Over-sized sweaters have become one of our favorite fashion trends this fall. This cozy, cold weather essential can take your look from day to night by simply mixing up your favorite accessories. Start your look by selecting your favorite over-sized sweater — add flats and a beanie for a more casual look or swap out those pieces with booties, a fedora and a cross-body hand bag for the perfect evening look. Read on to check out three looks we styled to inspire you to wear your over-sized sweaters this season (and next).
Leggings, ahhhh, every girl’s dream come true… style, warmth and comfort come together for your wardrobe must-have for the fall and winter seasons. If your’e anything like us, then you probably own multiple pairs of the same exact legging and wear them over and over again. To keep your legging style updated and on trend, we came up with six different legging looks for outfit inspiration that you can rock all year long.
Which legging look is your fave? Tell us in the comments below.
Introduce yourself, your business name and where you are from.
My name is Kristen and I’m half owner of Pommes Frites Candle Co. I grew up in Northern Virginia, but I currently live in downtown Los Angeles. By the way… our business name, Pommes Frites may translate to belgian fries, but it’s actually just a goofy play on my last name (Pumphrey). That’s what happens when you start a business at age 22!
You made your first candle at the age of 12, what inspired you to do that?
My sister brought a candle-making kit home from Michael’s craft store, to make and sell candles for a home economics fair. In true little sister, “me too!!” style, I learned to make candles and continued to make them for easy gifts throughout high school. When I started my business after college, it was a no-brainer to make candles again, I already had the tools!
Tom and Kristen in their studio
What does the day in the life of Kristen Pumphrey entail?
During the week I usually work from 9 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. or so. Work usually entails emailing with the shops that stock us (both independent boutiques and our national brands), developing new scents, making sure all the orders are heading out and receiving supplies. I usually take time each day to post on our instagram (@pfcandleco), play with our dog (an Italian greyhound named Max), and go for an iced coffee. Weekends, I love to explore our neighborhood in DTLA, or get away from it all on a quick camping trip.
Your candles smell amazing, what inspires your scents and how do you know which scents to combine?
Thank you! There’s two ways we go about picking scents: brainstorming sessions and direct inspiration. We do a scent brainstorming session once or twice a month, where we will pull out all the oils we have on hand, dip blotting strips, and just start smelling combinations together. A little bit of this, add some of that, mix the oils together. Then the whole team will stop what they’re doing and smell the results. For direct inspiration, we may think something like “we want to create a scent inspired by Big Sur” and we will take a trip to that location and smell everything we can, just taking it all in, and taking notes. This usually gives us a base to start with, a few notes that were prominent to us, then we will take that inspiration to our brainstorming sessions for further development.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Travel and nature are huge inspirations, visiting national parks, camping, or even visiting a nearby botanical garden. We want to produce scents that invoke feeling or meaning and that also smell really, really good.
Can you share the making of a soy candle with us?
Our soy candles are poured in small batches, but we work from a larger batch to get there. We will melt anywhere from 50-150 lbs. of soy wax at a time. Once the soy wax is melted and has come up to temperature, we add fragrance oil into our giant wax melters.
From there, the wax is poured off into metal pitchers, allowed to cool, and then poured in into pre-wicked jars in batches of 8-9 (or 12-16 for the mini size). We use the same method I used when I started making candles, just with fancier equipment and on a much larger scale.
What inspired the packaging for PF candles?
My design skills are pretty limited, having never taken a class in graphic design, but I wanted to make something that felt authentic to me. I loved interchangeable stamps and used them in packaging across the board (when our company used to make more than just candles), so one day, after feeling frustrated with designing on the computer, I went back to basics and just started hand stamping our labels. I wanted the candles to be simple enough that they can exist in your space every day without being too fussy, toeing the line between rustic and clean design.
What is the one scent that we will always find burning in your home?
It depends on the room! For our living room, I like Neroli & Eucalyptus and Summer Breeze. Sweet Grapefruit is always either uncapped or burning in the bathroom. When I’m at work, I like to burn Campfire on my desk.
Have you ever mixed a scent that made you say ‘what was I thinking’?
Absolutely! Luckily with our brainstorming session, it usually doesn’t get past the initial phase. There have been a few combinations that I’ve smelled and said “NOPE!”. My biggest no-no when it comes to a scent is if it gives me or any of our crew here a headache then it gets eliminated from the list. We work hard to make sure our candles can be enjoyed by even those with fragrance sensitivities.
Besides candle-making, what other hobbies/interests do you have?
Camping, bike riding, tending to my ever growing plant collection. And as I said before, traveling and experiencing new places. We try to take a weekend trip at least once a month. We live and work in the heart of downtown LA, so escaping from city life is awesome.
Describe your personal style.
Mostly utilitarian with a little bit of California hippie thrown in. My job is always hands on. You can find me unloading a pallet or unpacking wax or mixing fragrances, so I tend to wear things I don’t mind getting messy. In the summer I wear simple cotton dresses and Vans sneakers. In the winter, I’m all about jeans (including AEO jeggings!) and a simple tee shirt. I usually always wear little stacking rings and copper or bronze skinny cuff bracelets. But my favorite thing to wear, hands down, is a poncho. I can’t wear them at work,just not practical enough, but on a camping trip I usually don’t change out of one. I have this awesome one my dad gave to me when I was a kid; it’s from Argentina. It’s one of those things I didn’t appreciate until I was older.
