If you’re like me and love, appreciate, and support new designers and small boutiques, I suggest you check out Garmentory.com.
Described as a “curated marketplace of indie boutiques and designers,” Garmentory gives direct access to thoughtful artisans (shop owners and designers) who might otherwise have less opportunity for their work to be shared.
For full price merchandise, the customer buying process is familiar; similar to what we already practice. But, the sale system is different, Instead of offering a piece at a regular discounted price, customers can make an offer, which can either be accepted or declined by the shop owner or designer themselves. While there is a suggested offer price, which I believe should be considered as these people do need to make a profit, any offer can be input for approval.
It’s not easy for smaller businesses to survive in the age of the mass market. It’s often hard to pass up the less expensive, and easier found offerings that the big guys carry. But once in a while, if you feel like you’re needing something special, and made by truly creative design, go to Garmentory. It’s a genius idea, much needed, and long overdue.
When your work involves the buying of organic and (preferably) sustainable clothing for a yoga studio, having a friend in fashion who shares the love for particularly special and difficult parts of garment design is a gift!
Sent to me by my favorite, sustainable and organic-loving-clothing-buying friend and former co-worker with whom bonding happened on the fashion front, our secret Pinterest page (the non-private Pinterest here) is how we now communicate our passion for the subject.
Post inner squealing, I figured I’d send her (and you) my initial, worded response ….
“My GOD it’s the most gorgeous thing I’ve ever seen!”
“Can we talk about that boning and where it falls on the under bust?”
I’ll head back over to Foat in a minute, because I’m loving their work, too (Click here to see their story and yoga line), but for now I’m reminded of the many things that bring people together, whatever and wherever they may be.
Friends, love, and fashion is the equation for some.
Always, always the equation for me.
I woke up this morning motivated to write a post about men’s graphic tees after a male friend insisted that his favorites were found at Good Will!
Since I’d recently stumbled upon some really great men’s graphic tees online, I decided that I needed a post to prove that a lot of today’s offerings are better than the old and tattered tees found on the second-hand-store shelves. Though many of those have been worn and loved, they’ve often been loved by too many (and for too long) to be right for public wearing.
A few of these I might even go for the ladies… sizing down and wearing tucked into paper bag skirts and sandals. Cute!
Take a chance boys.
Your girls will thank you for making the effort, but buy your shirts big enough that they stay in your closet and don’t disappear into hers!
Known for their really simple but interesting shapes that border the avant garde, COS (sister to H&M) is a good place to shop for those of us wanting something more than your basic, loose tank dress. Having bought from them in the past I can attest to the quality (better than H&M) and functionality.
The cotton is crisp, and the design is on point.
With comfort and ease as necessities, and my newfound appreciation for less is more, adding a dress or two from the COS SS15 collection makes sense. It’s tough to want to get dressed (or shop) when the weather heats up. Buying easy pieces that cross seasons is a plus, and keeps me on target when it comes to conscientious wardrobe building.
Layer later. Throw a turtleneck and tights (or denim) underneath when it’s cool. But for now get a good haircut, try an easy, thoughtfully designed dress (and sandals that suit) and smile.
It’s finally summer!
And aren’t we glad!
A couple of months ago I realized the error of my shopping ways.
In my “fashion is art” loving heart, I’d created a wardrobe of things that weren’t ever worn, hanging reminders of things I loved, some still bearing tags from years ago. Over-abundance had created chaos in dressing, serving as proof that more isn’t necessarily more.
Around the same time, I started gaining interest in eco-clothing. It was slow going, as the eco-clothing industry itself had been (hemp equated to frump for a long, long time). The recent John Oliver program about the fashion industry’s terrible record when it comes to mass production was the straw that broke the camel’s back, propelling my decision to share my eco-friendly evolution.
As the process of creating a more mindful closet began I was amazed by the things I’ “had to have” lined up next to the things that I hadn’t thought twice about. All together a sad mess of a wardrobe, never mind that in all of those clothes I never had anything to wear.
Unlike the many times before I’d embarked on a closet clean-out, this time I was much more careful about what I did with the old, and thoughtful about the new pieces if need to find to buy and wear and the future.
And so it began.
The Madewell popover reminiscent of 1983 Esprit? Put away for my girls.
The outrageously expensive, but gorgeously embroidered calypso tunics that made me look like a balloon? Given to a smaller chested friend who wears them as they were meant to be worn.
