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Best of Washington!

July 2015 Cover of Washingtonian Magazine's Annual Best of Washington Issue

July 2015 Cover of Washingtonian Magazine’s Annual Best of Washington Issue

Happy Birthday, Ann!!!

I have magnificent news to share on your big day — my beloved small business Julia Farr boutique won the reader’s choice for Best Place for Women’s Clothes in DC in Washingtonian Magazine’s Annual Best of Washington issue!BOW

YES, I am happy, thrilled, delighted, overjoyed, grateful and overwhelmed with the news!  You know this July 21st marks 5 years in business and you have been there through it all. You and Tyler built the first website, you drafted all the copy for each page of it, you and I designed that first Healy Skirt, you have scoured textile markets around the US for the perfect fabric for our collection, then jumped off the cliff with me in creating the Julia Farr Collection in 2012– but the most important moment in all of this, Ann, was when you sat at the bar at Cafe Milano with me in the Fall of 2009 and over a glass of wine asked me to tell you all about my idea for a business that I wanted to create.  And as I spoke, describing to you the dream for the boutique and a private collection someday, you didn’t shake your head and laugh — as at the time I had a good job with a great company and three children to raise — you nodded and said, “what a great idea, I’d love to help you.” Thank you for believing in me and standing by me everyday. I know the next 5 years building our business will be even more fantastic!

For this glorious news today, being recognized by Washingtonians in Washingtonian Magazine is an amazingly meaningful moment for me and I thank all our supporters, friends, followers, clients, and readers for the support and loyalty. Without all of you, I would not be able to live my dream.

Enjoy your birthday, Ann – I’ll be raising a glass to you!

XOXO, Julie

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“From Ingenue to Icon: 70 Years of Fashion from the collection of Marjorie Merriweather Post”

Portrait of the Post heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post

Portrait of the Post heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post, Frank O. Salisbury, New York City, 1934


I’ve been meaning to tell you about the fabulous annual gala at Hillwood Estate two weeks ago celebrating the opening of the exhibition “Ingenue to Icon” displaying the remarkable wardrobe of Post (cereal) heiress, Marjorie Merriweather Post.   I co-chaired the evening event with two wonderful Washingtonians, Betsy Scott Kleeblatt and Joseph Perta, held in the beautiful gardens of Post’s estate in Northwest DC. Although it rained on and off throughout the evening, the weather couldn’t dampen the festive crowd of about 350 attendees, where women wore anything from full length gowns to tulle enhanced cocktail length dresses and men were handsomely dressed in their black tie.

Wearing a custom Gregg Pellegrini dress, I'm with my co-chair Joe Perta, and Hillwood Executive Director , Kate Markert

Wearing a custom Gregg Pellegrini dress, I’m with my co-chair Joe Perta, and Hillwood Executive Director, Kate Markert

Co-chair Betsy Scott Kleeblatt in her fabulous fascinator

Co-chair Betsy Scott Kleeblatt in her fabulous fascinator


Even the flowers dressed up!


Gala-goer Katie Tierney Blando very pretty in pink!

MMP's granddaughter, Ellen McNeille Charles with Togo West

MMP’s granddaughter, Ellen McNeille Charles with Togo West

Our fun table under the beautiful tent

Our fun table under the beautiful tent

We toasted Post’s grand style showcased in her Spring and Summer collection from the late 19th to mid-20th century.  “Throughout her life, Marjorie treated her clothing in much the same manner as her art collection,” said Hillwood’s associate curator of textiles and curator of the exhibition, Howard Kurtz. “She knew that her clothing represented not just her own style, but a record of women’s fashion.”  It was most apparent in her wardrobe choices that Post had a great appreciation for the richness of fabrics, expert tailoring, and elegant design.  In one of our first planning meetings for the gala, I asked if we could have a sneak preview of some of the designs in the exhibit.  To my surprise, we went straight to a closet off a gorgeous bedroom at Hillwood and got to see up close (not touch) some of Post’s gowns and cocktail dresses.  They were all well-constructed in beautiful fabrics, most either ornately embellished at top or bottom hem.  I remarked then that her dresses were designed in a way that both balanced and enhanced her figure: broad shouldered and full bust with slim hips.  You have to see the exhibit when you come to DC next, Ann, but here’s a taste of what is in on display.

