Launched just one month ago, Gamine Co. out of Boston, Massachusetts is creating workwear for women. Thoughtful, considered, high-quality workwear. For women. The company is new and tiny, but this is a big deal.
Gamine workwear is the brainchild of Taylor Johnston, the head horticulturist at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. If you've ever stepped foot in this museum, you know. It is one of New England's ultimate public treasures. Johnston has always loved using her hands and being around plants and when she moved from Maryland to Boston she fell in love with the austere way of dressing in New England. "It's all about 800 year old L.L. Bean everything," Johnston said to me over the phone.
After exhausting brand after brand after brand, from Carhartt to Japanese denim, to vintage Madewell, and not finding clothing for women that fit well, looked smart, and could hold up to her job's demands, she decided to put her head down and make it herself.
Two years later, Gamine Co. was born. Johnston worked with a star pattern maker from Levi's, the oldest American workwear manufacturer L.C. King Mfg. Co. (which makes Pointer Brand), and Cone Denim's White Oak mill in North Carolina. That's a lot of American heritage name dropping right there! After extensive field trials, Gamine's first product, their Slim Slouch Dungaree ($150) was released. It's made from 13 oz. raw, redline selvage denim and is built to take abuse and get better looking with age. What I love about Taylor is her dedication to the strong tradition of American-made workwear, she doesn't want to merely imitate it and add to the waste pile, she wants to add something honest and good. And she is.
Gamine has also worked on a collaboration with one of my favorite t-shirt makers, Jungmaven, and has another denim fit coming down the pike as well. Exciting things to follow!
The incredibly thoughtful and generous Robyn Wilson (of Poor Porker fame) recently sent me a 1929 Corey Ford book called Salt Water Taffy. I was struck by the sentiment, she pointed out how great the photos were and I flipped through and smiled. I thought it would end up being a little design accent I'd place on my shelf, but I started reading it and couldn't put it down. It's turned out to be my favorite read of the summer. It's a lampoon of a motherless baby that grows up on a boat full of sailor men and writes an autobiography. If you're looking for something, umm, different when it comes to beach reads, this is it.
"Why you wouldn't believe it, ma'am, before that there dainty sea-robin come aboard, there wasn't one of us sailors that really knew how to cuss. We was just about as innocent a bunch of old shell-backs as ever reefed a gaff tops'l. She learned us how to swear ma'am. She learned us all the bad words we ever knew, bless 'er heart. She taught us how to drink, too, an' play poker, an' spit...I daresay there ain't a more hard-boiled crew afloat today...an' its all due to Skipper June."
Ever since the Brooklyn-based accessories brand GREI. launched in 2011, I was an immediate fan. I'm so happy they've been growing and producing bigger collections because it's all so good. They've got such an acute aesthetic, and I love how practical it all is. Recently the boys behind GREI., who have to be the nicest guys in fashion, collaborated with TSE Cashmere (pronounced "say"), the long-time luxury cashmere brand, on a four-piece bandana capsule. As a bandana wearer, I'm happy to see the emergence of the "grown up bandana". These bandanas (made from cotton, not cashmere) are sophisticated but still understated. The collab bandanas aren't available online, but you can find them in TSE stores around the globe. In the US, that's: New York, San Francisco, and Lake Forest, Illinois.
Photos of Lisa Przystup at Farmhand Flowers by Emma Tuccillo.
So excited to share this Q&A of Brooklyn-based florist Lisa Przystup of James's Daughter Flowers. Since I can remember, I've always loved flower shops. That wave of humidity that hits you when you walk in the front door, the fresh smell, the brown craft paper, the twine, the utilitarian boots, aprons, and pocket knives—all the cool gear that goes along with the trade. Lisa really knows how to put that all together into some fantastic tomboy style, and arrange other things too, you know, like flowers.
If not in Brooklyn, I would live...somewhere in Upstate New York.
My dream vacation would be to...have three months off to explore The West. To sit and be in one place in peace and quiet—just me, my man, and a porch somewhere with an uninterrupted view of the sky. If a dog showed up that’d be okay by me too.
My current obsessions are...
Food: Whole grilled trout with lemons, garlic, and rosemary. Grilled peaches with vanilla ice cream. Cherries.
Music: My fiancé, The Bones of J.R. Jones just released his first LP, Dark Was The Yearling—I’m sure I’m biased but I think it’s damn good. Also: Hurray For The Riff Raff, the soundtrack to Ain’t Them Bodies Saints is emotionally epic in its sparse simplicity, I’ve also been listening to Sharon Van Etten’s song, Every Time the Sun Comes Up, Sylvan Esso is great summer music, and Neko Case, always and forever.
