Let's Get Technical

It’s called product knowledge— 

knowing where your goods are made, how they’re made, what they’re made out of, and the intent behind the design. The more you know, the more informed you become as a consumer and you can rest assured you are making smart investments with your money. 

 

My background is in design. Well, if we’re getting technical, my degree is in Theatre with a concentration in Acting… but I studied costume design and designed a ton of shows while working in my college costume department. Mix that with 10+ years working in retail merchandise presentation and I developed a fascination with fabrics and manufacturing. 

If I’m going to spend $200 on a pair of denim. I want to know why. So with this look, I was really interested in the technical aspects of the clothes.

The Modern Otter | Matiere and Frank & Oak
The Modern Otter | Matiere and Frank & Oak
The Modern Otter | Matiere and Frank & Oak

This anorak jacket is from Matiere, a brand whose name literally translates to “material (substance of which something is made). They take innovative fabrics and inject them into modern street-style apparel. 

The anorak had zip-off sleeves and I wasted no time taking those off and cuffing it a bit higher. They were functional, but I love the look with out them. It’s extremely lightweight and made out of a water resistant nylon with a mesh lining. The seam across the middle is a vent and the zippers are water repellant as well (something you don’t often think about with rain gear. A jacket isn’t water resistant if the zippers are made out of cotton). High-low hem to protect you when you’re riding a bike. 

It’s a functional design, but has such a cool look, you can wear it anywhere.

The Modern Otter | Matiere and Frank & Oak
The Modern Otter | Matiere and Frank & Oak
The Modern Otter | Matiere and Frank & Oak
The Modern Otter | Matiere and Frank & Oak
The Modern Otter | Matiere and Frank & Oak

The shorts are from Frank + Oak’s SC Activ collection, a line designed with utility and harsh elements in mind. They are made from a cotton/stretch material and water actually beads up on them and slides right off. 

Basically, my entire body is ready for a downpour (necessary, given NY’s weather these days).

Can’t forget the reflective binding on the inside of the leg in case you’re riding a bike and want added night visibility. AND there’s a gel gripper on the inside of the waist to hold your shorts and shirt in place while on the move. 

Now that’s getting technical. 

 

What do you guys think of tech gear? With the innovations in fabric and design these days, I have a feeling more and more of our clothes are going to be multi-functional!!

 

Matiere anorak jacket (also in grey fleece) / Frank + Oak shorts / TopMan shirt / Grand Voyage sneakers / Brathwait watch / Ivory + Mason sunglasses

Otter Expedition: Newport

I’m an East Coast kid at heart. I grew up with Summer trips to Maine, weekends skiing in Vermont and road trips down the Coast. My mother was an antique dealer when I was younger, so we took every opportunity to rummage through estate sales or hit up a flea market. Sounds cheesy, but small New England towns are just so damn charming! 

New Yorkers make a regular practice escaping the city as often as we can during the warmer months. We flock to Martha’s Vineyard, Provincetown… or really any seaside town we can find. 

This time around, Mike and I set our eyes on Newport, Rhode Island. Nothing sounded better to me than a weekend sitting on a dock with a giant glass of wine, doing absolutely nothing. Am I right?

I mean, we did plenty of eating, and saw a bunch of sights, but it was about as care free as you can get on a vacation.

The Modern Otter | Newport, RI #otterexpedition #theattwater #onalark
The Modern Otter | Newport, RI #otterexpedition #theattwater #onalark
The Modern Otter | Newport, RI #otterexpedition #theattwater #onalark
The Modern Otter | Newport, RI #otterexpedition #theattwater #onalark
The Modern Otter | Newport, RI #otterexpedition #theattwater #onalark
The Modern Otter | Newport, RI #otterexpedition #theattwater #onalark
The Modern Otter | Newport, RI #otterexpedition #theattwater #onalark

Huge thank you to The Attwater for putting us up! They’re a modern, quirky Lark Hotel right in between the harbor and the Newport mansions. Perfect walking distance to both. Lark Hotels are known for their small plate breakfast, and this one did not disappoint. Our huge suite had a beautiful tile shower (which I really should have done a shoot in…) and the main lounge is straight out of an interior design catalogue. 

Definitely worth checking out if you’re heading that way. Or hit up their sister hotel, Gilded, just around the corner.

The Modern Otter | Newport, RI #otterexpedition #theattwater #onalark
The Modern Otter | Newport, RI #otterexpedition #theattwater #onalark
The Modern Otter | Newport, RI #otterexpedition #theattwater #onalark
The Modern Otter | Newport, RI #otterexpedition #theattwater #onalark
The Modern Otter | Newport, RI #otterexpedition #theattwater #onalark
The Modern Otter | Newport, RI #otterexpedition #theattwater #onalark
The Modern Otter | Newport, RI #otterexpedition #theattwater #onalark
The Modern Otter | Newport, RI #otterexpedition #theattwater #onalark
The Modern Otter | Newport, RI #otterexpedition #theattwater #onalark
The Modern Otter | Newport, RI #otterexpedition #theattwater #onalark
The Modern Otter | Newport, RI #otterexpedition #theattwater #onalark
The Modern Otter | Newport, RI #otterexpedition #theattwater #onalark
The Modern Otter | Newport, RI #otterexpedition #theattwater #onalark
The Modern Otter | Newport, RI #otterexpedition #theattwater #onalark
The Modern Otter | Newport, RI #otterexpedition #theattwater #onalark

As far as sights in Newport? Here’s a list of everything we loved:

 

The Mooring: a restaurant and bar that’s a straight shot down the road from The Attwater. We hung out at the bar a few times during our stay and the lobster roll is killer. They also had this amazing dessert of the day, an elevated ho-ho. 

