12 Days of Girly Juice 2017: 12 Femme Essentials

December is here, and therefore, so is 12 Days of Girly Juice, my year-end wrap-up series! In the next month, I’ll summarize my whole year in selfies, sex toys, sexual encounters, tweets, and more. But today, we begin with a subject that’s dear to my heart: beauty and fashion! Here are my top 12 must-have femme items of 2017…

Giorgio Armani Rouge d’Armani lipstick in “Lucky Red”

Last November, I went to Rome with my mom, and it was momentous. All day every day, we walked around that ancient city soaking up world-famous sights. It was almost too much beauty and history to handle, and made me feel like I was buzzing right out of my body with deep glee and meaning.

One day, we visited the Spanish Steps. Sitting on those stairs surrounded by other tourists, I felt called to buy something that would remind me of this place. I didn’t want gimmicky miniatures or boring old postcards, so I did what any consumerist femme would do: I walked into Sephora. (Yes, there is a Sephora opposite the Spanish Steps. Yes, it is a strange, anachronistic place. It’s like femme purgatory: surreal and always bustling and highly unlikely.)

I wanted a lipstick, since that’s the cosmetic item I use most often and also the one I associate most with glamour. I figured it would make me happy in subsequent months to be able to think of said lipstick as a souvenir from glorious Rome, and to tell people that when they asked about it. Suitably, the one I went with was by Italian brand Giorgio Armani. It’s a cool-toned, bright red that makes me feel like a 1950s movie star or a high-gloss spy. It goes on satiny and dries to a slightly more matte crimson that stays put better than almost any other lipstick in my arsenal (which it damn well better, for $43). It’s my favorite red lipstick I’ve ever owned, and I have owned a lot. And that mystique only has a little to do with where I bought it.

Coach turnlock tote in turquoise crossgrain leather

I bought this on sale for half-price last holiday season, and it has served me well all year long. Not only is it the most aggressively, delightfully vivid shade of turquoise I’ve ever seen, it’s also roomy enough for almost all my various adventures. I’ve taken it as an overnight bag to sex-dates at beaux’ houses, as my carry-on when shuttling back and forth between Toronto and New York, and as a gig bag when en route to photoshoots or porn-y events that required wardrobe changes. It has lots of pockets, which I tend to stuff with extra tissues, mints, love notes, bobby pins, lipsticks, vibrators, business cards, supplements, and lube samples. It’s my dream bag and I adore it.

Tarina Tarantino heart necklaces

I have three of these now: one small purple/green/turquoise one, one larger one emblazoned with Queen Alice, and (my favorite) one giant pink sparkly one that attracts stares and compliments wherever I go. I bought the Alice necklace direct from the company during a sale, and snapped up the other two on eBay, since they seem to have been discontinued. They make me happy every damn time I wear them.

My heart necklaces function like day collars for me: they sit heavily around my neck, grounding me, reminding me of how good I am, keeping me on task. In times of emotional turmoil, they also feel like shields for my heart, deflecting negative energy and keeping me safe. I hope to collect a couple more – maybe a blue one and a black one – because we all need more sparkly hearts in our lives!

Perfume

It’s hard to pick a specific perfume here, because I’ve loved so many this year! Under the influence of The Dry Down, a mega-poetic newsletter about the philosophical and emotional side of perfume, I started buying perfume samples galore to try out. This is much cheaper than committing to full bottles of particular scents, and also makes more sense with the mercurial way I tend to fall in love with a perfume for a while, then move on to a different one.

Some of my 2017 fragrance faves: John Varvatos, a spicy, masc-leaning gourmand. Leatherstock, which smells like straight-up leather and which I like to combine with other scents for an extra kinky dimension. Tom of Finland, which is like pressing your nose against the pheromone-laden skin of someone attractive and comforting. Memoirs of a Trespasser, the scent of a rugged, babely adventurer come back home to roost. Carnal Flower, which smells like (per Helena Fitzgerald) “monied femininity.” Good Girl, a somewhat heavy, almost overbearingly feminine scent that reminds me of slutty honey. And most recently, Noel au Balcon, a hyper-festive wintertime scent that reminds me of cloves, oranges, honey, and the champagne-fizzy excitement of a tipsy conversation with an interesting stranger at a holiday party.

