Tuxedo Talk

It should come as no surprise that we have always appreciated a borrowed-from-the-boys approach to dressing—slouchy boy jeans, perfectly oversized men’s button-down shirts and, of course, the impeccably tailored, impossibly elegant look that is tuxedo dressing.

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Our new Silk Tux Shirt, with its razor-thin pleats and drapey silhouette, will pair perfectly with all manner of fancified nighttime-wear. We like it best with cool camo-print skinnies or those go-to, beat-up denim cutoffs. (Also, it looks even better with a few buttons left undone.)

The tuxedo, the ultimate symbol of polish, has itself quite the storied history. Here, three tuxedo-related facts you may not have known.

The tuxedo got its name from a New York town.

Specifically, Tuxedo Park. Though various theories about the oh-so-dapper dining suit’s origin have circulated, the most accepted one goes something like this: In 1886, Tuxedo Park local James Brown Potter was set to meet the Prince of Wales, so he asked Savile Row tailors Henry Poole & Co. for advice on what the most fitting attire would be and was told the prince had taken to wearing a shorter dinner jacket. So that’s what Potter wore and, when he brought the style back across the pond, it was quickly adopted by high society and dubbed “the tuxedo.”

It took almost a century for a women’s version to come about.

And credit for that goes to the legendary Yves Saint Laurent. In 1966, at the height of the women’s movement, the iconic couturier designed Le Smoking, a slimmer-cut, sharp-lined tuxedo for his women’s collection. At that time, it was the ultimate in-your-face styling choice for the liberated woman. Famously captured by Helmut Newton in that classic 1975 photo for French Vogue, and favored over the years by the likes of Bianca Jagger, Catherine Deneuve and Madonna, it is a landmark in fashion history.

There is nothing more Bond-esque than the tuxedo.

So synonymous with the character of James Bond is the tuxedo that when actor Pierce Brosnan agreed to play the role, he had to sign a contract saying he would not appear in any other films during or between Bond gigs wearing one.

One for the Road: Kelli Scarr’s Driving Mix

Just as the name implies, our Car Coat, with its swingy above-the-knee silhouette and just-cozy-enough fabric for those in-between-the-season days is pretty darn ideal for lazy weekend drives. And what would those drives be without some musical accompaniment?

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Kelli Scarr, a Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter with a deliciously warm, inviting voice (her latest release is the excellent Dangling Teeth) spends plenty of time on the road touring, so she understands the importance of a sublime soundtrack. Her favorite long drive of late? The Great Skyway. “Recently I was playing a few shows in Wyoming and had the pleasure of taking a solo Sunday drive,” she says. “The Great Skyway drive takes you through the Medicine Bow Mountains and drops you into Colorado for a few minutes before you’re back in Wyoming.” With that drive along the Snowy Mountain Range Byway in mind, Scarr dreamed up the ultimate cruising mix. Our advice: Flip up your coat collar, crank open the windows and turn up these tunes.

K. Scarr’s Great Skyway Mix

1. “Rolling Along,” Lucinda Williams

2. “It’s a Big Old Goofy World,” John Prine

3. “Let The Mystery Be,” Iris DeMent

4. “L.I.E.,” The Shivers

5. “State Trooper,” Bruce Springsteen

6. “Unknown Legend,” Neil Young

7. “Riding for the Feeling,” Bill Callahan

8. “Dreamin,” Rayland Baxter

9. “Death of a Train,” Daniel Lanois

10. “Tiniest Seed,” Angel Olsen

Stream this and all our playlists on Rdio.

WELCOME THE NEW SEASON WITH ALL NEW ARRIVALS

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Ahhh, fall. We’re opening up the sock drawer again, jumping back in line for those pumpkin spice lattes and embracing this season with open, cardigan-clad arms. Speaking of cardis, we’ve got lots of ’em and other new autumnal arrivals just in time for those leaf-peeping road trips and apple orchard adventures. So as the weather cools down, why not give your wardrobe a little pick-me-up (or two, or three)?

