DIALOGUE | Urban Gentrification


Photo of San Francisco circa 1958 via Shorpy.

Gentrification came up a few times in smart comments from last week's post Snark is the New Black in response to the McSweeny's article about "Hirl" (a bald critique of Sqirl Cafe). The comments really made me think about the concept. Here's one comment in particular:

The only thing I will say, in regards to Hirl, is that gentrification is a really damaging process. Essentially, people from a higher socioeconomic class start raising the overall cost of rent in a certain area, so the poorer natives are eventually pushed out of their own neighborhoods. It doesn't improve poverty--it shuffles out the impoverished, and turns their neighborhoods into playgrounds for people using hip urbanism to pretend they come from a rough part of town. So I can understand the critique on Hirl, even if it has a mean-edged sarcasm to it.

In theory, it doesn't take much thought to be against the negative side effects of gentrification. In practice though, I'm confused as to how the individual or sole-proprietor should take action.  In other words, if I were to open up a shop and didn't want to overpay on rent, should I still decide to open elsewhere where the rent is 5x higher in a neighborhood where a majority of residents have a similar socioeconomic background to my projected customers? Or taking it further, if I can't afford to do that, should I decide not to open a shop at all? Are we to draw lines on maps and decide that certain people should only live and operate businesses in certain neighborhoods from here on out? These aren't rhetorical questions, I'm really asking and really interested to hear people's opinions on this.

Considering what I post on this blog, I'd be a hypocrite if I railed against gentrification and continued to feature small new shops popping up in, say, Echo Park. I'm against the rising rents and increased property taxes and most of all people being displaced, but how do we change that while also believing urban landscapes are ever-changing and cities aren't static entities? So, again, I feel a little stuck on this one and would love to hear more thoughts.

MOMENT | Labor Day


Flag images via East Surf Co.

Have a great long summer weekend, wear the hell outta dem white jeans.

WKND extras:

i-D ran a piece called The Tomboy Dilemma last week commenting on the imperfection of the word tomboy—which we've discussed here as well.

My top five tomboy icons from the Tomboy Style book featured on the Urban Outfitters blog.

Vogue.com has a fresh new website and Golly Magazine has a fresh first issue that's hot off the presses.

Exciting things coming next week!

Keep up with Tomboy Style elsewhere: INSTAGRAM | TWITTER | FACEBOOK.

NOISE | 7 Heures du Matin by Jacqueline Taïeb


For some lighter blog fare, a French pop song from 1967 about a teenage girl who is in love with Paul McCartney.

MOMENT | Snark is the New Black


Photo of Julia Louis-Dreyfus* from SNL by Alan Singer, 1983.

Is it me or has anyone else been feeling that the Internet has gotten even more negative than its usual cranky self? Here are a few recent observations: The ALS ice bucket challenge goes viral, raises millions and millions to fight a horrible disease, and yet Slate runs a pious story that points out a lot of the participants are probably spending more money on bagged ice than on ALS research (as if). 13 year old Mo'ne Davis is the first girl to pitch a shutout in the Little League World Series, and so many ugly comments come out, including a guy on Twitter with 91,000 followers who said: Mo'ne Davis will get knocked up by one of her teammates within the next 3 years. It gets favorited 141 times, retweeted 72 times. An award-winning unbelievably talented chef (who happens to be a nice person and decent human being) starts a jam company out of the trunk of her car, then grows to open an incredibly successful restaurant in a gentrifying Los Angeles neighborhood and McSweeny's tears it down with satire that is so farfetched it's comical. I recently went to a movie and noticed two guys next to us laughing hysterically at all the parts I was. By chance, we all ended up at the same restaurant afterwards and they said hi and asked if I liked the movie. I said (thinking it was obvious by our collective guttural reactions), "Yeah, I loved it, you?" His response, "No. We did not care for it."

Has it become so incredibly out of vogue to just earnestly like something good? Sorry for the after school special tone, but this is all making me depressed. I'm guilty for my share (and more) of eye rolls, so I'm very much saying this to myself as well, but I think it's worth stating that it's not easy to open a restaurant, be a girl in the Little League World Series, start a magazine, produce a movie that makes you laugh for an hour and a half, put out an album, or start something that the world cares about. It is easy, however, to craft a snarky tweet or a nasty comment with almost complete anonymity. No we shouldn't be robotic in praise, and yes criticism is a sign you've "arrived", but I feel like we're starting to create a culture that praises the hate of art more than the actual creation of art.

*Julia Louis-Dreyfus is awesome.

Update: The New York Times also covered this topic (with more research and reporting, obviously) just this weekend. Thanks for the tip, Lite + Cycle!

ACE | Magda Wosinska Photography


Last week, leading up to the Emmys, I profiled one of my all-time favorite peeros (peer +hero) for Vogue—TV writer Aisha Muharrar (here's her Tomboy Style Q&A from a few years ago too). After the shoot at her apartment in Silver Lake, we were both hardcore gushing about how cool we thought the photographer Magda Wosinska was. It got a little weird, but I felt totally validated for liking her so much when I went to her site to see the little mouse hand icon was altered into heavy metal devil horns. Her photography is just as rad.



