Meet the Design Genius Behind Philly’s Coolest Shops and Restaurants

Kate Rohrer

Meet Kate Rohrer. | Photography by Courtney Apple for Philadelphia magazine.

You might not know Kate Rohrer by name, but if you’ve ever been to Double Knot, Bud & Marilyn’s, Lapstone & Hammer or Union Transfer, you’ve seen her work. She’s the founder of Rohe Creative, the Fishtown interior design firm behind some of Philly’s most well-designed hot spots, and she’s making serious waves in the city’s design scene.

So what goes on behind the scenes? I caught up with Kate as she shuttles between projects – these include a high-end beer hall in Rittenhouse! – and sushi lunches at Seiko in NoLibs to get the low-down on her favorite people, places and things. Here’s what a day in Kate Rohrer’s life looks like, as well as what inspires her, where she finds all those cool salvaged pieces for her design projects (fun fact: She’s using 93 antique frames for a wall installation in a current project!), and exactly which product she uses to get those covetable curls.  Read more »

We Found the Only Bag You’ll Need for Summer

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This beauty was made for sunny days. | Photograph by Nell Hoving for Philadelphia Magazine.

Right now, the best reasons to eschew machine-made for hand-hewn are the raw linen satchels and deceptively simple leather totes coming out of Bri Brant’s Chadds Ford workshop.

The PhillyU grad’s five-year-old company, Arden + James — named for her son and a century-old artist colony in Delaware — mixes art and craft to luxurious effect, with hand-etched designs (she uses a pen-like branding tool to create the those linear details), hand-hammered copper rivets, and natural materials painstakingly sourced from local spots. The standout: Brant’s Arden bag, made of soft-milled, vegetable-tanned leather (from a Pennsylvania tannery founded in 1837). It’s the perfect way to carry summer’s bounty, from farmers’ market treasures to afternoon picnic essentials. Read more »

The Best Men’s Denim Brands in Philly

Jeans

Photo by Claudia Gavin.

A tip for the guys: If you’re going to invest in one thing right now, make it a great pair of jeans. You’ll get tons of wear out of them, they never go out of style, and if they’re made well, they get even better with wear (and no, you’re not supposed to wash them often, if at all). Before you look to Levi’s, consider one of the above – each pair is completely handcrafted, and all have local ties.

You’ve probably heard of Fishtown’s Norman Porter (the brothers have achieved cult status in the local denim scene), but did you know that one of the guys from Commonwealth Proper broke off to launch his own denim line, Gentry x Rose? And how about Asbury Park, the Shore-town-founded company that counts Bon Jovi and the Eagles of Death Metal band as fans? (Look closely: All of the buttons and rivets are designed to look like the manhole covers in Asbury Park.) Here, three top men’s denim brands we can call our own.
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Behind the Scenes of My Vacation With Lilly Pulitzer

The author, center, on her Lilly cruise. Photograph by Lauren McGrath

Me on the Lilly cruise. | Photograph by Lauren McGrath

Back in January, I got the opportunity a million girls would die for: a three-day trip to sunny Palm Beach, Florida, with a couple of girls from Lilly Pulitzer’s King of Prussia headquarters. Heaven, right? Almost. You see, I’m not exactly a fan of Lilly Pulitzer, so going on the trip felt a tad unfair, like a gluten-free person getting an all-you-can-eat bakery tour, or a vegetarian winning free burgers for life.

But I went (journalism!) and, well, I had fun. A lot of fun. We toured the Lilly Pulitzer design studio, awash in hot pink and shiny white lacquer, and the famed Breakers hotel, where many of the staff uniforms are Lilly. We dined on the patio at Renato’s, which is a coconut’s throw from Lilly Pulitzer’s first boutique. We hopped aboard the Lilly Pulitzer boat for a champagne-soaked cruise around the island. And when we left, I was … well, read the whole story here.

And for those millions of Lilly fans who weren’t on the trip with us, here’s a peek into the Lilly Pulitzer world and where it all began. With, yes, a juice stand.  Read more »

Inside Lillyland: This Is Why Women Are Obsessed With Lilly Pulitzer

The author in a sea of Lilly. Photograph by Adam Jones

The author in a sea of Lilly. Photograph by Adam Jones

IT’S NOT PARTICULARLY WARM on the Lilly Pulitzer yacht, especially once we’re out in the middle of the Intracoastal Waterway in Palm Beach, but the style blogger in the purple-and-pink romper doesn’t care. Or at least she doesn’t show it if she does. She’s a professional, and when it’s time to film a quick video for Lilly Pulitzer’s Snapchat account, she perches on the side of the boat that has the best view of the palm trees and waterside mansions, tosses her blond hair — once, twice, the wind rippling through it too roughly for her liking — and then, on cue, throws her tawny, Twizzler-thin arms in the air and lets out a screeching “WOOOOOOOOOO!!!”

