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Jen Horning

The Baltimore Sun

If you want to know how to develop great style without blowing your budget or your belief system, look no further than Jen Horning. The 34-year-old Frederick resident is a secretary at the U.S. Department of Commerce. As a single mom who's also been a vegetarian since she was a child, Horning has honed a style based on price and principles. On the job, she favors a slightly sexy professional look with lots of pencil skirts, jackets and blouses. On her off time, she favors a more "playful" look, like the outfit she was wearing to see Brazilian Girls perform at Sonar. So, who does she look to for fashion direction? Project Runway. "Tim Gunn is God. I like funky young designers coming up, because they're humble and fresh." Just like her.

Age:: 34

Residence: : Frederick

Job: : U.S. Department of Commerce division secretary

Self-described style: : "Trendy, but not over the top."

The look: : Soft red cotton knit Eyelash empire-waist tunic. Skinny jeans. Tan faux leather mid-calf scrunch pointy-toe boots with buckle embellishment. Teal faux leather fold-over handbag. Gold-tone lacy medallion earrings and stacked sterling-silver rings.

Where it came from: : She found the tunic during a trip to London. Her jeans came from Forever 21. The boots and handbag were purchased at Rugged Wearhouse in Frederick. She found her earrings at Charlotte Russe, and her rings at

Her style involves using her fashion "cents": : "Fashion is pretty important to me. It's combined with affordability. ... When I first started out as a single mom, (my daughter's 15 now) I could never shop. As I started to increase my education and my pay, I could afford to make small purchases occasionally. The ability to shop became more frequent, and more addictive. But I never stopped appreciating a good deal."

Her fashion isn't just about price; it's also about her principles: : "I'm a vegetarian. Since I was 4 or 5, I was a little conscientious objector. And when I got older, it extended to what I was wearing. ... I don't wear leather at all. That's something I never compromise on. The only time I have compromised was when a friend gave me a Coach bag, and I do wear that sometimes."

She has fun with her fashion: : "Because I'm kind of a high-level secretary, I like pencil skirts, nice jackets, cute blouses. I like professional, kind-of-sexy professional, but not trashy. I have more playful things that I wear on the weekends. ... I like to play with color. ... I have a few silly T-shirts."

She has a different style than her daughter, but sometimes not different clothes:: "My daughter's very into fashion. She's a teenager, so her style is slightly different than mine. I don't try to emulate her. Ever. But, we both love to shop together, and we are the same size. So there is some stealing going on."

How she gets fashion-inspired:: "I like to go to New York and see what's funky and different. Some of my friends have a higher-end style than I do, and I'll get inspiration from them and take something and make it my own."

If her house was on fire and she could only save a couple of things from her closet: : "Oh gosh. That's a tough one. I would grab this fitted little brown Benetton dress that I splurged on that makes me look like a size nothing. And I can only wear it if I haven't eaten for half a day."

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