Tell us something surprising about you that no one would guess!
I may be a candle maker, but I actually studied to become an actor. I did 4 years of rigorous training at NYU’s Tisch School, and right before graduating, I realized it wasn’t the right choice as a career for me. I got involved in the DIY community, and haven’t looked back since. In school, they constantly told us that you have to make your own work – sometimes there wouldn’t be somebody who would want to give it to you or take a chance on you. It was a really important lesson to learn – and one I clearly applied when starting PF.
Anything else you would like to share?
We’re so happy to be able to partner with AEO for their Wear America initiative! It’s awesome to us that the candles that are handmade in our studio by our crew of six can be enjoyed by a wider audience, and that handmade on a larger scale is possible!
What is your favorite scent from PF Candle Co? Tell us in the comments below!
Describe yourself to us in five words?
Passionate. Loyal. Determined. Respectful. Intense.
Where are you from and what led you to where you are today?
I grew up in Long Island just a few miles from New York City in a creative, supportive family. I spent my teens and early twenties playing drums in various hardcore and metal bands, and that’s actually where I got my start doing professional design work. I was constantly working on band merchandise, flyers, record layouts and stuff like that. It wasn’t long before I started working with local businesses as well. In 2005 I opened a design studio called Onetwentysix and eventually that led to starting my first menswear brand, CXXVI, with my longtime friend Matt Gorton. Once CXXVI was rolling, I went back to freelancing and eventually transformed that business into what Jon Contino Studio is today.
You designed our packaging for our new Men’s and Women’s Live Your Life fragrances. What inspired your designs?
The inspiration came from the American culture that most people don’t think about. Stuff that we might take for granted. I felt that American Eagle Outfitters needed some nods to its heritage, but in a unique way. I wanted to focus on the time we spend as kids getting into trouble: running around the neighborhood with friends, getting lost in the woods, making fires on the beach. Whatever we used to occupy our time with in between the world of carelessness and responsibility. I wanted to capture the raw energy of growing up in a culture that’s relatively new in the history of the world. It’s unique to America, and it represents a lot of what American Eagle Outfitters is about.
Can you share some sketches with us?
Where is your studio and what are three things we will always find in your workspace?
My studio was in Brooklyn for years until very recently. My wife and I moved about an hour north of Manhattan to the Hudson Valley, where I now run my studio full time. It’s great because in between projects, phone calls, emails and all that stuff, I can take some time and go outside with my daughter and play with her without having to worry about busy streets or whatever else comes with living in a busy city. Actually, my daughter is a good example of something you’ll always find in my studio. Anyone that’s ever gotten on a phone call with me can tell you they hear her in the background most of the time. In terms of working material, you’ll always find pencils, pens and paper. I always design everything by hand, on paper. It’s how I feel most comfortable working. If you want to get into atmospheric stuff, there’s always some kind of Apple technology around me, antique signs and books and lots of family heirlooms.
What is your favorite project you have worked on to date?
That’s such a tough question. Working with different industries means that I have a favorite in each field and can’t truly compare one as better than the other. If I had to call out a project that turned my life upside down though, I think I could pick one. Growing up in the world of New York Hardcore, my favorite band was always a band from Brooklyn called Indecision. To this day, those albums are still my favorite of all time. A couple years ago they were doing a reunion show and asked me to design a shirt for them. It was amazing to have my favorite band reach out to me and tell me they were fans of my work. Still sits with me as one of the coolest moments of my career.
If you could have dinner with anyone dead or alive, who would it be and what would you cook for them?
Well, I’m not much of a cook… anyone in my family could tell you that. If I had to pick someone though, I think it might be Benjamin Franklin for a lot of reasons. Instead of cooking, though, I’d take him to one of my favorite bagel shops in the Bronx and tell him to get a toasted egg bagel with vegetable cream cheese with a slice of tomato and an Arizona iced tea. It’s a tradition my wife and I have been doing for years and it’s probably the meal I look most forward to eating.
Number one on your bucket list?
The fact that I can design for a living, and do cool stuff on top of that, is pretty much my one and only selfish goal for my life. I’m a family guy at heart, so everything else would be things like having more kids, seeing them grow up… stuff like that.
It’s Friday night in NYC, where can we find you?
Having a 19-month-old daughter usually means I’m in bed by 10pm on Friday nights, but if I actually had the chance to be out and not be exhausted, then I’d probably want to spend it sitting on a stoop somewhere with friends laughing and joking about random nonsense. Life gets so busy, it’s nice just to goof around once in a while.
Go to ae.com and style a head to toe outfit for yourself.
Denim is a garment that’s all about individuality. Every day that we wear them, they change: telling the story about what we do in them and who we are. It’s why people are so fiercely committed to their favorite pair, wearing them until they practically disintegrate on their bodies. For people who want a truly unique look but don’t want to wait years and years, denim distressing is something you can do at home with just a few simple tools and tricks.