This sort of shriek has been the rallying cry of our trip — semi-staged squeals that call attention to the group (although how could you not notice a giggly cloud of highlighter-bright prints, champagne flutes soaring for constant toasts, our boat the only one in the marina upholstered in splashy pink-and-green florals?) and let more than two million Lilly Pulitzer fans across Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter know that we are having more fun than you.  Read more »

Skirt Boutique Wants to Wash Your Car for Free

Car Wash

Your car could be this shiny, too. | Pekic/iStock.com.

Suburbanites, this one’s for you: We’ve got the details on how to score a free car wash today (and it involves shopping).

Today, head to the car wash right next to Skirt‘s Bryn Mawr location; it’s called Bryn Mawr Car Wash. The attendants will scrub your car to a sparkling sheen, and then park it for you in Skirt’s lot, all while you shop. (Think of it as a tricked-out valet service.) Show your Skirt receipt at the car wash checkout and Skirt will pick up the bill. Best reason to shop ever? We think so.  Read more »

Inside a Fashion Editor’s Summer Shopping List

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My (current) shopping list.

As I recently wrote on this blog, I’m sick of everything in my closet. It’s especially good timing, I suppose, as it’s a new season, one that is budding with fresh takes on old favorites. But all this newness can be overwhelming, and it’s tough to remain a smart shopper when there are very impractical things like metallic-sequin slip dresses and blouses with knee-length ruffled sleeves to tempt you.

But it is possible to nod to current trends without sacrificing your own personal style. Here is what’s currently on my To Buy list, most of which feel very of-the-moment, but not too far from the shapes and styles I already love. I’ve even included some pro shopping tips to help you decode what’s worth the splurge and what trends are better found on the cheap. Ready, set, shop.
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10 Home Accessories to Buy From Target’s New Spring Collection

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Photos via Target.

If you’re anything like me, you’re bursting to upgrade your house for spring, to store the faux fur throws and heavy shag pillows for lighter offerings like, well, everything you’ll see in this post. The home decor and office accessories here are all part of Nate Berkus’s newest spring/summer collection for Target, and they’re all fantastic. Better yet, most of them ring in at under $50, so you can make small, spring-y swaps in your home without breaking the bank.

Ready to shop? Let’s do it. Here are 10 things you need to scoop up at Target right this moment. Read more »

Must-Buy: Gladiator Sandals Under $100

Sandals

Leopard, laces and POM-POMS. | Photo of Waltzing Matilda sandals by Nell Hoving.

Though recent years have seen the gladiator sandal creep up to the knee (see: Kourtney Kardashian, who’s famous for corseting her poor calves in uncomfortable-looking lace-ups), the best iteration is the most basic: a still-elaborate lacing of the foot that ends with a simple knot at the ankle.

One of my favorite pairs of gladiator sandals comes from Waltzing Matilda, a Wayne-based leather-goods company that strips the Roman sandal to its utilitarian essentials—butterscotch Horween leather, hand-tacked golden nails, a loopy crisscross of laces. They are at once primitive and beautiful, perfect for the urban hippie or the pavement-pounding glamazon warrior. And at $178, they’re not totally wallet-breaking either! (Buy them here, or visit the adorable Wayne boutique, which nabbed a spot on our 50 Best Shops list!)  What’s that? You want ones UNDER $100? Click here!

I Hate Everything In My Closet—Am I Over Fashion?

Close up on a untidy cluttered wardrobe with colorful clothes and accessories, many clothes and nothing to wear.

Dear closet: I’m over you. | iStock|luanateutzi.

I stood in my closet this morning and realized, quite suddenly and with a surprisingly fierce finality, that I hate everything I own.

It wasn’t surprising. This happens to me every spring, like some sick sort of clockwork. I look at my clothes and wonder how I ever managed to get dressed before this moment, how I ever physically put on clothing and walked out the door.

“You’re staring again,” said my husband as I stood in my closet in a robe, blanking out before a row of identical slouchy black things, wondering whether my wardrobe boredom is a sign that savvy fashion marketers have gotten to me, or whether it’s simply a product of my job, which is, in part, to shake out what’s new, old, in, out, now and next, and write about it. And then I started to feel bad about it all – am I some small part of the reason that other women are standing in their closets, hating everything they own, too?

I did manage to put on clothes this morning, but  – as was the case yesterday morning, too, and the morning before that – it was a purely perfunctory effort. I had to wear clothes, so I put some on, stuff that covers up my bits and pieces but doesn’t delight me or make me feel some way or another. It’s barely afternoon and already I am bored.

My sartorial lethargy has me worried. Have I gotten … over fashion?
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