What is The Cereal Aisle?

A windy newsletter by Leandra Medine Cohen about how to get dressed and become a person in the world.

What do I get?

A free post on Tuesdays — usually an outfit idea or style tip, sometimes an essay about fashion or style or trying to be a person in the world.

If you’re a paying subscriber, you’ll also receive:

+Access to the monthly Open Thread, an informal and somewhat personalized discussion of how to get dressed

+An invitation to join us on Geneva, which is basically like an epic group text. It hosts the occasional Office Hours (like a Zoom call, but for socializing) and our book club (a chatroom for talking about books, articles, TV shows, and movies) among other rooms.

Why “The Cereal Aisle”?

The internet is like a supermarket. We’re all here for different reasons, to get different things even though we can agree that if we’re not hungry now, eventually, we will be. And that’s what brought us here in the first place! It’s the thing we have in common. So you’re trying to find frozen shrimp and she’s looking for potato chips, maybe today I want anchovy paste and we’re all barreling through these aisles looking for what we came to get.

Some of us are pleasantly distracted by the unfamiliar aisles, discovering new proclivities we may not have known we carried, activating new interests, shedding old ones, even. Others among us might become frustrated because where the fuck is the thing I’m here for? It’s been ages and I’m starving.

The problem is, this supermarket is super poorly organized. The people who architected it had no idea that so many of us were going to come here at the same time for so many different reasons and then just like, not leave. Ever.

I can see how being here and never leaving and still not finding what you’re looking for could get very frustrating. The Cereal Aisle is an earnest attempt to deliver exactly one kernel of corn pop (clarity) within the vast, murky market that is life online.

An attempt to make clearer what you will and won’t get from here: lots of different kinds of cereal — the healthy kind, the junky kind, the kind that’s good with milk, the kind that’s better in ice cream but fundamentally, indiscriminately, sincerely and in good faith, always still cereal.

About me:

I am pretty optimistic, believe in the basic good of humankind but not at the expense of looking into the various circumstances that corrode our respective capacities to see the humanity in each other (and ourselves). I’m from New York, still live in New York, and arrogantly want to say that I will probably die in New York but know better now than to speak on the future with so much conviction. It undermines a basic principle of what it’s like to be alive. Shit changes, you know?

I went to an orthodox Jewish day school, which I bring up because of the delayed extent to which I am realizing this has shaped me. My parents are immigrants from two different parts of the Middle East, both of whom grew into American identities within the same time frame that my 3 brothers and I did.

I wrote an arrogant and shallow memoir when I was 22 (22!), got married when I was 23 (23!), and founded and ran a small but very influential media company for ten years from 2010, when I was 21, to 2020, when I was 31.

It is my belief that getting dressed is an important form of self-expression — that what you choose to wear is among the first decisions you make in a day on how you’ll present yourself. It is also my belief that earning confidence in your closet is as simple (not easy) as learning what you like, taking note of how you feel when you’re getting dressed (and understanding when the feeling is “good”), and finding an overlap on the Venn diagram between what you like and when you feel good.

I care a lot about connecting with the willing participants of my audience. I do this two ways: (1) by sharing my own experience with the express intention of trying to relate and (2) by trying to entertain you, mostly through pictures, the written word, and sometimes video.

The headlining fact about me though, is that I’m fucking obsessed with my kids. I was going to write that everything I do is for them but that’s not really true.

What I do is for me, and that is for them.

So, welcome to The Cereal Aisle.