Sunday, June 12, 2011

Born in the USA

While I love Swiss fondue, Chinese food and Belgian chocolates, sometimes I just want a good old American hot dog. The same holds true for fashion. Well crafted brands that were born in the U.S.A hold a special appeal for me. The ones I’ve chosen to feature have a distinctly All American appeal and their longevity is proof enough that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. So check out the following collections. The swim/active wear line is available now while the others will hit the stores in late summer/early fall.

Let’s start with TYR. Established in 1985 in Huntington Beach CA, from the beginning the focus has been on producing high quality performance swimwear and workout apparel for competitive athletes. But you and I don’t care about that aspect. Heck the only competitive sport I indulge in is racing to the nearest sample sale. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want to look good on the beach or on a casual weekend. The first item I’d buy is one of TYR’s double binding reversible swimsuits. They come in terrific prints and solids and let’s face it, who doesn’t want to get two for the price of one? I also love the short sleeved fashion tee (also available with long sleeves) in fuschia, white or black with contrast piping and adjustable side ties in a spandex / microfiber blend from the TYR Kinetic active-wear range.

One of my all-time favorite brands is LANDS’ END. This Wisconsin-based apparel company has been going strong for almost 50 years and every time I see their collections I flip out. Let’s face it even a so-called "sophisticated New Yorker" like me can’t resist the fabulous water resistant navy wool duffle coat or the classic winter coat in a gorgeous hot pink or orange wool, not to mention the cute suede loafers in a trendy shade of raspberry. I also crave the crepe soled wedge desert boots in camel or coral suede and a stripey wool cardigan that buttons down the back while my boyfriend is lusting after all the crewneck sweaters and casual slacks from the Canvas collection. I could go on and on but you get the picture. These are clothes that will never look terminally trendy, go out of style and yet will look terrific year after year since their stuff never wears out!

Lands' End - Fashion Made Immortal


(Lands' End photos by M. McKenzie)

Another all-American brand is DOONEY AND BOURKE. I wear and love their handbags for the craftsmanship, fashionably sporty styling and affordable prices. I got an early peek at fall and fell in love with the sporty chic nubuck and vachetta leather bags and totes. The detailing and workmanship that goes into their bags is nothing short of astonishing when you consider the crap that some of the other overpriced so-called designer lines try to hand us. Also on my wish list is a lt weight two-tone zip top large east/west tote in white/red. I can’t wait to check out the complete collection when Dooney hosts its next press event.

KORET is another fine handbag company that was established in 1929 and is still going strong today. Up until 1985 it was the premier handbag brand in the U.S. and was carried in the top department stores. If you love the ladylike stylig and slightly retro look check no further than fall’s “Proper Paisley” collection in British tan or black. My favorite bag is the dressy “kisslock” top handled bag but I also like Koret’s more classic top handle satchel and half flap leather handbags with turn lock closures in brown, black or cobalt from the “Turned Out” range. You can’t go wrong either way.

Conceived in SoHo NY, MIZ MOOZ is an eclectic, edgy comfortable footwear brand that is constantly challenging itself to create the most unique and innovative styles – all handcrafted using the highest quality hand worked leathers. This finishing can result in subtle variations in color, design and texture. In a word different than other brands – just like New Yorkers. See what I’m talking about at 

American Hand-Crafted Crap & Couture
(Yes, that is a compliment!)

(photo by M. McKenzie)

If there’s one department store that every American is familiar with it’s MACYS. While it seems like they’ve been around forever and could coast on the name alone, the fashion gurus haven’t slacked off at all when it comes to offering the most bang for the apparel buck. At their recent press preview took note of TOMMY HILFIGER’s stylishly preppy fall collection. Loved the shrunken blazer best but the whole line is adorable and affordably priced for the 20/30 something customer on a budget. 

Macys is Keeping it American!
(photos by M. McKenzie)
That’s all for now. Next time I’ll fill you in on my impressions of the fashions at the Costume Institute collection at the Met. Until then C&C.

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Crap and Couture, Notes From the Back Row