Where to Shop
Today we’re going to talk about some of the best shops to frequent for masculine clothing, or at least androgynous/versatile as they stand on their own, both cut to a woman’s figure and menswear cut small enough to fit the average sized woman. In my experience, some great stores to patron are:
J. Crew - Great Menswear-inspired blazers; shorts/pants, men’s sweaters carried in XS, women’s jackets, andro accessories (Ebbets Field flannel ballcaps)
The Gap - Affordable Oxford shirts, Cardigans, Khakis
Banana Republic - Point-Collar Dress Shirts
Uniqlo - Blazers XS menswear
H & M - Great mens’ selection carried in XS
American Eagle - XS Menswear
American Apparel - Androgynous Basics carried in XXS
Topman - Carried in XS and Blazers carried in size 34
Old Navy - Masculinely cut women’s pants/shorts depending on the length you get (7” inseam shorts offered as well as roomier khakis)
Thursday, August 8th, 2013, 5:30 PM
So. I just think life is ridiculous. 2 days ago I was fired from an internship I had only held for a month, and today I receive a $10,000+ beneficiary statement in the mail from my late aunt’s retirement account. She died one month ago from cancer at the age of 61.
Is this what life is? Is it a constant struggle until it stops? For better or worse? Is it back-breaking, insufferable misery until someone who didn’t have to work for it gets your blood, sweat and tears exchanged for gold? Money? Dollar bills? Paper.
If I could just have one thing it would be for life to make sense. Because right now it doesn’t. All the time it’s senseless. I’m more than 23 years old. And after that it’s just older and older. I’m 23 years and 2 months old. In 10 months I’ll be 24. And in 22 months I’ll be 25. In 82 months I’ll be 30. And what’ll I have accomplished?
This isn’t the way life was supposed to be. It was supposed to be a movie you never wanted to end. It was supposed to be a blur of light and color and sun on a postcard. And magic and quiet and peaceful bliss. I was supposed to belong. Get a job at 14. Work through summers as a high-schooler. Wreckless fun in my youth, careless teenager-dom while I had it. By 18 I was supposed to have had 4 years of work under my belt, and more ready to be taken on. By 22, 4 years of college with countless open doors, year-long internships, fellowships and associate stints. Working steadily, independently and leading a life on my own by 21. A young independent successful first-world specimen.
Instead I graduated at 23. Living at home, with my parents and sister. No honors, no job prospects, no accomplishments or success to speak of. I flailed through high school without grace or dignity, and certainly no fond memories made along the way. Penniless, wayward, desperate and sad, I sat eating cup of noodles during my summer vacation days and whiling away the light hours in a kitchen watching reruns of bad sitcoms. I couldn’t find a job - nobody wanted me. In the 21st century of hustle bustle and the New York City elite, a rakish teenager offered nothing whatsoever to be desired. Years passed and friends got older, wiser, richer, happier. I got lonelier, sadder, more disappointed and heartbroken. College was a disaster that never liked me, but still it kept me as long as it could. I graduated 7 months later than everyone else with a GPA so low I could never go to grad school. But the months didn’t matter, it was the year that mattered. 2013 instead of 2012. A different school than where I started. A different class than the one of my twin sister’s. A different life than the one that was mine.
The months passed after December, until late February, and the fibbing began. My Graduation date got later. The months blended and I had nowhere to go. February turned to March, March turned to April, April turned to May and May turned to June. Then I got a chance. The first paycheck came in, and wow. This is what it felt like to be me. Better (really) late then never, and Sweet relief. June turned to July, but before I knew it, July was over. And August was here. And with August came the slamming sound of goodbye. The future was taken from the tips of my fingers and I landed on nothing but falling ground beneath me. Falling, falling. Until Mid-August was here. And I sat sitting at this keyboard with everything to fear. And a $10,000 check that was never mine.
For my late aunt, Nydia Theresa Muñiz, whom I owe so much of my gratitude towards life, love, healing and laughter. She was 61 years old when she died from Endometrial cancer on July 19th, 2013. Her legacy lives in the way she touched others for good and changed their lives forever for the better. Every living thing in this world that came across Nydia knew the feeling of true grace, and to know her was to know serenity in a soul. For you, fighter, survivor, champion, we write this tribute to honor you. Your memory will live forever.
Nydia was diagnosed at the last sub-stage of Stage 3 cancer, Stage 3C, in August, 2013. She didn’t tell us, her family, until late October, and by then it was most certainly too late. Within a month her cancer advanced to Stage 4 and had metastasized to her liver, vertebrae bone, clavicle and lymph nodes, swelling her neck, her feet and her legs to the point of incapacity, unable to move limbs functionally or even walk. 8 months later she died.