Evening Dress by Callot Soeurs, Paris ca. 1907

Evening Dress by Callot Soeurs, Paris ca. 1907


Oldric Royce, Inc. Dinner Dress, New York City, ca. 1960


Evening Ensemble, New York City, ca. 1927


Evening Dress, American, 1934.


Reception Dress, Bergdorf Goodman, 1904.

Her Fall and Winter wardrobe will go in display in October, so you and I must go twice to see it all!

— Julie

Photos courtesy of Tony Powell, Renee Comet of Hillwood Estate, Musuem &Gardens, Carol Joynt for New York Social Diary

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In and Out of Italy in 5 Minutes

Greek Ruins in Paestum, Italy

Greek Ruins in Paestum, Italy


Wow! I’ve missed you! Seriously, it’s been so long. I loved your post from last week recounting all our events and trunk shows this year, remembering all the fabulous people we’ve met along the way.  As you know, after our last trunk show in Atlanta, I traveled to Italy with my son’s 7th grade class for 10 days.  As his teacher described it, it was the “back roads” trip to Italy, where we saw amazing sites and experienced incredible beauty and history —  without all the fluff and stuff you get when visiting the big cities or say…Capri.  I thought I’d share some photos of the places, but, more important, recount what I found along the way to bring home with me.  As you might imagine, as I was accompanying 34 thirteen year old boys and girls everyday for ten days, the opportunity to shop at leisure never presented itself.  So after a few photos of the sites, I’ll give you a quick look at what I found in 5 minutes each day.

During our bus trip through the hills of Italy, we saw the Greek ruins in Paestum, what was left of Pompeii, the top of Mount Vesuvius, the gorgeous abbey in Monte Cassino, beautiful Orvieto and Assisi, the Etruscan tombs in Tarquinia, and, of course, Pope Francis I, in Rome. A few shots I took are here:

Temple of Hera in Paestum

Temple of Hera in Paestum

Top of Mount Vesuvius. If you lean over and look far left, you can see Capri

Top of Mount Vesuvius. If you lean over and look far left, you can see Capri

A man from Pompeii

A man from Pompeii

The View from the Bell Tower in Orvieto

The view from the Bell Tower in Orvieto

The Main Strip in Assisi

The Main Strip in Assisi

An Etruscan Tomb in Tarquinia. So Cool.

An Etruscan Tomb in Tarquinia. So Cool.

Pope Francis during his General Assembly, May 13, 2015, St. Peter's Square

Pope Francis I during his General Assembly,     May 13, 2015, St. Peter’s Square

And here’s what I was able to “curate” in five minutes or less each day:

A spoon rest and dish towel from Paestum. This could have been the best thing there.

A spoon rest and dish towel from Paestum. This could have been the best thing there.

Ceramics from Orvieto

Ceramics from Orvieto

Fabulous Yellow Leather Tote from Orvieto. For me.

Fabulous Yellow Leather Tote from Orvieto. For me.

A souvenir from Orvieto...oh, are those for me!??

A souvenir from Orvieto…oh, are those for me!??

Wrap Bracelets with prayers in Italian, a Papa Francesco Thumbs up Magnet, a St. Francis sandal key chain and a little round painted dish for my bedside table

Wrap Bracelets with prayers in Italian, a Papa Francesco Thumbs up Magnet, a St. Francis sandal key chain, and a little round painted dish for my bedside table

Wrap scarves from Assisi; the middle one is for you, Ann.

Wrap scarves from Assisi; the middle one is for you, Ann.

Writing Paper from the Piazza Novena in Rome

Writing Paper from the Piazza Novena in Rome

In retrospect, and now surrounded by my finds back here in DC, I’m pleased with what I grabbed during the 5 minute –“you all get gelato, I’m just going to run in this shop” break.  And as you can see below, by the time I got to the Pantheon on the last day, I looked like I had hit ALL the little shops in the back roads of Italy.

