American Heritage Brands

boattote

Love this article on American Heritage Brands.  I’m especially interested in those brands that are still making their products in the USA with high quality materials.  For example, I’ve found that these days when I look for jeans, it’s hard to find 100% cotton jeans.  Once upon a time most jeans were 100% cotton.  I’m not sure if it’s because of the American appetite for leisure wear or what, but these newfangled jeans with their stretch just don’t wear like the old cotton ones.

Also, according to this article, the signature product of L.L. Bean is the Maine Hunting Shoe.  For me their signature product will always be the Boat and Tote Bag, pictured above.  Monogrammable, still 100% cotton (although they also make synthetic versions), and a great gift.

When I was in high school, my best friend worked at an old-timey soda fountain downtown.  She scooped a lot of ice cream during the summers.  The owner was this classy guy who bought all of his employees a Boat and Tote bag (I believe they were the large size with the short handles) and they were embroidered with the employee’s initials.  I have loved them ever since.

Review- The Vintage Tote Bag from Whipping Post

tote

I got this tote bag by Whipping Post a few months ago and love it so much I wanted to write a review.  It’s hard to find a good bag these days, so when I saw a woman at the mall wearing this tote bag I did what anyone would do:  I followed her around until I could read the letters on the bag.  I’m not proud.  (Everyone asks me why I didn’t just ask her, but she was on the phone.)

Anyway…it was love at first sight.  I love the simplicity of it.  The construction and the leather are both very high quality.  I expect it to age well, not only because of the beautiful leather, but because of the simply style and the fact that it’s not a trendy brand.  It’s also very versatile– I can wear it to work and most of the places I go outside of work (I usually switch to a clutch for nicer nights out).  At $195, I think it was a bargain.

I’ve only had it a few months, but so far it’s held up very well and I’ve gotten a number of compliments on it.  I kind of wish it were lined, and since it’s open (i.e., no zip-top closure) I feel like I have to keep a careful eye on it in crowds, but these are minor points.

Another thing I love about this bag is that it’s made in the USA by a small business.  It’s a little piece of art made by artisans in the US.

 

Summer Wardrobe Maintenance

Happy Bastille Day!

Generally this time of year is filled with mini vacations, trips to the beach, barbeques with friends, and feasting on seasonal fruit and fish. But one thing I like to do at this time of the year is to get my clothes and shoes ready for fall, which is just around the corner.

I take all of my sweaters and coats to the dry cleaner. When I get them back I put each sweater into it’s own breathable sweater bag to minimize damage from pests (I buy the bags on Ebay). I also take all of my boots into the shoe repair shop and have them cleaned, conditioned, polished, and re-heeled if they need it, and after I pick them up I put them back into their original boxes.

After having everything cleaned and repaired, I look through everything and cull the things that I didn’t wear much last season or that are past their prime. I want these things to be as useful and wearable as possible for the next person, so I try to donate things in their best possible condition.

Doing these things now means that I’m not in any rush to get them back from the cleaners, and when the weather turns cold and I’m wanting to wear my boots and sweaters, everything is clean and ready to be worn.

Lessons from Madame Chic

book

I am reading this book right now and I am in love!  It is so inspiring, and makes me appreciate my small house with one small bathroom and one small kitchen (if Madame Chic can make it work, so can I!)  I’m de-cluttering my house…changing the way I eat…changing the way I dress…in short, this book is life changing.  It’s the perfect summer read since it’s not too serious.

I’ve also discovered the author’s blog, The Daily Connoisseur, and am reading through old posts.  I can’t wait to read her other books, too!