The TEll// By Thrift & Tell
Welcome to THE TELL//BY THRIFT & TELL: a celebration of fashionable women who dress as smart as they shop.
This week’s guest on THE TELL// is Marjie Billings, interior designer and principal of Billings Design Studio. For more than two years, she has been building her design firm with clients both in DC and throughout the country. As you will see below, Marjie mixes patterns and textures to create homes that are tailored yet approachable. Her closet, like her home, is filled with unique, modern, and clean pieces from emerging, new designers. She has impeccable taste and is truly one of the most well dressed women I know.
Beyond being an excellent designer, Marjie is a friend; we went to all-girl’s Catholic school together for 13 years! (I have a distinct memory of dragging Marjie to Loehman’s (RIP) and Filene’s Basement (double RIP) in middle school. Yes, I was born thrifty!) In our adult lives, we encourage each other as we navigate our creative ventures, whether that is sending new podcast recommendations back and forth, building a website (Marjie saved me from the bowels of Squarespace hell and helped me edit this website,) or talking through how to price our services appropriately.
I love sharing stories on The Tell of both the women that you already know and others you don’t know yet, and Marjie is a talent to watch! She has been a loyal supporter of Thrift & Tell since the beginning and I am thrilled to have her be part of this series. Enjoy!
//Your style in 3 words: Confident, Easy and Flattering.
//Staple Outfit: Maybe it’s years and years of Catholic school, but I still love a uniform for my day-to-day. My job is a lot of lugging/schlepping/dusty jobsites, so a simple and chic outfit makes things easy. My work uniform is blue or black jeans, a white T shirt, and my white or tan Frye sneakers.
//Your First Big Purchase: My first big purchase was a home item – when I lived out in San Francisco, I bought this amazing chair from a second hand store and recovered it in this navy zebra fabric. It went with everything and was so cool.
//Do You Still Have It? Ugh, no! It traveled with me to all my apartments - from SF to Boston to NYC to D.C. and I sold it on Craigslist about a year ago. RIP.
//Best Fashion Advice You Ever Received: Always have your nails done – no matter what you’re wearing, it makes you look pulled together. Having your nails done is kind of like painting your house – it is the easiest and most inexpensive way to elevate your style/home.
//Types of clothing you invest in: I always feel good investing in great coats – it’s the only thing people see in the winter! In 2006 my mom bought me a Moncler before I went to college in Vermont (brr). I wear it all the time and it still looks amazing.
//Types of clothing you save on: Beach cover-ups. Between sunscreen and chlorine, I feel like they always get trashed.
//Your greatest extravagance: Coloring my hair.
//Brands That Will Stand the Test of Time: A love a brand like Missoni. It is a little funky and colorful, but the styles are so classic they will last for years and years.
//Favorite High-Low Brands to Mix: For home décor, I love World Market and Home Goods - I can always find something in there to use for styling photo shoots or different projects. I also have luck at H&M for fun home pieces – especially for tabletop.
//Favorite Places to Shop Consignment: Again, more home... but Chairish is so addicting. There are amazing finds on there that are very reasonably priced. I also religiously comb Craigslist for home stuff. Rarely do I pull the trigger, but I enjoy the hunt.
//Favorite Places to Consign Your Own Closet: Poshmark! Thrift and Tell made me do it!
//Currently Collecting Dust in the Back of your Closet: Long Skirts. They do absolutely nothing for my body type. Pants are much, much better on me.
//Most prized possession: My mom’s Cartier watch.
//Best investment you ever made in your style: Figuring out what looks good on me. As someone who is 5’10”, it took me a long time to realize that what looks good on my 5’1” friend isn’t always going to translate well onto my body type.
//Style Choice From Your Past That Haunts You: Ugh anything I ever wore in college.
//“It seemed like a good idea at the time” a.k.a Purchase you most regret: Anything that just doesn’t make me feel good. If it doesn’t fit well, it shows sweat, or it wrinkles, I always find a reason to not wear it and I hate that.
//Advice to someone looking to define their own style: Start to zero in on what you gravitate towards. Pinterest is amazing for this – especially with home décor. You may not think you have a style, but when you look at your boards, themes really start to emerge.
//Trend you wish would go way? For home, it’s that same farmhouse chic living room we’ve all seen 35,000 times on Instagram. For clothing, super cropped jeans! I am the only person who wants this… but everything cropped is too short for my legs!
//Occasions when you splurge: My rehearsal dinner outfit - I’m on the hunt!
//Occasions when you save: I really don’t like to spend a ton of money on beachwear – I feel like it gets trashed after one season.
//Home Decor Style: My approach to my home is very similar to my approach to clothing – its always a mix. I don’t really feel confined to certain styles/rules. If I like it and it looks good, I go with it. I like rooms to look layered and lived in. I heard Alexa Hampton say that she likes a home to look “stuffed” – I loved that!
//Favorite place to hunt for home decor: Etsy, Craigslist and Chairish.
//Your fashion motto: Look good, feel good.
//Your life motto: My mom used to remind me to “always maintain a little mystery!
Fill in the blank:
//A woman should invest in- her home! //You’re never too old to— do what you love. //A woman can never have too many— hoop earrings. //Bury me in- nothing – I hope my future children and siblings have all my cool hand me downs! // True or False: More is More- in a home, True! //Fashion is- cyclical. //Style is: personal.
//Music: Maggie Rogers – going to her concert in a few weeks and can’t wait!
//Print: I will always love reading the NYT Style Section and wedding announcements.
//Food: Trader Joes Crack Cheese. LOL. What is this actually called? [Editor’s Note: it is called Délice de Bourgogne and is dangerously good.]
//Film: I want to see The Favourite after Olivia Colman’s adorable acceptance speech!
//TV: Poldark – it may be a poor man’s Downton Abbey, but it is amazing.
//Podcast: What We Wore – its new, but Laura Vinroot Poole has such good taste, I am sure it is going to be amazing.
//Designer: @retrouvai – such cool jewelry!
Marjie Billings is the principal of Billings Design Studio. While living in New York City, Marjie found herself helping friends style their apartments, spending Saturdays searching for the ideal accent piece, and perfecting the art of organization. In 2017, she decided to take her passion full-time and now serve clients throughout the country. Billings Design Studio is all about helping clients create homes they love. Whether you’re looking for full-service interior styling, a quick refresh, or an organizational jumpstart, Marjie can help transform your home into a space that reflects your unique taste and fits your lifestyle.
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