From denim jeans to velvet dresses, the Native + Nomad boutique in Nashville, TN is a great place to find American made clothes...Read More
Just beyond the horizon is spring. When the flowers blossom, green leaves adorn every tree and white dresses trimmed with lace are the centerpiece of every weekend. That’s right ladies and gentlemen, it’s almost wedding season — the time when those iconic dresses finally make their grand entrance. Whether it’s a simple elegance or a loud proclamation, the layers of lace, beading, bustling, and bows that go into making a wedding dress are important. Check out these beautiful handcrafted dresses by Truvelle.Read More
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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...
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
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.