UPDATE: This story was originally published on November 27.
It should go without saying that we have tons of respect for fashion industry leaders — the designers, editors, and stylists we all know and love — but, we get equally amped about spotting young talent. So, when we first spied Tamika Wilkins out and about, we developed an insta-girlcrush. When the 23-year-old stunner isn't working as a shopgirl at Georgetown vintage boutique Tari, she's sketching out designs for a future fashion line, moonlighting as a model and stylist, and maintaining her personal blog. Busy busy, huh?
Well, we spent a sunny fall afternoon with Wilkins, who showed off four of her favorite looks — from leather pants and killer shades to prized vintage and stellar baubles — and gave us the inside scoop on her well-rounded aesthetic. Click through to meet this up-and-coming style guru and nab some of her chic secrets for yourself.
Photographed by Dominique Fierro
Describe your sense of style.
"I would describe my sense of style as 'versatile simplicity.' I'm all about those pieces that can be dressed up or down. I don't really like to over-dress. In my eyes, less is more."
Vintage leather jacket, Mink Pink top, thrifted vintage earrings and necklace.
What are your most favorite pieces in your closet?
"My favorite pieces currently would have to be the faux leather pants I got from ASOS, a pair of gold vintage pants I got from Mila & Fire, and my oversized drapey tees from Uban Outfitters."
Mila & Fire vintage pants, Steve Madden heels.
Where do you find inspiration for your style?
"I get a lot of inspiration from other style blogs, Tumblr, magazines, the street — all over. My favorite source of inspiration would be going to Fashion Week in NYC and just people-watching. Everyone looks amazing."
Nasty Gal sunglasses.
Where do you like to shop in D.C.? And online?
"I love shopping at Tari boutique in Georgetown — it's a great consignment shop, plus I work there. Via Gypset, a new boutique that just opened in Woodley Park, has some amazing pieces, and so does Meeps in Adams Morgan. Online, I like to shop Zara, Topshop, ASOS, and DSW."
Up Against the Wall cardigan, Zara top, Silence & Noise pants, Zara bag, and C Label booties.
What was your most recent style purchase?
"A vintage accordion-pleated gold maxi skirt that I plan on wearing for New Year's, maybe."
Bisoux Jewelry necklace, bracelets from a mall kiosk.
Gorgeous hair, glowing skin, and a killer sense of style? We're jealous.
Thrifted vintage blazer, H&M shirt, ASOS leather leggings.
What's the best trick you've picked up on the job as a stylist?
"Those mini industrial clamps and safety pins work all types of wonders!"
Thrifted vintage clutch.
What's it like working with an independent fashion designer?
"It's great! I've learned so much about the fashion industry. Learning the business from inside out has been one of the most rewarding experiences. I also can't forget designing garments for our last collection that were produced — it was a great accomplishment for me."
If this look hasn't convinced you to try leather leggings yet, we give up!
Elegant but still youthful, Tamika's personal style is a perfect mix of uptown polish and downtown edge.
Butler & Claypool vintage coat, Urban Renewal dress (worn as a top), Zara skirt, Aldo pumps.
Let's talk about fashion disasters — are there any trends that you'd never try?
"I would never ever try the skirt-over-pants thing — it's just not me. I get the whole idea and everything, but it's totally not my style."
Bracelets from Current Boutique and Buffalo Exchange.
The fact that Wilkins scores most of her favorite pieces at thrift stores and consignment boutiques proves that great style doesn't have to cost a lot.