House Dress NY

Collaborating with inspiring women is a passion of mine, especially in the case of small business owners. As far as I'm concerned, one of the best things that can be done to empower those who need it is to support female-owned (and in that case, black-, immigrant-, and LGBTQ-owned) small businesses. 

Katie Goldman Macdonald is the founder of New York-based clothing line House Dress, a brand I immediately wanted to befriend and find a way to work with upon discovering. Not only is Katie an all-around cool gal with a beautifully simplistic, modern aesthetic, but her clothing is size free and designed and produced in NYC.

Katie is also a friend of equality who donated 40% of her proceeds to Planned Parenthood in the days following the election. Inspiring? You better believe it.

The first House Dress collection is full of loose, flowing silhouettes in complementary fabrics. The collection's strength is in its softness, its power in its silhouettes and shapes, which appear serene and pleasant at first glance, but – and this is where it's clear the pieces are made by women, for women – the collection is not just strikingly beautiful and comfortable, but also constructed with an abundance of large, useful pockets.

Some styles include removable pouches that tie at the waist – a modern-day, feminine tool belt and all-around genius feature that any woman (or any person, really) who uses the hours of their day to really get things done would find useful.

House Dress NY Slit Back Blazer, Ilana Kohn Kate Crop, Industry Standard Margot Highrise, FARIS Nug Necklace

House Dress NY Double Layer Dress and Slipper, Natalie Joy Arc + Line Earrings

Oh, and there's so much to do these days. 

Speaking about the collection, Katie and I thought of the Suffragette Movement and how much we had to learn and pay our respects to those who fought for equality long before us. In this case, the pale tones and whites and creams of this collection are a reminder of the solidarity I feel with those who fought before us, those who are with us now, and those who will come after.

If you' like to get involved and do more than what you're doing now to support women and other marginalized communities, I've included a few resources below.

I'll be at the Women's March in Washington this Saturday but encourage you to get involved with your city or local march if you can. (If you're not sure how to do this, a simple Google should do the trick. I'm also happy to help anyone who needs it – get in touch!).

Women's March FAQ

Emily's List: Supporting pro-choice Democratic women running for office

Planned Parenthood: Get involved!

Woman: Gloria Steinem x VICELAND – need I say more?

The Outrage: Feminist apparel for lovers of equality

DYNASTY: Platform for progressive resistance

Good Support: Empowering collaboration for worthy causes

The Wing: For ladies in NYC – also has a killer shop. Buying this and this when they come back in stock!

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Thank you, Katie!

Learn more about House Dress here

Shop the first collection here

Follow House Dress here 



Bridge & Burn Fall 2016

It's been one week since the results of the U.S. election came through.

While I think there's danger in going back to normalcy too quick (since, as John Oliver will tell you, this is not normal), I do want to continue to use my platforms to support small businesses in every way that I can. Aside from just plain loving the goods that independent brands like Bridge & Burn produce, I think encouraging entrepreneurship and the growth of small-medium size businesses is one of the best things we can do for the economy and each other.

Bridge & Burn | Second Floor Flat

So. While I do have a lot to say about the state of this nation and the world, and I primarily want to champion women and those who need it most right now in all ways possible, I also don't want to lose my focus on giving some love to the very good independent brands out there.

Portland's Bridge & Burn being one of them – who already sets a fine example for all of us in their One Perfect For Good program.

I was lucky enough to work with these very good folks last year. Every single Bridge & Burn piece I own, I wear regularly – meaning maybe a little too much. Add to that rotation the OUTSIDER Tee (fittingly, the name of their fall campaign) and the Joyce in Charcoal and the inside of my closet is close to resembling their flagship store. 

 BRIDGE & BURN  OUTSIDER TEE,  INDUSTRY STANDARD  margot highrise jean,  FARIS  REST RING

BRIDGE & BURN OUTSIDER TEE, INDUSTRY STANDARD margot highrise jean, FARIS REST RING

But let's go back to the Joyce. Oh, the Joyce. This coat, picture below, has quickly become my number one fall jacket, thanks to its roomy fit, large pockets, and incredibly warm contrast lining.

As an honorary member of the constantly cold club, I generally end up layering all of my jackets to keep away the chill. Not here, folks – the Joyce has been the perfect companion in this sometimes freezing, sometimes hot November and, I'm sure it will continue to be as the weather cools off even more.

Bridge & Burn | Second Floor Flat
Bridge & Burn | Second Floor Flat
 BRIDGE & BURN  JOYCE COAT , LO & SONS  PEARL BAG

BRIDGE & BURN JOYCE COAT, LO & SONS PEARL BAG

To help stimulate the economy a little bit and encourage some good old fashioned, made in America shopping, the good folks at Bridge & Burn are offering 10% off with code SECONDFLOOR10

If you're looking to take advantage of the discount, I completely recommend the Joyce. Not in the mood for outerwear? Go for the Ellis Pants – aside from being super soft and falling just so, they're also crazy flattering and will cause many a compliment.

Bridge & Burn | Second Floor Flat
Bridge & Burn | Second Floor Flat

And really, who couldn't use a little more positivity these days?

Shop Bridge & Burn with code SECONDFLOOR10 here, follow them here, and learn more about One Perfect For Good here

 

PSST: I received goods from Bridge & Burn that are worn in this post, but keep in mind this is a brand I love and want to support. Have questions? Let me know.


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

or

 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: http://secondfloorflat.com/about-me/

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.

Beyoncé.

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

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.


Megan Huntz SS16

Moving often and going through so many changes over the past few years has made me think and rethink (and rethink some more) about the word home – what it's meant to me in the past, and what it means to me now as one half of a pretty nomadic couple.

While I've always felt a certain (cliche) ache and pull for New York and feel in many ways that it is my home as it is the place where I feel the most me, Atlanta also feels like a home for me. It's where I grew up, after all, so I feel a closeness to it. A kinship, if you will, plain and simple.

Even now, being back in New York, I still and always will root for my Atlanta hometown heroes. In this case it's Megan Huntz – the beautifully talented Atlanta-based designer who also happens to be a fellow nomad and spent time living in New York, Italy, and Spain.

Megan's SS16 line is stunning to say the least, and I'm so excited to show off these pieces here, in my new Brooklyn home.

I'm wearing two pieces from Megan Huntz's latest collection, and aren't they just something else? Both are silk and feel light, feminine, beautifully modern, and – a little like home.

Paired with Martiniano Glove Flats, Natalie Joy's Arc + Line Earrings, and featured is a cameo from my Ferm Living plant stand from beautiful Port of Raleigh.

Shop Megan Huntz here, and follow her here and here