We created our Forum series to bring you insight and perspective from our (impressive!) roster of talented, local experts. Last month we spoke with our wellness pros; today, it’s all about style. We asked two boutique owners, Celeste Crutchfield of Kiskadee and Tamara Saltonstall or TSALT, and two stylists, Rosana Vollmerhausen of DC Style Factory and Alicia McCaslin of The Tulle Box, about their style icons, what they wish women would stop saying, the very best part of their job (spoiler alert: it’s you), and more…
I also love the white suit trend!
My usual go to outfit is a pair of DL1961 jeans, Wilt shirt, long necklace, and a pair of cute sneakers.
It’s always some iteration of denim, top, blazer, and flat shoes (I am on my feet sometimes 10 hours a day). Right now, it’s cropped, high-waist, straight-leg mom jeans (Frame is my favorite), a graphic or stripe tee (Current Elliot or Isabel Marant usually), fitted blazer (Veronica Beard or Argent all day, everyday), and white loafers.
A t-shirt and a blazer. T-shirts always makes me feel down-to-earth and approachable, while blazers add the perfect level of polish. On the shoe front, I’m almost always in a boot/bootie or platform loaded!
I’m really all over the place with my style. I get an inspiration from something I’ve seen, and I channel it! However, jackets are an integral part of my wardrobe. They are really easy for me since I have narrow shoulders, too. I have a very comprehensive collection that started many years ago and my collection of Smythe jackets is second only to Elizabeth’s in Alexandria. We should do an updated count now that she has her own store, though, I may be closing the gap. Whether they go over a dress or jeans and a tank, jackets immediately convert my staples into something memorable.
Coco Chanel, for liberating women and defining casual chic. I’m not into fuss, so I can appreciate her fashion advice “Before you head out the door, take one thing off.”
I agree, Coco Chanel. She dared to stand out in a time when women didn’t make noise. She was strong and independent.
My favorite designer right now is Rachel Comey. I love everything about her cool and strange care-but-don’t-care oversize blazers, pleated pants, multi-colored fringe tops, and chunky boots, all with a ’70s vibe. I spend my days making sure things fit well and are flattering on women. I love how her clothing is not about whittling the waist, but making a woman feel like she can kick a*&.
Her clothing is such a feminist statement without one single utterance of the word. You know…you know these clothes are by a woman, for women. And can we talk about the models she uses? It’s not just her clothing. It’s her message. Any Rachel Comey I own I know I will wear when I’m a little old lady with gray hair.
This is easy. Alexander McQueen. Where do I start? I guess from the moment I went to the Savage Beauty exhibit at The Met, McQueen has been my creative hero. The clothing is like fashion sculpture where boundaries cease to exist any longer. Working with feathers, shells, metals, lace…it’s truly astounding to behold. The rags-to-riches story is captivating, as was his tenacity for understanding construction and masterful ability manipulate form.
When I was in school for design, the instructors told us we had to know the rules before we could break them. This was one of Alexander McQueen’s tenants for creation: “That’s what I’m here for, to demolish the rules but to keep the tradition.” He deconstructed how we know a dress and a jacket and then built some of the most exquisite pieces of beauty that I’ve ever seen.
Tilda Swinton and Cate Blanchett. Since high school, I have always loved a tomboy element!
Jane Birkin. I have many icons but they all go back to her. Ask Alexa Chung, Kate Moss, Isabel Marant who their style influences are and they will all make mention of this undeniable fashion muse. First of all, she’s a Brit who took residence in France, which encompasses nearly every facet of style and culture.
Then there’s the description of her as being frequently spotted without shoes. This is not me trying to be more like my icon…this is just plain, old me! I aspire to her effortless vibe. It’s how she wears her shirts unbuttoned, they nonchalance of a t-shirt, the layering of delicate jewelry, an off-the-shoulder top or filmy dresses, are all details that I incorporate into my everyday aesthetic. This summer I plan on taking my queue from her with a basket as my purse!
I love Jane Birkin. Her style is effortless. Her looks are so simplistic. I’ve always been a huge fan. Diane Keaton is also one of my favorites! She has managed to remain edgy and conservative!
Audrey Hepburn. She always looked polished and sophisticated but not too busy or overdone. Currently, I love Jennifer Aniston. She exudes cool chic.
I don’t like my stomach/thighs/hips/arms. In this business, you realize how we have been so conditioned to scrutinize every tiny thing about ourselves. To experience this each day through my work has made me hyper aware of my own internal dialogue.
We are incredibly fortunate with our clients generally being open minded about trying something. I love seeing a woman transformed and excited after being certain something wasn’t her style (“I could never pull that off” or “I’m sure you won’t have my size”).
“I’m too old for that.”
How little shopping and styling I do compared to all the other things that go into running a business such as marketing, billing, client follow-up, scheduling, team management, meetings with attorneys and accountants, business development… I am in front of clients about 24 hours a week, but I work about 60.
I sit a lot. People assume I’m on my feet all day but I’m usually up in my office on the computer. I wish I were on the floor more, though.
Every day is full of surprises, but they are never the same. I could be hemming a pair of pants and trying to sweet talk a tailor to make this happen within hours or meeting a client in the bathroom at her party for a quick fitting because there was just no other time. Styling and wardrobing require an innate ability to think outside of the box and be ready for almost anything. That’s another reason I love it so much!
Chasing down the UPS driver when we’ve missed a pickup, LOL!
The best part of owning a store is sending people out the door looking and feeling good.
The people. The women I work with here in the D.C. area are hands-down the smartest, most hardworking, down-to-earth people I have ever known. I am impressed each and every day by the politicians, lobbyists, attorneys, entrepreneurs, executives, and nonprofit directors that I am fortunate enough to call my clients. To think I play a small part in getting them OUT of their closets and on to the business at hand? Pinch me!
The best part of owning a store has been watching the store evolve from a boutique to a family. I feel so fortunate to have a team of women who have poured their heart and soul into shaping TSALT. Not only do these women impart their knowledge of fashion to our customers every day, but they bring passion, love, and genuine kindness to everyone who walks through our doors. It’s been amazing to see!
Invariably the best part of my job is helping women discover themselves through fashion and style. Hearing someone say, “I never would have considered that if you hadn’t put that together” or “what a relief it is to have all these amazing outfits uncovered in my closet” makes the minutia worthwhile. I also get a first-hand account of how women see themselves and each other. It’s as though I’m doing my thesis in anthropological wardrobing. If you were to consider clothing the skin that we can change, the power is quite great. Dressing the woman for the world to go out and conquer is my aim with every client. I want to save her time so she can do what she does best. Solving wardrobe dilemmas happens to be what I do best.
Michelle Williams in Vera Wang at the 2006 Oscars. It’s hard to look good in yellow, especially a frilly yellow. But with the red lip and the messy side bun, Michelle was perfection.
Hands down, Lupita Nyong’o in the red, caped Ralph Lauren dress in 2014 Golden Globes…bold, simple, chic.
My all-time favorite look was when Sandra Bullock won for The Blind Side. She was wearing a stunning gown from Marchesa.
My all-time favorite look from the Oscars. This is really hard… There was Gwyneth in the platinum gold sheath from Calvin Klein or the Tom Ford cape dress… Or Charlize Theron in the white Dior Couture. I loved Gaga in Brandon Maxwell in 2016. Jennifer Aniston in Valentino was stunning, too. Oh! And Kate Hudson in Versace! That was pretty spectacular. Okay…focus Alicia…
All-time favorite might have to be Jennifer Lawrence in the Dior Couture Gown from 2013. That necklace down her back was fresh and a detail I would have rocked on the carpet, too!