In the Pantheon wearing Assisi Hat, Assisi wrap, Orvieto bag and yes, the M Street Skirt from the Julia Farr Collection

In the Pantheon wearing Assisi Hat, Assisi wrap, Orvieto bag and yes, the M Street Skirt from the Julia Farr Collection 


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Snowy Day Sweater Weather

Best of Bethesda


We’re having a snowy Tuesday morning in Washington, DC. I don’t think any of us expected it, and now the world is covered in white. As I sit in my oversized chunky cable sweater by the fire, thanks to the two hour school delay, I thought it might be a good time to share some advice I offered to Bethesda Magazine in its January issue on the best sweater for your body type. Here it is in The Right Fit.

Back to watching the snow fall and looking forward to our annual retreat to Miraval this weekend, far away from this winter wonderland!


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Julia Farr Collection Essentials

We know the power of those “go-to” pieces in your wardrobe. The clothing that you reach for on a bleary-eyed Monday morning, when you are too tired to think about “what to wear” but know that you want to look polished and chic. That’s why we created our essential dresses and tops – these are pieces that should be in every woman’s closet. Dresses that can stand alone and tops that can be paired with your favorite skirt or pair of pants. The bonus: they all travel well, so you can arrive at your destination looking pulled together instead of strung out! All the designs are available online or at the Julia Farr boutique.

The Lafayette Dress

Planned as a quiet place of respite for the President of the United States, Lafayette Square instead became a crossroads of history, as generations of residents and visitors congregated and strolled through its manicured grounds. Like the multifaceted park for which it’s named, our Lafayette Dress is versatile enough to transport you from the corner office to a private dinner in style. It is your essential, go-to dress on a Monday morning when you want to start the week on a strong note.


With a slight, open bateau neckline, the Lafayette has a fitted bodice falling straight to the knee. Add a fitted cardigan or tweed jacket, your best pumps in brown or black, and minimalism has never been so chic.


Shell: 100% Wool Crepe, Lining: 100% Rayon

Dry Clean Only


The Potomac Top 

(A Julia Farr Collection bestseller!)


The sweeping Potomac River, which flows through the center of Washington, inspired our design of the Potomac Top.  The elegant bateau neckline is a nautical reference to the sailboats and crew shells that glide across it.

An essential top for every woman’s wardrobe, the Potomac features an open neckline, elongating the neck and showcasing the clavicle. Three-quarter length sleeves hit in the middle of the forearm, leaving room to show off your beautiful bracelets or an heirloom watch. It’s feminine, fitted bodice falls gently around a woman’s curves.  The Potomac’s extended length ensures its versatility in your wardrobe.



100% Rayon

Dry Clean Only


The Sequoia Top


Georgetown Waterfront Park is filled with waterfront cafes like Sequoia, where you can take in views of the Potomac River, Roosevelt Island and the Kennedy Center. The Sequoia Top provides the elegance, ease and comfort, while sipping cocktails and looking out over the Washington lights sparkling off the river.

The Sequoia top is elegant in design and essential in its versatility.  The top has a soft, draped neckline with a slightly tapered shoulder line, accentuating the best of a woman’s shoulder.  It is slightly fitted through the bodice to create a tapered waist and has sufficient length with the hemline hitting at the hip bone, a signature element of Julia Farr Collection tops. It can be worn alone or as the consummate layering piece under knits and blazers.

 This bestselling top is available in two different fabrications for Fall 2014 – an easy, washable ultra-suede,




90% Polyester, 10% Spandex

Dry Clean Only


…or the ever-essential black.




92% Polyester 8% Spandex

Dry Clean Only


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Four Years of Dressing DC Women



I hope you’ve had a spectacular time in Italy – can’t wait to see the photos next week.  In DC, amidst trunk shows and trips to the beach, I’ve been celebrating four years since I opened my doors to JULIA FARR boutique on July 21, 201o.  Every year I write you about this anniversary because as every small business person knows, each year is a milestone in progress.  Making a hard right turn from the practice of law to apparel retail and the business of fashion, I have experienced complete on the job training that Retail For Dummies couldn’t begin to teach me (although I tried).  What I didn’t know was a lot and what I’ve learned is a ton.  Everyday I open the door to my store – greeted by gowns, cashmere wraps, sheath dresses and leather handbags —  knowing my mission but never knowing how the day will unfold.  Here are a few not-so-serious but valuable observations I’ve made through the years by consulting with the women who frequent my shop finding the perfect piece (or two or three or four) for just the right occasion:

1) Most women like their arms covered. Even the 30 year olds. Most dresses have no sleeves.  See the issue here?

