The Game Plan


A Survivor’s Guide to Shopping a Designer Collaboration

Posted by Editorial / Friday, September 12th, 2014

By Cate Jensen

The long wait is almost over for the Joseph Altuzarra x Target collection with it’s release this coming Sunday, September 14. As our hands are poised above our keyboards ready to order or car keys in hand prepared to head to the closest Target location but before you hit submit on that order and slide your credit card to complete purchase, think about how you can get the most of these designer collaborations. Such partnerships have been a hit in the public in the past. From Missoni for Target to Versace for H&M and who can forget Issac Mizrahi for Target collection, one of the first to start it all? In all the frenzy – some tips are needed on how to shop smart.


Altuzarra for Target Look 7

Courtesy of Altuzarra for Target collection

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Maximize Your Mini Bag’s Style in 3 Ways

Posted by Editorial / Thursday, September 11th, 2014

By Danielle Harvey

When thinking about what investment pieces to buy each season, many people are looking for transitional staples that can be worn with almost anything. Accessories are the best bet for those who want to stay on trend without buying a whole new wardrobe.  In seasons past, the oversized bag or statement necklaces were the go-to for fashion fanatics. Some of us are ready for a change so take a cue from the runways and street style experts and invest in the mini bag. Here are three looks for any stylish situation where the mini bag is anything but insignificant.


The Casual Look

Photo Courtesy of dd-harvey/

Photo Courtesy of dd-harvey/

Shop this look: Mini Bag, Sweater, Shoes and Jeans

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Keeping Up with Kim

Posted by Editorial / Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

Fashion designer Kim Elleen

Photo by Erick Gibson.


Fashion designer Kim Elleen showcases her fall collection and spills details on balancing two careers, while facing the challenges of producing locally.

In this area many women are multi-taskers, but very few can juggle two full-time, equally challenging careers and remain as chic, seemingly well-rested and good-natured as Kim Elleen. By day, she is the chief Washington reporter and columnist for the Boston Herald churning out daily political content for the newspaper. By night, she creates custom ready-to-wear pieces in her Arlington studio for her namesake label. “I do have insomnia so that comes in handy,” she divulges. “Sometimes I will wake up in the middle of the night with a design idea, I’ll drape some fabric that I got or return some emails—at least I get a jump on the next day.”

As the daughter of a seamstress, Elleen began officially designing four years ago when she grew tired of ill-fitting, off-the-rack pieces and seeing the same It dress on multiple women at events. Now she creates mostly dresses (“because it’s a whole outfit on the go”) in her signature mix of prints, colors and comfortable fabrics tailored for busy women that range between $150 and $300.

The affordable price point is a benefit of designing in the area, although the sourcing of the fabrics still proves to be a challenge. “The prints I design myself and I do it through a company that’s based in North Carolina (Spoonflower) because I can’t find a place locally that’s affordable and easy. If there were such a place here, I would love to give them the business opportunity,” she says. Despite her growing clientele, don’t hold your breath for a department store takeover. This is one designer you will have to keep on speed dial as she remains committed to delivering affordable custom couture on a one-on-one basis. –Angela Bobo

Boston Herald reporter and Fashion designer Kim Elleen

Photo by Erick Gibson.

(September 2014)

4 Transitional Shoes for Any Season

Posted by Editorial / Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

Sam Edelman Okalo Heel


By Cate Jensen

This ankle strap heel is just what you need for those first few days back at work after your flip-flop filled vacations. Although part of Edelman’s summer collection, the black and cognac brown colorblock makes them not only fashionable but versatile. A perfect pair to wear in the office or after the clock hits 5 p.m.

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September’s Sales & News

Posted by Editorial / Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

Old Town Boutique District

Photo courtesy of Old Town Boutique District

Be 100% Bloomingdale’s
Beginning September 10, nationwide Bloomingdale’s store locations will launch an exclusive ‘100% Bloomingdales’ collection made up of over 1,000 new styles designed by 100 of the world’s top designers in ready-to-wear, beauty, accessories and more. The collection will be celebrated with a variety of in-store events and deals on launch date.

It’s a Scavenger Hunt
Explore Alexandria September 18-20 for Old Town Boutique District’s Annual Scavenger Hunt. The first 200 that pre-register will receive a complimentary OTBD tote bag. Completed “passports” will be eligible for a drawing of a grand prize and be able to submit for a drawing at their favorite boutique to win a gift certificate or merchandise.

For A Limited Time
Obsessed with ABC’s hit series “Scandal”? This month shoppers get to bring home the show’s unique fashions due to a collaboration by actress Kerry Washington, costume designer Lyn Paolo and Elliot Staples, head of design from The Limited, with a 42-piece collection inspired by the style of “Scandal’”s protagonist, Olivia Pope. The collection hits stores the end of September.

Get Your NOVA25
It is time to find your perfect fit. For September only, Numari will give $25 off exclusively to NoVA Mag readers until September 30. Numari is designed around the idea that standard sized clothing doesn’t (and shouldn’t) be one size fits all. Insert “NOVA25” in the discount code redeem your discount.

