Who’s that Girl? Lady Mary – as a Blonde! + Gatsby Lawn Party TIME

Who’s That Girl? Could it be — Lady Mary as a blonde?!
(Michelle Dockery filming Good Behavior in Downtown Wilmington)
Photo: Jess James

There is someting to the whole The SECRET philosophy – setting an intention and going confidently in that direction. The crazy thing is, if you continue to visualize “it” happening, a lot of times the universe actually does provide.

On October 4th, I posted on Facebook that I had a dream that Michelle Dockery (Lady Mary of Downton Abbey who is in Wilmington filming a pilot) was relaxing on a blanket at the Gatsby Lawn Party.

Shortly after, a film industry veteran Francine DeCoursey touched base to let me know she had a good friend high up in the ranks on Michelle’s pilot “Good Behavior,” and would be happy to pass along an invite for Michelle to indeed attend.

I put together a thoughtful, hand-written note to Michelle on one of my vintage VOGUE postcards featuring a chic 1920’s era Lady Mary wannabe in lawn party attire attached to my event postcard. I met Francine inside one of the tour buses downtown she is currently launching and figured it was in fate’s hands from that point forward.


Two nights ago, my building manager at 21 Market (Style Girl Vintage headquarters) I.M. told me that we had gotten a notice alerting the tenants that Good Behavior would be filming out front of the building that evening.

I convinced Joel to go downtown only with the promise of going to Bar Local, my next-door-neigbor wine bar I’ve been meaning to visit. If there was red tape, I figured we could get through the barricade by insisting I needed to get upstairs to my studio. I promised we would not spend hours waiting and seeing. We would go downtown when I felt the pull to go (since I had no idea what time filming was taking place) and that if nothing else, we would share a glass of wine.

I wore my cream silk jumpsuit that I had on all day with a nude colored turban (since I did not feel like styling my hair). We parked the car a block from my studio (across from Pin Point) and instantly felt a rush looking up at a rigged overhead light and fog machine ahead of us. Yessss, the film industry along the Cape Fear still breathes.


Vintage white silk jumpsuit from Second Skin Vintage with neutral
accesories and the piece de resistance – a signature (nude) turban.
Had to have at least one nod to the 20’s!


We were on the corner of Front & Market when I noticed a beautiful blonde girl looking right at me with a big smile. Our eyes met and I racked my brain trying to place her. I knew she looked familiar. Maybe a local model? Someone new to town I met only once before? Nahh, she was too striking to forget. As I looked around her, I took note of the ambiguous barricade of “handlers” with ear mics. That’s when it hit me. That’s her – Michelle Dockery! Only, she is blonde – and HOT! I tried to nonchalantly take a few pictures on my phone when the woman at my right said apogetically, “Sorry, there’s no photos allowed on set.”

I couldn’t believe how open and vulnerable she was. The extras mingled with “real people” on their way to The Liquid Room for their next drink. As I debated how I might go about approaching her as she waited on the sidewalk for her next cue, I noticed that a new dresser – someone I actually know! – had arrived at her side!

Shortly after, I saw Michelle peeking around a guy in between us smiling and looking directly at what appeared to be… ME?! It was one of those classic moments when you are so tempted to look behind you. Maybe I did? It all happened so fast, I can’t quite remember.

Then, she smiled again and without looking back, I made a beeline for her and Erin. She immediately said in an amazing British accent, “I just LOVE your outfit!” I told her how excited I was to meet her and how happy we are to have her in town. She told me again that she loved what I was wearing and said something about hearing that I was the “style queen” in town. Oh My God. Is this even for real? Am I dreaming??? Pinch me, please!

I immediately was reminded of the night I met Gwyneth Paltrow outside Manna and started imaginging my voice sounding almost like I was outside of my body, listening to myself speak. “I’ve been hoping to run into you so that I could invite you to this Gatsby Lawn Party I’m having on Saturday – “

I told her I would give her a postcard with all the details if she had a place to put it. She suggested her “prop purse” but hoped that she would remember to take it out. I also relayed that her parents had recently visited the shop of one of our Gatsby sponsors, Elizabeth’s in The Cotton Exchange.

“I was hoping to invite you all to come as my guests.”

She said she remembered her parents mentioning trying on hats at Elizabeth’s, before they left town. “But my sister is here so maybe we can stop by!”

Right then, another member of the crew came up to say it was time. By then, I was walking on air – only a few more steps to Bar Local.

We watched take after take as Michelle, in a crisp white mini dress with slahes of gold, crossed the street clutching her “prop purse” in front of Kilwin’s, Caprice and then into the shadows towards the river, her blonde hair shining. She caught my gaze one more time, and we waved.

(Not) just another night in Wilmywood. And that (my Facebook friends, hint), is my “something special.”

Hope to see you on the lawn, Saturday! Fingers crossed, Michelle too.



