Shopping List: Fall 2016's Simplicity

The issue with being a self-declared minimalist in seasons like this one, early autumn of the year 2016 to be specific, is that it can be hard to keep your wardrobe's contents to a, well, minimum.

You'll try to build a seasonally-appropriate minimalist wardrobe opting for fewer, but better things, and find yourself in a bit of a pickle when you discover that there are just so many good emerging (and established) designers out there that the options are seemingly endless.

The problem is not a bad one – it's just that the talent out there is so good it can be hard to keep your shopping list at a minimum.

Boo hoo.

And so, with September temperatures cooling off those mornings and evenings...with a birthday looming and a personal commitment to keeping my gift requests practical (pay off my student loans, anyone?)...and with those sartorial goals raging hard, I've put together an ode to fall 2016's gorgeous, layerable simplicity in literal shopping list form.

The end result will be that either a) writing this post was enough to quench my thirst and will keep me from buying everything here and more


 b) I'll buy everything here and more.

We'll just have to see. In the meantime, here are a few favorite fall pieces:

Robin Reetz

I’m an expat currently living between London and North Carolina. I'm the Home & Living Editor at Clementine Daily, handle partnerships and more at DesignGood, and create content for folks like Teen Vogue. Also, I love independent designers. Find out more about me here:

Behind The Scenes With Alexis Mera

Many of the career-changing stories we hear about involve moving industries. Migrating from one space another seems the most story-worthy, and those stories are certainly everywhere – the tale of a big-city lawyer becoming a mindful ceramic artist, an overwhelmed doctor who becomes a teacher, or maybe a writer who decides to put their helping hands to a different kind of work and becomes a social worker. 

But big career changes aren't always the neatly -packaged, industry-jumping sort. Sometimes, they involve staying in the same industry and moving from one end of the spectrum to the other – and that's a change that can be just as big and sometimes feel even bigger.

Alexis Mera made that very jump in early 2015. Starting in product development, production, and merchandising in the sleepwear industry, she transitioned to entrepreneur, designer, and boss-gal business owner. Almost two years later and, though the brand is still in its early phases, it certainly seems like Alexis has survived that transition just fine.

Here, Alexis takes us behind the scenes of her Brooklyn-based line.

Behind The Scenes: Alexis Mera | Second Floor Flat

Tell me about the background of your line, Alexis Mera. How did it get started?

My background is in the sleepwear industry, with a focus in Merchandising, Product Development, and Production. I always wanted to have a business of my own, and while I wasn’t always sure what that business would be, I knew I wanted to have one.

After working in fashion for nearly a decade, starting my own line was a natural shift. When we launched in early 2015, the line started more as a loungewear concept, but loungewear that was meant to be seen. Very quickly after our launch, the line evolved more into an athleisure concept. Women were asking me if they can wear our Jogger Pants to yoga (the answer is of course, yes).  Athleisure is not only a clothing trend, it’s a lifestyle trend, and we are excited to be part of it.

Starting a project like this and watching it evolve is really amazing. We’re working on an amazing activewear capsule collection for Spring/Summer 2017. Stay tuned…   


Can you describe your creative process? How do you design a piece, from start to finish?

The line is very print driven with a few solid essentials layered in. The design process is not always the same for every piece or collection. Sometimes we find a print we love, then try to figure out which bodies it would work best for. Other times we see a silhouette that we know we need, and find a fabric or print to fill in.

For the most part, there's a lot of trend research before we start designing our next collection. There’s also a lot of analysis of previous prints/colors/styles. What’s most important to us is that our fabrics are extremely soft and comfy next to the skin – we want women to feel super comfortable in their AM gear. We’re known for our buttery soft fabrics and vibrant prints. After we’ve designed the collection we hit the road and go to trade shows, once we’ve received a reaction from the industry, stores, customers, and even friends, we decide what we will move forward with in production. 

Behind The Scenes: Alexis Mera | Second Floor Flat

Can you tell us what role fabrication plays in the design process? What about print?

Fabric quality plays a HUGE role in the design process. We have very strict standard for the fabrics that we use. We don’t like stiff or rigid fabrics, and are always working to find the softest fabric hand possible. As I mentioned above, we are very print driven, so each season we try to find 4 – 6 prints that we think our customers will love. 


