Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Willkommen and About

Hello! It's Fern. I've always had a penchant for classic clothing and accessories. I managed to get through childhood wearing very few dresses, skirts and dress shoes. In junior high, I received a Muji canvas tote with leather handles from my aunt in Japan. The simplicity and ruggedness of it amazed me, and it quickly became my favorite bag. When shopping at the limited selection that is the mall, I always wished the boys and mens selection at Gap fit me, especially the plain knit sweaters. My brother was 5 years younger, and I would borrow an old blazer or oxford shirt from his closet on occasion. (The only thing that taught me was that boys' clothing is not flattering on women- too boxy.) In high school, while the girls were wearing boot cut jeans and the guys baggy cargo pants, I snagged a pair of slim, tapered cotton dress pants at Banana Republic and wore them all the time with pride. Needless to say, I was very relieved when skinny jeans later caught on. Legs are beautiful. Jewelry and makeup deeply confused me, so I generally steered clear. Trends in girl's clothes seemed so silly and awkward to me, and I had no desire to spend all of my allowance to look dated in a few months. So many dollars have been spent and some wasted (due to wrong sizing!) on Ebay, where I used to spend hours searching for vintage Pendleton wool coats, equestrian boots, jodphur boots, cycling caps, anoraks, Icelandic sweaters, and whatever else I could not find at the mall. Thank god for the internet!

Fast forward to today. I'm now in my mid-twenties and although I've gotten the business casual look down and I managed to build a wardrobe feminine enough that satisfies my husband, my true sartorial passion lies elsewhere. Right now, I'm mostly loving the new Americana look dominating the blog scene. But it has made me sad to not be able to find a 60/40 mountain parka, Crescent Down Works jacket, Barbour Bedale jacket, vintage wafflestomper boots, etc. that will fit my small frame and feet. Accessories are much easier to come by, though. Because of this, that may be a main focus of this blog. I realize that this is a trend, and all trends eventually face universal disdain and crawl into a dark hole to die, but I strongly feel that there are some useful takeaways. Hopefully, we as consumers will learn to buy less, but buy high quality goods that will last a lifetime. I support buying American and buying handmade within practical considerations, even if it means shelling out many more cashdollars. I suspect that I will also blog about items made overseas, if only to highlight a particular design that doesn't currently have an American-manufactured analog. So please bear with me on that.

Another hope is that the market will be more responsive to our subset and make clothing and accessories for women who aren't "girly" and want simple and/or classic makes. I am seeing this spirit in women-founded labels such as Keep Company, Marais USA, and Current/Elliott. This is also reflected in well-established clothing lines like Steven Alan and APC, but I don't like to obsess over items I would not be able to afford on a regular basis. (Even if my salary rose accordingly, I doubt I would ever feel comfortable dropping $100 on a shirt.) I had high hopes for the LL Bean Signature line, but the majority of their women's line is mired in insipid designs. I feel that over the past few years, American Apparel has done a splendid job of branching out from t-shirts and undergarments to introducing mostly affordable unisex classic pieces, such as the fitted oxford shirt. People like to ride the hipster backlash by giving them a hard time for their salacious ads and heavy 80's inspiration (self-congratulation much?), but I think they are missing out.

My goal in contributing to this blog is to show other women with similar tastes that they are not alone. For me, it was such a relief to have found a kindred spirit in Lesli Larson, of Archival Clothing. I find myself commenting on many of her posts and Flickr photos, and I'd like to continue that conversation that with others. Also, don't hesitate to peruse the handful of sites on my blogroll. I find all of them singularly inspirational and fundamental to the maturation of my style. Yes, even the nerdtastic Cool Tools- when it comes down to it, the practical rules over flashiness.

Thanks for visiting!

p.s. Also they say that women tend to use parentheses more in their writing. Deal with it.

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