Kelsey Lawrence, 25, likes to look good. And like most, she dresses to suit that goal. But she’s not always entirely successful—at least according to her soon-to-be ex-boyfriend, Luke, whom she’s dated for two years. The duo, who live in Austin, Texas, but are planning to move to different parts of the U.S. (L.A. for him, New York for her), recently got into a playful spat about some of her wardrobe choices—the stylishness of a favourite pair of short black shorts became contentious—and the argument morphed into a social experiment of sorts.
The writer called her BF on his grasp of women’s fashion and challenged him to dress her for a week. His only directive: choose outfits that he thought made her look attractive. (Lawrence detailed the entire experience in a recent xojane column, where you can see all the outfits her boyfriend chose.)
Lawrence talks to Flare.com about what she learned from playing paper doll to her almost-ex—and why breakups don’t always have to be sad.
How did you feel wearing the clothes your boyfriend picked for you versus the clothes you wear on your own? It was funny to me that he picked out a lot of things that I just don’t wear anymore. It made me realize that right now I wear a lot of darker colours… I tend to not really play with patterns that much and wear darker basics, so it reminded me to have fun with things. I do love having fun with clothes and fashion, but lately I hadn’t really been.
The clothes he chose gave me the impression that he was having a lot of fun creating this crazy-cool-chick persona for you. That’s a very good read on it. At first I felt like he was picking out the most absurd things [on purpose] and I said, ‘It’s what you find me attractive in, not what’s going to crack you up the hardest!’ A lot of the outfits were selected with a bit of humour. But that’s him and that’s how he dresses, and I don’t mean that in a critical way at all. He has fun with dressing.
That’s funny. So in a way he was creating a female him. I hadn’t thought about that, but in a way I was kind of like the female Luke for a week.
There is a tinge of sadness to the story because it seems like you have so much fun together and yet you start the piece by saying that you’re going to end the relationship. I think that was one of the things that resonated the most with people in some ways, which I really didn’t anticipate, although it makes sense in retrospect because it’s like sometimes in life there’s not this black-and-white path for a relationship, especially when you’re younger…We’re both writers. He’s moving to L.A. to be closer to his family—that’s where he grew up. And I’m eventually going to be moving to New York. We decided that it’s probably not smart to have a long-distance relationship, even though we are best friends.
Is there anything you want to say to all the readers of your essay (like me) who feel sad that you’re breaking up? Are we feeling more pain than we should about this? Oh, man, no. I feel like I run the emotional spectrum on a daily basis. I’m really happy that it resonated with so many people actually because it’s something that I have on my mind a lot, especially as a young person. You’re always trying to balance career vs. relationship, and sometimes it’s just not this clear-cut path. In other words, not all breakups have to be bad. We really love and care for each other but this is just something that’s right for us at this time.
Who’s your style inspiration? I’ve always been a lifelong fan of Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen. I really admire their style and their fashion label. I’d say they were kind of the first people to influence me style-wise. Also Rihanna. I think Rihanna is a badass, and she always inspires me. And teenagers on Tumblr; I’m always inspired by them.