June 26th, 2015

DC Style Factory Hosts 10 Years of Wardrobe Oxygen

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Three cheers for the woman of the hour!

Earlier this month, DC Style Factory had the honor of hosting an event to honor the 10-year anniversary of one of our favorite style bloggers, Alison Gary of Wardrobe Oxygen. Wardrobe Oxygen provides thousands of readers everyday with on-the-nose style advice delivered with Allie’s signature dose of humor, wit and warmth.  The crowd that came out to support Allie’s work was like a group of girlfriends hanging, eating, drinking, laughing, dancing.

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When we decided to host this event I immediately knew the perfect venue – my wonderful friend Sak’s restaurant, DC Noodles on U Street (that’s me smothering him in the picture below — LOVE me some Sak Pollert). I could picture the party in his event room at the restaurant. The space is equal parts cool and modern, unpretentious and  intimate.  We designed the Thai fusion menu together from the mini soba  noodle bowls to the pad thai wraps to the specialty cocktails and more. Sak generously donated 20 percent of drink proceeds to Dress for Success.

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The room was filled with Allie’s friends, family (yes that is her spectacularly adorable daughter Emerson below), supporters and colleagues. Loved looking around and seeing local bloggers and women business owners I have come to know and respect:  Tammy from A Loyal Love, Virgina from DeNada, Vivi from Heart, Print & Style, Sydney Page from Chic Stripes, Alison from DC Celine,  E from Distric of Chic, Maria from A Very Busy Mama, Christen from The Shoe Hive, writer Amanda Miska, writer Chelsea Henderson and so many more.

Allie gave a heartfelt speech with tears and laughter. She thanked all of our amazing sponsors — businesses and brands who made the evening possible:

Betsy Fisher,South Moon Under, Anthropologie, GoodWood, Proper Topper, Dobbin Clothing, Scratch DCKimpton Hotels, RestoPresto, Jag Jeans, Talbot’s, Nora Gardner NYC, Karen Kane,  Social Shop Media, Dagne Dover and Zophia.

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Allie’s blog is not only a DC Style Factory favorite, but Allie has become a colleague I turn to for business advice and feedback. She is also a wonderful friend I call upon when the going gets tough as a small business owner. She tells the truth as a friend…just like she does on her blog. It is what makes us all — readers and friends alike — love her.

After the emotional speeches were done it was time to…PARTY! The evening was exactly what I envisioned when I proposed hosting it months ago — fun and silly and, most importantly, all about women coming together to support one another. Thank you to everyone who came out to cheer on one bad-ass woman. And I also have to thank my wonderful staff for the hours they put into planning the event.

DC Style Factory was honored to be part of such a special night. Here’s to the next 10 years, Allie!

Thank you to Emma McAlary who captured in photos the joyous mood of the evening perfectly.

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June 25th, 2015

DC Style Factory at Smithsonian Folklife Festival

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Moroccan carpets woven with abstract black and white patterns; colorful Andean sweaters as warm as the Buenos Aires streets are hot; silky Turkish headscarves that seem straight out of “The Arabian Nights.”

When I travel, I tend to stuff my suitcase with such handicrafts — beautiful, tangible, usable pieces that remind me of far-flung times and places without crowding my house or closet with kitschy “I Heart Ocean City” souvenirs.

In her dreamy job of buying and running the Smithsonian Folklife Festival’s Marketplace, my friend Jackie Flanagan traveled to Peru (the focus of this year’s festival) to indulge in a whirlwind of craft-shopping, artisan-meeting and ceviche-eating. The goods she brought back — delicate silver bracelets, colorful woven jackets, bright bags — headline in the festival’s jumbo pop-up shop, open June 24 through 28 and July 1 through 5 inside the Museum of the American Indian . June 30 from 4-5:30 p.m. I’ll be at the shop with my pal Anna Kahoe of GoodWood giving a free workshop on how to mix worldly goodies into a modern wardrobe and home.

We’ll be showing and telling how to rock colorful alpaca scarves, woven belts and gorgeous table linens.

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But indulging in what Flanagan calls “wearable stories” doesn’t mean you need to dress up like a folk musician. “I love understanding a piece’s cultural significance, but I ultimately see clothing and decorative pieces as colors, shapes and silhouettes,” says GoodWood’s Kahoe. “Then I can take them out of context, and I don’t end up dressed like a character from Disney’s It’s a Small World ride.”