2).  Women don’t shop on rainy days. But they will shop during ice storms and sometimes heavy snow.

3). Many women aren’t fond of their knees.

4). Most of my clients say they have too many black dresses. Most designers lead each season with black dresses.  This makes my head hurt.

5). Fall is the most exciting season for fashion as seen in all the magazines – especially my favorite –  the September issue of Vogue, HOWEVER, women shop more in the Spring because the sun comes out then and everyone is much happier.

6). Many Washington women like to find the perfect dress for their event minutes before the event starts.  During the weekend of the 2013 Inaugural Ball, MANY women came to the store and bought their gowns between 4-7 pm the day before the Ball.  We did alterations through the night and had them ready for pickup at noon the day of. True story.

7).  Washington women are smart, sophisticated and funny and love to share their thoughts on my business.  This is helpful – really.

8). The clothing and accessories come and go but meeting, getting to know and working with the women who walk through my door is above and beyond the most valuable part of my daily experience.

There are many more things to share along the way, Ann, but for now I am nothing but grateful to be opening the door to my store every morning to see what the day brings my way.  Four Years and absolutely counting….


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A Journey with No Packing Required



I’m extremely impressed with your carry-on perfect packing program for your Italian adventure.  You know I would most certainly add 5 of everything to your list and lug around a large, cumbersome suitcase with no handle or wheels on it for ten days – but that’s just me.  I’m not traveling abroad this summer, but I have spent the last several weeks on a major journey that required no special packing at all.   I just finished a 33 Day spiritual guide book by contemporary thought leader, Panache Desai.  The 33 days became around 66+ for me, as I lost concentration at Day 17.  But I jumped back in after a bit of an unfocused break and finished my journey just yesterday.  It was like a detoxification for the soul without all the kale and bok choy ground up into juice.  I love this book and I think the author, Panache, is my new favorite person.

Discovering your Soul Signature is a daily guidebook to, well, discovering your soul signature, or as Panache describes, your spiritual DNA.  “It is who you are at your core – your singular contribution to the world.”  Each day you read a short chapter that is broken down into a morning, noon and evening reflections of a page or two (so it’s tough to get overwhelmed, although apparently I did).  He begins with a chapter on Fear, ends with a chapter on Love, and lights a path for the reader embracing topics (and these were my favorites to name a few) on Shame, Patterns, Self-Sabotage, Roller Coasters, Harmony, and Messengers.  What I liked the most about it were the clear messages on how to absorb, understand and release certain difficult emotions that we are all really good at suppressing or pushing aside as we barrel through life.  The book is more than inspiration or a new way to be grateful, it is a instructional clearing of the overgrown weeds in our respective gardens to allow the light in again.   We are to embrace our tripping and falling in life, knowing that the stumbles are moving us closer to our higher self.  And Panache explains how we make more room on our path for harmony and integration, celebrating all parts of our life experiences.

At the end of these 33/66 days, not only do I feel detoxified (you should have seen me cry for 2 weeks when we were supposed to release our sadness in the chapter on Sadness), I feel lighter, more clear, and relieved.  So if you have room in that little carry-on of yours, shove in this remarkable book that I believe will bring you a lot of joy on your travels, to Rome and beyond.






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What to Wear in Italy


We are so excited for our upcoming trip to Italy. Although I lived in Italy when we graduated from college, it’s been almost 20 (!) years since I’ve been back.

When packing for  a trip to Italy, there are two essential things to keep in mind:

1. La bella figura – this means “the beautiful figure” but it doesn’t apply just to the body, it’s how one presents oneself, from hair to clothing to shoes to attitude.  Italians appreciate beauty – whether it’s in a painting, a handbag, or a bowl of pasta, they like to look at beautiful things – and not just things, but people. And that means you, American tourist descending upon their medieval village. Do yourself a favor. Leave the baseball caps and tennis shoes at home. Take the idea of la bella figura to heart and take time to pack clothing and accessories that will not only travel well but will look polished and sophisticated.


