Jennie Edgar – dāl the label

Jennie Edgar Shares Her Nourishing Elixir For Slow Fashion, Reading And Motherhood

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May’s interview honors both our latest Muse and the celebration of Mother’s Day. Jennie Edgar is a herbalist, women’s fertility specialist and founder of So Textual - an online community she has created to embrace her deliberately relaxed approach to daily life. Currently expecting her second child, she speaks with us today to divulge a love affair with conscious reading and slow fashion, alongside thoughtful advice for fellow moms this Mother’s Day.

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What steps do you take to decelerate and simplify your life?

It's very important to me to start my day quietly. I wake early, around 5am and before anyone else in my household, to drink my tea and write my daily to-do list. I have a home studio / office space, and it is very much a sanctuary for me with my books, my notebooks, my meditation mats, and a dimmable lamp to keep things very peaceful and cozy. This time is essential to starting my day feeling balanced. Anyone with kids knows that they bring their full energy first thing in the morning! Before the joyous chaos of little feet running around the house, I make sure I have this time to myself.

Other rituals that help me to feel grounded are Kundalini yoga and going for walks. In the hustle and bustle of life, it's important to remember that an afternoon walk is actually luxury. It helps my brain to reset after a few hours of work on my computer. There's a circuitous route by my house that takes about an hour and has stunning views of the Catskills; I intentionally connect with nature and keep my eyes focused into the distance. A good walk is incredibly nourishing.

What inspired you to curate a slow reading community, and what have been your favorite reads as of late?

I created So Textual so that I could grow a community that enjoyed the same books and literary culture that I love. I wanted to find others who cherish literary fiction and feel strongly that books are resources, that fiction can change a life. I live in Upstate New York, and especially during the pandemic I felt quite isolated from others; in 2020 I was looking for people who shared a certain aesthetic sensibility for language, story, and meaning. And so I started to imagine what an online slow reading community could look like. I'm still imagining new ways of convening over books, but right now our Book Club is incredibly robust, and we're about to launch a newsletter with the info, inspo, and resources I think are invaluable for a reading practice.

Lately, my favorite reads have been Ex-Wife by Ursula Parrot, Voyage in the Dark by Jean Rhys, All Things Are Too Small by Becca Rothfeld, and Art Monsters by Lauren Elkin. I'm also excited about Elisa Gabbert's upcoming book of essays, Any Person is the Only Self, out in June. She is an exceptionally talented writer with a generous spirit. We collaborated on a So Textual dinner event together in the East Village last year that was so much fun.

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Tell us one book everyone should read, and why.

I am always reluctant to recommend Bluets by Maggie Nelson because I assume it's cliche and that everyone's read it. But the risk is too great not to mention it here. Bluets is a gem, and if it finds you in the right moment of your life, it can have a profound impact. I think what's most special is that you witness the ways academic, artistic, and literary references become signposts in a person's meaning-making process. Maggie Nelson is constantly looking through books, art, and culture as a lens that illuminates her own subjective, mundane, everyday (and at the same time, remarkable) experiences. It's also a love story.

What is your relationship with fashion currently? How have you navigated daily wear throughout pregnancy?

I really appreciate this question, because I think my relationship with fashion has felt very tiresome and uninspired. I am quite fastidious about making sure my clothes are made of natural materials, independently designed, sustainably made (preferably in the US) and also feel great when I wear them. Unfortunately, these standards rule out a lot of options. But I also think we're witnessing an incredible period of independent and eponymous (often female) designers creating the most beautiful, heirloom-quality garments.

Throughout my pregnancy, I haven't acquired many new pieces (except for lounge pants) because most maternity wear is poor quality, made of polyester, and quite expensive. Instead, I've been creative with what I do have. So my Spring attire has involved a lot of flowy dresses with cardigans, or button down shirts and slacks with elastic waistbands. I think versatility in a wardrobe is so important. Even though I'm 8 months pregnant, I still feel like myself in my clothes.

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Share 3 style staples you couldn't live without.

High-rise black denim, a white button down made of linen or poplin cotton, and a simple but lovely bias cut cami dress—preferably silk!

What closet pieces do you wish to pass down to your children?

I have a few Hermes scarves that I handle and wear like artwork. The patterns and designs are just incredibly beautiful. I'm reminded of how I used to try on my grandmother's silk scarves when I was a little girl, and I think these sensory experiences are so special; they're a kind of imprinting, in a way.

You’re currently awaiting the arrival of your second child, can you offer any words of wisdom for expectant first-time moms this Mother’s Day?

This is currently my favorite topic, as I was a doula, childbirth educator, and herbalist when I lived in Boston circa 2015, and I'm now transitioning back to this work after my own experiences with secondary infertility—more specifically as a women's fertility and health coach. I'm back in school to certify as a health coach and clinical herbalist, as well as to become a nurse practitioner in family medicine. Regarding the process of labor, I encourage all women to examine their relationship to pain—the fear of it, the discomfort of it, and how they might find resources to approach the painful process of labor without fear. There's a great book called Mindful Birthing by Nancy Bardacke. It reminds us that we choose to do painful things all the time (we run marathons, pierce our ears, get tattoos, endure deep tissue massage, etc) and provides very practical and helpful reframing practices to support women through their finite number of contractions.

More generally, I'd love to encourage expectant first-time moms to call upon their support systems during the postpartum period, so that they can truly rest and heal their bodies. Even though I was a childbirth educator, I felt unprepared for postpartum recovery with my son because it's not something we talk about. The healing process will take longer than you think, so be gentle with yourself and allow (or kindly ask) others to be helpful during this time.

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What slow fashion legacy will you leave?

The passing down of wardrobe pieces from parent to child is a rite of passage, rooted in both sentimentality and sustainability. It teaches us to preserve and care for our most loved garments, so they can find new life in the next generation, and perhaps even the ones that follow. It gifts children a connection to the past, a value that is truly priceless, both emotionally and stylistically.

This Mother’s Day, dāl encourages you to view your closet with both a present and a future. What steps can you take to create a capsule that will tell endless style stories?

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This Mother’s Day, dāl encourages you to view your closet with both a present and a future. What steps can you take to create a capsule that will tell endless style stories?

shop jennie's edit

Smocked Cupro Midi Dress - dāl the label-Black
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Smocked Cupro Midi Dress

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$225.00
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Monogram Silk Scarf - dāl the label-Crème

Monogram Silk Scarf

$185.00