May 8th, 2015

Happy Mother’s Day!

Earlier this week, I was on Let’s Talk Live talking about playground- and wallet-friendly looks for moms. We featured everyday looks for busy moms on the go, tapping into some of our favorite trends of the season. Our segment got preempted so we were pretty rushed talking about the different looks.

I have gotten many emails, texts and calls  about specific items. So, as a Mother’s Day gift to my fellow mamas, I wanted to do a blog post detailing the looks from the show and where to buy.

We were multitasking the day of the fitting (you feeling me mamas?). We had a site visit for our Vintage Meets New style workshop (have you signed up??)  and asked our Virginia-based mamas — Victoria from The Mummy Chronicles and Angelica from Clarendon Moms – to meet us there to quickly try on their looks. Our last model, Ivette, could not make it because she is a school teacher. So, when I left Amalgamated, I drove over to her school in Arlington and we fit her in the school library! I can’t think of a more perfect way for us to get this segment done – moms making it work!

Mama Does Normcore

Frump-chic. Birkenstocks, Tevas, Adidas Slides.  It’s a thing. And, actually, from a comfort standpoint, it’s great for moms. But here’s the million dollar question: How does a mom wear a trend that glorifies mom jeans when she’s been avoiding mom jeans like the plague ? Here are a few tips to get you mastering frump-chic — without actually looking frumpy.

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1.) Whether you do Birks, slides, etc., try metallic ones for a bit more pizazz. For example, Victoria is wearing a pair of silver Dolce Vita’s here — they are not literally pool slides, but inspired by pool slides.

2.) Make sure the rest of your look feels relaxed, but not sloppy. For example, we did Gap essential leggings with a Zara tunic. The tunic has some sheer paneling for some added style, and the fit is not too oversize.

3.) Be sure to add that third piece. That third piece is the piece that makes any outfit you put on a look. It can be a blazer, a great shoe that pops, a statement necklace, etc. Here we added a patterned scarf from Violet Boutique in Adam’s Morgan. The grey in the scarf adds texture and ties in the silver of the slides.

4.) Add a classic piece to your look. We love a classic tote and a pop of red. Victoria’s looks is very casual and relaxed. The bag makes it feel smart and grownup.

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Gap essential leggings, $29.99// Dolce Vita slides $60.00//Zara Tunic $22.95// Scarf from Violet $15//Zara tote $59.90


Mama Does Tomboy Chic

One of our favorite shoes of the past several seasons (just ask DC Style Factory Jenn Barger) is the skate shoe. This slip-on sneaker adds a little tomboyish fun and edge to any look — and they are COMFORTABLE. Angelica is sporting a Dolce Vita pair here. We decided to pair with boyfriend jeans (again, comfortable), a tank from Uniqlo (coming to Tyson’s next summer!) and a sleeeveless jersey moto jacket for a little structure. Again, we added certain elements that keep her look from feeling juvenile– the boyfriend jeans are not oversize or sloppy, but a slimmer fit; the moto jacket is simple and streamlined with not a lot of hardware or zippers; and the tote has a refined, classic style. Angelica loved her look so much, she ran out and purchased  a pair of skate sneakers and sleeveless moto jacket of her own!

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Dolce Vita skate shoes, $34.99//Levi’s boyfriend jeans $54//Uniqlo tank top $12.90//Halogen sleeveless jersey moto jacket $58//Cat-eye sunglasses from Violet Boutique in Adams Morgan.


Mama Does Midi

Ivette is wearing a trend that has really taken hold this spring/summer season — the midi skirt. This adorable stripe one is from Violet Boutique in Adam’s Morgan and a steal for $30! Not every mom is comfortable wearing a skirt to the park or running around with their kids, but as a mom of three myself, when that DC summer heat hits, I am in a skirt like this or a midi-jersey dress. Nothing keeps me cooler. There are couple things to keep in mind when you wear a midi — particularly when you are pairing it with flat sandals like Ivette:

1.) Select a sandal that is lower on the foot instead of one that ties around the ankle. This will give you more leg whereas the ankle strap can often break your leg line.

