Do you listen to the podcast Call Your Girlfriend? Hosted by best friends Aminatou Sow (in Brooklyn) and Ann Friedman (in L.A.), it’s the shining star of my playlist. Amina, a media strategist, and Ann, a journalist, offer the funniest, smartest realtalk about pop culture, politics and whatever’s top of mind on the internet. Maybe it’s no surprise that they have awesome style, too. We recently got together in Ann’s Echo Park neighborhood to check out five looks they wore in a week…
On Ann — Denim jacket: vintage, similar. Marigold top: vintage, similar. Mud cloth pants, brass cuff and belt: vintage. Sandals: Birkenstock. Sunglasses: Lura.
On Amina — Top: Llulo. Skirt: vintage, similar. Denim jacket: vintage, similar. Sunglasses: Khaleda Rajab.
What is your favorite thing to wear these days?
Ann: I was day-drinking with Amina in Brooklyn once, when — four rosés later — we walked out of the bar and it was freeeezing. We stopped into Beacon’s Closet so I could buy a cheap layer. I ended up finding the world’s most perfect denim jacket, which I keep patching so I can wear it forever. Tipsy thrifting is my Olympic sport.
Amina: The sunglasses I’m wearing were a birthday gift from my sister. I left for boarding school when I was 15 and we haven’t lived under the same roof for almost two decades. We’re not not big gift givers and we have pretty different styles so I was nervous when I got a shipping notification from Net-a-Porter. I’m a hard person to shop for, especially with accessories, but my sister nailed it. I felt so loved and seen.
Lipstick: Bobbi Brown Crushed in Plum.
Is that a bathing suit worn as a top?
Amina: Yes! People have so many feelings about what fat women wear, and they can be judgmental about tight clothing, but I don’t believe in following someone else’s dumb rules for how I dress. Every piece in my closet is a workhorse. If I like the print or texture of a swimsuit, that sucker’s gonna get repurposed as a top. This one from Llulo is especially wonderful.
Do you have any tips for finding great plus-size pieces?
Amina: To quote our podcast friend Virgie Tovar, ‘The tag says no but the stretch says YES!’ That’s my mantra for clothing this body. Try on lots of different stuff; don’t just stick to plus-size stores (I check Of a Kind every day and I love Oxosi, 69, Mr. Larkin and Ssense.) Plus-size fashion has come a long way but it can still be disappointing in terms of price, options and quality. That said, I am happy to shop from Mei Smith, Elvi and Lane Bryant’s designer collections. I can’t wait to see Danielle Brooks’s collab with Universal Standard. She’s a total babe with great style. Eileen Fisher plus-size is my happiest place and honestly why I care so much about the gender pay gap. Fuck you, pay me so I can afford all of the relaxed, slouchy looks I so richly deserve. Lastly, good ol’ Nordies is my steady for all sorts of occasions.
On Amina — Dress: Asos Curve. Sandals: J. Crew, similar. Eyeglasses: Coastal. Bracelet: Tactile Matter.
On Ann — Dress: Osei-Duro. Mules: Intentionally Blank. Belt: vintage luggage strap. Bracelet: Tactile Matter.
What are your go-to stores, Ann?
Ann: I just visited Australia, where I wanted to buy every single item at Alpha60 and checked out a great woman-owned shop called Limb. I’m obsessed with my Miranda Bennett knot dress, and I really like her Instagrams on the process behind her natural-dyed clothing. I also own approximately one million Baggu bags. When I travel, I bring several nested within each other — a move I like to call ‘Baggu inception.’
On Amina — Dress: Teresa Missoni for Eloquii. Lips pin: Realm. Bag: Of a Kind. Scarf tied on handbag: vintage (gift from Ann). Bracelet: Tactile Matter. Navy sandals: Stuart Weitzman.
On Ann — Dress: Handmade by Ann. Denim jacket: vintage, similar. Gold booties: Modern Vice, similar. Clutch: Baggu.
Ann, are there challenges or special powers that come with being tall?
Ann: It’s definitely challenging, but I’ve lived in this 6’2″ body since I was 13, so I’m pretty good at shopping for it by now. Bodies are different (no one is ‘the norm!’) and everyone has their quirks. I confess that cropped styles frustrate me because when items are designed to be cropped on others they are obscenely, unwearably short on me. In many ways, though, I’m grateful that traditional stores don’t cater to me, because it’s led me to develop not-too-shabby sewing abilities. I hosted a clothing swap this year, and two friends brought the same Wacky Wacko shirt, so I scooped them both up and Frankensteined them into this dress.
How can we adopt your expert thrifting skills?
Ann: My top tips are: 1. Before you go thrifting, pull out a few items that fit you perfectly from your own closet and assess what they look like lying flat (this will help you hone your eye so you can tell what will fit you when you’re considering it in the store. Tags are useless), and 2. Once you’re at a thrift store, take the time to look at EVERY item (really, it’s meditative) to find the gems.
What’s your strategy on splurges versus steals?
Amina: I don’t mind spending a bit more if I love something. I inherited that from my mom. We didn’t have a lot of money growing up but she always managed to be impeccably dressed. When I fixate on an item, I’ll wear it until the threads wear out.
Ann: I live for a bargain. These trousers, which I found in the men’s section of a London charity shop, hit at the exact right spot on my hip, so I can pair them with just about any top in my closet. They’re easy to dress up or down, and they don’t wrinkle in a suitcase — shout out to Italian businessman brands from the 80s! They are definitely not the most exciting thing I own, but they are sooo reliable, inexpensive and I am already panicking about what happens when they wear out, because they are — Beyoncé voice — irreplaceable.
On Amina — Bodysuit: Cosabella. Denim jacket: vintage (borrowed from Ann), similar. Black mini skirt: American Apparel, similar. Sunglasses: Khaleda Rajab. Booties: Nine West.
On Ann — Black bodysuit: Long Tall Sally. Jeans: vintage, similar. Shoes: Alpha 60. Sunglasses: Karen Walker.
Do you ever wonder what the other is wearing when you’re recording Call Your Girlfriend from different cities?
Ann: We each record at home, which means I always assume we’re both wearing leggings or sweatpants, a T-shirt and no bra.
Amina: Forever free-boobin’!
Since you guys travel so much for work, do you have any packing tips?
Amina: I finally invested in a handheld steamer and I’m never going back. I also use packing cubes, which help fit so much more in your bag. And I like to bring a familiar scent from home (right now, it’s this delicious perfume oil).
This dress look is blowing my mind. Where do you wear it?
Amina: It’s actually a skirt-bodysuit combo! I’m a pretty modest dresser overall but I’m powerless when it comes to sheer tops. I love them. I’d wear this to meet for drinks or go to a dinner party.
Finally, what are some of your overall style philosophies?
Ann: One reason I enjoy wearing things I thrifted or sewed is that no one else can buy the same item. I’ve made them my own. I think this is partly a response to having grown up attending Catholic schools — I’ve always loathed a dress code.
Amina: I firmly believe that everything in your closet should fit you right now, not some aspirational body you’re hoping to have one day. I regularly purge anything that doesn’t fit or that I haven’t worn in a while. I do the hanger trick and it WORKS. Also, I dress exclusively for myself, but nothing can change one’s day around like a woman you’ve never met before complimenting your outfit in the restroom. Those women are the best women and we should all be like them.
Thank you so much, Amina and Ann!
P.S. More women share their go-to outfits.
(Photos by Nicki Sebastian for Cup of Jo.)