H&M skater dresses

H&M did a wonderful thing this year: they made what is basically the perfect dress, as far as I’m concerned, and released it in 15+ different colors and prints. Best of all, they priced each dress at $15.

I own said dress in 10+ different colorways now, and they get more wear than practically anything else in my closet. They’re just exactly what I want from a dress: comfortable, flattering, versatile. This year I wore them on dates, to shows, in photoshoots. I danced in them, kissed in them, partied in them, even occasionally fucked in them. They are perfection and I’m so glad I stocked up.

Yo Sox

Last month, I settled in for a phone sex session with a handsome gentleman, and he asked me – as phone sex suitors are wont to do – what I was wearing. I’d promised to wear something nice for him, something that made me feel sexy, even if he wouldn’t actually be seeing it. “I’m wearing a T-shirt, some panties, and a pair of kneesocks,” I told him, truthfully. He made a sound that was half-gasp, half-growl. I smiled.

My enduring love for knee-high and thigh-high socks comes partly from the predictable reaction they get out of many men, and partly from how they make me feel in my kinky little heart. When I’m putting together an ensemble designed to make me feel like a babygirl, girly socks are a vital part of the look. This year I discovered Yo Sox, a company that sells whimsical socks both online and in their brick-and-mortar store on Toronto’s Queen Street West, and I swiftly fell in love. It’s hard to feel sad when there are unicorns or whales prancing across your feet!

Tiny black shorts

Another H&M acquisition, I bought these minuscule shorts for $15 on an impulsive shopping trip in April. They ended up being a go-to for me all summer, garnering tons of compliments and making me feel cute in a way I rarely feel when my chubby bod is being shown off so flagrantly. They work well with crop tops, bralettes, and even over tights for a more cool-weather-appropriate outfit. I even wore them a lot while mired in post-breakup depression, because they felt effortless and accommodating.

BH Cosmetics Smokey Eyes palette

I didn’t do full-on fancy faces as often this year as I have in previous years, because frankly, most of the time I just couldn’t be bothered. But I did buy this eyeshadow palette on the recommendation of a femme friend, and it has served me well for many dress-up occasions this year.

The deep blues and purples flatter my hazel eyes. The silvers and greys allow for striking smoky looks. The pinks fulfill my deepest femme desires. In summation: this palette rules.

BH Cosmetics spooley brush

Another great find from this cosmetics company: the best eyebrow brush I’ve ever used. I’ve written before about Anastasia Dipbrow, my go-to brow product, but I’ve neglected to mention the importance of the brush you use to apply it: Dipbrow is finicky as hell and you gotta have your tools on point. This one has a spooley (i.e. eyebrow comb) on one side and an angled application brush on the other, so I can flip back and forth quickly between shaping my brows and filling them in. I use this every day and it has made my makeup routine both more efficient and more joyful!

Danier vintage leather jacket

Leather was important to my aesthetic this year. In fact, I’m possibly developing a bit of a leather kink (she wrote, having recently fallen asleep cuddling a leather impact toy to her nose so she could smell it all night long). One of my most beloved leather possessions is a jacket I inherited from an older cousin years ago. It’s simple, sexy, and classic. And it makes me feel like a total badass.

Many times, I’ve considered upgrading to a more classic motorcycle style, but having tried on many such jackets, I think they’re boxier and more boyish than I can comfortably pull off. The blazer-esque fit of this one seems to match my aesthetic better and I like it. Although, I must say, if I ever encounter a hot pink leather biker jacket, I might have to buy it on the spot…

Lacy bralettes

There is something about cute bralettes that makes me feel adorable and put-together even if I am essentially wearing underwear in public. My favorite ones are by Aerie, as they strike a balance between aesthetics and comfort that one rarely encounters in the realm of lingerie. Most of the ones I currently own are either turquoise or pink (how predictable) so I’d like to expand my bralette color palette in the coming months. Maybe I need one in red, yellow, or black…

Animal Hair internal clitoris necklace

I bought this necklace to advertise my sex-nerdiness and it certainly does the trick. Everywhere I go, people either say, “What is that?” or “Oh my god, it’s the internal clit!” I enjoy the way its hot pink shade sets off pink lipstick and pops against all-black ensembles. Animal Hair makes a light blue one too, so I think I’m gonna expand my clit collection in the new year!

