What to Wear in the Hottest and Muggiest Weather Ever – How Brandi Carlile Overcame Impostor Syndrome

Again the actual edition of the TextileFuture Newsletter will be dominated by two features.

The first one lets you know “What to Wear in the Hottest and Muggiest Weather Ever” and it is again “priceless” and destined for ladies, however a gentleman can always make the choice of a gift!

The second item offers a lection by someone prominent and shows how to overcome a specific health problem. It is entitled “How Brandi Carlile Overcame Impostor Syndrome”. It reflects what a person can do to overcome a difficult situation through willpower.

Here starts the first item:

What to Wear in the Hottest and Muggiest Weather Ever

Sweat-wicking but chic? It’s not impossible. Companies are adjusting to the late-summer heat by making clothing for the times we live in.

By guest author Danielle Braff from the Wall Street Magazine

All captions courtesy by the Wall Street Magazine

After battling the heat in Phoenix all summer, Jill Schildhouse, a 44-year-old freelance journalist, made a decision to give up on nearly all of her nice dresses and almost every garment made from fabrics that weren’t breathable. To the back of the closet went the polyester, the rayon and the denim. They were replaced by activewear with spandex. “I am less concerned about getting one of those outfits all sweaty, versus a nice dress or other garment made from less breathable fabrics,” Schildhouse says.

As temperatures around the world climb and lots of offices are staying closed due to the ongoing pandemic, cooler dressing has become more popular. Clothes that don’t make you break out in a sweat are quickly becoming an important part of daily uniforms. Designers are meeting that demand, creating everything from dresses to blouses with sweat-wicking in mind.

In a three-month period over this spring and summer, there’s been a 19 percent year-over-year increase in new sweat-wicking activewear arriving at fast-fashion brands’ online sites, according to Edited, a retail market intelligence platform. Shorts had the highest sell-through rate in the bottoms category in the U.S. this spring and summer, and cycling shorts continue to be a coveted item for sports and leisure, says Kayla Marci, a Melbourne-based market analyst for Edited. 

Aday, the New York City- and L.A.-based company known for its capsule wardrobe collections, has also seen the trend. “We focused on a problem that’s universal and no secret: Summer gets hot,” Nina Faulhaber, the co-CEO and co-founder of Aday says. The company’s site emphasizes that their clothing is wrinkle-resistant, durable and breathable.

The brand’s summer-inspired clothing is made from cool weave (a lightweight fabric made from more than 50 % recycled materials) intended to keep you cooler than other performance fabrics. The clothing is also sweat-wicking and quick-drying and offers UV protection.

Aday’s top-selling products have historically been the Something Borrowed Shirt  (USD 145) and the Easy Days Pants (USD 155), both of which use technical fabrics including elastane and polyester. In July, Aday says it saw record revenues due to two temperature-informed decisions. It launched its Soft Serve Capsule, a five-piece collection that promises to dry off quickly and keep you cool. Its best-selling Something Borrowed Shirt also got revamped into a loose-fitting shirtdress.

Like those at Aday, the dresses from HVN are courting customers who want to dress up and not melt down. HVN’s line focuses primarily on dresses, and it’s known for its 100 percent silk dresses (USD 595). Recently, the company says it’s had a big uptick in sales of its breathable stretch cotton dresses (USD 495).

“The great thing about these cotton dresses is that you can run around in them all day with sandals or sneakers, no matter the weather—but they can be elevated in the evening with a block sandal or heel,” says Harley Viera-Newton, the owner and creative director of the Los Angeles-based line HVN. 

While outerwear may be snagging most of the attention, underwear has also undergone a transition. Performance underwear has shifted over the past few years into comfort first, with companies using fabrics that are sweat-wicking and hypoallergenic. 

Live The Process, a fashion brand that launched eight years ago, has attempted to marry the need for lightweight clothing and stylish design. “How can you create a collection that is both functional, meaning ‘meant to work out in and sweat-wicking,’ but chic enough to wear on the streets?” asked Robyn Berkley, the co-founder of the New York City company. 

She helped create an activewear collection that’s designed to be layered so consumers can go to the gym and then continue on to their day without changing. The Orion Bra (USD 88) and Orion Short (USD 128) are among the company’s bestsellers. They are made from Supplex and Lycra, have four-way stretch and sweat wicking. Live The Process recently added knitwear to its collections to accent the activewear. 

