How fashion design of the past influences designers of the future

Posted on September 02, 2015 by Brinko Ties | 0 comments

A blog story about how my Grandmother Maria’s love for Lilly Pulitzer's early designs, became the inspiration for Brinko Ties.

I.Content Monster

Ahhh..the content monster, something we all have to face when running our own business and websites. Sometimes the ideas are running full speed ahead and sometimes it seems impossible to come up with things to engage your audience. Then there’s that Aha moment and you realize there is a wealth of content right in front of your face and you haven’t even explored its potential! That’s exactly what happened here. For those of you familiar with our company, you may already know Bethany’s Grandmother Maria inspired it. For those of you who are not familiar with our story, you can read up about it at http://www.brinkoties.com/pages/our-story

But lets get right to how Lilly Pulitzer inevitably played a role in the birth of Brinko Ties and why we chose to start the blog with this collection

II. Maria & Me

      Maria was a socialite, business woman, fashion designer and fashion collector. She loved going to down to Palm Beach during the cold winters. She began frequenting Palm Beach “the suburbs of NYC” in the late 50’s/early 60’s. That is where she discovered Lilly Pulitzer. My Grandmother always taught me, that if you found something you liked, buy two. When you found something you really, really liked, buy as much as you feel necessary. Now, fast forward past all those years of her hob-knobbing, shopping, socializing and vacationing in Palm Beach. It is now the 2000 and Maria has stopped her annual trips to Palm Beach. Maria never made her age public knowledge so I can’t tell how old she is at this point however, I am now a full grown adult. My Grandmother and I had lots of conversations about all things fashion, business, life, people and men. When we would discuss the subject of smart fashion design, Maria would tell me that she would buy the men’s Pulitzer tie and men’s Pulitzer jeans because of their beautiful bright prints. She did not care if they were for men, if she liked them and they fit well, she would buy them. Maria was not afraid to step outside the box when it came to fashion. My Grandma Maria was always ahead of her time and her fashion choices were no exception. Maria would style them so no one could tell she was wearing men’s jeans. She got a real kick out of that. We have a few pairs of these amazing jeans on the blog to show you. When my Grandma Maria wore Lilly Pulitzer's men’s ties she tied the knot low and then put one of her fabulous brooches on the knot. She called it her lady tie.

    I thought it was such a great idea, but it would irritate me that we had to use a man’s tie and it was confounding to me that women didn’t have their own tie accessory. I would ask her, “How come women don’t have their own tie"? Grandma Maria’s response was, “You’ll just have to make one”. That’s exactly what I did. I designed a women’s tie that goes on like a necklace and comes with a vintage brooch. To think this was all inspired by my Grandmother who turned a men’s Lilly Pulitzer tie into her own women’s tie over 40+ years ago. I have that tie and the brooch that she paired with it. (See photo below)

          Many times I begged her to keep everything she had procured in her life or made from her time as a designer. Maria warned me that she had a lot of clothes and amazing ones at that! However I did not truly understand the magnitude of her collection until I had the momentous task of cleaning out her large home in New Jersey. Needless to say, I was extremely close with my Grandmother, and I admired her tremendously. My Grandma Maria honored my requests to keep everything. I brought back her mint condition collection to my home in Charleston, SC where it’s well cared for and preserved. I wanted these pieces to be saved so that maybe one day they can inspire other designers too.

     While thinking about a content piece that could be inspiring to others, the light bulb came on. How about a blog featuring Maria’s amazing collection called Maria’s closet?! I thought we would start it off with the Lilly Pulitzer collection since it had such an influence on the creation of our company. So here is a little bit of information about Lilly Pulitzer and these specially selected pieces. We hope you are inspired and enjoy the collection. We have lots more vintage fashion pieces to share and we hope that you’ll want to see them in the future but for now, let’s start here!

