In a town filled with lawyers and lobbyists, we know a thing or two about professional dress codes — and the struggles that come with them, like sprinting to meetings in pencil skirts and navigating sidewalk grates in skinny-heeled pumps. So, we're pretty taken with the story of Rochelle Behrens, a D.C. local who is slowly building an empire off of her exasperation with traditional work clothes. The short story? Behrens channeled her irritation with ill-fitting button-up shirts and launched her own line — simply called The Shirt — with the mission of creating a blouse that doesn't gape open between the buttons.
We were already fans of Behrens' pretty, feminine tops, and, after snagging a one-on-one chat, we dig her even more. This gal is a real go-getter — she's attracted famous fans (think Oprah and the cast of E! News), patented a few fashion inventions, and landed her product in stores from Connecticut to California — all by the time she turned 29. The former Washington insider (she was a White House intern and a lobbyist) gave us the inside scoop on her seemingly overnight success, what she misses about the Hill, and how you (yes, you!) can achieve your dreams — read on!
Photographed by Maria Carey