Interviews

Off Duty: Brooke Baxter, Founder, Arrow and Anchor

Written By James Kicinski-McCoy

Photography by: The Bleu

I’m spotlighting another one of my Nashville girls this week! What can I say? I have some incredible women in my life doing very cool things. My friend Brooke Baxter is one of the first we photographed for Bleu, and I am so excited to share this special interview with you all. Brooke’s the babe behind the jewels that you see on the hands, wrists, and necklines of so many girls, myself included. Often times, she’ll bring out her inventory during a chill girls’ hang and it’s hard for any of those in attendance not to return home without a new piece or two. I remember when I bought my first ring from Arrow and Anchor and instantly felt like I belonged to the “cool club” of A&A wearers. You can find her at every A Current Affair slingin’ the best in antique gold and diamonds, and if you’re ever on the lookout for something specific, she’s got you covered and will hunt it down with her wizardry.

She’s strong, she’s a badass, and she’s the only one I’ve met who will happily karaoke with me ’til closing time. She makes the meanest kale salad that you’ll ever eat (which she so generously shares below), and she’s giving Bleu an exclusive look into her beautiful and thoughtfully put together home and closet that she has dedicated an entire spare bedroom to (#goals). I introduce to you another one of my bests, 30-something Brooke Baxter, aka “BB”. Let’s start off in that giant closet, shall we?

Outfit cred.
Outfit cred.

What do you wear when you’re spending the day comfortable, at home, and off-duty?  “100% vintage denim and t-shirts when I’m on and off duty. I went to Catholic school growing up and I have truly adopted the uniform concept with open arms.”

Describe your style in three words.  “1. Comfortable. 2. Uniform. 3. Casual.”

What’s the one thing in your closet you would save in a fire?  “So, I was actually in a burning building in NYC last winter and I made it out in two different shoes, ugly sweats and no shirt, wrapped in a floor length sweater with a velvet bomber jacket over the top. But, I did manage to grab my entire briefcase of inventory. I panicked and thought of nothing else but what was directly in front of me and how to get out as fast as possible.”

Who, what, where inspires your style the most?  “Walking the streets of NYC is my absolute favorite way to get style ideas. I’m also very inspired by my friends who all have such great individual style. And, Paris (sigh).”

Your five wardrobe staples, go…  “An old 1980’s BBQ t-shirt, black Frame jeans, R13 combat boots, leather moto jacket, Cartier zodiac rings on every finger, and my malachite dial Rolex.”

What would you classify as investment pieces? “I spend the most on shoes and handbags without a doubt. I put a lot of thought into how functional a handbag can be for me. I am also very specific about shoes. I spend a lot on them because I require a lot out of them. Basically I buy 3-5 pairs of shoes every fall. I go all out and I wear them all year.”

What do you have way to much of?  “Vintage tees, ill fitting vintage Levi’s that I can’t get rid of, and shoes that hurt my feet. I feel like people would be shocked to know that I have an entire bedroom that has been transformed into a closet because here I am in the same five outfits all the time!”

What are three things on your want list?  “Proenza made these great boots years ago that I’ve been trying to find ever since. A perfect pair of black cropped wool suit pants. A pair of Air Jordans in a certain color-way that apparently are impossible to find.”

Favorite 3-5 designers/brands?  “Old Céline (needs no explanation, Phoebe is boss), Dries Van Noten for amazing fabric, Tom Ford because who doesn’t love looking at a well tailored men’s suit? ’90s Versace because it was so iconic to me — feminine silhouettes with masculine panelled leather and big gold detailing.”

Favorite online shop? Violet Grey because I will choose a good face cream over designer clothes any day.”

Now, tell us about the one you keep a secret.  “I buy clothes on Amazon. I also buy shearling insoles for all of my winter boots. You’re welcome NYC.”

What are some of your Amazon finds?  “Black high-waisted panties, bike shorts, glitter socks, ribbed tanks, fleece lined leggings for the winter, fuzzy house slippers. I got 99 problems and Amazon is one of them.”

Jewelry by Arrow and Anchor.
Jewelry by Arrow and Anchor.

Dresses or jeans?  “Jeans. Wearing a dress feels so awkward for me. I’m always pulling and tugging at various parts and it’s just uncomfortable, so I avoid wearing them as much as I can.”

