Spruce Lane Shops: Plume and Thread

Spruce Lane Shops: Plume and Thread
Neighborhood: Kensington, Philadelphia
Vibe: Free spirited, feminine, quality comfort and leisure
Good for: Women’s wear, leisure wear, sun dresses, fun prints, jogger pants

Meet Plume and Thread, the womenswear apparel brand based near Philadelphia’s Kensington neighborhood. For this post, I’m slightly veering off my usual circuit of local retail, but for good reason – to give you an insider’s view of Plume and Thread’s industrial-chic studio as well as its unique brand philosophy that distinguishes itself from others.

To give you some context on the brand, Plume and Thread (P+T) was created by Jodi Schaff in a somewhat out of the ordinary manner. Jodi comes from a background in landscape design, but always had a natural sense of creativity and valued excellent craftsmanship, which ultimately brought her into the fashion world. Little by little Jodi began to experiment with producing her own clothing, and eventually was noticed by a local store owner who took interest in one of her pieces. The store owner asked Jodi to bring more of her samples of her work to the store, and the rest is history. Years later, here we are in Plume and Thread’s studio discussing her clothing line that is sold in over 300 stores in the country.*

In terms of product assortment, I previewed P+T’s spring line so I was able to peruse a number of beautiful printed maxi dresses, nautical striped shirts, feminine wrap dresses, the most comfortable jogger pants I’ve ever felt, and much, much more. The pieces are very versatile and can be worn on many occasions by a wide audience of both younger and older women. I also must say that the clothes were really a treat for my senses. Visually, the detailed prints and vibrant color palettes kept my eye bouncing from one item to the next, while texturally every piece felt soft and delicate to the touch. It was a unique combination that often gets lost or forgotten about in today’s world of fast fashion and trendy looks. These characteristics are no accident though, as the Plume and Thread brand pride itself on being USA-made, particularly with much of the production taking place within a 5-mile radius from their studio.

Photo courtesy of Plume and Thread

Photo courtesy of Plume and Thread

Some of the print making takes place in California, but the cutting, sewing and final touches happen in here in good old Philadelphia. Jodi could have easily outsourced this work overseas, like many brands do, but then she wouldn’t have the quality control or level of involvement in her designs that she currently has. She drew an interesting parallel that I had never considered before when she posed the question, “why do people prefer buying produce from their local farmer’s market, and why do people gravitate towards a local flower shop over the supermarket?”. It’s the same reason she goes local with her manufacturers – because she knows them on a personal basis which builds an unparalleled level of rapport and trust. There is no cutting corners with this brand, which I love. Everything is done with thought and intention, hence their motto, “Mindful, Alive, Considerate”.

Photo courtesy of Plume and Thread

Photo courtesy of Plume and Thread

During my visit, we spent some additional time chatting about the industry as a whole, particularly the importance of integrity in the fashion world and how P+T’s mission is to make women feel strong and their best selves when wearing these clothes. It was uplifting to talk with such like-minded individuals who have similar passions: a love for all things local, an appreciation for high quality design, and a “pay it forward” mentality, since at the end of the day we all care about fashion and want to help each other grow and succeed.

The Plume and Thread ladies were kind enough to send me home with a print maxi dress that I’ve already worn during my trip to Florida. It is perfect for the beach due to its relaxed feel (I’m not kidding, it’s so soft) yet feminine design. Each time I wear it, I’ll be able to reflect upon my visit to P+T’s Kensington studio and all of the interesting things I learned about this awesome brand. I’ll understand the amount of thought, work, and love that went into this dress and smile because it was made right here in the City of Brotherly Love.  

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Plume and Thread is sold at local retailers throughout the US and Canada (the full list can be found here), and also is developing their e-commerce business. You can follow their Instagram account @plumeandthread for updates on fun product giveaways, the brand’s involvement in the local community, and also visit their site’s blog to read more about Jodi’s unique and inspiring philosophy.

*To read the full article on Jodi’s background and the development of Plume and Thread, visit http://www.philly.com/philly/home/Plume-Thread-Jodi-Schaff-meet-your-maker.html

Spruce Lane Shops: The Geisha House

The Geisha House
Neighborhood: Old City, Philadelphia
Vibe: Chic, feminine, bohemian, contemporary, free-spirited
Good for: Women’s apparel, resort wear, denim, accessories, dresses, dresses, and more dresses

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This past Thursday evening I paid a highly anticipated visit to The Geisha House in Old City and loved every second of it. I initially stumbled upon this store a few months back on a beautiful October day during the Philly Free Streets event, where the Mayor shut down the streets in Old City making them 100% pedestrian and cyclist friendly.

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Before I get into the details of The Geisha House, I want to firstly gush over the block it’s located on (aka one of my dream neighborhoods to live in). To me, this block feels like the equivalent of being in SoHo in New York City, which is one of the top shopping neighborhoods in all of Manhattan. I used to work in SoHo for a period of time, so anything reminiscent of it touches a special place in my heart! I love how quaint this area is, but also how it is so full of creative energy, entrepreneurial spirit, and style.