What were your favorite fashion and beauty items of 2017?

How to Flag as Kinky

Adorable impact play pin and spanking patch by Kinktionary!

Since realizing I was well-and-truly kinky a few years ago, one of the foremost problems I’ve faced is: how do I find other kinksters to play with?

True, kinky folks are everywhere. They’re on the internet. They’re in sex clubs and dungeons. They’re at regular-ass cafés and bookstores and bars. They’re lurking around every corner (oooh, spooky!). But it’s not usually appropriate to straight-up ask a stranger, “Hey, are you kinky?” or, more specifically, “Hey, are you into [this particular kink I’m into], and if so, would you like to play?”

This difficulty exists whether you’re out in vanilla-land or at a kink-focused event or playspace. Kinky locales sometimes have flagging systems in place, but not always. And even if they do, you might still want a little fun flair to set yourself apart and express your delightful perviness to the world.

With that in mind, here are a few ways you can “flag as kinky,” whether you’re headed to a coffee shop, a conference, or a cock-and-ball-torture class. (Hey, I don’t know your life.)

The hanky code

Dating back to the mid-20th century, the handkerchief code originated in gay male spaces, but is understood and employed by many different types of queers to this day. It’s a subtle way to show your true colors, so to speak, and looks fly as hell even if no one knows what you’re flagging. (But if you’re around culturally savvy queer folks, it’s likely at least some of them will.)

Here’s the deal with the hanky code: different colors correspond to different specific sex acts, from the relatively tame (light blue for cocksucking) to the more extreme (yellow for piss play). You wear the hanky on your right side if you’re a bottom/receiver for that particular act (traditionally in the back pocket of your pants, but feel free to mix things up as needed), or on the left side if you’re a top/giver. If you’re into multiple things (and most of us are), you can flag for multiple things. Fun!

The basic building blocks of the hanky code allow for plenty of creativity, so you can typically slot it into whatever kind of vibe you want your outfit to achieve. I’ve sometimes worn a light blue bandana tied around my left wrist (“I like sucking cock”), a flower hair clip fashioned from a light pink bandana on the right side of my head (“I like getting fucked with dildos”), or a red bandana tied around my head Rosie the Riveter-style with the knot placed to the right side (“I want to be fisted”). Some femmey types even incorporate hanky colors into their nail art. There’s so much fun to be had with the hanky code!

Pins and patches

Use your discretion with this one – like, for example, maybe don’t wear that “Fist Me, Daddy” pin to your family reunion – but clip-on and iron-on pieces of flair can communicate a lot!

I have, for instance, a little nametag that says “Princess” which I would like to wear to a kinky event sometime. It doesn’t spell out my kinks in detail, but it gives onlookers a clue as to what I might be into, and it can open up a conversation. (“Are you a dommy Princess, or a subby princess?”)

I’m also in love with the pins and patches from Kinktionary, an art project centered around hedonism, sex, and body-positivity. Their spanking patch and impact play pin swiftly communicate an interest in hittin’ or bein’ hit. I’m also into the playful, not-so-subtle subtlety of their “lick” pin, rope bondage patch, and biting patch. These designs are artistic and beautiful enough that you could rock them in polite company (within reason), but they could also easily open up a dialogue with a potential play partner at a kinky event. Swoon!

(Don’t even get me started on the “Sir” patch. I would have A Whole Lot of Feelings if I saw a domly-looking masc person with this sewed to the sleeve of their leather jacket.)

Kink accessories as fashion accessories

Here’s another trick in the “subtle, yet not subtle at all” camp: wear your kinky apparel as if it was just regular apparel.

Obviously, this won’t work with everything. You probably don’t wanna sport your leather chaps to church (unless your church is really fucking cool), and please don’t make a TSA agent pry your bondage cuffs off you, silly goose. But some kinky items are inconspicuous enough that they might go unnoticed in vanilla environments.

A leather waist-cinching belt with bondage-ready D-rings looks glorious over a cocktail dress, for example. Skinny bondage cuffs can look super cute as bracelets, particularly if they’re specifically designed to be wearable as such. Nipple clamps make brilliant cardigan clips. Even a well-shined pair of leather boots can communicate a certain kinky je ne sais quoi to the kind of person who would notice such things.