III. Lilly

Lillian Mckim married Peter Pulitzer in 1952. Lilly and Peter decided to settle down in Palm Beach where Peter owned several Florida citrus orange groves. Lilly decided to open a fruit juice stand using the citrus produce from her husband's citrus groves. Her designing began as a way to conceal the fruit juice stains that she would get on her clothing from working at her stand. She first designed a simple cotton A line dress with bright citrus inspired colors and a robust print. Her customers loved the dress so much that she made more and started selling her dresses at her juice stand. By 1959 Lilly became the president of her own company the same time my Grandmother began vacationing in Palm Beach. Lilly had her factory located in Miami and her fabrics were made at the Key West Hand Print Fabrics Company. Lilly’s clothing line was popular from the 1960’ s-1980. The likes of Jacqueline Kennedy Onasis, Caroline Kennedy and members of the Rockefeller, Vanderbilt and Whitney families all wore her clothing. By 1984 Lilly no longer wanted to continue her clothing line and she shut it down completely. In 1993 the rights of the brand were acquired by Sugartown Worldwide, Inc. Lilly would occasionally consult with them on creative decisions but it was no longer her company.

IV. Brinko

The Lilly collection I inherited from my Grandmother are pieces from the 1960’s-1980’s while the company was still run by Lilly. Lilly’s courage and vision to do things her own way, in turn inspired my Grandmother, also a woman who did things her way. My Grandmother’s forward thinking, vision, fashion sense and business sense inspired my business partner Elizabeth and I to also do things our own way too. We hope you enjoy seeing this one of a kind vintage Lilly Pulitzer collection and reading the blog. We also hope this story and these beautiful pieces stir inspiration inside of you!


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Do You Know Who Lives Next Door??

Posted on February 22, 2014 by Brinko Ties | 0 comments

Being from the south where it seemed like everyone knew everything about everyone I would have said, 100% yes.  Perhaps too much information was known by your neighbors.  However living now in Los Angeles, this is a much different story.  Don't get me wrong, I love living in a big city and wouldn't have it any other way.  It's just that people are either too busy, or just don't care to engage at home where they can be anonymous. 

And I understand that frame of mind but let me propose something, wouldn't it be nice to have a platform for a guided and monitored neighborly experience.  Where you can meet neighbors and get to know your community without having to attend a Neighborhood Council meeting? 

Let me introduce Next Door, a free and private social network for neighborhoods. 


And if you would like to read some info about them, https://nextdoor.com/newsroom/

They are backed by major players, ie google and many more, and their goal is to make your neighborhood experience more enriched, like finding trustworthy local resources through neighbor's recommendations, report crime, organize neighborhood events, get assistance finding lost pets, or even reporting on a bobcat siting...that's right, a bobcat siting.  This one had to be my favorite for my neighborhood so far.  I've seen deer, coyotes, skunks and racoons of course, but had no idea bobcats were lurking around, on front steps no less.


The point is this.  It's so easy in a city like Los Angeles to become isolated in one's own bubble, blissfully uninvolved because you feel like you are but a small number in a sea of humans.  Our county is the most populous in the country and has more inhabitants than 42 states, that's roughly 10 million people in a county that's approximately 4,000 square miles.  But one of the most beautiful things about LA is that there are so many little pockets, little neighborhoods, so you can truly tailor your living experience by what type of community you want and what is most important to you, ie walkability, square footage, proximity to hiking or the beach, etc. 

The thing is that I think we secretly do care about our communities, we just are intimidated to get involved.  But I challenge that train of thought and suggest that this is one of the most important aspects of your living environment.  Being able to engage in your surroundings, not standing on the sidelines and letting life happen, but truly occupying.  After all, this is how every single person that has relocated to Los Angeles has chosen to live their life.  There are rarely any bystanders here.  It takes courage to make this move and an even braver soul to make it work.  So applying that attitude to where you live will only make the experience that much sweeter and ultimately you, more happy.  And isn't that what we all want and strive for?  We may not all be blessed with families but we are all members of a community, and they take work and nurturing too.  

So I say give it a shot, what do you have to lose?  You may just end up meeting some amazing people and having a new found appreciation for the place in which you live.  And now I'm off in search of a bobcat... 