All of the cheap t-shirts that lined my drawers, but had shrunk or fit weird? Sent off to good will, some cut and used by my kids as blankets for Barbie’s bed.
Needing some things for a three-week trip this summer, I searched high and low finding some great designers working in sustainability and vintage materials.
One company that I fell in love with was Gaia Conceptions. Based in North Carolina they work with sustainable fibers, dye their fabrics with natural plant dyes, and hand make each piece to order. Because of this, the cost for a piece is a bit higher (they’re sale page is good to check once a week), but the benefit of creating a garment specifically for you is that you know it will fit (and isn’t that more than worth it?). There are a zillion styles and variations of fabrics (hemp vs. organic stretch vs. N.C cottons, etc.). Their Love Me 2 Times line is ingenious and a best seller with its tube like tops attaching to various bottoms, which work as great layering pieces.Knowing what shapes work best on me, and in my effort to look less like a balloon on a string, wrap-dresses that flatter and tees with elbow length sleeves and deep cowl necklines ensure that I feel good in what I wear and how these things were made. Never again will I own a thousand tee-shirts that fit me weird after being washed, or dresses that would be perfect if only the sleeve had been longer. Being able to choose your design has its benefits.
Etsy has become a place that has helped me streamline my wardrobe, keeping it simple, but also letting me support small-business and remain creative in dressing. A wonderful designer named kari at Clementiny Clothing uses vintage fabrics for her made to order pieces. She’s super easy to work with, and I’m thrilled with what she’s made for me (a three-quarter-sleeve length tunic with neck tie in a cream vintage fabric and the most adorable flowered off-the-shoulder frock to be worn over a bathing suit or with jeans). Her jumpsuit is next on my list. I’m hoping to talk to her soon about starting on it.None of this is to say that I’m completely finished with larger brands and pieces that fit into my life. There is a place for those companies, though I wish they were more conscientious about their best practices. In my effort to be more mindful I will try to stay within the borders I’ve created for myself (mostly black, blue, gray, denim all day, with a vintage pattern on occasion). And for my kids, sticking to companies like Hanna Anderson that use 100% organic fabrics and European certification standards which are much more strict than we have in the states. They have a recycling programs for customer’s older styles, too. Will my kids still wear leggings from Target and bathing suits from Boden? Will I still buy flannels from Madewell and jeans from Hudson?
Yes. I’m sure we will (BTW Madewell, a division of J. Crew has a denim recycling program which is a good start for such a large company).
By finding balance and being mindful about what I buy I’m hoping that it will not only make it easier for me to get dressed in the morning, but also give me the peace of mind that my choices are made with my very best intentions.
It might be a tiny, little effort. But, it’s time to get the party started.
p.s. If you haven’t seen the John Oliver show on mass-produced clothing, I highly recommend it as I do with every program he airs (the antibiotics, and the “It sucks to be a working mom in America” episodes….) wow.
With my babies in tow I headed to Maine for a month by the sea, but sadly spent more time looking out of windows at beach visitors jealous that their ignorance was also their bliss.
Over time my eagerness to get out and play was met with the reality that appropriate beach coverage was neither fashionable nor practical. The little time I allowed myself outside was spent wearing uncomfortably tight rash guards made for teenage surfers, gigantic hats, and pareos to my feet.
Mummy was mummified.Thankfully this has changed, though many women still don’t know the dangers that await them when the weather and the season grows warm. Out of the many spots that were biopsied, the biggest area of melanoma tumors was my back (many pre-cancerous tumors were found elsewhere, but caught early enough we were able to extract before they grew).
The sun is not a friend to our largest organ, and it doesn’t matter if you were born light-skinned or dark. Even in small doses (some would argue the sun is the best way to get your Vitamin D) many dermatologists fear the damage outweighs the benefits (take a D capsule a day and move on).
But with over 74,000 new cases of melanoma expected for the year 2015 (and let’s not forget the other skin cancers that though not as quick to kill are still incredibly painful to treat… See this shocking selfie), rashguards are as imperative as hat-wearing, reapplying your sunscreen and avoiding the sun at the peak hours of the day.Companies like Roxy and Billabong have been doing rash guards for years, but the sizing is “Juniors” and a tough fit for adult women. Basta Surf and Seafolly) pushing swimwear and rash guards into more creative and playful territories. Price points are all over the place, but there is finally something for everyone. Covered, safe and finally looking good? Yes, thank you!
