Gracie Wiener is Caught Red-Handed
Gracie on Dr. Scholls, summer reading, sunblock, etc.
By Emma Sharpe
Caught Red-Handed is a monthly interview series that begs the questions: What do cool people actually consume? What are their digital vices and indulgences?
Welcome back to Caught Red-Handed! Our guest for this month’s Heatwave issue spent last summer single-handedly molding coastal culture with the creation of the ironic boat & tote bag. Any personal motto, catchphrase, or niche pop culture reference was suddenly emblazoned on the humble L.L. Bean Tote Bag, elevating the forgotten garb from granola mom-core to a Central Park staple.
The fashion icon in question is Gracie Wiener, a popular TikTok creator and the social media manager of Air Mail, the latest media venture from Vanity Fair’s Graydon Carter. Gracie was kind enough to give me a call during her summer vacation to discuss everything from her unexpected beach reads to her brilliant idea for the future of friendship bracelets.
Emma: If you could have similar style influence as you did last summer, only this time you had the power to resurrect a fad from the past (e.g. gauchos, eyebrow rings, etc.), what would you pick?
Gracie: That’s a difficult question because we’re in such an “everything goes” kind of place in fashion right now, especially with the whims of TikTok.
I wish I could bring back Dr. Scholl’s wooden sandals in a way that wouldn’t hurt everyone’s feet. I especially like the old painted ones, but every time I wear mine I lose half the skin from my feet.
I also have an obsession with weird jewelry. This is taking it way, way back, but in the Victorian era they would make jewelry out of people’s hair. I think it would be so cool to bring that back into style – like making personalized friendship bracelets with your hair.
Emma: Similarly, if you got to choose the official drink of the summer (cocktail or mocktail), what would be on the menu?
Gracie: When I go out to get drinks, I like to sit outside somewhere and order an espresso spritz, which is just a shot of espresso with sparkling water and an orange wedge. There’s so many different ways you can customize it – you could use tonic water or add bitters. It’s the most refreshing, chilled thing ever and I cannot recommend it enough.
Emma: Let’s talk about dining, specifically some of the most cursed brunch spots in the city. Fuck, Marry, Kill: The Smith, The Butcher’s Daughter, Sadelle’s.
Gracie: I have to say I really like the Butcher’s Daughter. That’s my marry, because you’re marrying into a lineage. You get to be the butcher’s daughter-in-law. The Smith, I mean, they have everything, it’s like our version of TGI Fridays. They’re just dependable, like, that’s your fuck buddy. You know what you’re getting and it’s gonna be a good time. I’d kill Sadelle’s. I’m old school, so if I’m getting Jewish deli food I’m going to Katz or Barney Greengrass.
Emma: You’re popular on TikTok, known for your fashion content and beautifully curated outfits. Is there a piece in your wardrobe that your followers would be surprised to learn skews more Marshall’s than Moschino?
Gracie: Oh my gosh, yeah. My favorite pair of jeans are my dad’s Levi’s that are older than I am. They’re probably 30 years old and are so comfy.
When it comes to designer stuff I love a deal, but I also like finding good quality pieces for less – my favorite t-shirts are from Uniqlo and the GAP.
Emma: Is there a TikTok-hyped product or aesthetic trend (e.g. Vanilla Girl, cottagecore, etc.) that you’ll cop to being genuinely influenced by?
Gracie: There’s a lot that I admire on TikTok, so there are many times that I forcibly have to stop myself from participating because I’m like, “I will spend all my money and I know this won’t look good on me and I don’t want to wear what everyone else is wearing.”
I definitely got the Margiela Tabis with the split toe because there was so much hype on TikTok, and I always like that brand.
I also bought new pajama pants yesterday from the SSENSE sale because I like to wear them as an everyday style, and I had seen them on TikTok and read about them in Leandra Medina’s Substack.
Emma: Can you give us a taste of a trend, subculture, or quirk in your TikTok algorithm that we might not expect?
Gracie: Up until I was 14, I only watched Animal Planet, so it makes sense that I get a lot of animal videos. I see a lot from this one guy who is very educational about orcas. Sometimes half my FYP will be like, “here are some facts about meerkats!” or whatever. I just opened the app, and on my feed right now is a baby rhino that was orphaned and then attacked by jackals, but now he’s been saved.
Emma: Let’s switch gears. You rent a car for a weekend in Montauk and you wrestle control of the aux. If no one was going to judge you, which guilty pleasure summer anthem are you blasting?
Gracie: My friends all make fun of me because they say I have the music taste of a 60-year-old man. My anthem of the summer is probably “Dirty Work” by Steely Dan. I have a playlist that I always listen to in the summer that’s just The Beach Boys and Johnathan Richman. Think about what your dad would play in 1972 and that’s probably what I’m blasting.
Emma: And once you get to the beach, what are you reading?
Gracie: I love a nonfiction book, which is probably the opposite of a beach read. Right now, I’m reading a 1,300 page book about the history of the world. A lot of the time I’m reading a memoir, or some old novel that you would read in your English Lit class. I love Anna Karenina, that’s my favorite book.
But most of the time I bring my “beach read” and I end up just scrolling on my phone the whole time. It’s a farce.
Emma: If you had to star on a reality show this summer, which would you choose and why?
Gracie: I haven’t seen it, but Stars on Mars. I’d use a mix of social strategy and challenge domination to at least make it to the halfway mark. I think I could beat Ariel Winter.
Emma: Lastly, in honor of the Heatwave issue, can you share what’s on your Hot and Not list for the summer?
Hot: Indulging yourself in a childhood fascination. Read Greek mythology! Get really into Egyptology again! Learn random animal facts! Craft!!
Not: The anti-sunscreen movement I am seeing on TikTok. PROTECT YOUR SKIN!!!