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Women of Style
Erin Hartigan | Photo: Greg Powers | August 29, 2013
Style in DC is more than a great closet. It’s about having a resilient—and sometimes iconoclastic—voice, whether on a personal, local or global scale. These six women—each a passionate activist in her own way—deliver sophistication to the Beltway, whether by mentoring the next generation of movers and shakers, fostering cultural connections across town or developing enviable business models. And, yes, donning couture that’s at once sexy and decidedly modern caps their individual sense of style, adding a gravitas that could light every room in the Capitol.
Leggier than most models, with a cascade of blond locks, Paige Speyer was born to be in fashion. Luckily, for style-minded locals, she found her calling: The willowy DC native keeps Washingtonians dressed smartly as the owner of Georgetown’s Wink boutique. A self-proclaimed “fancy bohemian” who loves lines from Isabel Marant, Helmut Lang and Balmain, Speyer uses her impeccable eye to transform the way locals dress, infusing the scene with energy and color. “People are so much more drawn to color and prints now,” she says. “Fashionwise, I love the creativity in town.” Even though, at 5-foot-11, she already towers over some Washington partygoers, Speyer doesn’t shy away from heels. “If I’m wearing heels, they’re most likely 4 inches high,” she says with a laugh. “I’ll tower over the whole room, but I feel comfortable in my height. If you’re confident in what you’re wearing, then rock it.”
As a TV analyst, journalist, literacy advocate and branding strategist, Viviana Hurtado is a one-woman media powerhouse. She’s also a role model for Latin American women through The Wise Latina Club, which she founded to empower women with news and culturally relevant stories. “It’s a space to tell women how to live a healthier life and nourish their bodies and minds, with women’s issues, politics and current events, presented from their point of view.” Whether regularly discussing politics on MSNBC or NPR, or advising women at conferences, the Stanford- and Yale-educated Ph.D. opts for tailored dresses in bold, proud colors, typically with 4-inch heels. “I’m with big names each day, so I want to be classic, but I’m comfortable as an American- Latina woman, with being vibrant and strong,” she says. As someone who knows the importance of first impressions, Hurtado sticks to styles that match her personality. “I love the Diane von Furstenberg look of an asymmetrical top. She’s an icon, not just for her style, but for her story. She’s self-made. She’s an American success story teaching people that you can be entrepreneurial with a vision.”
Entertainment Lawyer, Producer
Washington is in the midst of an undeniable renaissance, and Jehan Carter is determined to make sure that the world doesn’t miss it. An entertainment lawyer who spends her time in buttoned-up courtrooms by day, the area native—who goes by J—spends her evenings as a reporter and TV producer for her company Donne Belle Productions. She’ll also teach at Howard University next year. “I’ve mastered two outfits in one,” she says. “I’ll wear a suit jacket in the law office, then take it off and have a fabulous dress and necklace on that becomes my chic outfit—I love Michael Kors.” Out nearly every night at events like Fashion for Paws and Knock Out Abuse, Carter shares DC’s dazzling side as the producer of Pollywood Nights, a documentary film—with a spinoff series in the works—about the national spotlight’s shift to DC after the election of President Obama. “The president and first lady brought the spotlight to DC,” she says. “This series is the chance for the world to see what’s happening here.”
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