StyleBlueprint is thrilled to have Libby Callaway guest blog for us today. Her background: Libby Callaway is a stylist and fashion journalist who lives and works in East Nashville. She is the former fashion editor of the New York Post and a former Glamour magazine columnist. She is the owner of Diamond Star Halo Vintage, located at 1101 Holly Street. Her contact information is at the end of this post. We love her. I think you’ll see why:
As spring strolls into Music City, I find myself craving something more than just the Next Big Fashion Trend. While I do love the mix of floral prints and graphic black and noir looks that dominate fashion magazines this season, I’m personally looking at things from a more practical level right now.
This could be attributed to the economy or the fact that the purchase of my first house is making me rethink splurges on things that don’t come from Home Depot – or possibly it’s a result of plain old common sense that comes with age (I am proudly turning 40 next month). But I want everything that I buy, watch or wear right now to have some emotional heft to it – I want to deal with people, places and things that have a history, and, most importantly, a sense of authenticity.
So when Elizabeth and Liza asked me to be a guest blogger during their spring break (lucky girls!), I thought I’d take this chance to pen an homage to a trend, a TV show, a designer collaboration, and a few local stores that currently strike me as being especially authentic.
My favorite looks for warm weather this year all have a touch of military to them. I think this may stem from my love of the recent wash of wartime movies, like Inglorious Bastards and The Hurt Locker. (Random aside: I used to edit the latter movie’s Oscar-winning screenwriter Mark Boal when we were both working at a small-time Manhattan newspaper in the mid-90s). Whatever it’s origins, I love the standard issue world’s selective range of earthy colors – Mouse gray! Olive green! – and telltale patterns (I am a fool for camo – especially the graphic vintage prints from Western Euro countries like Finland and Germany that I find in random thrift stores). And I dig the fact that there are few outfits that come across as cool as those that juxtapose leggy minis, girly frills and floral prints (Target’s current Liberty of London collaboration is brilliant) with tougher pieces like pocketed field jackets. But the best part about the spring military movement is that it’s cheap: you can purchase the bones of the look – think cargo pants and camp shirts with epauletes – for less than $20 each at most army/navy surplus stores. My local favorite is Battleground Surplus at 2001 Nolensville Pike, where a few weeks ago I scored a hooded jacket made of loosely woven mosquito-proof netting for $12 that I swear looks just like something Rodarte would send down the runway.
American Pickers on The History Channel
Every Monday night this spring you can find me perched on my purple leather couch, watching my dear friend Mike Wolfe and his buddy Frank Fritz as they take to the back roads of America in search of “honey holes”– the duo’s suggestive slang term for out-of-the-way warehouses, farms and other absolutely, positively random places where they discover the damndest treasures. The guys turn up antiques and collectibles ranging from vintage movie posters to architectural salvage on their journeys, and it’s absolutely fascinating to watch. Mike loves coming to Nashville, where he sometimes sets up at the flea market. He also stops by to drop in on his roster of local clients, including high-end antique dealers and artsy types like photographers and set designers, who call on him for hard-to-find props and accessories. From time to time Mike will send me a box of goodies he tripped during his pillages – yellowing Victorian blouses, old bowling shirts, or worn 1930s boots, for instance. Some pieces I save to dress background extras in period video shoots; others get cleaned up and find their way into my East Nashville boutique, Diamond Star Halo Vintage. DSHV is located in Fanny’s House of Music on the corner of Holly and 11th streets and is open Monday through Saturday from 11 am until 6 pm.
Many Will See for Imogene + Willie
My friend Amanda Urrego is no doubt familiar to frequent H. Audrey shoppers. A tall, striking brunette with a sophisticated sense of L.A.-bred style, she’s a whiz at helping shoppers navigate the drool-worthy racks of soft leather jackets by Rick Owens (to quote my old friend Rachel Zoe: I die …) and drapey jersey tunic dresses from A.L.C. that hang in the Hill Center boutique. Amanda also has the knack for whipping random pieces of vintage jewelry into totally modern, divinely show-stopping necklaces. Until recently, H. Audrey and Taigan.com were the only places to buy Many Will See, a line that features pieces that easily (and deservedly) run into the low four-figure range. That changes this month when Amanda introduces a lower-priced capsule collection at the 12South denim emporium Imogene + Willie – a store that is in itself a bastion of authenticity. Check out this ingenious collaboration starting next week at I+W’s cozy HQ: at 2601 12th Avenue South at the corner of Sweetbriar. You can peruse other Many Will See pieces at Amanda’s blog: www.manywillsee.blogspot.com.) Check out Styleblueprint’s post on Many Will See and on Imogene + Willie.
The Men’s Department at J.Crew
When it comes to shopping locally for male clients who don’t want to end up looking like a Bret Michaels avatar, it’s slim pickings to say the least. Call me a snob, but I refuse to buy into the idea that clothes featuring aggressive embroidery, burnout designs and – gag me – rhinestones make a guy look cool. (Cool does not sparkle, friends; cool smolders.) And since the stitched-and-burned-and-shiny-all-over thing seems to be the going look at many of Nashville’s men’s boutiques, I’m usually relegated to shopping at only a half-dozen stores. C hief among them is J Crew. (For the record, Imogene + Willie and Battlefield Surplus are, ironically, also on my short list.) With my aforementioned love of good, earthy colors and textures, I am a total sucker for the variety of classic, well-cut, affordable clothes I find at the ‘Crew. I especially love the store’s new collaborations with oldie-but-very-goodie brands like Levis, Red Wing Shoes, Macintosh, and Barbour, to name just a few. Plus, the service chez J. is amazing. Not sure how to wear your Belstaff jacket? The Green Hills store’s personal shopping team is topnotch.
I also like to look at the company’s gorgeously styled catalog for inspiration. (I find so many styling ideas in these free mini mags that I’ve begun keeping them, filing back issues into the massive mix of media in my new home library, where it stands alongside my new favorite men’s fashion biannual, Man About Town.) The new spring issue is a standout, featuring the dapper staff of the British indie magazine Monocle rocking J.Crew gear. It’s so good, in fact, that I’m taking my dog-eared copy to the a fitting I’m doing with a local singer/songwriter this weekend. After considering what you’ve just read, it wont come as a surprise to learn the criterion we use when selecting new pieces for his tour wardrobe: everything has to look authentic.