Here’s a web advertisement I styled both wardrobe AND props on with photographer Saverio Truglia for Orbitz.  You would never know that we shot this in December in Chicago.  The fun/not so fun thing about commercial styling is that you’re always sourcing for items out of season.  It wouldn’t be exciting if it was easy, right?!


I made it! My trip to Imogene and Willie in Nashville, TN.

Would you drive 7 hours to get custom jeans?  What if they became the only pair of pants that you need in your closet?  Well, you know my answer.  Seems a little wackadoo to travel that far when I live in retail stores, but that’s just it; I needed something that seems special to me.  Jeans made by fine Americans that come from a long line of made in USA jean makers is something I wanted to support and check out with my own eyes.  I also like that they’re not in NYC or LA, they’re in Nashville, which is commonly overlooked for anything other than country music.  But for denim, Nashville being the best jean makers makes total sense.  In a place where it is perfectly acceptable to say your vows in your favorite denim slacks, no wonder the best jeans are made there.

I wanted to take way more pictures of the store, Imogene and Willie because it’s absolutely beautifully done, but I was a little shy.  I hate to admit it, but I built I & W up so much in my head I was even nervous to go inside.  Therefore, I only took a couple of snapshots with my phone.   You get the idea.  Rustic old, charming gas station?  Check.  Perfectly curated antique color coordinated displays?  Check.  

I ended up purchasing a black pair of jeans.  I went with the mid rise straight leg, which I ended up taking in the width of the leg to make it somewhere in between a skinny and straight leg, (perfect for someone with muscular legs that likes to wear boots).  I also had the length altered so that there is no break at the bottom, instead they’ll perfectly skim my ankles.

Taking care of these bad boys is a little different then what your mother told you.  You’re actually not supposed to wash your jeans.  It breaks down the denim too much, which leads to them being misshapen and faded.  Instead you can either freeze them to kill the germs, or wear them in the bathtub to wash them while still maintaining their shape.  They also tell you to wear your new jeans as much as humanly possibly when you first get them, at least 5 times a week.  You buy them almost unmanageably tight, and slowly loosen them to the perfect fit after many wears.  Sounds like a project, and it is, but again…  Haven’t you always wanted the perfect jeans?  Imogene and Willie has them.  It just takes a little elbow grease and love.

Why I love Japan

I love everything about Japan.  Everything.  The culture focuses on being courteous, polite, hardworking, and focuses on skilled craftmanship (the food!).  There’s virtually no violent crimes, hardly any theft, and little visible aggression.  It’s simple; treat others like you want to be treated, and treat your environment with respect.  There’s no trash, no pee on the subway bathroom seat, no pushing to get where you need to be, no hostility.  Boring?  Maybe.  But wonderfully peaceful.   My husband and I were lucky enough to revisit last month and made the strong claim that we’d live there in a heart beat.  Go visit if you can.  It’s currently a bargain and there are lots of direct flights from the U.S.

Here’s the other reason (blog/stylist reason) why I love Japan; they care about how they dress.  In my make-believe travel yearbook, I’d vote Tokyo as the best dressed city.  Granted, my travel yearbook has some holes, but I’ve been to a lot of the obvious nominees: London, Rome, Paris, Milan, NYC, LA, Hong Kong, etc.  Japan takes the cake by a long shot.  Like their demeanor, it’s not flashy or in your face.  They simply where quality clothes that fit.  David Sedaris says it best in an interview for Rookie, “What I like about Japanese stuff is that it’s generally not about looking sexy.  It’s good clothing for older people who like having a little secret: special lining inside their pockets, or really big buttons.”  I love that.  It’s so true.  It’s all about detail, cut, and higher quality fabrics.  It’s not a cheap place to shop, but if your Japanese closet is the size of 3 down filled North Face jackets, you become a bit more selective about what you buy and won’t mind paying for it.  As I mentioned many moons ago on this blog before, I don’t think the size of your closet represents how well you dress.  Stacks of ill fitting sale items that you may pull from every other year doesn’t make you a better dresser.  Sticking to a limited plan, painstakingly deciding over wardrobe purchases, and focusing on quality will.  You don’t need a lot, just be smart  about it.  [Disclaimer: You also don’t have to care about fashion.  I completely respect that path too.  This rant is for those of us who do.]

Another super bonus point about visiting Tokyo; it has by far and away the best shopping.  It has it all; low end, high end, and AMAZING vintage stores.  Too bad I only ever travel with a backpack or else I may have lost a mortgage payment.  None-the-less, I poked around for days and got really inspired.  I found that men’s fashion was treated with the same weight as women’s.  In fact, I’d say there are maybe more male stores than female.  Imagine that?  And do you know what the current trend is in Japanese male fashion and has been for a couple of years?  Classic americana.  They all dress like the survivors from the 1993 movie Alive.  Seeing how I got my fashion sense from studying L.L. Bean catalogs when I was little, I can’t get enough of this look. As a tourist, I always feel uncomfortable pointing my camera at locals and shooting them doing everyday things like they’re Mickey and Minnie, therefore I don’t have any images of how great Japanese men dress.  But I did pick up this amazing magazine 3 years ago on my first trip, and again this time around called Free & Easy.

You can find these garments at Japanese chain BEAMS or there’s an insane amount in vintage stores.  Here are some retail photos I took from the trip.

I feel like I can’t make a Tokyo fashion post without mentioned Comme des Garcons.  Rei Kawakubo was inspired by how the bag ladies of NYC androgynous look and how they effortless layered garments.  Voila; one of the most influential design houses was born.  Comme des Garcons didn’t have as big of a presence in the U.S. until recently, when J.Crew decided to do a collaboration with them and sell their everyday line, PLAY.  But when you’re in Tokyo, Rei Kawakubu’s line is everywhere.  Her flagship store in Tokyo feels like a fun house with its insane architecture and little coves filled with the most inventive cuts of fabric you’ll ever see.  Whether or not you’re into fashion, it’s worth checking out for its articulated craziness.

Click on the image below to check out Comme des Garcons.

Here’s a link to the J.Crew line.     J. Crew

Shhh, little secret: save your pennies, you can buy all of these for much less on EBAY.  If you would like to find items in her line in the U.S., visit Barneys and Opening Ceremony (there may be others too).


10 Reasons I’d go back to Vietnam.