You’re proudly a New York designer. How does your production process work, and why is it important to you to produce your collection in New York?

Production is probably my least favorite part of having a line. It’s not creative at all – you’re constantly problem solving, and it can be stressful at times. However, my background in production has really helped me here. A good production manager is like gold. There are so many moving parts, and I have learned SO much, whether it be about the construction of a garment, pattern making, sewing details, or even shipping. We currently produce our entire collection at a factory on West 36th Street in the Garment Center. Our factory also sews all of our samples, so when we go into production, it’s a pretty smooth transition as we’ve already perfected the sewing and fit.

Keeping my production in New York is a choice I’ve made mainly because of the control I have over the process. When an order is in production I stop by the factory at least once a week to check on things. It’s really great to be able to do that, because the level of quality control is unbeatable. It also helps to be able to communicate with the factory owner and other employees face to face, rather than via email. It makes the process much faster and more smooth. 


Is there a single piece that you feel quintessentially represents the brand?

We are known for or Cortelyou Jogger Pants. They are actually named after the street our studio is located off of in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn.

Behind The Scenes: Alexis Mera | Second Floor Flat


What’s one thing you’d want people to walk away knowing about your work?

My main goal is to make sure women feel comfortable in our line and feel comfortable in their own skin. We want you to just be you. 

Behind The Scenes: Alexis Mera | Second Floor Flat
Behind The Scenes: Alexis Mera | Second Floor Flat

And just for fun– 

If you weren’t living in New York, where would you live?

I was born and raised in New York State and have lived in NYC for 13 years now – and there’s no place like it. My husband is from Brazil, so maybe there? Or, my father is from Holland, so that would be another fun place to live for a while.

Who do you think is just killing it right now? An artist, designer, author, filmmaker, etc.


Won't argue there.

Shop Alexis Mera here, and follow her here and here, and find more independent designers to love and support through the directory which now has maybe 500 or so (?) emerging designers, artists, and retailers. Regardless, enjoy!


St. Agni

Her Swim, Hunter The Label, Carpenter's Daughter.

Australia has some of the freshest design talent out there, and to that list we can now add the endlessly beautiful St. Agni.

This Byron Bay-based footwear, accessory, and home goods line feels incredibly clean and necessary. St. Agni is supple leather, blonde wood, classic and comfort, over and over again. It's familiar but fresh, beautiful, and – my lord – so wearable.

It's currently scorching in New York (hello, mid-90s F), but the sleek NAO Mules are certainly on my late summer wishlist. Soft leather, a peep toe, and a low wooden heel?

Yes. Please. Here are a few more favorites:

St. Agni Hina Slides

5 Books That Will Change Your Mood

After the last few weeks, I've been craving a bit of a mood change. Call me crazy, but with everything going on lately I've wanted – needed – a wee bit of an escape. 

(Can you blame me?)

After reading "My Name Is Lucy Barton", I couldn't stop thinking about what it was that made the book so special. The writing was nice, the story was beautiful – heartbreaking, even – but all of these elements together took me to another place. Temporarily, of course, but another place still the same. 

And really, isn't that what we're all looking for with reading? A temporary journey to another place. An escape of sorts.

"Lucy Barton" is a beautiful story and a book that I consumed quickly and enjoyed reading. Thankfully, it's not the only book that I've loved for reasons I cannot name – these are books that transported me or made me feel just plain different, and I love them for that. Here are a few:

5 Books That Will Change Your Mood | Second Floor Flat

1. "The Girls" by Emma Cline

No doubt you've heard of this book. Actually, you may even be reading it right now. Or perhaps, like me, you read about it on Cup of Jo (or another favorite site of your choice), pre-ordered it, and consumed it as soon as it arrived. If you have, I salute you. If you haven't, let me fill you in: "The Girls" follows Evie Boyd as she gets through life as a 14-year-old (officially the worst) and fumbles in and out of a cult-like Northern California group. It's glorious and seedy and Manson Family-esque, but the most important thing about the story is the girls it surrounds – their obsessions with each other and themselves; their desire to belong.  I can't wait to read this again  and rejoin 14-year-old Evie's fantastically strange world.


