NWAFW: The Perfect Pencil (Skirt)?

NA Martin @ NWA Fashion Week

The #NAMPENCIL c/o NA Martin

The #NAMPENCIL c/o NA Martin

Make-up: Kory Tyler Simpson | MAC * Photos: Mallory Berry | MGB Photo * Styling/Concept: Payton Bridewell | The Window Shopper

Nancy Martin has created something wonderful. That something is a slim-fitting pencil skirt for the gal on the go. The skirt can be wadded up, tossed about, even stuffed in a plastic bag then pulled out and worn again…Can it be true?

Nancy Martin is an attorney as well as one of a handful of fashion designers living in Northwest Arkansas. She conceptualized her skirt operation (aka NA Martin) in January of 2012 and took the line to production in June of the same year. Amazing turnaround, right? Nancy is a lovely lady with a timeless look. I don’t know her well enough to say whether it’s her enormously chic eyewear or her gorgeous hair. Nancy is svelte, poised and polished. She describes her personal aesthetic as “the classic prep look with a twist of counter-culture.” She craves contrast in her wardrobe, putting outfits together that are “simple yet elegant; a mix of the extravagant with the down to earth.” That philosophy extends beyond her attire. She prefers the juxtaposition of high end with low or rough around the edges in all things. Nancy references “a velvet chair with unfinished wood, “ as an example. But, there’s nothing rough about her or her line of pencil skirts.

Nancy Martin models her creation c/o NA Martin

Nancy Martin models her creation c/o NA Martin

She created her functional/fashionable pencil skirt to give the fashion conscious lady a “perfect basic” that could take her from the boardroom to the dining room to the bar and beyond.  Nancy explains, “this skirt is designed for women of all ages who have active lives. Women who may work or volunteer during the day but need to attend a dinner or meeting at night.  Women who want to be able to always count on this basic in their closet. The style is timeless and ageless because of the fit and length. “ She loves the versatility of her creation. She suggests pairing the pencil with “a mesh top with pumps, a white t-shirt with espadrilles or a starched oxford, belt and ballet flats for work.”  I concur. It was with that sense of versatility and contrast that I set out to style her skirt in two ways.

Look #1: skirt  > NAM Pencil in Black hat  > Vintage lace top > Plato’s Closet necklace > Beehive heels > MACA Clothe

Look #2 skirt > NAM Pencil in Black fanny pack > Thrifted heels > Vince Camuto headband > Forever21

Nancy goes to NYC to pick out her fabrics/materials/patterns each season and the skirts are made in the USA! This Spring/Summer look for white, cream and pink pencils with an emphasis on texture. Looking forward to Fall ’14, the pencils will be dark gray, ottoman and olive with a quilted texture.

Find the NAM Pencil online, by appointment or at the following retailers as of Feb 2014:

Klothe Bentonville, AR

Town & Country Fayetteville, AR

Grand on Oak Conway, AR

Women’s Exchange St. Louis, MO

Nancy Martin c/o NA Martin

NA Martin Designer, Nancy Martin

Nancy on her inspirations: I have always loved fashion and art.  I grew up with lots of art in our home and with an appreciation of art and music.  I love to look at the photos in fashion magazines and create my look from them.  I love to travel and do so whenever I can.  I think there is no better way to be inspired.  Every time I come back from a vacation, I see the world differently and with new enthusiasm.  One of my favorite models is Kate Moss.  For me she has the look, versatility and body in which to wear anything.

I truly enjoyed styling the #nampencil skirt and working with Nancy. There’s something incredible about borrowing an item from the actual designer. I think the future looks bright for this jack-of-all-skirts; NA Martin has set the bar high & tight.  – The Window Shopper

The Best Skirt/Dress

what I wore (previously): skirt – esque, belt/blouse – vintage via cheap thrills, earrings – charm & chain, ring/bangle – mom’s, bangle – house of harlow, sandals – lovely people, necklaces – vintage via mae’s
There is a lovely local designer in NWA called Leslie Pennel, her line is esque. I was lucky enough to pick up the above (what I thought was a) skirt from her line at Cheap Thrills.