This means pairing a diamond-patterned bag (woven high in the Andes) with a summery white frock from Nordstrom or putting an alpaca poncho with skinny Rag & Bone jeans and booties. “I’m going to try one of the embroidered jackets over a little black dress,” says Flanagan. The key is to combine exotic items with crisper, modern pieces, aka the pointy-toed blue leather slippers I scored in a Marrakech souk that I don with white jeans, a graphic T-shirt and a blazer. Call it North Africa-meets-Northwest DC.

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At home, you can be a little more freewheeling with pillows, runners and pottery from Peru and other locales. “For me, it’s just textiles, textiles, textiles,” says Kahoe. For a nomadic, gypsy-cool vibe, you could pile Peruvian woven pillows on a sleek, mid-century sofa that sits on a Turkish kilim rug. Just be sure you choose harmonious shapes and colors.

And, in the end, buying handcrafted items, whether at the Folklife Festival or on your summer vacation to Vietnam, you aren’t only making yourself or your pad look good, you’re doing good, since the items are fair trade and money often goes straight back to the craftsperson.

“It’s the most authentic buy, right?” asks Flanagan. “You close the gap between the maker and the wearer. You know the artisan received most of the cost of the item. The price point may not be the lowest, but pieces crafted by artisans stand up to many years and many wears.”

 

Post by DC Style Factory stylist, Jenn Barger. Check out Jenn and get free, fun style tips on how to incorporate these gorgeous Peruvian pieces into your modern wardrobe. She will be at the Folklife Festival Marketplace on  Tuesday, June 30 from 4-5:30. The marketplace will be located in the Potomac Atrium on the first floor of the National Museum of the American Indian.

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. To book a style consult, email Jenn at jenn@dcstylefactory.com.

June 16th, 2015

Corporate Style Talk at Troutman Sanders

A couple of weeks ago, Washington, DC law firm, Troutman Sanders asked me to speak to its women’s group about spring trends and office style. I featured some of DC Style Factory’s favorite professional looks and styles from Betsy Fisher, The Shoe Hive and Bloomingdale’s at the evening cocktail-hour presentation. The group of women was full of great, fun questions. Is the pencil skirt still THE professional skirt silhouette for women? Yes. Hosiery with open-toe shoes? No. Midi skirts for petite women? Yes! We talked slouchy trousers, cigarette pants, high-waisted longer pencil skirts, scarves, pointy-toe pumps and more. And as with any DC Style Factory presentation, there was lots of laughter. Because even in the office…what you wear is supposed to make you smile, right?

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Photography by Emma McAlary.

June 8th, 2015

Vintage Meets New Style Workshop

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Last month we convened with a group of wonderful women for our latest style workshop at Amalgamated Clothing and Dry Goods in Del Ray: Vintage Meets New. DC Style Factory stylist Jenn Barger led the discussion on how to incorporate vintage fashion into a modern wardrobe. She gave expert insider tips on what to buy, how to buy  and where to buy.

Attendees enjoyed bubbly, sweets and cheese while Jenn demonstrated ways to mix and match fabulous finds from past decades. She created  fun, modern looks using gorgeous pieces from Amalgamated. For example, she took a ladylike vintage jacket from the ’60s and paired with a graphic tee and boyfriend jeans. Workshop attendees also brought their own vintage “orphan garments” to get ideas on how to style them (i.e., a great silk scarf passed down from a grandmother got put with a white blazer, t-shirt and white jeans).

It was a lovely afternoon filled with great tips and lots of laughter. Special thank you to Shelly White , owner of Amalgamated, for hosting our event; The Sugar Cube in Alexandria for stuffing our goodie bags with salted caramel treasures; and Sill Life for donating a gorgeous one-of-a-kind terrarium that was given to one of our lucky workshop attendees.

If you missed our latest gathering, be sure to sign up for our newsletter or follow us on Facebook (@dcstylefactory) for news on our upcoming style workshops.

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June 3rd, 2015

DC Style Factory for Violet Boutique

Earlier this month, we launched our style collaboration with Violet Boutique in Adams Morgan. We had the pleasure of working with boutique owner Julie Egermayer and  Morgan Hungerford West (of Panda Head and the wildly popular A Creative DC project on Instagram) to style looks for the boutique’s website and social media. Too, too much fun putting together outfits using  the colorful, on-trend spring-summer pieces at Violet . Our very own Style Associate N’jeri Agyeman modeled the looks.

Be sure to follow Violet Boutique on  Instagram (@shop_violetdc) for more can’t-miss spring/summer outfit ideas from N’jeri!

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 Clothes & Accessories @ShopVioletDC; Photography Morgan Hungerford West @acreativedc