Heels or flat?  “Platforms.”

Accessorize or keep it simple? “Accessorize with good jewelry. Make the investment (from Arrow and Anchor, of course).”

Vintage or new?  “Vintage.”

Favorite Nashville spots to buy vintage?  “I have never purchased any vintage in Nashville. Isn’t that nuts? I’m not a patient shopper. I truly envy my friends that can find the coolest stuff by looking through racks of clothes for hours on end. My friend Katie Schecter is the Jedi Master of finding good vintage.”

Non-Nashville spots to buy vintage?  “A Current Affair in LA, NYC, and SF. Some of my favorite vendors: @Mothfood — Tommy Dorr is not only one of the sweetest dudes on the planet, but he digs deep and finds some of the best vintage workwear I have ever come across. @desertvintage — Salima and Roberto sell beautiful vintage and also have a drop dead gorgeous shop in Tucson, AZ. @nevergonnaturndownagain — my homie Harry! He’s so cool and has extensive knowledge when it comes to obscure metal bands. Those bands happen to have some of the best graphic tees, so I buy them, but I wont even pretend that I know half of these bands (I do get down with Type O Negative, though. They are rad!). @new_found — Richard Wainwright is one of the founders of A Current Affair and he has jaw-dropping archival vintage that is like walking into a museum. 90’s Versace for days — yes please!”

Any good vintage shopping tips?  “I actually wish I was better at it! I buy really casual workwear and the occasional collector’s piece like this insane Issey Miyake shearling coat at the LA show. In terms of navigating a vintage show like ACA, my advice is to take your time. Show up early, but do your research by looking at the vendors IG accounts to see if they fit your esthetic and visit them first. Dressing room lines can be long, so wear bike shorts and a tank top or a long dress so you can try pieces on without having to leave the booth.”

Gold boots by Saint Laurent. Studded Heels by Balenciaga. Blue velvet boots by Prada.
Gold boots by Saint Laurent. Studded Heels by Balenciaga. Blue velvet boots by Prada.

Your first luxury purchase?  “A Red Satin Kate Spade bag. It was $345 (I think) and I was so proud of it! Bought it from Nordstrom when I was 18 with my friend Erin Brady. I actually think she dared me to buy it.”

Any trends are you loving right now?  “Hmm… I feel a bit trend-less in my fashion choices. My primary everyday look is a variation of the classic jeans and tee, so I don’t if that ever goes out of style. I think the trend these days is to simply be yourself. I can get down with that.”

What’s the worst trend that you get sucked into wearing?  “It used to be Uggs because they are so undeniably comfortable, but I gave mine away because it was starting to be a problem.”

Dress by Rachel Comey. Shoes by Balenciaga.
Dress by Rachel Comey. Shoes by Balenciaga.

Favorite way to spend a day off? “I really have zero guilt spending a day in bed. I look at it as recharging my battery. There’s a lot of pressure to go, go, go all the time and be so ‘busy’ that we have no time for ourselves or anyone else. I don’t believe that life has to be that way. I’d rather have less and sustain sanity and relationships than not have time for myself. I also don’t have children yet, so I can retreat to my bed when I need me-time. I’m also a huge fan of the 3pm catnap when things are a little hectic. I will shut it down, silence the phone, and take 30-minutes.”

What’s the story behind your home and how long have you lived there? “I’ve lived in my house for a year and a half. I was driving down my favorite road in Nashville on my way to hike at Radnor Lake and I saw a ‘For Rent’ sign and called the number on it. By the next morning it was all mine. The walls were tan and bright yellow, so I went through and painted everything and replaced the kitchen faucet (a highly recommended improvement when dealing with a dated kitchen). I love this house so much. It isn’t my forever home, but it is so private and peaceful. I’ve done a lot of healing here.”

What are a few favorite things in your home? “I have a 16-year-old velvet couch from Restoration Hardware that is so worn that people think it’s antique. I have a pretty great coffee table/cookbook collection. A few marble lamps that I found on Chairish.com. A brass clam thing that sits on my floor (it’s pretty big), Cire Trudon Abd El Kader candle, a massive framed Hermès scarf that my best friend brought back from Japan, a room full of pink furniture and a lacquered pink armoire that I purchased when I was newly single and wanted to feel like a sexy superwoman/’70s disco dancer.”