Day & Night
Start September fresh face forward with Clarin’s new ‘Super Restorative Facial Day and Night Cream’ available starting September 1 in Nordstrom locations nationwide. Shop for the cream at the Skin Spa at the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City Nordstrom location. -Christina Marino

For more fashion and beauty posts, visit the SWAG blog.

(September 2014)

Upcoming Events in NoVA

Posted by Editorial / Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

Photo Courtesy of Paige Novick


By Danielle Harvey

Jewelry designer Paige Novick is showcasing her collection of fine jewelry at Saks Fifth Avenue in Chevy Chase, Maryland on September 11-12 from 10 a.m-5 p.m. The informal atmosphere is great for browsing the new pieces. Known for her trendy yet timeless designs, she’ll also be featuring her jewelry collection Phyne by Paige Novick. If you’re looking for that special piece or finishing touch for an outfit that you can’t wait to wear, be sure to view her collections before you go.

Who doesn’t love a good scavenger hunt? If that sounds like you, head over to Old Town Alexandria for their 7th Annual Old Town Boutique District Scavenger Hunt on September 18-20. Attendees have the option of pre-registering for the event from September 5-15, which makes the first 200 participants eligible for a Baggu tote bag, printed passport and promotional packet. Stores participating in this event include The Shoe Hive, Hysteria and lou lou Boutique to name a few. Participants in the scavenger hunt also have the opportunity to win prizes and up to $3,500 in gift certificates by completing their passports from visiting each store. Hours vary depending on each retailer, so check out the event website to learn more.

The beauty retailer Bluemercury, Inc. is coming up on 15 years in the business. To celebrate they are offering complimentary makeovers, mini-facials and treatment in-stores and you can visit each of the three locations in Virginia including Alexandria, Arlington and Fairfax. Stop by on September 13 from 10 a.m-7 p.m. In addition to hosting the in-store parties, the company is also giving attendees the chance to see their 15th Anniversary Best Sellers Collection. So visit their website for more details about the company or to browse products.

Not Your Average Nail Polish

Posted by Editorial / Monday, September 8th, 2014

By Angela Bobo

Local beauty expert Kitiya Mischo King quickly became one to watch in the beauty world when she released her debut 5-free polish collection with her brand Mischo Beauty based on the energy of Fashion Week last fall. This season she introduces four new bold and neutral polishes with her ‘Brave is Beautiful’ collection. But, don’t expect this collection to go without the influence of fashion.  King partnered with Ostwald Helgason in February who featured her gray polish aptly named ‘Catwalk’ for the F/W 2014 runway show. The polish and three others were released this month and we spoke with King about her inspiration, fall trends and her experience at Fashion Week.  

Kitiya Mischo King founder of Mischo Beauty; photo courtesu of Kitiya Mischo King

Kitiya Mischo King founder of Mischo Beauty; photo courtesy of Kitiya Mischo King

Q: What was the inspiration behind the ‘Brave is Beautiful’ collection?

The collection is a tribute to the bold choices of women who curate fabulous lives in the face of challenge.

 Q: How did you decide on colors-specifically two neutral and two bold shades?

Each shade is inspired by the place where soft and hard meet in the life of a woman in charge.  Unyielding in her pursuit of excellence, today’s woman knows the cost of being the boss and knows how to play her hand to win.

 Q: How many formulas do you test before the color is up to your standards?

Honestly, it varies.  Sometimes we’re able to land on the desired shade with one shade formulation, while other times it may take 5-10 shade formulations.

Mischo Beauty 'Catwalk' featured in the Ostwald Hegelson Fall 2014 show; photo courtesy of Kitiya Mischo King

Mischo Beauty ‘Catwalk’ featured in the Ostwald Hegelson Fall 2014 show; photo courtesy of Kitiya Mischo King

 Q: What fall trends pair well with this new collection?

My favorite trends for Fall 2014 include winter pastels, tonol dressing (from head to toe), metallics and knits in every variation (dresses, jumpsuits, jackets, pants, etc) and the Brave is Beautiful collection pairs well with them all!

Q: How did you partner with Ostwald Helgason for the F/W 2014 show? Can you describe the experience?

The designers wanted to partner and support an up-and-coming nail brand and approached me with the opportunity!  The experience itself was a dream come true.  I’ve always had photos of models backstage at Fashion Week on my vision board because it’s been a dream of mine, for many years, to participate in Fashion Week.

From testing with the designers a few weeks before the show to determine the shade to be used and the actual nail look, to prepping 18 models backstage before the show, to sitting and watching the actual show – I’m happy to say that the experience was what I had dreamed of and so much more!

Check out the complete ‘Brave is Beautiful’ collection on sale now.

The Brave is Beautiful collection (from l-r) Fait Accompli, Catwalk, Run the World and Phenomenon; photo courtesy of Mischo Beauty

The Brave is Beautiful collection (from l-r) Fait Accompli, Catwalk, Run the World and Phenomenon; photo courtesy of Mischo Beauty

3 Fall Fashion Trends From Local Boutiques

Posted by Editorial / Friday, September 5th, 2014

By Danielle Harvey
Cooler temperatures are approaching and that only means one thing to fashion lovers: fall trends. Local boutiques have got you covered on the latest styles you might need in the coming months. From graphic tees, leather booties, mod prints and everything in between–rest assured that fall is going to be your best season yet. Take a look at the trends below from Bishop Boutique, Swoon Boutique and Undeniable Boutique to stay up-to-date.


