Jess Manoogian on Pride, Identity, and Leather Jackets

Hello everyone!

I am so excited to share today’s blog post with you. One of my great friends, Jess Manoogian, talked to me about their own personal style and identity. Jess is queer and trans, and uses they/them pronouns. We both attended the same high school and became even better friends once I joined the staff of our school newspaper. Jess has always been super supportive of me – whether it was encouraging me to start my own fashion column in journalism class or giving me great advice, I have always admired them. To top off their intelligent and kind personality, Jess is fearlessly themselves when it comes to style. Enjoy!

How has fashion played a role in expressing your sexuality and identity?

I honestly didn’t know how to answer this question because it encompasses so much! My gender and sexuality have changed so much since I first came out. I came out when I was 13, and I had this image of what a gay person looked like, like short hair and combat boots and flannels and beanies. I threw out all of my skirts and dresses to erase any trace of the person I was before I came out, and pulled the classic move of raiding my dad’s closet for his old t-shirts and flannels and sweaters and jeans.

For a moment, I worried if I was jumping the gun by wearing men’s clothes immediately after coming out. What if I didn’t have to erase who I was before coming out? I found the skirts and dresses I threw out earlier, bought a pair of heels, and dressed like an extra in a Taylor Swift music video. And the clothes felt great! But when I went out, people called me “miss” and “young lady” and every time they did I felt like puking. So I went back to the flannels and combat boots.

People started calling me “sir” and directing me to the men’s side of the store. Every time I almost corrected them, and every time I stopped myself and smiled, reveling in the fact that I could be in the men’s section without the judgemental stares. I was passing as a man about 50% of the time in public, and I loved it!

When I was in Seattle, I walked a mile in the dead of summer (skinny jeans and combat boots and everything) to get to this one thrift store. I must have been about 15. It was my first time walking alone in a city that big. As I walked further away from the towering corporate skyscrapers and overpriced artisanal coffee shops, I felt more and more eyes on me, surrounding me as I picked up the pace. The heat and the blacktop and the stares were suffocating, and all I wanted was to get to this thrift store. After what seemed like an eternity of wrong turns, I made it. I walked inside and saw this beautiful brown leather jacket on the rack – it was worn but not falling apart, with two sturdy pockets and shoulders that filled in everything I wanted mine to be. I tried it on and knew it was too big, but I didn’t even care because it made me feel stronger than anything. I wore it as I browsed through the racks and even as I checked out. As I left the store to walk through the crowds again, I walked like I could take on the whole world. People still stared, but that jacket felt like armor.

Back home, that jacket went everywhere with me. My favorite outfit back then was my dad’s old blue jeans, his old black t-shirt, combat boots, and that leather jacket. Looking back, it was a real look and now I wish I hadn’t given that jacket away. I don’t even know why I gave it away. People definitely treated me differently when I wore more masculine clothes, and there were lots of days where I wished I could wear what other people wanted me to, for my safety and their comfort. But for all the times I’ve been discriminated against, I’ve also gotten lots of compliments on my hair or my confidence or my jeans. And I know that being out and being myself is an important form of representation! Whenever I’m scared to wear the clothes I want, I think of everyone that could be seeing me and getting the confidence and reassurance they need.

What do you wear to Pride?

Since Pride is usually in June, it’s really hot outside, especially if you’re watching the parade from the streets of LA! So my first tip is to wear something that can withstand the heat – this year I wore shorts and a mesh tank top!

Honestly, the thing that saved my life during Pride was a pair of comfortable shoes. It can be really fun to wear something extra for Pride, but you’re gonna be doing a lot of walking from place to place. If you can walk in stilettos and be fine, great! But my pick would be sneakers.

Top tip: don’t sweat it if you aren’t decked out in rainbows! Pride gear can be really empowering, and it’s a great way to feel at home in the community, but it’s important to consider who you’re supporting when you go shopping for Pride gear. I know that Target and other big corporations have a lot of accessible rainbow merch, but the money you’re giving them is going towards the corporation, not the LGBT community. If you still want to dress in rainbows, consider making your own Pride gear! You’ll have something that you can really tailor to your identity and comfort level, without the pressure of gendered clothing sections! And if you want to spend your money, there are tons of queer-owned businesses; try Tomboy X, Stuzo Clothing, or Wildfang!