Tell us a bit about your art. “I have an old nude oil painting in my bedroom that my friends Emily and Louisa (Pierce and Ward) had posted on this Chairish profile that they did. The colors are beautiful and so is the woman in the painting. My friend Alison is a really cool painter, as well as a badass musician. I have a piece of her art in my hallway outside of my bathroom. It just makes me feel a certain way when I look at it and I always pass it on my slow journey to the coffee machine in the morning. It makes me smile.”

Favorite places to find art and home decor? “Chairish.com, eBay, 1stdibs, Vintage Religious Ephemera from Gas Lamp Antiques, and I’m constantly dipping into vintage shops when I travel.”

The living room.
The living room.

You travel a lot. Can you tell us a little bit about your travel escapes? “I do travel a lot and it’s mostly for work, but the places I get to go happen to be some of my favorite cities. I think it’s important to visit a place long enough to establish a routine. To see how you live differently in each environment is a really cool process. I try and have a life in NY, a life in LA, and a home base in Nashville. All three of those cities serve completely different purposes for me. I also work in all of them. Can I work in Paris, too? I would really like that! Diamonds and croissants = goals.”

Any good reads that have stuck with you or helped you through periods in life? “Oh yeah. How To Be Invisible by Kate Bush. Touching From A Distance by Ian Curtis and Joy Division, Devotions by Mary Oliver, Daring Greatly by Brenè Brown, and Sylvia Plath.”

Any podcasts you recommend? “I really got into podcasts last summer (late, I know) but I found myself loving the Goop Podcasts and I love the Goop Bath Salts, so I highly recommend taking a bath using them and turning on the podcast (any of them). You’ll feel like you’re totally drinking the Goop kool-aid, but I’ve drank worse. Oprah and Brenè Brown did a great podcast. And Nashville’s Ruthie Lindsey and Miles Adcox have a beautiful podcast called Unspoken. Sean Brock’s episode on his life and addiction was very moving for me. Also, The High Low with Pandora Sykes and Dolly Alderton is very good.”

Go to karaoke songs? “Every single one of my friends can answer this question well. I have one and it’s ‘Strawberry Wine‘ by Deanna Carter and I nail it. Not because I am a good singer, but I know every twang, every breath, and every note of that song. I also give it 100% every single time. There’s a place in Nashville called Miss Kelli’s and I cannot be trusted there. Something happens to me when I walk through that door and then all of the sudden it’s 2am and I’m on stage singing ‘Drunk In Love’ with somebody’s uncle.”

Breakfast/brunch of choice? “Coffee with oat milk and honey. I cannot speak without coffee. Thoughts do not form and words cannot be spoken without at least one cup.”

Fave 3-4 cookbooks?Dining In by Alison Roman, Salad For President by Julia Sherman, Estela by Ignacio Mattos and Gabe Ulla, It’s All Good by Gwyneth Paltrow (still here drinking that Goop kool-aid).”

What’s your go-to dinner recipe when at home? “I’ve been named the ‘salad queen’ by a few friends. I basically started making this kale salad a few years ago. It’s lacinato kale, one container of the Trader Joes Pesto Quinoa. Toss the pesto mix and kale together. The pesto quinoa has oil in it and helps to break down the heartiness of the kale. Add a protein — anything from a store bought organic roast chicken to baked salmon, shrimp, etc. When it’s Blueberry season, I will add them because it adds a complimentary sweet flavor to a very savory salad. I also like a bit of crunch, so I’ll add toasted almonds or any kind of raw/organic nut mix that I can find. Voila! It takes no time to make this and you can make so many different variations!”

Fave restaurant in Nashville and your go-to order? “The Clam Pizza from Folk. It’s just perfection.”

Regular Postmates order? “Well, I have a favorite Postmates meal and I have a Postmates life hack. The Meal is the Vui’s Kitchen Vegan Broth and the Rice Noodle Bowl, but the hack is what I’m super into. I make a lot of soup in the winter, and sometimes after making these somewhat involved soup recipes, the last thing I feel like doing is roasting a chicken, so I’ll order this insanely good smoked half chicken (x2) from Martins BBQ. I’ll snack on one with Alabama white BBQ sauce and the Cornbread Hoecakes, while I finish making the soup with the other.”

