Literary Swag’s Yahdon Israel On Merging Fashion and Literature

Yahdon Israel happened upon the fashion scene in an unconventional way—through literature. It began one day on an NYC train when Yahdon noticed a notably stylish young man reading Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird and was struck with inspiration. As a BFA graduate in the Creative Lit field, Yahdon always felt there was a pressured disconnect between intellectualism and style. He admired this stranger’s expression of personal swag using both literature and fashion. He snapped a photo on his phone, posted on Instagram, tagged it #LiterarySwag, and the rest is Literaryswag’s history.

Aside from inspiring people worldwide to embrace the expression online, Literaryswag also has an open book club that meets offline in Brooklyn. It draws members from New York and the surrounding states to discuss literature within an iconic clothing store in Boerum Hill, The Brooklyn Circus. You can check it out on the last Thursday of each month. Sign us up!

We teamed up with Yahdon, and BK clothing store Swords-Smith to showcase some of the best books and collections of Summer ’17. Keep scrolling to get to know Yahdon and his current reading list.

Biera Boxy Jumpsuit c/o Swords-Smith

CAN YOU TELL US A BIT ABOUT THE BOOKS YOU CHOSE AND WHY? HOW DO THEY INSPIRE THE CORRESPONDING LOOKS OR VICE VERSA? So the first book I chose to complement the Beira boxy jumpsuit is Maggie Nelson’s critical memoir, The Argonauts. It was the first book that came to mind when I looked at the Beira piece because The Argonauts is all about the intellectual, emotional, and in many ways, excursion it takes to find ourselves. And the bumps that go along with it. The Argonauts is also a book about navigating identity and our expectations of them—especially as it pertains to gender roles.

Biera Boxy Jumpsuit c/o Swords-Smith

When it comes to menswear there are so many expectations that are assigned to male bodies as to make us rigid in how we express our masculinity. Meaning, that in order for a piece to be considered menswear it “should” immediately communicates heteronormative vision of masculinity. 

But the jumpsuit blurs that vision and it reminds me of a section of Maggie Nelson’s Argonauts where quoting feminist theorist, Judith Butler, Nelson writes, “Performativity has to do with repetition very often with the repetition oppressive and painful gender norms to force them to re-signify. This is not freedom but a question of how to work the trap that one is inevitably in. This jumpsuit to me seems to offer solutions to the inevitable trap of the way masculinity is performed. That while I know what I’m wearing a jumpsuit, I have to also be aware of the perception that this jumpsuit is being read as a dress, and I have to be comfortable enough in my body to be okay with that—to not say—or convince someone that I’m not wearing a dress. Another way of reassuring someone that I’m a man. The swaggiest thing about this jumpsuit is its irony: only men who are really comfortable in themselves can wear it. It ain’t for the faint of heart—and neither is a book like The Argonauts.

Journal Grit Water Shirt c/o Swords-Smith; Journal Fine Brushed Pant c/o Swords-Smith

“You spent so much time explaining yourself, your work, to others—what it meant, what you were trying to accomplish, why you were trying to accomplish it, why you had chosen the colors and subject matter and materials and application and technique that you had—that it was a relief to simply be with another person to whom you didn’t have to explain anything: you could just look and look, and when you asked questions, they were usually blunt and technical and literal.” This is one of my favorite quotes from Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life. Boasting over 700 pages, it’s an audacious novel that journeys with four friends—Willem, JB, Malcolm and Jude—through their friendship, and completely raises the stakes for the term “growing pains.”

The particular quote describes the particular relief that came with being around someone who just understood without something having to be explained. This is a look that brings that sort of relief. On the surface the look obviously matches the book, but it’s more than that. The look has all the elements of leisure, and to me, there’s nothing more leisurely than reading a book where the page count is higher than your credit score.

Folk Combination Tee c/o Swords-Smith; Uniforms For The Dedicated Illusions Trouser c/o Swords-Smith

This third look is one that captures the subtle uniformity of New York City. We’re really only known for wearing one color—and that’s black. More recently olive green has made its way into lexicon of New York’s style dictionary. What these colors have in common is that they go with nearly any and everything which is important in a city where any and everything can happen. 

