October 5th, 2015

What My Personal Stylist Taught Me: Stop Hiding

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This Spring, Summer and Fall,  I had the pleasure of working with one of the sweetest, warmest and  nicest clients.  When I met “Amy,” she had just moved back to the states from living abroad with her family — mainly in Europe. She was unsure how to translate some pieces she had purchased in Europe to a more American style. She had resorted to black leggings and other activewear, often feeling underdressed for events. During our interview, I remember her saying, “I am not even sure what to wear to what events anymore. I just end up feeling like I am hiding in my clothing..” I put that in big bold caps in my notes.

You couldn’t tell from her daily wardrobe, but Amy liked edgier pieces….and she also had an artistic flair. Her closet had a few pieces with a Helmut Lang feel. We are talking that sharp-cut, kind of androgynous, industrial look. She just wasn’t sure how to make that look work for her daily life as wife and  mom of two school-age children.  It had to be comfortable and easy.  I got to work.

I created looks that brought out that side of her — her true style. It was also important to also make it accessible/comfortable for her everyday life. I wanted to make sure the pieces we added to her closet were going to have mileage. AND, I wanted to show off that fantastic shape of hers! She had been hiding it in black leggings, and oversize t-shirts and hoodies for way too long.

When I asked her to tell me what her most memorable style lesson was, she answered without hesitation: ” Don’t hide in your clothes. Don’t be afraid to wear garments that fit properly. I feel transformed.”

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October 1st, 2015

Handbag Wardrobe

It’s easy to forget to finish your look. You have all the main pieces: dresses, trousers, blouses, jackets, sweaters, shoes. Then the bag. You have a beat up macrame purse that your Aunt Tess made for your birthday when you were 16. You loved it then and now…well, it still fits all your stuff.

But it’s time. Time to step up your handbag game. Here they are in order of priority. In other words…build your handbag wardrobe. No need to run out and buy an entire collection of handbags. You can take it step by step.

The Tote

Transport Tote

This is the carryall bag that allows you to haul your laptop to the office, wallet, phone, and even a small child or two. It is your everything and carries anything. The simplicity of the Madewell Transport Tote makes it my #1 choice. Also love this  affordable option from Zara.

The Oversize Clutch


This is the bag you carry when you are headed out on a date night with your man or a night out on the town with your girls. It’s not a dress clutch. The funky, oversize style of the clutch lends itself  to a weekend night jeans-and-heels look. Rebecca Minkoff’s envelope clutch with zipper detail is one of my favorites. You can also try one of this season’s hottest bag  trends — the furry clutch.


The Boss Lady Bag


This is the bag you carry to meetings, lunches, interviews. It is not too big or too small. The sophisticated clean lines of this satchel mean business. Fendi out of your price range? This Ted Baker number  is equally stunning and the Zara city bag gets the job done.


The Hands-Free



The crossbody continues to be a great option for weekend outings when you don’t need to lug a bunch of stuff. Just your wallet, phone and some lipstick. Great for concerts or any other outings where you need a bag, but don’t want to carry one. A fun  way to access the season’s 70s trend  is with a fringed crossbody. The bag adds fun movement to your look without feeling overdone. Coveting this Rebecca Minkoff gem.

The Dress Clutch


This clutch has wattage. It is a smaller size than your date-night clutch and is meant to go with dressier evening/event looks. I recommend going for metallics and lots of sparkle, but not a heavy gold or silver. Try a gunmetal or a mixed-metal option instead — it is a more neutral metallic that will go with just about anything. Love this Alice & Olivia option.



September 30th, 2015

DC Style Factory Editorial: Northern Virginia Magazine Neo-Victorian

This summer we had the opportunity to work with Northern Virginia Magazine on the photoshoot of our dreams. The theme of the shoot was the dark  romance  of the Neo-Victorian trend this fall. We worked with local designers like Kicheko Goods, Dina Mackney and TSALT. We also pulled from local boutiques The Shoe Hive, Mystique Jewelers and Take 5 Boutique.  Our team had such a productive, creative harmony with the magazine’s editorial staff. The spread was out on stands in September and we  were floored by the end product.

