Sarah seeks her inspiration from style influencers—artists, bohemians, rock-n-rollers, mystics, and intellectuals. Sharing her 5 favorites of the day that can be found around the Seattle community, our editor brings to readers: A good read, an elegant holiday candle, affordable stylish jewelry, a modern take on a classic fragrance for men and women, getting to know Seattle through its arty establishment…
This week, my hair stylist handed me the latest issue of Town & Country and said there was a great article about Gloria Vanderbilt that I would appreciate. I never read Town & Country because sometime long ago I decided that it was boring, but she knew to put this particular issue in my hand—and she was right. As I scanned the images of Vanderbilt’s artwork and read snippets of the article, I realized that it was quite a fun read. There was great photography throughout, especially the editorial work in a piece on Downton Abbey‘s foxy Dan Stevens—not so boring. There is also some inspiring fashion for those inclined to attend events and fundraisers and travel suggestions that range from the luxurious to the cool.I was surprised to see so much diversity, so I did an internet search and learned that in 2010 Jay Fielden became the editor-in-chief of the magazine. Fielden’s resume includes working with Vogue stylist Grace Coddington on her coffee table book Grace: Thirty years of Fashion at Vogue and serving as editor-in-chief of Men’s Vogue from 2005 to 2009. I felt out of it, but after asking around I realized that my peers don’t seem to have this magazine in their sights. They drew the same conclusion themselves years ago that it was boring, but things have changed. I invite you to revisit Town & Country if you haven’t already. You will be pleasantly surprised.
For many people luxury items aren’t an option, but—to my dismay—I often see that the very people who consider themselves unable to afford finer things still spend a lot at big box stores. I have to admit, I’m mildly horrified by the soaps most of us use, especially when we consider the effect they have on the environment once they are down the drain. No matter how commonplace it is to see a friend’s bathroom overrun with body wash and hair products that were no doubt bought on the cheap, I still wonder why someone wouldn’t rather spend more money on less stuff, especially if the stuff is actually collectively healthier to use, takes up less space, and relieves us of clutter and brand names.
Europeans have a better sense of these old world values: Buy only what you really need, make it of the highest quality you can afford, and be frugal with use. I recently convinced myself to save money on my advent candles and bought a cheaper brand. I figured the color was the most important factor and they were only to be used for a short time. Unsurprisingly, they burned down extraordinarily fast and left a smell that gave everyone in the house a headache. The poor dog couldn’t stop sneezing. Even though you may not be able to buy bigger ticket items in the luxury category, I keep finding that it’s not necessarily cost effective to go cheap when it comes to soaps, candles, makeup, etc. I suggest treating yourself or a loved one to at least one luxury this holiday season, the Diptyque Holiday candle made by the well known Parisian company, available at Nordstrom.
Not everything stylish is expensive. In fact, style has nothing to do with the cost of things. I love discovering high-style items that are affordable. This is not an easy thing to do. Some things look cheap even when they aren’t because of the wearer, and some things look more expensive because of the wearer. Stylish people have that intuitive sight for what works, either high- or low-end. A designer that has the ability to create high style at a good price is rare, and I feel safe to say that Melinda Maria Jewelry will look good on you no matter what type you are.
I was especially taken by the hammered metal bands in gold, rose gold and silver for this reason. They vibe cool and edgy, but still have the classic elegance of a simple band. It’s rock’n’roll meets sacramental. An item like this is a smart basic to have on hand because it can be used to tie in other pieces of jewelry that may not go together. With the style bases covered, at $35 it makes a great gift option. The color choices give the wearer the opportunity to select the color best suited for the skin tone, which can help promote a sense of high quality on the wearer. Although the ring isn’t intended for men, I like that a guy could get away with wearing it if it comes in his size.
Speaking of things both men and women can appreciate, the next item on my list is Bond No. 9 New York Amber. The moment I caught the first scent of it, I found myself having a religious experience. It has the elements of opulence and the deeply sacred in perfect balance. It also harmonizes well when mixed with other fragrances like no other amber I’ve experienced. I suspect that there are very few people, male or female, who cannot wear this fragrance, especially when combined with another. Granted this is a delicate matter, but so worth the experiment. I hope someone loves me enough to give it to me for Christmas. I will certainly be gifting this precious item many times over to the one’s I love.
My final suggestion is that if you are new to town, or haven’t taken the time, or don’t tend to do this sort of thing, you visit The Frye Art Museum on First Hill over the holidays. There are several good reasons why. First, it’s part of our city’s cultural history. The Frye’s were avid art collectors and left to us their beloved pieces along with the museum whose construction they funded with their estate. Another reason to get out to the Frye is that over the holidays we can get cooped up, or lazy or—even worse—frantic with shopping. Devoting some time to be reflective and perhaps share an experience with someone we want to be close to is a great way to revel in the sentiment of the season. Lastly, it’s free. Charles and Emma Frye wanted to make sure that the museum would always be accessible to everyone. The permanent collection may seem conservative now, but it was unorthodox at the time and when they tried to donate it to other institutions they were turned down. They circumvented this problem and created a what has become a thriving home for new and established artists for generations to come.
Much can be learned by visiting such a place. I plan on taking my art-loving 11-year old daughter on an outing for hot chocolate, a brisk walk around the beautiful First Hill neighborhood, and a visit to the Frye. It will be her first time and I look forward to the moment she announces that she’s bored sometime between Christmas day and New Year’s day because I will have a chance to show her exactly how to cope by spending some time out and about in her own town.