Mental Health

Photo by Pelayo Arbués on Unsplash

You know what? Depression can suck it.

Like a lot of people who have offhandedly successful childhoods, I did not get along well with the fact that life is hard sometimes. Come to think of it, that fact pretty much clotheslined me as I came barreling out of college ready to crown myself Miss Universal Hot Shit, 1992

It seems the universe had other ideas.

I did everything people who are too-fucking-good for depression do. I tried ignoring it, sucking it up, self-medicating, falling in love, staying insanely busy, and running away from failure. I tried pretty much everything everyone…


I thought it was cute, but I had no idea how complicated it would be

Photo by Clarisse Meyer on Unsplash

“Little girls are only cute and small to adults. To one another, they are not cute. They are life-sized.”

— Margaret Atwood

Like my own mother, I never worried much about little kids pairing off into “boyfriends and girlfriends,” especially second and third graders. What harm could possibly come of it, right? My first daughter, Veronica, had “boyfriends” in the usual way little kids do. As she put it, “a boyfriend is when you tell your friends you like each other, and then you don’t talk to each other anymore.

When hetero-oriented kids “break up,” there is a period of…

So we’re instituting Dad’s Weekend— while we’re still married

Photo by Maximilien T’Scharner on Unsplash

As we binge-watched the saga of another friend’s scorched-earth divorce, my husband said of the soon-to-be-ex-wife, “I think she just wants every other week off from the kids!

We’re always vicariously fighting other people’s divorce battles (it’s a hobby — sue me), and I was all set to make a strident argument against the idea.

Then I thought about it for a minute — Damn! He might be right!

“You know what?” I said, “That’s not the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard you say!
You know what else? I’m pretty sure we could pull it off without the divorce.”


Self image

If photo filters have you thinking you should see a plastic surgeon, you’ve got it backward

Photo by Houcine Ncib on Unsplash

I love these photos. I found them on Unsplash, so I don’t know anything about how they were processed, but they are useful in talking about the real meaning of that portrait filter on your phone that makes you look so much prettier. Or does it?


I don’t take fashion advice from anyone, especially young people

Photo by Ussama Azam on Unsplash

This is my middle-aged fashion manifesto.

I am skipping the lament of middle-aged invisibility. Fuck that. We are going straight from MILF to outrageous old woman. Like the stylish old ladies I most admire (You may admire them too, in the Advanced Style photoblog), I will no longer bother with following fashion at all. I aspire, instead, to great and uncompromising style. I am through with slimming black outfits, and dainty pearl earrings (mostly). To hell with the capsule wardrobe. From now on, I am going to love getting dressed or else stay in bed.

So, my darling judgmental young whippersnappers, I will wear any, all…


Her Majesty’s late lament

(After Pablo Neruda’s “La Reina” — a wonderful poem)

Photo by Jared Subia on Unsplash

“I have named you Queen,” he said,
And as his tiresome God charged him with naming things,
Queen, it is. And if you must —
Doubt it with a laugh.

This joke’s a chilly soil
To cover an uncertain grain.
The space between our words is enough.
Enough for doubt to root.
And send up a shoot
Almost too thin to grasp.

In this space, Fury
Furls her petals like a rose,
Arterial red.

A queen like the sun in late winter.
Too distant for warmth.

Here is your…

They only make one size, they appeal to suburban preteens, and their “you’ll never be us” marketing is dead on the money

Photo by Marko Novakovic on Unsplash

Everybody loves to slag Brandy Melville. I love to slag Brandy Melville, as I just did the other day here. (Brandy is at the end of the article. Just keep scrolling.)

Brandy Melville’s stock in trade is smug lowbrow exclusivity. They only carry one size, and it’s 0–2. The clothes are either cute in a sexy Lolita-ish way, or else they’re basic in that 2019 VSCO-girl-basic way. Either way, they appeal strongly to a very white, very suburban adolescent aesthetic.

The clothes themselves are cheaply made, with most production outsourced to China. The fabrics are not great, the fits are…

It’s mass-market fat stores and plus-size departments who can’t be bothered — let's take our fat money to people who deserve it

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

People are getting fatter. This isn’t news to anybody. What might be news is how that actually affects garment sizing and what it means for the people who buy clothes.

When we get sized out of cute clothes, it hurts. It’s happened to me plenty. I don’t take it personally because it’s not about me getting fat. It’s about how garment manufacturing works.

I began writing about this here.

Our incremental fattening necessarily affects the way we size clothes, particularly in how many sizes a market needs to run to be inclusive. Sure, there are more large people, but there…

Coco Joan

Fashion Industry Vet | Guerilla Feminist | She/her | Writing from experience—mine and everyone else’s | Refugee from the Deep South | At home In Philadelphia.

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