As a third-grade teacher at Triadelphia Ridge Elementary School, Nicole Mele, 26, is careful to dress appropriately on and off the job. She likes a style that's "trendy, but not too flashy. ... I like a lot of ruffles and sequins, and things that are girly." At the Turf Valley Resort, the Ellicott City resident was all girl at the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's "Howard County's Finest 39 Under 39 Honoree Reception" in a gold and cream Max & Cleo strapless dress with pleated bodice from South Moon Under, gold strappy Pesaro shoes from Macy's, and a gold leather ruffled clutch and gold beaded hoop earrings from Express. Her two gold bangles came from Lebanon. "My mom's Lebanese. I had a cousin bring these back from there." When it comes to shopping, Mele has a couple of favorite stores that fit her teacher's salary and style. "I always tend to go to Express and H&M. [They have] things I can have fun with and not worry about breaking a dress code."
Kenneth K. Lam, Baltimore Sun