An Interview with Arielle McManus

Meet Arielle. There is no one as chic and as kind as Arielle. We met the morning of our first class at FIT, extravagant outfits we would trade for all black in a few months, and bonded instantly. Since then, we've worked fashion week hours together, tried trendy vegan brunch spots (and been honest with our disappointment) and I've even dyed her hair pink. Essentially, Arielle was the highlight of my time at FIT and it is a joy to watch her take over the fashion industry with grace and style. 

On reading:

It's so terrible but I'm currently going back and forth between four different books right now; I just can't commit! Erika (so graciously) gifted me Bluets by Maggie Nelson, and I tore through the first 50 or so pages at record speed, and now I feel terrible for not giving it the attention it needs. I want to savor the rest of it, because I don't want it to end. I also just finished Women by Chloe Caldwell, and immediately started her newest book, I'll Tell You in Person. I love all of her writing, and reading her work makes me think that in another life, I would be a writer, too. I'm going back and forth between You Don't Have to Like Me by Alida Nugent and Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay: two fantastic feminist manifestos by two awe-inspiring feminist icons. I have about ten other books in my apartment, waiting, begging, to be read, but I need to make sure I fully appreciate them all. I'm most excited for How Should a Person Be? by Sheila Heti, M Train by Patti Smith and Changing my Mind by Zadie Smith.

On how you spend your Saturday afternoons:

This may sounds so cliche, but I'm newly single, and I feel like it's time to start focusing on myself again. I have class on Saturday mornings (mathematical modeling for business applications - it's about as engaging as it sounds) in Chelsea, so I usually make my way down to Soho after for SLT class. I'm completely addicted; it's the best workout I've ever tried. I'll try to do a late lunch with a friend somewhere downtown after; I just recently tried Two Hands and the it totally lived up to the hype. I'll usually head home to Brooklyn after that and decompress for a bit before meeting up with friends at a local bar. A late afternoon Netflix and mini facial in bed perks me up and gets me ready for a night out.

On your go-to dinner party plans:

I'm such a planner and a perfectionist, my dinner party plans are really well-thought-out. I'm lucky enough to have a spacious living/dining area in my apartment (one of the benefits of Brooklyn living!) I make sure to have a lot of little things that my guests can munch on, with lots of baked goods - my maternal family is Swedish and I have an amazing collection of Swedish confectionery recipes. I aim for a party that's so perfect, that it seems effortless, when really I've spent hours pouring over every detail, like the string of fairy lights in a milk jug on the table or the cranberry scones from Dean and Deluca. I also love Sakaya for sake -  the people that work there are experts and I always ask for their recommendations; they never steer me wrong! I like my parties to feel small and intimate, allowing for a quiet scene where everyone gets together as a group instead of pairing off into separate conversations.

On your personal uniform:

I'm fortunate enough to work at Loeffler Randall, a shoe and handbag company known for its quirky, feminine, novelty designs. I have the freedom to dress however I'd like at work, even though I work in wholesales. My go-to look for work is a pair of high-waisted culottes with a cropped top. No midriff ends up showing, so it's an appropriate, flattering and on-trend look. Culottes are so under-rated too; they're insanely comfortable and make you look so put-together when they really take zero effort to style! I pair this with whatever pair of Loeffler Randall mid-heels I'm feeling the most that day; I have so many pairs since I've been there so long! My Saturday look is a bit different; since I go from a four-hour math class to the gym to lunch, I need something comfortable and athletic, yet cute. I go for a pair of workout tights with a tee and sneakers and top it off with my favorite black faux fur coat. It's comfortable and takes me through all of my Saturday plans perfectly. Whether I'm at school (I go to the Fashion Institute), work or out with friends, I'm never "dressed down", but my hair and makeup are always super low-key.

On what speaks to you:

I try to do something new every weekend, whether it's a visit to a new museum exhibition, an art class, a poetry reading, or a new brunch spot. Spending some time surrounded by like-minded people is so valuable to me, as is trying new things. It's so easy to get comfortable in life and to settle into a routine, but when we're the most comfortable, we aren't learning! I also like a walk through the Brooklyn Botanical Garden by myself for some alone time. I feel so serene and calm when I'm there, which is something I don't normally feel, and being there helps me to get some perspective on whatever is going on in my life. It helps to re-set my mind; after I leave I feel like a new person, as if I was able to exhale all of my stress and leave it behind.

While I've been trying to save up money to travel (I'm going to Paris this April and trying to make a trip to Tokyo happen soon!), I still believe in spending a little money on non-essentials every once in a while, whether it's a nice candle or a little tsotchke for my room. I think it's important to spend a little money on yourself, especially when you've been working hard or been going through a rough patch, because you deserve it.

It's the small things in life that speak to me, because they all add up to such a satisfying life.