 

How do you like “flag as kinky”?

 

This post was graciously sponsored by the folks at Kinktionary, and as always, all writing and opinions are my own. Read up on their stunning art project, and then peruse their pins and patches!

3 Versions of Myself I Access Through Fragrances

“John Varvatos” by John Varvatos

I am a cisgender woman, but it is just not that simple. Gender never is.

In high school, I used to describe my eclectic personal style as a mix between a 1950s pinup girl, a 1980s teen queen, and a British schoolboy. Elements of the latter only snuck into my outfits occasionally – a collared shirt here, a silk striped necktie there – but I always felt that schoolboy somewhere below the surface, particularly as I came into my queer identity. Pursuing girls, giggling and blushing at girls in the school cafeteria, training my gaze on girls in an unabashedly desirous manner – these all brought out a butchness in me, for lack of a better term; a hard sharpness on the edges of my otherwise plush femininity.

I wondered – and still sometimes wonder – whether my once-in-a-blue-moon dalliances with dapperness are more an homage to a person I want to be, or a person I want to fuck. But then, maybe those two categories are always a Venn diagram, and it’s just a question of how much overlap exists in your personal version.

When I peruse fragrances online, I’m most drawn to notes I associate with masculinity: leather, oak, tobacco, sandalwood. It all sounds terribly sexy, for much the same reason I sigh and swoon when I encounter phrases like “blue striped button-down with the sleeves rolled up” or “freshly shined leather wingtips.” These aesthetic elements sit right in the centre of my Venn diagram of attraction and aspiration: a sweet spot where I can equally imagine myself pinned against a wall by a ravishing man who is kissing me, or being that man.

I ordered a sample of John Varvatos’ self-titled fragrance because a male xoJane writer described it as smelling “[like] you spilled a chai latte into an old leather jacket.” I could see it so clearly. Flirting with a leather-clad heartthrob in a bustling café, all waxy hair pomade and smug bravado – or being that heartthrob, and not needing to ponder petty concerns like gender, because chai and leather and flirty nerve are genderless and always have been.

There are some “men’s” fragrances that feel like drag when I wear them, coming off incongruously boyish on little ol’ femmey me. But John Varvatos melts into my skin and my gender with an uncomplicated ease. It’s masculine and powerful and sexy and bold, but coexists peacefully with my femininity and softness and docility. It’s like a men’s leather jacket I might steal from a boyfriend, that looks beefcake-handsome on him, but adorably spunky on me. It’s masc but it’s not a mask. It’s the brashest kind of boy this cis femme lady can ever be.

I love it. I want to wear it every day. I want to feel this attuned to all my gender-peculiar facets at every moment. I don’t ever want to lose that.

“Carnal Flower” by Frederic Malle

Like anyone who’s lived in a particular city for a long time, I have personal rituals tied to certain places and activities in my city. Like any introvert, many of my personal rituals involve being alone.

There are some activities I will not do alone. Though I love attending improv shows at places like Comedy Bar and the Bad Dog Theatre, I cannot go to a show solo; sipping a beer in a claustrophobic bar before the show cranks my social anxiety up to eleven, as my bad brain hallucinates judgmental eyes lingering on me from across the crowd. Likewise, I will not go to local sex club Oasis Aqualounge unless I am meeting at least one person there; the libidinous glances and bold advances of disingenuous lotharios aren’t worth enduring, even to languish in Oasis’ beauteous heated pool under the stars.

One thing I do love to do alone, however, is go to the theatre. In particular: Soulpepper, in the Distillery District.

There is something classy, mysterious, and refined about attending the theatre alone, at least in my imagination. I select shows carefully every year, spacing out my tickets so I never have to go longer than a couple months without one of these pilgrimages. It’s a special, pre-planned night out, like taking myself on a date. I get dressed up, do my makeup, spritz on some scent. When I used to live in the east end, I would get on the King streetcar, clutching a little leather purse and walking with purpose, and ride it down to the Distillery. Once there, I walk along the dimly-lit cobblestone streets, sometimes wobbling in heels (the theatre is one of the only occasions I deem worthy of heels), until I reach the warm, bright, elegant lobby of the Soulpepper theatre.