Ignorant, stuck inside or unable to play in the sun? Never, ever again.
p.s. While rash guards have grown in popularity, swim leggings still have a long way to go. Onezie (a great company that makes yoga pants) and Lululemon (active gear) have some options that are heading on vacation with me this year. Report to follow. X
I was recently contacted by the auction house (and website) invaluable.com, who asked to me to write about kids and art for Youth Art Month. My strong belief that art education is imperative for children’s growth and learning, made it a job I was happy to accept. Invaluable is an advocate for all forms of artwork, whether it be children’s paintings, or classic fine art.
Exposure to art begins at a very early age, and many people know that such exposure helps to develop the right side of the brain. We’ve all heard of child therapists using art to help children express themselves when they often don’t have the cognitive word skills to do so. Kids, especially, haven’t yet developed the internal self-filter that judges their work. It’s pure, in this sense. And wonderful.
But there are other reasons that exposure to art at an early age can benefit our kids, and I believe are just as important for their future development.
1. Allows for Critical Thinking
Last night my daughters walked into my room as I was watching the Salma Hayek film, Frida. While not a movie made for children, knowing the importance of Frida Khalo to the art world (and to me, personally), I let them hover as the story unfolded.
Questions began to be asked.
“Why did she cut her hair off and paint herself in men’s clothes?”
“How come her eyebrows look like that?
“Why are they tearing down that man’s art work?”
The discussion of who Frida was as a person and how her art reflected her life became an outlet for my daughter’s critical thinking.
“She was sad, and in frustration or anger she chopped off her own hair. Her painting represented how she was feeling. I’m not sure why she wore men’s clothes, but maybe it was because she felt like it represented her mood? Maybe she thought it made her look stronger than she really felt?”
“Frida is almost as famous for her eyebrows as she is for her art. It’s not often that we see a woman with eyebrows that touch in the middle, is it? What do you think of that? Isn’t it cool that she was different, and that she was also so talented!”
“The work they’re tearing down is that of another artist named Diego. The people he was painting the mural for didn’t like it, so they destroyed it. Wouldn’t you be mad? Do you blame him for yelling out in anger?”
The discussion around the film and the art made them think and ask relevant questions. My opinion matters, but so does theirs. A discussion about personal expression, the appearance of someone who looked different, and the rights of expression versus payment for a job were not on my agenda as lessons for the day. The best lessons usually are not.
2. Creates an Understanding of Self
While young children who create art are innocently expressing themselves, for older children the exposure to all kinds of art helps them build opinions of self that couldn’t be formulated otherwise.
Take for example my experience as a child of a mother who valued the arts herself. As a kid I was fortunate to be taken to museums. Wandering through I would pick out pieces that I liked. And we’d talk about why or why not I felt the way I did. These experiences helped formulate my own ideas of what I found beautiful, and not. My mother was a fan of fashion, and so my days of being able to see fashion as an art became one of the reasons that my love for such design exists and has grown with me.
Being exposed to creative thinkers at the Elementary schools I attended helped me to recognize artistic endeavors in other areas not always valued as “art.”
It was in school that I began to recognize that teaching I was an art form in itself. My favorite teacher, Mrs. Clark, who had an energetic and loving way to pass information to her students became the very person I conjured when I grew up and became a teacher with a classroom of my own.
It was exposure to the arts that allowed me to formulate ideas of myself, though I didn’t recognize this at the time. I wanted to teach in a way that inspired. My passion for being passionate about all the things I do was born thanks to the adults around me who let me see the parts of themselves that I had in me, too. As an adult it is my hope to expand on this philosophy making it clear to my own kids that what they feel about a piece of work or a person’s talent says a lot about who they are, and what makes them great.
3. Knowing Your Medium Teaches A Lot About You
A part of the exploration of the artistic self is the discovery of mediums.
In art school I learned quickly that chalk and pencil were not my favorite, but a flat paint called gouache, and paint pens with different tips were wonderful (you never know until you try). Pattern making and draping on fashion figures were fun and exciting, but sewing required more skill than was inherent to me (despite many hours at the machines). As kids are exposed to different mediums they build skills, sometimes with success, other times failing miserably. Both are important parts in the discovery of art, self, and knowledge.