This does not mean that you have to sacrifice comfort, but bring clothing that is on the dressier side: instead of jeans, bring a pair of black capris, substitute a skirt for shorts. Pack a pair of your most comfortable ballet flats instead of flip-flops. Then, while enjoying your afternoon gelato while strolling along the Arno, you’ll feel like a real Italian.


2. The Italian Grandmother I mean this both figuratively and literally.

Figuratively – Italy is still very old-fashioned in many ways. You don’t see women (even young women) in short shorts, mini-skirts or skimpy tops. For men, think about how you would dress if you were going to escort your grandmother to Sunday brunch at her favorite restaurant. No cargo shorts or untucked shirts. And certainly no tank tops.  The overriding principle is to dress modestly and respectfully.  Most churches, and several museums (the Vatican Museum in particular) will not allow women to enter if their shoulders are bare or their skirt is too short. Women should always keep a lightweight scarf in their bag, to throw over their shoulders if the need arises.

Literally – the big-bosomed, black-sweatered, opinionated Italian grandmother is alive and well in Italy. And if you try to dis her church or her village by looking like a bum, she will not hesitate to shake her finger in your face while chewing you out, making you feel like you are a naughty toddler.



So, let’s get down to specifics.

We are only bringing carry-on bags (I know the very idea of that terrifies you). Our trip will last only for 11 days and we plan to cover a lot of territory, so we’re travelling light.

-Packing smart is essential. But, I want to look good, right (see above)?

-Italy is hot in the summer, especially southern Italy.  Lightweight clothing is key.

-I won’t pack anything unless it matches at least two other pieces of clothing, i.e. every top has to go with at least two bottoms and vice-versa.

With that in mind, here is my packing plan:

1. Four dresses – two sleeveless shift dresses, a maxi dress and our Julia Farr Collection Eastern Market Dress –

Eastern Market

Won’t this look fabulous while I’m strolling through San Lorezo Market in Florence?


2. Four Skirts  – our Julia Farr Collection M Street skirt,


because it goes with everything and I can dress it up at night. A maxi skirt that I’ll wear on the plane ride over there (easy care and will keep me warm on the chilly plane), and two other midi-length skirts in fun patterns.

3. One pair of Joe’s Jeans – in hot pink, so they don’t look like jeans, more like trousers. And, I’ll take my chances with the Italian grandmothers and throw in one pair of tailored shorts.

4. Four tailored, cotton tops to pair with my skirts. I’ll also bring our Prospect Linen blouse

The Prospect with J. Crew seahorse print shorts on a humid day in Charleston, SC

-it’s perfect because it covers my arms (so maybe the grandmothers will let me get away with wearing it with shorts), but, since it’s linen, it’ll keep me cool on those hot Roman days.

And, I can’t leave home without my Sequoia sleeveless top – my essential travel piece.

Julia Farr LLC - SM - 21

5. A lightweight scarf that will fit easily into my handbag.

6. Speaking of handbags, I’m packing one of my old, neutral cross body bags in hopes that I can ditch it over there and come home with a fabulous, new Italian handbag!

7. For shoes, I’ll bring one nice pair of ballet flats, two pairs of sandals and a pair of wedge heels. All of them are comfortable to walk in.

A packing tip: I always pack my shoes in a nice, fabric shoe bag like this one

photo (5)

It keeps things tidy and keeps the ancient European soil from spreading all over your suitcase.

8. We will be spending time at the beach, so I’ll pack a bikini and my favorite Trina Turk cover-up, which could pass for a dress.

9. I only bring costume jewelry with me when I travel – and only a few pieces – two pairs of earrings, a couple of necklaces and bracelets. For some reason, I love to wear lots of bangles when I travel. I’m not sure if it’s because bangles seem so footloose and fancy free – perfect for a vacation – or because I feel the need to make a lot of noise, so I don’t get lost from my travel companions (much like wearing a cowbell).

For the plane, I’ll wear the maxi skirt with a loose t-shirt and my favorite silk/cotton wrap in cream to keep me cozy while I try to catch some zzzzzs.