2.) Make sure your skirt sits a little higher up, rather than slouching down around your hips. This lengthens your leg line.

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Coffee tank from Violet Boutique //Stripe midi skirt from Violet Boutique $30//Crossbody purse from Violet Boutique $54//Sandals from Everlane $80

I want to take  a moment to thank all the badass mothers out there that I work with. Working with you is not only a pleasure , but an honor. To celebrate your special day, I’d like to offer a $25 discount to any mom (new and existing clients) that book a new appointment with me  between now and June 30, 2015. Simply send an email to with “Mother’s Day” in the subject line.

And in closing, may your Mother’s Day be filled with sleep…and sleep…and more sleep. xxx


May 1st, 2015

What an Interior Designer Can Teach You About Personal Style

If you look at my books, you’ll see that next to style and fashion tomes, I have interior design books.  I always marvel at how interior designers work with color, texture, space, etc. to create not just livable spaces, but spaces that inspire us.

I asked my good friend Nicole Lanteri, also one of my  favorite local interior designers, to give me her top design rules. We talked about how interior design and personal style/fashion have similar principles, and I wanted to test out our theories. Would some of the tried-and-true rules of interior design also apply to personal style?


Design Rule 1: Try to Think in Rooms, Not Just Individual Pieces

Nicole: Instead of focusing on the piece and whether you like the piece a lot, think about what you will pair it with and the effect you want to create. In this client’s home, we wanted a fun everyday dining space that had a lot of color but also felt calm. We started with the blue paint color, then needed a second color.  I found these bold yellow chairs that worked perfectly. A wood table would have been too much with the wood floors and a black table too dark. White was perfect. Then we needed just a little pattern. We brought in these stools where the black and white added a bit of pattern while the wood legs blended in with the floor. All the pieces worked together in harmony.

Yellow Interior design


Rosana: We  apply this design rule when we add new pieces of clothing to our  clients’s closets. A good rule of thumb for whether or not you should buy a garment is to see if you can think of five different pieces of clothing you already own that will go with the new garment. Your closet is like the room above — things should go together. If you can’t, you probably should hang it right back on the sale rack. Your wardrobe should work in harmony — patterns, colors, textures should mix and match with relative ease.  This is especially true if you want to try capsulizing your wardrobe.



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Design Rule #2: One Chic Accent Color Can Go a Long Way

Nicole: Most clients are afraid of mixing color and pattern. I think part of that fear is that they feel like they need a lot of color and pattern in one room. While that can be fun, you don’t necessarily need a lot to make an impact. For example, in this room we mixed textures – black linen window treatments, a black tweed sofa, black wood chair — and then added the green emerald velvet chair as the main accent color. We also added the color in a safer way,  a chair instead of a  sofa.  This way it feels like an accent instead of  dominating the room.

Chic accent interior desing

Rosana: One of my favorite ways to add interest to a look is by mixing different patterns or textures  in more muted or neutral tones — then anchoring that outfit with a pop of color in a shoe or accessory. The red clutch in Olivia Palermo’s look below draws just enough attention that although you still see the interesting mix of pattern and texture in the rest of her outfit,  the red really draws attention and amplifies her overall look without dominating it.

Olivia Palermo Adds a Pop of Color to Her Outfit With Her olivia + joy Clutch


Design Rule #3: Colors and Patterns Don’t Need to Match

Nicole: A bold pink and green floral and a gray plaid?! Why, yes! Totally different patterns and colors work well together – you don’t need to match a shade in the rug for the sofa to work with it. In order to mix different patterns, first think about the look you want. Here we wanted a more modern take on two classic patterns – floral and plaid. We used a large floral print in a daring hot pink and lime green colorway (as opposed to a smaller floral print) for a more modern feel. The plaid is more of a subtle plaid instead of a tartan plaid, which makes it the neutral next to the bolder floral.

colors and patterns interior


Rosana: Mixing pattern, texture and shine is a great way to give your look some depth and interest. Like in the room above, you don’t have to go overboard with so many colors and patterns, but finding a grey herringbone sheath dress and pairing it with cheetah-print pumps adds interest to your workwear in a way that is still polished and classic for the office. You can also go bolder with your pattern mixing  by selecting a stronger print  – like the floral couch — and pairing  it with a more graphic print like a bold  stripe. The stripe top below, like the plaid rug in the room, acts as a neutral. Also, like the wood tables in Nicole’s room,  the  patterned outfit below is grounded by classic, neutral and structured accessories (purse, shoes).