4. Builds an Appreciation for Embracing What’s Different
Let’s face it. In today’s world there’s not a lot of appreciation for what’s different. It’s getting better with the movement toward body positivity and the embrace of individual freedoms, but for a long time (especially when I was growing up in the 80’s; the age of Super Models and over-abundance equating to value) being different wasn’t seen as a plus.
Today, when my kids are bombarded with images in the media they are able to point out the differences and see what makes those differences so special or unique.
Banksy is a good example of an artist who creates his work for the people, with the funds from the sale not going to him directly. This is a very different way for an artist to express himself, and his belief that art is for the people. Of course there are people who don’t agree with that statement (or his talent). And that’s okay, too.
5. Builds an Understanding of History as It Pertains to Today
A visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art was one of the first places I discovered that art is as old as the ages. Head right, into the museum catacombs where the mummies now lie, and chipped bowls and partitions of etched stone are the living reminders of a world that no longer exists.
Did I, and do I love ancient Egyptian art? Not so much. But my appreciation of the history expanded my appreciation of all art.
In college, when I’d finished my figure drawing class and moved onto other courses such as the Fashion History, and even Perspective Drawing where lines on buildings were examined, I learned the foundation for modern day fashions, and sky scraper building. Why weren’t ankles shown pre-Victorian era? How come buildings in the sixties looked so different from those built before? Knowing our art history gives us a better understanding of why things are the way they are today.
5. Opens Eyes to Beauty, Talent, Pain, and Life
Not everything in life is always as we want it to be. Sometimes the things we see make us feel emotions that we aren’t comfortable with, but that teach us lessons we wouldn’t learn otherwise. By allowing children to form opinions about the art that they see, create, like and dislike, we are teaching them about life in itself.
Back to Frida.
As my kids watched the film, which fades between images of her work juxtaposed against the experiences in her life, they could see that the reason for the troubling painting of a bleeding Frida on the bed correlated to a visit to the hospital. Her self-portraits often painted with flowers atop her head were examples of how she presented herself, and what she found beautiful.
The discussions can go on and on when we begin to speak about such things. And for all children, exposing them to the art all around gives them a basis for which they can begin to see the beauty, talent, sometimes sadness and pain that happens in every human life.
Visit Invaluable.com’s Fine Arts page for ongoing auctions, and participate in the discussion by sharing what you find!
I used to think the concept of falling in love was magical. It meant that something dramatic and intense was happening. Like Alice falling down the rabbit hole, winding and lurching toward that thing called love.
But, somewhere along the path my thoughts about this phrase, and our societal view that this is how love happens began to feel like a big, fat (lovely imagery but) untrue lie. It aligns with what I call “pretty princess thinking.” The romantic idea that love is uncontrollable, and out of our hands.
If I were to believe in the term, you could say that since yesterday I’ve “fallen in love” approximately 1000 times.
I’m a sucker for love. I love to feel it. I love to share it. I like to see it grow. I feel it immediately, and not in a Single White Female kind of way.
It’s probably a strange concept to some (especially men) that you could love someone you’ve just met. The idea that you could find things so immensely pleasurable in a person that you suddenly feel excited and happy and filled up in a way that equates to love. Learning about them and liking them more doesn’t mean you’re falling.
Here’s my example.
I recently met a man who is twenty years younger than me (insert cougar joke…go ahead).
I love his face.
I love his brain.
Even the way his pants hang on his frame, for crying out loud.
What’s not to love?
What it doesn’t mean is that I expect any kind of commitment. It doesn’t mean I’m some sort of crazy love freak that’s suddenly going to text him a hundred times a day, have expectations for him that he must love me back, and draw our names inside of hearts, daydreaming about our wedding (right?).
Am I falling in love? Nope.
I already feel it.
Could it grow?
And who cares. I’ve accepted that I don’t have a crystal ball, so I can’t worry about what I think will or will not happen. Though, let us not forget Demi and Ashton.
The truth is I feel love all the time.
Having just come back from the Scholastic book fair with my kids, my heart is full of love from being in a room of excited, emerging readers.
I’m loving the yard guy who just came by to pick up the pine tree branches that had fallen after all of those awful storms.
That sweet check out lady at Target? Love her!
Love is a feeling, like hunger or boredom.
We don’t fall into hunger. We just feel it.
We don’t fall into boredom. We just need to get moving.
