Basics: From Day to Night

It’s easy to write off the need for a great, basic clothing item. I’ve always been the girl who valued unique, creative garments over anything standard. Whenever I had a need for a basic piece, I scurried to the closest discount rack to snag a simple white tee or gray tank.

What I didn’t realize was how much I was underestimating the power of a great staple.

I recently read an interview with a designer who explained that “basics” are the hardest items to design. I found that interesting because as a consumer I couldn’t understand what’s so difficult about a plain white tee. But she went on to describe the effort it takes to discover the correct fabric that will hold its shape wash after wash, the perfect dye that won’t fade or discolor and the ideal structure that will look incredible on every body shape.

This designer pointed out what I hadn’t thought of, that basics aren’t able to hide behind the ruffles and frills that trendy pieces can. They don’t have bold prints or intricate details. They’re simple, straightforward, and you will notice their flaws if they’re without great design.

Never is the need for basics more necessary than in autumn. Layering is a must, especially in Nashville. The balmy days greet the chilly evenings with a vengeance. And that screen-printed silk tank just doesn’t cut it when 55° wind is blowing.

Thus, I embarked on my mission to find the perfect basics that could effortlessly transition from day to night during this fickle season.

Enter Groceries Apparel: This delightfully conscious and equally hip company was the answer to my basic clothing prayers.

They not only make their pieces from organic, non-GMO cotton, but they also use natural, veggie-based dyes. And it doesn’t hurt that the founders behind it — Matt Boelk and Rob Lohman — are more passionate about great, ethical designs than a paycheck. Hence the name — it was either start their own business, or buy groceries. They chose wisely.

Browsing their beautiful designs, I quickly zeroed in on what has come to be known in my wardrobe as THE white crop top. I also snagged a remarkable black maxi (made from eucalyptus, which is a surprisingly thick material) and a gray, baseball-style shirt for the man in my life.

We put these garments to the test on a perfect fall day in Tennessee — from the mild afternoon to the breezy night. They more than held up...

groceryapparel-82.jpg

Featuring: Once again, we LOVE Groceries Apparel and so will you! 
Talent: Our very own, Brit Greenquist and her hubby Taylor
Photography: The lovely, Lara Coleman

Combine de Filles

I first saw the Combine de Filles jumpsuits at a pop up in Brooklyn. They stood out to me because the jumpsuits are effortlessly chic and modern. The pieces are high quality, yet they are striking in their simplicity. They are perfect for when you are on the go and can’t be bothered to style a complicated outfit.

The Le Marlène — a nod to the iconic actress Marlene Dietrich from the 1920’s/30’s — is my personal favourite. I love the tuxedo style collar and its timeless design. It’s sexy in a subtle way with the drop neckline accentuating the wearer’s  décolletage. Its versatility gives me the opportunity to wear it on many different occasions.

I also really loved the Le Bleu De Travail. This style stood out to me as the most versatile. I think it would be really fun to wear during fall and winter. Personally, I would style this jumpsuit with converse for a casual urban street style for the day  and then transition it to  evening with a pair of heels.

The designer, Aissatou Marie, is originally from Paris France, but lives in NYC and makes everything to order in Brooklyn. This not only cuts down waste from making large quantities, but allows her to create jumpsuits that fit perfectly. Her jumpsuits are staple pieces that  give you luxury at an affordable cost.

So now that you know what I think, meet Aissatou Marie —

Tapered: Why jumpsuits? What inspired this theme or idea?

Aissatou Marie: It starts with the fact that I’ve always loved jumpsuits. I believe they are the ultimate of cool and can be worn effortlessly in any environment and for any occasion. Designing jumpsuits lets me focus on one thing and put all my efforts into doing it very well.

Tapered: What inspires you as a designer?

Aissatou Marie: I like clean and simple —which is deceptively very difficult to achieve! I like subtlety, nuance and understatement. I design for myself, but I hope that other women can see themselves wearing my designs. I think they portray strength and confidence.

