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WHO:

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Ellen Roney Hughes, 74, of Rehoboth Beach, historian and retired curator of sports and popular culture at the Smithsonian Institute.

WHY: She was nominated by Iris Prager, who says: “As a curator, Ellen brought such iconic accessories as the ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz to the public. As an individual, she is uniquely stylish and instinctively uses unusual pieces to make a fashion statement.”

HER STYLE: Simple “and elegant, I hope. I’m monochromatic, with texture and a nice piece of jewelry. Black is my default.”

WEARING at the Rehoboth Art League: 

FIRST OUTFIT – Black Pure Handknit cowl neck sweater from Anything Goes in Rehoboth Beach; black slim-cut Calvin Klein pants, black Eileen Fisher velvet duster; Uggs boots from Vernon Powell in Rehoboth;  necklace of black and silver cloth leaves from Crazy Lady in Bethany Beach; silver cuff bracelet from Simply Dressed in Rehoboth; Cartier watch; Ray-Ban sunglasses; diamond hoop earrings, a gift from her late husband, the sculptor Gary Hughes.

SECOND OUTFIT – Pleated black silk shirt by Japanese fashion designer Issey Miyake purchased at Takashimaya department store in Tokyo – “Much too costly but, as a friend says about travel shopping: ‘Moscow rules, if you see it and want it, buy it because you will not get another chance;” Black and olive green check silk jumper and olive sheer merino tunic, both Eileen Fisher. Sparkly flats from Esprit. Black three-cord and jet necklace purchased at Simply Dressed.

THIRD OUTFIT – Brown velvet shift dress by Eileen Fisher; bronze cloth necklace from Nordstrom at Christiana Mall; three gold bangles, all gifts from for husband; 
Cartier watch, purchased in New York; brown suede booties from Aerosoles purchased at Christiana Mall.

WHERE SHE SHOPS: She gravitates toward boutiques that offer unique pieces. Simply Dressed and Elegant Slumming in Rehoboth are favorites. Eileen Fisher is a go-to designer label. “I’m short-waisted and the fit is good.” When she goes back to Washington D.C. she shops at Bloomingdale’s and Nordstrom. “I get my everyday pants at Kmart. They are just great.”

HOW SHE SHOPS: “I like to go by myself. It’s important to me to try things on.”

FASHION ICON: Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund. “Tall, slim and sleek, a wonderful look. And she is so smart, which makes her so appealing.”

FAVORITE DESIGNER: Coco Chanel. “She does black and with really good jewelry. And she liked to smell good, as do I.”

MOST RECENT PURCHASE: A black velvet dress with medium-length sleeves and a long black velvet coat by Eileen Fisher.

OLDEST ITEM IN HER CLOSET:  Vintage pearls that she inherited from her father’s girl friend.

MANE, MANICURE AND MAKEUP: Stephan Maybroda of Stephan and Co. in Rehoboth does her hair. “He is a real stylist. My hair is blond, not white or gray, as I remind them at the DMV.” For her manicure, she relies on Tammy Nails in Rehoboth. “Beatrice, a lovely lady from Columbia, does my manicure.” For makeup, she likes products from Clinique and Bobbi Brown. “Mascara, brow pencil and lip gloss. I seem to have lost my eyebrows. I don’t know where they went. After many years of sun at the Delaware beaches, I wear foundation to even out my skin tones.”

BEST FOOT FORWARD: “I love shoes, although I don’t spend a lot of money on shoes. I have about 75 pairs, including boots because I throw them out pretty regularly.” In recent years she has shifted from heels to wedges to add height. “Clothes always look better when you are taller. I have running shoes but I never wear them.”

FAVORITE COLORS: “Non-clothing color, cerulean blue. To wear, it’s black, beige, occasionally white, coral or turquoise.”

FAVORITE FRAGRANCE: “I have two, Calvin Klein Obsession and Chanel No. 5.”

FAVORITE FASHION RESOURCE: “I always buy the September issue of Vogue and I loved Bill Cunningham’s Style on the Street in the New York Times. They will never replace him.”

FASHION NO-NO: Ill-fitting clothes. “As Steven Colbert would say, ‘tights aren’t pants.’ You can always find things that fit, are not expensive and look great.”

BEST CELEBRITY HAIR: Robin Wright. “I loved her look in House of Cards.”

WORTH THE SPLURGE: “When I was in Tokyo I bought an Issey Miyake shirt, very strange looking, very pleated with a high-neck and long-sleeves, pointed shoulders and an almost plastic material. I love it.”

NOT WORTH THE SPLURGE: Designer makeup and expensive skin creams.

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WISH I HADN’T BOUGHT IT: “When I was working I was into brown and wide-legged pant suits. Just awful on me.”

GO-TO OUTFIT ON SATURDAY NIGHT: “Black pants and a black velvet tunic with an interesting textured shirt, a striking piece of jewelry, and black sequined flats.”

ORGANIZATION TIPS: “I organize my clothes by color. And I have them cleaned regularly.”

THE GREAT PANTYHOSE DEBATE: “I am for them, definitely. But I am against them in summer.”

INDISPENSABLE WARDROBE ITEM: Long-sleeve black turtlenecks. “My winter wardrobe.”

FASHION EVOLUTION: “I was very particular about my clothes as a child. I had weak ankles and I had to wear Buster Browns. I would take them off, hide them under the mailbox and put on my Mary Janes. For a while I kept a chart of what I wore. It was a phase. In Japan, in the 1990s, I was 5 foot 4 and wore I size 8 and there was nothing to fit me because they are so small.”

ACE ACCESSORY: Hoop earrings. “The last gift my late husband was able to pick out for me. I wear them and my wedding rings all the time.”

PANTS OR SKIRTS? Skirts.

HEELS OR FLATS? Flats, “unfortunately.”

DIAMONDS OR PEARLS? Pearls. “They show up so well against black. I had a boyfriend, a naval officer, who sent me Mikimoto pearls from Japan when I was in college. I liked him for that if no other reason.”

WHY FASHION IS IMPORTANT: “All beauty is important.”

Style Files runs weekly in Sundaylife. To suggest someone stylish to feature—your coworker, teacher, friend, relative or even yourself—please send information to stylefiles@delawareonline.com and include contact information. Pictures are super, too. Reach Eileen Smith Dallabrida at esmith@smithreports.com

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