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Photograph by Todd Vachon, www.toddvachon.com

 

Maria Burger has no idea why anyone would think her style should be noted.

What the effervescent 38-year-old fails to immediately mention, however, is that she works in the fashion industry, aspires to open a boutique, and grew up absorbing the fashion vibes that radiated out of New York and into her hometown of Basking Ridge, New Jersey.

As a child, Burger designed doll outfits and constantly buried her nose in fashion magazines. “At 12, I was able to go in and out of the Village,” she says. “I saw so much great fashion.”

Lest you envision a haughty New York fashionista, consider this: After professing adulation for Joe’s Jeans, chunky rings and silver bangles, she praises her top. “It has a gorgeous pattern,” she says.

Who makes it?

“Hmmm. That’s a great question,” she says before turning her shirt around to check the label. “Diane von Furstenberg,” she finally says. “It’s old, but I love it.”

This proves two things: the mother of two clearly has amazing balancing capabilities, and she keeps her stylista status light.

Her work with Worth, a high-end label out of New York, keeps her in the fashion loop.

“I host appointment-only trunk shows in my home,” she says. “The summer collection just arrived, and I am in love with the Havana Ikat Dot Hip skirt paired with the Havana Sexy Schoolgirl cardigan and the Coconut Whipstich belt, because we should be belting everything this spring and summer.”

Burger loves the idea of her own boutique, which would feature clothes that meet her style. “I love Rebecca Taylor, Trina Turk, Tory Burch and vintage,” she says.

She’ll also go for anything classic Armani and hopes trench coats, skinny pants and bright colors never fade.

Just don’t expect Juicy Couture.

The recovering addict shelved her Juicy because “there comes a point when you shouldn’t be wearing it anymore.”

Burger’s signature look is a wrap dress, but she favors kicking back in her Joe’s and a camisole.

She finds her treats locally: Tiger Lili for accessories, Ellie and Grassroots for gear, and Houppette for makeup, her obsession.

Her fave is Laura Mercier, which usually arrives in boxes on her doorstop, much to her husband’s chagrin.

A “high maintenance” hair woman, she trusts her locks to Castaldi’s Salon and Spa in Chadds Ford.

Burger adores today’s fashion because of the options. “Everything used to be labeled,” she says. “You were preppy. You were this. Now you can be everything.”

Burger even test drove Mary Kate Olsen’s slouchy, Starbucks-in-hand, bag-lady dress look. “This looked ridiculous,” she says. “It comes down to dressing age appropriately.”

Speaking of age, Burger is thrilled with 4-year-old daughter, Ashleigh.

“Ashleigh is my little fashionista,” she says. “She pulls together all her outfits. Half the time my husband gives me this you’re-not-going-to-allow-this-are-you? look, but I do because that’s what I was taught. Self-expression develops confidence at an early age.”

Ashleigh’s favorite look? A skirt layered over tights and a half-sweater over a bright top, all finished with a sweet pair of rain boots—precipitation optional.

“She’s her own person,” Burger says. “That’s what makes her beautiful.”

—Amy Kates

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