panda head features...
name: Stephanie Dodge Smith
occupation: I'm in charge of business development for a trade association. Not very flashy, I know. I'm starting a new business of my own though. it's a dog walking, pet sitting, pet clothier business called RSVPet. It's in the works right now and I hope to be up and running within a few weeks. Check it out at RSVPet.com.
describe your style.
Androgyny meets Last Call at Neimans.
do you follow trends? how do you stay current?
I’m sort of in my own world when it comes to fashion. Actually when it comes to a lot of things, but especially fashion. I’m not a trend follower because trendy isn’t stylish in my opinion. Who wants to look like everyone else? Season, mood, comfort and creativity are my personal trends and what keeps me thinking and dressing forward.
what are your wardrobe staples?
My black Sass & Bide mistfits, vintage Chanel ankle boots, and a tie between my Balenciaga blouse or any of my comfy t-shirts. My gigantic Marc Jacobs handbag is typically swinging from my shoulder too.
is your closet at all organized?
In all honesty I’m sort of a neat freak, so yes, my closet is organized. On rare occasion things get out of order and go missing. But then I’ll straighten up and find something like a scarf or a vintage blouse and I’ll say, “Wow, I forgotten I had that.”
where do you like to shop?
I tend to buy my clothes in New York City, Brooklyn, Montreal, cities like that. But there are a few stores in DC that I shop, including Neimans, Barneys, Annie Creamcheese, Meeps and even Loehmanns...I mean, who doesn’t like getting a good deal? I’d be lying if I said I didn’t buy clothes off eBay, but I typically search the European eBay sites because the clothes are more exciting and unique.
who or what inspires you, fashion-wise?
I’m drawn to difference. Difference in music, art, photography, food, architecture, men and women. People like Siouxsie Sioux, Nick Knight, Karin Dreijer, Mata Hari, Gary Baseman, even Nancy Pelosi have all inspired me in one way or another. Not so much their own style or fashion sense rather how they have left their unique impressions on the planet. Many celebrities are essentially contracted by top designers who give them complete wardrobes to wear. So they tend not to inspire me but instead make me insanely jealous!
any favorite designers?
Favorites? Let’s see…some of my favorite designers/fashion houses include Chanel, Duckie Brown, Dries Van Noten, Comme des Garcons, John Varvatos, Wunderkind, ThreeAsFour, and Sass & Bide. These designers have a fashion-forward approach to style and I really dig that. Now, do I wear all of these designers’ clothes all of the time? I wish. My lifestyle isn’t as glamorous as I’d like it to be so unfortunately I’m not sauntering around in only Chanel or Comme des Garcons. Sure I have a few beloved pieces by these designers because to me, it’s wearable art.
what's currently your favorite item of clothing?
Gees. I have to pick just one item? Can I pick two? Current favorite #1 is my Dries Van Voten cashmere cardigan. There’s been a few lingering cool days so I’m refusing to tuck it away in my closet just yet. It is probably the softest, most comfortable thing I have ever had around my body. And I love when my girlfriend wears it because when I put it on it smells like her. My current favorite # 2 is a white t-shirt with bright yellow and blue silkscreen images of Rambo on the front. My friend Rory from SuperPerfectHair made it. As I usually do with t-shirts, I’ve altered it a bit (cut the arms and neck out) so I hope he doesn’t mind.
how would you define 'stylish?'
Style is personal provocation. Being stylish means being different. It means being in tune with who you are as an individual and then deciding how you want to provoke the world so it sees your individuality. When people focus on their individuality and how they differ, even slightly, from someone else rather than focusing on what top goes with what skirt or what boots to wear with a given jacket then that’s when 'style' and 'being stylish' just happens. Often the most stylish people to me are the ones not trying to be stylish. They are just being themselves.
what's your take on DC style, in general?
Given the dominant industries in DC (government, law, professional associations) style here tends to be very conservative. Yet there are subtle undertones of color and creativity if you know where to look. In the last few months, DC has attracted a handful of new stores that carry less mainstream and more chic lines, some decent vintage shops have popped up too and talented local designers are coming onto the scene. It’s refreshing to see a new onslaught of guts and glory is our city.
interview: morgan. photo by cassidy karakorn.