Her journey with cancer was not one meandering or controlled. It was vengeful and aggressive, taking her whole strength and energy, sending her into frequent week-long stays at the hospital, weak and unnerved, wondering to God why this had happened to her. And her treatment was not without complications.
Her Diabetes sent her, almost fatally, to the Intensive Care Unit at Memorial-Sloan for 9 days.
When we got to the ICU, we were told the situation was grim. There was no way of knowing if she would ever wake up or come back to herself, and things were to be taken “day-by-day”. But they did tell us that had it been one day later, she almost certainly would have been taken from us. Her diagnosis was Diabetic Ketoacidosis, a condition that occurs when Diabetes is left unregulated that leads to dehydration, vomiting, confusion, delirium and even coma. She was inches away from diabetic coma. Normal blood-sugar level is 120; she was at 900 and climbing. There were at least 24 hours in which she was basically unconscious.
When we finally did take her to the emergency room, it was stupidly late. She had been refusing water and food for days and had turned feverish with the ware of nights and days without bathing or refreshment. We were told the chemo would rouse side effects like dizziness, weakness, loss of appetite, but were surprised to see them manifest like this - so dangerously and staggering - helpless and worsening. After 24 hours of troubling behavior like constantly asking for misidentified objects, trying to turn on the television with her cell phone and asking for her glasses (which were on her face) only to hold them unwittingly in her hand as she dozed off into sleep, we finally called her Doctor. Thank God. She was so weak at this point she could hardly talk to anyone. She didn’t even want to take the phone because of the tremendous difficulty, but when asked “How she was doing?” by Dr. Spriggs, she managed to eek out a “Not too good”.
Seconds later my frantic sister, Kat, would tell her that “we’re going to the hospital, OK, Nydia???” The Doctor had urged her to rush Nydia to Urgent Care. But when Kat returned to the basement after quickly getting dressed, something unprecedented had already happened - Nydia had gotten herself dressed. Considering she had hardly been able to stand days prior, the determination during crisis she showed in that moment was nothing short of amazing. And if you thought that was nerve, the next minute would be the struggle of her life as she literally crawled on hand and knee laboringly up the stairs to get to the street-level of the house and get out the door. It took everything she had and was heartbreaking to watch. When she got to the hospital she basically collapsed with faintness and was incommunicable through the night. Luckily she progressed healthily, thanks to the incredible team at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
In the months after, she would go back and forth, in and out of the hospital, due to delirium and physical complications of the Cancer. Within 6 months of her original diagnosis, the cancer had spread to the brain - in 5 places. Two months later she died.
In the end, she never got to enjoy a single cent of her 40 years’ life savings. Never to go on a vacation or fly anywhere but to a regrettable honeymoon destination with a husband who would end up abandoning her nine months pregnant. But Nydia was strong! She lived and she laughed - hard. She loved life, in the small humble way that it was hers. She taught me everything there is to know about brave, faithful fortitude. Happiness and love. NCIS. The little things.
She lived in the same little apartment for 40 years, renting by the month to preserve the space she, her beloved four cats and daughter Christina (partner-in-crime for life) loved to call home. By the time she retired at 60 on disability from the cancer, she had built a respectable nest egg to have for when her body grew old and could no longer work anymore. Well, it never grew old - but it did grow sick. So weak and frail that we could never take her to Puerto Rico like she so badly wanted. Forget about Italy. Her life-long dreams would never surface to our attention until it was too late and she was living through sickness and fatigue. Nydia died young.
Her legacy is how she lived her life. While her dedicated service to her work was recognized only pennies for the dollar of its worth, she was always content to pay the bills each month, set aside some, earmark the rest for cab fare, takeout and food and litter for the cats, and, once in a while, indulge more than she could on prized possessions to add to her seemingly insignificant pile of clutter - her carefully selected, meticulously chosen mail-order trinkets. She loved her knick-knacks. She would pore over dozens of catalogs delivered to her door full of odds and ends that you’d never know one needed until she plucked them out of a passing page. And so she lived, for all the time I knew her, window shopping for fixtures to adorn her her life. How she loved planning ahead and setting up shop. Always a little something of this or that for her to hold onto. She even asked us in the hospice through cryptic gestures and murmurs to give her her glasses if just to clutch firmly in her fingers, resolvedly as she slept. A small piece of her world to hold onto for dear life in a consciousness that was fading. And in the end, none of it mattered because holding onto things - love, the will to live - didn’t save her either. Death still took her and she couldn’t take a single thing of her own/with her. Lonely, alone, feeble and scared. Disappearing from her own body and from the world, from us, the ones who loved her and from the things she herself so loved.
There was no sweet release or final let go. There was no touch of tranquility before peaceful surrender. There were no golden years or loving looks back. She never sat in the sun smiling, laid out before her life. Ahead, she wanted to go. Continuing. Living.