Geri Covington

Location: Philadelphia, PA
Age: 50
Marital Status: Married
Education: Hampton University, Virginia

Are you from Philly?

I’m from Baltimore. I’ve been here for four years.

What do you do?

I was in advertising and marketing most of my career, but now I work on the fundraising committees for several different organizations. Project Home is one of them.

Where did you go to school?

I went to Hampton in Virginia, which is an historical black school.

You’re married?

I got married at 23. We’ve been married 27 years.

How did you meet your husband?

We both had internships the same summer in New York. I was in retailing and he was in banking. He’s still in banking.

You have one child?

One child, she’s 21. She graduated from Northwestern this year and is working in marketing at an agency in New York City.

Define your style.

To me it’s first style and then fashion. I’d say my style is urban, out of the box…. conservative/funky. I just know how to put things together.

Joan says you have a high fashion eye but you always make the look your own. Did you always have this eye?

Always. My mother used to say she never knew what I’d show up in. I’ve always felt that clothing is a form of self-expression–like art.

What or who influenced you to be that way?

I’m open to people, cultures, diversity, ideas and I think that’s how I am with clothes. I remember seeing Jackie Kennedy on TV when I was 5 years old. She always had great clothes and pulled together looks. My mother, whenever she was going somewhere, even to the grocery store, always looked pulled together. But she’s very by the rules. I don’t think there are rules to fashion.

Also, living in New York City and Chicago after college had a huge influence on my sense of life experiences, people, culture, art, fashion and style. Major. Huge.

Why do you love Joan Shepp?

There is no other shop like it. I have lived in four cities and I think she has her own distinctive style and mix and a phenomenal eye. It’s like looking for treasure, but you don’t have to look hard.

Who are your favorite designers?

I really like Ann Demeulemeester. I love her shoes, her shapes, her sense of fun. It’s almost like poking fun at yourself, and yet it’s very serious. You have to have a strong sense of self and statement to wear her. Also, Balenciaga and Watanabe—the way they shape clothes around a woman’s body.

How about jewelry?

John Wind is somebody that Joan has been supporting for a long time. I love him.

Do you have a signature piece?

Probably this Elsa Peretti bangle from Tiffany. You can stack it with anything. I love the shape.

What’s your last favorite book that you read?

The Poisonwood Bible. I absolutely loved it. It’s about a family of missionaries in the 1960s who leave their home in Georgia and go to Africa. They bring seeds with the intention of teaching the people how to farm, but the seeds won’t grow. In the end, the missionaries learn, even though they intended to teach. It was an Oprah Book Club pick years ago and I’ll never forget how Oprah featured guests who had lived missionary lives as children in Africa. They said the book could’ve been their life story, even though it was fiction.

What’s your favorite restaurant in Philadelphia?

Melograno. It’s Italian–easy, casual and comfortable but phenomenal food. The owner, Luca is from Tuscany. And I love Amada. The owner, Chef Jose Garces just won Iron Chef. It’s all tapas so you don’t have to eat a whole meal of one taste. I love mixing it up. I mix up clothes, friends, food…

What about a favorite wine?

Jackson-Triggs Riesling Icewine or Inniskillen.

What’s your signature perfume?

Jo Malone. I like the Amber & Lavender, and the Tuberose.

What about your beauty routine?

I’m using Valmont right now. I use their whole line. I also love Armani lipstick. It feels soft and easy and doesn’t chap my lips.

How do you rejuvenate?

By reading, reflecting and exercising.

Do you have a secret favorite spot in Philadelphia?

The Riverfront Recreational Path. You can walk, bike, rollerblade. It goes all the way up through Philadelphia and past the boathouses. You see all kinds of people on that path. It’s urban culture, and that’s what I love about Joan Shepp–urban living and fashion all in the same box. And style. Let’s not forget style.

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