Any supplements/magic elixirs you make, take, or swear by? “I have quite an embarrassing amount of supplements and elixirs. I’ll say this, nothing beats a balanced diet. If you nourish your body it will nourish you. I’ve been through every stage of diet restrictions (gluten free, dairy free, anti-inflammatory, the hormone diet, etc) and through this I’ve become incredibly in tune with my body, sometimes too much, but a girl has got to live and pizza is good! So is going to dinner at your friends house and drinking rosè while standing next to the cheese board all night. But to actually answer this question, I love Sun Potion! I add Ashwaganda to my morning smoothie. Vital Proteins Collagen powder is a must. I notice a difference in my skin almost immediately. I love Nutrafol for hair growth — years of bleach and tone has done a number on these strands. I also like Thorne and Xymogen brand supplements.”

Your most-loved kitchen gadgets? “Berkey Water Filter is a must. Nashville water is disgusting. It smells like a chemical swimming pool is running out of your faucet, so yeah, I don’t drink that and the Berkey seems to be the only filter that works (trust me, I’ve tried them all). Any Staub or Le Cruset Cookwear is a staple. I recently became obsessed with the Staub teapot to heat up bone broth. I even bought a few as Christmas gifts. My Stelton stove top coffee maker and grinder is also a fave! Basically anything from Food52.com is a YES.”

What does self-care look like for you when you’re off duty? “Self-care is a constantly changing practice for me. It really depends on so many factors. I travel a lot and feel very affected after getting off a short (or long) plane ride. So, being kind to my body for the next 24 hours is key. Lots of water, good clean food, and no alcohol is important. Plus a good night’s sleep! I’m quite introverted, so making sure I get enough me-time is important. Kind of like recharging my battery. If I don’t do that and try to go to any kind of social event, it’s obvious (i.e. hard to connect with any conversation, distracted, annoyed, etc.). So if I take care of me, I am way more fun to run into in public [laughs]. Also, meditation. I fall in and out of practice, but it really does help to keep me present and honest with myself.”

You decide to treat yourself, how do you indulge? “It depends where I am. Let’s say LA…a food shopping trip to Erewhon, stopping by Violet Grey where I will load up on one of everything in the store (I‘ll need to win the lotto first), then head to a nice dinner at All Time in Los Feliz and sit on the patio for dinner and wine. You’re invited!”

How did Arrow and Anchor begin? “I started with a collection of 10 pieces in 2011 with my friend Danielle Miele from Gem Gossip as a fun project and it’s continually grown since then into something bigger than I had ever hoped for. Danielle primarily works on Gem Gossip, but she puts her professional eyes on pretty much everything that I buy. I’m solo these days, but we still try and travel together on buying trips when we can.”

How can one buy some of your gold and diamonds? “Lots of ways! DM on Instagram, at trunk shows, at A Current Affair, and by appointment at my Nashville studio. Website coming in 2019.”

Is there a piece of jewelry that you regret selling (The one that got away)? “So many. I have seller’s regret often. Most recently, I sold THE COOLEST malachite, diamond, and onyx ring. I can’t even talk about it.”

What’s coming up next for A&A? “Rebranding and a new website, an ever growing and revolving inventory, I’d also really love to buy more overseas.”

Written by: James Kicinski-McCoy

James Kicinski-McCoy is the 40-something Founder and Editor-In-Chief of The Bleu. She likes tequila, picks fights with her husband so she can have the bed to herself, and is trying to figure out that work / life balance.

3 Comments

  1. Tara

    May 20, 2019 at 7:38 pm

    Not one of these have been affordable. The average woman can’t afford these expensive clothes or lifestyle.

    Reply
  2. Sarah Pugliese

    May 21, 2019 at 11:32 am

    Such a great interview. Absolutely love how in-depth the off duty conversations are! I want to be bff’s with everyone interviewed– and inherit their wardrobes and homes <3

    Reply
  3. Lana

    May 21, 2019 at 11:42 am

    Love her jewerly and clothing style and I’m obsessed with wrist/ring stacks. Great interview!

    Reply

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