Talking about New York City, and its diversity, I also have to acknowledge how transient the diversity is. How income and tax brackets change in a matter of minutes. How living maybe a block over provides the capacity to live and lead a vastly different life. The question becomes, how do you dress for a city that is always changing? Unless you are traveling with a wardrobe, every piece and outfit has to be versatile and serve multiple purposes. John Freeman’s Tale of Two Cities is a book that only explores the good and bad, rich and poor, and have and have nots of the city. It’s a book that shows how these seemingly contradicting realities of the city shows that New York—though being one city—exists as many ways as the people who live here. And that’s the only authentic New York experience—the personal one.

Folk Combination Tee c/o Swords-Smith

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR PROUDEST MOMENT SO FAR? My proudest moment(s) since I started Literaryswag has to be every month I host the Literaryswag Book Club (@literaryswagbookclub). Three years ago, Literaryswag was an online community. But to have that community actualize in real life, where people from all over the NYC—and from other states—come to talk about a book in a clothing store, the experience is more than words can articulate. And that was the point: to show that love for books and clothes is a real one. The meetings are open to the public, and I always encourage any and every one to come—even if you don’t read. I want to show that this book club is about the conversation and community.

WHAT ARE YOUR THREE FAVORITE SPRING 2017 MENSWEAR COLLECTIONS? Because spring is a season of renewal, I’d have to go with Pyer Moss, Margiela and The Brooklyn Circus.

Biera Boxy Jumpsuit c/o Swords-Smith

Visit yahdonisrael.com for more and follow @yahdon.

All photography by Zach Gross. Follow him @zachgross1.

The Insider’s Guide To Palm Springs

Long before the crowds of hipsters, models and Kardashians descended upon the Coachella Valley, Palm Springs was the OG Hollywood hangout. We’re pretty sure we’re not alone in being tired of those long Coachella days, so we thought you might need some alternative inspiration this April for your upcoming trip to the desert.

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Palm Springs is full of hidden treasures, so we went straight to the experts to get the lowdown on the best of the city. Lauren Coleman (a PS native), Tiff Horn and Sarah Kissell are the brains behind a gorgeous new magazine celebrating the arts, aesthetic and unique woman power behind Palm Springs, DUNES. (Photos from the first issue above and below.) Here, they dish on their faves.

BEST PLACE TO EAT

“We love El Marisol Mexican Restaurant at Los Arboles Hotel. It’s been around forever, the food is spicy and the margaritas are strong. In addition to this, we love Palm Greens Cafe. They have a lot of healthy vegan options and smoothies. In the summer crushed ice with watermelon juice is so refreshing.” (Editor’s note: the vegan date shake is a must!)

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BEST PLACE TO DRINK

“I have always been a huge fan of Melvyn’s Piano Bar. It’s still living in the old Palm Springs tucked away behind Palm Canyon. Also the Avalon Hotel a few doors down is very reliable and Mr. Lyons in the bar if you want some good snacks with your drinks.”

BEST PLACE TO PEOPLE WATCH

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“There are tons of natural desert hot spring spas. Two Bunch Palms is the most reputable, and it’s good for observing the locals interacting with the out-of-towners. The Parker Hotel (above) was just updated and has many observation areas, the bar and the pool being prime. [At the Ace Hotel], the Amigo Room offers good acoustic sets in the bar during the week and DUNES‘ own showgirl Shirley Claire, puts on quite a show calling out bingo on Monday nights at King’s Highway (below).”

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BEST HIDDEN TREASURE

“There are a few shops together tucked away on Perez Road, very Palm Springs-style home furnishings and books. For clothing, our favorite designer vintage shop The Fine Art of Design in Palm Desert. Nicholas and Luisa are extremely helpful and the selection there is incredible!”

BEST OUTDOOR ACTIVITY

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“We love a hike in the Indian Canyons (above). It is super beautiful this year with all the water. And, we always love to stop into Moorten Botanical Garden to say hello to Clark and his doves.” (Editor’s note: You’ve definitely seen the latter on Instagram.)

 

Now that DUNES has given you the tour, here are our personal favorite swaps for the Coachella experience.

BEST ALTERNATIVE CONCERT VENUE

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Ditch the massive crowds in Indio and head to Pioneer Town instead. Pappy & Harriet’s Pioneer Town Palace (above) is a hidden host to some major bands with a more intimate setting. The indoor/outdoor bar has Western vibes in the best way and they’re also renowned for their chilli.

BEST ALTERNATIVE ART INSTALLATION

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From Modernism Week to the film festival, you are guaranteed to find something celebrating the arts in Palm Springs. The city and its supporters are truly dedicated to a thriving arts and culture scene. Desert X, an area-wide exhibition that first opened last year, is still open with a few installations and has announced the second edition to open February 2019. Get excited.

