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Beyond Boy Scout Badges

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Best Made Badge Wonderful

All of us around the office are fans of Best Made, a carefully curated online shop with witty clothing, accessories, and home goods. Founder Peter Buchanan-Smith's aesthetic reminds me of Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom -- except less twee and with a stronger dose of Americana. You may have come across their most famous (and first) product before: The Best Axe.

The site is a treasure trove of chic camping supplies (not an oxymoron!) and decor items, but I can't get enough of the badges. If only I'd had them when I was in school to smarten up my uniform and blue blazer!

Best Made Badges

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Best Made Famous Badge

Check out the whole collection of jaunty badges here.

On Risk-Taking

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Elegance Is Good Taste

Last fall, Harper's Bazaar dedicated an entire issue to "daring." I only just got to it recently, but I was entranced by an opening essay by Joan Juliet Buck.

Buck, a former editor of French Vogue, is always worth reading. She's taken plenty of risks herself, and the essay blends personal anecdotes with ruminations on risk-taking and art in general.

Here's one of my favorite passages:

"The daring are angels and geniuses and demons and divas and clowns, and sometimes also patsies, stooges, and fools. Daring is not safe. The impresario Serge Diaghilev said to the poet and painter Jean Cocteau, 'Amaze me.' He did not say, 'Reassure me,' 'Tell me I'm right,' 'Admire me,' or 'Stay in line and you'll get a nice pension.' ... Art demands daring. It demands the new, the untested, the unproven. And if you try, you will at some point fall on your face, just like the first wearers of impossible shoes."

Exhilirating, right? I loved it so much, I made copies of the page and passed it out to everyone in my office.

Unfortunately Harper's doesn't seem to have put the essay online, but I did find a digital copy of the essay here.

(Image: The Colonies)

The Makers of American Fashion

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Ralph Rucci, Martha, Calvin Klein, and Tory Burch. Photo by Anna Ross

With its elegant high ceilings, classic chandeliers, and smooth marble floors, Vanderbilt Hall in Grand Central Terminal provided a glamorous backdrop for our first panel of the 2012 American Made Awards: The Makers of American Fashion. Sharply dressed attendees, myself included, piled in to see Calvin Klein, Tory Burch, Ralph Rucci, and J. Crew CEO Mickey Drexler speak with Martha about the changing state of American fashion.

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I had a front-row seat. Photo by Anna Ross

I listened intently while Mickey told us about the future of J.Crew: "[We] keep doing what we do, better."

The designers also gave advice to young creatives trying to make it big in the fashion industry. The legendary Calvin Klein had this to say: "You have to know what you’re good at and how you’re different from the crowd. You have to have drive and work hard, but you have to be special -- give them something they don’t have." I think this is true in almost any career you pursue.

Martha and Makie

Martha and Makie on stage. Photo by Anna Ross

We also had a mini fashion show with moms and their children modeling the clothing of Makie Yagahagi, an American Made Fashion honoree. Her sweet prints and sophisticated color palette look good on all ages. Martha is a big fan and even showed off photos of Jude wearing Makie outfits. I had so much fun meeting the designers and hearing what they had to say; it was a terrific start to our first-annual American Made workshop. I can't wait until next year!