Happy Independence Day!
Intellectually I know that America is no better than any other country; emotionally I know she is better than every other country. ~Sinclair Lewis
I thought I’d pop in and sharing a quick find: the Everlane pop-up store on Lafayette Street. Everlane has distinguished itself from other retailers by diligently researching its factories and revealing its the true costs of manufacturing. Don’t worry for Everlane; the company is still making a profit, but their transparency puts into perspective the outrageous markups common in the clothing industry.
Another note I’d like to make about Everlane is that while I appreciate the clean aesthetic, I’m not impressed with the fit of most of the clothing or the overall pricing. The pricing certainly isn’t offensive, but shop the sales at J.Crew, Nordstrom, Club Monaco, etc. and you’ll find similar items in the same price range. I found the cuts on the sleeveless button down shirts too boxy and the cut of the silk tank too long. The sought-after Petra market tote that some claim is the new “It” bag didn’t impress me with its pebbled leather and unremarkable finishes. I left the pop-up with only a simple tee in hand. In the fall, maybe I’ll try a cashmere sweater on for size.
If you’re interested in trying out Everlane now, hurry there. The pop up disappears after today.
While the pop-up is going away, the website and look are going nowhere. We may pin and post on some glamorous things, but in my daily life and in the lives of others I observe in person and on the Internet, fashion is skewing towards simplicity. Clean lines. Normcore, if you will, a fashion insider term that I dislike not least of all for the way it sounds. I’m still trying to understand what Normcore is, but my understanding is that it’s nondescript dressing. Think more basic than classic. Some have even debated whether Normcore is actually a fashion trend or a joke. Perhaps what we are seeing here is just the influence of Normcore on the high fashion world. My perception of Normcore is that to the fashion set, it’s the high-low combo with a bigger dose of basics. This Vogue article confirms the accuracy of my perception.
For me, the renewed interest in basics is more about how I feel in my clothes. As I’ve posted before, I feel more like myself when I’m in streamlined black. Certainly, part of this is a function of living in New York, but much of it is just the style that I started developing in high school when I introduced black into my wardrobe.
In the midst of writing this blog post, I found a definition of Normcore as it was originally intended. K-Hole, a NY trend agency that coined the term Normcare states, “Normcore doesn’t want the freedom to become someone. Normcore moves away from a coolness that relies on difference to a post-authenticity that opt into sameness.”
Being interested in they psychology of fashion, this definition both fascinates and repulses me, as do the words of Normcore proponent Jeremy Lewis, the founder/editor of Garmento and a freelance stylist and fashion writer, who says his ‘look of nothing’ is about absolving oneself from fashion, ‘lest it mark you as a mindless sheep.’ I find the whole concept of Normcore contradictory. Normcore eschews freedom but still “opts” into sameness. Whether we “absolve” ourselves from fashion or follow the fashion industry, we still make fashion choices. The choice to consciously become part of a movement is the biggest indicator of trying to fit in that I’ve heard.
Basically, Normcore reappropriates plain and even dowdy clothing. What I like about this is the idea of reappropriation, a concept that intrigues me in general. What I don’t like is the presentation or the superior attitudes that accompany the most outspoken supporters of Normcore. Even as someone who sees the intellectual side of fashion, I think that its supporters over-intellectualize it.
I also disagree with Jeremy Lewis’s statement, “I like the idea that one doesn’t need their clothes to make a statement.” True, no one needs clothing to make a statement; however, no matter what you wear, your clothing will always make a statement about you. How much you need your clothing to make a statement about you depends on who you are. Unless we’re the president or a tech magnate, research shows that we may need clothing to make a statement about us.
At any rate, I chalk up the glamorization of Normcore to the ebbs and flows of fashion; we max out on maximalism and then we crave minimalism. It’s a cycle that continually repeats itself and is driven by the fashion industry and its publishing industry arm.
Check back next week for a full NYFW review.
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In the spirit of Valentine’s Day (and just in case you still need to buy someone a gift), I’ve rounded up some of my favorite arrow jewelry. You may have noticed that my Valentine’s Day gift post included a couple of arrow items, like these.
Arrows have been appearing with frequency in jewelry design these days, and I first started noticing them in December, when my best friend gifted me with an amazing silver arrow bracelet. It’s the perfect piece. It’s something different from the other pieces of jewelry I own, a bit edgy, and a piece I would have picked for myself. Since receiving this bracelet, I’ve been eyeing other arrow items to add to my collection. The clean, graphic impact of an arrow appeals to me.
So, are you gonna go my way and pick up a piece of arrow jewelry? What type of jewelry are you eyeing these days?
Unless the giver can find a gift that is personally significant to the receiver, it’s difficult to buy a Valentine’s Day gift that isn’t your typical holiday cliché. My personal take is that small gifts (i.e. jewelry and other little luxuries like fine chocolates and macarons) are best. It’s always fun to open a tiny box with a treasure inside. I generally eschew anything with hearts as too saccharine, but I make exceptions for hearts presented in a novel way. I prefer to temper sweetness with a bit of spunk, a tongue-in-cheek take on this overhyped holiday. Here are some Valentine’s Day presents that I suggest. I know I would be particularly delighted to receive the first item!