Berkley suggests wearing shorts or pants over a bodysuit plus a cardigan to create the ideal outfit for any place or temperature.

Marguerite Wade, the founder and designer of Full Court Sport, an athletic-apparel company in New York City, says consumers have become more interested in what fabrics can do and not just how they look. She mentions moisture wicking and sun blocking as two of those chief concerns. “What was once limited to a very niche market has become available from high fashion to mass market, and people are here for it,” Wade says.

Companies are now making underwear that incorporates natural fibers like bamboo, which pulls sweat away from your body. Many consumers think of athletic wear when they hear the term sweat-wicking, but it’s become more common for every type of fabric and every style of clothing, says Mary Young, the CEO and designer of Mary Young, based in Toronto.

“We no longer make excuses for wearing uncomfortable clothing because it’s stylish or because we can’t find alternative options,” Young says.

A Chiller Wardrobe

A selection of fashionable wardrobe additions to make sure you keep things cool in the warmer months ahead

www.wsj.com

Here starts the second feature:

How Brandi Carlile overcame Impostor Syndrome

The Grammy-winning artist on moving past rejection and self-sabotage to the bird’s-eye view that allowed her to write her confessional new album: “At least once in an artist’s career they really have to fully lay it out there.”

By guest author Alan Light from the Wall Street Magazine

All captions courtesy by the Wall Street Magazine

Before returning to the spotlight last month to play her first live show in front of a full-capacity audience since the pandemic began, Brandi Carlile needed to prepare herself. So she drove her RV from her home in rural Washington State to the KettleHouse Amphitheater in Bonner, Montana.

“I got to the venue the night before, because I wanted some alone time with the stage,” she says. “I slept there and woke up there, and me and the kids went out and sat in the seats and then I watched them roll down the hill. It was this kind of soft re-entry for me, so I could get my feet back under me—it wasn’t like catapulting back into New York City or something.”

A few weeks later, though, that’s exactly where Carlile found herself, having made it to the big city for a performance at Forest Hills Stadium (“the first time I’ve played anywhere with ‘stadium’ in the name,” she said from the stage) and for a series of television appearances to promote “Right on Time,” the first single from her new album, In These Silent Days, which will be released on October 1.

Along with her wife, Catherine Shepherd, and their two daughters, she was staying at a friend-of-a-friend’s townhouse in Tribeca. The morning before the concert, Carlile was still in camera-ready makeup following a TV appearance as she sat down at the kitchen table and spoke about what it meant to sing for an audience again.

“I first got onstage when I was 8 years old,” she says, “and then never didn’t get onstage for a month since then. There has never been any time in my life when I wasn’t performing for people, and it is in no way a cliché or hyperbole to say it is who I am.”

Since the release of her 2018 breakthrough, By the Way, I Forgive You—which won three Grammy Awards—Carlile has been creating at a staggering pace. She assembled an all-female all-star country group called the Highwomen, co-produced a comeback album by country legend Tanya Tucker and collaborated with an eclectic roster of musicians including Alicia Keys and Soundgarden. She created the Girls Just Wanna Weekend music festival and, during lockdown, performed regular livestream concerts from home so that she could keep her crew on payroll.

She’s also gotten close to some of her heroes, including Joni Mitchell; she performed Mitchell’s revered Blue album in its entirety in a 2019 Los Angeles concert, which she will reprise at Carnegie Hall on November 6, and has curated an ongoing series of private jam sessions at Mitchell’s house. She’s become a leading voice in the LGBTQIA+ community, and her Looking Out Foundation has raised over $2 million for various grass-roots causes. In her downtime, she wrote the acclaimed memoir Broken Horses, which was recently a No. 1 bestseller.

“Brandi Carlile is an artist’s artist,” Elton John, a childhood idol who’s become a friend, wrote via email. “I first heard her 18 years ago, and I’ve watched her grow. To me, she’s one of the best writers and live performers right now. Her voice is magical and inspiring.”  

Carlile knows that, despite her accomplishments, her breakneck approach wasn’t necessarily a healthy or sustainable career strategy. “I was not headed for a good outcome,” she says. “I was about to crash and burn. I was headed back into destruction for sure, and didn’t see it coming.

“The term impostor syndrome makes sense to me,” she continues, “and just feeling like if I didn’t say yes to everything, eventually everyone was going to find out how unqualified I am to be in the position I’m in. I’m going to stop getting invited, and I’m going back to the bars if I don’t show up for everybody’s thing. I was getting really tired and empty.”

