GIVEAWAY | Upstate Sarong

I am such a fan of Brooklyn-based Upstate and their hand-dyed wares, I have one of their kimonos and constantly get compliments when I wear it. Their clothing and accessories just add that perfect pop of rich color and pattern. So, I can't think of a better accessory to bridge the gap from summer to fall than one of their raw silk sarongs ($225), which can be used as a beach sarong, beach towel, a scarf, a picnic blanket, bed cover, whatever you want!  It's super multi-functional, 44" x 76", and we love each one of the seven colors they come in.

To enter to win a sarong of your choice: leave a comment below and tell us how you'd wear it or use it, and take a peek at the Upstate Instagram feed while you're at it—cool stuff going over there. Winner will be picked at random tomorrow (9/15) at 6:30pm PST. Good luck!

ARTIFACT | Gertrude Ederle's Swimming Goggles

Photo of the swimming goggles worn by Gertrude Ederle, the first woman to swim across the English Channel in 1926 via The National Museum of American History.

With the crazy heat we're having in L.A., I happily spent some downtime indoors, and a solid chunk of that time was spent looking through the collections of the National Museum of American History. I don't know how I found Gertrude Ederle's goggles, but I quickly became in awe of them and her. Ederle swam the English Channel in August of 1926, and not only was she was the first woman to complete the swim that just five men had been able to do before her, but she also broke the time record by almost two hours. The goggles really tell that story visually I thought. The way the museum makes their collection photos available online is pretty great, if you can't bring yourself to the museum, bring the museum to you. Some other artifacts of interest: Women's Suffrage flag, Teddy Roosevelt's bottle opener, a Stetson, an old pair of Keds, a piece of the Berlin Wall, and Althea Gibson's tennis outfit.

GEAR | Tomboy Style x Paper Chase Luggage Tags

Photos by Katrina Dickson.

You may remember a recent post about the Los Angeles paper press Paper Chase, a second generation printer founded in Los Angeles in 1976. Some time after that studio visit and before Nicole asked if I wanted to collaborate as part of their Paper Cuts series (T Magazine blurbed about it when it launched), I came up with an idea to make luggage tags based on old designs of legacy and now bygone airlines. Airline logos, and even more specifically luggage tags and gate check tags, have been something I've collected for a little while—so the opportunity to create customizable tags with Paper Chase seemed like absolute kismet.

I based the designs off of three old tags, one Swiss Air and two KLM tags. You can probably spot two of them in the above photo. The red one (which I think might be my favorite) is based on an old KLM Airline tag, and the Paper Chase version similarly includes three numbers across the top—but instead of just printing a random string of six numbers, we subbed in the atomic numbers for silver, gold, and platinum as a play on airline status brackets (nerd nerd nerd alert!).

Each tag is customizable, front and back (and don't worry, that's not my real address or phone), you can monogram, add your last name, business, or whatever  you'd like. The tags are tied with waxed cotton stings and are printed double thick with colored edges and matte lamination. Get 'em while they're hot >>> Tomboy Style x Paper Chase luggage tags ($25 for a set of five).

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MOMENT | Gap's "Dress Normal" Campaign

The Gap has recently released four videos directed by Academy Award-winning director  David Fincher in conjunction with their "Dress Normal" campaign. I went on CNN on Tuesday morning (it's not online, thankfully!) to discuss the idea behind the campaign and the #normcore trend. Initially you might think there's nothing simpler than an idea of "dressing normal", but when filtered through blogs and magazines, opinion pieces and branding, it can quickly become really complicated. Is it a statement of defiance? Is it a joke? Is it oblivious conformity? Is it a reaction to labels? Is it a reaction to the escalation of unattainable fashion? Is it 90s nostalgia? It it about practicality? All of the above? What came first, the chicken or the egg? Why don't you just tell me the name of the movie you selected? Although thinking deeply about normcore is not my idea of a good time, I think these videos are really smart, light, and fun, and their tag lines are definitely playing into the idea's complexity:

Let your actions speak louder than your clothes.
The uniform of rebellion. And conformity.
Simple clothes for you to complicate.
Dress like no one's watching.

Here are the two other campaign videos: Kiss and Stairs. And just in case the song Wait A Minute by The Newday gets stuck in your head from the top video, here's the full song.

p.s. Just a quick PSA: I will repost the luggage tag collab that was up last night and this morning, tomorrow. I lost track of the date when I scheduled it earlier this week and took it down this morning out of respect for 9/11 victims and their families—it was the wrong thing to be celebrating on such a hallowed day for the country and New York City.

ICON | Bernice Bing

Photos of Bernice Bing via Mythos Fine Art & Artifacts (above) and The Asian-American Women Artists Association (below).