The Bootie

Bishop Boutique




Kelly Wearstler Grey Muscle Tank, $74; BCBG Midi Skirt, $158; photo courtesy of Swoon Boutique

French Connection “Serena” Bootie, $195; photo courtesy of Bishop Boutique

Leather details and varying heel heights make this shoe so versatile that it can be worn during any occasion. “Fall 2014 is all about the bootie and shoetie– designers have taken it in many different directions which allows anyone to incorporate this trend into their wardrobe,” Kelly Ferenc, owner of Bishop Boutique says.

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From NoVA to NYFW

Posted by Editorial / Thursday, September 4th, 2014

Sarah and Michelle of 52 Thursdays in vintage Ella Rue; photo courtesy of Sarah Phillips

Sarah and Michelle of 52 Thursdays in vintage Ella Rue. Photo courtesy of Sarah Phillips.


By Angela Bobo

New York Fashion Week is the time when designers dictate what we will be wearing for seasons to come, which is why the who’s who of the fashion world descend on the Big Apple to be the first in the know. We have always been advocates that NoVA has style and the fashion world must be listening as more and more local bloggers have become regular attendees. Two of the lucky few are Sarah Phillips and Michelle Marcinowski  of the website 52 Thursdays who are attending 14 (!) shows this season. We spoke with the pair about their road to NYFW, shows they are looking forward to and most importantly—what are they wearing.



  • Perfect for street style photographers that will be shoe stalking. / Photo courtesy of Sarah Phillips.

  • The fashion week survival kit. / Photo courtesy of Sarah Phillips.

  • Spreading the hometown love with fashionable picks from local designer Erika Schrieber. / Photo courtesy of Sarah Phillips.

  • You can never go wrong with a classic Chanel purse. / Photo courtesy of Sarah Phillips.


Q: What brings you to New York Fashion Week this year?  

We are really excited because this is our first time covering NYFW with our blog. Going to NYFW was both our dreams when we decided to collaborate on our blog and we are so excited to have made it in our first year. We are so honored to explore and share our experiences with our readers! 

Q: What are your bag essentials to carry you from show to show during such a busy time?  

This is so important. We wish we could just roll around a suitcase with us to fit everything that we need, but that would just be ridiculous! Both our bags will carry our iPhones to keep up with instagram, along with external chargers because we know we will drain them within the first hours from all the instagraming. We learned from MBFW in Miami the little time you have to eat, so protein bars and small snacks are a must this time around for energy. Business cards, of course, because you never know who you will run into. Sunglasses, gum and lip gloss are just your day to day essentials and MOST importantly, we are carrying our Cannon 6D and extra camera battery to cover all the shows to share later with our readers! 

Q: Most importantly, what are you planning to wear?! 

What do you wear to an event where the best dressed people in the entire world are you ask?! Being first timers, we haven’t the slightest clue! Jk, we are trying to stay true to our style, dressed up but comfortable enough to run from show to show.  We will be packing a few staples from Addison, classic tees and button downs by Everlane, our favorite rings by Stephanie Sheehan, crops and pencil skirts by local designer Erika Schrieber (gotta represent DC!!), a fabulous pair of J Mendel leather pants we found at Ella Rue, and a killer YSL bag from our friends at Bag, Borrow, Steal.

 Q:  How many shows are you attending and which are you most looking forward to? 

We were super excited to even get approved for press credentials by Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, so when the invitations kept rolling in we were pretty amazed at how many companies wanted us there.  We are so thrilled to be attending 14 shows and are especially excited about J Godfrey, Zimmerman and Custo Barcelona and the Altuzarra for Target Presentation. We are looking forward to these big name designers but honestly really looking forward to viewing the newest, first time designers because you never know, we might just discover the next big thing!

 Q: Did you do any Fashion Week preparation?  

We did a little research on the designers showing and made sure to reserve our seats and set up our schedule for the busy week ahead to ensure we make full use of our time up there. And of course we had to do some shopping to look the part while we are there!

NoVA’s First Annual Fashion Walk

Posted by Editorial / Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014

Photo Courtesy of The Shoe Hive

By Danielle Harvey

Get those walking shoes ready for September 18. The Shoe Hive, Hysteria and Sara Campbell are hosting the first annual fashion walk from Fairfax to Royal Street in Alexandria. The event is free and open to anyone.  Enjoy cocktails at The Shoe Hive and Hysteria while browsing the latest collections from 6-7p.m.  The runway shows at Sara Campbell will feature three categories including casual wear, work attire and evening wear at 7:30p.m and 8:30p.m. Guests can expect to see trends ranging from leather and houndstooth details to peplum tops and animal print dresses just to name a few. The informal atmosphere features a runway carpet with space to admire the looks being shown while people are shopping. With models showcasing options for any occasion, attendees will be ready for any fashionable moment fall brings their way. All three stores offer a free gift with purchase and guests can also register to win a gift card at each location. 



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