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What Your Favorite Substack Newsletter Says About You

Reader, you’ve been profiled.

What Your Favorite Substack Newsletter Says About You
Trunk Archive

In an era when stimuli from all ends are inextricably waging war for your attention, the email newsletter you read tells me everything I need to know about you: your likes, dislikes, hobbies, love life—or lack thereof—and profession. If you’re a newsletter reader, odds are you subscribe to a few—or a few dozen—Substacks. If you’re not, here’s a TL;DR: Substack is the platform that all New York writers and literati have in their Linktree.

Tell me your favorite, and I’ll tell you what it reveals—let’s pigeonhole you as a New Yorker.

Shop Rat by Emilia Petrarca

The musings of a retail anthropologist. (Also, the author who inspired this list! See: Purse Personalities)

You studied at Columbia and never left New York. Uptown or downtown, it doesn’t matter to you. You live two trains away from Manhattan in a one-bedroom painted eggshell-white in Greenpoint. The Goldman Sachs analyst you’re seeing takes you to the jackets-required Café Carlyle cabaret after work. This summer, you might be meeting the parents at his Long Island family compound. Instructions? Bring tennis whites. If you get married, you’d want Laila Gohar to cater your engagement party—a long banquette tableau of marzipan fruit and deviled eggs on antique silver. At night, when not dropping in at one salon or another, you can be seen smoking outside Casino. The old-money aesthetic bores you. You’ve thought about it—you’ll be a Wiederhoeft bride.

Back Row by Amy Odell

A newsletter offering a no-holds-barred look into the fashion world—sans advertiser influence.

One of your goals in life is to be looked up and down by Anna Wintour’s erudite gaze. When Vogue’s assistant-to-the-editor-in-chief position was posted, you applied immediately. Right now, you work in editorial or PR. Analytical, ambitious, and gossipy—in good fun—you live for culture wars and industry exposés. Once, you saw Linda Fargo at the Luar show—and, deferential uberfan that you are—almost bowed before her. You’ve had multiple high-strung bosses, and a designer’s husband drunkenly hit on you at a fashion fête last month. You know exactly what “frow" means. Sometimes you wonder: Is fashion too self-important? Other times: Should I start a TikTok? You're still trying to get an appointment at Atelier Jolie.

New Yorker Rejections by Amelia Diamond

An archive of rejected pieces by one journalist in dogged pursuit of a Shouts & Murmurs byline.

You think the best coffee comes from the hole-in-the-wall beneath your walk-up, but Porto Rico is a close second. You met half of your friends in a writer’s workshop. Almost every Google search in your browser history ends in “Reddit.” A collection of the Strand totes hangs on a hook behind your door. Your situationship imbroglio is with a would-be jazz bassist who works at Trader Joe’s; you’ve paid the check the half-dozen times you two visited Smalls. You always meant to go to Shopsin’s before Kenny passed. IFC Center is your go-to theater when friends are visiting from out of town, though otherwise, you mostly go to AMC. Past Lives has thrust you, at age 29, into an inoperable midlife crisis. “New York or nowhere,” you believe staunchly, typing a short story from the futon on the floor of your two-bedroom flex, which you share with two roommates.

The Cereal Aisle by Leandra Medine Cohen

Notes on dressing—and having fun—from a practical aesthete.

For Halloween, you’re dressing up as this Carrie, pantsless in Big’s button-down and Hermès belt. You already own said belt. If you were a color, it’d be persimmon. There’s a European flair about you—you’re planning a trip to the Amalfi Coast with your mom. Place you’d never go: Eataly. Place you would go: Union Square Farmer’s Market. Your farmer’s market tote did not cost $120; it’s a $10 canvas find from the thrift. For a living, you’re a Prada-loafer-wearing gallerina. Friendly with your local bodega cat, you’ll either show your face at the deli in laundry-day frippery (that one T-shirt with an armpit hole and old Birkenstocks) or a full 1980s Saint Laurent sharp-shouldered runway look off Vestiaire Collective. In your opinion, a leotard is a complete outfit—just add shoes. You always say the best dirty martinis can be found at the Hotel Chelsea.

Mall Goth by Rose Dommu

Cultural commentary with a certain je ne sais quoi.

Your Letterboxd watchlist is an indie-heavy, four-figure undertaking—you’ve also posted lengthy reviews of each of this year’s Oscar best picture noms. Worshipping at the altar of vintage, you’ve never met a consignment shop you didn’t like. You might’ve been born in the wrong generation; part of you thinks you should’ve worked in 1987 as a Patricia Field clerk by day, club kid by night. You love the sandwiches at Joey Roses. To that end, you’re a true gourmand—you spend a lot of money on cheese and $7 large black iced coffees. If you use your French press, it’s poured into Fishs Eddy mugs. Likes: Maryam Nassir Zadeh, the original Queer Eye. Dislikes: West Broadway and Seinfeld.

Fun Little Treat by Rio Viera-Newton

A best-of roundup of beauty hotspots and recommendations.

Having run through numerous Sundays Studio punch-cards, it’s safe to say you’re a fan. Sometimes you choose the meditative manicure to feel zen. You are these Prada rosette sandals personified. The Bergdorf Goodman makeup department is your happy place; you also have a lot to say about Sephora kids. For lunch, you can be found at Kit Kemp’s Palette with tea sandwiches. As a beauty writer, you think Pat McGrath can do no wrong—her lip gloss is the best on the market. Morgenstern’s over Van Leeuwen. Your toxic trait is that you will eat the entire box of ice cream sandwiches you bought in one sitting. You aren’t dating right now; you’re focusing on yourself. Too many times, the guys you meet ghost. Wants: Lisa Says Gah bow earrings and a girl’s night at Dante.

Consider Yourself Cultured by Jalil Johnson

Edifying observations into fashion, art, entertainment, and what it means to be truly cultured.

Your hobby? Raiding your grandmother’s closet—she was a Stork Club regular and very chic. Frequently you find yourself in eBay bidding wars for antique hotel silver from the Plaza. You also want this Tom Ford for Gucci chair. In another life, you’d be an art curator. In this one, you’re a Big Law paralegal. On your Hinge profile, you say your ideal date would be drinks at La Grenouille, dinner at Doubles, or an after-hours gallery tour at The Met. Everything and anything should be celebrated with a bottle of Dom. You have a little black book. You do the New York Times crossword in ink. Any night of the week, you go to Paris. You always take the subway, never Uber. Sometimes taxis. Bon vivant Diana Vreeland is your style icon. Why don't you, indeed? You miss the old New York.

After School by Casey Lewis

A one-stop source on everything Gen Z.

People may say you’re chronically online, but such is the life of a social media manager and pop-culture cognoscente. You know all the TikTok talking points: At brunch, your close cohort weighs in on influencer gaffes, the Kate Middleton news cycle, and Ballerina Farm. You’re 28, engaged, and planning to go in on a house in Montauk this summer with your couple friends. You are a Prospect Park picnic girl, sipping natural wine over a charcuterie board. At any given time, you know the toughest table in each of the five boroughs—and how to get a reservation.

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