Our staff has gone back and forth about which looks we loved the most.  It’s nearly impossible to choose. The custom TSALT velvet skirt with the cropped leather jacket by The Row was the perfect blend of old-world detail and modern edge.   The barefoot model in the  black slip dress, dark lips,  dripping with pearls and gold was pure  gothic romance. We dubbed “Victorian Clueless” the orange Alice & Olivia brocade fit-and-flare dress layered over the silk Carolina Herrera full pleated-sleeve blouse. And the perfectly controlled, almost militant,  Alexander McQueen white buttondown ruffled tunic with the bob, red lips and gold jewelry?

We simply couldn’t choose. Can you?

Photo credit: Northern Virginia Magazine












September 22nd, 2015

Pop-Up Shopping with DC Style Factory and the DC Public Library

DC Style Factory Stylist Jenn Barger curated a pop-up shop for this year’s DC Public Library’s Fundraising Gala, Uncencsored. Here is a preview of the local designers featured. Join in supporting a great cause and checking out some of the city’s most exciting artists and designers.


In my work as a stylist, I meet a lot of inspiring local designers. It’s exciting to visit jewelry workrooms, see potters as they mold fab new plates and cups for local restaurants or to eyeball sketches that’ll result in sleek dresses by next spring.

It’s an experience I’ll get to share September 25 during the DC Public Library Foundation’s fundraising gala, Uncensored. I’ve organized a pop-up shop starring some of my favorite local design stars — DeNada’s funky, chunky knitwear; sleek shirtdresses by Kiki Lynn , pottery by Arlington’s Cloud Terre. At the party, you can try and buy their wares, plus take in local bands and cool cocktails in the stylish surround of the MLK Library. Here’s a sneak peek at the designers:

Cloud Terre

If you’ve slurped down oysters at Fiola Mare or tucked into a steak at the Ashby Inn, chances are you’ve seen the organic, edgy plates, cups and servingware made by Arlington potter Amber Kendrick. With her partner Ernie Niblack (a wood craftsman), she creates dreamy porcelain that’s as at home on a dinner table as at a chic restaurant. “DC residents seem to appreciate clean lines, mostly monochromatic with a pop of thoughtful color or texture,” says Kendrick. “It reflects a little conservatism but pushes contemporary ideas.”


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Hero Heads 

Last year, when Colin Bill was craving a T-shirt depicting Radiohead’s Thom Yorke, he couldn’t find anything he liked. So he decided to make one, working with an artist friend. The resulting simple, stylish shirts proved so popular, he launched his company Hero Heads this summer, selling at Eastern Market, local festivals and farmer’s markets. “I’m trying to show inspirational, overall positive people,” says Bill. The bright, bold shirts now depict legends from the Pope to the Beastie Boys, and their simple, bold graphics look as good under a sharp blazer as they do paired with yoga pants for a workout.



Kiki Lynn 

Kimberly McKinley did her time in the New York fashion industry, working for Bloomingdale’s and Louis Vuitton. These haute experiences prepped her for her new business, Kiki Lynn, a line of U.S.-made shirt dresses, tops and caftans that mesh Georgetown glam with workday chic. She loves dressing local women. “I think DC gets a bad rap for style,” she says. “I see so many people here with such unique, individual taste.: Lynn’s trademark shirtdress came from her desire to create frocks that are both flattering (check out the unusual hemline) and practical (stretch fabric that goes from day to night).


Mallory Shelter 

Social media manager by day, jewelry designer by night Mallory Shelter knows a thing or two about multitasking — which explains why her delicate baubles are so versatile. Using gold, silver and semi-precious stones, Shelter constructs breezy earrings, custom wedding bands and other easy-to-wear pieces. She likes being part of D.C.’s small-yet-vibrant design community. “The creative scene here still feels really new, and everyone wants to see it succeed,” she says. “There’s a lot of support and camaraderie. It’s encouraging to feel like we’re in this together.”


