A week in Portland with Window of Imagination’s Jen Szeto

We’re completely in love with Jen Szeto’s Instagram, Window of Imagination. Her appropriately named feed gives us little peeks into her inspired life, where the San Francisco native travels to the most swoon-worthy places and takes gorgeous photos along the way. Recently, she went to Portland and, naturally, we asked if we could virtually tag along on the ride. Jen was nice enough to pen us a little travel diary documenting her adventure, on which she stopped in to visit our friends at Stand Up Comedy to outfit her trip.

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Jen wears the Electric Feathers Short Infinite Rope Dress and Suzanne Rae Kimono Dress (similar here) from Stand Up Comedy.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR TRIP! WHAT TOOK YOU TO PORTLAND? Portland is an amazing city. I hadn’t spent much time up there before now – it had always been just a few days stopping in and out along a road trip. I had the chance do some work travel there for an entire week, and since the trip fell close to the 4th of July weekend, my husband and I took it upon ourselves to stay through the holiday. The weather was perfect – we arrived just as a mega heat wave was dissipating, so it was pleasant t-shirt weather the whole time. We had access to a car (which was key), and we rented an Airbnb right in the heart of Alberta Arts District, which provided endless amounts of restaurants, bars and ice cream to try. And the coffee! So. Much. Coffee.

WHAT DID YOU DISCOVER ABOUT THE CITY? After being there for a week, I found many similarities between Portland and San Francisco. Like SF, Portland is really health conscious and offers a variety of outdoor activity options, healthy & alternative restaurants, and a slower paced way of living (compared to say, New York or LA). Portland is seeing a surge in tech companies and creative agencies migrating north, so they are also experiencing a population boom like the Bay Area.

Aside from that, there is just a ton of great, diverse food in Portland, which was pleasantly surprising to discover. I ate out every day and gained about 6 pounds, no joke. I was also wowed by all the fantastic boutiques in the city. There are ton in a few concentrated areas that are all very diverse and well curated. When you combine that with no sales tax, the shopping really couldn’t be beat.

window-of-imagination-portland-lbd“Since I travel a lot, I’ve grown accustomed to packing clothing that are comfortable, versatile and durable.”

TOP 5 MUST-SEE/EAT/DO SPOTS YOU’D RECOMMEND? We explored, ate, and drank a lot, and these are the top 5 things that left me yearning for more (many thanks to Britt, Helen, and Diana for the fantastic recommendations):

Nong’s Khao Man Gai. Their famous thai-style chicken and rice is so simple, yet so delicious. There are three locations for the restaurant – two food carts and one brick and mortar. The food carts serve only chicken and rice, but the brick and mortar serves up a wider variety of rice-based dishes. The magic lies in the fat-drenched rice, as it completes the dish with its extra juiciness and succulent flavor.

The soft serve at Cheese & Crack. We stopped by to try their signature soft serve, which has chocolate ganache filling at the bottom of the cone and espresso dust sprinkled on top of the ice cream. It was the perfect summer treat!

Broder Øst. During the July 4th weekend, Colin, myself, and a friend of ours escaped to the coast and explored Hood River. At sundown, we went into town and had dinner here which serves the most delectable Scandinavian comfort food I’ve ever tasted. We ordered a mishmash of things and everything was a hit. We sopped up the juices, licked our plates, and topped everything off with a few rounds of traditional cocktails. I believe there’s another location in Portland, too!

Ira Keller Fountain Park. I absolutely fell in love with this landmark. The fountain is located in the heart of downtown, and is an architectural sight for sore eyes. Heavy waters cascade from towering, mountain-like sculptures that can be observed from layered concrete platforms. On hot days you can wade through the water (though not recommended) or sit atop the plaza and lose yourself in the soothing roar. It was very quiet the day we visited, so we were able to meander without disruption.

Stand Up Comedy. It’s the most avant grade, nondescript boutique in all of Portland, which houses some of the most forward thinking labels to date. The store’s owner/founder, Diana Kim, has spent the last seven years meticulously curating her selection to perfection, carrying timeless items that perfectly compliment my minimal color / maximum volume palette. Her current location is the shop’s second home. It has unique bones and rare stone from its old jewelry store days that Diana has consciously kept intact.

WHAT HIDDEN GEMS DID YOU FIND? Well, for starters, I realized that the second Voodoo Doughnuts location in the NE is waaaaay less crowded than the one in the SW. So if you’re desperate for that sweet dough, head there.

Secondly, the floral shop inside of Alder & Co, Hilary Horvath Flowers, is one of the best places to pick up an arrangement! Hilary was very sweet and super accommodating… and while I shopped around Alder & Co, she quickly whipped up one of the best bouquets that I’ve ever received!