"I do believe that one of the reasons she was able to garner a one-woman show at the Batman Gallery was because of her fearless large-scale canvases, similar to what her male-counterparts were producing. Bing was a fierce painter and she could hold her own. In this bohemian milieu, the masculine world of the literati and the male subjectivity of Abstract Expressionism dominated."—Jen Banta as told to Layla Gibbon for the City Lights blog. 

Check out the full interview here, an insight into a underrated artist and the prejudice that occurred within the Beatnik/Avant Garde circles of the 1950s and 60s.

[Thank you Layla, for bringing "Bingo" into my consciousness.]

GEAR | Woolrich Footwear

You may be familiar with Woolrich because it has been the longest continuously running woolen mill in the United States. From what began in 1830, a woolen mill built in Plum Run, Pennsylvania that created fabrics for loggers, trappers, miners, and rivermen and then sold out of a mule cart, has grown and evolved over eight generations. This season the heritage brand launches its very first footwear collection for men and women with the same ethos and dedication to authenticity as they did 180 years ago. The wool fabrics that line Woolrich shoes start out in the same way as they always do, as simple bales of raw wool. The new women's footwear line includes several micro-collections, but the one that drew me in first was unsurprisingly their Tomboy Collection, including the Dead Eye Boot ($300) which I took for a test spin this weekend. Comfortable, functional, sturdy, and warm—a good solid pair of kickers.

ACE | Megan McIsaac

Megan McIsaac is a fixture in the creative scene of L.A., the founder of the community Inspired Women of Los Angeles, and a force in the photography world. McIsaac reminds us that there are photographers who can frame a well-composed shot, and there photographers that are real artists who can capture something with a camera that's hard to describe. I was combing through her portraits (many, if not all of them, shot on film) over the weekend and lingered there for what felt like all Sunday morning.

SCENE | Julia Leach's Guide to Los Angeles

Photos by Andrew Southam.

Designer Julia Leach launched her label Chance right around the same time when I started Tomboy Style. We found each other as kindred spirits on the Internet and quickly became e-mail pen pals, comparing notes as two Midwestern tomboys living on the coasts sussing out the style and definition of the 21st century tomboy. I did that by writing a blog, Julia, by designing a collection of timeless items anchored by a fresh interpretation of the striped t-shirt. Chance marries classic aesthetics with a modern point-of-view on the world, and I can't tell you how many things I've found from her posted discoveries on the Chance site—from bands to artists to key chains. It was a prefect thrill to collaborate with her and photographer Andrew Southam for a Condé Nast Traveler story that outlines Julia's guide to Los Angeles. She lives here part time with her boyfriend, so knows the city well, but still has a visitor's sense of discovery—an insider/outsider. This unique hybrid that Julia envelopes allows for a guide that doesn't overlook the classic staples that make L.A. so L.A. but also includes the lesser known and harder-to-find beacons of Los Angeles culture. The entire guide is online here (or if you're into print, you can find it in the September issue on stands now). Below are some unpublished photos from a day spent driving around town in a chocolate brown vintage Benz.

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UNIFORM | M-1951 Field Jacket

So, OK, I've been watching a lot of the high school cult-favorite Freaks and Geeks lately. Set in a Detroit suburb in 1980, but airing for just one season in 1999 (my junior year, but somehow I totally missed it...I know, I know!), this early Judd Apatow sitcom is quickly climbing into my top ten. It's no shocker if you've seen the show that I'm obsessed with the lead character Lindsay Weir. Mostly it's her cool girl personality, but also because of the fact that she wears her dad's military jacket every single day. It's mentioned in the show that the jacket is from the Korean War, so I did a little research. Looks like it's probably the M-1951 Field Jacket, issued from 1951-1965. There are a bunch available on Etsy and eBay if you're into vintage, but if you're not into vintage, Alpha Industries makes some great military reproductions including the M-65 Field Coat ($150) in both a regular and slim fit (the M-1965 was the M-1951's next and very similar iteration). Further browsing on Alpha Industries led me to this women's M-A1 flight jacket ($125), that looks pretttttty cool too. I think Weir would approve.

WORD | Forager

Discovering this new book Forager: A Subjective Guide to Miami's Edible Plants ($25) really tickled me. Is it totally relevant to me specifically? No. Do I love it? Yes. The imagery is so beautiful and the concept is so wonderfully old-fashioned. The idea of foraging is a bit mischievous and as it requires climbing trees and being in nature, ripe (get it????) for tomboy style—which is abundant in the book. I found myself discovering new things about plants I see when I walk my dog, and pouring over the plants that grow nowhere near here, because it was almost like reading a travel book about South Florida. As authors Tiffany Noé and George Echevarria note in the introduction, "it is a specific version of where we live, a way to see through Miami's infinite possibilities by noticing some of the oldest features of a constantly changing landscape."

