Jessica is one of those people I was destined to meet; she and I have so many common interests as well as common friends. Hands down one of the best dressed women in Alexandria, we share a love for luxury design and can geek out together over our various marketing ventures. I will never forget being super nervous upon arriving at a girls’ brunch she hosted several years ago. I am very much a closet introvert and this type of social gathering terrifies me. Luckily, my mom was in town that weekend and Jessica graciously encouraged me to bring her with me. The moment I stepped inside her home, however, I was put at ease because as it turned out I knew every single other person there! We evidently ran—and still run—in the same circles.
Jessica is not one of those people who will look back in twenty years and ever regret what she wore. And not because she doesn’t take risks, but because she has a penchant for truly elegant and classic style. I have never seen her anything short of perfectly put together. Beyond her natural eye for what works and what doesn’t, Jessica is brilliant and kind. She knows more about more things than I could possibly hope to know, and speaks on all of them passionately. And even as she was starting a new job and running around after her five-year-old, she still found the time to bring me unbelievably delicious vegan, gluten-free homemade banana muffins when I broke my foot and was recovering from bronchitis. Jessica is good people.
Jessica is wearing a Veronica Beard dress from The Hive; shoes, bag, bracelet, and sunglasses are from The Shoe Hive.
How do you spend your time? By day, I work as a digital content strategist for a government contracting firm. But, I also am creative director for The Purpose Of It, a fashion and luxury editorial strategy consultancy in the UK. I’m also working on a number of academic research projects because I cannot turn them off. On the weekends, my husband, 5-year-old son, and I all spend as much of our free time as possible in Old Town because, well, it is the center of everything for us!
Neighborhood: Old Town
How long have you lived in Alexandria: 13 years, minus one venture to the National Harbor and one year in Palm Beach, where, yes, we did meet Donald Trump.
What is your hometown? The mall.
What brought you to Alexandria? A job—I was communications manager for Washington National Opera for almost four years.
What would surprise people about you? I have a lot of Monty Python sketches memorized. Once in my head, I could never get them out.
You’re a superhero: what’s your superpower? Confidence. I’d like to have the power to switch on the emotional response impulse in someone’s brain to make them feel good about themselves. It is such an underdeveloped asset for most people, unfortunately especially young girls.
Favorite cocktail: Gin martini, shaken not stirred, with a wink to a bottle of dry vermouth. Will cure anything.
Last book read or movie seen: “Captain America: Civil War”
Guilty Pleasure: Anything in the “Bachelor” franchise
Phrase you overuse: I’m sorry.
Facebook or Instagram? Facebook. I hate it, but I love it. It enables me to stay in touch with people I love all over the world.
Latest binge-watch: Mr. Robot
Bucket list travel destination: Rome. Percy Bysshe Shelley, the poet on whom I wrote a book (Shelley and the Musico-Poetics of Romanticism), is buried there. Also, I’ve seen “Roman Holiday” way too many times.
If you only could have one for the rest of your life: wine or coffee? Wine, preferably a dry, oaky chardonnay.
Define your style in three words or less: Elegant
The go-to piece in your wardrobe: Tory Burch black high wedges with criss-cross gold-silver medallion. They are everything.
Favorite trend ever: Skinny jeans. As a tall person, I used to hate jeans because they never fit right.
Favorite current trend: The long scarf. There is something consummately timeless about a scarf. They flatter everyone and can be easily personalized. Also, as a Romanticist, I’m obsessed with the long skinny scarves that were popular in Jane Austen’s time (lots of them in the BBC “Pride & Prejudice,” for instance)
Beauty product you can’t live without: Smith’s strawberry lip gloss. I have a problem. Bellacara is my supplier.
Favorite fragrance: Issey Miyake eau de toilette
Heels or flats? Always heels, forever and ever, until the end of time. I wear flats grudgingly due to a certain kindergartener who still makes me carry him on occasion.
Favorite room in your home: Living room. We have 30’ ceilings. Also it’s where we hang out with the little guy.
Antiques, modern, or a mix? A mix. I like to blend industrial with mid-century modern and a touch of Art Deco.
Last item bought for your home: A 14’ double bookcase. Two PhDs have a lot of books.
Next planned purchase: A headboard.
Favorite way to entertain: The drop-in cocktail hour. People can come and go as they please.
Clutter-free or well-lived in? Clutter-free but that is not my life with a little boy around.
Wallpaper — yes, totally modern or no, so dated: Aagh, no.
Your go-to work-out: Running intervals until I look like a crazy person smiling from endorphins.
Most fun way to exercise: Pure Barre Alexandria.
Group exercise or solo: Solo but Pure Barre is moving me to the dark side just a little.
Fitness goal: 100 Pure Barre classes
Haven’t yet, but might be willing to try with coaching / encouragement: Boxing
Proudest fitness achievement: Running a half marathon with no water in 85 degrees
Favorite spot in Alexandria: The Shoe Hive (no I didn’t get paid to write this)
Last purchase in Alexandria: Citizens of Humanity skinny jeans at The Hive. I’m clearly an Elizabeth Todd groupie.
Best coffee / happy hour / date night spot: Rustico for wine, salad, French fries, and wine.
Favorite charity: Campagna Center. They do awesome things.
Favorite annual Alexandria event: President’s Day Parade. It is alarmingly always the same. Also, the Mount Vernon Wine Festival.