Genji Sampson, 40
Senior graphic designer, Council for Advancement and Support of Education and owner of a graphic-design business, Dindi Design Studio.
What she’s wearing:
Custom-tailored vintage dress from Meeps in Adams Morgan, Calvin Klein shoes, and a Fossil ring.
Tell us how you scored this amazing dress.
“I had a few alterations done to it at Park’s Cleaners. We made the sleeves three-quarter length, took in the waist, and had it shortened above the knee to make it look more modern. I can’t take full credit for the find: One of my best friends was shopping with me, and she said I should try it on and have the alterations done to make it really fit me. She works for Yves Saint Laurent, and I adore her eye for fashion. The best part about that dress is that it was on sale—50 percent off a $26 price tag, so after the sale, the dress was $13. The full alterations cost $65.”
How would you describe your look?
“I’ve been told my style is ‘Genji style.’ What that means to me is that I’m creative and classic. I love clothes and appreciate how I can make a certain style work with my figure and personality. I like a lot of different looks, but what works best for me is making sure that my personality shines through in whatever I wear.”
It must be nice, style-wise, to dress for work in a creative field.
“I work in a creative industry as a graphic designer, so some of the sensibility of putting together a look or outfit comes naturally to me. It’s like working patterns or textures into a design—there’s a place where the design comes together and things just feel harmonious. I’m really good at replicating a look in a magazine or even a classic movie. I saw Butterfield 8 last weekend, so this week I had Liz Taylor’s character (Gloria Wondrous) to thank for a knockout ’50s outfit that I wore to work. I like to put looks together and see if I can give them a touch that makes them look updated and fun.”
What’s on your spring wish list?
“I still like ruffles, so possibly a sheer blouse or knit top with a bit of ruffle or tie at the neck. I’m trying to add some more color here and there, and I like the pinks and corals I’ve seen. I’m always looking for one more new pair of great jeans—I like Joe’s and Levi’s. I think I want a shirtdress—Target had a cute one. For summer, a floor-length dress, possibly in a floral pattern.”
Do you think style in Washington is evolving?
“Washington style is coming into its own. I was kind of worried about what I’d find when I moved here from San Francisco a little over three years ago. Luckily, I think the international flavor of Washington brings a lot of different styles together, and the influences all blend. It’s a good thing. I’m excited about how Michelle Obama’s look and style may have an influence on Washington fashion. I think we may see a lot of the asymmetrical tops on ladies and arms, arms, arms. Hey, if you’ve got ’em, flaunt ’em.”
As most of you probably know from this column and my blog, I’m a huge vintage shopper and fan of vintage clothes. Alterations are very important when you shop vintage—you’ll often want to change the silhouette, as Genji did here. I love that aspect, because it gives me control over a look and the fit is entirely custom. You’d be surprised by how quickly something becomes modernized by hacking off a too-long skirt! Sunday, the day after this photo was taken, it seemed that the entire city was abloom with cherry blossoms. The fabric of this dress is a perfect match!
Disclosure: Rachel Cothran works part-time doing marketing for the Corcoran.
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