The crowd is different there from my usual haunts; it’s a lot of older people, married couples, mature professionals. Whereas swilling beer alone in the crowded Comedy Bar makes me feel like people are staring at me and think I’m weird, sipping a pint of Tankhouse in Soulpepper’s lobby gets me almost no attention at all. Everyone bustles softly around the space, waiting for the house to open, cooing gently at the posters of coming attractions, greeting each other with warm enthusiasm. There is no culture of cruising, scoping, judging or partying. I am almost always the youngest person in the room, but am otherwise invisible.

Stripped of other people’s projections, then, I am free to be whomsoever I please, and to be that woman in peace. And at Soulpepper – a brick and wood haven full of quiet theatre devotees – I am a mature, sophisticated young woman, elegant in my little dress and little shoes. I am precious and put-together, confident and collected. I am a nonexistent but aspirational vision of myself.

Frederic Malle’s Carnal Flower is often described as a “dangerous” or “sexy” scent, but I don’t get that from it at all. On me, it’s floral, summery, and feminine in a way I have never quite been. Helena Fitzgerald describes the woman evoked by this perfume as “the kind of woman I had once thought could wear perfume while I couldn’t… I am not her; through perfume I could try on her life as a costume.” I feel this too: when I wear Carnal Flower, I can gather up my guts, my smudged eyeliner and scuffed boots and crooked teeth, and compress myself into a lither, lovelier little lady. A lady who might – for example – waltz up to the bar in the Soulpepper lobby, order a glass of white wine, and sit sipping it on a leather chaise without once worrying what anyone thinks of her.

“Acqua di Gio” by Giorgio Armani

I’ve told you before about my conflicted love affair with Acqua di Gio. It’s the signature scent of someone I used to love, who never loved me in the same way. My heart’s year-long tussle with this man was all wild hope tempered with crushing disappointment. One followed the other, like a dance. We’d have a good night out, laughing over beers and sandwiches – and then I wouldn’t hear from him for days. We’d share sex so intimate, it made me believe those who use “intimacy” as a euphemism for sex – and then he’d declare how much he valued my friendship. He’d tell me that we were on the same wavelength, that we were meant to stick around in each other’s lives, that our connection was special and deep – and then he’d go off grinning goofily on dates with random women from OkCupid, looking for “the one.” I remained the one he left behind.

If I’d never been in love with someone who wore Acqua di Gio, probably its inhalation would strike me only as mildly pleasant. It might remind me of oceans, cucumbers, or musky muscled strangers fresh out of the shower. But I have been in love with someone who wore it, so when Acqua di Gio crosses my nostrils, it’s a guilty hit of glee. An endorphin rush I quickly work to suppress. Wild hope, as I’ve said, tempered with crushing disappointment.

This is a problematic reaction to have to a fragrance as ubiquitous as Acqua di Gio. I rarely go a week without passing someone on the street who’s wearing it. Every time, every damn time, I’m struck with the pins-and-needles feeling that haunted me throughout that ordeal: Will he ever love me? Why doesn’t he love me? How do I make him love me? Why doesn’t he love me? That love has since faded, but the scent is a time trigger, dragging me back into that pit I spent so long clawing my way out of. It’s a lot to grapple with, on a street corner, surrounded by strangers.

So I became interested in reclaiming the scent, reworking its fraught associations, like exposure therapy. I read an xoJane article about this a while back, and the idea resonated hard. When friends go through breakups, I tell them to make new memories in the locations that remind them of their ex – why not do the same with a scent?

There are times, while I’m wearing Acqua di Gio, when I catch a primal whiff and sink back into nostalgic sadness, wanting that Prince Charming and the promise of happiness he dangled just out of my reach. But then there are other times when I breathe deep and realize I am that Prince Charming, I can be happy, and I can and will save myself. There is hope. There is always hope.

Review: Bargain Hunterz Sienna Cage Bra

Content note: there are boobs in this post! It is, therefore, NSFW – so don’t scroll down if you’re at work. Unless your workplace is unusually boob-friendly, in which case, kudos to the administration!

looove the aesthetic of cage bras. For me, they conjure up visions of modern-day witches: hard-nosed millennial babes in smudgy eyeliner and quartz point necklaces, sketching pentagrams in the margins of their journals and leaving vampiric lip prints on bone-white coffee mugs. It’s a look I adore, so when Bargain Hunterz offered me my choice of item from their cage bra collection, I was on-board.

