A LETTER FROM THE CREATIVE DIRECTOR
Are you born with style? Or can it be learned?
Growing up on a small island, I was extremely curious about the world around me. I didn’t have access to luxury fashion - real fashion, but I craved it. Not for material reasons, or status but because I knew that somehow, these interesting, refined, creative pieces were the gateway to better expressing who I was — or wanted to be. I’ve always viewed “style” through this lens. And the more I’ve figured out who I am, the better I’ve become at articulating this love of fashion, and why I love it.
Contrary to what you may imagine — a jet-set life of constant travel to Paris and Shanghai - the bulk of my time is spent living my real life, as in grocery shopping, cooking inedible meals for my family, and binging Netflix. But here’s the thing, when I’m living my real life, I still want
to feel as modern and great as I do when I’m in the Marais or Milan. And I’m very aware that there’s a balance to that because no one wants to be the crazy person decked out in the vegetable aisle. The pinnacle of this balance is looking chic, chill, and fully appreciative of your surroundings.
So I, and my amazing team, decided to use this opportunity to share some of the things we’ve learned along the way to help you define your style and strike that balance between chic and chill. Because I believe what you are born with is not style but a curiosity for life. And how you interpret that is your style. And that can be learned as long as you are eager for the new.
— Amy Smilovic
Founder & Creative Director
DECODING THE CREATIVE PRAGMATIST
You know that woman who catches your eye on the sidewalk (or on Instagram) and looks fantastic, but you can’t quite put your finger on why? It isn’t for some glaringly obvious reason like a neon print or flashy logo. Maybe it’s the slightly-oversized cut of her blazer, or the shrugged-on drape of her coat, or the way she’s mixed patent leather with cashmere. Or it’s the way she’s wearing the same thing as everyone else—say, a black pantsuit—but with sneakers, not pumps. Whatever it is, she caught your eye not simply because she looks cool, but because she projects confidence and ease. Her style tells you who she is, not just where she shops (or who she’s trying to imitate). Somehow you can intuit that she didn’t spend her morning tearing her room apart and agonizing over what to wear, either; she seems like the type who woke up, got dressed, and didn’t overthink it.
That “type” is what we like to call the creative pragmatist: a woman with a unique, highly personal sense of style, who never sacrifices function for fashion, and, frankly, is interested in a lot more than just what she’s wearing. She doesn’t have an overstuffed closet of things she’s never worn, nor does she want to buy into every schizophrenic runway trend. She wants clothes that reflect her personality and make her feel like herself—a person who is creative, hardworking, and open-minded—but never at the expense of practicality. She doesn’t have time for fuss, but she won’t leave the house feeling average, either. She gravitates towards items that strike that tricky balance: that are as useful as they are exciting; that are familiar, but not forgettable; that are chic, but chill. Creative, but pragmatic.
It’s tempting to call all of that “effortless,” because in a way, it is: When you know yourself and what you love, it’s easy to put yourself together in the morning, whether you’re a jeans girl or you live in suits. But you can’t get there without a little bit of effort along the way, mostly in the form of experimentation and curiosity. The creative pragmatist is willing to take risks, to challenge herself, to make a few wrong turns. She doesn’t want to show up to the party dressed like everyone else. She’s always looking for things that feel genuinely new and will energize her wardrobe: a trouser with a curved hem, a blazer with uneven buttons, a sensible loafer in fuzzy sherpa. They’re often items with quite classic beginnings, but there’s something a little off, or even flat-out strange about them: an acid-y color, a tweaked proportion, a padded sleeve. She understands how a few of those pieces can totally reframe what she already wears every day: A voluminous new pant shape will change the way she looks at her T-shirt drawer, for instance, while a knee-high boot could make the skirt she’s worn to death feel brand-new.
In the creative pragmatist’s universe, it’s all about that harmony. The items that spark our interest have a just-right tension between familiar and not, between what we know we love and what we never knew we needed. We all have different tastes, but the underlying impulse is the same: to express ourselves through what we wear and find what makes us feel alive, inspired, and empowered. It could be a sweatshirt on the weekend or a sequined dress at a wedding, and the feeling is the same. It’s the thrill of wearing something fresh and unexpected and the confidence of feeling totally, uncompromisingly like yourself. And that might be the real payoff.
Sometimes you have all the right items in your closet or your shopping basket, but it’s the balance of how you put them together that can determine if you feel chic or fidgety because something feels “off.” So here are some things to think about...
Did you know the fundamentals – the basics of your wardrobe – should be grounded in classic concepts, seasonless fabrications, and styles with interesting proportions? Each descriptive is essential and obvious but many times overlooked and unappreciated. For example, proportions. Why are they so important? Well, the answer is simple. If the fundamentals in your wardrobe are doing the heavy lifting as your fail-safe year-round “go-to pieces,” then they need to be compelling in their proportions so that you always feel... interesting and creative when you wear them.
These elements make our fundamentals easy to layer and quiet enough to wear every day. They are what you’ll live in - they’ll take you from work, to travel, to dinners out, to weekends at home. They’re smart, and they’re engaging, and they’re anything but average. And that’s a good thing.
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