I can still remember begging my mom to buy me a pair of Doc Martens in middle school. It seemed like all the rebel girls made their plaid school uniforms look so much cooler just by slipping on a pair of the signature black lace-up boots. I particularly love Swedish Hasbeen’s take on the combat boot, so I enlisted two of my good friends and favorite creative gals (Avalon McKenzie, a senior designer for Whole Foods Market and Caitlin M. Ryan, the director of content for Lucchese) to model them for our second edition of Double Take to show how they can easily go with anything from a sweet bohemian look to a more edgy, modern ensemble.
photography by wynn myers
Talented artist Avalon McKenzie, who worked as a designer at Free People’s dreamy Philadelphia headquarters, moved back to Austin to join Whole Foods’s corporate headquarters. The vegetarian who recently ran a half marathon spends her work days designing seasonal campaigns and programs for departments like produce, cheese, and Whole Body. She can’t get enough of her Swedish Hasbeens and currently has six pairs of the clogs to go with the boots.
The Parsons grad paired her boots with a vintage blouse from local shop, Feathers, a Zuni necklace from the City Wide Garage Sale, bracelets from A Rosy Outlook, a Trois Petits Points locket, rings from Olive Vintage and Madewell, a vintage Chanel bag, and a felt hat. “The top and shoes have a slight 70s vibe. I like to feel comfortable, so I always balance skinny jeans out with a loose top,” she says.
Avalon stocks her closet with pieces from Spartan, JM Drygoods, the Austin City Wide Garage Sale, and A Rosy Outlook, the charming shop in Texas Hill Country owned by her family. Her top three style essentials that will be in rotation this spring are denim shorts from Free People, platform sandals from Rachel Comey, and stackable beaded bracelets from A Rosy Outlook. “This Zuni necklace is one of my favorite jewelry pieces because the fetishes remind me of trips to Santa Fe as a kid,” she says.
I am a big fan of Avalon’s style, which you can get a peek of on her Pinterest. “I love all things Scandinavian. Clogs are kind of nostalgic because my mom had a pair growing up and I used to admire them. They’re comfortable, and it’s just the right amount of heel,” she says. “I like that the lace up style combines girly with a little bit of an edge.”
Avalon calls the Hyde Park neighborhood near UT campus home, and you will usually find her taking walks in the ‘hood, going to dinner at Mother’s Cafe or getting an iced coffee from Dolce Vita. “I like that Austin is so casual. You don’t really have to dress up for anything. I think people here work to develop their own personal style instead of following trends, and there is an emphasis on vintage and independent brands,” she says. “I’ve grown up making jewelry and designing things, so it’s fun to find stores that carry unique items!”
Caitlin M. Ryan, an alum of Google and Italian Vogue, loves her current job working as the Director of Content for Lucchese, a 130-year-old iconic brand. Every day is different as the company is evolving from only handcrafting boots out of their Texas factory to a new line of luxury shoes out of Italy. She names new shoes and boots, maintains an editorial outpost called The Last Word, produces photoshoots, works with bloggers around the world and manages their social media.
Less is more when it comes to style for Caitlin. “In general, I like to wear as few items at once as possible. I go for engineered statement pieces, like a dress or good jacket over something clean and simple,” she says. “I knew I wanted to pair a very modern garment with the boots, which are somewhat rugged. I never stray too far into bohemian territory and tend to steer directly towards menswear-inspired looks, so it’s fun to blur the boundary a bit with the Hasbeens.”
She pairs this linen shirtdress by Billy Reid with a necklace by Ax + Apple, a ring (with peach inlays) by Dream Collective and earrings from Take Heart, a local Austin store. “The Hasbeens get better with age. It takes quite a bit of resolve to break them in, but eventually they form to your feet and darken as they’re weathered,” she says.
Even though she works in the fashion industry, her favorite thing about Austin style is that you don’t have to dress up. “I do love being able to wear athletic gear when I just don’t feel like getting gussied. It’s not the worst thing in the world that everyone in this city is so fit they assume you’ve just come from running, biking, hiking, rock-climbing, paragliding, whatever-ing,” she says. “Phew, that was both challenging and freeing to admit.”
She loves this satchel by Baggu. It will be one of her spring essentials along with “a handful of spring coats and jackets, bright lipstick (alert: Kat Von D makes some excellent shades like orange-y-A-Go-Go), and big questionable bag dresses (as see in in photos).”
Caitlin takes a break from a walk with her dog Susan through her ‘hood, Clarksville. “I love being able to live more of a pedestrian lifestyle, as in walking to the local market and coffee shop every day to get what I need,” she says. “Not to mention the brilliantly colorful bungalows that line the small streets of the neighborhood. It’s a dog-walker’s delight!”
photography by wynn myers