Lastly, if you ever feel like adventuring outside of Portland, there’s this cool little swimming hole about an hour outside of town called Mosier Creek Falls It’s tucked away from the main road but easy to access via a narrow trail. Once you get there, you’re greeted by a cascading waterfall and two picturesque pools where you can swim, mini-cliff dive and sunbathe.

window-of-imagination-portland-layers“I can imagine coming up with at least a week’s worth of outfit combinations with just these two pieces alone.”

HOW DO YOU PLAN YOUR TRAVEL ITINERARIES? Honestly, by the seat of my pants. I’m not much of a personal planner because I think it takes a little fun out of exploring. Many years ago when I was traveling through Japan, I received some great advice by one of my bed and breakfast hosts. He was a retired Frenchman living life slowly and happily with his wife, and when I checked in, he provided some great to-do recommendations during my stay. Just before we wrapped up our meeting, though, he said, “Most importantly, don’t forget to get lost.” And that has always stuck with me. Since then, I’ve tried not to over plan, but instead take a few cues from friends and leave the rest up to the internet on the day-of.

WHAT IS YOUR GO-TO OUTFIT FOR TRAVEL? I’m a forever fan of Jesse Kamm’s sailor pants – I have two, soon to be three, pairs – so I never leave home without them. Since I don’t have TSA pre-check (yet), I always wear a pair of easy slip-on shoes, like the Martiniano glove shoes, and a non-constricting tee. San Francisco has taught me how to layer, so I also never leave home without a coat (which can double as a pillow on long flights or road trips).

While you’re planning your trip, you can shop our favorite Portland boutiques in one handy place. This way >

More women we love in Los Angeles

Alternate title: Who to follow in Instagram ASAP.

JEANNETTE LEE

photographer Jeannette Lee - GarmentoryFun fact: this Instagram star on the rise is actually a full-time third grade teacher. You’ll also find her at General Store in Venice on Sundays. Saturdays, we expect, are saved for her sanity. But we’re pretty happy that photography is something she does for fun. “People think I’m crazy for working so much, but it allows me to feed the creative part of me,” she explains. “That’s what’s so special about LA. There’s so much creative energy around me, and I feel lucky to know and be close to makers and creatives doing amazing work out here. It motivates me to create for myself when I can.” Jeannette was born in Los Angeles but raised in Chicago. She moved back two years ago on a whim and hasn’t looked back. While she usually shoots casually, she’s also worked with some of our favorite people like Ilana Kohn, Valerie Quant of LOQ and Haley Boyd of Marais USA. Keep an eye on this feed, she’s just getting started. Follow her @jeannettehlee.

KAITLYNN LUCAS

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An interdisciplinary artist and photographer who has worked with some of our favorite LA brands (her work for Objects Without Meaning can be seen currently in our LA Ladies Sale), Kaitlyn has a knack for making everything from fashion to market fruit to corners of carpeted stairs inspiring. She’s still finishing up her degree in studio art at UCLA but has already done art direction and content creation for some of the most exciting emerging labels on the west coast. Her feed captures a mood and light is pretty much a direct representation of the creative movement in Los Angeles we’re so excited about. Follow her @bouquetofparentheses.

Photo by David Lopez.

ANNIE NGUYEN

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With minimalist vibes, high contrast and a sharp bob, this art director and designer took to Instagram to explore a photography. Born and raised in Honolulu, HI, Annie settled in Los Angeles to begin her career. “I breath minimalism, clean design, black/white with a hint of Klein blue,” she says. “I like things precise, from the slant of a shadow to the angle of my haircut.” Her feed captures a cross-section of the creative world with architecture, interior design, nature featuring prominently alongside the sleek angles of a Maryam Nassir Zadeh slide or a Building Block bag. We’re big fans of the playful side of her work, never taking herself, or the art of minimalism, too seriously. Follow her @annienguyen.

MELISSA SONICO

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Her style is just as supportive of indie boutiques and emerging designers as we are, so it’s no surprise that you’ll find this multi-hyphenate wearing a ton of mutual friends. We love to see how she styles Ace & Jig, First Rite, Calder Blake, REIFhaus, Olderbrother, 7115 by Szeki, and more in the California sunshine. Melissa received her MFA in Fiction from California State and is now a short story and freelance writer, English professor, fashion/lifestyle blogger and first-time mother to her adorable son Harrison. Oh and she also makes jewelry and sells her handcrafted necklaces online and boutiques across the country. As if we needed any more reason to love her: “My inspirations are Joan Didion and Solange.” Follow her @melissasonico.

Have we got you California dreaming yet? Be sure to check out our city guide to Los Angeles for the latest and greatest in the city.

And our LA Ladies Sale is still going strong! Ends June 30 at midnight, so don’t miss out.

