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DonWas_3_byGabiPorter[1]

Image by Gabi Porter

Don Was is one of our heroes, a triple O.G. in the music biz who doesn’t believe his own hype and never stopped being a fan. He’s still blown away by all the new styles in the world, and despite making classics has steered admirably clear of the mindset that “it was all so much better when…”

Now president of Blue Note Recordsthe American jazz label with the musically revolutionary back catalog (think Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Thelonious Monk) not to mention peerless and influential graphic design by Reid Miles, whose name is one of the freshest Google image searches you’ll ever do–Don Was is basically the keeper of the cool

A fan’s dream.

Keep reading to learn which Blue Note albums he considers unheralded classics and which basketball positions each Rolling Stones member would play. 

Check this audio clip about Blue Note in the big picture:

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We’re back in action with our guy Tom Stocks, who previously taught us how to shuck an oyster, at Taylor Shellfish oyster bar in Seattle.

Now he’s teaching us how to saber a bottle of champagne. That’s when you take the cork off WITH its surrounding glass intact, by slicing off the entire tip of the bottle with a big knife. Execute this at a graduation party–or any party–and gain instant fame.

How does it work?

We don’t really know!

But air pressure is key: this won’t work with non-carbonated wine. And the bottle must be cold. We recommend storage prior to sabering in an ice slurry, a bucket of ice and water. And you must use the flat side of whichever blade you use.

There are a few more things you should know. Watch the video and check the technique.

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Giving the perfect gift is right up there on the list of things that feel amazing, but it just got even better. Nordstrom is now donating 1% of Gift Card proceeds to our nonprofit partners. That means when you give, you give twice. You give powerfully.

We believe in connecting with and empowering the communities we are part of, so we’re thrilled to be supporting organizations that positively impact our cities. As part of our 2015 focus on youth and kids, your Gift Card contributions will help Ronald McDonald House, Boys and Girls Clubs, Special Olympics and other like-minded enterprises as they literally change the world.

For a closer look at how one Northwest-based charity transforms lives via a quintessential childhood experience, keep reading.

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athleisure

Here’s a portmanteau for you: athleisure. As in, athletics + leisure.

That’s the overarching topic in this Morning Edition piece by NPR’s Sam Sawyer, in which the journalist analyzes the tonier side of streetwear and zeroes in on the elevated sweatpant. He even visits a Bonobos store and buys himself a pair–and wears them to work. 

Not a bad decision, if styled correctly.

We’re partial to the Bonobos French Terry sweats above. 

Sawyer theorizes this newer, more better-fitting version of the sweatpant is challenging jeans for lower-body real estate in menswear today, and that the elevated sweatpant arrived at its current position through the popularity of streetwear.

We’re feeling like athleisure is less a trend and more a generational shift.

But it’s worth thinking about twice. And regardless, a fun word to say.

Athleisure.

Shop: Athleisure & Streetwear

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It’s here, it launched, it’s happening and we’re bookmarking it: The New York Times’ Men’s Style section.

The Men’s Style section will run the first Friday of each month and include style profiles, interviews and food news for home chefs.

We’re loving this increased energy around menswear. Creative silhouettes happening in current runway collections, stepped-up styles at major retailers, increased media coverage–the fact that Men’s Fashion Week is now a thing in New York this July.

It’s all, to paraphrase Bobby Brackins, our jam.

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The brand Pintrill, out of Brooklyn, NY, answers the question: What if you took the collectible world of pin culture, and speared it through your phone and into your text messages?

Jordan Roschwalb started Pintrill in April 2014 with his girlfriend Doni Gitlin and homie Andrew Yung. He talked to us on the phone about the communal power of pins and future possibilities for the Oxford English Dictionary.

After speaking with him, we’re even more certain that these pins will get you noticed at a music festival or on the street. And maybe bartered with.

Shop: Pintrill | Magic Hour Pop-In@Nordstrom

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Here we have a little behind-the-scenes action from the photo shoot for Magic Hour, our new Pop-In@Nordstrom. For the uninitiated, Pop-Ins are recurring boutiques curated by our director of creative projects Olivia Kim, which exist in selected physical Nordstrom locations and of course online.

Magic Hour refers to the time at a music festival when the sun sets and tame gives way to turnt. Snapshots and a detailed statement from Olivia are below.

Shop: Magic Hour Pop-In@Nordstrom

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This photo is from the Nordstrom holiday catalog from 1977, shot on a Washington State Ferry (aka the peoples’ yacht). And barring the madras car crash happening on that coat, which gives us weirdo Raggedy Andy vibes, we love everything about it.

Anyway: bags. Carrying one can be stylish and functional. And not that the guy in this image ever had such a problem, but where else are you going to put your giant, phabletty phone?

Shop: men’s tote bags | men’s messenger bags

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Street League–our current streetwear collection–is built on a few key silhouettes and a rebellious shift in men’s fashion. What are those silhouettes and how did we get here? We sat with two of our in-house experts and had us a good long think.

Edited convo below with Nordstrom Men’s Fashion Director Jorge Valls and Lead Men’s Stylist Danny Mankin.  

jogger pants streetwear

Joggers

Nordstrom blogs: The jogger pant came to the streets from runways, right? Or did we get here through athletics?

Jorge Valls: From a designer level, Dries Van Noten was one of the first brands that I saw taking a pant silhouette and trying to make it new. I saw them put a cuff on a cotton pant or a wool pant. And drawstrings, too.

Danny Mankin: But there’s definitely an athletic influence.

Jorge: It’s very athletics-inspired, but it’s not what you wear to the gym. It’s athletic that you wear outdoors, on the street. But it’s elevated, an organic evolution. The current generation wears comfortable clothes all the time, so this is their version of dressing up. And the sneaker excitement right now? These are all fashion sneakers. You can work out in these, but they’re fashion.

Danny: I think the evolution of the jogger pant was influenced by the rise of the sneaker. The sneaker was rising so fast, it became a fashion statement. That influenced the gathering of the pant at the ankle.

Jorge: And some goth culture. That comes from Rick Owens, that goth-athletics aspect. He’s a body builder, and a lot of his clothes are built for movement. I would say any body type could wear this, though. It’s very forgiving.

Nordstrom blogs: What about the colors?

Jorge: Right, well, another big part of this look is the graphic element. High contrast. Black and white is perfect to create that. You’ll notice that the clothes tend to be black-and-white or tonal. But the sneaker is where most guys are unafraid to do crazy color and have it be a pop, a statement.

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In this series, we talk to artists and designers about their most personal works and the projects that are closest to their hearts.

toirtoiseshell sunglasses

Nordstrom photographer Barb Penoyar is back with the second installment of her series In/On White: portraits of models shot using 100% natural light. We are feeling her new work. See round one here.

Barb works on this project in her free time at our Studio N, in between shooting Complete Looks for our website. Why? Because as a pro photog and photography teacher, she loves the creative challenge posed by shooting with sunlight. Learn more about that here.

And for winter/spring, she’s just really into white.

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