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Know Your Starting Material:
The type of denim you start with will ultimately affect how it wears over time. Denim can be anywhere from 6 ounces (per square yard) in weight up to 20+ ounces. The heavier the denim, the more resilient it will be to wear and tear. It’s important to know where your denim falls in the spectrum, since the weight and amount of distressing you do will greatly affect how long your pair of jeans will last.
Tools of the Trade:
Because how denim wears is such a part of our love affair with blue jeans, brands purposely fade and age their denim to give it a vintage, worn look. For your distressing project, all you need are some items found around the house.
Sandpaper (preferably 220 grit or higher): For light distressing and breaking down the denim fabric.
Single-edge razor blade: For ‘scraping’ away surface threads and cutting seams.
Scissors: For full-on hole making.
Block of wood or deck of cards: As a backing to ensure an even surface and that you only distress one layer at a time.
Bleach: Only for the bold. Make sure to place cardboard under the affected surface to avoid bleeding.
Know Your Natural Wear:
When distressing denim, it’s important to work horizontally across the fabric, since that will break down the ‘warp’ threads and leave the ‘weft’ (vertical threads) intact. Distress the appropriate areas for a look that’s authentic for you.
The Knees: Work horizontally with light sandpaper to preserve the weft fibers if you don’t want a full-on hole. Or go at it with scissors for a blown-out rock ‘n roll look.
Back Pockets: To imitate ‘wallet wear’, take a deck of cards or block of wood and place it in the pocket before sanding.
Upper Thighs and Backs of Knees: This is where ‘whiskering’ occurs because of how the denim folds and creases. To re-create this look, you’ll have to lightly sand the jeans while wearing them to ensure the right look.
Side Seams: This is an area where ‘less is more’, because they’re a key structural component of jeans. Lightly sandpaper side seam from the knee up for an authentic look, but be careful not to go too far or your jeans will fall apart on you.
Though many people may not think about it, how you wash your denim can affect how it looks in a big way. Ultimately, a rule of thumb for increasing the life of your jeans is to wash them once a month or less.
To lock in the color of your denim, add one cup of white vinegar and a quarter cup of salt to the wash and follow the wash label instructions.
Drying Your Denim:
Since it’s made from cotton, how you dry your denim can greatly affect how it will fit you over multiple washes.
Outdoor Drying: This is a general no-no, since exposure to the sun will weaken the denim fibers and also ‘bleach’ your jeans over time.
Air-Drying: When air-drying, lay the jeans flat. Since denim gets quite heavy when wet, hanging the jeans will result in stretching, ruining the fit.
On-Body Drying: Purist swear by wearing your denim wet and letting it dry on your body, claiming that it’s the only way to get truly form-fitting jeans.
Machine Drying: While this is okay for pre-shrunk denim, higher-end raw denim should never see the inside of a dryer, since it’s prone to shrinking up to 10%.
Avoiding the Wash:
If you’re going to go hardcore and avoid washing your jeans for months on end, it’s important to give them a break every now and then. Though the concept of a ‘freezer’ wash – putting your jeans in the freezer to kill odor-causing bacteria – is popular, scientists have proven that it doesn’t work. The best option? For every few days you wear them, let them hang in a well-ventilated closet for a day to allow odor-causing elements to disperse.
No Matter What, It’s Going to Take Time:
With all denim distressing, the old adage ‘less is more’ is worth noting. Even though you may want blown-out holes or intense shredding on your jeans, those things will occur through natural wear; all you want to do is get the process started. Go too far with your distressing and the denim won’t last. The best elements that go into making a pair of jeans uniquely ‘you’ come with time and patience.
This season, we partnered with extremely talented designers to bring you awesome products that were created in the USA. We will be introducing you to some of these designers over the next couple of months, sharing the inspiration behind their designs and a look into their studios.
In addition to these collaborations, we’re excited to announce our own collection of T-shirts, jeans and more products that we made in the USA. Here is a little back story from our NYC designers about the denim.
“Our women’s jeans are inspired by the Gold Miner jeans of the 1890’s and hand sewn in L.A.,” says our denim designer, Helen K. “Each pair is unique and takes over two days to make… crafted from 11.75 oz. denim yarns produced in our Greensboro, N.C. mill and finished them with timeworn topstitching, busted outseams, vintage metal shanks and rivet finishes.”
We asked men’s denim Sr. Design Director, Clint G., about the inspiration behind the denim and he said, “Authentic, masculine, old-fashioned American jeans! Inspiration came from our very own AEO vintage denim archives, which I have accumulated over the years. It’s a combination of flea market finds and jeans from vintage dealers. These jeans are crafted from slubbed 11.75 oz. and pure indigo 13 oz. denim in our North Carolina and Georgia mills and finished with hand sanded and whiskered details.”
In addition to our Wear America collection, here are the other brands we are partnering with: Woolrich, Pendleton, Topo Designs, Baggu, Word., The Urban Smith, Muses & Rebels, Pommes Frites Candle Co., The Great Lakes, Wit & Whistle and Knot & Bow.
Keep checking the blog for interviews with the designers from these brands.