If you like NO.6, Ancient Greek Sandals, or ATP (All Tomorrow’s Parties) then you just may like FEIT. Henry Cuir also comes to mind. FEIT is a NYC based company designing handcrafted leather shoes for women and men that appear to only get better with wear.
Yes, it is fall but this sandal immediately captured my attention. A sandal that doesn’t read trendy or ugly anything. It is unisex in appearance with an under the radar presence. A beautiful, soft, natural, caramel toned leather sandal with hand stitching, and a solid sole. I would happily slide my foot into for the trying. Without seeing them in person, I would say they are up for the task of walking a city. A neutral tone for any situation or style. Even the packaging is thoughtful. Not to mention there is no glaring logo stamped or printed on the beautiful leather. For fall, I have my eye on the edgy metal clog below. I’m digging its everyday appeal but my wallet is saying something else.
I love that all FEIT’s footwear are made by humans from all natural products and treatments. The focus is on quality and preserving the craft. The company is fully transparent. You can read more on their website about the production process. FYI these handcrafted sandals and boots come with a pricey price tag. So you must love and value their story. I could see myself wearing both the sandal and clog non-stop and getting my cost per wear to zero. There is something special about a shoe that becomes totally worn in from the places you have traveled. FEIT does have a loyal following.
Store locations in NYC, San Francisco, and Sydney.
I was recently speaking with a friend about isostilo. What sparked the idea?A very convincing and supportive Dutch friend encouraged me to start isostilo with the intention to define it as it evolves. Part style, fashion, travel, lifestyle, and everything in between. What I know is that I needed a push to just begin something and to see where it goes. A large part of my inspiration draws from my four years living in Amsterdam and the many return visits.
Amsterdam is a chapter in my life that opened my eyes. The wonderful part of my relationship with this city is that every return visit my connection becomes deeper. Spending time in Amsterdam gives me a gift that continues to grace me with love, appreciation, and curiosity. It continues to shape my thoughts, perspective, and personal style.
In a nutshell. My husband and I, along with our sweet dog Senna, moved to Amsterdam as expats three weeks after we married in 2004. Working for me was not option since I was not sponsored for a work visa. I explored every day by foot, by bike, made friends, took cooking classes, failed miserably at Dutch lessons (except for befriending the most amazing girl friends), joined a Bikram studio, spotted interesting designers, soaked up the culture, and drank up the city one coffee at a time. Two years into our stay, I became pregnant and gave birth to our son. I had a home birth and embraced the norm of not going to the hospital. It was magical. If you want to know more about this then you can read about my birth in Ricki Lake’s book, Your Best Birth. We built friendships that became our family. It was four amazing years before returning back to Boston. I have managed to visit once a year since our return in 2008.
It is the friendships that we cultivated during those years that I hold so dear to my heart. These friendships draw us back. Friendships that make me tick in a way I can’t fully explain but will try. I feel more grounded, more connected, and my life becomes simpler in a way. There is honesty and truthfulness from these friends (which is what led me to lobbing off my hair and bleaching it blonde a year ago). I can laugh at myself. My beat is smoother.
I have a true appreciation for the qualities that I admire from my Dutchies. What I see are non-followers who have a true sense of themselves. There is a sense of strength and confidence while being kind-hearted. They are not over thinkers. Straight forwardness is admirable. You want to do something, you just do it (I am trying to practice this) and not worry about what anybody else thinks. Hence isostilo! Beating to your own drum is a good thing. Traveling and experiencing the world around you is a given for them. Your perspective shifts when you leave your comfort zone. Mine certainly have.
For me there is something comforting about leaving my Cambridge life that is also full of wonderful friends and family. Flying across the pond to slide into another life that is equally familiar but completely different. Catching up with friends, embracing a different environment, and conversations helps me gain a fresh perspective that is so good for my soul. I can walk Amsterdam all day and never get bored. This recent visit, I walked over 150 city miles during the month of August (crazy indeed but I also didn’t do any other exercise). I love the cobbled streets, the bikes, the lifestyle, the charming homes, the history, and the apple cake. It is easy. I also love the personal style of this city. It feels like anything is possible with no restrictions. It is all accepting. Be who you are. A denim and kicks kinda crowd. I find it all inspiring. Sneaking in a little shopping where I score a few lifers for my closet is an added bonus.
