Tabatha Wharton



a year in the life of my evolving, offbeat aesthetic as i navigate being
a mid-30s-femme-grown-up-emo-punk-single-mom-graduate-student-non-profit-employee-fashionista.

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Ladies, I am here to extol upon you, this Prime Time of Cuffing Season, to any of you who may find yourself on these chillier nights looking for the comfort of a warm fire and a warm body, this lesson:

Buy your own damn boyfriend sweatshirt.

Now, I am a professional stealer of sweatshirts (and the occasional t-shirt and/or pants/shorts). I have taken hoodies from my parents and my brother and my younger cousin and my platonic dude friends and SO. MANY. BOYFRIENDS. and I understand the allure of taking something already broken in that may remind you of the human from whom you pilfered it. I get it.

But you know where you can also find a big, comfy sweatshirt that feels like a warm, supportive hug without all the emotional baggage?

The goddamn men’s section of any given store.

I have been pulling this trick for a very long time, whenever I found myself without a partner from whom to swipe clothing. I have bought XXL sweatshirts and basically wore them as baggy dresses. I have ones from places and brands that remind me of people. And this one, well, this hoodie was black (like my soul) and I really dug the crossover button detail at the neck and it was $8 (because also never pay full price for anything — maybe one day I’ll talk about how I shop for clothes on a single-mom-grad-student budget) so it came home with me as this year’s offering towards keeping my ass warm sans anything but a pile of cats and one giant cow dog.

The only thing to remember about the hoodie is don’t go too cheap in construction or material. Invest in a drama-free comfy sweatshirt as you might invest in a relationship were you in one. Make sure it’s thick and feels good when you put it on. Otherwise, much like many relationships, it’s just not worth the effort and it’ll crap out entirely too quickly.

Just march yourself over to the men’s department, find whatever size will make you feel warm and snuggly, and enjoy your newfound bravada without having to passive-aggressively argue with anyone about what to eat for dinner (unless you have kids, then … this will not fix that, I’m sorry.)

But in all seriousness, listen, one of the kids from the neighborhood saw me in this outfit and said I looked really pretty so you know what, I’m feeling pretty badass about that. Because honestly? I felt pretty in this outfit, as simple and easy as it was. Because it was me. Every iteration of myself that I’ve ever been or am or will be is fairly much the human you see in the photos here.

So I’m going to take it, gladly, humbly, gratefully.

And oh-so-warm-and-comfortably, without having to hide anything on laundry day in fear of it disappearing to whence it came.

Black men’s* hooded sweatshirt: Express
Skinny jeans & faux leather moto jacket: Old Navy
Moonstone cube earrings & moon druzy necklace: TJ Maxx
Slip-on Chuck Taylors: Nordstrom Rack
Black catseye sunglasses: Kate Spade

*Ed. Note: I’m a big stickler in my house about inanimate objects not having gender — so like there’s no such thing as “boy toys” or “girl books” just stuff that is marketed to a particular demographic for the purpose of sales, because gender is a uniquely human construction within modernity and not a definitive, inarguable trait that can be imbued upon insentient symbols or objects. So when I say this is a men’s sweatshirt, I’m using a colloquial terminology to assist in the generalized understanding of the qualities of the item at hand. It’s a bunch of fabric stitched together. It has no inherent gender because it is an inanimate object. It was not from the usual department I shop within due to my femme, cisgender identity, but one marketed towards people who identify as male. Anybody is allowed to like anything they want to regardless of whom it is constructed for or marketed to.
This concludes today’s TED talk.