Individual Bring-Your-Own Picnic tickets are $40
Picnic-for-Two by Little Pond Caterers (pictured above)
includes lunch for two, bottle of wine, 2 glasses, linen napkins, plates + silverware
(you get to keep the picnic basket, utensils are to be returned at end of picnic)
+ 2 tickets to the Lawn Party for $99

Deadline to purchase Picnic-for-Two tickets
on www.stylegirljessjames.com
is Friday October 16th at 6pm.


* favorite vintage blanket –
crochet, lace, cotton
(very important since this will be your seating!)
* trash bag to open up and place under blanket
to keep it clean & dry
* water! Stay hydrated
* folding chairs if you don’t want to lounge on the grass
* Pitcher for juice, lemonade or iced tea
* See Whole Foods for Stewart’s Sodas, bottled sparkling lemonade & orangeade
* Trader Joe’s Geyser orangeade soda, pink lemonade soda, etc. Remember that bottles with ceramic stoppers can be cleaned and re-used year after year.
* Sunblock – the lawn is mostly shaded but its best to have it just in case!
* Ziplock bags for leftovers + paper towels or fabric napkins
* wine cork for your wine
* your dancing shoes!



We will not only have prizes for the “Best Dressed” at the Gatsby Lawn Party next Sat but also a special prize for Best Picnic Display! Winning picnic takes home this vintage brass pressure gauge on custom mount from Gatsby Lawn Party Sponsor En Vie Interiors by Melanie Bowe.
( Value: $195)

Picnic swag not required, but isn’t that part of the FUN?!



Spots are filling up quickly over at Beauty Bar Boutique for the exclusive “Daisy” look inspired by our Gatsby Lawn Party editorial for style girl “FASHION FIX”. Book your “Daisy” via the ‪#‎b3stylebar for‬ October 17th – 15 minutes, $20! (They will have Gatsby rhinestone headbands for sale for $5 or you can bring your own.)



Rove & Roam tie (handmade locally) from Bloke.



Vintage beaded flower handbag ($98 value)
+ vintage white gloves ($28 value)
from A Second Time Around


Vintage-inspired straw flapper cloche ($75 value)
from Elizabeth’s Tres Chic





Need a finishing touch for your Gatsby Lawn Party look?
These gorgeous one-of-a-kind
hand-dyed, hand-painted 100% silk kimonos just arrived at Ziabird!


As long as we don’t need our rain date (Sunday Oct 18th) for the Lawn Party (weather man says clear sunny skies and 70 degrees – yayyy!), you can find me with my fun downtown neighbors slinging summer clearance items from Style Girl Vintage!


Gatsby Lawn Party Fashion Editorial
Photo: Bella Rose / Styling: Jess James
Hair + Makeup: Beauty Bar Boutique
Attire for sale at A Second Time Around; Vintage lavender hat from Elizabeth’s


Esther Jean star headpiece, stylist’s own Esther Jean flapper headpieces – coming soon to Style Girl Vintage!





Graphic Design: Lindsey Pruitt







Vintage fur wrap available at A Second Time Around




Guys, be on the lookout for a good boater hat to wear!
(I snagged this one for Joel a year ago at The Box Office)




Dress + Hat from Elizabeth’s (at The Cotton Exchange)



Dress, Hat, Pearls, Handbag – all from Elizabeth’s
Velvet shawl with beaded fringe from Style Girl Vintage






Earrings + crochet gloves from A Second Time Around
Opera glasses from The Box Office



Josh’s attire from A Second Time Around


Attire from A Second Time Around
Black embroidered piano shawl from The Box Office
Green silk turban, stylist’s own







Dress from Elizabeth’s
Alligator bag from A Second Time Around
Headpiece + 1920’s belt, stylist’s own


Hat (right) + necklace from Elizabeth’s
Fur wrap, A Second Time Around




Putting on a few finishing touches


Lisa always doing whatever it takes to get the shot!
(photo: Jess James)


Gotta get in some Instagram action
(Follow along at @stylegirljj)


(photo: Jess James)







Pre-Gatsby Lawn Party
@ James Zisa Attorneys

Cheers to the Pre-Gatsby Lawn Party SHOP + SIP at
Gatsby Lawn Party Sponsor James Zisa Attorneys,
Family Law for WOMEN


After we transformed James Zisa Attorneys’ office into a girlie pop-up boutique, a group shot was in order! Joel Finsel of Astral Cocktails, Meredith and Amanda of A Second Time Around, Joan Denning Smith and Arlene of Elizabeth’s Tres Chic and Jim Zisa and Sara Graves of JZA.


L: Gatsby Lawn Party Sponsor / Family Law Attorney Jim Zisa
R: Trying on one of my favorite Esther Jean designs (sold!)

(photos above: Sara Graves)


One of my all-time favorite babes Juliana Williams looking like the cat’s pajamas
in a vintage-inspired flapper dress & turban from A Second Time Around (sold!)
With Hope Henderson ultra chic in her modern black jumpsuit.


We styled The British Taxi’s Rosemary Burke in two completely different #GatsbyGirl looks. Doesn’t she look darling?!