UNIFORM | Obijime Belts by Kiriko

Kiriko out of Portland Oregon has been synonymous with traditional Japanese fashion interpreted for the modern world since their start in December of 2012. From an inital simple offering of scarves and pocket squares, the company has grown over the past year and a half to offer more and more products including a rotating selection of vintage finds. I first took note of the obijime belt ($38), a traditional Japanese rope belt used to tie kimono, on their site a few months ago, but they were sold out in a blink of an eye. They've recently restocked and I'm not waiting around this time. Here's a quick vid about how to wear 'em too. Keep up with Tomboy Style elsewhere: INSTAGRAM | FACEBOOK | TWITTER.

SCENE | Rural Post Offices

I took the above photo of the post office in Bondurant, Wyoming (population 100) last month. It's been on my desktop for a while, and I've stared at it often trying to figure out why I like it so much. This post office is so small and unassuming, yet still holds a certain power to it, as all post offices do. There's something about a post office I guess, especially in the digital age—they're cumbersome and ancient, sure, but they're also such a perfect representation of their communities. And even as they serve a town or village or city, there's a consistency to them that makes them touchtones to the federal government. Thousands of rural post offices have been closing over the years and movements have sprung up to save them in large numbers. A few weeks ago I read an article titled How We Saved Our Rural Post Office, possibly the most authentic grass roots campaign I've seen in a long time. A few more below worth saving.

WORD | Knit Wit Magazine

A month ago, I headed out to Joshua Tree with the editor and creative director of Knit Wit, the new biannual print-only magazine about fiber arts, textiles, and the people who put it all together. We rolled into the High Desert around golden hour to explore world of Lily and Hopie Stockman, founders of Block Shop Textiles. The sisters Stockman, who have recently relocated to L.A. from Boston, are two impossibly cool human beings that are creating traditionally-made Indian scarves (and bedding coming soon!) in smart, ethical, thoughtful, ecologically sensitive, community-driven, and lest we forget, stylish ways—it's almost unnerving how wonderful these two sisters are. Here are a few sneak peak photos of that story, which will be in the inaugural issue of Knit Wit, dropping this November. The magazine is otherwise packed with visuals and text by some truly talented photographers (including Marissa Macias who shot this piece), designers, tastemakers, and writers. Snag a maiden copy for yourself by supporting the Knit Wit Kickstarter. This magazine is one to keep.


ICON | Ali MacGraw





With the epitome of classic style mixed with a good heaping of tomboy leanings, Ali MacGraw wins it every decade. One of my favorite photos though, is this one by William Claxton circa 1971.

SCENE | Casa Shelter Half


Photos of Casa Shelter Half by Sinuhe Xavier.

Last week I wrote a piece about seven new and alternative places to stay in L.A., and one of them is the newly-opened vacation rental called Casa Shelter Half. Designed by the owner of the now-closed Shelter Half store on La Brea and founder of Environment Furniture, Davide Berruto, and Heather Heron (who designed the first women's line for Almond), "Casa" is tucked behind Abbott Kinney Boulevard, ideal for both privacy and convenience. It's available to rent out like an Air BnB ($600 per night, $675 on weekends) as well as for parties and events. The interior is so good, had to share more photos here.








SCENE | New Zealand

Photo of two New Zealand guides at Mount Cook, New Zealand, on top of the Tasman Glacier, 1935.

I'm in New Zealand (in the dead of winter), jumping around the North Island for the rest of the week! If anyone has any great recommendations for NZ, specifically Wellington, I'd be so grateful. Back to the blog next Monday, but feel free to follow the adventure on Instagram (@lgmettler).
Victory Hand

UNIFORM | Vault by Vans

The Vault by Vans collections are not always the easiest to come by, but I love checking to see what new artist collaborations or brand tie-ins they're releasing. Right now they've got some really cool stuff out, including a Peanuts collection, a Star Wars collection, and an OG line that is right on the money. Super fun...if you can find 'em.

Keep up with Tomboy Style elsewhere: INSTAGRAM | FACEBOOK | TWITTER.

MOMENT | Free The Nipple


When I was putting together the Tomboy Style book, about three years ago now, I remember having a few heated debates with my editor about the inclusion of nudity. She wanted it, I didn't. Her opinion was that it would make the book more artful, and mine was that it might prohibit younger people from buying the book. It's not that I disagreed with her point, it's just that my whole objective was to write the book that I wish existed when I was growing up. I ended up winning the argument, but I'm thinking a lot now about why this argument had to exist at all. With the buzz surrounding the forthcoming film Free The Nipple, protests of the censorship on Instagram (even when it's "artful"), performance artists taking to the streets of NYC in the pursuit of nipple equality, and celebs like artist Shepherd Fairy (pictured above) and Rhianna weighing in, there's a lot to process. It all has me asking why our social custom is so wildly different for men and women when it comes to the public bearing of breasts? I'm not jonesing to go topless in public by any means (even on an Australian or French beach where it's de rigueur), but I certainly don't think it should mean jail time (up to three years and $2500 fine for exposed female breasts in Louisiana). In 35 states it's illegal for a woman to be topless, five of those states even include breastfeeding.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on what may be the feminist issue talking point of the year.

SCENE | Cape Kennedy, 1969.


Photos of spectators at Cape Kennedy (now named Cape Canaveral) by Bill Epperidge and Lynn Pelahm for LIFE, 1969.

45 summers ago, we went to the Moon. Thousands of people camped out on beaches and on roads near Kennedy Space Center to watch Apollo 11 liftoff. Quite a scene, and just one month before Woodstock. Now I get what Bryan Adams was singing about.