ode boutique

Inspiration

Women Who Inspire Us: My Nguyen

October 13, 2011

At Ode, we're fortunate enough to meet amazing women every day. We all notice My when she stops by the store, always looking fabulous. She contacted us with information about the Valley Community Development Corporation, and we're happy to be donating 5% of profits to them this month, thanks to her suggestion. Her style is impeccable, and her dedication to the community is an inspiration that we felt was well worth sharing.

How did you get involved with the Valley CDC, and can you tell us a little about your experiences working there?
I grew up in Oklahoma and then moved to Connecticut for college. I think that the combination of my experiences as a first generation immigrant and the transition between living in two completely different places spurred my interest in the ways communities develop, which is why I focused on housing policy and community development in my degree. When I moved to Northampton about two years ago, Valley CDC seemed like the perfect place to learn more about both of these issues. I feel so privileged to be involved with an organization that has done such great work for an amazing community. Being there for the opening of the King St. Apartments, their most recent development that provides ten affordable apartments for homeless and low-income residents, was an amazing experience. It was truly awe-inspiring to see that old house reconstructed as beautiful apartments. I was amazed by how much a small nonprofit could give back to the community.

Do you have any words of advice for people considering volunteer work?
I think it's important to start locally – to find nonprofits that support a community cause you care about. It's great to work for a large organization with a lot of support, but I think it is the small, local nonprofits that often need the most help because they don't have the same national platform to fundraise and recruit volunteers. Volunteering with organizations in your own community also allows you to have a more substantial impact.

What are your fashion influences?
I can't even begin to count the number of hours I've spent watching movies and I think that my style is the culmination of viewing almost the entirety of Edith Head's body of work. The movies she designed for – especially Rear Window, The Lady Eve, and Funny Face – shaped this beautiful ideal of the 50s and 60s for me. I love the balance of structure and femininity in the looks she created and I think that definitely comes across in my style. I tend to draw a lot of sartorial inspiration from films in general. It's difficult not to be inspired by visually stunning movies like The Wind that Shakes the Barley and I Am Love.

What are your favorite trends for fall?
It's really exciting to see more unexpected combinations of texture, pattern, and colors. I've always had a soft spot for mixed prints. I also love that there seems to be a 60s revival going on thanks to Mad Men – lots of tailored pieces that are still really feminine. Every fall I try to make capes the new 'coat,' so I'm ecstatic that I've been seeing so many!

If you were a piece of clothing, what you would be and what color/pattern?
Most definitely a cape in a beautiful Harris tweed – dramatic and highly impractical but well intentioned.

What inspires you?
The places I've traveled to and the places I want to go inspire me the most. My wandering heart is never satisfied so I'm constantly researching new places and planning dream vacations. I love not just going somewhere but learning everything about it – from the agriculture to local folklore.

[Chattman Photography]

Inspiration

Charity Fall Fashion Show at Twin Hills

September 20, 2011

Charity Fall Fashion Show at Twin Hills

We love a woman with a good pair of shoes and great heart. That's why when Jen Santos asked Ode to participate in a Fall fashion show at Twin Hills Country Club in East Longmeadow, benefiting "Dress for Success," we couldn't resist. Champagne and maxi dresses flowed, and our beautiful models (Sarah, Kayla, Bridgette and Thurraya) rocked the runway with style, poise, and heart. Jo Chattman, our ever-muse and artist extraordinaire, captured the love. Thanks to all who came, saw, and cared.

Charity Fall Fashion Show at Twin Hills
Charity Fall Fashion Show at Twin Hills
Charity Fall Fashion Show at Twin Hills

Inspiration

GLI Brings BEAUTIFUL To Ode

September 12, 2011

GLI Brings BEAUTIFUL To Ode

In April we teamed up with Rachel Simmons and The Girls Leadership Institute (GLI) of Northampton through our "Fashion With Compassion" program. GLI offers camps and workshops designed to teach girls, educators, and parents the core practices of emotional intelligence, healthy relationships, and assertive self-expression. Five percent of our profits for the month went toward a scholarship fund.

In July, we teamed up again for a project the girls were working on called Operation Beautiful. The mission of Operation Beautiful is to end negative self-talk or, "Fat Talk" by anonymously placing sticky notes on mirrors. Caitlin Boyle, the founder and editor of the Operation Beautiful website started with the idea that even small acts of kindness invite a smile. Girls and women tend to tear themselves down in front of a mirror, disliking body parts and zoning in on the slightest imperfection. Armed simply with a pen and paper, Caitlin would post notes in public restrooms, take photos, and upload them to her site. Word spread and soon women and girls everywhere were inspired to pay forward the compliments, some even starting clubs at school.

We went up to the Smith College campus to talk to the young ladies in Rachel's summer program about how we strive to create a space where women feel comfortable in their clothes and confident in their bodies. Together we worked on our own version of the Operation Beautiful sticky notes to display in the store. The girls came up with the affirmations on paper they hand dyed. We all had a great time creating our individual color combinations.

These affirmations continue to grace our dressing rooms and compliment women. Thanks to the girls of GLI for helping Ode's customers feel deserving of beauty, love, and inspiration. We'll see you next year!

GLI Brings BEAUTIFUL To Ode
GLI Brings BEAUTIFUL To Ode
GLI Brings BEAUTIFUL To Ode