The one I chose, after much deliberation, was the Sienna Cage Bralette. I liked that its design is ornate but not excessive, and that it evokes that mild witchiness I enjoy so much without being a literal pentagram.

It took me a few minutes to figure out how to put on my new bralette. Looking at the product image online, I was able to figure out where each of the two circles go, one on my upper chest and one between my breasts. From there, I slipped my arms under the right straps and did up the two clasps on the bralette: one in the back-centre, like a regular bra, and one under my right arm.

I custom-ordered this bralette in my size, 34DD, so it fits me well – but I don’t think customization is strictly necessary for a product this stretchy. The entire bra is made of an elastic material with a lot of stretch. You’ll be disappointed with this if you want a chest harness with more practical applications – i.e. one by which a dominant partner can grab you and throw you around – but if you just want the cage bra aesthetic without the kink possibilities, this will work fine.

That said, I think this product was designed for someone thinner and less busty than I. The two straps that go under each breast look clearly defined and cool on the mannequin in the product image, but on me, they tend to bunch together uncomfortably, like how the extra fabric under the bust of a longline bralette usually rides up.

Those two straps also create a strange situation on my sides and back, gathering the fat there into squishable mounds that look weird under clothes (and even not under clothes). The angles in which I feel babely in this bralette are few and far between.

My main issue with this thing is the shape into which it funnels my breasts. Though the straps under and beside each breast should theoretically push them inward and upward to create a pleasing, curvy shape, I actually just feel like this bralette squishes my boobs into flabby triangular pancakes. It looks odd when I’m naked and even odder under clothes: the effect reminds me of Madonna’s famous pointy bras in the ’80s.

However, if you’re cool with pointy boobs – or have boobs small enough that a bralette like this wouldn’t corral yours into a strange shape – you might nonetheless like the effect you get from this piece. I have to admit I find it sexy-looking from the front, if not from the sides.

The elastic material is soft-ish but does get a bit chafey if I wear it for more than an hour at a time. It’s definitely more comfortable to me than a typical bra underwire, but it’s also much less supportive.

Overall, at $15, I think the Sienna Cage Bralette would be a reasonable purchase if you want to give the cage bra aesthetic a try. It’s far less expensive than a lot of higher-quality versions of a similar idea, so it’ll give you a taste of what you could look like and feel like if you dive deeper into the world of cage bras.

I wish this one didn’t squish my boobs into such an odd shape or emphasize the fat rolls on my sides and back, but I still think it looks cute as hell peeking out of a tank top – so I’ll probably wear it to sexy events now and again. I just want to feel like a sexy millennial witch, okay?!

Thanks to Bargain Hunterz for sponsoring this review and for providing me with this product to review! As always, all writing and opinions are my own.

Devastated & Divine: A Week in Post-Breakup Fashion

On the day after her breakup, our lovely model Kate wears the same outfit she wore yesterday. 24 hours of crying, sleeping, and existential angst have rendered the ensemble charmingly worn-in – “heartbreak chic,” you might say.

Her green American Apparel tri-blend racerback tank is embellished with a chocolate stain from a Kitkat bar she bought because her best friend told her she needed to eat and chocolate was the only option that didn’t sound positively nauseating.

Adorning her black American Eagle leggings is a smattering of white hair from the cat belonging to her now-ex-boyfriend. The cat wandered in during the break-up conversation itself – sometime between “I don’t think we should see each other anymore” and “I still care about you a lot” – and though Kate mostly stayed strong, that was the one moment when she thought she might cry, because it wasn’t the cat’s fault she would never see him again.

Her turquoise Coach turnlock tote is stylish, yet roomy enough to fit a fistful of used tissues, a tearstained Moleskine journal, and a Kindle loaded with ebooks about the psychology of romantic rejection. The side pocket can even hold a plethora of condoms, as if she’ll have a need for those any time soon.

Kate’s royal blue heart-shaped sunglasses were a gift from a reader via her Amazon wishlist. Beyond just looking sharp, they also function as a shield to keep onlookers from realizing she’s just, like, constantly crying.