Madelynn Furlong styles our exclusive LBD

“Art director by day and fashion everything by night” is how Madelynn Furlong describes herself. That is our kind of superhero, so clearly when we were looking for someone to interpret our exclusive Parc x Hackwith Design House x Garmentory dress the Minneapolis-based influencer was top of mind. The limited edition Adele Dress (shop it here), named after our co-founder Adele Tetangco, is one of those easy, wear anywhere and everywhere kind of LBDs.

From outfit #goals to style, life and career #goals. Blogger babe Madelynn Furlong is someone who has accomplished so much in her twenties alone. The self-made success story took on the fashion world and now there’s hardly an arena in the industry that she hasn’t at least dipped her toe into, having worked in everything from design and PR to art direction and styling. Alongside her blog Wide Eyed Legless, which has attracted a huge following, Madelynn spent three years working for Hackwith (another reason we love her!) as a stylist/PR rep and currently keeps a corporate day job as an art director. Check out our interview with her as she shows us how to style a little black dress.

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DO YOU REMEMBER THE MOMENT YOU FIRST FELL IN LOVE WITH FASHION? Not exactly but I do remember when I realized it was something I wanted to pursue. I was doing a semester art study in NYC my senior year of college and I just remember being so inspired by that city, especially the way people presented themselves and dressed. Coming from Minneapolis, it was a very eye opening four months for me.

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WHAT’S THE BEST STYLE ADVICE YOU’VE EVER RECEIVED? To be yourself, and care more about those around you vs. the way you look.

WHAT’S YOUR PERSONAL STYLE PHILOSOPHY? Simple staples and combinations with interesting details.

GO-TO OUTFIT? Black jeans, a black tee and suede booties.

WHO ARE YOUR STYLE ICONS? Any of the ’60s French ladies, ie. your Jane Birkin, Francois Hardy, etc. They were all so effortlessly cool and simple, with that French girl rock and roll vibe that I go crazy for!

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HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE MSP STYLE? Kind of a tough question! But I would say eclectic – everyone seems to have their own thing going on.

WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT LIVING THERE? The quality of life. I loved living in NYC but Minneapolis is peaceful, while still having so much to offer! Plus, I can afford a car.

The fashion girl’s guide to Minneapolis

“What I have found great about working in the Twin Cities is the amount of people that are supportive of makers and those trying to make a living through creative work,” Lisa Hackwith says, the founder of Hackwith Design House. “There is an incredible maker and artist community here, and being surrounded by such creative, hard-working energy is inspiring.” The Minneapolis-Saint Paul metropolis region in Minnesota has become a hot-bed of young talent in the fashion world so as we approach a very special collaboration with our friends at Hackwith Design House and PARC, we went straight to the experts to learn more. “There are a lot of local shops in Minneapolis who all bring something different to the scene,” Thao Nguyen says, owner of PARC boutiques. “While the fashion scene here is still growing,” continues Lisa, “There are some really fantastic boutiques owned by men and women with impeccable taste that are very supportive of local designers.” We talked to three of our favorite fashion girls in Minneapolis to find out the best spots to eat, drink and people watch.

 

Alyssa Lau shares her top picks for Earth Day

You don’t have to sacrifice style for sustainability. You don’t have to sacrifice ethics for aesthetics. Such is the mantra for Edmonton-based style blogger Alyssa Lau. Preach! We can all use a little reminding of that fact. There are so many amazing fashion designers making sustainability, ethical practices, fair trade and earth-friendly materials top of their game. Even the smallest steps in these realms have a huge impact on our lovely planet. Alyssa’s blog, Ordinary People (ordinarypeople.ca), has grown with that in mind and she’s also at the helm of an online store focused on sustainability, New Classics Studios. So being that it’s Earth Day today we figured it was the perfect time to get her thoughts on how ethical and sustainable fashion has evolved, why she’s into it and how we can get in on the change. Plus, she shares her Earth Day shopping picks.

 

Nicole Steriovski of Local Creative shares her personal style staples

There’s a lot of amazing women doing amazing things around the world, but there’s a serious concentration of talent in Brooklyn right now. The duo behind Local Creative, a collaborative lifestyle project, are dedicated to celebrating just that and are as much a part of the movement as they are its champions. Nicole Steriovski and Jenna Saraco tell the stories of local creatives, artists and entrepreneurs with their blog and creative services, focused on where we live, shop, travel and gather. “While introducing our audience to these new communities and experiences, we hope to strengthen their awareness of how each potential purchase can affect the people around them. Bringing the focus back to a local, sustainable economy.”

We’re big fans, so we asked them to curate their personal picks from the Garmentory community of indie boutiques and emerging designers. Here, Nicole shares her love for turtlenecks, experimental style and the beauty of a slip dress.

WHAT’S YOUR PERSONAL STYLE PHILOSOPHY? Timely over trendy is always a thought that stays with me. I do like experimenting with the look of the moment but I still lean toward classic, timeless pieces that you can grow with.

