It's been about a year since I've been back to my native Chicago for a visit, and also about a year since Independence
, the retail outpost of Oak Street Bootmakers
opened a brick and mortar store. I've been an admirer of the American-made Oak Street Bootmaker shoes and boots since their launch, in fact, my husband wears a pair of their navy moccasins with serious regularity.
Oak Street is one of those brands that makes me say, "If only they had women's sizes...". So when I stopped by their second-floor Oak Street shop, I just had to ask, "Any chance you'll start making women's sizes?", and the nice chap on the floor said YES. Yes!? Yes. Apparently he has a lot of female customers as well. Stay tuned for more info on that, but until then, if you're in the Chicago area, check out Indepenence
for Gitman, Kapital, AO Safety Sunglasses, Topo backpacks and all the tomboy accessories you'd want from a quality menswear shop. Good stuff in there.
Back in May, I met Liberty of London designer Kate Brindley when she was in town promoting the Levi's X Liberty collab
. When I asked her about future collaborations she mentioned that she was super excited about working with Vans for a Fall 2013 collection. Being such a fan of both brands, I turned into a weird internet version of Paul Revere checking the Vans site weekly, saying to myself "The British are coming, The British are coming!" And finally, they're here
. Six archival prints were pulled from the Liberty archives, three were used for Authentics
($60) and three for Era
styles ($60). I've always been partial to Authentics and am all over that navy/birds print. Get 'em while they're hot.
The Patagonia Legacy Collection
. It's all men's, but there's plenty for the picking including a pretty sweet backpack (more on Patagonia's legacy next week).
Is this song
in everyone's head? Or just mine?
A beach towel with a zip pocket
for keys, sunscreen, et al. Genius.
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About a month ago, I visited textile designer and painter Rachel Craven (who also co-founded The Echo Park Craft Fair) in her downtown studio. Her studio is light, airy, cool, just like her. But can we talk about the jeans for a second!? Those A.P.C.s are two decades old. I have to say Craven makes the case for many things, like artfully melding natural fibers with geometric prints, and the value of bringing together a community of artisans, BUT ALSO, Craven makes the case to never ever ever throw away a pair of jeans. Time and time again I hear that A.P.C. is the best pair of denim you can buy, and RC sure proves they stand the test of time. You can find Rachel Craven's gorgeous aprons, napkins, tablecloths and table runners at fine stockists in L.A. (and Brooklyn) including Heath Ceramics on Beverly Blvd.
I'm so thankful I got to hang with Rachel and get to know her a little better because I've admired her from afar for quite some time. And now to get to know her even better...
If not in Los Angeles, I would live in...Tuscany or The South of France, I pretend often in my backyard.
My dream vacation would be to...I'm dreaming of India today—have been dying to go on a textile trip...sigh. Soon.
Food: Moon Juice is SO GOOD, I'm addicted to the Deep Chocolate! I also love the Santa Monica Farmer's Market, which is my version of heaven, but recently I discovered a secret Italian import company, super yummy cheeses, olive oils and incredible salts. I live on olive oil. Seriously.
Music: My kids control the car radio, AMP Radio (97.1) I think it's called, lots of pop music in my life.
Fashion: I wear white jeans nearly everyday. I couldn't live without my white Imogene + Willie high waisted jeans. Also I live in Dosa, you cant have enough linen shirts!
I channel my childhood self when I...paint with my kids. My parents are artists, it's so cozy to do watercolors with my five year old son.
The fictional character I most relate to is...Huckleberry Finn.
If I had to be outdoors all day I would...paint. My studio used to be in my backyard in Echo Park.
My favorite quality in a man is...humor. My husband keeps me smiling and laughing.
My favorite quality in a woman is...creativity. I find my female friends endlessly inspiring.
I'm terrified of...suburbs. It's weird, I just get nervous there. I'm a city girl who likes to visit the country.
My dream car is a...I'm not really a car person but I do love a vintage 60s Porche, so pretty and just for me.
My cocktail of choice is...a virgin anything.
My celebrity crush is...I remain true to River Phoenix. First loves...sometimes you never get over them.
My beauty product of choice is...coconut oil. You can use it for everything, on a piece of toast or on your face.
