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What I’m Wearing: A Communications Manager Whose Favorite Accessory Is a Rent the Runway Shopping Bag

Kelly-Lynne Russell describes her style as "a little French macaron."

Kelly-Lynne Russell in her signature pink suit. Photos courtesy of Russell.

If you cross the closet of a Parisian grandmother in the ’60s and a pink Starburst, you’ll get Kelly-Lynne Russell’s wardrobe. The blogger and communications manager for the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology describes her signature style as “a little French macaron.” 

Russell relies on flexible outfits that can go beyond her 9 to 5, where she works with health professionals responding to the new coronavirus. In the evening, Russell is usually writing weekly posts for her blog the Low Low Style and planning her upcoming wedding.

When we met at Compass Coffee, her interchangeable look featured a flowy floral dress with matching gold leaf earrings and boots. The tote slung across her shoulder? A black Rent the Runway shopping bag. “It’s like an accessory trend now,” says Russell. 

Her thrifted outfit captured the blog’s tenets: sustainable, secondhand, and size-inclusive. Although it’s not on the alliterative list, sentimental also fits Russell’s sartorial bill. Her favorite items are like characters with emotional backstories — take the opal birthstone necklace her parents designed for her 30th birthday.

“Whenever I have something that’s important, I wear it,” Russell said. “I like things that have a story or things that evoke a memory or time in my life.”

What I’m Wearing is a column exploring how powerful Washingtonians make sartorial decisions. Have ideas for who we should talk to? Tag a picture of your favorite outfit on Instagram with #WhatImWearingDC, or email us. You might be featured next! Read past entries.

The communications manager and blogger in a poppy sundress.

Big meeting outfit

“I like a big bow blouse. And I really love a good avant garde pantsuit. But I like to make them quite feminine. So I have the masculine silhouette but then a bow blouse or brooch or bright color.”

Commuting style strategy

“I have three shoes that I mainly wear to work: two pairs of boots and a pair of sneakers. If I have a day where I have to dress more professionally and business casual is not on the table, I have three pairs of shoes under my desk. I have slide on mules, classic black pumps, and pink flats.” 

Favorite item of clothing right now

“This floral prairie dress. It’s washable and has pockets. I got it at the DC warehouse sale. It’s Onirik and I met the designer. She’s really cool and she was really excited because she makes this product. It was great to buy from a person I know.” 

Favorite place to shop in town

“I have so many. Onirik, Mimi Miller, More than Your Average, Goodwill, and many thrift stores. Fia’s in Petworth, Frugalista, Buffalo Exchange, and Eloquii.”

Best bargain in DC

“At the Rent the Runway sample sale, I got a Jason Wu dress, Kate Spade dress, and Tonya Taylor dress for like $20 each.”

Style advice

“Ethical and sustainable fashion is a practice. It’s not just a trend.”

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

 

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Emma Francois is an editorial fellow at Washingtonian covering everything from food to fashion. She graduated from Georgetown University and has previously worked for USA Today, the Georgetown Voice, and the Chautauquan Daily.

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