the baja hoodie (or more affectionately known as the “drug rug”) has gone upscale this season.

sometimes fashion makes me laugh.

“All I need are some tasty waves, a cool buzz, and I’m fine.” – Spicoli



RRL inspiration

I didn’t have a vision as in, This is where I’m going. I had a vision as in, “This is what I love to do.”

If you are anything like me, you have been obsessively tivo’ing and watching the final days of the Oprah show (ending today!). Over the my past few days’ viewing sessions I have laughed, I have cried and I have gotten inspired.

One of my favorite episodes was the visually and career inspiring interview with Ralph Lauren at his RRL Ranch outside of Telluride, CO. If you know me well, you know that I always love to say that someday I want to live on a ranch in the wild west and thus, Ralph and I are true kindred spirits. While watching I was mesmerized by the beauty of not only the land, but of course, of his totally RL decor, which reminded me of his (mostly Men’s) vintagey and rugged RRL line and stores. Clearly this ranch inspired the line. All Southwestern influenced and masculine.

a few photos of the incredible ranch (main living room, guests rooms in teepees and airstream trailers!) :

I loved getting to know Ralph and hear more about his life and inspiration in the interview. I am in awe of him – and its easy to see why: he turned a small tie business into a multi-billion dollar multi-channel lifestyle brand and single handedly invented a shirt that is a wardrobe staple is most men and many ladies closet – the polo shirt.

You know what’s going to touch people because it has touched you. – Ralph

What inspired me most was hearing about his creative process and approach to creating each season’s collection he sends down the runway (which I learned, really is all him). He said he can’t just create a piece out of nothing, rather he visualizes (and creates inspiration boards) of the girl who is wearing this said piece and what her entire lifestyle is like: where she lives, where she goes out, who her friends are, what inspired her. He literally creates an entire fantasy life for the girl who is wearing each piece.

Ralph says he didn’t become a designer because he loves fashion. For him, it’s about defining a lifestyle. “The clothes that I design and everything I’ve done is about life and how people live and how they want to live and how they dream they’ll live.”

This Ralph-pioneered lifestyle approach to creating clothing (and homegoods, etc) is what has made the RL brand so successful. He creates a mini world that we as consumers form as instant connection to. He sells us a fantasy life. Oh wait, you can’t afford a ranch for yourself in Colorado? Well buy this RRL shirt and you can partake a tiny bit in this life. Sign me up.

The Gospel of Ralph didn’t quite hit me until I started travelling to LA for work last Spring and visited his flagship stores. I have been a fan of his RRL line for a while and I love to visit the store on Melrose in LA – its in a gas station/mechanic shop. And then there is his beautiful signature line store in the Malibu Country Mart with a heavenly garden out back. The amazingness of Ralph kind of hit me when I entered these lifestyle stores. Ralph’s vision for the brand and the lifestyle he is trying to project comes through loud and clear down to every detail.  See my photos below:

What you do is beyond clothes—it’s about life. – Oprah, on Ralph

 Visiting these stores made me realize that Ralph has a gift in creation and he contributes something pretty unique (even to this day) and amazing to the fashion and retail industry. On top of it all, he is a true down to earth family man who loves riding his horses on a ranch in Colorado. He is the least fashion scene-y person ever, yet one of the most successful fashion people ever, and I love that.

It’s hard not to love him and be inspired by him, right?

Ralph’s only daughter, Dylan, is getting married next month and, of course, her father designed her gown. Watch this clip of him describing this opportunity.

I think I’m spiritual. In order to create, you have to be sensitive. Sinatra’s song “My Way” has become a cliché, but that’s always been my thing. What I’m most proud of in my life is that I went into this business on my own terms. I never threw myself away. I kept going in a straight line even when people said, “Give it up.”

 vintage Ralph and wife Ricky (the other ‘R’ in RRL)


Man of Style

Style runs in my family. My older brother is no exception.

Man of Style on the blog today is brother John, who showed up to family dinner this past weekend sporting 3 of Fall’s hottest masculine trends: layering of differing hues of greys, military and the knit blazer. A five o clock shadow, disheveled hair, tastefully distressed medium blue jeans and cool sneakers add to his rugged yet sophistocated Northwest look he has down pat.

I have watched John develop an easy personal style in his post-college years that really works for him.  He was able to say goodbye to his beloved band touring tshirts (at least outside of his apartment) and Abercrombie cargo pants for a more mature look. I see him enjoy participating in the big world of fashion in his own way and I applaud him for taking style risks while always managing to look comfortable and like himself. Not every twenty-something Star Wars and video game loving guy would know how to layer up a top-stitched knit blazer in a monochromatic neutral palette, pair it back to his favorite relaxed jeans and make it all look so effortlessly wearable.

Well played, John.


John wears Banana Republic Olive Military top coat & knit blazer, Kasil jeans and New Balance sneakers

with the band

Band of Outsiders just hired the new Spiderman Andrew Garfield (talk of the town guy!) for their latest ad campaign. I am kind of loving it.

The campaign features grainy polaroid shots of Mr. Garfield playing around outdoors. It was shot on location in Mt. Baldy, California. The campaign photos truly project a Band of Outsiders lifestyle – laid-back, vintage appreciating hipster guy. Too cool.

“What Ralph Lauren does is brilliant. But it’s a fantasy of being a Wasp or rich. I address these cliches. It’s postmodern….”  – Scott Sternberg, designer of Band of Outsiders

spotlight on: rogues gallery

Today’s post is dedicated to what I consider to be one of the coolest lines of clothing out there for men: Rogues Gallery. Started by Alex Carleton, a former senior designer for L.L. Bean, the clothing line is inspired by New England maritime culture.  We’re not talking standard-fare yaughting prepster wear, this line has hipster edge that goes far beyond the boat shoe. 

During its early seasons, Rogues Gallery became the purveyor of what was cool, innovative and fresh in the mens graphic tee world. It has since explanded to become an entire line of clothing including pants and outerwear. Carleton runs the entire clothing line out of his headquarters in Portland- they even hand screen print all of the tees there. Most pieces have a distressed vintage, worn-in feel and seriously cool labels. Carleton pays attention to the details and makes the details important.

On the origin of his business:

“Winters are long here—and dark—and I definitely had a lot more free time on my hands. I started getting back into making stuff, and using my interest in history and collecting junk, and put that together with some apparel design concepts, and that pretty much was the origin of Rogues Gallery.”

Carleton on his graphic tees:

“Every season I ask myself and the small team here, ‘What is new about the T-shirt?’ We start by developing a color palette that relates to whatever story we’re interested in talking about, whether it’s a huntsman or a whaling story. And then we’ll start incorporating new ways of labeling or marking the T-shirts, and then of course the graphics.”

Carleton on inspiration:

“I’m a huge collector, and I’m trucking around the NE all the time. Rummaging, going to flea markets—I’m totally into old shit. So I’ll collect something, especially old textiles, and we’ll say ‘Ok, we’re gonna do a limited-edition of, like, 200 vintage Americana blanket bags.’ I’m interested in the origins of clothing, whether it’s a Jersey sweater, an Aran Isles sweater, but then how do we make that modern, how do we make that cool, how does it become Rogues Gallery?”


Look from the Spring/Summer 2010 look book

The Portland, ME showroom

“I can't go back to yesterday because I was a different person then. ” ― Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
fashion:art:life:music:daydream:wear:blog ♥