Photo by Lance Gerber

BEST ALTERNATIVE PARTY

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Head to the colorful doors of The Saguaro (pronounced Sa-wah-ro, and pictured above) on the weekend for amazing tacos and watermelon margaritas first. Then wander over for one of their much-loved pool parties. Who needs the Sahara Tent when you have DJs poolside?

This story has been updated and revised. 

Sissy’s Spring 2017: What I’m Into

Our Fashion Editor-At-Large, Sissy Sainte-Marie, shares her current obsessions.

DANNY DUNCOMBE CERAMICS

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The series of one-of-a-kind pieces by self-taught ceramic sculptor Danny Duncombe is aptly named As Above So Below to reflect “the link between exterior appearance and interior experience”. I do wish I could live inside of one of them. Maybe someday he’ll do large scale series, such a subdivision of homes, based on his sculptures. dannyduncombe.com

MICRODOSING LSD

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Not planning to try it. Just curious to see how this new trend for treating anxiety and depression pans out.

CARLY JO MORGAN STUDIO

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Speaking of psychedelics, Carly Jo Morgan, is one person who seems to have been born microdosing. In addition to having the world’s cutest haircut at the moment, she also has an amazing mind that comes up with the dopest furniture of this century. carlyjomorgan.com

THERMAGE

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I’m a skeptic when it comes to beauty products and a champ at resisting pretty packaging and promises of miracles, but I’m a sucker for science, technology and proven lab results. So last month, when I was desperate for some real-deal anti-aging help, I went to Los Feliz Med Spa to try Thermage, a non-invasive cosmetic procedure which uses radio frequency energy to improve skin elasticity and firmness by stimulating new collagen production over a period of four to six months. So by my 43rd birthday this September, I expect to be a dead ringer for Elvira Hancock.

ZADIE SMITH

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Thanks to The Gentlewoman for putting her on their cover last year, I discovered my new favorite writer. During fall I read White Teeth and Swing Time back to back and now I’m on to NW. This spring, I look forward to making my way through every word she’s ever written.

Photo courtesy of Reese Blutstein

ERYKAH BADU

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I’m rediscovering another oft-turbaned totem of mine whose LIVE cassette I once listened to exclusively, on repeat, nonstop, for an entire summer, pre-Y2K. Twenty years later and still no other pop star has come close to her wokeness, her songwriting, her delivery, her inimitable style, or her ability to lead with her brains and courage rather than her sexuality, even when she’s buck naked. Well, except Solange of course.

Photo courtesy of Everett Collection

THE RULES OF MAGIC: SOMEDAY SERMONS

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Alan Phillips’ “Someday Sermons” are newletter nirvana. These quick reads “combining real world experience, philosophy, creativity, and spirituality to assist and inspire individuals and organizations on their journey of manifesting their magic and achieving sustainable fulfillment” keep it trill and keep me going. therulesofmagic.com

DUNES MAGAZINE

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I love when people follow through on ideas I’d never have the gumption to put the blood, sweat, tears, and hours into. Big ups to Lauren Coleman, Sarah Kissell and Tiff Horn for manifesting Dunes Magazine. “Dunes celebrates Palm Springs, capturing the women who continue to live the elegance of a bygone age.” dunes.online

Photo courtesy of DUNES Issue 1

SUMMER SUITS

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Yes, I’m a sets addicts and last year I wore a summer suit in the form of an Olderbrother blazemono and matching trousers every chance I had. Judging by the looks of the Spring/Summer 2017 runways and street style cognoscenti, the summer suit is still in full effect and I’m looking to add some slouchy linen and smart silk hook-ups in earthy tones to my wardrobe repertoire.

Ask Sissy: Our New Fashion Editor-at-Large

Looking for a way to break the rules with a few new ones to live by, we teamed up with Sissy Sainte-Marie last year for a series that broke us free of skin-tight jeans and body con, and made us appreciate coat season a whole lot more. If you’ve been following along, you’ve probably already met Sissy and taken a few notes. So we are beyond excited to announce this rad lady is now our Fashion Editor-at-Large. She will be penning a column every month and sharing her sage style advice, and signature deadpan. Man, we love her.

To kick things off, we compiled a few of your frequently asked questions and outfit woes for her to answer.

