Sidewalk Style: Spring Fever

We noticed our stylish subject at the Corcoran’s Artini gala on Saturday. Her vintage dress reminded us of the city’s signature spring foliage: cherry blossoms!

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.”

Rachel says:

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. 

Weigh in on Genji’s look!

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