And if hate is love’s direct opposite (some would say it’s actually apathy, but hear me out) why don’t we say that we “fall” into that terrible feeling?
When it comes to love between partners it either grows or it doesn’t. No one has control over another person. No one can make someone want to be with them. Love is not something that can be forced, and partnership isn’t required to be complete.
Maybe it has something to do with finding and accepting my own worth? Quite possibly it does.
My ideas about monogamy have changed, but not the part about the love. I’m not sure humans were meant to spend their lives with just one person, but that’s another post, another time.
Commitment is something that is chosen. And when the shit hits the fan, I’m together enough to deal with it on my own. A partner might be nice, but I don’t need one to live a happy life.
We come into the world alone. We die alone. Shouldn’t we love all we can, and teach our children that they must discover the things they love, too?
Look at what happens when you feel it, even if it’s for a second. Your heart lifts and opens because it craves the emotion. It feels good. Begin to generate those feelings and they become as easy as easypeasy. Not worrisome or scary. Living in the moment makes it all ok.
Whether I choose to love a beautiful twenty-something for five minutes or spend every night for the rest of my life alone with Showtime and Ben & Jerry, it’s the one thing I know can crystal-ball predict my future happiness; my capacity for great love.
It hasn’t always been this way, I assure you. With age, life’s traumas and heartbreaks, some wisdom seems to have grown.
It’s a part of my evolution. A part that I’m loving very, very much.
As a girl who’s picky about her boots (and bags and clothes and shapes, etc.), I’m singing joyous songs of praise for my Rag & Bone Newbury boots. Yes, they’re a fortune for a single mom working for her living. Yes, they are tall(ish) for an everyday boot. But, despite this, they’re perfect.
They’re pretty on the feet. The leather is gorgeous. And the heel, which can render a boot a loser or winner, makes the Newburys my newest obsession. I can walk in them. I can move in them. I can dollar cost average their use. And they come in a thousand gorgeous leathers and suedes.
Nordstrom is carrying them, now. Mine are from The Outnet. But, they fly away as fast they appear. So watch the ones you want.
And if you see the golden, sparkled pair in a 39, shoot this girl a message. Will love you forever!
Once upon a time there was a little girl who was born to be good. Her hair was soft and golden as if it had been spun that way. Her skin was just the same. She was quiet when she walked, tiptoeing around to make sure that no noise could upset anyone near.
Stay quiet, she thought. Stay quiet and no one will notice anything but how good I am.
And they noticed.
Teachers praised her for her hand raising and proper penmanship. Adults smiled when she walked past noticing her straightened socks and clean, pressed clothes. More than once strangers stopped her parents with hands to hearts gasping that she was the most beautiful child they’d ever seen. They’d bend down and touch her hand or pet her head and grin and say, “Aren’t you lovely, dear.”
And she was.
One day another girl appeared who also had golden hair and skin and the same goodness which made grown-ups marvel. Her eyes were darker, but when they stood face to face they couldn’t help but notice their similarities.
They decided to be friends.
Side by side they marched along, sometimes holding hands. It was safe there in that space, walking along in shared goodness. But their friendship bore a curiosity, and they wondered what else was hiding on the inside of the other (and ultimately in themselves) that was deeper than what people on the outside believed them to be.
One afternoon, finding themselves alone at the edge of the school yard, they sat hip to hip against a big shady tree. Behind them, oblivious, dirt-covered children played and ran and paid them no mind.
The first girl rested her head on the shoulder of her friend with the dark eyes.
“I think I’d like to kiss you,” she whispered, not moving for fear that she’d be released, and then despised. The fear of losing the connection filled her with such dread that she squeezed her eyes shut as she said it.
In the innocence of youth and her desire to be something different, she meant what she said though she wasn’t sure where it came from, or even why a kiss was the answer.
And so the moment came when their lips met for a quick peck. And the rush of blood swelled the cheeks of both girls and their smiles grew into large and happy grins.
Back to school they walked side by side, not touching, rather sensing a new empowerment that made it easier to walk alone. It was just barely a kiss, but for both they finally understood.
They would always be good, because it was who they were. But the fire that was lit in that second behind the tree taught them both that they were much, much more.
Not bad, necessarily.
Maybe a little bit bad.
But there were deeper parts inside themselves that even they didn’t know existed.
Now they did, and it was bigger than good alone.