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Posted on February 14, 2014 by Brinko Ties | 0 comments

When thinking about love and ties, it took me a minute to link them together for the purposes of a blog. While Valentines Day can at times feel like a hokey holiday designed to buy chocolate and things we don’t need. It has a good message. It is a day to celebrate love. Unfortunately we are busy, busy, and busy with our day to day lives and sometimes we just forget to take a day, an evening, a gesture, a gift, a text, or even a genuine and simple touch to communicate to those most important to us that they are loved and needed. It doesn’t have to be your sweetheart and Valentines Day shouldn’t make you feel depressed if you don’t have a “sweetheart”. After all Valentines Day is a holiday stemming from St. Valentine, who’s mission was not making those without a spouse feel depressed because they didn’t get chocolate and a Hallmark greeting card once a year.


So, back to ties and love, the ties I speak of are metaphorical. Love is what ties us together as human beings. It holds friendships, marriages, siblings, parents, children and every other relationship firmly together. Love conquers all, love endures all and love is a mystery. It’s a word we use and practice but don’t really understand how it works, until you see it manifest in some form in your life. As human beings we are flawed and do our best to practice love but it is flawed, as is everything in this world. However what is amazing is that we keep loving and we keep searching for more love to give and to fill our lives with. We all love differently and we all love different people for different reasons. So while Valentines day is hokey and filled with lots of candy, flowers and cards it is a celebration of love and while we should be celebrating that gift everyday it is nice that we have one day set aside just for love.




Happy Valentines Day,


Love Brinko Ties!


Now go show some one you love them and buy them a Brinko Tie ;)

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Valentine's Day Advice, Avoid the Faux Pas

Posted on February 06, 2014 by Brinko Ties | 1 comment

It's hard to believe that Valentine's Day is right around the corner, and while we could use this blog to talk about how ties make great gifts, which everyone knows they do! ;)

We are instead going to talk about some Valentine's Faux Pas and how to avoid them... 


Chocolates and Candy

Mmmmmmmmm, so good right?  But have you considered if this will mess up, or even worse, completely derail your sweetheart's hard work and dedication at getting bathingsuit ready for your spring vacation?  Just keep that in mind when purchasing sweets, go for high quality chocolates or confections from a local bakery or confectioner but keep the quantity low.  Too much of a good thing can still be bad.  The last thing you want is your honey having a late night sweets binge and cursing your name after, just sayin'.

And for the love of all things sacred and holy do not, we repeat, DO NOT buy chocolates from any drugstore, convenient store or grocery store... especially if it comes attached to a teddy bear.  This just screams 'I completely forgot about Valentine's Day, so I made a pit stop on the way to see you.' 

Plan ahead.



While we certainly would never say not to buy flowers for Valentine's Day, we would highly recommend thinking outside of the box when it comes to the type of flowers you decide to symbolize your love... ahem, red roses.  If roses are a must, they are beautiful after all, consider mixing up the colors and/or shades, like an arrangement of varied pinks, wouldn't that be sweet?  (Save the red roses for a random Tuesday...this will only benefit you we swear!)

We also love the idea of branching out entirely.  Lilies are not only beautiful but fragrant, calla lilies are perfect for the modern type, sunflowers are cheery especially in these winter months, the list goes on and on so don't stop there.  We're sure your local florist would love to work with you for some out of the box ideas, especially during this time of year.  And that brings us back to box stores...it's not that you can't, but you really shouldn't make this your floral destination if you can avoid it.  Support local business, they will thank you and your honey will definitely notice too, we guarantee it.


Going out to Eat

There are two days a year that you should avoid going out to eat at all costs, we can't stress this enough.  These two would be Ding Ding! Valentine's of course and also, Mother's Day.  (We will only address Vday here, as is the point of the article, but we're sure you can let your imagination wander when it comes to the latter.)  On this day you are but a number in a LONG line of couples that are rotating in and out of your server's station, and they are likely not thrilled with the check average.  The kitchen staff is also going to be completely overworked, churning out your dinner in order to get to the next two-top, in the conveyor belt of dining that is Valentine's Day.  Instead this could be your chance to buy the nice bottle of wine, pull out your culinary skills to impress your significant other or perhaps an even more fun idea, cook dinner together.


