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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

Ann,

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

Photo-©-Tony-Powell-1.-2015-Hillwood-Gala-Ingenue-to-Icon.-June-2-2

Even the flowers dressed up!

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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

48.151_Cocktail_Dinner_Dress

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

48.60.1_Evening_Dress

Evening Ensemble, New York City, ca. 1927

48.69_Evening_Dress

Evening Dress, American, 1934.

48.24_Graduation_Gown

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

Ann,

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 

–Julie

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Snowy Day Sweater Weather

Best of Bethesda

Ann,

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!

–Julie

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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.

LafayetteBrownFront

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.

Cocoa

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

Dry Clean Only

$275

The Potomac Top 

(A Julia Farr Collection bestseller!)

Potomac&M

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.

PotomacBlackFront

Black

100% Rayon

Dry Clean Only

$180

The Sequoia Top

Sequoia

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,

SequoiaSuedeFront

 

Mushroom

90% Polyester, 10% Spandex

Dry Clean Only

$168

…or the ever-essential black.

SequoiaBlackFront

 

Black

92% Polyester 8% Spandex

Dry Clean Only

$145

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Four Years of Dressing DC Women

JFDOOR

Ann,

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….

–Julie

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A Journey with No Packing Required

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Ann,

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.

–Julie

 

 

 

 

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