Restaurants really need to get on the elevated snack cake band wagon, cuz I’m all about it. 

The Breakers: Newport is known for its mansions… The Newport Mansions (obviously). We were still a little early in the season, so a few of them were closed (or were the location of a movie set), so we took a tour of the two Vanderbilt mansions, The Breakers and Marble House. Absolutely stunning homes. They call the Marble House a cottage, which is just ridiculous. 

Take the scenic Cliff Walk on your way there. You won’t regret it!

Mission: Fantastic burger place and actually one of the best meals we had while we were there.

Fluke: Restaurant right in the middle of the harbor village. If you time it right, you can watch the sun set while eating dinner on the third floor. 

Ben and Jerry’s: because it’s Ben and Jerry’s…

 

So if you’re in need of a bougie, preppy weekend, my money is on Newport!

Never Basic, Always Monochrome

My style has started to become synonymous with monochrome, but that doesn’t mean it’s basic!   I think there is something so clever and sophisticated in monochromatic looks. And it’s so easy to do! Colors are over-rated.

To show you the versatility and ease in monochrome, I partnered up with Old Navy to style two casual Spring looks with their new #neverbasic tees.

The Modern Otter | Old Navy #NeverBasic tees

I firmly believe the foundation of a great wardrobe is one or two colors. For guys, it’s usually blue, grey or black. Everything else builds out from there. Living in New York City, I see enough black clothing to last a lifetime, so I veer towards blue and grey. Those two colors pair perfectly together and you can mix and match with all the other colors in the spectrum. This season, I layered in cream to soften the palette a bit. It’s fresh, while still falling in the same wave as light grey.

When getting dressed, I have three things I always look out for: texture, layers and shades.

Texture: With this first look, I started with a heathered raglan tee. Almost all of my looks start with a great tee, either layered under a sweater or as a stand alone under a light jacket. The marled texture of this raglan adds visual interest, but I particularly love raglans because they make your shoulders look broader! The diagonal seam across your chest draws your eye outward and gives the appearance of a broad shoulder. It’s a visual trick. 

I have been putting in a lot of work at the gym, but raglans are my cheat! This tee is great because it has those classic sweatshirt details (like the ‘V’ stitching at the neckline), but it’s light enough to wear all Summer long. Win win.

The Modern Otter | Old Navy #NeverBasic tees

Layers: In the middle of the Summer, I’m not going to wear a jacket, so I substitute “layers” with “pattern”. But while it’s still cool outside, throw on a lightweight jacket! The stripes in this lightweight windbreaker bring that nautical trend that is so classic for Spring, but you can easily ditch it and still look pulled together (thanks to the monochrome palette). Layers typically add interest when you’re wearing all solids, so this checks off multiple boxes.

The Modern Otter | Old Navy #NeverBasic tees

Shades / hue / warm vs. cool: This one is a little harder to describe, so I’ll use grey as an example… Within the grey family, there are ‘warm’ greys and ‘cool’ greys. That means the shade itself has more red/tan/yellow in it vs. blue/green. This raglan tee is a warm grey, which is why it pairs perfectly with cream denim. The two shades play well with one another. 

If it was more of a blue/grey, I would opt for indigo denim, grey denim or blue chinos. Any time you’re wearing more than two shades of grey (or any color), ensure they are all the same temperature. 

For my second look, I branched out a bit more. These linen joggers are actually a cool grey, but have a lot of blue in them. To tie them in with the grey tee and cream denim jacket, I pulled out my grey oxfords with the blue sole. It’s not quiet monochromic overall, but we’re sticking to two hues, so it’s pretty close. I would say the softness of all of the shades keeps it looking streamlined and sophisticated. What do you think?

The Modern Otter | Old Navy #NeverBasic tees

Still grounded in a great #neverbasic tee! This one is the linen-blend pocket tee. Linen is one of those great fabrics for Summer because it breathes so amazingly well. You can make incredibly thin fabrics that fit fantastic and have a great natural texture because of the variations in the fiber. Linen tees and sweaters are quickly becoming staples in my Spring wardrobe.

The Modern Otter | Old Navy #NeverBasic tees

Let me know your thoughts on monochromatic dressing below and let me know if you need any other tips on how to make your shoulders broader. I’m sure my trainer has a few too. ;)

Not digging the monochrome?? Will from Bright Bazaar has a few tips on how to style #makeyousmilestyle tees in bright colors! Check out his #neverbasic post here!

 

Everything on OldNavy.com is 30% off right now too, and most of these pieces are already on promotion! Check em out:

First look: Old Navy raglan tee / striped lightweight windbreaker / slim fit jeans

Second look: Old Navy denim trucker jacket / linen pocket tee / linen-blend joggers

Posted in collaboration with Old Navy; all views my own