Broken Horses—which she wrote without a co-author, despite her apprehensions about her lack of formal education and a learning disability—gave Carlile a new path forward. “The book gave me such perspective and broadened my horizons,” she says. “It also did things for me emotionally, showed me the steps of how I got to where I am and put me in touch with my gratitude. It was a big life moment, the perfect thing to do right before turning 40.” 

The success of the memoir, which recounts her triumph over challenges including her itinerant, impoverished childhood and the tensions between her ambitions and her attraction to self-sabotage, was gratifying. “I felt like I had gotten my high school diploma when I got No. 1,” she says. “I stopped having the dreams that I was back in school trying to catch up and I got no pants on and the whole thing—I haven’t had one since.”

Perhaps even more satisfying was the reaction Carlile got to her story from readers who identified with her journey. “But the surprising stuff that came from it were the things that I thought made me unique and didn’t, in fact,” she says. “The concept of being rejected, being queer but still needing my faith—so many gay people came to me and admitted that, and I don’t know that we LGBTQIA people have been allowed to be honest about how much of that we still want to hold on to. Faith is so much more sacred to the people that have had to fight for it, not just have it awarded based on some birthright.”

The experience of and lessons from writing Broken Horses led Carlile directly to In These Silent Days. “From that well sprung forth the songs, and it was really awesome—it was easy,” she says. “With every song, I knew what I wanted to say because I had this new bird’s-eye view that I didn’t have before. Before, I was kind of discovering the song as I was writing it, but once the book was finished, it was like, ‘I want to write a song about this’ and it would just come out.”

Dave Cobb, who co-produced both the new album and By the Way, says that Carlile entered Nashville’s historic RCA Studio A with a different attitude this time. “She came in very confident,” he says, “very secure in who she is as a person and in her abilities.” Cobb, a six-time Grammy winner himself, adds that her singing had advanced, too. On this record, “she’s got more control. She keeps growing and hitting these incredible notes without having to work for it; she’s so naturally gifted.”

It led her songwriting into new territory, more personal and confessional than the character studies that defined much of her earlier work. Tracks like “You and Me on the Rock” and “Throwing Good After Bad” explore the struggle for happiness she has found in her family. “I think every artist has to reach a point in their career where they take a really sharp detour away from observation and more into a self-revelation,” she says.

Carlile credits her friendship with Joni Mitchell, and her study of the incomparable songwriter’s work (she recently wrote liner notes for a Mitchell box set), with helping inspire this direction. “Joni often recounts a dream that she had where she’s in a room with an audience, and her skin is made of clear cellophane and all of her organs are exposed,” she says. “You can see everything inside of her body—she’s more than naked, she’s utterly translucent. That basically says everything that needs to be said about Blue.

“But it sets a standard, too, for at least once in an artist’s career they really have to fully lay it out there. The book was the high dive on that for me, and the album is the follow-up.”

Cobb points to a song called “Mama Werewolf”—in which she expresses parental fears like “If my good intentions go running wild/If I cause you pain, my own sweet child”—as a kind of summary statement for In These Silent Days. “The lyrics are a beautiful image of who she is,” he says. “She’s tough, she’s strong, and she’s also sensitive and caring and supportive, and you hear all of that.”

The impact of her evolution was immediately apparent when she played “Right on Time” at Forest Hills. The song, released just two days earlier (with a music video directed by Courteney Cox), hit like a big rock anthem, an instant crowd favorite—complete with multiple belts of a showstopping high note.

“When I went into the studio to continue the experience of By the Way, I Forgive You, I think somewhere in the back of my mind I also intended to continue the music,” she says.  “But then I got there and felt way more dramatic—vocally dramatic, musically dramatic, like I needed more catharsis than I needed before. So I just went in there and lost my mind, sang my face off, didn’t hold anything back musically or vocally.”

And as her sound went from sepia-toned to Technicolor, her styling followed; Carlile’s clean-scrubbed cowgirl look has given way to slim tailored suits and a slicked-back, David Bowie–esque haircut. 

“I want to approach this next few years of my life a little more flamboyantly,” she says. “I want to be just a little more glamorous and eccentric and androgynous. I want to be in a fishing vest in my Wellies, but I also really want to hang out with Elton John and wear sequins head to toe.”

www.wsj.com

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