Fashion faceoff: Joan Didion vs. Harper Lee.
Ladypockets is a brilliant new blog that can only be described as a cross between Instyle and C-Span. Sounds funny, right? It totally is! But it’ll make you think big thoughts, like why do we care so much what Hillary Clinton wears when she’s doing so much important work? And where did Ruth Bader Ginsburg find that perfect double-breasted blazer (but seriously, I would wear/want to own ASAP)?
There’s an old saying that goes, “Behind every great blog is a great woman.” (That’s how it goes, right?) So Katherine Fritz, the writer/genius behind Ladypockets, took a break from photoshopping magazine spreads and tracking down Sandra Day O’Connor’s turquoise blazer to fill us on how the whole project started.
MTV STYLE: Where and when did the idea for Ladypockets first pop into your head?
KATHERINE FRITZ: Ladypockets was an idea I had after reading an article—I think maybe on Buzzfeed—that compared Jennifer Lawrence’s Oscar dress to a tampon. I had just seen American Hustle and thought her performance was great, and I had this moment of incredible frustration that I had clicked through, like, sixteen articles mocking her Oscar dress, none of which were saying anything along the lines of “Just a reminder: This woman won two Academy Awards by the age of twenty-two,” or “Hey, this is the top-grossing female action movie hero of all time; remember when a female action star both shattered box office records and passed the Bechdel test?”
I hope that in some small way, this project can make us step back from our magazines and computer screens and say, “Wow, yeah, the way we talk about women’s bodies and women’s clothing choices instead of their accomplishments is really dumb.”
Ruth Bader Ginsburg knows her way around statement glasses.
Why the name “Ladypockets”?
I wanted something that sounded sort of cute and whimsical and silly but also sounded a little like a euphemism for a vagina. There are a shocking number of fashion sites out there with words like “sugar” or “sprinkle” or “cupcake” in the title. “Ladysprinkles” was already taken. Thank god.
Are there any fashion magazines or blogs out there that you enjoy?
Well, I’m a costume designer, so I find myself doing research from time to time. It’s funny, I spend a lot of my time making other people look good for a living, so it sometimes can feel like a lot of effort to make yourself look good or want to spend any more time than I have to thinking about fashion!
I subscribed to Vogue when I first moved to Philadelphia, but it started to feel really icky after awhile. I had a hard time finding pleasure in looking at these gorgeous, evocative images—they’re art, yes, but also they’re advertisements, they’re consumerism—when I was living in a city with such a huge homelessness problem, when I was working my first job but I was very cash-poor, paying down a huge student loan debt, dealing with the financial crisis.
How do you feel about all of these young actress who are suddenly proclaiming that they’re not feminists?
I think they’re young. I hope they’ll change their minds. I said a lot of stupid stuff when I was young, too. What’s that Caitlin Moran quote? “a) Do you have a vagina? and b) Do you want to be in charge of it? If you said ’yes’ to both, then congratulations! You’re a feminist.”
Joyce Carol Oates, Sandra Day O’Connor, and Sonia Sotomayor are very on-trend this season.
There’s an (obviously antiquated!) notion that smart girls can’t love fashion. What do you think about that?
There’s also an old notion that girls are bad at math and science and should be in the kitchen making sandwiches. We’re constantly re-examining and re-writing the ideas of “what a woman should be,” and increasingly landing on the conclusion “whatever it is that she wants to be.” Want to be a kickass lady scientist or politician or businesswoman and change the world? Awesome. Want to stay at home and raise amazing children? Awesome. Think it should be possible to do both? Any combination of those things? Awesome. Those are all your choices. You get to choose. Do you like the idea that women should have those choices? Congratulations! You’re a feminist. So, yeah. I choose to be a smart girl who loves fashion. Boom. Done. Next.
How long does it take to make each post (or AWESOME WORK OF ART, rather!) from start to finish?
It depends on the complexity. The “Who Wore It Best” posts are a little quicker because I’m not generating text or trying to find actual clothing pieces. I’d say about three or four hours for the more detailed ones. I was surprised to discover that it’s harder than it looks—I spent easily three hours trying to find a necklace that resembled Jane Goodall’s and had to step back and go for a walk because, you know, spending three hours trying to google “Jane Goodall statement necklace” is maybe a little insane.
What are you hoping to accomplish—other than A+ photoshop skills—with this site?
I hope I can make someone laugh. I think it’s funny, and I hope others do too. That’s the first hope. The second is that maybe it will impact, even the tiniest bit, the way we consume media. If just one person looks at Ladypockets and then reads the language in a fashion magazine a little more critically the next time they see one, that would be incredible.
The third hope is that maybe it’ll be a learning opportunity to discover more influential women and read their stories. It’s been really fun, doing the research on these women, women I didn’t know about before I started this project. My friends started suggesting women to feature. I hadn’t heard of Julia Gillard before. Mary Beard is on the list to feature soon, and I never would have come across “Britain’s best-known classicist.” My mother sent me an entire list of women this morning. I can’t wait to do the research.