Dear Fieldbinder, the cozy boutique on Smith Street, is white-walled and tidy, but stocked with eclectic, trend-driven pieces that are always wearable and comfortable. When Lara Fieldbinder opened her doors in 2005, she had no fashion experience, just a love of clothes, art, and good design. Her artistic background (she worked at the Guggenheim for years) shows amid the quirky and cool mid-century modern furniture and nicely arranged pieces that adorn the shop. In addition to her own line, Fieldbinder, which she began designing last fall, the store stocks pieces by Fremont and Corey Lynn Calter, and accessories by Delman and Rachel Navsik. We sat down with Lara Fieldbinder to discuss her recent love of Julia Roberts’s nineties look circa a Sesame Street appearance.
What is the aesthetic you’re striving for at Dear Fieldbinder?
For the store interior, a phrase we use a lot is “crooked modernism” — style, humor, and comfort. As for the clothes, we want to offer the best of every season, so the aesthetic changes. I guess, overall, it has to be wearable.
What type of woman shops at the store?
We don’t have a type, which is so exciting. It keeps me on my toes.
Describe your favorite piece in stock right now.
The Jamison fringe-neck sweater. When I opened the box, I immediately said: “I have to have that.”
Tell me about the line you design, Fieldbinder.
We started the Fieldbinder line last fall, and this season we have several new pieces: an eighties-style button-neck blouse, a corduroy skirt, and a tailored jumpsuit. We plan to have eight to twelve pieces for spring 2010, growing the line as we go. I’m still learning, starting small and focusing on fit. I love vintage, so that’s usually where I start, looking for exciting details and fits, but then bringing those elements into now, putting a current finish on them.
What was the first designer item you bought or wore?
I shopped mostly at thrift stores, which gave me a taste for vintage and plays a role in my buying. One of my favorites was a vintage DVF seersucker blazer. I still have it.
Who were some of your favorite designers growing up? What about now
Growing up, I paid less attention to names, though I did devour fashion magazines. Now, my faves can change, but I always love Stella McCartney — she’s really a woman’s woman.
Who are your style icons?
No one person, really. Though recently I’ve been into Julia Roberts’s hair and outfit from a 1996 Sesame Street video that I watch with my daughter.
Where do you shop most (other than your own store)?
Barneys and Steven Alan for my husband.
Is there a fashion item you are currently coveting?
The jumpsuit. Maybe you already have one, but there are so many fresh and creative variations coming out, it’s hard not to want to have one for every day of the week.
What trends are you into this season?
I’m into the oversize tee with skinny jeans — slouchy, fun, confident.
Any trends you wish would just disappear?
All trends are relevant; you just have to take the good with the bad, and avoid the ugly.
What’s something every woman should have in her closet?
Right now, and at least through next season, we all need a blazer. It can be slouchy, cropped, whatever, but you need one.
Finish this sentence: I never leave the house without …
My iPhone. Inside of my Rachel Nasvik purse.