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The M Dash

Live with purpose.

Behind the Scenes of #PracticeMakes: From Concept to Collection

September 16, 2015

After weeks of hint-dropping and cryptic hashtagging, we’re ready to unveil our #PracticeMakes collection. Get the inside scoop below.

The Inspiration

It started with a single image. Our designer Miyako has always loved the art of dance, and in designing our latest collection, she looked to ballerinas for inspiration. But it wasn’t the performance that intrigued her; it was the practice. And when she came across this image, she was hooked.

It’s so true: Everyone wants to be successful until they see what it actually takes. Whether you aspire to be a dancer or a CEO, a novelist or a Supreme Court judge, you won’t get there without hard work and dogged determination. Or as we like to call it: practice.

“It was really inspiring for me to think about the practice—or the process—that goes into getting something done,” says Miyako. “That’s why I took inspiration from ballerinas’ practice clothes, rather than their tutus. Practice-wear is designed for function, but it’s also beautiful.”

#practicemakes collection“I did a lot of research about how ballerinas dress to train. They layer items strategically—to allow for movement, to keep their bodies warm. The way they tie their shrugs and the way they layer leotards, tights, leg warmers—it looks casual and easy, but it’s very intentional.”

Miyako applied the concepts of wrapping and layering to the daily “practice” of the professional woman by considering: Who is she? What drives her? And what kind of clothing best supports her busy lifestyle?

#practicemakes collection

The Fabrics & Colors

For #PracticeMakes, Miyako looked to Japan and Italy for fabrics that offered stretch, breathability, and softness—while still looking crisp and professional. “Our Italian jersey is as comfortable as what you’d wear at home,” she says, “but it has a rare smoothness because of how the yarn is woven. It feels like a t-shirt, but it looks elegant enough for evening.”

For colors, Miyako created custom hues that would look sleek in the office, while still being a bit unexpected. Rather than a typical navy, she developed a sophisticated midnight green and a rich claret. Rather than eggplant, she created an earthy truffle. As for texture and prints: our crackle jacquard and ink wash offer a bit of drama, while still pairing beautifully with the solid colors in the collection.

#practicemakes collection

The Styling

In the spirit of the ballerina’s practice-wear, this collection lends itself to mixing, matching, and layering. Our jersey pieces (the Soho skirt, the Nolita skirt, the Winfrey top, and the Steinem shirt) can be mixed and matched to create four distinct outfits–or paired with items already in your wardrobe.

Miyako’s favorite? “The Kusama top. It’s like an office-appropriate sweatshirt that’s meant to be worn over form-fitting dresses like the Lydia and the Rachel. I wanted to challenge the notion that professionalwear always needs to look sharp. I think it can look soft while still making you feel powerful.”

#practicemakes collection

The Spirit

In short, this collection constitutes the professional woman’s “practice-wear.” There’s no doubt that she’s bound for success and achievement. But with #PracticeMakes, we celebrate the process that precedes this achievement: the everyday efforts, the personal rituals, and the charming imperfections that make her who she is.

These are clothes to practice in—no matter what practice “makes” for you.

#practicemakes collection

Ready to get in on the action? Watch the video. Then shop the collection, order a Bento™ Box, or make an appointment at our NYC showroom.

And don’t forget to follow our Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest feeds to tell us what #PracticeMakes in your life.

Share this post. We dare you.

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Questions about styling or sizing? Chat with one of our stylists.