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I stopped in The Geisha House around 6pm and the store was buzzing with shoppers, which again is the sign of a healthy and thriving small business. I met the owner, Cortney, and her mother who both were a great pleasure to chat with. I asked Cortney how long she had been in business for and she said proudly, “six years!”. I could tell she was a veteran based not only on the beautiful assortment of apparel and accessories she housed, but also by the fun and friendly way she interacted with each of her customers. They all seemed to know her on some personal level which made the store feel even more intimate and part of this special Philadelphia-based fashion community.

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The clothes were fun and extremely stylish. Resort wear was out in the front of the store, so I spent some time perusing the many beautiful sundresses, tops, and denim pieces that would all be perfect for a long weekend getaway down south, or of course for the upcoming spring and summer seasons. Notable styles included a pale yellow gingham dress by Faithfull The Brand, a Pistola brando cropped denim jacket adorned with stars, and a Spell and the Gypsy strappy dress that seems so fun to twirl around in. I couldn’t help but try on a white, short-sleeved button down linen dress from Moon River that caught my eye. Its a-line silhouette and tortoise shell buttons looked so timeless that I knew it would be a worthy piece to add to my spring wardrobe. After putting it on and envisioning a warm summer breeze blowing through my hair, I was sold and made my way to the register where Cortney’s adorable golden retriever was peacefully resting nearby.

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As I checked out, I inquired about Cortney’s career path leading up to the opening of The Geisha House. The more I develop Spruce Lane, the more I fantasize about opening up my own shop one day, so I love to hear stories about how these special small businesses came to fruition. To my surprise, Cortney had a nursing background with little to no professional experience in retail buying, which I thought had to be a prerequisite to opening your own boutique! She said her family (while nodding towards her mother who was organizing the racks) had already been in small business and that she had a natural interest in fashion. Combine the two notions, and you have a boutique! She emphasized that she spent a considerable amount of time business planning during the early years of her career, which had to have been challenging. I found this to be very interesting and inspiring. Running an extremely successful shop for 6+ years in the nation’s 6th largest city is no easy feat. You can very much tell that a lot of love goes into The Geisha House when you step inside the store (I mean, just look at the photos), which is probably one of the many reasons why it remains a top local shopping destination in Philadelphia today.

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For constant updates on new releases, promotions, and more, follow The Geisha House on Instagram @thegeishahouse if you don’t already! It’s one of my favorite accounts.

On a closing note, cheers to Cortney and The Geisha House for being so awesome! I can say with confidence that I’ll be back to shop again soon and hopefully after reading this post, you will take a peek inside too!

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Spruce Lane Shops: DFTI Boutique

Dress For The Image Boutique
Neighborhood: Center City, Philadelphia
Vibe: Trendy, glam, upbeat, contemporary, playful, feminine
Good for: Going-out clothes, fun festival and resort-wear, statement accessories

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DFTI Boutique, also known as Dress For The Image, is a unique and fun place to visit. I initially discovered it through Philly Style Magazine’s Instagram a while back, and made a mental note to try and visit one day. Luckily that note stuck with me and months later I found myself checking the store out this past weekend. Hooray for when things like that actually work out!

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The boutique itself is somewhat small, but inside it’s packed with abundant flare and personality. For a Saturday afternoon, the place was buzzing with shoppers, families, dogs, babies, you name it! I was quite impressed with the traffic. There are two main sections to look out for: upstairs with the latest releases, and downstairs with current season styles and fitting rooms. I would describe the overall style here as trendy and contemporary, with a hint of West Coast vibes. Think a la Revolve or For Love and Lemons. And maybe I was picking up some Cali vibes because the store had spring/resort-wear out, and I have worn nothing but wool sweaters for the past three months. Sighh..

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Anyway, back to the fashion! The thing that makes DFTI really special is that the items they feature are super cute but don’t come with the discouraging price tag that you typically see at these types of shops. Everything in the store is $100 or less. I repeat, EVERYTHING in the store is $100 or less. I had to say it twice because it was almost too good to be true. The spring apparel was so fun to peruse, with lemon prints, polka dot sets, and the cutest striped cactus romper I’ve ever seen. DTFI has some really great accessories too. There were statement earrings galore, metallic cross-body bags, rose-gold chain necklaces and bracelets that are all perfect for completing your new flirty look. Most importantly, you will immediately encounter an adorable miniature Yorkie which is pretty sweet and definitely the way I like to start my shopping.

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All in all, DFTI is the place to go for picking out an eye-catching, yet affordable piece to wear during your next night out, trip, or special occasion. I just booked a weekend getaway to Siesta Key (I’ve been there before the MTV show came out, just saying..) and could envision myself wearing everything I saw on the racks during my trip. Hence, why I plan to come back to DFTI before I travel to boost my vacay wardrobe (and you should too). After all, Coachella recently released their 2018 lineup and with a visit to DFTI, you could be one of the best dressed there. Just an idea, hint hint!

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