News & Politics

Washingtonian Best-Dressed to Become Obama’s Domestic Adviser

2007 Best-Dressed pick Melody Barnes will head the White House Domestic Policy Council.

Photograph by Matthew Worden

Imagine our surprise when we saw a familiar face popping up all over the news. We’ve learned that Barack Obama has named one of The Washingtonian’s 2007 best-dressed women, Melody Barnes, to a top White House post.

We ran the photo of Barnes, above, in our October 2007 issue. Just for kicks, here’s what soon-to-be Ms. Domestic Policy Adviser told us about her style and fashion just one year ago:

How would you describe your style? “Understated but interesting. I like clean, elegant lines, and I love it when a piece has surprising detail.”

Where do you like to shop? “Frances Kahn in my hometown of Richmond. The owner, Rusty Lester, does a great job of buying fun, new designers as well as classics. The assistant manager, Julie Bristow, knows my taste and what’s in my closet. I shop once in the spring and once in the fall. My mom comes along, and everyone is wonderful to her. I have a glass of wine, we laugh and catch up, and it’s efficient. I don’t like to spend a lot of time shopping.”

What do you splurge on? “I love a beautiful suit. Wear the entire suit and you’re professional and put together. Put the jacket on with a pair of jeans and you’re ready for a fun dinner. I also have a crazy collection of Wolford tights. They’re a small detail that makes an outfit more interesting.”

What outfit always makes you feel terrific? “In public, my Blue Cult jeans. I have them in dark denim, white, and other colors. At home, my favorite sweatpants, which lost elastic in the waist years ago. I just keep rolling them up.”

What was your worst fashion disaster? “That’s a toss­up. I loved my purple crushed-velvet, bell-bottom hip huggers from elementary school—but in retrospect, not a good idea. Many years ago, I wore a hot-pink-and-black dress to a New Year’s Eve party—scary.”

What’s the best fashion advice you’ve ever received? “The best life advice I’ve received is also the best fashion advice: Be authentic. You shouldn’t wear it just because it’s in style or looks good on somebody else. You have to know who you are and honor that.”

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