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Welcome to Haystack Stories, a website rooted in nostalgia.
Past. Present. Perfect.

Goop's Beauty Editor On the Sports Bras She's Kept Since Middle School

Goop's Beauty Editor On the Sports Bras She's Kept Since Middle School

If Cruella de Vil and Freddie Mercury had a baby who was obsessed with Britney Spears and floral off-the-shoulder vintage dresses, it would be Megan O’Neill. The senior beauty editor at Goop has seriously head-turning style and a hilarious way of looking at the world. Her walk down memory lane made us want to blast Coolio, paint our nails pastel pink, and dig up our old Hard Tail sweats (remember THOSE?!?!?).

Name: Megan O’Neill
Occupation: Senior Beauty Editor at Goop
Handle: @megagirl
Location: Work in NYC, live in BK!

Tell us, what's the star of your Haystack Story?
My rotation of sports bras includes two racerbacks by Jockey that I got when I was literally 12 years old. I was in sixth grade—the year a lot of us started to get those burgeoning boobs that point very apparently through your crisp white collared shirt uniform—and I think it might have been my mom who pointed out that I couldn’t walk around like that anymore. So we went to Lord & Taylor on 38th Street one Saturday and took the elevator up to some top floor where they kept the lingerie and made our way to the “Youth” section, which was the term, I guess, for not-quite teens with awkward, noticeable pointy boobs. I gravitated toward the Jockey racerbacks because I didn’t have enough going on to fill out something with an underwire, plus the pale blue and pink hues of the Jockey selection resembled the Sky (milky baby blue) and Bubble Gum (the original millennial pink?) sensationally popular Hard Candy nail polish shades. So that was very compelling. Whenever I haven’t done laundry in a while and all my fancy sports bras from Bandier and Nike are in the hamper, I throw on my Jockey Sky Blue and Bubble Gum and smile to myself.

Can you describe them?
They are threadbare and shredded, like the texture of a perfect vintage T-shirt. The pink one is so worn that it’s totally translucent. I’m falling in love with these bras all over again as I examine them to write this! Both the blue and the pink have little holes that are so perfectly careless and “distressed” they look intentional. Like Brandy Melville would come out with bras that looked like this.

 Illustration by Marisa Balmori

Illustration by Marisa Balmori

Why are they so perfect?
They’re perfect because of their awesome vintage look but mostly because of the sunny associations they carry. 6th grade was epic! In my all-girls school, it was the year we finally got to interact with boys! (The 6th grade play was SUCH a thing.) And the bras just remind me of that time—of having all these crushes on real boys and not just celebrities, and logging onto AOL and that noise the modem made, and listening to z100 and crying to the Donna Lewis song, “I Love You Always Forever” ….

How do you feel when you think about them?
So happy! But also a little sad because I do sometimes feel a tiny amount sad when I feel really happy because…of just human nature? I’ve talked about this with tons of people before. I’m happy because of the associations, but there is also something devastating in never being able to go back to that time. Not that I want to go back in time in the slightest—you couldn’t pay me—but there is always that dichotomy there. 

If your sports bras could talk [Ed. Note: lol], what would they say?
“Let’s get pizza at Mimi’s before basketball practice at 6:30 in the gym.”

 Megan and her BFF Shoko circa 1998.

Megan and her BFF Shoko circa 1998.

Who did you have a crush on back then?
Zach Levy. He went to Allen Stevenson, which is an all-boys school in the city, and he played Colonel Buffalo Bill in our 6th grade play Annie Get Your Gun. I was a townsperson. I may have been a man.

What did a typical Friday night look like?
I went to a lot of school dances. “School dances” sounds so lame, but they were so NOT lame, they were awesome. They played the best music—basically a z100 playlist and, like, Cotton Eye Joe, and there were all these dramas going on because everyone was starting to kiss and fondle each other. Friday nights were also about going to a friend’s house and ordering pizza and prank calling boys. Or calling boys on speaker phone and not disclosing everyone who was in the room so you could get to hear what the boy really thought about you or someone else.

If someone gave you $20 to spend, what would you have bought?
Probably CDs from Tower Records (maybe the Dangerous Minds soundtrack with Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise” on it?) Or sour belt candies from Million Dollar Deli. Or $16 candles I could never afford from this boutique called PS I love You near my school. OR Free People sweaters and Katayone Adeli pants. Or anything Hard Tail.

What show did you rush home to watch?
TRL. And the cartoon Gargoyles secretly. Also Friends and reruns of my all-time favorite show ever ever ever Beverly Hills 90210.

What was your favorite snack?
Cheese pizza from Mimi’s Pizza, which I would scarf down before and after basketball or soccer or lacrosse practice and then go home and zealously eat dinner, too. When I did my history homework, which was always a rigorous activity, I’d keep a bowl of Doritos on my desk and eat a chip after every page I read as a reward. I wasn’t obese, remarkably.

How are you the same as you were back then, and how are you different?
I’m really excited still. Everything was new back then—boys and feeling things and music and hiding things from my mom—but life is still so exciting and wondrous. Even in the midst of all the terrible things going on right now. And I’m an adult and I have some sense now, so that’s fun.

 

High School Was About Camel Lights, Zima and This Fleece

High School Was About Camel Lights, Zima and This Fleece

Naomi Mdudu on the Dress that Started It All

Naomi Mdudu on the Dress that Started It All