My friends and I like to...go to the beach, swim, surf, paint and read magazines while the kids play in water.
If I could go back in time for one decade it would be...60s-70s in NYC. My parents had the most amazing loft.
As a teenager I was totally into...The Rolling Stones. Some Girls—I listened over and over.
I tend to splurge on...sunglasses. I'm a Retro Super Future addict.
Growing up hanging with the boys and getting my first pair of hockey skates at five years old...is what makes me have Tomboy Style.
Photos of the cast of Over The Edge including Matt Dillon and tomboy style icon Pamela Ludwig by Michael Ochs, 1979.
kid who tells on another kid is a dead kid."
For the first Base Layer post
, we tackled sunscreen, next up was Prospector Co.'s leg care goods
, now Kristi's
throwing down on lip care. Ba-Boom!
By Kristi Head
Ever since I read an article in some
magazine (probably YM circa 1992)
, that claimed all lip balms makes our lips even drier, I haven’t touched any of them. It’s over 20 years later and product ingredients have evolved dramatically. With so much awareness on healthier and more efﬁcacious ingredients I ﬁgured it was time to take a dive back in.
The first recommendation is super simple. If you don’t already know the trick, the best way to condition your lips is to take a soft bristle tooth brush and brush over dry lips for about 30 seconds. Any clean soft toothbrush will work, but we like Bogo Brush
's philanthropic angle (buy one, and one gets sent to someone in need). Then apply a pure Vitamin E oil capsule
($13 for 100). Make sure it is food-grade and not cut with anything else. The result is total softness, a punch of blood ﬂow color and slick shine.
For your on-the-go needs with less of a process, here are four more recommendations (left to right): Ila Balmy Nights
($24) is made from organic ingredients blended with tiny granules of volcanic stone powder that gently exfoliates leaving lips smooth. Absolution Le Baume
($20) is a multi-use balm for lips, cheeks, the tip of nose, and any dry areas on hands. Organic Essence Lip Balm
($3) [not pictured] is thrify and of all the health food store options, this one was the least greasy and least waxy and light weight. W3ll People Universalist
($33) is great for a pop of color on the lips, but it also works on eyes and cheeks too. It has a weightless texture and is 100% natural and free from all harsh artificial chemicals and petroleum.
[Editor's note: For the non-purist, I love Chanel's Boy 54
color of their lip shine ($34).]
Leather is on my mind. Most recently I landed on SweetTrade, a small-scale New England-based leather company that makes belts, suspenders, wallets, bracelets, even leather bicycle brake covers. All of their leather is vegetable-tanned and sourced from Wicket & Craig in Curwensville, PA., the stitching is done by hand and comes from sail-boat strength waxed thread from Maine, their hardware is cast at a local New England foundry, and the line they use to braid their lanyards comes from sail rigging made in Southern Massachusetts. If it isn't already painfully obvious the guys behind SweetTrade are passionate about what they do and their surroundings. Or as they say: "We share a common love for the ocean, be it surfing, yachting, fishing, or leisure times sitting on the beach with a cold six-pack." Check 'em out here.
Photo of woman sailing in 1948 via Electrospark.
Photo via Matt Voyno.
A lot of children don't have a developed aesthetic. I did. I made early choices in life, even about cloth; I liked flannel and not polyester."
My dad has carried the same leather brief case since the early 1980s, it's full of stains and scuffs and water marks that just add to its veteran patina. The imperfections have yielded the perfect briefcase and an irreplaceable part of his style. Los Angeles-based stylist, author, and designer Agnes Baddoo
has a similar story. She inherited her mother's small leather tote bag that has been worn to perfection over 40 years. As it started to wear beyond repair she didn't know where to turn to replace it.
Like many designers, Agnes started creating something she wanted for herself that couldn't be found anywhere else. So Agnes, who also makes the very popular Everyw'air room sprays
, used her mother's bag as a blueprint and launched her eponymous leather label. The first iteration is a replica of her mother's bag called Sac 1
($250), it's carried online at Priscilla Woolworth
and will be available soon through Agnes' site
I saw Agnes' leather bags for the first time at the last Echo Park Craft Fair where I watched both men and women fawning over them. The next time I saw one it was on the arm of shoe designer Beatrice Valenzuela
in the women's room at The Arclight Movie Theater. In other words, these bags are about to blow up
. In the near future there will be an Agnes Baddoo key wallet, a canvas-leather combination of the Sac 1, buffalo leather versions in brown and black, as well as the much larger Sac 2 (see below).