Q. I’VE READ A LOT THIS PAST YEAR ABOUT THE CAPSULE WARDROBE. WHAT CLOSET STAPLES SHOULD I REALLY BE INVESTING IN? – Christine, Washington, DC

A. I am a person who dreams night and day of the ease of a daily uniform and a capsule wardrobe. But, I love clothing and tend to lack impulse control in acquiring more and more of it. In my line of work I get offered a lot of gifts, store credits and trade. Sometimes I end up impulsively choosing things I never end up wearing more than once. Or I pounce feverishly on one item that goes with nothing I own and end up buying four more things to build an outfit around that thing I didn’t need in the first place. An overflowing closet paired with a depleted bank account is never a good look.

I know I’m not the only one going through this cycle of absurdity. I think the renewed focus on a capsule wardrobe is a reaction to the relentless flow of trends we are bombarded with ad nauseam. It can get to a point where we feel suffocated by our stuff and begin to radically reject the constant pressures of consumerism in order to protect our mental health, our savings and our planet. It is only natural to see an interest in buying less, choosing versatility and practicality over ephemera.

When you find that perfect black turtleneck sweater. Isla Sweater by Shaina Mote
When you find that perfect black turtleneck sweater. Isla Sweater by Shaina Mote

 

The particular items for your capsule wardrobe should be determined by your individual lifestyle, tastes, and day-to-day needs, but I can give you some guidelines for investing. I have actually been devising a point system for smarter shopping because I’m a geek like that.

The questions:
– IS IT A STAPLE? CAN IT BE WORN ON A REGULAR BASIS / EVERYDAY?
– IS IT APPROPRIATE FOR A VARIETY OF OCCASIONS AND SETTINGS?
– DO YOU NEED IT RIGHT NOW?
– IS IT VERSATILE / ABLE TO BE WORN WITH AT LEAST THREE THINGS YOU CURRENTLY OWN?
– IS IT WEATHER APPROPRIATE RIGHT NOW?

Scoring: 1 point for each yes answer. Prioritize purchases accordingly.

TIER 1: 4-5 points (Example: a black turtleneck, canvas sailor pants, black ankle boots, a trench coat)

TIER 2: 3-4 points (Example: a warm coat, a white cotton shirt or blouse, vintage jeans)

TIER 3: 1-2 points (Example: low heel pump, suede sandals, a black dress)

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White shirt, black pants, never goes wrong. Lemaire Two-Pleat Pants.

 

Fine tuning:

Buy now or later? Determine what to buy now and what to save for later. I know I will need some new sandals soon, but today I’ll buy black ankle boots to replace the ones I wore to oblivion over the last two years.

Buy this one or that one? Determine what’s the most practical and durable. I had my eye on four white prairie-style blouses. I opted for the one with the least embellished neckline and I chose cotton over silk. Avoid items that require dry cleaning and feel fussy on your body or too fancy to wear in your daily life.

Is it too similar to something I already have?
Unless it’s a second black turtleneck that you need for rotation due to frequency of wear, avoid buying redundant items. Instead, purchase something that fills a gap in your wardrobe rather than say, a fourth leather bucket bag. Maybe a camel sweater, but not a forest green one, or Kamm pants in a new neutral color, if that’s what will round out your capsule wardrobe.

Is it a safeguard? Sometimes we must make precautionary purchases that will provide peace of mind when the inevitable day comes. Rain boots, sure, but more importantly heels. You’ll no doubt need a pair of heels for more formal events and occasions. Invest in a simple closed-toe pump in black. Whether or not you end up wearing them as often as loafers or boots, they will be essential in a pinch and you’ll be glad you have them handy when you get that last minute invitation. Same goes for a party-ready black dress or jumpsuit.

Is this right for my lifestyle? Can you wear beautiful flowing wide leg trousers on the daily or is a fine cotton twill more your bag? What’s the dress code at your place of employment? Do you attend a lot of meetings and events for which you need to look spiffy? Or do you need to get down and dirty at work? Be careful to not buy clothing that doesn’t suit your needs. It will end up unworn and wasting space. Buy what you’ll get the most use out of.

But…but… Do I just like it and want it despite it being completely impractical and something I’ll only wear fewer times than I can count on one hand? Sometimes a “yes” answer to this question trumps the point system, moving an item to the top of the cart. You gotta have a little fun! But these purchases are only advisable once you have your capsule wardrobe firmly in place. Without starting the cycle of suffocating consumption all over again, strive for 90% practical and 10% trophy items–or whatever ratio brings you the most peace of mind. So, if you really want that tassel choker, honey, you go and get it!

