Local Legends: The D.C. Shirt Guru Who Masters 9-to-5 Chic

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!

More from Designers

Watch

R29 Original Series

Watch Now
Documentary
Five love stories behind diverse, multicultural marriages.
Watch Now
Lifestyle
Life experiments, 5 days at a time.
Watch Now
Fashion
The style of subculture.
Watch Now
Beauty
Viral trends, tried and tested.
Watch Now
Documentary
From vibrators to lipstick, learn how your favorite products are made.
Watch Now
Documentary
Extraordinary, one-of-a-kind individuals
Watch Now
Documentary
The latest stories to watch.
Watch Now
Lifestyle
Inside the homes of millennial women — & what they paid for them
Watch Now
Comedy
Let's talk about sex, baby.
Watch Now
Documentary
Female artisans around the world
Watch Now
Politics
Made by and for smart, opinionated women.
Watch Now
Film
We helped 12 female directors claim their power.