I know sales are a plenty right now and if you're like me, they're quite possibly a bit overwhelming. (Unpopular confession: if I have to hear the phrase Amazon Prime Day one more time, I might chuck my phone out the window.) Ever since last year, perhaps because of the pandemic and largely because of age, I've curtailed my spending when it comes to season over season investments, opting instead to either rent pieces where I can (Rent the Runway is still a favorite in my closet) or snag very specific pieces when they go on sale. I focus less on trends and more on gaps in my wardrobe and thankfully, each year, the gaps get smaller and smaller.
When it comes to summer sales, my cart fills up with white dresses of all sorts. Formal, casual and everything in between. As I was packing up this Tove dress I scooped last summer for our trip to Boston last week, I decided to check and see if it had been restocked for this season. I'm happy to report it is and it's delightfully on sale, to boot, along with a good handful of other white dresses.
Simply add a (safe, possibly spray?) tan to the mix and you're ready for the spoils of summer!
In honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month this month, I wanted to round up a handful of AAPI-owned brands — namely from the fashion and home space — to share with you all today. Some are old favorites of mine and others are new discoveries (I just ordered my first bottle of Brightland olive oil and I cannot wait for it arrive)! Of course, there are many ways (big and small) we can all get involved in the fight against Asian hate — I've shared a list of starting points here in this post, in case you're curious. But today, I wanted to focus on harnessing our spending power to stimulate the AAPI community, the benefits of which directly aid owners, help increase equity and generational wealth and overall, builds solidarity with AAPI people.
Of course, I'd love to hear about your favorite AAPI-owned brands — please leave me a comment below!
2. Petite Studio: Another New York-based brand, focusing on sustainable and slow fashion principles in designing and tailoring clothes for petite frames. Their summer dresses right now are especially darling!
3. Kinn: Classically modern jewelry pieces — both new and sourced vintage — at an attainable price point. All in-house designed pieces are made using solid gold that's regulated by the Responsible Jewelry Council and sourced from responsible, traceable mining organizations.
4. Dauphinette: I recently discovered this brand on one of my walks home through the West Village. Their flagship store is right off 7th Avenue at Bedford — and their window is full of delightfully whimsical pieces, each one using recycled and byproduct fur, leather, vintage and artisanal components.
5. Wing on Wo: A staple in the heart of Chinatown here in NYC, Wing On Wo is a shop of finely crafted porcelain wonders. Think decorative display plates, table centerpieces, delicate tea sets. Would make for a wonderful wedding present or housewarming gift.
6. Gossamer: Another new discovery for me — Gossamer is a finely curated vintage shop and rental service, specializing in the most beautifully ethereal dresses from the early 20th century to the 70s.
7. Brightland: Since we've been getting more comfortable cooking at home these days, I've noticed I get oddly excited about new pans, new cookbooks and yes, new olive oil, which is where Brightland comes in. Made at a family-run farm in California, their oil is never rotten, over-processed or fraudulent, with no fillers or artificial preservatives. Plus, the bottle is beautiful. Count me in!
8. Lu France: My online cart is already starting to fill up here! All handmade and ethically sourced home decor pieces, the brand works directly with artisans and small businesses around the world (from the Philippines to Montreal) and their selection is positively calming.
9. Bash & Sass: Founded by my dear friend and former Google coworker, Irene Lee, Bash & Sass is a gender neutral brand created for the "little minimalist" age 6 months to 12 years old. If you have a little one in your life, I dare you to browse through her selection and NOT find something you love. Trust me, you'll be hard pressed.
You all know, I love romanticizing things as much as I can. Trust me, if I can find a way to romanticize something as mundane as a grocery store trip or refilling your gas tank, I will and I often do. So when it comes to building a nighttime wardrobe — a component of our closets that I think is sorely undervalued and overlooked — I've slowly been redefining what that might look like for me, a woman with her head in the clouds at all times. After a year or more that's been dominated by all things comfortable and "quarantine-ready" I for one, realized how much I do yearn for lounge-friendly clothes that feel elevated, elegant and, dare I say, romantic.
Cue Une Femme New York — a female owned brand reimagining and embracing the long lost art of a woman's trousseau. What's a trousseau you ask? A trousseau is a collection of possessions, such as clothing, jewelry, and linens, that a bride assembles to prepare for her wedding day and for marriage.
I discovered Une Femme New York thanks to their dreamy Instagram page — and after DMing/emailing their founder and creative director, T.A. Rudder, I soon realized we're very much kindred spirits who appreciate a bit of whimsy and escapism in everything that we do.
Rudder is trained in both fashion illustration and manufacturing at New York's FIT and takes great care to not only produce pieces that embody stories all their own (each garment is named for a different literary character) but she does so with sustainability top of mind, using organic cotton, upcycled material, and dead stock fabric from luxury fashion houses in New York. I've rounded up a few of my favorite pieces below — but tell me, what's your favorite?
Oh, the elusive spring jacket. Light enough to show off a dress underneath. Warm enough to brave an inevitable spring chill. Usually ends up pulling at the heartstrings the most, because it's designed for aesthetic purposes, more so than functionality. It's only true downfall is that it's shelf-life is tragically short-lived. In New York particularly, there's a brief, fleeting window, usually occurring at the end of March through April, sometimes into May, where you'll pull these spring jackets out of the depths of your closet. Wedged between a puffer coat and that one long, sleeveless vest that you wonder why you still have — you'll rescue them for a breath of fresh air, a good steam to let out the winter wrinkles and perhaps an oyster date at Grand Banks, where the chill off the water will give you goosebumps (but the buzz of your chilled Sauvignon Blanc and said spring coat will save the day).
Where am I going with this? Well, over the years, I've accumulated my fair share of spring jackets, especially while living in San Francisco, a city where it's perma-almost spring, almost winter, one day of summer, year round. And I've learned one very important lesson: you don't need many of them. Trust me. I've made that mistake before. If you disregard leather jackets (because there is no such thing as too many leather jackets), my arsenal really consists of two spring jackets — two trench coats to be exact — one by Burberry and the other by Boden, the former in their Kensington cut, in a traditional "honey" color and the latter a deep navy, perfect for a nautical inspired look.
As for this trench you see here? Ah, well, that's the secret loophole I'm going to let you in on. When it comes to trench dresses — those that can serve double duty as either a dress or a coat depending on your mood and the fickleness of the weather— all bets are off. While I didn't snag this particular A.W.A.K.E. Mode dress to come home with me the other day, I have to say, I think my spring jackets would be quite fond of her, wouldn't you agree?