Try it now. Go fill up your Garmentory cart with anything that strikes your fancy and follow the steps outlined above. I can’t wait to see what you choose!

Shop Sissy’s Picks >

 

Q. HOW DO YOU KNOW WHEN A TREND IS RIGHT FOR YOU? IT’S FUN TO TRY SOMETHING NEW BUT HOW DO YOU KNOW IF IT WORKS OR IF IT REALLY DOESN’T? – Laura, Toronto, ON

A. Well, I think it simply comes down to how you feel in it. I never thought I’d be a jeans person until I tried on the right pair. I wish I could be a sneaker person, but I’m just not feeling it, or any sportswear for that matter. But I sure love seeing it on other people who wear it well. Somewhere between being in a style rut and being a try-hard, there’s a world where comfort meets courage at the heavenly axis of our own truth. I do advise looking to runways, street style photos, print magazines and Instagram influencers for inspiration and fresh ideas. You may want to try a small fraction of them. But when you’re in front of the mirror, search for an honest feeling inside. You should always feel at ease, and unapologetically fabulous in what you’re wearing. Weather you are walking on Bic lighter heels or cushy Air Max soles, you should feel like you are walking your in your own lane. Always keep in mind this quote from Iris Apfel: “The worst fashion faux pas is to look in the mirror and not see yourself.”

Have you given off-the-shoulder tops a go? Signature Annie Top by Sincerely, Tommy.
Have you given off-the-shoulder tops a go? Signature Annie Top by Sincerely, Tommy.

 

Knowing who you are style-wise may take years to master through trial and error. That is why I advise trying things on just for the hell of it. How else are you supposed to know? Avoid trips to anxiety-inducing, big brick and mortar stores with their overly crammed racks, tiny dressing rooms, bad lighting, and pushy salespeople. Impulse buys under these circumstances will be a set-back on your journey. Take advantage of the sweet return policies of online retailers and order up a storm of trends so you can try whatever you want in the privacy of your own home at your leisure. Do this alone. Don’t go taking polls from your friends, family, roommates or social media followers. It needs to look and feel right to you and you alone.

What you find may surprise you. A beige linen suit that you imagined would be so conservative and mumsy on you, might feel radically fresh and unexpectedly rebellious in it’s smart simplicity once you give it a whirl. A modest, oversized dress may make you feel more dignified than dowdy. You may feel more tough and empowered in a waist cinching sundress than a borrowed-from-the-boys ensemble. That Issey Miyake that looks all crazy on the hanger might touch you in all the right ways and be your magic portal into a new style dimension. Or, you might try a bra top over a button down shirt and say, “I look like a frumpy dumb dumb.” Ah-ha moments abound with an adventurous spirit and free returns.

Shop Sissy’s Picks >

 

Q. I LOVE LOOKING AT ALL THE BRIGHT HUES DURING FASHION WEEK, BUT I HAVE A PRETTY SEVER PHOBIA OF COLOR IN MY OWN WARDROBE. HOW CAN I TRY IT AND FIND WHICH COLORS WORK FOR ME? – Shannon, Minneapolis, MN

A. Funny you should ask because I was on a similar journey in 2016. My go-to palette mostly runs the gamut from cream to beige, but like you I’ve been thinking a lot about trying to get outside the box, even dedicating a Pinterest board to colors and combos.

When I was a kid, all the moms and grandmas went to these Color Me Beautiful parties to determine their “season” which would act as a guide to which colors looked best on them. (Peach and turquoise if you were lucky in 1985.) Since you’ve already admitted to being color-phobic, taking Carole Jackson’s season analysis quiz may only serve to induce a panic attack if periwinkle and magenta show up on your swatch of advisable colors.

To start, ease into color by opting for garments and accessories in muted tones like sage green, mustard, plum, garnet and amber. These tones can act as new neutrals, pairing well with black, brown, beige and ecru currently in your closet. Evolve into brighter colors starting with accessories such as lime green sandals or an egg-yolk-yellow bag. These colors will also pair well with more traditional colors like charcoal, navy or olive, likely already in your wardrobe.

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Pairing a bold skirt with neutrals softens the blow. Maryam Nassir Zadeh Renata Pleated Skirt in Acid.

