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Sidewalk Style: Sapna Mehta

In this week’s Sidewalk Style, we stop a kitschy chic lawyer. Sidewalk Style is written by Rachel Cothran of

Sapna Mehta, age—“I turn 30 in six days!”
Practices corporate law at Latham & Watkins (“I heard DC needed more lawyers”)

What are you wearing?
“Vintage boots from Foley + Corinna on the Lower East Side in New York City (I felt like Cinderella trying them on because they actually fit my Oompa-Loompa-size feet!); a Corey Lynn Calter dress from; an old sheer undershirt from a source since forgotten; a vintage necklace from a vendor at one of the first Billion Dollar Babes sample sales in NYC (don’t bother going anymore—not worth it); sunglasses from a cheapo store in Sydney; tights from Topshop, underwear from . . . oh, should I stop?”

How would you describe your style?
“I’d describe my style as kitschy chic—Studio 54 meets Grandma’s closet. I love irony, pairing the luxurious with the trashy, new with old, East with West—but in a convincing, noncontrived way (or so I like to think). I also love me some bling, including ultra-fake and gaudy “diamond” necklaces, old Indian costume jewelry, and vintage clip-ons. Oh, and my big curly hair—probably my best accessory.”

Favorite thing in your closet?
“A vintage butterfly-sleeve sparkly sweater with a splay of rhinestones across the front that I picked up at a flea market on Brick Lane in London.. Also, my MC Hammer pants that I picked up in Brooklyn last summer (yeah, I said it, what), my bubble-gum-pink Commes des Garçons tuxedo vest, my newish Mike & Chris grommeted ankle boots, my gold gladiator sandals from an indie store in Sydney . . . ah, I can’t pick favorites—it’s too hard!”

Have your eye on anything in particular this spring?
“I don’t really ever have my eye on anything for any season. Fashion should be more intuitive, not just In Style magazine telling you what to buy and where to buy it. People should be more confident in their point of view and resist stupid marketing ploys like ‘Purple is in this season.’ ”

Where do you shop in DC?
“Favorite places to shop in DC . . . um . . . er . . . oof. I can only think of Remix and Secondi, but like all vintage stores—they’re pretty hit or miss. Oh, and Hu’s Shoes—excellent selection, plus it smells great. And American Apparel for tights and leggings and prepubescent-length athletic booty shorts. I think there are some majorly stylish people in DC, but I think the stores are either too safe, too unedited, and/or overpriced. So many stores have become homogenized by carrying the same brands as each other, so it’s really hard to find any meaningful variety or an independent point of view . . . or a bargain. By the way, if I see one more shiny bubble-hemmed dress, I’m going to scream.”

You seem to travel to New York a bit. Favorite shopping haunts there?
“I’m only throwing out some New York faves because you asked, not because I’m trying to be pretentious or be a DC hater! I love shopping in Nolita and on the Lower East Side; Coclico, Dusica and Miu Miu are my faves for shoes. A-Life or Reed Space for kicks. And generally, I love Opening Ceremony, No. 6, Foley + Corinna, Some Odd Rubies, Amarcord, Project No. 8, independent designers markets, etc.”

Finish this sentence: Style in Washington is . . .
“. . . happening—just look around. DC has such a bad rep when it comes to style that I think people realize they have nothing to lose. Fashion happens somewhere between the art scene and the music scene, both of which are thriving in DC, so fashion can’t be too far behind.”

Rachel says:
This is a girl I want to shop around New York—and DC—with! I admire her for caring most about finding what she loves as opposed to what’s “in”—keeping up with trends is exhausting and expensive, and simply not as interesting. But note that she incorporates a sheer top, a key trend for spring, under her dress. The best thing about that, though, is that she’s owned it for something like eight years. What’s old is new!