What advice would you give to someone who’s figuring out who they are while experimenting with their personal style?

Wear what makes you feel good and powerful, no matter how that looks! I feel like we’re taught that people are supposed to have one consistent aesthetic past age 12, but it’s so much more fun to let yourself play with different colors and patterns and cuts.

A thing that really helped me develop my style was disconnecting clothes from gender. Challenge yourself to let go of the idea that heels and dresses are “women’s clothes” and pants and boots are “men’s clothes.” Your horizons will be so much broader when you do!

Favorite piece of clothing you own?

My favorite piece of clothing I own is my dancin’ rock t-shirt (otherwise known as the baby shirt)! It’s a white t-shirt with the words “THE MOIRE’S” on the front in neon pink, and a black and white baby face on the back with the words “DANCIN’ ROCK” underneath it in the same neon pink. I got it in a thrift shop in Seattle (along with a too-big leather jacket) when I was still figuring out my style. It started as a kind of gross t-shirt that never quite fit right, but when I got to college I cut it into a tank top. It looks really cool with a cute bralette in the summer, or over a long sleeved t-shirt in the winter! It’s been with me through a lot of changes and I feel that history every time I wear it. [END OF INTERVIEW]

A big thank you to Jess for taking the time to talk with me and share who they are with Emily’s Edge readers.

Talk to you soon!

-Emily Berrol

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My Favorite Jewelry Shops

If you’ve been following this blog for awhile, you’ll know that I’m a big accessory girl. Jewelry is one of my favorite things to invest in, and I have some staple pieces that I wear every single day and don’t take off. I think it’s only fitting that I share some of my favorite places to find rings, necklaces, earrings, bracelets… you name it!

Nina Segal Jewelry: If you love diamonds and stones, you should definitely check out this store and their Instagram page. It’s not the most affordable place ever because everything is made out of real materials, but it’s the perfect place if you’re looking to invest in a special piece for yourself or someone you know. This is always the first store I look at when I want to splurge on a new item for my collection.

Burro Goods: I love Burro because it has a mix of both designer and fashion jewelry. They have a lot of unique pieces that I’ve been able to find in store and not online, but they also have a big selection on their website with items from Chan Luu and Tai.

Tai Jewelry: If you’re looking for trendy jewelry with a great price tag, Tai is the shop to check out. I’ve been wearing their pieces for years now, and not only does it look beautiful, but it also lasts for years. All of their jewelry is either made of sterling silver or is gold plated, so it’s great quality. I have a lot of my earrings and necklaces from them.

Etsy: I love to go on Etsy and explore the different shops. You can honestly find whatever you’re looking for on the app and website most of the time. It’s also great because you support small businesses which is personally rewarding. The prices on items also tend to be better than other online retailers.

These are all places that I’ve personally shopped at and have found some of my everyday favorite accessories from. It’s hard finding trustworthy jewelry spots on the internet (especially when you’re looking at diamonds or raw stones) because you never know if the clarity and metal is going to be amazing. However, I can guarantee that these places are some of the best.

If you’re on a budget but are looking for something special to invest in, I’d also recommend looking at Mejuri and Stone and Strand. I haven’t gotten anything from either of these websites, so I can’t say that they’re my favorite shops, but I’ve heard good things about both. Additionally, the price points are extremely reasonable for items made of gold and diamonds.

Hope this helps some of you find your new favorite places for jewels!

Talk to you soon!

-Emily Berrol

Let’s Talk Self Care

Self care is incredibly important when it comes to maintaining a happy and healthy mindset and outlook. However, it’s not always easy to find and take the time to recenter yourself in a society that’s always moving and working. We all have off days, and sometimes a little bit of self care is what you need to pick you back up. I thought I would share my favorite ways to relax and have a positive perspective.

Atmosphere: Environment can play a big role in how you’re feeling about yourself and your life. Having a space where you can chill out and focus on your passions is essential. For me, I like decorating my room with beautiful, natural things, such as a Himalayan salt lamp, crystals, candles, and a floral smudge stick. They make my room look pretty, but they also remind me of nature, which I love since it’s so easy to get wrapped up in technology and materialism.

