BYT's Svetlana Legetic Shows Us Her D.C.

To say we admire Svetlana Legetic is an understatement — the stylish, creative, and super-savvy cofounder of Brightest Young Things could easily claim the title of "coolest woman in Washington." After launching the site as a bare-bones nightlife blog in 2006, Legetic, a native of Serbia and graduate of SCAD, has since turned it into a digital empire, ruling the D.C. party scene by simultaneously covering what's happening and staging wildly popular parties under the BYT banner.
Now, with a staff of eight full-time employees and a recent expansion to New York City, it's safe to say that Legetic's future is, well, pretty bright. We tagged along with the leggy architect-turned-entrepreneur for a full day of exploring her favorite local hotspots. From concerts to books to world-class art, this is one awesome handpicked agenda. Click through to start the tour.
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Photographed by Kate Warren.
Tell us a bit about what motivated you to launch Brightest Young Things.
"When I first moved to D.C. after college, it took me A WHILE to uncover all the awesome things I could be doing that were not necessarily listed in the mainstream/print press. I used to take photos of those events/parties/etc., and me and a couple of my friends at the time thought, 'Wouldn't it be amazing if there was an event calendar attached to the photo site, where people could find out where to go and not just see the recaps?' I will be the first one to admit I had no idea where that was going to take us.

Vintage dress, Gap jacket.
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Photographed by Kate Warren.
Inside Dupont Circle's Kramerbooks, one of Legetic's favorite spots to stock up on quality reads.
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Photographed by Kate Warren.
You mentioned you read eight books while on vacation recently, and you've chosen Kramerbooks as one of your favorite places. What are some of your favorite books?
"I know it is not a particularly popular thing to say, but I am a big fan of the novel. (Everyone I know responds to this with, 'I just read historical non-fiction.') I think a well-written, beautiful piece of literature is one of the greatest things you can spend some time with. Most recently, I loved Kate Atkinson's Life After Life and Jess Walters' Beautiful Ruins, but some of my all-time favorites are The Virgin Suicides, One Hundred Years of Solitude, Secret History, You Must Be This Happy To Enter, and anything by either Martin Amis or Nancy Mitford. (She should be mandatory reading for all Refinery29 readers, IMO)."
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Photographed by Kate Warren.
Anything you're planning to read this fall?
"Right now, I am reading Night Film by Marissa Pessl and it is very fun, like a David Lynch mystery. Also, cannot wait for the new Donna Tartt book. CANNOT WAIT. And my scared, inner 12-year-old will probably totally dive into Stephen King's Dr. Sleep, which is his sequel to The Shining.
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Photographed by Kate Warren.
How has the business evolved since you started it?
"At first, it was just a handful of friends, and we mainly focused on music and, well, parties, in terms of coverage. Now we cover 'nothing useful, but everything that can make your life better in the District,' including film, style, fine art, theater, food, and gay culture. There are dozens of contributors and hundreds of thousands of monthly readers; our events have grown from a few hundred to thousands of attendees; and last year, we launched in New York, which was scary, but ultimately a fantastic experience/the right decision."

Uniqlo shirt, H&M skirt, vintage tassel necklace from Legendary Beast, bracelet from South America, Nine West shoes.
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Photographed by Kate Warren.
Of the many restaurants on 14th and U, your favorite is Cafe Saint-Ex. Why is that?
"I just have a lot of feelings and memories attached to it. I met a lot of my good friends there. While we were between offices, I used to just hang out there and work (I've never been much of a coffee-shop person). I've interviewed future BYT employees there, and spent many a summer day having champagne cocktails for inappropriate amounts of time. It feels pretty close to home for me."
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Photographed by Kate Warren.
Give us a sense of your personal style — what does your closet look like?
"A lot of dresses. I am 6'1" in my bare feet, and definitely not tiny in any way (be it hair or my shoulders), and it took some awkward years of trying on stuff to get to where I am now, both in terms of knowing what fits and general confidence.

I do love to either completely play down my presence or very much play it up. So, as a result, the closet has a lot of both menswear button-ups and shrunken jackets, but also a lot of sequins, color, weird volume, and pattern. One thing it doesn't have is black. I really don't wear very much black at all. My neutrals are always navy, cream, gray..."

Bobbi Brown Lip Color in Red, $25, available at Bobbi Brown.
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Photographed by Kate Warren.
What's a typical "Svetlana" look?
"Once fall hits, I will pretty much wear skinny jeans, a chambray or menswear button-up, and a jacket with a statement necklace every day, all day. During the warmer months, I am almost exclusively in dresses and shorts, and I try to have my clothes not touch me as much as possible. Diane Sawyer once described herself getting dressed as 'picking out whatever is clean and the least scratchy,' and I subscribe to that theory.