Five Degrees of Teddy (Loafers)

Meet Teddy. In timeless printed calf hair that gives everything in your wardrobe a kick of cool, and with a supremely comfortable wear-everywhere design, it’s basically the loafer of your dreams. So inspired are we by this new fellow in our style lives, that we can’t resist giving a shout-out to a few other beloved “Teddys,” just for fun.

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Teddy Boys

A 1950s British subculture birthed in London and characterized by teenage boys who dressed in throwback styles—think tailored drape jackets and high-waisted trousers paired with creepers or Oxfords—and listened to American rock n’ roll. The moniker “teddy boy” was reportedly coined by the Daily Express in 1953 and the lifestyle was outlined in detail in the 1958 pulp novel aptly titled Teddy Boy by Ernest Ryman. And it wasn’t just for the boys; “teddy girls” (aka “Judies”) also had a trademark look, rocking pencil skirts, rolled jeans, flats and tailored blazers.

Teddy Bear

It was one Teddy that inspired the creation of another. After The Washington Post ran a hugely popular political cartoon about then-president Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt’s experience with an actual bear on a hunting trip in 1902, Brooklyn candy shop owners Morris and Rose Mitchom decided to sew some plush velvet into the shape of a bear, dubbed it “Teddy’s bear” and displayed it in their store window. The stuffed bear was a sensation and thus the now-ubiquitous children’s toy was born.

Teddy lingerie

Once referred to as the “envelope chemise”, the teddy, a silky, slip-like undergarment meant to be worn in place of a bra and underwear (or over a bra) first hit the market in the roaring twenties.

“Ready Teddy”

A toe-tapping, hip-shaking rock n’ roll classic, the song originally written by Robert Blackwell and John Marascalco, has been covered by a host of musical legends from Little Richard to Buddy Holly to Elvis Presley, among others. In 1960 it even made it onto the big screen in Fellini’s La Dolce Vita.

“Teddy” by JD Salinger

With a documentary about the reclusive author’s life set to hit theaters this month, there is no better time to revisit some of his masterful stories. “Teddy” first appeared in a 1953 edition of The New Yorker and was then was reprinted in the collection Nine Stories. Salinger tells the tale of Teddy, an intellectually gifted child who meets a grad student and has a number of heavy discussions about spirituality, life and enlightenment with him. As controversial, (particularly because of the ending which we will not reveal here), as it is beloved, it’s a must-read for Salinger fans.

Caroline de Maigret’s Bon Mots

A little repartee with Caroline de Maigret about a few of her favorite things.

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Style motto: Always dress to meet the love of your life.

Guilty pleasure: Tex Mex. I love chili con carne.

Treasured possession: Records, for sure

Favorite musician: Elvis

Favorite music venue: Le Bataclan in Paris. It’s the perfect size—big enough to have great bands but small enough to still keep things intimate. It’s also in the center of Paris, which I love.

Gadget of choice: Jambox by Jawbone. Great sound, with a wireless connection to my iPhone. Perfect for all the time I spend in hotel rooms.

Favorite book: The Idiot, by Dostoyevsky

Flower of choice: peonies

Best city: Paris

Favorite film: Le Mépris, by Jean-Luc Godard

Best place to grab a meal: La Coupole, Paris, for its history and big seafood platters

Best facial: Caudalie [near Bordeaux, France]

Best massage: Hotel Bristol, Paris

Favorite travel destination: the Cyclades islands, Greece

Favorite person to follow on Instagram: Michel Gaubert, @michelgaubert. He’s a really fun and witty DJ.

Catch Caroline test-driving a few of our favorite fall pieces here.

Labels We Love: Penfield

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We adore fall, and not just for all the pumpkin-flavored treats: There’s no better time of year to get outdoors. There’s backpacking and climbing for the adventurous,  and nature walks and afternoon apple picking for the rest. It’s easy to get inspired to go exploring. Things are finally cooling down, and while the weather can be unpredictable, that’s part of the fun.