Words and Books: This blog is an obvious testament of my love for writing and the written word. The words you surround yourself with and the things that you say to yourself matter more than you realize. Quotes and poems are some of my favorite things to read when I need a self care moment. Additionally, I love writing about what I’m thankful for or how I’m feeling in a journal. It’s easy to feel confused or lost at times, but writing about what you love is always easy and a gift that keeps on giving.

Go Out: Do things that make you happy and make you feel the most like yourself. I’ve noticed that if I stay inside too much and don’t have anything planned, I can start overthinking. However, balance is key because you don’t want to do so much that you feel overwhelmed or burdened. Some of my recommendations of activities are going out to eat with friends and family and shopping. The best kinds of activities are ones where you can stay present and forget to check your phone.

Treat Yourself: Treating yourself doesn’t always mean spending a lot of money. It can be as simple as doing a face mask at home or catching up on your favorite TV shows. Spending time pampering yourself can give you the confidence boost you need.

It’s not always easy to find time to practice self care, but it is necessary and can improve how you feel, think, and see things. All of the items in the picture above are things I love, and if you want more self care ideas, I recommend buying “The Little Book of Self-Care.”

I hope you all enjoyed a little bit more of a lifestyle-based post. 🙂

Talk to you soon!

-Emily Berrol

Hello, Summer Hydration!

Hey guys!

Since summer is here and in full swing, I thought that making a post about my favorite hydrating products would be great. I have dry skin, so I love products that are super moisturizing and refreshing. Who’s ready to find some new products that they’ll love?!

Summer Fridays Jet Lag Mask: I got this mask awhile ago, and at first, I wasn’t completely sold that it was worth the hype. However, I’ve fallen in love with it as a nighttime moisturizer. It’s a super thick cream, and a little bit of it definitely goes a long way. It has a nice, minty smell and leaves your skin feeling super plump and fresh. I don’t use this as a face mask like the name suggests; rather, I let it soak into my skin and leave it on overnight!

Sugar Advanced Therapy Lip Treatment in Dream: With its pink tint and lemon scent, this lip balm is perfect for the summer. It’s really great quality and definitely feels hydrating when you apply it. I find that Fresh makes great skincare products, and this one is no exception.

Grace & Stella Rose Facial Spray Mist: I’m a big fan of my Mario Badescu rosewater spray, so when I received this is my latest FabFitFun box, I was excited to see how it compared. I honesty really like it and find that it’s super great to refresh your skin. Another thing that I like about it is that it doesn’t have any harsh perfume in its ingredients list, making it a little bit more clean and natural.

Ahava Hydration Cream Mask: I love this face mask so much! It really reminds me of the Origins Drink Up face mask; it has the same consistency, texture, and smell. My skin is automatically softer after I wash this product off, and I often reach for it when my skin is super dry and needs some extra moisture.

Glossier Solution: Although exfoliators might feel as if they make your skin more dry, they’re actually really helpful and essential for keeping your skin hydrated. They help your skin lock in moisture. My favorite is, of course, Glossier’s exfoliating solution.

Fresh Rose Floral Toner: This is another great product by Fresh that I like. I have the mini version of it, and I spray the product on a cotton round when I want some extra moisture for my skin. It’s awesome to use before you put on a moisturizing cream.

Of course, one of the very best ways to keep your skin and self hydrated is to drink a lot of water. But these products are also great additions for your summer beauty routine and are sure to keep you looking your best.

What are some of your favorite products for summer?

Talk to you soon!

-Emily Berrol

My Current Favorites – May 2019

Little picture of me and Caitie at Bad Suns!

Hello everyone!

How are all of you doing? I’ve missed you, and a lot of exciting things have been happening. I’m officially on summer break, and I graduate later this week (exciting times)! One thing that I’m excited for is posting more consistent content and having more time to dedicate to blogging.

With that being said, I feel like there’s a variety of things that I’ve been loving recently and want to share with all of you!

Glossier Vinylic Lip in Pony: When I placed my last Glossier order, I knew that I wanted to try out something from their Play brand. I’ve seen a lot of awesome things about this lipstick, and many people seem to love this shade. I was a bit skeptical about how this would look on me; I have pretty fair skin, and some nude shades don’t seem to look great. However, I have been loving this one and have worn it practically everyday since I bought it. The awesome thing about this product is that you can apply one layer for a lighter look or layer it, making it look great on every skin tone! Glossier wins over my heart, once again.