I’m inspired by the everyday –the people and elements that I happen to stumble upon. I am inspired by anything that captures the essence of things, as opposed to the noise around it. Noise creates distractions. I don’t like distractions.

Tapered: What kind of material do you use?

Aissatou Marie: Finding the right fabric for each jumpsuit style is the most challenging task. I aim at using fabrics that provide quality and comfort. I am interested in natural fabrics that are sustainable.  Specifically, my FW16 pieces use wool, tencel and modal. Tencel and modal are semi synthetic fabrics reconstituted from wood cellulose, regenerated from trees.

Tapered: What’s your favorite way to wear them?

Aissatou Marie: All of the above, honestly! I like to explicitly play with the versatility a jumpsuit can offer. I can wear a jumpsuit at work, on the weekend, or a night out. I like the idea of creating a contrast. For example, I would accessorize a jumpsuit that has more of an evening feel with a pair of flat oxfords, or even beat up sneakers.

Photographer: Shot on film by, Cary Fagan // Shot at Be Electric Studios   |    Model: Katrina Spencer    |    Art Direction: Our very own, Megan Fisher / featuring jumpsuits made in Brooklyn by Combine de Filles    |   Shoes: Gray Matters    |    Jewelry: hoop earrings by A.M. Thorne Jewelry //drop earrings (look 1) by Tuleste // ring by Ginette NY   |   Coats: Vintage Fur coat from Vanhees Vintage // long overcoat from Marche Rue Dix

 

All The Wild Roses

Hang Osment-le

Hang Osment-le

When I met Hang in Australia for the first time, I was blown away by her energy and the passion she exudes. I could have sat for hours listening and learning. That said, sharing our conversation is difficult. It’s like I just ate a 7 course meal and I only have time talk about one bite. I can tell you one thing for sure, this will not be the first time you hear about Hang and All The Wild Roses, so for now, let me just introduce you.

Hang was born and raised in Australia, but native Vietnamese, so when she turned 19 she ventured to Vietnam to experience her roots and meet her extended family for the first time. What she didn’t realize at the time was that this trip would become more than a family reunion.

Beyond connecting with family and the beautiful sites, Hang was moved by their resilience and determination despite the lack of opportunities, and let’s be honest, the lack of pay. Her relatives worked as seamstresses in the local village, but resources were scarce, education was self taught, and their access to markets slim to none.

Over the years, Hang worked with her relatives, sending them vintage garments to repair, supplying them with new equipment, teaching them more skilled needlework, and eventually designing and commissioning them to make garments for All The Wild Roses

It’s not uncommon for brands to employ people in countries that don’t have very many opportunities, but Hang doesn't employ them, she is empowering them. She is investing in their future and in effect their community. 

I love this quote on their site, 

Our wild rose is a wandering soul; she leads with her heart in all she does and is a carefree mix of natural and effortless style full of love. 
She is ‘wild’ because she has courage to go her own way in search of her dreams, unbound by tradition and dares to venture off the beaten track.”

It’s purpose is to define the style and elegance of her brand, but I think that it really defines Hang. She could have left Vietnam unfazed, or she could have left overwhelmed and helpless, but her determination to help has changed her family’s life. 

Have you ever met someone so captivating and courageous that a mere descriptive sentence has the inability to do their life justice? Or they just leave you sort of speechless? I have met a few… but this one left me changed.

PS. Spring is upon us... if you live in Australia. So be sure the check out and pre-order their capsule spring collection (coming soon). Take a look at their site here.

Images above are provided by All The Wild Roses

Sweet Dreams.

All images provided by  noctu

All images provided by noctu

I often feel giddy when my head finally hits the pillow at night. I mean who doesn’t like to fully relax and rejuvenate their bodies? But more than that, I enjoy being cozy. I have a solid relaxation routine:  set the thermostat to cold, bury myself under blankets and immerse myself into a sea of pillows. I experience immediate contentment as I drift away.

