SCENE | The North Island of New Zealand

Last month I was lucky enough to make it down to New Zealand, one of the last land masses to be discovered by humans and thus one of the most unspoiled places I've ever laid eyes on. I wrote a little essay for Huckberry Journal (will be live at 6am PST on Tues 9/23) about the pure wildness of The Northland, about four hours north of Auckland. And while New Zealand is known for its natural beauty, the city life is nothing to sneeze at either. I fell in love with the country's capital city and wrote up my idea of a perfect day in Wellington for (thanks for all your suggestions on that!), which hopefully captured a slice of the incredible art, fashion, coffee and food scenes on offer. In conclusion: New Zealand is the best country ever.

UNIFORM | Ursa Major Signet Ring

I love when a designer takes something of utmost quintessence and still can add something different without taking away its essence or ruining it all together. The multi-talented Kate Jones of Ursa Major Jewelry (and formerly the creative director of Taylor Stitch) has done just that with the classic signet ring. Instead of initials being etched, she has created a signet ring with a raised monogram, and aptly calls it Not Your Grandfather's Signet Ring ($90-$690). Important note: If you happen to get caught up in a bar fight, this ring might leave "quite an impression"—if that's not what you're looking for, you may want keep it blank. Har har.

UNIFORM | Radcliffe College

Photos via Radcliffe yearbooks.

Did Normcore start at Radcliffe?

[Photo 1]: Garrett Leight Milwood frames ($285); Uniqlo silk blouse ($60); Keds Champion Originals ($45), beat up pair of Vans Authentics pictured, but I think she's probably in Keds). [Photo 2]: Bud Heavy; Snake Bite earrings ($130); J. Press Shaggy Dog sweater ($230). [Photo 3]: Ann Mashburn crewneck pullover ($295); vintage field hockey stick ($42); Chance button down oxford ($118); Levi's 501s ($88).

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SCENE | The Hand & Eye

New store alert! Maker-centric website The Hand & Eye, which features craftsmen and designers, just launched a web store. There are only a few products to date (more coming soon), but they are absolutely worth taking note of. Their collaboration tote with Brooklyn-based Mer Bags made from waxed canvas and lined with American truck tarp vinyl looks ideal for all seasons—but hello, perfect Fall bag! And their American-made bandanas, designed by Elsa Jenna and printed by Man vs Ink, are prettttty pretty great too. Looking forward to watching The Hand & Eye grow, they've obviously got a great eye and able hands to make things.

UNIFORM | Tradlands Volume Four

It's been so great to watch the American women's shirting company Tradlands grow and evolve over the past year and a half since their launch. From start-up to a now fully-fledged brand, they've just today released their fourth collection, and it's no doubt their best ever. From their outdoorsy flannel Arapahoe shirt to their more staid Northhampton oxford pop-over (a Tomboy Style collab), their newest collection of seven shirts really runs the gamut in the best way. Each shirt is named for a street or place from a famous college town, so you may recognize a few of the shirt names. Made in the U.S.A. by thoughtful human beings and intended to stay in your wardrobe for decades, I can't imagine a better shirt to for going back to school, whatever "school" might mean to you now.

GIVEAWAY | Upstate Sarong

I am such a fan of Brooklyn-based Upstate and their hand-dyed wares, I have one of their kimonos and constantly get compliments when I wear it. Their clothing and accessories just add that perfect pop of rich color and pattern. So, I can't think of a better accessory to bridge the gap from summer to fall than one of their raw silk sarongs ($225), which can be used as a beach sarong, beach towel, a scarf, a picnic blanket, bed cover, whatever you want!  It's super multi-functional, 44" x 76", and we love each one of the seven colors they come in.

To enter to win a sarong of your choice: leave a comment below and tell us how you'd wear it or use it, and take a peek at the Upstate Instagram feed while you're at it—cool stuff going over there. Winner will be picked at random tomorrow (9/16) at 6:30pm PST. Good luck!

***The winner is: Cait who said "Beautiful! I would wear it as a wrap skirt all summer. I haven't had a sarong since I was a little kid. Perfect for New Zealand Summer". E-mail me: lizzie(at)gmail(dot)com!***

ARTIFACT | Gertrude Ederle's Swimming Goggles

Photo of the swimming goggles worn by Gertrude Ederle, the first woman to swim across the English Channel in 1926 via The National Museum of American History.

With the crazy heat we're having in L.A., I happily spent some downtime indoors, and a solid chunk of that time was spent looking through the collections of the National Museum of American History. I don't know how I found Gertrude Ederle's goggles, but I quickly became in awe of them and her. Ederle swam the English Channel in August of 1926, and not only was she was the first woman to complete the swim that just five men had been able to do before her, but she also broke the time record by almost two hours. The goggles really tell that story visually I thought. The way the museum makes their collection photos available online is pretty great, if you can't bring yourself to the museum, bring the museum to you. Some other artifacts of interest: Women's Suffrage flag, Teddy Roosevelt's bottle opener, a Stetson, an old pair of Keds, a piece of the Berlin Wall, and Althea Gibson's tennis outfit.

GEAR | Tomboy Style x Paper Chase Luggage Tags

Photos by Katrina Dickson.

You may remember a recent post about the Los Angeles paper press Paper Chase, a second generation printer founded in Los Angeles in 1976. Some time after that studio visit and before Nicole asked if I wanted to collaborate as part of their Paper Cuts series (T Magazine blurbed about it when it launched), I came up with an idea to make luggage tags based on old designs of legacy and now bygone airlines. Airline logos, and even more specifically luggage tags and gate check tags, have been something I've collected for a little while—so the opportunity to create customizable tags with Paper Chase seemed like absolute kismet.