That’s it!

photo 2 (2)

And, guess what – it all fits in my carry-on.

photo 1 (2)

Of course, I’ll also pack a duffel bag that can expand to carry home all the great treasures I’m sure I’ll find in la bella Italia. I promise to bring some goodies for you!





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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly


The craziness of the beginning of summer has settled down and I finally had some time last weekend to do a bit of shopping and to peruse my fashion magazines.

Because I’m surrounded by clothing all the time, I rarely shop like I used to. But, last weekend, I ran into Old Navy to see if they had any casual tops I could bring with me on my upcoming trip to Europe. I didn’t find any, but I did find an amazing pair of sandals.


These simple, elegant t-strap sandals will be coming with me to Italy.

Women's T-Strap Sandals - Gold

They are surprisingly comfortable, with a cushioned insole, and will offer much more support than a pair of flip-flops. In fact, they remind me of a pair of sandals that I bought in Capri the last time I was in southern Italy. It’s ridiculous how excited I am about these $19.95 pair of shoes. Sure, they’ll probably only last a season, but they look timeless during that short time.


There wasn’t much fashion to excite me in either issue of InStyle or Vogue. In fact, I completely disagree with two of InStyle’s predictions of the new “it” items.

Did you know the jumpsuit is the new maxidress?




I like the novelty of the jumpsuit, it’s fun to see it on people like you – who are over 5’10” –  but for the rest of us? I know I certainly can’t pull it off.  Don’t get me started on the logistics of going to the bathroom while wearing one – I’m sure it takes the better part of a half an hour to disrobe. I prefer the comfort, elegance and ease of the maxi dress.


Really? These awful Adidas pool shoe knock-offs are supposed to be good looking?



Or, do they arise from Miuccia Prada’s belief that ugly is more interesting than beauty? These go on our feet, for heaven’s sake, which need as much help as they can get in the beauty department.

Vogue had the sandals all over their June issue: like these from Sam Edelman.


Look how large and ungainly the model’s feet look in this photo – and I’m sure she is at least 5’9”. Imagine them on a diminutive person, like myself, but one who also has large feet. I’d look like an “L”.

No thank you.


Top Image – Old Navy, next two images: InStyle Magazine. Bottom image: Vogue

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The Perfect Prospect

Our white linen Prospect Blouse for Spring/Summer 2014 as worn by Ann

The Julia Farr Collection white linen Prospect Blouse for Spring/Summer 2014 as worn by Ann with J. Crew capris, Vineyard Vines Belt, Delman Sandals and her grandmother’s coral necklace

Dear Ann,

I love this rooftop photo of you — effortlessly chic in our Prospect linen blouse!  Hands down,  it is my favorite-most-worn piece of our Spring/Summer 2014 Julia Farr Collection.  Seriously, you can wear it everywhere with everything.  Not only is it chic, timeless, classic, indispensable, understated-yet-elegant, completely essential, and sure, enlightened if you completely get the purity of its essence, but it looks great on. The linen has a little weight to it which makes it hold its shape and not fall apart when the temperature rises. It’s fitted so works both tucked in and out with capri pants, jeans, pencil skirts, full skirts and shorts.  I think it’s the perfect top over a bathing suit, too.  I’m a huge fan of the Prospect and believe every woman should have one as an anchor to her summer wardrobe. Here’s how we are wearing it this Summer 2014:

The Prospect with J. Crew seahorse print shorts on a humid day in Charleston, SC

The Prospect with J. Crew seahorse print shorts on a humid day in Charleston, SC

My daughter, Ceci, wearing the Prospect with her white Joe's Jeans at home in Washington, DC

My daughter, Ceci, wearing the Prospect with her white Joe’s Jeans at home in Washington, DC

The Prospect thrown over my Helen Jon bikini and J. Crew shorts heading to an afternoon paddle boarding

The Prospect thrown over my Helen Jon bikini and J. Crew shorts heading to an afternoon paddle boarding in Rehoboth Beach

We carry it at our flagship Julia Farr boutique in DC and it’s made its way around the spring trunk show circuit.  It’s packed in my bag heading to Rehoboth Beach for the 4th of July and isn’t going in your carry-on for Italy very soon?

XS-L, $168 at Julia Farr. Inquire by phone 202-364-3277.




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