That’s also why we’re turning our attention to Penfield®, a Massachusetts-based label that has perfected all-season outerwear. With smart details and the sort of meticulous construction made to last for years, we can’t get enough. Penfield’s refreshing takes on essential outerwear will make you rethink the flannel, the windbreaker, the parka and the puffy vest. The company was founded in 1975, and has mastered New England heritage-inspired pieces that look amazing while making the elements surrender. Rain and wind, you’ve met your match.

From Paris With Love

Our affection for the City of Light is fervent and longstanding (as is evident from our flying-off-the-racks Linen Paris Tee, which has become a fast favorite with our stylish friends, including W magazine’s fashion director, Karla Martinez, who sported hers during New York Fashion Week).

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Photo by Bryan Derballa.

And there’s a lot to l’amour: that postcard-perfect skyline, the multitude of masterpieces for your viewing pleasure, the way every woman you see on the street is the picture of unfussy elegance and, of course, the shopping.

Our love runs so deep that we, ahem, want to display it proudly across a tee. But for our fellow Francophiles who can’t make the trip across the Atlantic—and those of you who are patiently awaiting your backordered Paris tee—we present a list (plus, fun facts) of six stops that bring “Paris” closer to home. (Translation: You won’t need a passport to get there.)

Paris, Virginia

In the midst of Virginia’s hunting country with the Appalachian Trail nearby, this town is beyond small—it’s miniscule. Population at last count? 51.

Paris, Missouri

This tiny farming town in central Missouri is the birthplace of Mary Margaret McBride, known as the “first lady of radio” for her pioneering efforts for women in journalism.

Paris, Kentucky

The city’s motto is “horses, history and hospitality,” but they can also add swimsuits to that—the one that Mark Spitz wore in the 1972 Summer Olympic Games was famously manufactured here.

Paris, Texas

Dubbed the “second largest Paris in the world,” this Texas city (which inspired the 1984 film Paris, Texas) boasts its own Eiffel Tower—with a cowboy hat perched at the top.

Paris, Tennessee

The Tennessee town is home to the world’s biggest fish fry, which happens every April and requires over five tons of catfish.

Paris, Arkansas

Known as the “gateway to Mount Magazine” (the highest peak in the state), this Paris also has some killer views.

Check Your Mailbox

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Our fall catalog is waiting for you…and, trust us, it’s a mark-it-up, shop-it-out keeper. Not on our mailing list? Pop in to your local Madewell store for a free copy featuring cool-girl icon Caroline de Maigret. Or virtually flip through the pages on Instagram and click over to Pinterest. to see the rest. (And sign up now for the next round here!)

Hashtag Your Way To A Madewell Shopping Spree

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As you can seen from our fall collection, we’re all about the less-is-more thing this season. Feeling the same? We want to see it. Starting today, Instagram a photo of the five or more things you can’t live without this season (zoom in on anything you please—could be a favorite read, a pretty paperweight or perhaps your latest Madewell purchase) with the hashtag #wildlysimple.

Not only is it a chance to show off your great taste, but you could be rewarded for it too: The shutterbugs behind our top three favorite photos will each win a $500 Madewell shopping spree*. You have until October 6th, so snap to it. And, of course, to stay tuned to all the action, follow us @madewell1937 to see our current fall favorites and keep tabs on all that is #wildlysimple.

*No purchase necessary. Contest open to legal residents of the 50 United States (including DC). Must be 18 or older. Void where prohibited. Enter contest by October 6, 2013. Prizes are awarded in the form of a gift card. For official rules and prize description, visit madewell.promo.eprize.com/instagram. Entries must comply with Instagram’s Terms of Use.

It’s Fall Preview Time (Yes, Really!)

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Not to state the obvious, but it feels like we’re living in the tropics lately, no? On steamy, sweltering days such as these, fall can’t come soon enough. We’re already thinking ahead to more temperate times when we’re all about adding layers as opposed to peeling them off. With that in mind, here’s a sneak peek of our new fall preview collection; take a look and just imagine a cool, crisp breeze coming your way…