DIALOGUE | Urban Gentrification

Photo of San Francisco circa 1958 via Shorpy.

Gentrification came up a few times in smart comments from last week's post Snark is the New Black in response to the McSweeny's article about "Hirl" (a bald critique of Sqirl Cafe). The comments really made me think about the concept. Here's one comment in particular:

The only thing I will say, in regards to Hirl, is that gentrification is a really damaging process. Essentially, people from a higher socioeconomic class start raising the overall cost of rent in a certain area, so the poorer natives are eventually pushed out of their own neighborhoods. It doesn't improve poverty--it shuffles out the impoverished, and turns their neighborhoods into playgrounds for people using hip urbanism to pretend they come from a rough part of town. So I can understand the critique on Hirl, even if it has a mean-edged sarcasm to it.

In theory, it doesn't take much thought to be against the negative side effects of gentrification. In practice though, I'm confused as to how the individual or sole-proprietor should take action.  In other words, if I were to open up a shop and didn't want to overpay on rent, should I still decide to open elsewhere where the rent is 5x higher in a neighborhood where a majority of residents have a similar socioeconomic background to my projected customers? Or taking it further, if I can't afford to do that, should I decide not to open a shop at all? Are we to draw lines on maps and decide that certain people should only live and operate businesses in certain neighborhoods from here on out? These aren't rhetorical questions, I'm really asking and really interested to hear people's opinions on this.

Considering what I post on this blog, I'd be a hypocrite if I railed against gentrification and continued to feature small new shops popping up in, say, Echo Park. I'm against the rising rents and increased property taxes and most of all people being displaced, but how do we change that while also believing urban landscapes are ever-changing and cities aren't static entities? So, again, I feel a little stuck on this one and would love to hear more thoughts.

MOMENT | Labor Day

Flag images via East Surf Co.

Have a great long summer weekend, wear the hell outta dem white jeans.

WKND extras:

i-D ran a piece called The Tomboy Dilemma last week commenting on the imperfection of the word tomboy—which we've discussed here as well.

My top five tomboy icons from the Tomboy Style book featured on the Urban Outfitters blog. has a fresh new website and Golly Magazine has a fresh first issue that's hot off the presses.

Exciting things coming next week!

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NOISE | 7 Heures du Matin by Jacqueline Taïeb

For some lighter blog fare, a French pop song from 1967 about a teenage girl who is in love with Paul McCartney.

MOMENT | Snark is the New Black

Photo of Julia Louis-Dreyfus* from SNL by Alan Singer, 1983.

Is it me or has anyone else been feeling that the Internet has gotten even more negative than its usual cranky self? Here are a few recent observations: The ALS ice bucket challenge goes viral, raises millions and millions to fight a horrible disease, and yet Slate runs a pious story that points out a lot of the participants are probably spending more money on bagged ice than on ALS research (as if). 13 year old Mo'ne Davis is the first girl to pitch a shutout in the Little League World Series, and so many ugly comments come out, including a guy on Twitter with 91,000 followers who said: Mo'ne Davis will get knocked up by one of her teammates within the next 3 years. It gets favorited 141 times, retweeted 72 times. An award-winning unbelievably talented chef (who happens to be a nice person and decent human being) starts a jam company out of the trunk of her car, then grows to open an incredibly successful restaurant in a gentrifying Los Angeles neighborhood and McSweeny's tears it down with satire that is so farfetched it's comical. I recently went to a movie and noticed two guys next to us laughing hysterically at all the parts I was. By chance, we all ended up at the same restaurant afterwards and they said hi and asked if I liked the movie. I said (thinking it was obvious by our collective guttural reactions), "Yeah, I loved it, you?" His response, "No. We did not care for it."

Has it become so incredibly out of vogue to just earnestly like something good? Sorry for the after school special tone, but this is all making me depressed. I'm guilty for my share (and more) of eye rolls, so I'm very much saying this to myself as well, but I think it's worth stating that it's not easy to open a restaurant, be a girl in the Little League World Series, start a magazine, produce a movie that makes you laugh for an hour and a half, put out an album, or start something that the world cares about. It is easy, however, to craft a snarky tweet or a nasty comment with almost complete anonymity. No we shouldn't be robotic in praise, and yes criticism is a sign you've "arrived", but I feel like we're starting to create a culture that praises the hate of art more than the actual creation of art.

*Julia Louis-Dreyfus is awesome.

Update: The New York Times also covered this topic (with more research and reporting, obviously) just this weekend. Thanks for the tip, Lite + Cycle!