Beauty & Style in The District

Beauty & Style

If Steve Jobs was right and design goes way beyond looks, then maybe it’s the same with beauty and style.

We see beauty in architecture and fashion, like this scene with the owners of Purple Poppy against the backdrop of a streetscape in The District. Read on for perspectives from women who work in the business of beauty and style.

What does it mean to you?

Fashion isn’t something that only exists in clothing. Fashion is in the sky, the street. Fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live and what is happening in our lives.

Jodey Bretthauer
owner of Grey Lotus Boutique

Fashion and style are not one and the same. The two share DNA and indeed rely on one another, but there’s a central dichotomy that sets them apart. Fashion is a prevailing culture that defines historical and current moments in time through the lens of clothing and how people dress. It is a collective experience, also an industry. Style is embodied self-expression, creatively shaped and layered to make a statement. Or not (which inevitably makes its own statement).

A creative pursuit, think of style like painting. Fashion is the canvas and accessories a painter requires to begin. Style is how the paint comes to life, the technique behind the strokes, and the resulting work of art. Style is limitless and has been a creative and cultural force since the dawn of civilization. In 40,000 B.C., ancient communities would enhance their cave paintings with mica to create flickering flecks of luminous shimmer. Ancient Egyptians used ochre, crushed mulberries, red vermillion, carmine, or a rouge tincture fashioned from red sandalwood and ethanol to bring color to the face. Lipstick sales so famously go up in times of economic depression the phenomenon has bee dubbed “The Lipstick Effect.”

Beauty is finding solace, wisdom and comfort in the perfect — and imperfect — things that bring us joy.

Kathy Sorbe
owner of The Elements

The inimitable Yves Saint Laurent, one of fashion’s most groundbreaking designers (he put women in pants and invented ready-to-wear) notably said, “Fashions fade, style is eternal.” Personal style is an energy, not a prescription handed down to you from the fashion industry. It’s an expression of your attitude towards life. The best way to hone it is to treat the world as your lookbook. Pay attention to details that catch your eye when you’re out and about; examine other cultures and their approach to embellishment or color; analyze the styling in films and magazines, and the glimpse they provide into lives not your own. Which elements compel you? What kinds of looks draw you in, and how would you describe their vibe? What’s an expression you admire but feel trepidation embracing yourself? Observe your answers and start experimenting.

The sublime gift of personal style is that it’s a lifelong evolution, and there are zero rules. Minimalism is just as radiant as maximalism; a capsule collection of neutrals can pack as much punch as a pop art wardrobe erupting with ever color on the spectrum. The fashion industry loves to tell otherwise, but style is not synonymous with how much items cost, who made them, or the size of th body wearing the outfit. The true energy that powers style is confidence and the miracle of confidence is that it is different for every person. Tap into what makes you feel fearless, and your style will transform with resounding presence and power.

Beauty is powerful…it’s timeless, it’s effortless. Find your style, wear it proudly and “Just Be You”!

Tami Muhlenbruck
owner of Maria Vincent Boutique

It can feel strange, at this moment, to consider personal style. Masks are the dominant accessory of the day, and many of the events for which we previously dressed up are on hold, distanced, or just not the same.

 But  that doesn’t mean that innate creativity and a need to express oneself is also on hold. One could maintain it’s more necessary than ever to infuse your life with fabrics, patterns, and colors that make you feel alive and empowered.

There’s a new season on the horizon. How can you take this opportunity to reinvigorate your style, flooding whatever’s felt stagnant with a fresh perspective? Perhaps you choose ten pieces a week and challenge yourself to style them (and only them!) differently each day. Or, allow yourself to purchase that item you’ve had an eye on but maybe didn’t feel you could pull off. Why not break one of your own rules, arguably put in place to keep you in a comfort zone, and try out a new color palette, piece or pairing? If there’s something you haven’t worn because you didn’t want to call attention to yourself, now’s the time to do it. Put on the lipstick, wear the brazenly patterned dress, trust you’ll look smashing in the more tailored cut, don a hat, embrace a “more is more” approach. The only person who can hold you back from fully expressing yourself is you. It is far more fun on the other side.

Visit our shops in The District! 

Top L to R: Valor & Violet, Adina Blooms, Spavia Day Spa, The Elements, Mainstream Boutique, Grey Lotus, elin, Tanique.

Amanda Aldinger grew up in Iowa, graduated from college and moved to New York to pursue her career as a writer. After many years as Creative Director for Mac Cosmetics, Amanda is a new solopreneur like many of our boutique business owners in The District. We asked Amanda to guest write our first Beauty & Style article, sharing her unique perspective from midwestern girl to New York beauty expert. Thanks Amanda!

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