DC Style Watch: Retro Glamour

Hello family!  I hope everyone safely made it through the recent shaking up that we had around here. An earthquake in DC? Really?? SMH. Diving under my desk is bad for my stylish image. Thankfully, I’ve been able to shift my focus to something more comforting: fashion & events!

As you know, the threat of Hurricane Irene (a dramatic natural event that at least I’m familiar with being from Louisiana and all),  has pushed the ceremonial unveiling of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial to later in the fall.

It was planned to occur on Sunday to coincide with the 48th anniversary of the famous piece of American history, the “I Have a Dream” speech. I’m super thrilled that living in this area affords me the opportunity to be at historic events like this one, and I’ll have my face in the place when the time comes rain or shine.

You may have guessed, but my namesake is actually Coretta Scott King, Dr. King’s smart, talented, beautiful activist wife.

Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mrs. Coretta Scott King on their wedding day.

Dr. King and his wife, Coretta, after his release from the Birmingham jail.

My family is originally from Alabama (on both sides) and my parents grew up in the cities of Montgomery and Camden, Ala. during the Civil Rights Movement.

This year I’ve been inspired to have a “Tribute to Coretta Scott King/1960s themed” birthday event put on by yours truly of Coretta’s Elegant Events. I’ve already put out the word via Facebook and word of mouth for guests to save the date. I think I’m also going to save a tree by going with Paperless Post invites like the ones I use for Stella & Dot jewelry trunk show invitations.  Typically, I’m a Wedding Paper Divas invite girl.

I’ve started an inspiration board on pinterest.

Inspiration via Stylemepretty.com

I’m having fun getting the details together.  I’ve recently decided to add a stepper/hand dancing instructor, and there is so much help in current media to inspire me… like the movie “The Help” and AMC’s “Mad Men.”

I enjoyed the book and the movie - although, just to be clear, it isn't the blue uniform that's inspiring me, lol.

Banana Republic presents its second "Mad Men" Collection.

So here is my idea:  think classic 1960s/black & white photos/Sam Cooke playing on the radio/Jackie “O” in the White House.

Women in sheaths. Fit and flared dresses. Pearls. Gloves. Cat-eyed glasses.

Men in suits. Bow ties. Fedoras.

My namesake Coretta Scott King in pearls with Dr. King and baby Yolanda.

Stella & Dot Colette pearl & chain necklace w/ribbon tie (sweet & sassy, right?)

Pearl jewelry by Stella & Dot, inspired by Jacqueline Kennedy.

Stella & Dot Charlotte Statement Necklace (one of my favorites).

Mmm, I love me a well dressed man! Banana Republic's "Mad Men" Collection.

Another sharp ensemble from Banana Republic's "Mad Men" inspired clothing collection.

More Banana Republic designs.

One of my girlfriends, we’ll call her “Joycelyn,” was giving me a hard time about having to rent costumes and me dressing up in a pillbox hat and gloves.  Ok, I admit, I have gloves on the list (a la the sharp ensemble above), BUT, this 1960’s style is accessible and probably something you have in your closet right now.

Sheaths —  women, keep them as work staples.  Pearls — check.  Heels — done.  Add the gloves only if you want to, lol.  Just keep it simple and classic. Or you can always go all Marilyn Monroe/Dorothy Dandridge/Elizabeth Taylor movie star glam with it, too.

I’m sorta feeling these inspiration pics for me:

ABS party dress from Saks.

C'mon now! Gotta LOVE this! via stylepantry.com

Stella & Dot Sofia Pearl Bib Statement Necklace (pure drama).

DC on Heels indeed! via Stylemepretty.com

The location for the event is the Josephine Butler Parks Center overlooking Meridian Hill/Malcolm X Park (you should read about its inspiring namesake). It’s a former embassy mansion originally built to house the U.S. Vice President and it’s gorgeous!  I first visited the site for a Capital Cause networking and philanthropy event and I knew then that Coretta’s Elegant Events had  to do an event there. I’m excited about this one! What do you think?  Leave me a note below, but remember comments are moderated and will take a few minutes to appear.

Your mission: Update your wardrobe by paying homage to the past. Try a double strand of pearls with your sheath and heels, or with your jeans and casual shirt. Just keep it simple, stylish & classic.  That’s timeless style.

Your jewelry girl,

Coretta, Stella & Dot Independent Stylist






P.S. — Check out your DC on Heels “bloggers-in-chief” below. Vanessa and Markette are “frosted” in Stella & Dot jewelry at the recent Ink Cosmetics launch party.  Smokin’!

DC on Heels in Stella & Dot Jewelry @ Ink Cosmetics launch party.

About the Author
  1. Carmel

    Girl you are truly amazing! I love how you come up with these events and posts. I would love to attend your event – sounds like so much fun!!!

  2. Coretta Johnson Gray

    Well thanks Carmel! I do my best! I’d love for you to attend the event, I plan for it to be one very good time.

  3. erica

    Those images are beautiful! Coretta you are right, everyone should have a simple sheth dress in their closet! A pencil skirt and a shell top will work too. And I see ladies rocking the cigarette pants everyday! Speaking of cigarettes, ladies let’s not get to carried away w/ the lifestyle…..no smoking while preggers!! LOL!

    But seriously, listen to Coretta, she has great fashion advice!


  4. Coretta Johnson Gray

    Thanks for the feedback Erica!! You are so right about the pencil skirt and shell top. And please, no Mad Men bad behavior, lol! Thanks for stopping by!

  5. cejpmd

    Enjoyed the retro feature. I didn’t know about Banana Republic retro-inspired line. Nice!

  6. Coretta Johnson Gray

    Thanks cejpmd! The Banana Republic line has some nice pieces! Caution, I find they look better on your body than in some of the ads so don’t be dissuaded. Perhaps a tad overpriced but there was one dress that I couldn’t live without. I “might” have gotten have gotten a couple of pieces, lol!

  7. Victoria Steele

    Can’t wait to see the Banana Republic MadMen line of clothing. I love the elegnace of years gone by. Bring back the style of women wearing gloves…Thank you for sharing the great photos of your namesake, Coretta!

  8. Coretta Johnson Gray

    Victoria, the line is in stores and online now, when you get a chance, check it out. I’m a sucker for a classic myself, including the gloves. And I love me some Coretta Scott King, of course!! Wish I could have met her before her passing. I’m hoping to get one of her books autographed by one or more of her children one day!

  9. Alicia

    Fabulous post indeed! I adore your pinterest vision board. So wish I could be there to celebrate! Mrs. King would be so proud. Hoo-rah.

  10. Coretta Johnson Gray

    Hoo-rah indeed!! (Air Force baby!) Thank you Alicia, I can’t wait to see how the reality matches the vision and you should definitely celebrate with me in spirit! I can only hope Mrs. King would feel proud – I’m certainly proud to carry her name.

  11. Max


    I agree that you can’t go wrong with a pencil skirt and a shell. Such a classic look! I also add a strand of pearls to complete the look. Pearls are timeless and always seem to pull an outfit together.

  12. Coretta Johnson Gray

    Agreed Max. It’s a classic look that never goes out of style! Thanks for stopping by!!