In a city like Dallas, there is no shortage of stylish women. But these six continually impress us — not just with their attire but with their attitude, poise and influence on the fashion scene. Dallas would not be the same without them.
THE PHILANTHROPIST: Barbara Daseke
Her spiky platinum ’do isn’t the only reason Barbara Daseke stands out in a crowd. Whether she’s at a black tie gala, charity luncheon or cocktail soiree — often alongside her husband, Don, who is pictured with her here — the seasoned interior designer arrives impeccably dressed.
The president and founder of Barbara Elliott Interiors knows how to make an impression with her style. It’s a little risky but always appropriate.
“I’ve always been drawn to fashion,” she says. “I love to put fabrics and colors together. I like unusual looks with unexpected combinations. It has always come naturally to me.”
Where she shops in Dallas: Carla Martinengo, Betty Reiter, Neiman Marcus
Best fashion advice she ever received: “Don’t look like you are trying too hard.”
Words of wisdom: “It’s all about how you put it together. Be confident and try different things. I save my clothes and am always pulling something out from 10 or 20 years ago to go with something new!”
THE INNOVATOR: Amber Venz
Only 27, Amber Venz has become known around the world as one of fashion’s biggest innovators. Her rewardStyle, the fashion technology company she co-founded with her now-husband Baxter Box (pictured here), paved the way for bloggers everywhere to make a living by earning commissions on items they feature.
Fashion has been her path to success since childhood. “In middle school, I altered vintage jeans, selling frayed mini skirts to my classmates, but my true start in the industry came when I started selling my handmade jewelry to a luxury Dallas boutique in 2006,” she says.
Today, her fashion empire continues to grow, most recently with the launch of LIKEtoKNOW.it, which has offices in Dallas and London. She travels all the time but never misses a beat when it comes to her appearance. The perfectly poised Venz always looks refined, whether decked out in Asos or Alaia.
Where she shops in Dallas: Forty Five Ten, VOD, Traffic
Best fashion advice she ever received: “‘Work it.’ Sounds like a funny answer, but successfully carrying any look comes down to posture and presence. You have to commit to the look and exude confidence.”
Words of wisdom: “One, search for inspiration or a muse (if online, just search #liketkit for a stream of looks from top bloggers around the world). Two, test the styles that you love (keep the outfit mirror selfies to reference later). Three, reflect back on what worked — shapes, colors, styles — and make some decisions about what you will and will not do going forward.”
THE PRODUCER: Rhonda Sargent Chambers
This former Kim Dawson model channeled her talents into producing fashion shows when she launched RSC Show Productions nearly 14 years ago. Working with clients such as the Dallas Opera, Children’s Cancer Fund and Fashion Group International, Rhonda Sargent Chambers always looks the part.
“I began modeling when I was 15,” she says. “You kind of catch the fashion bug, trying on all those fabulous clothes. You feel you need them.”
The California native (she moved to Dallas when she was 8) is still influenced by her early years spent in Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco. “I dress more conservatively for work, but the real Rhonda is more relaxed, and there’s always a bohemian factor involved,” she says.
“My mom worked at a store called Back Street. She always had great clothes that I would borrow. I’ve kept all of her vintage stuff and collected a good amount of vintage pieces myself over the years. They always come back in style.”
Where she shops in Dallas: Clothes Circuit, Elements, Forty Five Ten, Tootsies, WoLo Boutique, Gypsy Wagon, Vintage Martini
Best fashion advice she ever received: “Carolina Herrera is like royalty; anything she says is golden. I saw her an event at Stanley Korshak, and I was wearing a Catherine Malandrino white blouse. She complimented me on it and said, ‘The best piece you could ever have is a crisp white shirt.’”
Words of wisdom: “Take time to shop. No one does this anymore, and it’s really important. Buy classic pieces in solid colors to build your wardrobe. I’m really into midnight blue right now, which is funny because I’ve never liked navy. Sometimes you have to get out of your comfort zone.”
THE BROKER: Erin Mathews
It’s no wonder the most luxurious Dallas real estate listings are often attached to the chicest broker in town. Erin Mathews, founding partner of Mathews Nichols Group and Allie Beth Allman & Associates executive vice president, knows a thing or two about shopping.
“I was working in a retail store by my 15th birthday! It’s my creative outlet,” she says. Most often seen sporting the latest by Chanel, she likes to mix things up for social events — like Bonjour Y’all at Forty Five Ten, where she is seen here with partner David Nichols.
“I dress for work every day — even on weekends,” Mathews says. “I love to follow fashion trends, but I use them to evolve my style, not to dictate it. People think I shop all of the time, but I really don’t have time. I rely on people like Angela Malone at Neiman Marcus Downtown to keep me up and running.”
Where she shops in Dallas: Neiman Marcus, Chanel, Polo
Best fashion advice she ever received: “Yesterday’s ‘too much of a good thing’ can easily move to ‘too much is never enough’ pretty quickly. Anything that [Neiman Marcus fashion director] Ken Downing tells me I take to heart! There are just certain influencers who ‘get’ your look.”
Words of wisdom: “Find a good sounding board, someone who will tell you the truth. I am a believer in buying the best you can afford. It doesn’t matter if you wear an outfit multiple days a week if it always looks amazing and you love yourself in it. I am not a believer in ‘throwaway’ fashion.”
THE DESIGNER: Nicole Musselman
We took notice of Nicole Musselman’s style long before she launched clothing line Koch, which is now in its fifth year of production and can be found at prestigious stores like Stanley Korshak and Calypso St. Barth. Musselman has an ease about her that we admire (and wish we could pull off).
Sexy tomboy is her preferred approach to fashion, so it’s only fitting that Koch is known for its masculine-meets-feminine aesthetic.
“Don’t be afraid to mix contrasting elements — a boy blazer with a flirty skirt or beautiful dressy beaded skirts with T-shirts. I think this is where the beauty in life lies, in contrasts,” she says. “Fashion is important to me because I believe any forum that promotes creativity, individuality and an outlet for expression holds value.”
Where she shops in Dallas: VOD, Stanley Korshak, Canary
Best fashion advice she ever received: “From my mom, ‘Beauty lies within the soul and mind’ and ‘show skin strategically,’ aka, ‘don’t show too much.’
Words of wisdom: “Style is about having your own point of view, embracing your body and trusting yourself. We are bombarded with images daily, and it’s easy to get caught up in a million different trends and looks and forget who we are. If you put on something and it feels good, makes you feel sexy, flirty or strong, make a note of it in your mind.”
THE RETAILER: Carla Martinengo
Modeling in Europe for designers such as Dior, Guy Laroche, Lavin and Valentino certainly contributed to this Italian beauty’s flair for high-end fashion. Carla Martinengo opened her namesake boutique after relocating to Dallas more than 30 years ago. Stocked with Balenciaga, Chloe, Dolce & Gabbana, Jil Sander, Jean Paul Gaultier and more luxurious labels, the Plaza at Preston Center gem delivers the best of the best to those who have an affinity for fine clothing with an elegant edge.
More of a fashion mentor — who’s not afraid to tell it like it is — than a fixture on the scene, Martinengo knows how to dress her well-heeled clientele.
“I have always had an appreciation for beautiful things, from nature to fashion,” she says. “You are born with taste and style. These things you cannot master unless it is meant for you.”
Words of wisdom: “Everyone has their own look, so everyone is different. Buy what you love.”