I love these bags so much and can't want to see mine age and morph over months, years, and decades into that buttery irreplacable item that becomes part of my style identity.
Mistakes are often the mother of invention (see: The Slinky, The Pace Maker, Post-It Notes and Penicillin), and the American-made Everlane Box Cut Tee
($15) is no exception. When a batch of their men's pocket tees came back from a factory approximately three inches too short, the Everlane creative team realized this frustrating mistake had actually yielded the perfect boxy cropped tee for women.
Currently obsessing over Jennie Kwon Designs
. The violinist-turned-corporate lawyer-turned jeweler is based in L.A. and just launched a collection of earrings
. All of her jewelry is nice enough to wear out for a special occasion, but she also intends for her jewelry to be worn all day and endure physical activity. I love jewelry that you don't have to take off. Jennie told me that she wanted to design pieces that are delicate but not too feminine and have a little bit of edge to them. Sold. I also love that she sells her studs
as singles too, so you can mix-and-match.
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In the last Base Layer
post we tackled sunscreen
, next up is shaving cream. I personally had never really considered shaving cream except that I hated buying it because most shaving cream packaging looks like some sort of outhouse component of Barbie's Malibu Beach House. Let's first be clear though, packaging is the least important element of a beauty item. I should know, I've fallen for good design on bad products many times before. So when I discovered Prospector Co.
out of Savannah, GA., I was cautiously optimistic. Their aesthetic definitely drew me in, but it was their mantra that got me really excited. All of the Prospector Co. products are made by hand in small batches and are free from harmful additives and artificial fragrances and colors. This morning I test drove their leg oil, leg shave and leg aftershave toner and my expectations were absolutely exceeded.
Each of the three components can be used on their own, but I used all three in succession. The leg shave oil
($26) can be used on its own for shaving, which is ideal for instances when you don't have time to shower or bathe. I let the oil soak in before I got in the shower, then applied the leg shave
($20) which didn't create a heavy lather like most shaving creams (because there are no additives), it's more of a creamy lotion that's gentle and full of nutrients like Vitamin E, coconut oil, carrot oil, argan oil and aloe vera.Once I dried off I applied the leg aftershave toner ($28) which left my legs with a little shimmer and moisture—which is perfect for the dry California summer air. For a day when you're out bare-legged, I would highly recommend the toner. All an all, huge fan of Prospector's goods and their no-nonsense aesthetic which proves women's shaving cream doesn't have to be overly-girly. It can just be cool.
The Olasul Sailor Sack
($112) looks like the perfect summer bag. Made from cotton canvas with a water-resistant rubber base, these guys are perfect for the pool, the boat, the beach. I want one as a travel carry-on—love a bag that you can just throw stuff, cinch, and go.
Photo of Dorothy Levitt from frontispiece of the book The Woman and The Car, 1907.
"I never think of the danger. That sort of thing won't do. But I know it is omnipresent. The slightest touch of the hand and the car swerves, and swerves are usually fatal. But I am a good gambler, and always willing to take the chance."—Dorothy Levitt. Nov 1906
Dorothy Levitt was a British motorina, a writer, and a pioneer of female independence, motor racing, and speedboat driving. She held speed records on land and sea and was described as The Fastest Girl on Earth. In her book The Woman and the Car: A chatty little handbook for all women who motor or who want to motor she suggested women "carry a little hand-mirror in a convenient place when driving" so they may "hold the mirror aloft from time to time in order to see behind while driving in traffic", thus inventing the rear view mirror before it was introduced by manufacturers in 1914.
Dorothy Levitt driving a Napier at the inaugural Brighton Speed Trials in July 1905, setting a new Ladies World Land Speed record of 79.75 miles an hour.
Thank you to Mary Caple
(of the inspired tumblr of the same name) for the tip.
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