Fashion: Any and all high-waisted jeans. The perfect white t-shirt—mine happens to be worn to threads so I’m on the hunt for a new one. Woven straw summer hats (I hit a new low this spring and bought the same hat twice without realizing it). I’ve been stalking “vintage linen” on Etsy for easy summer dresses and have been dying to find a pair of high-waisted white linen pants. And clogs. Not sure if Dansko clogs count as fashion but I developed a dependence on them as a waitress and they serve me just as well as a florist—they are the ultimate in ugly comfort.
Retail Stores: eBay and Etsy for vintage clothing and I’ve found some of my most favorite pieces digging through my mother’s closet and my old high-school wardrobe. There are so many talented designers and thoughtfully-curated boutiques like Need Supply Co., Mohawk General, Totokaelo, and Westerlind, that I find that most of my sartorial needs are satisfied with the click of a trackpad. I’m also lucky enough to have gotten to know some really wonderful local designers— my friend Ilana Kohn makes the best soft and loose tomboy-inspired pieces. I collaborated with Kalen Kaminski (one half of the Brooklyn-based label Upstate) on a shoot and fell in love with her stunning hand-dyed Shibori pieces. Other brands on my list: Mollusk, Jungmaven, No. 6, Steven Alan, Rachel Comey, and Madewell is practically a permanent tab on my computer.
I channel my childhood self when I...watch fireworks. See a shooting star.
The fictional character I most relate to is…Ferdinand the Bull.
If I had to be outdoors all day I would...be happy as a clam. Beachside preferred, but I’ll take a quiet swath of green any day, all day.
My favorite quality in a man is...the ability to make me laugh and a fierce loyalty.
My favorite quality in a woman is...the ability to make me laugh and a fierce loyalty.
I'm terrified of...bed bugs, flying cockroaches, and failure.
My dream car is a...vintage Bronco. Or a vintage Mercedes Benz 450SL, whichever comes first.
My cocktail of choice is...a Gin Gimlet in the summer, an Old Fashioned in the winter.
My celebrity crush is...Ira Glass.
My beauty product of choice is...Bumble and Bumble Surf Spray and chapstick.
My friends and I like to...cook together and beach together.
If I could go back in time for one decade it would be...I don’t do very well with change, think I’ll stick to 2014 for now.
As a teenager I was totally into...Nirvana, The Catcher in the Rye, Christian Slater, feeling misunderstood, and buying Vogue against my mother’s will.
I tend to splurge on...jeans, shoes, and travel.
A heavy dependence on jeans and white t-shirts—that, and a sharp pair of clippers...is what makes me have Tomboy Style.
I wrote a story for Vogue.com that was published yesterday about why a diamond engagement ring isn't for me. I've been married for almost five years, but it took a recent burglary to really think hard about why I never wore my ring. In one regard, it's an aesthetic choice, I lean more minimal and masculine in style. On the other hand, it's a weightier decision that questions the idea of status and politics and feminism. There's so much nuance that surrounds these decisions: tradition, families, politics, culture, and it's all so hugely personal. There's certainly not a wrong or a right way, but if you're interested, here's my story. Would love to know what your take is too.
Once in a while I come across someone else's story and it makes me want to drop everything. Mary Hall's is one of them. Before she met her boyfriend, she always dreamed of experiencing America on an undetermined route. She wanted to ramble and roll along the roads of this country really taking the time to soak it in, on bikes, on foot, on surfboards. Her boyfriend Adam shared the same dream, so after dating for six months, they committed to seeing it all through. Two years after they made the pact, they had restored a 1971 Shasta trailer named Lucille and left their 9-5 jobs with all the savings they could muster. The photo journal they keep is almost too much (if you're on the edge of quitting your job and need a nudge, it might set you over), but in addition to the photos Mary has curated a shop based on their finds from town to town and sells her treasures online. I'm looking forward to following Mary and Adam as they continue to make us all jealous in front of our computer screens.
Photo by Autumn de Wilde via NPR.
I'm such a fan of Jenny Lewis, so it's no surprise this isn't the first time she's been on the blog, but her new album The Voyager comes out next Tuesday, but exclusively available for a first listen on NPR; Ann Powers wrote up the album so perfectly for that I have nothing really to add except that it's crazy good. Her video for Just One Of The Guys, a collaboration with Beck, is kind of hilarious and seems more than apt for Tomboy Style.
