I am utterly THRILLED to be living in Seattle again. The Midwest will always have a special place in my heart of hearts, but I've always had the sort of attitude that is apparently better suited towards the Pacific coast. The cool summertime weather, mountains, water, and the entrepreneurial attitude of so many of my acquaintances is very energizing. I now live in a rainforest and couldn't be happier.
Not everyone saw me off with a positive attitude. Upon hearing of my move, my former tailor in my hometown of Milwaukee, whose daughter was spirited away by a dripping-rich IT buff to Mercer Island, quipped, "Seattleites have no style. Everyone there dresses just horribly."
Maybe because for most of the year, we're covered in a fine mist? Clothing in this part of the world takes on a specifically utilitarian function, for commuting and for the climate. As a student in the Pacific Northwest, I quickly gave up my Wisconsin winter wool coats for a windbreaker and Orla Kiely boots. My Washington-native best friend pointed out that only saps carry umbrellas and that the local uniform involves a hoodie and a knit beanie.
It's always hard to pin down a style in a certain locale, what with the perforation of a standard international night chic ("black plus slinky") taking the public opinion of what is considered "fashionable" by the throat. But Prairie Underground hits not just "Seattle" style right on, but conquers the challenge of a commuter wardrobe that is still avant-garde.
Prairie Underground Summer 2009 Collection. Yes, I now own the Long Freebird (top), the Mothette Lite, and the Sailorette.
Co-designed by two talented native Midwesterners based in Seattle, not only does Prairie Underground have the best name ever for a fashion line, but a cult following and a well-applauded commitment to using organic cotton, local resources, and low-impact production as much as possible. The results are a gorgeous, slightly muted color palette and very smart design. I have pretty much lived in the Sailorette dress this summer. You can read more about the ladies behind this current obsession of mine through their profile at Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, or visit their stocklist to get in on the retail action.
The Fall 2009 Collection. That Sunflower Yellow is the most gorgeous color. From left: Falcon Dress, Dart Skirt, Belladonna Pants. Cloak Hoodie, New Tube, Dart Skirt. Artist's Smock, Jodhpur. Link here to see all!