In general, I tend to dress as a relatively young man or as a very grown woman. (Anjelica Huston and Lauren Hutton are my number-one inspirations: tall, sane, a little intimidating, but all woman.) Beauty-wise: Some state of tan; lots of messy hair; very tidy, colorful nails; and statement lips. I still don't know how to put anything on my eyes aside from mascara."
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Photographed by Kate Warren.
We could hardly believe that Legetic's colorful printed skirt was H&M and not a vintage score. It was a gift from a fellow fashion-loving girlfriend.
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Photographed by Kate Warren.
Do you have a favorite order at Saint-Ex?
"I used to live on the sweet potato fries and this "Bees in a Beer" drink (which is Wild Turkey + IPA + a stick of honey). They just changed the menu, and anything involving salmon is a number-one pick."
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Photographed by Kate Warren.
Why is the Phillips Collection's Rothko room one of your favorite spots to spend time?
"It is just a perfect art room. Peaceful, beautifully balanced, never crowded, almost meditative. All the paintings in it are gorgeous, but together, in that room, they're greater than a simple sum of their parts."

Hache dress from Muleh, Nine West shoes.
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Photographed by Kate Warren.
Where do you see BYT in five years? Ten years?
"The goal is really to grow it as both a magazine, a lifestyle brand, and an events production/experiential marketing company in multiple cities. We have D.C., we have NYC; next is probably Chicago and then the West Coast. Everything takes a touch longer because we are completely self-financed from our profits — no investors thus far. So the growth is more organic than explosive, but we like it."

Tom Ford Beauty Lip Color in Black Orchid.
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Photographed by Kate Warren.
Dream-situation question: If you could pick one piece (or type) of art to have in your own home, what kind of pieces would you choose?
"This is almost impossible to pick, but I am a huge fan of large-scale photography or light fantasy. So, a huge print by Marilyn Minter or a whole wall of airy cakes and clouds by Will Cotton."
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Photographed by Kate Warren.
What do you like about Treasury? Do you have a favorite purchase from the store?
"The dress I'm wearing in these pictures is one of my absolute favorite finds from there. I went to a British Embassy Christmas party last year and I got to meet the Downton Abbey cast, so I like to joke that it is pretty much the most important dress in my life.

What I like about Treasury is that, unlike some more traditional vintage stores, it really carries clothes that [you can make your own]. It is vintage for smart people — and often enough, tall people. (Which, as we all know, is the rarest find of all.)"
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Photographed by Kate Warren.
How does your background as an architect play into what you do today, if at all?
"I think architecture is one of the most useful educations a person can get. You legitimately exercise both sides of your brain at all times; learn about everything from physics to the psychology of how people live; and the discipline you gain from studying it and practicing it is amazing. It is perfect conditioning training for starting your own business. Also, with our events, we work a lot on transforming spaces, and I love that. It is sort of like architecture without too many construction rules."

Vintage dress from Treasury.
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Photographed by Kate Warren.
A display of gorgeous vintage treasures — hello, Gucci sandals! — inside Treasury.
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Photographed by Kate Warren.
We can't resist the shop's dirt-cheap selection of vintage dead-stock rings, and neither can this lovely lady.
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Photographed by Kate Warren.
A parting glance at the rings from Lithics, the shop's in-house jewelry collection.
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Photographed by Kate Warren.
How divine is this vintage dress, and Legetic's Veronica Lake-inspired waves? She frequents The Shop Salon in Bethesda for her chic-meets-messy locks.

Nine West shoes.
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Photographed by Kate Warren.
A pretty selection of vintage hats and a to-die-for tulle dress at Treasury.
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Photographed by Kate Warren.
What was the last show you saw at 9:30 Club?
"Last show I saw was Father John Misty a few months back. I sort of wish I was seeing a show there every week."

Madewell shirt, vintage shorts from Meeps, Ivanka Trump shoes.
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Photographed by Kate Warren.
A closer look at one of Legetic's many statement necklaces.

Anthropologie necklace.
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Photographed by Kate Warren.
Any favorite memories from seeing shows here?
"One of my first shows I saw in D.C. was here — M.I.A. opened for LCD Soundsystem, and everything changed. We also did closing night for our first big event production, Bentzen Ball, with Sarah Silverman here in 2009. Now we're coming full circle and doing opening night of 2013's Bentzen Ball here on October 10."

Maybelline ColorSensational lipstick in Lavender Voltage.
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Photographed by Kate Warren.
Seriously, how do you get your legs to look so insane? Tons of squats?
"Well, being 6'1" helps, because you have the length taken care of out of the gate. Also, while I really don't traditionally exercise, I do walk everywhere and bike a lot, and my mother and my grandmother both had the best pair of legs you've ever seen. (I probably don't want you to see them, since they make mine look positively average.) Also, I am a big fan of the Michael Kors leg shine. It is discreet and makes your legs look and feel rich (not moisturized, necessarily — just coated in money)."
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Photographed by Kate Warren.
We're really into Legetic's blue-on-blue ensemble — the perfect comfortable-yet-cute outfit for a concert.
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