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The Brooklyn Circus

While everyone else was chasing the main avenues of the five boroughs, or watching from the sidelines as friends ran the 26 miles of the New York City Marathon, I found myself wandering a few blocks away from the action at the intersection of 19th Century residential streets between Boerum Hill, Gowanus, and Fort Greene.

Hidden at the juncture of Nevins and Bergen, just slightly removed from the hustle of 4th avenue, is The Brooklyn Circus. A nostalgic menswear brand with impeccably tailored pieces that speak to a greater story regarding an evolution of the urban image. The smartly cultivated brand transcends the typical stereotypes of a working-class Brooklyn. Varsity Letterman Jackets easily sit alongside dark-washed denim inspired by the Mississippi Delta, rally caps, iconic PF Flyers basketball sneakers, cowboy fringe, Boy Scout badges and even leather moto jackets for a fifties greaser coexist peacefully as relics and folklore of the USA . Almost anything that culls from masculine Americana or the psyche of regional history is smartly woven into the merchandise of the boutique. 

This Brigadoon-like shop that seemed to sleepily appear for me, one lazy Sunday at noon, has created its own micro-community. A place for people who care about investing in culture in an utterly unpretentious way. Indeed, the eight-year old brand has a century long vision, something customers also buy-into. The 100-Year Plan is the brand’s self-proclaimed sole mission: to strive to educate their community through style.

I found myself discussing Schlitz beer and thrift shopping with Kash, a Brooklyn native and sales associate; while easily slipping into a conversation regarding monk straps an the shop’s recent partnership with a Saville row cobbler. Other storied partnerships include Etiquette Clothiers socks, a pop-up shop and retail takeover from Art Comes First, bespoke brogues from footwear manufacturer Tricker’s, and even G-shock watches. The circus is not afraid to share its center ring in pursuit of proper dress.

The simple lineup of goods hearkens to a time when men invested in a reusable wardrobe, a closet that withstands trends but remains tailor-made and hints at the quintessence of someone’s style. If anything, The Brooklyn Circus is the institutional memory keeper and the future maker for tailored casual clothing for men.

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Come On! Feel The Illinoise!

This past Sunday I had the pleasure of traveling to Illinois for work. When most Americans conjure up an image of the Land of Lincoln, or the Prairie State, it includes one of two things: Chicago or corn. Indeed, I was able to see both of those on my trip. Beginning on Sunday night, a colleague and I flew from Queens, NY to Chicago, IL.

From the international airport, we hopped on a moral rural connecting flight to Peoria, IL. Peoria is actually the oldest European settlement in Illinois, founded in 1691 by a French explorer. There is an ongoing understanding of  Peoria as the archetypical example of middle American culture. Indeed, the place becomes referenced in pop culture often as a stand-in for Anywhere, USA.  This filler place name is considered the representative of mainstream taste, hence the bromide “Will it play in Peoria?”

“The sound of the engines and the smell of the grain / We go riding on the abolition grain train / Steven A. Douglas was a great debater / But Abraham Lincoln was the great emancipator.” – Sufjan Stevens, Decatur

Finally, from the archetypal town, we rented a car and drove an additional hour to Galesburg, IL. Although small, and certainly rural, Galesburg has some key pieces of American history: the birthplace of esteemed poet and three-time Pulitzer Prize winner, Carl Sandburg; the site of the fifth Lincoln-Douglas debate, on a temporary speaker’s platform attached to Knox College’s Old Main building on October 7, 1858; and a smattering of railroad and baseball history. Quintessential Americana. 

The land of open skies, steel, corn and brick.

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Betsy Ross

In honor of this past Fourth of July weekend, and also to pay homage to my hometown of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, I bring you a series of items inspired by our most patriotic seamstress. Although there is a bit of controversy regarding who exactly did make the first flag for the, then new, United States of America, I blissfully work under the assumption of Betsy Ross as the creator of our Stars & Stripes.

No one does quirky Americana quite like Tommy Hilfiger

No one does quirky, Americana better than iconic fashion designer, Tommy Hilfiger. Jourdan Dunn, Jacquelyn Jablonski and Toni Garrn model as sailors, socialites, and Cape Cod wasps, posing in nautical (undeniably patriotic) looks.

The man credited with designing the current 50 star American flag is Robert G. Heft. The exact red, white, and blue colors to be used in the flag are outlined in the CAUS Standard Color Reference of America, 10th edition. Specifically, the colors are “White”, “Old Glory Red”, and “Old Glory Blue”.

Since 1777, the flag design has officially been modified 26 times. Without being too literal, peruse items inspired by the freedom of my great country – particularly salient as the daughter of an Israeli immigrant, and the fiancé of a second generation Moroccan immigrant. America, I salute you – melting pot of the world.

Decorating with USA themed items!

// 1 Nothing is quite as American as Apple Pie ala Mode with Vanilla Ice Cream (and if you’re a real traditionalist, cheddar cheese). This unique frame print is called Americana and is by the artist K. THRO via Society6

// 2 – Picnic Pie Set with 10 forks, 10 parchment rounds and twine from Anthropologie.

// 3 Limited Edition Miss Statue of Liberty by Merci Gustave from AhaLife. The great irony of the Statue of the Liberty—the symbol of American liberty and independence—is that it is just as French as it is American.

// 4 – You’re a grand old flag, you’re a high flying flag even when sitting atop this Star Spangled American Flag Kilim Cube pouf ottoman. A striped, starry blend of earthy wool and recycled jute from Kathy Kuo Home.

// 5 – Put your patriotic style on display with this colonial inspired, metal, tea-light candle holder from Kohl’s.

// 6American Hotel Stories coffee-table book by Francisca Matteoli. From Big Sur to Boston, this enticing volume follows in the footsteps of Jim Morrison, Marilyn Monroe, Tennessee Williams, Al Capone, Clint Eastwood, and some of America’s most famous personalities and hotel guests – from Assouline.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. – The Declaration of Independence (US 1776)