L: Joan, the owner of Elizabeth’s Tres Chic, adjusting her gorgeous dress on Rosemary. Esther Jean headpiece (sold!) from Style Girl Vintage, lucite handbag & pearls from A Second Time Around.
R: Rosemary wearing a vintage restyled dress from Style Girl Vintage, cloche from Elizabeth’s, embroidered clutch and necklace from A Second Time Around. ALL still up for grabs, ladies!


Beautiful Lawn / Garden Party Hats from Elizabeth’s


Teamwork: Jess representing the SHOP + Joel representing the SIP
in our Pre-Gatsby Lawn Party SHOP + SIP at James Zisa Attorneys office.


Jim Zisa with David Hitchcock, Creative Director at Focus on the Coast, throwing gang signs
and comparing tat sleeves. Got to throw some testosterone into the mix with all these ladies!


Girls Just Wanna Have Fun!

L: Hope and Maddie both wearing vintage dresses from Style Girl Vintage (white one sold to Maddie!) with a black rhinestone encrusted turban from A Second Time Around and vintage-inspired wool hat from Elizabeth’s Tres Chic.
R: Amy looking adorable in a bordeaux slip dress from Style Girl Vintage (sold!), vintage inspired cloche from Elizabeth’s (sold!), 1920’s embroidered fringe shawl from A Second Time Around and vintage parasol from Style Girl Vintage. #styledbyjessjames


So I bought this gorgeous vintage Egyptian Mary McFadden scarf from Sid Vintage on Etsy but wanted to wear it so you could still see the entire design. So I rigged it up to look like a bolero by tying the ends under my arms. I even added a vintage belt buckle to take it up a notch! Thought I’d share this so you can get more use out of your large scarves too! Earrings: Reverie Vintage


NYC designer Esther Jean’s flapper headpieces – for sale now at Style Girl Vintage (4 have sold!) Hit me up at 910.538.5657 for an appointment. Her designs will be for sale at the Gatsby Lawn Party!


This Esther Jean work of art is still up for grabs! $250 at Style Girl Vintage.


Happy Sippers / Shoppers = Happy Bartender (slash writer)


+ Pound Fit (only available with Karson in Wilmington!)
Tuesday 6:35pm and Saturday 10:15am at BFAB Studio
Click above for more details.




October 17
Wilmington’s 1st Gatsby Lawn Party
Presented by Kusek Financial Group + Hosted by Jess James

As a follow-up to the 4th annual Great Gatsby Gala, Jess James along with Kusek Financial Group, are hosting Wilmington’s first Gatsby Lawn Party on the beautiful lawn of Paula Corbett’s home.

Don your garden party finest, grab your picnic basket, blanket + boater and join us for food, friends & frivolity as we travel back in time to the 1920s with a leisurely yet glamorous afternoon on the lawn under the live oaks & overlooking the Intracoastal. And, don’t forget your dancing shoes!

This enchanted event, inspired by the Jazz Age Lawn Party and a nod to Wilmington’s favorite Garden Party, will feature bring-your-own or a delicious prepared picnic-for-two by Little Pond Caterers, valet by The British Taxi, photography with Lisa Brown of Bella Rose Photography, live big band music, Jazz Age dancers, Paper Moon vintage tintype portraits with Harry Taylor, tarot card readings, 1920’s inspired shopping with A Second Time Around, Elizabeth’s, En Vie Interiors and Style Girl Vintage, a Vintage Fashion Parade, prizes for “best dressed” and “best picnic” and typical Roaring Twenties reverie.

Saturday October 17th 11am-4pm
Rain Date: Sunday October 18

Paula Corbett’s Lawn
6604 Spring Garden Drive (off Airlie Rd)


1 – Early Bird Tickets (online): $30 – before October 10th / after: $40
2 – Picnic for 2 (online): $85 – before October 10th / after: $99
Includes picnic basket, lunch for two by Little Pond Catering, bottle of wine.
Two glasses, silverware & linen napkins will be provided. Pre-Sale only.
Deadline: October 16

WIN IT: The first 10 people to purchase tickets online receive a complimentary
Paper Moon Tintype Portrait ($80 value) with Photographer Harry Taylor
courtesy of Event Sponsor James Zisa Attorneys!

1920’s Lawn Party attire, “Old Sport!”

Presented by Kusek Financial Group
James Zisa Attorneys
Bella Rose Photography
A Second Time Around
En Vie Interiors by Melanie Bowe
Style Girl Vintage
The British Taxi

Styling: Jess James
Hair & MU: Beauty Bar Boutique
Location: Paula Lentz Corbett’s enchanted lawn
(where the party is being held!)


Hot off the Press

Special “YOU my dear, are the Bee’s Knees!”
to Salt Magazine Editor Ashley Wahl
for such a beautiful article celebrating the magic & wonder of ‪‎vintage‬
and my deep connection and love for the past.

To read the SALT article “Gatsby Girl,”
Click HERE.

Photos by the amazing Lisa Brown of Bella Rose Photography

Sunday October 18th
12 North Front Street
Downtown Wilmington



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