I based the designs off of three old tags, one Swiss Air and two KLM tags. You can probably spot two of them in the above photo. The red one (which I think might be my favorite) is based on an old KLM Airline tag, and the Paper Chase version similarly includes three numbers across the top—but instead of just printing a random string of six numbers, we subbed in the atomic numbers for silver, gold, and platinum as a play on airline status brackets (nerd nerd nerd alert!).

Each tag is customizable, front and back (and don't worry, that's not my real address or phone), you can monogram, add your last name, business, or whatever  you'd like. The tags are tied with waxed cotton stings and are printed double thick with colored edges and matte lamination. Get 'em while they're hot >>> Tomboy Style x Paper Chase luggage tags ($25 for a set of five).

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MOMENT | Gap's "Dress Normal" Campaign

The Gap has recently released four videos directed by Academy Award-winning director  David Fincher in conjunction with their "Dress Normal" campaign. I went on CNN on Tuesday morning (it's not online, thankfully!) to discuss the idea behind the campaign and the #normcore trend. Initially you might think there's nothing simpler than an idea of "dressing normal", but when filtered through blogs and magazines, opinion pieces and branding, it can quickly become really complicated. Is it a statement of defiance? Is it a joke? Is it oblivious conformity? Is it a reaction to labels? Is it a reaction to the escalation of unattainable fashion? Is it 90s nostalgia? It it about practicality? All of the above? What came first, the chicken or the egg? Why don't you just tell me the name of the movie you selected? Although thinking deeply about normcore is not my idea of a good time, I think these videos are really smart, light, and fun, and their tag lines are definitely playing into the idea's complexity:

Let your actions speak louder than your clothes.
The uniform of rebellion. And conformity.
Simple clothes for you to complicate.
Dress like no one's watching.

Here are the two other campaign videos: Kiss and Stairs. And just in case the song Wait A Minute by The Newday gets stuck in your head from the top video, here's the full song.

p.s. Just a quick PSA: I will repost the luggage tag collab that was up last night and this morning, tomorrow. I lost track of the date when I scheduled it earlier this week and took it down this morning out of respect for 9/11 victims and their families—it was the wrong thing to be celebrating on such a hallowed day for the country and New York City.

ICON | Bernice Bing

Photos of Bernice Bing via Mythos Fine Art & Artifacts (above) and The Asian-American Women Artists Association (below).

"I do believe that one of the reasons she was able to garner a one-woman show at the Batman Gallery was because of her fearless large-scale canvases, similar to what her male-counterparts were producing. Bing was a fierce painter and she could hold her own. In this bohemian milieu, the masculine world of the literati and the male subjectivity of Abstract Expressionism dominated."—Jen Banta as told to Layla Gibbon for the City Lights blog. 

Check out the full interview here, an insight into a underrated artist and the prejudice that occurred within the Beatnik/Avant Garde circles of the 1950s and 60s.

[Thank you Layla, for bringing "Bingo" into my consciousness.]

GEAR | Woolrich Footwear

You may be familiar with Woolrich because it has been the longest continuously running woolen mill in the United States. From what began in 1830, a woolen mill built in Plum Run, Pennsylvania that created fabrics for loggers, trappers, miners, and rivermen and then sold out of a mule cart, has grown and evolved over eight generations. This season the heritage brand launches its very first footwear collection for men and women with the same ethos and dedication to authenticity as they did 180 years ago. The wool fabrics that line Woolrich shoes start out in the same way as they always do, as simple bales of raw wool. The new women's footwear line includes several micro-collections, but the one that drew me in first was unsurprisingly their Tomboy Collection, including the Dead Eye Boot ($300) which I took for a test spin this weekend. Comfortable, functional, sturdy, and warm—a good solid pair of kickers.

ACE | Megan McIsaac

Megan McIsaac is a fixture in the creative scene of L.A., the founder of the community Inspired Women of Los Angeles, and a force in the photography world. McIsaac reminds us that there are photographers who can frame a well-composed shot, and there photographers that are real artists who can capture something with a camera that's hard to describe. I was combing through her portraits (many, if not all of them, shot on film) over the weekend and lingered there for what felt like all Sunday morning.

SCENE | Julia Leach's Guide to Los Angeles

Photos by Andrew Southam.

Designer Julia Leach launched her label Chance right around the same time when I started Tomboy Style. We found each other as kindred spirits on the Internet and quickly became e-mail pen pals, comparing notes as two Midwestern tomboys living on the coasts sussing out the style and definition of the 21st century tomboy. I did that by writing a blog, Julia, by designing a collection of timeless items anchored by a fresh interpretation of the striped t-shirt. Chance marries classic aesthetics with a modern point-of-view on the world, and I can't tell you how many things I've found from her posted discoveries on the Chance site—from bands to artists to key chains. It was a prefect thrill to collaborate with her and photographer Andrew Southam for a Condé Nast Traveler story that outlines Julia's guide to Los Angeles. She lives here part time with her boyfriend, so knows the city well, but still has a visitor's sense of discovery—an insider/outsider. This unique hybrid that Julia envelopes allows for a guide that doesn't overlook the classic staples that make L.A. so L.A. but also includes the lesser known and harder-to-find beacons of Los Angeles culture. The entire guide is online here (or if you're into print, you can find it in the September issue on stands now). Below are some unpublished photos from a day spent driving around town in a chocolate brown vintage Benz.

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