WHAT’S THE BEST FASHION ADVICE YOU’VE EVER RECEIVED? It’s most important to dress for yourself. If you feel good you wear the clothes and they don’t wear you.

WHO IS YOUR STYLE ICON? Too many! Charlotte Rampling, Sofia Coppola, Lauren Hutton, Anna Karina, Jane Birkin, Bianca Jagger, Liv Tyler.

WHAT ARE YOUR PERSONAL WARDROBE STAPLES? For winter: a neutral long wool coat, turtleneck, cropped jeans and a solid pair of boots.

HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE BROOKLYN STYLE? Free. In Brooklyn you can experiment with different styles and not feel judged. People express themselves through the way they dress and it seems to be no big thing. I love that because I felt challenged creatively when it came to what I wore sometimes living in the Midwest.

Nicole of Local Creative in Kordal Sweater

ASTROLOGICAL SIGN: Cancer
FUN FACT: I like puns.
DRINK ORDER: Old Fashioned.
STANDBY SNACK: Apples or hummus.
NATIVE NEW YORKER OR TRANSPLANT? Transplant.
WHAT NEIGHBORHOOD IN BROOKLYN DO YOU LIVE AND/OR WORK? Greenpoint – both!

Check out Nicole’s picks and shop them below.

Jenna Saraco of Local Creative shares her shopping wish list

There’s a lot of amazing women doing amazing things around the world, but there’s a serious concentration of talent in Brooklyn right now. The duo behind Local Creative, a collaborative lifestyle project, are dedicated to celebrating just that and are as much a part of the movement as they are its champions. Jenna Saraco and Nicole Steriovski tell the stories of local creatives, artists and entrepreneurs with their blog and creative services, focused on where we live, shop, travel and gather. “While introducing our audience to these new communities and experiences, we hope to strengthen their awareness of how each potential purchase can affect the people around them. Bringing the focus back to a local, sustainable economy.”

We’re big fans, so we asked them to curate their personal picks from the Garmentory community of indie boutiques and emerging designers. Here, Jenna shares her love for simplicity, the unexpected and really, really good jeans.

WHAT’S YOUR PERSONAL STYLE PHILOSOPHY? Simple, classic, easy. I definitely tend towards a minimal approach, but I do like the occasional pop of something unexpected once in awhile.

WHAT’S THE BEST FASHION ADVICE YOU’VE EVER RECEIVED? If you look good, you feel good. I definitely think this holds true.

WHO IS YOUR STYLE ICON? My grandmother. Jane Birkin, Baby (from Dirty Dancing), Ali Macgraw, Christy Turlington.

WHAT ARE YOUR PERSONAL WARDROBE STAPLES? A really good pair of jeans, a nice white tee, a good wool sweater for the winter, and lots of shoe options!

HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE BROOKLYN STYLE? Spread love, it’s the Brooklyn way.

Jenna of Local Creative in Carleen

ASTROLOGICAL SIGN: Virgo.
FUN FACT: I love vintage cars.
DRINK ORDER: Old Fashioned or Dirty Martini.
STANDBY SNACK: Cheese and crackers.
NATIVE NEW YORKER OR TRANSPLANT? New Yorker.
WHAT NEIGHBORHOOD IN BROOKLYN DO YOU LIVE? WORK? Greenpoint. As a freelancer I work a lot from home or wherever the job may be!

Check out Jenna’s picks and shop them below.

Fieldguided goes monochrome for the holidays

In the spirit of our holiday collaboration collection, The No Filter Series, Anabela Piersol of Fieldguided went monochrome for her inspiration mood board this month.

“It’s not always bold and vibrant colors that can create drama. Sometimes the very absence of color can be just as striking, as this black and white imagery shows.”

Fieldguided’s October mood board is all about getting cozy

For October, Anabela Piersol of Fieldguided has all the cozy feels on her inspiration mood board.

“Now that we’ve said goodbye for sticky, sun-kissed skin, it’s time for all the things that make autumn so cozy: chunky knits, endless pots of tea, pulling the camel wool lapel of a perfect jacket close against your face, and snuggling up with a good book. And a fire in the fireplace, should we be so lucky.”

New Classics Studios founder Alyssa Lau on all her favorite things

When we first met Alyssa Lau she was splitting her time between a biochemistry lab and an addictive style blog called Ordinary People. Today, the Edmonton-based creative director continues to rule the web and is now at the helm of a fast-growing online boutique dedicated to sustainable style, stocking sought-after labels like Kowtow, Shaina Mote, Samuji and more. Earlier this year we chatted about what it means to #wearthechange (make sure you read that here), so, in preparation for Fall, this time we’re talking Netflix binges, winning outfits and playlists.

Shop New Classics Studios >