in her shoes

What a Hip L.A. Doula Wears to Work

Erica Chidi Cohen has it all figured out.

Erica Chidi Cohen. Photo: Magdalena Wosinska
Erica Chidi Cohen. Photo: Magdalena Wosinska

When Erica Chidi Cohen gets dressed, she has to consider many scenarios. Will she be acting as CEO and founder at her company LOOM all day? Will she be working directly with clients as a period coach? And most importantly, is there the possibility that one of her clients go into labor? Cohen is the co-founder and CEO of LOOM, a period and pregnancy guidance center. She’s also a doula, an educator, and author of Nurture: A Modern Guide to Pregnancy, Birth, Early Motherhood. At LOOM, she spends her days educating people about periods and parenting. Unsurprisingly, when she gets dressed, she’s thinking about comfort. Recently, she talked with the Cut about socks, going barefoot at work, and clogs.

On her daily shoes:
I always prioritize comfort when I’m at LOOM, but still like to feel collected and presentable. My good friends Beatrice Valenzuela and Haley Boyd are shoe designers, so I’ll usually rotate between a pair of Beatrice’s sandalias or Marais slides and layer in a fun pair of Darner socks as the weather gets cooler. If I’m not in those, I’ll usually wear a pair of Saucony sneakers. If I’m attending a birth I’m always in Dansko clogs. They are every nurses secret weapon and have saved my feet through many 24-plus hour births.

On shoes for big meetings:
If the meeting is at LOOM, I usually wear something from my self-imposed work uniform. When we opened LOOM, I decided I didn’t want to fuss about my day-to-day look but still feel good and collected. Our whole business is about feeling comfortable in your body, and I’m doing everything from coaching to teaching to moving furniture for an event, so wearing restrictive clothing just feels counter-productive. I’ve always loved Ilana Kohn’s jumpsuits and overalls, so every season I get a few in different colors and only wear them to work. It’s a little Steve Jobs-like, but it allows me to pour all my energy into my clients and my team as opposed to personal aesthetic and it curbs a lot of unnecessary shopping. It’s actually really comforting.

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On comfort:
We have a shoes-off vibe at LOOM, so everyone’s footwear comes off eventually. It’s a pretty intimate business — we’re talking periods and sex and bodily fluids all day — so we like folks to kick back and relax. I’m usually dressing for myself and for my own comfort, but I do sometimes, in a way, dress for my clients, especially because most of my clients are women-identified people and often pregnant or soon-to-be parenting. And the outfits I wear, I often get a lot of comments from moms about where they’re from because they are comfortable. They’re transitional pieces that are easy if they’re going to be breastfeeding or chestfeeding.

On her daily schedule:
I see clients during the day. Sessions range from period coaching to help people better understand their cycle and better manage PMS or period pain to pregnancy coaching, where we help people unpack their birth preferences and feel more confident about navigating their pregnancy. And I teach classes in the evening. My focus right now is our Roadmap: Sex and Period classes, which are super popular and so fun to teach. Occasionally, one of my clients will go into labor and I’ll shoot off to be at a birth and head into doula mode.

On what gives her joy at work:
I have the incredible pleasure of being able to help people develop body literacy and confidence. My job is to help make big transitions like pregnancy and parenting feel more manageable and reduce shame and encourage dialogue around traditionally uncomfortable topics like periods and sex. It’s a wonderful opportunity that I feel grateful for every single day.

On socks:
I don’t have a massive collection, but over the past few years I’ve developed a deep love for socks, especially from Darner, Pansy, and Uniqlo. I love wearing socks slightly shrugged-down with sandals, sneakers, mules, or clogs. Since it doesn’t get super-cold in L.A., I often will skip wearing boots and slip on a pair socks with anything open toed. I really love velvet socks. Having a wee bit of sock peeking out from a boot feels a little extra and fancy.

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What a Hip L.A. Doula Wears to Work