I think we've hit all the major faux pas of Valentine's Day and we hope to have been of help! 

Remember, these are things you may not want to hear but we promise if you follow these tips it will save you grief in the long run and will ultimately lead to a better holiday.  That's, after all, what we care about most and we don't mind being the tough guy.  If you're still looking for something to add to it we would love to send a tie to your Love with special packaging, available just for Valentine's Day!  Visit us @ www.BrinkoTies.com 

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Brooches aren't dead!! -The history of brooches and what Brinko Ties is doing to make them relevant again.

Posted on January 31, 2014 by Brinko Ties | 0 comments


Brooches aren’t dead! They are just waiting for us to re-adapt to them. They have been around long before us and will be here after we are gone. Brinko Ties mission and vision is making them work for today’s women. They are art pieces that give one an avenue to self-express through accessories. So, here is some interesting history I have learned about these fabulous pieces. 

My husband and I just returned from our first trip to Italy. Roma was one of our stops. Of course we took full advantage of this stop to learn as much as possible about ancient Roma. That being said, it does not surprise me at all that the Romans where the first to invent and rock some brooches.

The Romans landed in Whales in 48AD, and so did their fashion. According to an article written by the BBC, the British museum, trumpet brooches date back and span across the mid 1st until late 2nd Century AD. These brooches were used to decoratively link garments together.


Per the Hull Museums Collections “one of the most common discoveries at Roman sites in Britain are brooches. Evidently they come in many different types and are a very useful tool in helping date archaeological sites. The word fibula is Latin for brooch and is a common term used in archaeology”.


 Now let’s get to the fashion part of these brooch beauties. Brooches were introduced into Britain when the Romans invaded in 43 AD. They proved not to be a fad of fashion but a staple. This classic accessory stayed popular for the next few hundred years. An accessory that sticks for a few hundred years is hard to wrap our minds around, especially in this current fast paced and ever changing society. As the Brits and Roman’s taste in fashion changed so did the types and styles of their brooches. Not only were they fashionable but also functional and those two words are music to the ears. Brooches served as an indicator of ones status and so the type of brooch you wore could communicate your position in society. The Romans incorporated animals, birds and fish into the designs of their brooches.


Moving forward to modern day, brooches got a stigma that they are “old lady” or Grandma like accessories. That’s because our Grandmas were fabulous and fashionable in their youth. In the Daily Wild Cat newspaper article ‘Brooches aren’t just fashion statements for your Grandma anymore, by Alexandra Giroux, she explains how us women have a standard set of jewelry we wear everyday to accessorize. Unfortunately brooches, even more today are left behind. Alexandra uses the phrase, “try thinking outside the Jewelry box”. That is exactly what E & I are doing.

Elizabeth and I understand that today cotton and comfort is King/Queen. Our society doesn’t get as fancied up on a day-to-day basis like we used to. Just because we dress more comfortable and functional, doesn’t mean we can’t be fabulous at the same time!!! Elizabeth and I have been striving to give brooches a canvas that works for the women of today. Since they are somewhat of a lost art form we search for vintage brooches high and low. They just aren’t being made today with that same jena se que of yesteryear. Elizabeth and I hope to one-day in the very near future start designing and making brooches with the inspiration of yesteryear and the jena se que of today.

With a Brinko Lady tie you don’t even have to remove your brooch if you don’t want to. Which makes it even easier to bring back brooches in this fast paced world we live in today. We are going to share some pictures of some of our absolute favorite brooches we have come across over the past few years. Brinko Ties knows that brooches are rich with world history, unique pieces of art and deserved a new platform. So we gave it to them, thus the Original Lady Ties by Brinko Ties was born!!!!!!!!


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