I loved it as a skirt and while I am typically good at seeing the many ways one item can be worn, it was lost on me. The designer was nice enough to enlighten me to it’s many uses, which I utilized at the beach. If nothing else, it’s a reminder that we can wear the things in our closets in so many different ways.

what I wore: dress – esque by leslie pennel via cheap thrills, belt – vintage, arm party – mae’s/vintage/dannijo

What I Wore: Spring Layers

what I wore: jacket – vintage after six, blouse – vintage, collar – urban outfitters, skirt – kimichi blue, platforms – bcbg
I like outfits like these because they’re fun but also professional. I think I’m going to get a lot of wear out of this kimichi blue skirt I picked up at (where else?) cheap thrills!

What I Wore: Greenery

what I wore: cardi – express, skirt – vintage melrose options via potter’s house, booties – gojane.com
I’ve been dying to try this outfit out. It’s an old (see 1995) Express cardi worn backwards with a new-to-me vintage silk skirt from potter’s house. Topped off with neon green booties (called yellow on site) I just purchased at gojane.com. Go Jane has been such an exciting find for shoes lately! The prices are great and the heels are high! I also got these great orange high tops that I plan to wear with delicate skirts ala TTH & some giant tweed platforms in blue. Scroll for more photos!

What I Wore: A Few Basics

what I wore: knit/heels – forever 21, skirt – ann taylor, jewelry – vintage
Basic animal print knit, basic black skirt and basic black heels. I love all three of these items and I felt cool in this outfit. Leopard & Black is such an easy combo which also feels current. It always inspires me to go heavy on the black eyeliner. The exposed zipper on the skirt (which I cleverly tried to showcase) makes it a little more than just a basic. Looking back, the skirt/heel combo had a bit of a weird Christina-Aguilera-Legs thing going on. That could just be because of the strange circumstances in which I find myself taking photos (read – need a photographer).

What I Wore: Winter (Black &)White

what I wore: blouse – vintage via potter’s house, skirt – vintage apertif via cheap thrills, coat – my grandmother’s (seen here), tights – hue, slip – vintage, blazer & platforms – forever21, earrings – vintage via mae’s, rings – right purchased on a trip to France & left – dillards
Ahh winter white. I thought of this outfit in my head and was pleasantly surprised when it came out just as good on my person. That does not always happen. More often than not, a collection of pieces looks far better in my mind’s eye than on my body. It’s always nice to prove yourself wrong. Anyway, I love wearing white. I think it looks good in the summer when you have a bit of a glow and it looks great in the winter because as pale as I may feel, I’m never as “white” as white. I think the black really makes it pop. On a personal note, my girlfriends and I went to see Bring It On: The Musical last night. I was completely floored! It was so good! I highly recommend it.
PS: I finally made an extra hole in the ankle strap of my platforms (with a large safety pin). It made all the difference and now I don’t feel like I will die in those shoes one day.

What I Wore: Tied Up & Blue

what I wore: skirt – old navy, chambray shirt – levi, leopard flats – gap, earrings – mae’s, bun – sock bun via
I love the look of a tied button-up and long skirt. As I said, I’ve been so into maxi for this exceptionally mild winter we’ve been enjoying. It’s a great way to get away with not wearing tights but not look too summery. It also disguises the fact that I’m super-comfy wearing flats!

What I Wore: THE Skirt

what I wore: skirt – vintage from NOLA, heels – quipid, blouse – bcbg, shirt – hanes, sweater – express, love knot – vintage
This skirt was the first vintage item I purchased after I arrived in New Orleans for college. I don’t remember the name of the shop but it was uptown, pretty close to JacquesImo’s. The ladies working in there sad and chain-smoked while you browsed.  It will always be a favorite. The skirt is so fun with it’s high fifties waist and has a wonderful length that can be dressed way up or down. Side note: there are two different tops in these ensembles, that’s because I had a little incident with my puppy involving mud and changed at lunch.

What I Wore: Muted

(what I wore: skirt & platforms -forever21, blouse – vintage, sunnies – target)
I hate to even think the words, much less type them because I’m afraid of jinxing it…but we’ve been having a mild winter. I hope I’m not cursed to endure below freezing temps now! I know it’s not over! That said, dressing for 30s-60s is so much easier and more fun than dressing for 10s-20s. You do need layering and coats but you can still dress in normal clothes instead of fleece-everything. One thing I love/hate about this skirt is it’s so long, it covers the 6 inch platforms I am wearing underneath, making me look uber tall. However, you do have to wear 6 inch platforms to make the skirt work.
I hope you have a wonderful (and perhaps warm?) weekend!