Category Archives: Style

Unis Women’s Varsity

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I’ve been a fan of Unis for years and it hasn’t bothered me the slightest to be ordering the menswear pieces for myself. Honestly, I’ve never found a better fitting T! All the same, I was thrilled when founder and designer Eunice Lee recently announced the release of a women’s version of the Varsity Jacket. Outerwear is a really tricky item to accomplish a universal fit. Despite loving the overall shape of a men’s coat, the sleeves are always too long for me. Eunice saw the problem and fixed it for her female fans by offering the same jacket, but with shortened sleeves. Eunice was kind enough to chat with me about seeing a need for a women’s jacket at Unis and why she digs her female shoppers.

Q. The men’s Varsity Jacket has quite the following, what was the inspiration behind adding it to your the Unis collection of staples?

A. I wanted one that fit me. I didn’t want to redesign anything. I wanted
the jacket to look like I was wearing my boyfriend’s jacket. So I just
shortened the sleeves 2″. It works out great for shorter guys too.

Q. When did you discover a need to offer a slightly altered version of the best seller for women?

A. It just felt natural. I did a small test the first year, but wanted to expand to colors other than black this season. Plus, I thought my Unis guy would totally buy this jacket for his girlfriend.

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Q. A lot of brands make the overall shape of their pieces for women very different from that for men, like add curves and make it more form fitting. Why was it important to you to keep the overall shape of the Varsity Jacket the same for the women’s style?

A. I love menswear. I love the look of women who wear men’s clothes. I think it’s sexier than wearing a womenswear VERSION of a boyfriend fit. In most cases it never translates well.

Q. Who is the woman you expect to see wearing your Varsity Jacket?

A. My stores get really cool girls who shop with their guy friends, boyfriends and husbands – chicks that see menswear the way I see it.

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Ursa Major’s Willoughby Cologne

Ursa-Major-Willoughby-cologne-850x850-1_1024x1024I’m so excited about Ursa Major’s first cologne. Not only does it feature some of my favorite scents like spice, citrus, bergamot, and ginger, it had me at the name Willoughby. Although named after the majestic Lake Willoughby, I think all you other Jane Austen fans will concur it’s an excellent choice*. It’s a cologne that both men and women will feel confident in wearing. Add it to the list of perfect stocking stuffers, especially since 1% of sales will go to the Vermont Land Trust. Why not feel good about gifting this year?

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*For you non-Austen fans, Willoughby is a dashing (albeit cowardly) character in Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility. 

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Dan Kiley

Kiley at home in VT. Photo by Dana Gallagher.

Kiley at home in VT. Photo by Dana Gallagher.

Dan Kiley was one of the most important and influential landscape architects of the 20th century and the designer behind more than 1000 projects. Yet today, he is not as well known as some of this counterparts. This is not entirely surprising as architects tend to get more attention than landscape architects (only Frederick L. Olmsted has been honored with a postage stamp, yet fifteen architects have received the honor).  Aside from Dan Kiley Landscapes – a Poetry of Space, Kiley has received little recognition in today’s industry.

Fountain Place, Dallas, TX. Photo courtesy The Cultural Landscape Foundation.

Fountain Place, Dallas, TX. Photograph courtesy The Cultural Landscape Foundation.

Born in Boston, Kiley went on to study architecture at Harvard. He left after two years and with an apprenticeship with Warren Manning under his belt, he began working at the National Park Service in Concord, NH and later for the US Housing Authority. Friend Louis Kahn encouraged him to leave the Housing Authority and become a licensed architect, which Kiley did in 1940. He served in the war for two years, during which he designed the courtroom where the Nuremberg Trials took place. Upon returning from Europe, Kiley found himself to be one of the few modernist landscape architects during the post war building boom. He then relocated his NH practice to Vermont. Around this time he won the competition to design the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial with modern architect Eero Saarinen. This project catapulted his career.

Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, St. Louis, MO. Photo courtesy The Cultural Landscape Foundation.

Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, St. Louis, MO. Photo courtesy The Cultural Landscape Foundation.

Other notable works include are the Miller Garden in Indianapolis, the Fountain Place in Dallas, the Oakland Museum, and Independence Mall in Philadelphia. In 1997 he was presented with the National Medal of Arts after completing more than 900 notable projects. He fostered designers like Richard Haag, Peter Hornbeck, Peter Schaudt, and Ian Tyndal in his office. Geometry was at the heart of his designs, feeling strongly that it was an inherent part of man. He believed man was a part of nature so instead of trying to mimic nature, he asserted mathematical order to the landscape. His designs overstepped their boundaries in an approach he called, “slippage”, or an extension beyond an implied boundary. Kiley’s design vocabulary was greatly influence by Andre Le Notre, the 17th century landscape architect to King Louis XIV.

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Kiley in his Charlotte, VT studio circa 1990′s. Photo courtesy Joe Karr.

I’m posting about Dan Kiley on the blog not only because my husband is a landscape architect (and an avid fan of Kiley’s work), but because Kiley made Charlotte, VT his home. It was also the location of his studio from where he made many of his influential designs. From out his windows he could watch the ripples of Lake Champlain and gaze at the green mountains. What better state to inspire his beautiful landscapes. He was a quirky individual and in his later years was known to have wild hair, his pants hiked up around his waist, and spewing out ideas and opinions on design and nature. Fellow landscape architect Laurie Olin once fondly observed that, “Dan’s thoughts are like rabbits – they just keep leaping out.”

The Cultural Landscape Foundation currently has a traveling photographic exhibition of Dan Kiley’s work, The Landscape Architecture Legacy of Dan Kiley. The exhibition just opened in Pittsburgh this week and will be traveling to locations around the country till at least 2017.

Currier Farm in Danby, VT. Photo taken by Peter Vanderwarker, courtesy of The Cultural Landscape Foundation.

Currier Farm in Danby, VT. Photo taken by Peter Vanderwarker, courtesy of The Cultural Landscape Foundation.

Currier Farm in Danby, VT. Photo taken by Peter Vanderwarker, courtesy of The Cultural Landscape Foundation.

Currier Farm in Danby, VT. Photo taken by Peter Vanderwarker, courtesy of The Cultural Landscape Foundation.

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Nativen

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Mutual friend Liza Corsillo introduced me to Lily Hetzler and her brand Nativen. A distinguished women’s workwear brand, Nativen is American based and made and is passionate about creating products that women will not only love living with but love working in as well. Their “Keep Growing” bandana is a perfect example of their commitment to beautiful quality made pieces. Made out of 100% American grown and made organic cotton and crafted in NYC, the bandana features illustrations by Brooklyn-based illustrator Lisel Jane Ashlock. Each one is hand dyed with all natural plant-based dyes by the ladies of BLUEREDYELLOW and then hand screen printed with natural inks. Individually numbering each one ensures its authenticity. I’m tempted to get one and frame it, it’s so beautiful!

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Mr Porter’s Eight Autumn Drives

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The standard for men’s style and culture, Mr. Porter gathered a list of the world’s eight best autumn drives. Needless to say, Vermont received a well-earned mention and Mr. Porter is most eloquent in it’s reasoning why a drive through Mad River Valley really is one of the best drives in autumn. Of course, it helps if you’re driving maybe a British coupe like a Jaguar or MG.

“This is New England boiled down to its rosy-cheeked, Yankee quintessence. The roads are lined with farm stands selling apples by the peck and cider by the gallon. The white, clapboard homes and churches set off the abundance of turning leaves. Your chances of driving fast will be stymied by Volvos and Subarus going at a National Public Radio pace. But at least this will give you the chance to wonder if you haven’t dropped into a Mr John Irving novel. Stop at Warren’s lavishly eclectic Pitcher Inn for reassurance that beneath the prim conformity of the surface, the madness of the Mad River Valley is for real.” - Mr. Porter

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