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Design Rule #3: Use Your Favorite Bold Color in the Largest Space in a Room

Nicole: Sometimes I have clients who love really fun, bright colors but still want a tailored, chic space. In order to use a bold color but still maintain a tailored look, use the color in the largest space as your main color. Then add more neutral texture and pattern so that color can shine. Here my client loves pink so we found the perfect shade of pink to be the main focal point of the room. Then we layered in lots of texture – velvet, boucle, acrylic, cowhide, sisal – to diffuse the pink with texture and make the room still feel pulled together and chic.

pink wall interior


Rosana: We always tell our clients to pick a statement – as in one statement. That could be a cobalt blue pant, which you could make the centerpiece by pairing with black pumps and a black blazer. Making multiple statements is not an across-the-board no-no (hello Solange Knowles), bu it is tricky. No one wants to necessarily look like their outfit is everything-but-the-kitchen-sink. So, whether it is oversize chandelier earrings or a green moto jacket or a printed trouser, keep the rest of your look tailored and neutral. Like Nicole’s pink wall above,  let that statement — in this case a pair of printed pants —  be the statement. The other elements in your look should support that statement for a cohesive, purposeful look.

Design Rule #4: A Classic Animal Print is a Great Go-To

Nicole: If you like animal prints, every room can use one. It’s a classic pattern generally found in a neutral tone that can pair with so many other pieces. It’s a little whimsical but still classic and chic.


animal print interior


Rosana: I second this love of animal print! The easiest way to add interest and texture to any look, in our book,  is with an animal print. You can’t lose with an animal print pump whether it is cheetah (fall/winter) or snakeskin (spring/summer). It acts as a neutral and is easy to match, pair, etc. with most everything. At the same time, it adds style and fun to your look. I like playing with animal print in unexpected ways as well.  The look below, with the loose sweatshirt-style sweater,  puts a fun tomboyish spin on a pattern that is intuitively bombshell.  The plum velvet clutch adds a ladylike touch.


Photo courtesy of

Design Rule #5: Neutrals are Just as Fun as Bold Colors

Nicole: You are just as fun if you like a mix of neutral colors and patterns! The key with neutrals is to keep mixing patterns – stripes, trellis, herringbone – and textures – wool, linen, glass, chrome, wood, wicker, brass to create a layered, complete and styled look.

neutrals interior

Rosana: Works for style too! An outfit of grays and beiges has an unbeatable lux, polished look. Mixing neutrals also has a refined and grown up feel to it without feeling dull or matronly. A fun way to mix neutral is to play with texture in the different pieces — as Nicole does in her room above. For example, below we have leather, cashmere, suede and wool in a perfectly perfect all-neutral outfit.


 Photo courtesy of

So the verdict? A resounding yes. Personal style and interior design principles do walk hand-in-hand. So tell us…have you used guidelines from another creative field to inspire your personal style?

April 28th, 2015

Vintage at Night


Turn on Turner Classic Movies — or stream any flick starring Faye Dunaway in the 1970s or Grace Kelly in the 1960s — and one bit of fashion history is glamorously clear: Ladies dressed up more (and with more flair) at night than we do now. (Think Audrey Hepburn in that iconic “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” little black dress or Miss Kelly in countless ball gowns.) That’s why vintage evening clothing can add star quality to modern date night or evening ensembles.

“There are many vintage pieces that are festive,” says Kristen Guiter, principal at KKG Arts + Culture Communications, who often sports dazzlers from past decades to arty parties around town. “I like the 1950s, and there are also so many fun, glittery pieces from the 80s and 90s.”

