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The M Dash

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Why I Own One (Stolen) Black Tank

Sofia Rainaldi, M.M.’s Senior Project Manager for Creative, pens a love letter to one of our MMVP’s for February, the Giulia top.

By Sofia Rainaldi

Long sleeves, mock necks, tanks, and classic tees—we’ve got them all. Machine-washable and wrinkle-resistant, our knit underpinnings strike the perfect balance between thick-enough-to-hide-your-bra and slim-enough-to-tuck. That’s why we’re dubbing them our “MMVPs” for February—the first in a new series featuring our very favorite pieces. This week, Sofia Rainaldi, M.M.’s Senior Project Manager for Creative, boldly expresses her love for the Giulia top.

First of all, I didn’t acquire the top through magnanimous means. I stole it. From my own mother: the woman who raised me, fed me, taught me better. 

It was an admirable closet to steal from, at least—she has excellent style. She guides her purchases with the philosophy that clothes should be unique and personal enough never to go out of style. In her closet, simple T-shirts partner with full, embroidered skirts. Black cigarette pants pair with blouses with dramatic ruching. I’ve seen her wear the same top to a cocktail party, a board meeting, and a farm. If she’s approved a piece of clothing, the odds are that I’ll pay attention to it. In this case, I paid close enough attention to try it on myself, wear it to dinner, and then—whaddya know—onto the plane back to NYC. (I promptly sent her a replacement.)

If you’ve been an M.M. fan for a while, you’ve seen the Giulia, a sleeveless black knit. And maybe to you it remains just that: a slim-fit top on your screen. But not mine. Mine has come with me through hell and high water. Here’s why:

1.

It Stays Out Past Its Bedtime

It’s fitted but not tight; self-aware but not self-obsessed. It’s sleek enough to look polished, but the fit (the fit) is streamlined and easygoing. It quickly became my go-to “Is this a date? Who knows?” top. If you end up shutting down a restaurant on a Tuesday with someone who you swore preferred his own gender until he started holding hands with you in the corner booth, it’ll stay flattering through the evening. [Editor’s note: Mr. and Mrs. Rainaldi, he’s a nice boy, but will not be coming to Thanksgiving next year].

2.

It Drives Like a Maniac

My go-to travel outfit is the Foster pant, black boots, and the Giulia top, covered by a super-soft cashmere hoodie. I was thus attired when an out-of-nowhere blizzard caught up with my taxi on the way to catch a plane that couldn’t be missed. I spent the next two hours with white knuckles as the ice-veined, warm-hearted taxi driver did his best impression of an extra in the Fast & Furious franchise. When we screeched into the terminal, I’d seen my life flash before my eyes 85 times and there were nail marks in my palms. But I made my flight with three (count ’em, three!) minutes to spare, and the Giulia top still looked crisp and law abiding.


3.

It Can Meet the Parents

If you’re on the other side of a plane flight, it’ll still be crisp and law abiding. The last time I put this to the test, I had dinner with an old crush’s parents thirty minutes after stumbling off an eight-hour flight. Luckily, the Giulia absolutely refuses to wrinkle—perfect for walking the line of well-groomed functional adult and person who just slept with her head propped up on a plane window. Roll off the flight, dust yourself off, spray your face with rosewater, put on blush, and you’ll charm even the iciest of once-upon-an-in-laws.

4.

It’s a Team Player

I’ve tucked the Giulia into: black trousers, camel slacks, a mid-calf fitted skirt, jean shorts, hand-me-down corduroys from my father, Foster pants, my roommate’s amazing velvet culottes, and going-out jeans. I’ve worn it under: a hoodie, a blazer, an amazing embroidered bolero that used to be my grandmother’s, a knotted linen button-down, a parka, and a blue coat that makes me look like Cookie Monster’s fun cousin. I’ve paired it with: naps in Prospect Park, middle seats, corner booths, crowded subways, 2am taxis, mid-week concerts, artists’ studios in Sunset Park, New Jersey Transit, a pickup truck in Colorado, my best friend’s couch, a gym bag, the West Side Highway at sunset, Sunday dim sum, breweries, libraries, and the corner of 6th and Bleecker that feels increasingly like home.

For me, the Giulia is a reminder that we don’t need a lot of clothes, we just need the right ones. Mom, per usual, was right.


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