Secretly (well at times I am pretty outspoken about this) I have always hoped that my family and I would return just for a year or two. If you think I love Amsterdam then you should talk with my son. His love runs just as deep. He is building his own connection through friendships and memories. In the mean time, I am thankful for all the time I have been able to spend in this city. For the gifts it has graced me with and the new friendships it inspires. The most precious gift being my son. I am so appreciative of my husband who understands my deep connection and encourages me to visit as long as I return! Hugs and kisses to those friends that have moved on from Amsterdam to other exciting places for me to visit. The world is full of beautiful places but it is the people you meet along the way that truly make it so special and so memorable.
isostilo is not just about fashion. Sharing new finds, designers, ways to wear your closet is part of it. Trends are fun but come and go. I’m really not into big labels. They are not terribly interesting to me but I do appreciate them and have a few pieces that I have collected over the years. I love classic, timeless pieces that go the distance. I respect craftsmanship. I tend to hunt for designers with a clean modern aesthetic. Denim, t shirt, blazer and sneakers is my uniform of choice. At the moment there is so much stuff out there, that it is difficult to know what you like. It feels excessive and not very special. The art of buying to just buy is very off putting to me. Buy it because it means something to you not because everyone else is wearing it. I don’t practice retail therapy but would rather go for a walk or catch up with a friend.
When you find your own personal style, now that is interesting, label or no label. Style to me encompasses it all. When it is not a focus and it’s your own look and it doesn’t wear you, that is far more intriguing. I love when authentic and personality is what you notice. I believe you are shaped by exposure, life, exploring, and the people you meet. This is where isostilo lives.
Practicing to be healthy and respecting your body is so very important. Over all fitness is a focus of mine. Now in my forties, I feel stronger and more committed than ever to keep embracing the changes that come with age. I have found a very healthy balance for myself. When you shift from just focusing on your external that is when the magic happens. To feel good in a pair of jeans and tee, I am happy. Keeping up with my 12 year old keeps me motivated. Health is everything. So, yes, isostilo goes beyond clothing. But rather just trying to keep everything in balance. Not being afraid to change the course when needed as life evolves. Sometimes it is messy and sometimes it is great.
Who knows where isostilo will go but for now it is a journey. It is an outlet that I enjoy and hope you take something away from what I share. I will say that the past year and half plus has taught me a lot about myself. At the beginning the writing, grammar, technology, and self-doubt really challenged me. The question “what is your goal” really annoyed me. Not anymore. You like it or you don’t. I am ok with either. When I don’t feel inspired, I simply don’t post. I have nothing to lose and a ton to gain. I am finding my way around all this and I am forever thankful to my husband and son who give every long post a glance over. I love the fact they are both encouraging and curious about what I am interested in or questioning my latest read. Grammar will forever challenge me (bear with me)! I am ok with not being perfect. Hopefully we all are.
Forever in my heart, Amsterdam
A side note: This most recent trip has me looking at my life and the influence of my friendships. How fortunate I am to have wonderful friendships near and far. Each friend is so very different from the next. Put everyone in one space, well it is a bit like the United Nations. They all have one trait in common, genuine and honest with a whole lot of humor. There is always a different way to look at something and you can agree to disagree but understanding where they are coming from is so very important. A diverse group of friends is pure gold! Forever evolving is key. Taking the time to chill is important. Having fun is a must. Being yourself is beyond cool. Sitting still in comfort needs to be shaken up a bit. I’m in my forties with something to do is the new goal. I hope to make a difference, small or big.
You are either a hat person or you are not. Exploring the chic street style brim hat. A stylish staple with a long history. A hat that effortlessly adds a uniqueness to your personal style. The brim hat is a classic fashion piece meant to be worn. A playful accessory that is worth considering. Goorin Bros. is a nice place to explore for an approachable option. They know a thing or two about hats with a history in the hat making world since 1895. Or take a peek at Parisian millenary, Maison Michel. They are beautiful! Check out Farfetch. (all images from Pinterest) Don’t over think this accessory.
After a busy end to 2018, my body just wants to recharge. With this, I plan on taking full advantage of weekends. So no more making lists of things to get done but rather a list of interests. More quiet time even if the window is small. More experiences and learning new skills is my 2019! I am kicking off with the following:
Ansel Adams deserves a second visit. My first visit to see the exhibit at the MFA reminded me of the importance of getting outside everyday to connect with nature. Fresh air does the body and mind good. His photography is amazing. The world through his lens grips you.