 

Once you’re ready to take a further plunge into bright colors, don’t start mixing it up right away. First opt for a dress or jumpsuit in a bright color that looks good on you. Remember all the chic ladies who were photographed wearing the tangerine-colored Rejina Pyo dress during fashion week? You can do it, too. Get yourself a brightly colored dress or jumpsuit to wear to an event or occasion this spring. Feel good? Feel powerful? If so, start wearing dresses and jumpsuits in similar colors for everyday. Then try pairing it with with statement footwear.

After you feel a sense of mastery with dress/shoe combinations, you’re ready to move onto separates. Try pumpkin-orange pants with a sky blue top and fire engine red shoes. (But please don’t wear khaki pants with a red top unless you work at Target.) If you’ve found your calling, you’ll soon be playing sartorial-jazz like you’re on Alessandro Michele’s Gucci catwalk, piling on prints, textiles and accessories of every hue. If, on the other hand, you felt like a Teletubby in that chartreuse pant suit you wore to your cousin’s wedding, let yourself off the hook and run back to those ride-or-die neutrals. Bright colors aren’t for everyone and that’s okay. We can’t all be as fly as Miss Frizzle. True style is about knowing what works best for you. But, at least you can say you tried.

Shop Sissy’s Picks >

Have a burning style question you want answered? Comment below! Our Ask Sissy column will be back in the Spring.

Fuzzy: Our Current Texture Obsession

It’s like wearing your pyjamas around all day. Or carrying around your favorite blanket. Fuzzy texture is pretty much one of the most comfortable things to happen to fashion ever, not to mention it’s also a really interesting detail. Materials like faux fur and shearling add both a luxurious and casual element to jackets and bags, plus they’re super soft to the touch. We love how Bronze Age does it with their plush babouches (a stylish way to wear your slippers in public, anyone?) and Carleen nails it with making a whole shirt out of fleece. Need we say more? 

’90s Icon We Love: Lisa Bonet

She may be best known for her role as the headstrong and fashionable Denise Huxtable on The Cosby Show (hello layering, hats and oversized sweaters) and its spinoff, A Different World (where her eclectic mix-and-match wardrobe was a big part of the show’s cool factor), but Lisa Bonet made a name for herself all on her own with her ballsy and bohemian sense of style.

In the mid ‘90s, Lisa legally changed her name to Lilakoi Moon — the California native’s free spirited personality reflected in her penchant for floral, flowing silhouettes and interesting, eye-catching accessories. Lisa has never been one to succumb to trends and her authenticity is part of the reason why her style is so iconic. It’s an expression of herself. That, combined with her obvious discerning eye for the chic, is what makes Lisa a true original.

While daughter Zoe Kravitz is certainly her doppelgänger (just take a look at those Calvin Klein ads), Lisa is, unapologetically, one of a kind.

Photo by Sci-Fi Channel/courtesy Everett Collection

New York’s Anna Gray Shares Her Vintage Shopping Tips

When it comes to vintage shopping, we trust everything Anna Gray has to say. As a writer and model living in New York City, she knows the ins and outs of shopping for vintage on a budget. Anna moved to New York when she was 18 and has since filled her plate with anything she could get her hands on. From studying literature to working four jobs at once, she was a quick study of the city’s hustle. With her “say yes to everything” motto (including hand-me-downs) and family influence (the eccentric closet of her grandmother and her mom’s love of vintage), there’s always a ton of inspiration to find in Anna’s unique approach to style.

Lucky for us (and you, naturally) we caught up with her to chat about personal style and get an honest play by play of shopping vintage. Just three of her tips and we promise you’ll be ready to thrift!

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WHEN DID YOU FIRST DISCOVER A LOVE FOR VINTAGE? Being a small kid/late bloomer, hand-me-downs have always had a majority stake in my wardrobe. My mom loves vintage and my Grandma’s closet is INSANE (neon orange paisley jumpsuits, costume jewelry, leopard print everything, etc.) so I was always dipping into their reserves. It makes me very sad that their feet are smaller than mine.

WHY DO YOU SHOP VINTAGE? I like recycling old clothes and wearing things no one else is wearing!

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BEST VINTAGE SCORE TO DATE? Oh wow so many things. Men’s red suede cropped bell bottoms, a gigantic black velvet Norma Kamali turtleneck, my black sueded and fox fur winter coat…

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE NEW TO VINTAGE SHOPPING? Know your size! Seriously, measure your entire body and commit the inches (or centimetres) to memory. This goes for shoes too. Vintage shoes run smaller than contemporary sizes. And be mindful of fabrics – it should look and feel nice.

