’m excited to see you this summer.

Previously in the series: Grace.