Still, the same rules for wearing vintage during daylight apply at night: Don’t don it head to toe, or you’ll risk looking like a mid-century historic re-enactor.

“You need to mix it up and wear modern accessories or shoes,” says Lisa Rowen, owner of Beltway Vintage, who sells “Mad Men”-era jacquard cocktail frocks, sparkly 1970s maxi skirts and other bash-worthy styles at her brick-and-mortar Brookland, D.C. shop, Analog. Shelly White, owner of Alexandria vintage boutique Amalgamated agrees: “There’s nothing cuter than a vintage dress with a contemporary bootie!”

One of my favorite ways to do vintage in the evening? Metallic, fur-trimmed or printed silk jackets. Thrown over a modern black jumpsuit or a pair of dark, skinny jeans, they’re conversation starters — and a near-guarantee that you won’t be wearing the same outfit as anyone else at the party. This time of year, I’m rocking a silk, 1950s duster coat with pink and green beading (from Amalgamated) over my LBD and a cropped gold shantung number (scored at the worth-the-drive Richmond vintage temple Halcyon with a cream cashmere sweater and leather leggings).

For old fashion newbies, vintage accessories can be a subtle way to dip into the concept. This might mean rhinestone earrings from the “Grease” era or a 1970s Whiting & Davis mesh metal collar (so disco!). “And purses are easy, and I find so many metallic gold and silver ones that people fawn over,” says Rowen. “They’re a shiny piece, and they’ll fit your cell phone.”

That sounds like an ideal mash-up of new and old to us.

For more expert vintage looks from the pros  – plus scoring the best vintage in town —  join us for our Vintage Meets New workshop on May 17 at  2 p.m. — Amalgamated Clothing & Dry Goods in Del Ray. Register on Eventbrite today! 

Post by DC Style Factory stylist, Jenn Barger. Jenn has more than 15 years of experience working as a fashion and design journalist in the nation’s capitol, including serving as the founding editor in chief of the Washington Post’s FW magazine. Today she works with DC Style Factory clients, injecting polish and personality into their wardrobes. You can read more about her on our website.


April 12th, 2015

Editorial Styling: Round-the-Way Girl, Futuristic Warrior, and Socialite at the Opera

Last month, we partnered with Emma McAlary, Sunny Oh of D Sharpe Hair & Beauty and Bloomingdale’s for our dream photo shoot. We were thrilled to work with model Alexandra Odenwald — one of THE Artist Agency’s newest faces.  DC Style Associate N’jeri Agyeman took the lead  conceptualizing the looks and directing the shoot. We wanted to show one woman in three very different looks, taking her from day to evening.

Kudos to our uber-talented team: N’jeri, Stylist Jenn Barger, Emma and Sunny. It is truly a thrill to work with not only talented artists and professionals, but really wonderful people that make the process way too much fun to be called work.





























For editorial styling inquiries, please email

Credits: All clothing for photoshoot is available at  Bloomingdale’s Tyson’s Corner.

Look 1: White sleeveless moto jacket, Theory (sold out) similar here// Rag & Bone white t-shirt// Rag & Bone ankle jean available at local Bloomingdale’s//Gucci platforms available at local Bloomingdale’s// vintage pendant necklace available at Amalgamated Clothing & Dry Goods// Celestite Orion earrings by Jewelry by Beth Lauren.

Look 2: Liquid Jade dress by Clover Canyon available at local Bloomingdale’s// vintage  cuffs (old and owned by  DC Style Factory stylists), similar here//moto leggings by Hoss Intropia available only at local Bloomingdale’s//Gucci studded platforms available at local Bloomingdale’s.

Look 3: Alice + Olivia lace gown//Theory boyfriend light peach blazer only available at local Bloomingdale’s//vintage crystal bracelet (stylist’s own), similar here // coal chandelier earrings Jewelry by Beth Lauren


April 10th, 2015

Vintage Meets New: Tickets on Sale for DC Style Factory Spring Style Workshop

Missed our last workshop? Never fear — our latest one is coming up next month. We hope you’ll join us! Limited tickets on sale now through Eventbrite.