2. "My Name Is Lucy Barton" by Elizabeth Strout

Lucy Barton quietly takes you and holds you close. The story takes place almost entirely in a hospital room and in this case, that's plenty. This is a subtly powerful read that will stay with you and make you want to cry for reasons you can't quite figure out. 


3. "Letters To A Young Poet" by Rainer Maria Rilke

In what was one of the better birthday gifts I've ever received, a friend took me out to tea and gave me a copy of this book. It's plain, simple, and perfect – a must for any young creative, or really anyone at all. I read it, underlined almost everything, and have returned to it time and time again. 


4. "Teaching My Mother How To Give Birth" by Warsan Shire

Feminist poetry,  you know? Sometimes it just really hits you. Though I'm typically not a poetry type (whatever that means) this short collection of poems from now-famous, oft-googled, Beyonce-tribe member Warshan Shire is for real. Grab a copy or for pete's sake, at least borrow mine.


5. "Americanah" by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

I recommend this book to people almost more than anything else. Reading this while living abroad taught me about loneliness, leaving family, and what it means (it was referenced in more than a few of my expat-related posts) but more than that, it gave me a different perspective on women, race, countries, cultures; our differences, and our similarities. Just read it, k? 


Whether you're looking for an escape of sorts or just a good-old fashioned summer read, I'd recommend picking up one of these, getting a little carried away, and then letting me know what you think. I clearly love talking about books, and would love to hear what you think as the smart, intelligent, interesting gal or guy I'm (pretty sure) you are. Happy reading!

Robin Reetz

I’m an expat currently living between London and North Carolina. I'm the Home & Living Editor at Clementine Daily, handle partnerships and more at DesignGood, and create content for folks like Teen Vogue. Also, I love independent designers. Find out more about me here:

Good Reads: 3 June 2016

Not so long ago, we got a dog. And now, we are officially dog people.

"Those people", even.

I'm trying hard to not be the girl (slash woman) who forces others into scrolling through pictures of her dog on her phone, or who tells boring stories about her dog's adorable habit of wagging her tail in her sleep, etc. But it's really, really hard not to. I can't even imagine how people with kids must feel.

That being said, recommendations for training, treats, and the rest are appreciated. And we'll leave the dog talk at that...for now.

This morning, I worked on something great with the ever-inspiring Rachel of The Style Line. Check her and the entire community out when you can – she showcases a lot of inspiring, creative, all around A+ women. Tonight, I'm hoping for some wine and good food under the stars (aka an outdoor table at a local restaurant) and tomorrow, I'm meeting the new beb of one of my long-time friends. So weird and great when your friends start having kids, right? Aren't we still in high school? (No? Ok.)

Wishing you guys a lovely weekend full of ice cream trucks, summer sandals, warm breezes, welcome AC blasts, good books, and better company.

these girls and their style are way too much in the best way possible.

warm weather means that i can't get these shoes and these shoes (and these and these and these) out of my mind.

and speaking of the warmer weather, i've been wearing my tantuvi culottes like it's my job.

weekend plans: hopefully making it to this exhibit tomorrow. 

other weekend plans: catching up on this collaboration between gloria steinem and viceland

currently reading this powerful book, which pretty much everyone should read.

three words that made my week: hot-dog princess

going to beyonncee on tuesday (I KNOW). what should i wear/buy/do other than keep freaking out?


favorite independent designer/retailer finds of the week:

a.m. thorne / bliss and mischief / st. agni / cocodune / ceri hoover / fair season / luz ortiz / mother's daughter / about arianne / gravel & gold / ozma

Robin Reetz

I’m an expat currently living between London and North Carolina. I'm the Home & Living Editor at Clementine Daily, handle partnerships and more at DesignGood, and create content for folks like Teen Vogue. Also, I love independent designers. Find out more about me here:

Young Frankk

There's a lot going on in Virginia these days.

From NA NIN to perpetual favorite and not-so-guilty pleasure Need Supply Co., it's clear that from Richmond outward there's something good cooking up in that lovers' state.

Young Frankk is no exception.