Her well-worn Frye harness boots are comforting and familiar, though now they are marred with the memory of how she clumsily crammed her feet back into them and practically tripped in an effort to get away as quickly as possible from the man who broke her heart. They need a shine, and maybe someday she’ll get to that when she’s no longer in a state of active distress.

Topping off the outfit is Kate’s Tarina Tarantino pink pavé heart necklace. Usually she wears a smaller purple and turquoise one, but the last time she had sex with her now-ex-boyfriend, he sidled up behind her afterward and fastened the purple pendant around her neck like the quasi-collar he understood it to be, and it was the last sweet and tender gesture he ever offered her – so, obviously, she couldn’t wear that one. Not today.

On the second day after her breakup, Kate wears a casually rumpled black tank top that was acquired at a local thrift store years previous and could probably use a wash. She defines her aesthetic goals today as “comfort” and “not wanting to fucking die.”

The red bandana tied around her head serves the dual purpose of concealing both her unwashed hair and her scalp infection, because depression is nothing if not glamorous. Red bandanas also symbolize fisting in the hanky code, a subtle, ironic sartorial nod to Kate’s ex, who would’ve been the first person to successfully fist her if he’d been decent enough to stick around.

Her red and black polka-dotted MeUndies boyshorts continue the color story from her red-rimmed, tearstained eyes. On her lips, Bite Beauty High Pigment Pencil in “Pomegranate” makes a bold statement: “I don’t intend on kissing anyone today. Or maybe ever again.”

On the third day after her breakup, Kate’s thrown on a black American Apparel tri-blend romper for her streetcar jaunt to an erotic massage downtown. The simple pull-on design and halter-neck ties make it quick to take on and off – ideal for getting naked on the massage table as well as navigating the bone-heavy apathy of depression. Easy-peasy!

On her radiantly unwashed face, she sports a pair of sunglasses she bought at a hotel gift shop the week previous, possibly the last purchase she made while happy. They seemed glamorous and eye-catching at the time; today they’re crimson-tinted armor. Pro tip: plastic frames are a smarter choice than metal ones while grieving, because tears don’t rust ’em!

Her heart necklace makes an appearance once again, because if a giant pink rhinestoned amulet can’t make her feel better, nothing can.

Ubiquitous Apple earbuds complete the ensemble, and rarely leave her ears these days, because what little emotional momentum she can gather is mostly enabled by the good-natured goofs of the McElroy brothers.

Later that day, blissed out and supple-skinned from coconut oil and orgasms, Kate slithers into a dark red Forever 21 tank top and tiny black H&M shorts for an evening at the local sex club. As she slings on a vintage Danier leather jacket and looks at herself in the mirror before leaving the house, she feels her first glimmer in days of something like happiness. Maybe she’ll flirt with a stranger tonight. Maybe she just won’t cry in public. Either would be a victory.

On the fourth day after her breakup, Kate’s ex is coming by to pick up the last vestiges he left at her house (a book and some bondage rope), so obviously she has to look good, even though she’s not actually going to answer the door because she’s either an emotional masochist or a massive coward – who can say! This is truly the ideal outfit for today’s activities: hiding under a blanket while rain pours down outside, and then trekking to a doctor’s appointment while blinking back hot tears. Busy lady!

Kate’s zebra-print fit-and-flare dress from H&M clings to her depression-dwindled curves in a manner that just screams “Help, I keep forgetting to eat, because my life is in shambles!” The wild-animal motif is an ironic twist, given that she’s barely left her house in days. So-near-y and yet safari, am I right?!

Today’s lipstick choice, Annabelle Twist-Up Crayon in “Vamp,” is the exact shade her mouth would be if she bit into the throats of the people who’ve wronged her and gnawed mercilessly until their pathetic heartbeats skittered to a stop, not that she’s planning on doing that or anything.

Her hair, still not washed, has achieved a strawlike texture that some people buy expensive salt sprays to achieve, probably.

On the fifth day after her breakup, Kate’s comfy-cozy in a Hole Punch Toys T-shirt she got on a road trip to Minneapolis. Wearing a sex toys shirt and headed out the door to write about sex toys at a café, she’s reminded of her competency, her talent, and the friends she’s made along the way. It’s perhaps too much to read into a T-shirt, but hey, when one is mind-numbingly depressed, one takes what one can get.

Her cheap H&M shorts are covered in dirt, food stains, remnants of her own sexual fluids, and the aforementioned white hairs belonging to the cat of her ex. She really needs to wash them, but when getting dressed feels difficult, it’s hard to part with something so sartorially versatile and easy to throw on for even as long as it takes to do a load of laundry. Plus she keeps thinking about how you could probably clone the cat using its hair. Not that she has access to that technology at present.

She’s finally washed her hair, but it’s been tossed up into a laissez-faire topknot, because today she can’t even.

Later that night, getting ready for an ill-advised OkCupid date, she slips on a lace bralette in “Lacklustre-Libido Lilac” and a Henley tank top in “Terrified-to-Try-Again Teal.” Her black velvet Forever 21 skater skirt creates the illusion of put-together elegance to impress her date, while really just existing to be comforting and comfortable. Joke’s on him.

Hours later, in a near-stranger’s downtown apartment, her Animal Hair internal clitoris necklace keeps falling into her mouth while she’s trying to give a blowjob to an unfamiliar dick. She notices herself falling back on the muscle memory of techniques her ex liked, purposely choking herself on this cock in a masochistic manner that is probably lost on this vanilla boy. It almost makes her cry, and then she almost cries again later when her one-night stand sees her necklace and asks, “Is that the Special K logo?” Her ex would have recognized it. And then he would’ve demonstrated his knowledge on her actual real-life clitoris. Ah, to date a proper sex nerd again.

On the sixth day after her breakup, Kate is so over it (over existence in general, you understand; definitely not over the breakup) so she pulls a hole-ridden, stretched-out, pilling Forever 21 V-neck tee on over her braless boobs. Free the Nipple, Free Women From the Shackles of Convention, Free the Chronically Sad Girl From this Mortal Coil, and so on.

Her berry lipstick creates the illusion of a confident, self-assured woman who has her shit together. Haha. Hahahahaha.

Her black faux-leather flats are practically worn through on the bottom, owing to the many long walks she’s taken recently, when it felt like she would fall into the earth and disappear if she ceased to constantly move.

Her wrists and throat are sparingly spattered with the Tom of Finland fragrance from Etat Libre d’Orange. On her skin, it registers as gentle, feminine, graceful and loving: all qualities she can’t quite remember, and hopes to rediscover in herself.

Today’s Tarina Tarantino heart necklace bears the image of Alice, as in Adventures in Wonderland – a figure with whom Kate strongly identifies, particularly now, as she’s a little girl traveling through an alien terrain without a Daddy to make sure she’s okay. She aspires to reach Alice’s level of confidence in that final courtroom scene someday.

One week after her breakup, Kate steps into a pink and turquoise Leg Avenue lingerie romper, ordered off Amazon back when she was happy. Her then-boyfriend would’ve liked it; it’s emblematic of the little-girl persona she often assumed around him, her Daddy. Maybe that’s the only reason he ever loved her. Maybe it’s the reason he left.

Her black ASOS skater skirt covers the lower half of the romper; the thought of going full-on little girl felt aggressively upsetting, so soon after being jostled from that role. Tonight her aesthetic is more akin to that of a grown woman who will someday tiptoe back into cathartic regression – when she once again has a partner she trusts to take her on that journey. Singlehood requires a fierce independence she feels she can’t cultivate when she’s little. Later tonight she’ll curl up with a carton of ice cream and a comedy podcast and allow herself to be gleefully small, but not where anyone can see her.

In her hot pink Kate Spade satchel, she’s got some business cards to pass out at the sex-themed variety show in which she’ll be a resident sexpert tonight. During the on-stage interview about vibrators and dildos, she doesn’t mention her breakup once. It’s the first time in a week that this recent heartbreak hasn’t felt like the central fact of her existence. Afterward, she even tipsily quasi-flirts with a cute co-performer. It’s not much, but it’s something.

Around her neck, she wears that Tarina Tarantino amulet again. It jangles and glitters when she gesticulates, casting candy-pink rainbows. Sitting on her chest all week, it’s come to feel like a part of her. Like a shield for her heart. It won’t guard her from future heartache – nothing can, not even staying inside her apartment, silent and uninvolved. But for now, she can pretend that she’s safe.