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Women of Style 2018

BY Kristen Schott | August 28, 2018 | Feature Features National

For these five DC trendsetters, fashion is more than what meets the eye.

The founder of Bent Frame Entertainment Media and Kaye Labs wears many hats.

My approach to fashion is... to ensure I am comfortable. When it comes to social causes… I wear something that combines my style with the theme. For example, I have earrings made from recycled glass bottles. I am drawn to… Chiara Boni La Petite Robe dresses. They take me from day to evening. A designer who’s knocked it out of the park is… Versace. There is a consistent balance of femininity, edge and art. The last accessory I bought was… a clutch that I don’t actually need to clutch. My power piece is... a Coach bag I found in the men’s department. I didn’t realize it until I made the purchase. I have no regrets. The best style advice I’ve received was… I watched a documentary on Diana Vreeland in which she said that she’d told a model to always have her toes painted, even if no one will see them. My favorite trend is... hats. They not only complete a look, they help define it.

The Nigeria-born entrepreneur owns a clothing line, is an influencer (via StyleYourSelfie) and believes in self-expression.

My approach to fashion is... always try new styles and trends. When it comes to social causes… I wear Nigerian designers: I feel like I have an obligation to shine a light on [its] fashion industry. I don what I do because… I like to see when people are visibly pleased with my appearance. I once walked out of my room ready for a wedding, and my niece, who was barely a year old, started clapping. The best style advice I’ve received was… when attending an event, wear something memorable. I never leave the house without… my sunnies. My fave designers are… Zuhair Murad and Gucci. Diamonds or pearls… diamonds, of course. My first fashion moment was… in Nigeria when I was 8; I attended my best friend’s birthday. We had an unspoken fashion competition going on. My aunt sewed strapless leopard-print Knickerbocker jumpsuits with matching headbands for my sisters and me. That was a mic-drop moment.

The owner of DC Elite Image and stepmother to three sons carries herself with confidence.

My approach to fashion is… it’s wearable art. If I love the way it looks and love the way it makes me feel, then I want to express myself by wearing it. When it comes to social causes… I’ve fallen in love with Reformation. [The brand] puts sustainability in the core of everything it does. I am drawn to… designers who celebrate a woman’s figure. My style story is… I’m a pretty introverted person. I’ve learned to be more social because of my business. Fashion has always been a way to appear more confident without actually saying anything. I feel fabulous when I wear... an item that has movement when I walk, like a gorgeous, long wrap dress with a high slit. I always splurge on... designer handbags—an Herm├Ęs Birkin is next. My best style advice is... dress for yourself. Be unique; be adventurous; don’t be afraid to try new things.

The president of Determined by Design advocates for equity in affordable housing and dresses with a purpose.

My approach to fashion is… let it change with who you are at the moment. I am drawn to… when I dress I think, ‘How do you want people to see you?’ Then I wear what and who feel right for me, not the occasion. My style story is… it’s evolved from wearing things to give me confidence, to having the confidence to wear what feels good for me. The female designer who knocks it out of the park is… Cushnie et Ochs! There’s a bold elegance in a way that doesn’t say, ‘Look at me,’ but ‘I see you!’ A piece that empowers me is... I celebrated the fifth anniversary of [my firm] with a Tiffany sparkler citrine ring. It reminds me how far I’ve come. My most cherished item is… my mink coat! It was my first ‘legacy’ piece. My first fashion moment was… a photo shoot in 2012. I wore a Kate Spade pouf dress with snakeskin heels. I saw those photos and saw the woman I was meant to be. I like to carry… small [bags]. I’ve never been a bag girl. Shoes, yes—stilettos, every day. Flats make my feet hurt.

The host of The Tommy Show on 94.7 Fresh FM found her voice for fashion in the ’80s.

My approach to fashion is… my job allows me to wear clothes [like] jeans and my favorite concert T-shirt with glitter heels. I love matching dressy items with my casual daily look. My style mentor is… my 12-year-old daughter. She is always showing me the latest trend. My power piece is… my red Alexander McQueen dress. My jewelry mantra is... keep it simple. I inherited several pieces from my grandmother and repurposed a few into pendants and necklaces. I always splurge on… a new pair of Jimmy Choos. I’m hard on shoes, and I hate to see a pair go, but it’s a special feeling to replace them with a new [set]! My first style moment was… walking into a Betsey Johnson store in NYC when I was 10. The last accessory I bought was… a vintage Kate Spade Sam bag. [Her passing] affected me. I feel empowered to continue to wear the bag that launched her brand and tell her story.

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