The only way to amplify this bliss is to throw in a  memory foam mattress, high quality  cotton sheets, a splash of lavender oil, and something unbelievably comfortable to sleep in.

I don’t consider this high maintenance, I consider it sanity.

But seriously, how amazing does soft, luxurious organic cotton pajamas sound?

Meet Noctu. A brand dedicated to making beautiful night and loungewear with high quality organic cotton. Their minimal style and soft material makes for the perfect night of endless sleep.

Plus, you can totally wear their garments to the post office or the movie theater (or EVERYWHERE) without shame. They’re that spectacular.

Sweet dreams. 
Or as Noctu would say, sleep softly,
— Amy

“Take my hand and I will lead the way. 
Through the fjords where the night is day.
A special place where the sun does not set.
A land where mountains silhouette.
A place for those who dare to dream.
The land of the midnight sun.”
— Noctu

 

To purchase your own cozy nightwear, or to read more about Noctu and their ethics, visit their site here.

We Are Nomads

Brooke Morgan Image by: Rebekah Gibbs

Brooke Morgan
Image by: Rebekah Gibbs

One of the unforgettable experiences that comes with traveling abroad is wandering through a market full of local artisans selling their jewelry, textiles, or furniture — there is nothing like bringing home a staple item to display in your home or on your person. It’s one of those conversational pieces that came from somewhere and was handmade by someone; it has a story that gives it a value beyond the cost of purchase.

Artist and design enthusiast, Brooke Morgan, has an eye for finding such treasures. Influenced by her nomad grandparents, Brooke is intentional about supporting local artists during her travels. One such occasion was in Kenya, when Brooke was approached by a man selling sheep skins on the side of the road. When she saw his desperation, and the obvious lack of resources for income, she began to look for ways she could help on a broader scale.


This was the beginning and the foundation of Nomad Collective — an avenue that links artists to the modern marketplace. But beyond the inventory, Nomad Collective creates a platform for undiscovered artists and artisans to be seen, supported, and valued. Since her launch in 2014, Brooke has collected and sold several custom textiles, timeless vintage finds, handmade jewelry, one of a kind rugs, and beautiful wooden bowls sourced from all over the world. Her mission is encapsulated by her motto, “We are friends. We are family. We are Nomads.”

Shop their inventory here.

A Girl and Her Dress

The intent of a dress is no different than any other garment — it exists to clothe. However, in our modern society, a dress worn for the wrong occasion has become a sort of faux pas. Particularly dresses that are labelled "couture," "formal" or simply "too fancy." 

So I'm proposing a reformation — one where ordinary women, living normal lives, take back fancy gowns and sport them confidently for no other reason than to bring the wearer joy. Joy should never be reserved for "formal occasions," but rather relished in the simplistic every day.

One designer passionate about this very revelation is Robyn Mitchell, a brilliant creative behind Abel Wear — a conscious clothing company that hires local individuals facing employment barriers. Recently, Robyn teamed up with photographer Kent Kercher and model/stylist Megan Fisher to document dresses she designed and hand painted for her final project at Parsons School of Design. 

"I want to create clothes that aren't trying too hard to be clothes while making women feel special," Robyn said. "The looks weren't connected to a theme. I think because I want to make clothes that look special, they often end up being for 'special' occasions, parties, etc. However, my hope is one day women will just wear whatever makes them feel special and amazing regardless of the occasion." 

Robyn wasn't the only one with this mindset, as Megan said of the photoshoot, "It shows the versatility that these handmade couture dresses can be worn walking around grungy Bushwick, in the subway, or at a classy cocktail bar, which is far more approachable to women these days in our multi-faceted every day lives." 

With the backdrop of Brooklyn's colorful neighborhoods, Robyn, Megan and Kent captured a day in the life of a girl and her dresses. 

Film PHOTOS:   KENT KERCHER

Film PHOTOS: KENT KERCHER