This handmade jewelry line by Christine Young also calls Virginia home. I've been following Young Frankk for awhile, and after grabbing the Bar Necklace I've become even more of a fan of the line and its aesthetic. I was checking out the new homeware section the other day and couldn't get over how on point the styling and overall presentation was for all of Young Frankk's pieces.

Because I'm a perpetual oversharer (and because this is my blog, after all) I had to share a few:

These shots have such an atmospheric, lookbook feel and I love it – it makes each piece look that much more interesting and covetable. Feel me?

So: Any thoughts? Favorite pieces? I love my Bar Necklace, and am eyeing the cuff to match – because really, what's better than a cuff? For more Young Frankk goodness, follow Christine here and sign up for their newsletter on the homepage.

Meet Virginia indeed.

How To Live A More Balanced Life

Any writer, painter, illustrator, fine artist, whatever will tell you about the difficulty that comes with starting a new project. The newness and possibility of something new can feel overwhelming, large, and just plain scary.

It's similar to the fear that comes with public speaking in that when given the amount of space and time we need to really express ourselves, we (or at least, I) often can't speak at all, because we don't know where to start and are overwhelmed by possibility and the potential for power.

The same thing happens when it comes to managing personal health and wellness. Try starting on a new diet or exercise regime, making a wellness practice part of your daily or weekly habits and you're meet with that same quiet, giant space. It's overwhelming and since it can be hard to know where to start, we usually just don't start at all.

For me, the only way to achieve any sort of balance is by keeping things extremely uneven – basically to "go hard or go home." All or nothing. An entire pint of ice cream or not even a bite. Regular workouts or pure relaxation.

Finding balanced in the unbalanced.

A podcast once told me it had something to do with my personality type and I'm sure that's true. Regardless, it works great for me.  And so, with this behavior in mind, I've put together a little guide to living a more balanced life – with a very important emphasis on health and wellness. 

Here's what's worked for me:

Make it a lifestyle, not a one-time practice

Whatever you're trying to achieve (lower sugar intake, more workouts, more personal or meditative time, etc.) the only way you can make this new behavior part of a regular routine is by thinking of it as an entire lifestyle. You're not eating healthy today, you're changing the way you approach food and eating overall. You're not trying out a new yoga class once, then again in 2-3 months. You're practicing yoga, and making it a part of your weekly schedule. Accept your new health-focused behavior as a part of your overall lifestyle, envelope it in your existing routine, and soon (soon) it will become a natural practice.

Eliminate the idea of "good" behavior 

Don't applaud yourself for living a healthy, balanced life. Just like the idea of turning a behavior into a lifestyle, once you decide to eat healthy/exercise/get more sleep/read more/meditate, etc., know that this is now normal behavior for you – not "good" behavior. "Good" behavior is looked at as an exception to the norm that can be rewarded with bad. Make your "good" behavior the new norm and let that be the reward in itself.

Phone a friend

This is an oft-repeated piece of advice when it comes to working out or going to the gym, but the same principle of routine and accountability applies to any sort of wellness practice. If you're trying to cut down on junk food, ask a friend to join you in the practice and keep tabs on each other. Then really follow through with your plans, and continue. If you don't have a companion or would rather go it alone, write things down in a journal, find a weekly podcast that you love and with a regular publishing schedule that will inadvertently hold you accountable, and stick with it.

Embrace rituals

To really nail it home, associate your new wellness behavior with another sense – be it a scent you smell when meditating, a song you listen to while working out, or a podcast you play while cooking (healthier) food. Choose practices that will accompany your practice and before you know it, you'll be living your new, healthier life.


This (un)balanced behavior has helped me to live a much healthier, more balanced life than I did several years ago but obviously these practices are always easier said than done.

Case in point: I just finished doing yoga right now. If I'm honest, I really didn't want to practice even though I love doing yoga. But you know what? I love my Outdoor Voices yoga pants and knew I'd feel better after I was done practicing, so I lit a candle and did the damn thing. And now, I feel so much better for it.

Checkmate. But really, what works for you? 

Robin Reetz

I’m an expat currently living between London and North Carolina. I'm the Home & Living Editor at Clementine Daily, handle partnerships and more at DesignGood, and create content for folks like Teen Vogue. Also, I love independent designers. Find out more about me here: