everyday life is beautiful

Arena Stage: Dress Rehearsal

Don't worry team, the Style Mob photos are coming soon. Thank you for your patience as I took time to pay my respects to my friends who passed away over the weekend. As they proved, style and substance go hand in hand. 

A couple of weeks ago, international creative marketing firm and DCWeek masterminds iStrategyLabs named me one of DC's 25 Creative Innovators. First, this is my formal thank you! I am flattered, and excited to be part of a group of some of my favorite people in Washington. Here's the issue: we never got the full list of recipients, so the full list of awardees remains a mystery. BUT! We'll find out. The awardees and our guests got to attend the dress rehearsal of the new show at Arena Stage, called the Elephant Room. Now, I don't want to ruin it, but there are are a plethora of pornographic mustaches in this completely charming and wildly witty show. There may or may not also be magic. Go see it and find out. But. There are mustaches. And you all know how I feel about mustaches (!!!). 

In addition, there was a veritable cast of DC art and style scene characters that I was just so excited to photograph. Cahoots! I dragged 3 women into the bathroom with me because THE LIGHTING IS INSANE AND THE WALLS ARE RED AND IT WILL LOOK GREAT WITH YOUR COAT YES YOU'RE GORGEOUS OMG COME WITH ME OK FANTASTIC!! So I shot a bit. And it was fantastic. Many thanks to Liz Gorman, Sheldon Scott, Eric Schulze, Andi, Malinda Diachenko, and Shona Fenner for tolerating and encouraging my spontaneous photo shenanigans. You're stunning.  

I need to photograph in this set. With this lighting. Look at it!! Amazing! Disco chic to the max. And again, mustache. HELLO THERE.

More incredible set. And mustaches. LOVE. 

Brunch at the Holstee House

The last time I went to NYC, I had the amazing opportunity to stay at the Holstee house. For those of you who are not familiar, Holstee is a brand of environmentally conscious clothing and accessories made of recycled materials. While the products look amazing (and they really do!), it is their manifesto that has made them famous; the Holstee manifesto is the perfect embodiment of how a brand's personality and point of view can add  value to their business. What began as a simple mission statement about what they wanted to accomplish and how they viewed the world became an internationally-acclaimed approach to life for hundreds of thousands. They began selling their statement in print, and have expanded their business ever since. 

Through a mutual friend, my good friend Michelle Ferng and I stayed with the founders of Holstee in their apartment in the Village and had an amazing time. The house was filled with a constant flow of new friends, open-minded individuals that the Holstee guys seemed to have known for years while still keeping an exciting freshness to the relationship. Doors were always open, with people moving through their home with smiles, a bottle of wine, and an interesting point of view to share. We all bopped around and did our thing throughout the weekend, but Sunday morning they hosted a family-style brunch to put all other brunches to shame. Fresh bagels appeared, coffee was made, and each new person who entered the house brought something to contribute. In the end, the result was a group of  eight motivated, like-minded twenty-somethings discussing world issues, learning about one another, and passing the day as only Sundays can be passed in that slow, luxurious and meandering appreciation for being young and having endless opportunity. 

When we arrived in NYC around midnight on Friday, we followed instructions to make our way to a local deli, where we had to put $1 in the tip jar and utter a secret phrase to get the key to the Holstee house. We did so (much to the amusement of the gentleman at the counter), and then made our way to the house. We were greeted by Holstee founder Dave, who offered us drinks before we went out for the evening. We spent more and more time at the house getting to know the guys, culminating in the aforementioned brunch. Amazing!

The light in the clean, modern apartment was beautiful; all of these shots by Michelle and I were taken only with natural light. After we finished eating, people continued their discussions and she and I slowly milled around, shooting the scene and drinking coffee. Some of the shots are grainy; that is on purpose. We wanted to capture the soft natural light without spoiling it with flashes.

So what does all of this have to do with style? As you can see from the photos, everyone was dressed in their Sunday relaxed attire. The clothing facilitated everyone's comfort, and nothing more. What struck me as truly stylish about our brunching experience at the Holstee house was twofold. Aesthetically, the space was beautiful. Simple furnishings, many handmade, leave a cleanness that makes talking and clearing the mind for stimulating conversation easy. The food we had, as I'm sure you can see, was divine. Bagels were fluffy, spreads diverse in selection and fresh, and vegetables made everyone feel full but not lethargic. The ever-important orange juice and coffee was present, making waking up very easy. But on top of all of that aesthetic style, the personalities of the people present were glowing. Their approaches to life were refreshing and made our time there unforgettable.  A beautiful personality and outlook on life is worth more than anything you wear. This was an example of a stylish life. 

I would like to thank the Dave and Mike for hosting us, introducing us to their awesome friends, and making us feel truly at home. My experience at the Holstee house reaffirmed my faith in my generation; there are brilliant, passionate, amazing people out there who want nothing more than to love another another and leave the world a better place. Thank you! 

Fly Girls: The Details

As promised, here are some of the detail shots of the Fly Girl five year anniversary party last week. 

Only the fabulous Michelle German (Chic Makeup Geek) can pull off blue lipstick like this; she's so killer! And the vintage Gucci? Yes? Are we seeing this fabulous framed bag? Adore. I'm not a label hound by any means, but this bag fits with her 'you-wish-your-grandma-was-this-fly' look. Her pants are sheer and meant to be worn in the summer, but I love this chic update with tights underneath. 

Can we talk for just a minute about how Kimee Brown (The Model is Wearing) has SEVERAL of my favorite things going on here? As you all know, I love bow ties, turbans, and menswear-inspired anything, and she is completely rocking it. And her LEGO Chanel pin? Fabulous. So much.

As always, my partner in crime and stylist Elise Peterson (IVD) was super fresh; I love the tied up chiffon blouse with the encrusted jeweled skirt. This is a great example of taking a look that is perfect for summer and making it work for colder months. As usual, we both rocked vintage fur. I know, I know...but once you start wearing it when it's super-brr outside, there's nothing warmer! I will choose to be both warm AND fabulous, thank you! Her envelope clutch is killer and I love how she mixes slightly different shades of nude to create a softer, feminine look with a masculine flavor from the buttoned-up top.

Photo of me courtesy of Elise; when we got back to my apartment and figured out we hadn't documented ourselves! My hat and mink are courtesy of IVD, and my fabulous 1940's-inspired silk pants were a sneaky backroom sale from Anthro. I love the classic lines of the hat and veil, and even though it's a little kooky was really excited to wear it. Life is too short not to rock a big hat! Besides, I'd rather be That Girl In the Hat than a lot of other things!

This last photo is not really up to snuff in terms of quality, but I included it anyway for it's energy; the free-spirited fun vibe between Elise and I in the entryway of my building is completely indicative of our style partner in crime relationship. I love how sassy fresh this is!

We then went inside, took our crazy heels off, and ate pasta on the couch. Sometimes the best nights end the most simply. 

Push Yourself, NYC

Hey team, I apologize for the hiatus. Friday afternoon I got a message from a close friend who is an amazingly talented photographer and photo assistant in NYC asking if I could come assist on a major fashion shoot the next morning. I have assisting experience, but certainly not on the scale with which I was then faced. I grit my teeth, canceled my plans and was on the bus alone a few hours later, off and away into the night. I got brave and did it because I know it was an opportunity to push myself. 

We had an 8am call, and when we got to the location, I was moved by the incredible light in the unheated warehouse in Manhattan where fashion magazines like Vogue, Vanity Fair, and W shoot frequently. The space, model, clothes, and work ethic and vision of the team were truly inspiring. I am moved to investigate the creation of photos, and not simply capturing them as they pass. 

I would love to share images with you, but I was there to assist. As I found with modeling, sometimes the best way to learn photography is to put the camera down and just listen. I don't care for technical photographers who take "nice" photos; I want technical skills in order to develop my vision and expand my potential to manifest the images I have in my creative mind. For all that DC has done for me, I am really excited to work on projects that push me to learn more and develop my photos. 

Thank you for just reading, this once. I'll be back with more photos next, I promise. :) 

Classic Graphic

Here are some shots from my event marathon last Thursday. I love the classic vibe of all of these shots, and the major role the light plays in setting the tone. 

As promised, here's a photo of my new haircut. Many thanks to superstar hair stylist Tyler Larish for having me over for beers while he cut my hair at his house; it's so much more fun to pow wow with your stylist when you're friends to boot! I love the Joan Jett/Bettie Page love-child vibe; I had really rock and roll hair for years and am happy to get back to something more rough and tumble. Plus I'm always a fan of looks that look better on day two!

A Portrait Of...

...A transplanted stylist from New York who does merchandising for Urban Outfitters (I'm in love with her glasses and hair; their shapes compliment one another)...

...A stylist daughter rocking her father's glasses from the 80's...

...vintage MCM...

...a model's combat boots that match my own...

...a benefit gala dress from Pretty People Vintage

I had a bunch of images from the last month that never got posted, so I thought I'd share them with you now. The middle three images are from the Vice As If launch party, otherwise these are from every day bopping around the city for photo meetings and other shenanigans. I took oodles of fabulous photos on Thursday so I'm going to edit those up and pop them on here ASAP...keep an eye out!

Just so you know, I love to hear from you guys in the comments section; I document things meant to inspire or start a style conversation and enjoy getting feedback. 


Local Stylista Saturday

This is why I love what I do for this blog. On Saturday, I went to a swap to support my friend Monica and her pop-up vintage boutique Pastiche. I shot her lookbook a couple weeks ago and am waiting for just the right time to debut the photos. I was about to leave the event when I noticed this lovely young woman. Kaarin Moore is the stylist behind the DC business Closet Caucus, and we got to chatting when she recognized me from my site. I am not familiar with her business, but if her personal appearance is any indicator, I'd say she's doing a great job! I love the clean lines of her dress with the attention to detail she showed in her choice of a very art/craft inspired broach.  

Tweed Ride Promotional Photos, Round II

Wow, what a great response to the photos so far! To get you up to speed, I put together an amazing photo shoot to showcase some of DC's best vintage from It's Vintage Darling and Pretty People Vintage in honor of Dandies & Quaintrelles upcoming Tweed Ride. In addition to our participants that I listed yesterday, this post features the delightful Nina O'Neil, founder of Ciao Nina; her fabulous fascinators were recently featured on the hit TVshow Gossip Girl. Aren't we (the city of DC, and not just me) just so lucky to have such lovely and talented creators? Shop Nina's creations on the link. 

Now to the meat of the matter!

What is a Tweed Ride, you may ask?

A DC style institution! Twice a year, hundreds of Washingtonians get dressed in their finest dapper duds inspired by the 1920-30's (although we enjoyed pushing that to the 1950's while mixing decades for the shoot) and go for a bike ride to a party. 

Why Tweed Ride, you may ask?

Why not? In today's society, we have, as my friend's mother used to say, "Lost our sense of occasion". Gone are the days it was the norm to put on heels, a hat, and some jewelry before leaving the house. No more are regular at-home cocktail or dinner parties that demand the perfect bowtie. And so what are a stylishly-inclined photographer and her vintage-buyer friend to do? Create an occasion, and that we did with this photo shoot, just as Eric Channing Brewer did with the Tweed Ride and the spring Seerksucker Social. 

What about style tips? Do I have to wear tweed?

I'm glad you asked! Check out yesterday's post, which features our stylist Elise's take on the looks you see here. You don't have to just wear tweed, but any retro style that makes you feel dapper. 

I will also offer a few personal style tips:

1. Wear everything you love every day, even if no one else will be. This is the single key to my key style: I wear all of my favorite pieces at the same time, every day. You know that gorgeous cocktail dress in the back of your closet that you stare at wistfully thinking, Well, it will be perfect for New Year's Eve...get it out! Put it on, and figure out how to make it work for your daily life. The same goes for crazy high heels, cocktail jewelry, hats, elbow-length gloves, furs, and on an on. If you love it, wear it, because life is too short and you can't take it with you. 

2. Know your body, love your body, dress for your body. You're beautiful! Whether you're in generous portions or a little bit wispy, you are what you are. And for the same reason we celebrate vintage, you should celebrate your body: it is a reminder of where you come from. I have my mother's slender torso, and also her juicy butt and hips, Lord help us all. But that's wonderful, because that means I am constantly reminded of her, and of where I came from. Our personal style icons, from our mothers to Dovima or Tyra Banks, dress in a way that celebrates their shape. That self knowledge is style. 

3. Wear something that starts a conversation. I go to a lot of events and meet a lot of new people, but I enjoy wearing clothes that help get the conversation started. Giant eagle head ring that's easy to spot as I gesture or shake your hand? Check! Octopus necklace, fur, a hat, or red lipstick? Check! Somewhere along the line people get shy, and fashion can be an easy entry point to any new conversation. With that comes a desire to wear something no one else will have. Vintage is great for that, but so is going local. Shop your local designer at your local boutiques (Nana and Redeem are two of my favorite DC spots), and start a dialogue with people there to find pieces that will make your wardrobe cocktail party conversation-ready. 

4. Have fun. Be whimsical, silly, nostalgic, ladylike, mannish, and everything in between. Play dress up. Make yourself and others smile with what you wear. The vintage clothes from Pretty People Vintage and It's Vintage Darling were fun, incredibly detailed vintage that made our shoot so special; there's no reason you can't dress like that every day. 

As a reminder, you can sign up for the Tweed Ride and after-party HERE. Do it! Come out and introduce yourself, I want to meet all of you in your dapper duds. And then I'll take your picture. Obviously. :) 

Tweed Ride Promotional Photos and Background Story

Hey team! You know I always encourage being able to communicate visually in an intelligent way with what you wear, but as someone who writes for a living (certainly loves to talk more than anything else, as those of you who know me are well aware!), I believe it is equally important to be able to speak and write well. We practice what we preach, so enjoy reading pieces we put together about our Tweed Ride photo shoot below.  

Check out the gorgeous vintage generously lent by Pretty People Vintage and It's Vintage Darling.

The following are the stories of three people intimately involved with the Tweed Ride and the photo shoot it inspired. Katie Warren was the producer and photographer of the shoot. Elise Peterson of It’s Vintage Darling styled the shoot. Eric Channing Brewer is the founder of Dandies & Quaintrelles.


Katie Warren, Creative Director and Photographer: "This is not my photo shoot. It’s ours," was the first notion I shared with our make up artist and models as they arrived to the third floor of Smith Commons.  "Approach this like a child about to play dress-up," I announced.  Warm introductions were made before I directed each of them to immerse themselves in the beautiful, glittering vintage set about. I encouraged them to find pieces they connected with emotionally and said that Elise would style a look around their choices. This is not the practice for your average photo shoot, but this, like many of my shoots, is anything but average. In choosing who to invite, Elise and I decided to unite a group of women who were beautiful, smart, talented and with unique perspectives to contribute. We selected women with distinctive senses of style, who present themselves with flair and a joy for how they live their lives.
On this brisk and pristine November day, we had a vintage dress-up party and created stylish, romantic images that share how Washington women with truly distinctive styles and skills can come together to create a unique scene. Over the next several days, we will release photos and intimate portraits of the women we chose, allowing Washingtonians to become inspired by their poise and style. The images reveal passions and talents of everyone involved. For women who live such stylish lives, what makes them truly admirable is their ability and willingness to inspire and support one another.

Eric Brewer of Dandies & Quaintrelles: “The energy during the photo shoot at Smith Commons was a pleasure to witness. People’s willingness to enjoy themselves and the company of good friends while embracing vintage styles on an easy Sunday is what makes the DC Tweed Ride such a hit. The ladies had a blast during the shoot and it reminded me of past D&Q events.
We were also excited to showcase the feel of Smith Commons as the venue for the 2011 DC Tweed Ride Celebration. For folks who cannot take part in our vintage-themed bike ride but want to help DC celebrate classic styles inspired by D&Q, the after party at Smith Commons is the only place to be on Sunday.
Katie and I met at an event that celebrated mid-century modern design in furniture and architecture, and  instantly connected while discussing our perspectives on personal dress style. The Sunday vintage shoot was a result of a conversation about the possibility of a new a Tweed Ride style guide on the D&Q blog. Katie created an occasion that produced photos meant not only to guide but to inspire. I'm very excited with these images and we both are eager to share them!”

Elise Peterson, Lead Stylist: "As a vintage enthusiast, I was thrilled to take part in a project that embraces the refined style that is quintessential to Dandies & Quaintrelles. I wanted to stay true to the spirit of the Tweed Ride through iconic fashion, while incorporating modern edgier touches. This "Nuevo-Tweed" was brought to life by switching staple pieces such as tweed skirts with sexier leather silhouettes. There was a strong emphasis on accentuating traditional Quaintrelle ensembles with touches of fur in jackets, stoles, and collars. The addition of bolder hardware such chunky metal rings and fabulously gaudy earrings added finishing touches to perfectly Dandy duds. Nods of metallic and sheer fabrics replaced traditional cotton blouses. Of course, the staple tweed can be found in traditional pieces such as overcoats, hats, and pants. Overall, I hope people continue to embrace the vintage feel that is synonymous with the Tweed Ride while still creating unique fashion forward looks (and having fun!)."


Katie Warren : Creative Director, Photographer {Founder, GoKateShoot}
Elise Peterson : Lead stylist, model {Buyer, It's Vintage Darling}
Michelle German : Makeup artist, model {Founder, Chic Makeup Geek, The Model is Wearing}
Shannon Cusello : Hair stylist, model {Manager, Immortal Beloved}
Erin Berteaux : Model {Media consultant and anthropologist}
Emma Jade : Model {Writer, musician, student}
Stephanie Mills : Model {Model and muse, The Model Is Wearing}
Kimee Brown : Stylist, model {Stylist, The Model is Wearing}
Ariel Mantilla : Model {Physical therapy student}
Tiffany Chow : Model {International relations}
Indigo Hikim : Model {Student, stylist}

Fashion and Vintage Contributors
It's Vintage Darling
Pretty People Vintage
Ciao Nina

Tweed Ride is an opportunity for Washingtonians to inspire one another through arresting visual sentiments that vary and touch thousands every year. Just as the ladies of our shoot came together to make something beautiful, so too can the people of our city. Come out to the Tweed Ride and join the dialogue; show us your unique, stylish voice! 

The main Tweed Ride route will be about 10 miles and is mostly flat and downhill with a few short inclines. The shorter route will be about 5 miles. We think that most everyone should be able to cover the 10 mile ride if they've dressed keeping both fashion and function in mind. The starting point will be announced to registrants on Friday.

Eye Candy: Indigo, Chevron Wood, Licks

Had a great time chilling with Thievery Corporation last night...thank you for having us out! There are times when it's really better not to have your camera, so you can experience things in an unfiltered way. That was definitely one of those times. 

DC people, go see their show this Saturday, afterparty at POV at the W. Get your roof deck on, yeah!

Happy weekend! Here is some inspiration for your Friday.