For school children of India, the Bata Tennis shoe is ubiquitous. It was introduced in 1936 for Physical Education classes and has since been a favorite. Bata, which was founded in 1894 by Thomas Bata, is celebrating their 120th anniversary this year, part of which involves the re-release of the classic white canvas Bata Tennis shoe ($60) and two new colorways. The shoes are still manufactured in the original factory near Calcutta which Bata opened in 1934 to help fulfill the founder's ambition to "shoe mankind". Bata not only pioneered several shoemaking techniques, but the family company is also known for their corporate responsibility. Owning a pair of Batas feels a little like owning a piece of history, and they look as relevant as anything else on the market.
As part of the relaunch, Bata created this video of the manufacturing process. [Thanks Knit Wit].
Photo of Doreen Evans at Brooklands in 1936 via Flashbak (found via the Hand-Eye Supply blog).
Wanted to say how incredible all the comments were on Monday's post on feminism, you guys are the best. The best.
Favorite new tunes by the band Mt. Si.
Check out the Kickstarter for a book called LOLA that promotes healthy and sustainable choices for girls.
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There are a handful of contemporary shops and designers that have drilled down into a certain analog simplistic utilitarian aesthetic. The output is good design of often now-overlooked simple products, products like rulers, hooks, axes, lamps and tools that don't seem to be ubiquitously designed with integrity or thought anymore. Shops and designers that celebrate, interpret, or create this style in at least some manner that come to mind are: Kiosk, Best Made, School House Electric, Kaufmann Mercantile, Scout Regalia, Brook Farm General Store, and now Hand-Eye Supply. They've been open in Portland since 2010, but never crossed my radar. I found them today while stumbling onto their site looking for Japanese tool boxes (as one does), and love their collection of utilitarian but well-designed products—even their crowbar is cool looking. It's as if they've scoured all the hardware stores all over the world and created the ultimate hardware store edit. Hand-Eye Supply, I'm a fan.
There's not much I like to nerd out on more than the intersection of history and fashion, so when Andrea Westerlind showed me her label's new Derby shoes for men and women, I got pretty excited! The Westerlind Derby shoe ($249) is inspired by a vintage pair of American military officer's shoes made in 1947. The Westerlind replica is made to the exact military specifications as the original from full grain cow leather—I wish you could smell these shoes out of the box...so good. While these shoes may look a touch plain for the world of women's footwear, I assure you that once on, they are really something nice. Elegant in their understatement, and a perfect pairing with white denim.
This is mostly a style blog, but this weekend I was lured in by a click bait post called 14 Women Who Don't Need Feminism and I felt the need to comment here. It made me aware of a Facebook page with 3000+ likes called Women Against Feminism. One thing is clear: there's real disagreement on the connotation and definition of the word feminism. It reminded me of watching the Makers documentary last year where Marissa Mayer, the first female engineer at Google and current CEO of Yahoo said matter-of-factly, "I don't think I would consider myself a feminist." She went on to say, "I certainly believe in equal rights and believe women to be just as capable if not more so in a lot of different dimensions, but I don't have the militant drive and the chip on the shoulder that sometimes comes with that." That really made me pause. There are still women, even extremely successful business-minded women, who are seemingly afraid of identifying with the word feminist because they see it as a negative.
Feminism isn't about style choices. It's not about hating men. It's not about sexuality. It's really at its core about believing that men and women should have equal rights. I'm a feminist. My husband's a feminist. My dad's a feminist. President Obama is a feminist. If you're afraid of identifying as a feminist because you think that makes you a "bitch" or a "slut" or a "man hater" or associates you with a political party (as suggested by many of the 14 Women Who Don't Need Feminism), then you're letting someone else define you. We've come a long way in this country as we near the centennial anniversary of the women's right to vote, but equality doesn't just land in people's laps and sit safely there for eternity, we have to protect it and foster it as it evolves—there are plenty of nations around the globe that prove women can be considered and treated as second class citizens.
Don't be afraid to be a feminist.
[Related: A post from a few years ago on the word tomboy.]
Good looking, subtly fashionable, totally durable, and a good buy. There's not much else to say about Smith's Marvine (above) and Mt. Shasta (below) sunglasses ($80-$119), they're great shades with just a touch of a vintage silhouette. They're the type of sunglasses that won't get in the way of your outdoor summer adventures.
Have a great weekend!
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