More films! Roma, a beautiful film about a young Mexican worker’s journey during the 70’s is on the top of my must see list. The list just got longer after watching the Golden Globes. So many beautiful movies to enjoy.
In my future is the William Forsythe’s installation at the ICA. An interactive exhibit about movement and much more.
Basket making will be the new form of meditation for me. I am hoping for a new summer bag to swing (Jane Birkin inspired). New skill on the horizon that will be a relaxing (hoping this is the case) activity for cold days.
Ballet inspired workouts because dancers are the ultimate athletes (and my body is craving the impossible)! Flexibility and strength are a personal goal of mine. A new way to challenge my workouts and hone in on my weaknesses.
This list of interests will keep evolving. This is an achievable start. I hope this inspires you to make time to have some fun as well as shelve that to-do list for another day. FYI the list never goes away and those windows of free time do! xo
you may want this look! I am not the only one thinking these hats are a good idea. Get on the waiting list. A full coverage hat to be worn on the coldest city days without looking like a bank robber but maybe more like a Teletubbie. They are not for skiers (less you are vying for Jerry of the Day) but for the brave wearers who just want face protection as well as up their city style. The Moritz from Kule will have you fully covered! Made of cashmere so hoping that skin irritation won’t be an issue. But it may be a risk worth taking if they come back in to stock! Stay warm this winter. Kule
Super fan of this cool girl clean look! Sylvain Le Hen from France is designing sleek hair accessories that will delight your eyes. They are minimalistic and beautifully crafted. Who knew hair accessories could take on an architectural vibe? Subtle, bold, clean, and utilitarian all come to mind when I see these art forms disguised as hair clips. Sylvain Le Hen hair accessories would make for a lovely gift. I am asking Santa for the red raw band. I have the disc and long clip. Hopefully Santa reads my blog! (all images from Sylvain Le Hen) For a local US online retailer with the most selection head to Founders & Followers.
Any one can play in this game! Socks and tights are one of the easiest ways to transform your style instantly. I also love the fact that this fashion accessory can be gentle on your wallet unless you go with the Gucci option. There is no way around not wearing this essential accessory so you might as well make them interesting. Have some fun and let loose this holiday season. Think about adding texture, color, and print to your long pleated skirt, cropped pant, or that fancy dress . Festive flair! Check out Net-A-Porter
Everyone needs a workhorse boot. I have been contemplating Dr. Martens. Originally designed for the British working class, they have evolved over the years to be a subcultural necessity with everyday appeal. I like the versatility and utilitarian style of the Dr. Martens. They simply mean business. The yellow welt stitch, thick sole, and yellow heel loop with their brand label are the distinguishing features. You can’t help but notice them on the street. They are quality, modestly priced, and have been around since 1901. They certainly compliment denim but would give a skirt or dress some edge. Dr. Martens are for those who choose to deviate from the norm. “Music is the heartbeat of the brand” thanks to Pete Townshend of The Who and the early multi-cultural ska-loving skinheads for changing the brand forever! Always to be worn with your own individual style! Dr. Martens (all images from Dr. Martens)
Clogs are back in full force. To me they will always be in style. Depends how you wear them. Gucci stepped up with their version. I am not huge fan of the furry look and way too spendy for a clog even if you top them off with the horsebit detail. But I love the outfit inspiration that I found on Pinterest to show them off. I am a big fan of No.6. Discovered them about 8 years ago at an under the radar store in Boston that has since closed. In fact I still wear them. Clogs are fab with any look and surprising comfortable. No.6 offers many versions and they will become a quick favorite. They are a good and reasonable investment. No.6 all the way!
Sometimes you just don’t want what everyone else is sporting. I came across this amazing eyewear collection over the summer while exploring the Moooi Showroom in Amsterdam. The future looks bright with The Third Eye Collection’s line of high style shades. Sunglasses that are designed with a new level of creativity and detail. This is exactly what you get when Dutch designer Marcel Wonders from Moooi teams up with the Korean eyewear brand, Gentle Monster. The design is influenced by the Egyptian hieroglyph drawings, which feature an ‘O’ symbol connected to the human eye. The Trinity, Divinity, Infinity, and Sincerity are the four styles under the The Third Eye Collection. The mix of materials, shapes, colors, and experimental design are indeed fashion forward. But they are not too out of reach for those that are a bit bored with the more traditional eyewear. Have some fun with your style. Seriously! The autumn light deserves some fun eyewear this season. All images from Moooi. Check out the whole collection!