What kind of earrings do you fancy? Have you tried the ear cuff? Would you?
Normally I like to scour the internet for my favorite images when crafting a post. Given the holiday season and my usual time constraints, however, tonight I’d just like to share a few holiday dressing ideas that have garnered my attention.
I don’t typically attend a lot of cocktail attire events during the holiday season; rather, my holiday social schedule consists of casual gatherings of family and friends that provide a welcome sartorial respite from my week days of suit dressing. So my go-to attire for holiday gatherings is usually a sweater (I adore Ralph Lauren cashmere) or a button down plaid shirt from J. Crew in darker colors and a pair of dark skinny jeans, or more recently (the past two seasons), a pair of coated skinny jeans from Zara, my first Zara purchase, made on a whim. I like to add a pair of riding boots or short motorcycle boots with my ensemble. Lately, I’ve been trying to change things up a bit. I’m occasionally replacing the plaid button downs with feminine tops and the boots with a pair of smoking slippers, one of my obsessions that’s worthy of its own post.
I know that most people equate holiday dressing with some glitz and glamour, though, and for those of you wanting a bit more of that, I have a couple of other ideas… The key is to create a simple base and add some pieces with impact. The holidays are just the right time to break out the plaid, fur, jewels, and feathers; add a bit of whimsy to a sleek ensemble. Lately I’ve even found that the addition of a tartan silk scarf to a black outfit adds just the right amount of Christmas cheer.
Or go with a classically constructed dress with opulent details, holiday hue optional.
Or, if you prefer to go a bit more casual, pick a feminine top to pair with a simple pair of pants or skirt:
If your clothing volume doesn’t go above a whisper, be sure to make your exclamation with accessories:
And because I always appreciate fashion with a dose of humor, check out Elle’s guide to holiday movie inspired dressing and my favorite holiday accessory:
Net a Porter
It’s a classic.
What are you wearing this holiday season?
It’s time to step away from outerwear posts and talk about the clothing combination that has been consuming my focus this autumn: the sweater and skirt combo.
It’s a classic combination. It’s easy to pull together; most of us have some sort of simple knit sweater and skirt in our wardrobe. And for some reason, right now, this combination looks fresh. Streetstylers have rendered the skirt and sweater combo modern chic by pairing a masculine fisherman sweater with a feminine flouncy (some say fluted) skirt. The combination of masculine and feminine elements in a single outfit gets me every time. It can be difficult to succintly define one’s style, but if pressed, I think I might say that my style is a bit of masculine with a bit of feminine. The current SS combo embodies just that.
My 25 Things Challenge (more on this to come) has caused me to be more thoughtful about my purchases and aim to add specific items to my closet. Ever since I spotted the SS combo, I knew I’d have to add the two key items to my closet. As of this past week, I completed the mission.
Now for some SS combo inspiration…
Blame it on Fashion via Haute Design
Theyskens Theory runway via Bazaar
Celine Fall 2013 via New York Magazine
Via Pinterest. Gwyneth Paltrow wearing Celine in 2011. (Side note: I saw a great Antik Batik sweater at Galeries Lafayette last month that reminded me of this sweater. I considered buying it and didn’t. A similar version is available on the Antik Batik website. Other split-hem fisherman sweaters can be found at Ann Taylor Loft and Anthropologie.)
Now, to recreate the SS Combo:
I purchased this now sold-out Madewell sweater. If you’re interested in this sweater, you might want to call customer service or check the stock at your local store. Make sure to keep in mind that it runs large. I ended up ordering an XS, a size I never wear!
Here are my other favorites:
An inexpensive Liz Claiborne option
I love J. Crew’s version in navy.
And the piece de resistance…
This silhouette will have staying power throughout the spring; spring runway fashions included the SS combo, particularly the flouncy skirt. So rest assured you can continue flouncing your way into spring!
J. Crew ensemble via Daily Cup of Couture
Balmain via Harper’s Bazaar
Balmain via Daily Cup of Couture
Is the SS combo a part of your wardrobe? What do you think is the freshest fashion combination of the season?
While I went away to Paris desiring a leopard coat, I quickly dispensed with the notion when I saw everyone (women, men, and children) wearing toggle coats similar to the one that I purchased for Baby Boy to wear this year. I had to try on the Malene Birger coat I posted about before my trip, but it didn’t suit me. The toggle coat did suit me, but I ultimately decided to wait and scout out options in the U.S. Toggle coats are classic and upon returning to New York, I’ve noticed that they are becoming popular on the streets here once again too.
The options are plentiful at every price point. Unsurprisingly, Burberry, the classic coat maker, sets the gold standard. Here are my picks:
Which would you choose? Do you own a toggle coat?