Mallory at Work

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Kicheko Goods 

Sarah Bayot’s simple, playful jewelry incorporates leather, fabric, deer horns and crystals. The sport-yet-pretty pieces not only look good, they also do good, since all sales benefit education projects in Congo. “I’m trying to connect the dots between business, fashion, community development and education,” says Bayot. “But it’s also about designing and creating pieces that are unique, authentically inspired and that beautifully adorn the wearer.”



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The name of Virginia Arrisueño translates as “your welcome” in Spanish, and that’s a good phrase for how her hand-knit alpaca blend, hats and wraps make customers feel. She works from her Bloomingdale studio, and travels to Peru twice a year to meet with the artisans who produce her cozy-yet-edgy line. “The most rewarding thing about running a design business is getting to be creative on a daily basis,” she says. Her new styles for fall include wraps in rich hues like teal and scarves interwoven with different textues.

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Join Jenn and these amazing local designers and artists at Uncensored’s featured pop-up shop this Friday. Tickets available online.

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September 16th, 2015

DC Style Factory Showcases Fall Style at Urban Alliance Event


Last Wednesday, DC Style Factory partnered with PopNod  and hosted a fall fashion event to benefit DC’s  Urban Alliance. The stylish soiree took place on the rooftop of Embassy Row Hotel DC – with a breathtaking view and sunset over Dupont Circle. The evening’s good vibes centered around the mission of the Urban Alliance — to mentor and provide opportunity to under-resourced highschool seniors in DC, Baltimore and Chicago. More than 100 revelers joined us to  support the organization and usher in the fall fashion season.

DC Style Factory styled and produced the highlight of the evening’s festivities — a fashion showcase of the season’s best trends to  wear work and after work. Women’s looks were from Betsy Fisher on Connecticut Avenue, NW. Hair and makeup by Sunny Oh of D Sharpe Style in Bethesda.

Men’s looks were Ted Baker, Hugo Boss and AG denim.  For guys, style topics and trends included monochromatic grey, mixing of pattern and texture, the Chelsea Boot, and how to wear denim on Casual Fridays at the office. For ladies, I talked about updates to the classic trench, the power of the pencil skirt, mixing patterns and menswear-inspired looks that are still going strong this season.

Models were in on the Urban Alliance mission: each of the six looks was worn by Urban Alliance program graduates, mentors,  and  staff that keep the mission wheels moving.  Each model strutted — some eating up the spotlight and photography flashes like seasoned catwalk professionals — around the glowing, lit pool. The guests greeted each model and look with collective “oooohs” and “aaaaahs.”

The event was just the start of a bigger campaign on PopNod.com to benefit Urban Alliance interns: Fashion with an Impact. Visit this Style Story page on PopNod  and learn how you can shop with meaning. We all know the power of that first impression when it comes to landing a job.  You can now be a part of helping a young person make that great first impression.  PopNod shoppers can  purchase clothing that will be shipped directly to the Urban Alliance and gifted to intern graduates embarking on their professional journey.

The evening was best summed up by one of our models, Johnnie Wallace (he’s the dapper fellow in monochromatic grey) who works at Alexandria Renew Enterprises. Alexandria Renew sponsors two Urban Alliance interns annually, and Wallace mentors these interns:

“I grew up in an ‘underserved’ home and community.  I didn’t have the support or my birth mother to pursue anything past the government assistance or “street” life that surrounded me as a child.  I found mentors in people outside of my home and community that guided me through tough times as a homeless teenager. This  ultimately led to my happiness and success today.  I want to have an impact on youth who may not have the guidance and assistance within their home to soar past their perceived limitations and into higher education, successful careers, and positions as community and family leaders. I strive everyday with my interns to ensure they are proud of their differences and that taking the road less desired makes them stronger than those who have inherited support.  Imagine if every capable adult served as Urban Alliance like mentor to just one youth within our country. We would have less teenage parents.  We would significantly decrease the high school dropout rate and increase the higher education acceptance rate.  We would have less crime and more youth contributing to society and not behind bars.  I am living proof that positive mentorship at an impressionable age can change the course of someone’s life.”

Enjoy some of the gorgeous snaps by E. Brady Robinson of our fabulous evening.  Our team was honored to be a part of  this event, and I know I will remember it for a long, long time.








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