Jeffrey Campbell Lindsay Sandal in Nude Suede Champagne: These are my favorite heels I own for several reasons. First, they are gorgeous. I know that not everyone will be into the all-over rhinestone look, but they are so sparkly and extra, which I love. Also, because they have a velcro strap and a thick heel, they are seriously so comfortable. I spent hours in them for prom, and I’m even wearing them for graduation. They catch the light and they’re perfection in heel form.

Endless Nights Scrunchie in Pink from Free People: This is the cutest and prettiest little scrunchie! I’ve been wearing it a lot, and not only does it look great in your hair or on your wrist, but it also holds up your hair super well. Additionally, Free People has a 3 for $12 deal which is nice if you’re looking to grow your scrunchie collection.

Mystic Truth by Bad Suns: I don’t talk enough about music on here, but if you’ve been here for awhile, you know that my love for the band, Bad Suns, runs deep. They released their third album recently, and it’s been on repeat in my car, at my work, on my phone, etc. Last weekend, I saw them in concert for the fourth time and had the time of my life. Their music makes me super happy, and since they’re a local band, the music reminds me of home and California. Go give it a listen!

Atypical on Netflix: When it comes to t.v., I have to be really into a show or else I just won’t finish it. I started Atypical last week, and I’ve already finished its two seasons because it’s that good. I haven’t watched a show that I’ve enjoyed that much in awhile; it’s clever and funny while still exploring meaningful topics.

This is an extremely random list, but I hope all of you can find something new to check out! Enjoy your Sunday 🙂

Talk to you soon!

-Emily Berrol

The New York Diaries – Edition Four

The New York Diaries – Edition Four
A cute little pic of where I’ll be living for the next four years!

Hi everyone!

I am officially on spring break, which means it’s time to crank out a ton of new blog posts (yayyy)! However, before I start uploading more content, I need to give you guys my fourth edition of my New York diaries. And oh my gosh, how I miss New York already…

As you can see, the first full day in Manhattan was very rainy. However, as a California girl who rarely sees rain for herself, I didn’t mind it at all. I actually packed really light but made sure I packed the right kind of stuff. Honestly, I’m going to say it – I’m really proud that I didn’t overpack because I usually put so much extra stuff in my luggage that I end up never wearing on the trip.

The reason why I came back to New York was to see where I’ll be going to college in the fall and attend an event there. Oh my gosh, I had such a great time! As you can see, it was so beautiful and warm on campus that day. I’m so happy that I got to go back and see it. It was nice to just hang out for the day and enjoy being in the city I’m moving to.

I did a lot of shopping and walking around when I was there which was amazing. I love that you can pretty much walk anywhere you want to. It was really refreshing and lovely to just spend time in my favorite city and focus on my future for awhile…

It’s crazy to think that I’ll be moving here in a few months. I know I say that a lot, but it’s true. Sometimes I catch myself thinking “oh my gosh, this is my life?!”. I recently found a journal that I had written in a few months into 2017. One of the goals I had written down was to travel to New York. And here I am, two years later, getting ready to move there.

I’m glad I can share this journey will all of you. I have a lot of more posts coming your way very soon so stay on the lookout. 🙂

Talk to you so soon!

-Emily Berrol

Emily’s Edge Now Has Ads, and I’m Living

Hello everyone!

I have a very exciting blog post for you today! I’m super happy to announce that we now have ads on Emily’s Edge! I thought it would be fair for me to explain to you what these ads do and mean, because let’s be honest, even I didn’t know an hour ago.

Let me try and break down what I know, and hopefully answer a few questions along the way:

  1. I only get paid a little bit for every certain amount of views I receive. This means that every view I get counts/helps me out towards the large number I’m hoping to reach!
  2. I do not get to pick which advertisements are shown on my blog. One day there may be one for Glossier, and the next day it might be for Crocs. (I’m not actually sure what kinds of things will be advertised.)
  3. This blog has never been, and will never be, about making money. For me, Emily’s Edge is an outlet where I can share what I love most: fashion.

I’m so happy that I can finally introduce ads onto my website, but I want to thank you guys for always reading and coming back here! Without you, I wouldn’t be able to have this opportunity. 🙂

Talk to you soon!

-Emily Berrol