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TOP 3 TIPS FOR FINDING THAT PERFECT VINTAGE PIECE:

  1. I try not to buy any synthetic materials. I touch everything looking for silk, cotton, wool blends, cashmere and the like because they feel nice on the skin and are usually better quality.
  2. Try it on!
  3. It’s taken me years to actually practice this but I try to have an idea of what I want before I start browsing. Can be as vague as “pants” or as specific as “metallic gogo boot” but it helps narrow the playing field. Vintage shopping is pretty exhausting (in a good way).

WHO DO YOU LOOK AT FOR INSPIRATION WHEN SHOPPING FOR VINTAGE? I like to wear ’60s and ’70s silhouettes – mod dresses, flared jeans. I love looks from the ’50s but feel a little matronly when I actually find similarly evocative pieces. We all have the same cool-girl heroes: Jane Birkin, Jackie Kennedy, Bianca Jagger, Francoise Hardy…. I buy whatever makes me feel like a babe.

WHERE DO YOU SHOP VINTAGE? The only “vintage” store I frequent in NYC is Salvation Army (a treasure trove) and maybe some little hole-in-the-walls. I love finding good vintage stores in other cities. I just polled all of my Canadian friends for their favorite Toronto spots and that is where I found previously mentioned Norma Kamali velvet turtleneck!

Check out Anna’s picks from our Vintage Pop-Up before they get away:

A Micro Trend We Love: Borrowing From The Boys

We don’t know if it’s the structure, the oversized cuts, or our love affair with the ’80s lately, but men’s wear has taken a firm hold on our hearts for the moment. The silhouettes are just so classic — from slouchy jeans to work shirts — and they’re so easy it wear, it’s no wonder that it’s far less laborious for guys to throw together an outfit. You literally can’t go wrong. And what’s not to love about that? Here, we break down some of our favorite pieces from this Fall trend that borrows from the boys. 

LOAFERS

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New York-based footwear line Dieppa Restrepo is known for taking style cues from men’s wear, so it’s no surprise that the brand is behind these perfect loafers. Inspired by the classic gentleman’s shoe, the Gaston Soft Onix Tassel Loafer has a rounded toe, tassel detailing and a low stacked heel. Don’t be surprised if your boyfriend steals them.

RELAXED BLAZERS 

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Vintage-inspired, oversized and in a medium grey hue, this Seeker Studios Essential Oversized Blazer screams Working Girl (remember that movie from the ’80s?). Made from 100% handwoven cotton, the fabric is supple, soft and super comfortable to wear during long days at the office.

DENIM SHIRTS 

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So simple, yet so good. The denim shirt is seasonless, ageless, gender-less and always good. Wear untucked or tucked. This 69 Stevie Shirt has a frayed pocket for a little something extra.

CABLE KNIT SWEATERS

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Sorry, Grandpa. We’re gonna have to raid your closet, because a good cable knit sweater is perfect for adding a comfortable accent to a more structured outfit or for just cozying up on dreary Fall days. We love this unisex one from Intentionally Blank.

BASEBALL HATS

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Bye-bye, bad hair days. Well, actually, you’re gonna be wishing for them just so that you can wear this super cute cap all the time. A baseball hat is great way to add some low-key androgynous elegance to your ensemble and this Reality Studio Mario Cap, with its linen/cotton fabric and streamlined shape, is a home run.

OVERSIZED JACKETS

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This is the ultimate layering piece (because there’s just so much damn room) and Intentionally Blank nails the secret to not getting lost in the shape with their Moss Jacket — proportions with just enough structure. We’re talking giant cuffs and a matching giant hem.

BUTTON UP SHIRTS

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Can you get any more classic than a men’s work shirt? Worn as a top, a dress or a night shirt, this silhouette is just effortless. The Squad Navy Poplin Quincy has a little something extra, with Mother of Pearl buttons and an unstructured hem.

DAD JEANS

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Not just any jeans, though. We’re talking perfectly imperfect and loose-fitting ones. The Olderbrother Patched Five Pocket feel like you stole them from, yes, your older brother, complete with the patchwork detail.

STRUCTURED COATS 

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Double breasted, with structured shoulders and a tailored fit, the Won Hundred Therese Jacket makes for a sophisticated topper. Like a men’s wear coat, the fit is relaxed enough to provide room for movement and layering, yet is shaped in just the right ways to maintain serious style. Dad would be jealous.