Friday, April 15, 2011


Helia's window display. Classic Lagenlook.

I often describe my style as "funky." It is funky, but that is not a particularly descriptive term. My recent trip to east coast reinforced the concept that there is funky and there is funky. As I've visited various boutiques in Pennsylvania, Washington D.C., and Virginia, I have again and again come across funky, but not my funky. Much of it is too young, or too formal, or just too different from the kind of funky I embrace.

You can imagine I was happy to learn there is a term to describe my sort of funky. It is called Lagenlook. The literal definition of this German word is layered look. But the aesthetic doesn't have to be particularly layered to qualify as Lagenlook.

Many of you will recognize the brands that embody this concept: Blanque, Oska, Flax, Eskandar, Skif, Ivan Grundahl, Kedem Sasson, Peter Mahler, Sympli, Babette, Niche, Giselle Shepatin, Heide Ost, ITEMZ, Cynthia Ashby, and Barbara de Jounge. To name a few. There are many others. These are the brands that I enjoy shopping for, and drawing inspiration from.

The patterns that most closely embody this aesthetic are offered by Sewing Workshop, Cutting Line Designs, Au Bonheur des Petites Mains, Marcy Tilton for Vogue (and some of the unnamed Vogues), Diane Ericson's Revisions, Lois Ericson (who has retired but her patterns can still be found). Yes, the two Ericson's also qualify as Art to Wear, but there is overlap.

Now, you won't typically find this clothing at your local mall or discount store. So, where do you find it? Whenever I plan to visit some place new, I google it. I just enter the name of the city or area I'll be visiting and then list one or two of the brands I like. This is how I found The Tiger's Eye in Lititz, Pennsylvania - my hands-down favorite boutique I visited on this trip, and the most like my favorite boutiques on the west coast.

Peggy found the other boutique that I enjoyed this trip. Helia's has two locations, one in Georgetown and the other in Alexandria. The owner (her name isn't actually Helia) makes her own clothing (under the Helia's label) and has some fun looks. I popped into both locations, but only took pics at the Georgetown store. And, yes, I bought a couple of pieces. After all, Me-Made-March is over. ;)

And now, a few pictures from Washington D.C. in the Georgetown area. I was thrilled to arrive just as the cherry blossoms opened up.

And what they say is true, Washington D.C. is beautiful! (But there is very little available to thrill the fiber enthusiast. ;) )