The Power of Two

Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen were groomed from an early age to work and work hard. Their success may have something to do with an “It Takes Two” approach to their brand and a trust that only multiples can truly understand. After all, if you were going to choose your ideal business partner, who better than someone you’ve literally been with your entire life.

The twin’s foray into fashion with the creation of The Row would have come with skeptics, no doubt, except that they did not want to attach their names to the brand. Instead, they let the clothes speak for themselves and further protected their mission by not doing interviews for the first three years. They have a knack for subdued drama…imagine the allure of a brand that “may” be associated with Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen and the media not having access to them for an interview! Genius!!

Growing up as sitcom kids, I imagined they understood the hurdles put in front of them by many a child actor who tried to fast track alternative careers on the coattails of their television success. Thankfully, these two not only proved themselves as savvy business women but have inspired me along with countless others to believe anything is possible with a clear vision, fortitude, and a heartfelt passion in what you do.

The beginning of their journey into fashion started with Ashley who challenged herself to create the perfect t-shirt. In 2006, this effort grew into a seven piece collection under the name The Row that included that same t-shirt, a pair of cotton sateen leggings, and a sheer wool tank dress — pieces that still resonate high on the list of this woman’s wardrobe essentials! The Olsen twins are three-time winners of the CFDA award (The Council of Fashion Designers of America), as Womenswear Designers of the Year in 2012 and 2015, and again in 2014 as Accessory Designers of the Year. Part of their mission is to support high-end fashion manufacturing in the US.

Elizabeth and James is their contemporary brand that was created in 2007. Although the twins have a sister named Elizabeth and a brother named James, the collection is not named after them. In an interview with Women’s Wear Daily, they described the line as being based on a relationship between a girl and a boy where their story was told through clothing…a clash between masculinity and femininity.

A little from here, a little from there.  Familiar, yet fresh.

Piecing together memory, continuity and nostalgia,

Elizabeth and James is all about finding the right balance.

When seeking out collections for TSALT that would build on Tamara’s own mission and complement her own collection, Elizabeth and James not only felt like the right cord to strike but almost an ideal fit in bridging generational ideals. Women want effortless dressing, regardless of their age. Within Elizabeth and James, there are definite nods to vintage while other pieces encompass the luxury and minimalism of The Row.

These two women are the real deal. On my first visit to the showroom in their Tribeca office space, I found out that the twins had recently brought Elizabeth and James back in house — meaning they are now very involved in the contemporary brand as they design The Row alongside, building out categories such as knitwear, dresses, tops, and pants.

According to WWD:

Stores were enthusiastic about the collection, having viewed pre-fall in December.

“The fabrics are beautiful, the styling, the items. It’s that full wardrobe of perfect items that are interchangeable. The perfect skirt, the longer length, the fluid pant, the perfect track pant, the beautiful blouses, the knitwear to die for,” said Sarah Rutson, vice president of global buying at Net-a-Porter.

“Those girls have a very refined, defined point of view to clothes and to fashion and to personal style,” Rutson said. “They have an extraordinary taste level. Now that it’s under Mary-Kate and Ashley, there’s more cool wardrobing in there and a lot more daywear.”

As fate would have it, the collections I would be viewing were the first that were being designed alongside The Row. Buying pieces for a more mature woman from a contemporary line can be challenging. With Elizabeth and James, I’ve found common ground with wide, fluid silhouettes, jackets that are a fresh take on vintage, as well as clean classic shirting.

I’ve found the fit of Elizabeth and James is what you would expect from product at the luxury level. The pants are quite lust-worthy in design construction and quality of fabric. Pants are one of the hardest items to perfect and encourage you to try a pair.

Wearing the Kensington Wide Leg Cropped Trousers, the Posie Pleated Back Cami, and the Lewis Tie Waist Kimono to top off the look, all from Elizabeth and James.

Elizabeth and James offers women sophisticated luxury styles starting at $195 and averaging between $350 and $400. As a stylist, I weigh the unique quality of pieces and how they will stand the test of time. It’s probably no surprise that I have started adding Elizabeth and James to my own wardrobe.

 Daisy Boxy Dropped Shoulder Jacket and the Sierra Fitted Strapless Dress, both from Elizabeth and James.

The ease of a great dress as a building block for the statement jacket! I’m smitten with this jacket and encourage you to come try it as your answer to warmth and arm coverage this spring and summer.

 Accessorized here by another ornate cross with freshwater pearls from G. Spinelli.

TSALT has not yet picked up Elizabeth and James accessories but it is under consideration for Fall 2017. Until that time, G. Spinelli has been a great accent to the selection of pieces for Spring 2017. This collection is full of enticing pieces!

One of our personal favorites it the Leather Wrap Cord with Cross in Gray, Black and Red for $45. With Easter right around the corner, it makes a perfect, simple statement. They are styled in that nonchalant way, leaving the longer ends hanging in front keeping your style both current and effortless. I think Mary-Kate and Ashley would agree!

This Friday and Saturday, TSALT is hosting a G. Spinelli Trunk Show where there will be the largest variety of pieces to view. For every purchase over $100, you will receive a FREE stretch bracelet!

Total coincidence that there are twins in the G. Spinelli marketing piece for the show!

  • The latest from Alicia
Alicia was born and raised in Alexandria, and married a local boy. She is happily married and the mother of two amazing children and one adorable and terribly smart border terrier named Dixie. Alicia has always known she was a creative. She collected editions of Vogue from junior high on and has always loved clothing and design. She studied interior design at VCU and parlayed that degree into commercial interior design, the web design, and ultimately found herself managing a local boutique and serving as a stylist to many Alexandrian women. She now has a successful full-time styling business, The Tulle Box, and makes it her business to make her clients feel great about themselves and the way they look.

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