Style Self: Fashion on the Fly

Wonder woman Trish Rodriguez goes for looks that move as quickly as she does.

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photograph by Luigi Ciuffetelli

If you’re trying to catch up with Dover socialite Trish Rodriguez, good luck—you’re going to need it.

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From cruising the Carolina coast to organizing functions for the Delaware chapter of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs to getting dressed, Rodriguez does everything at break-neck speed.

“I am completely dressed in 15 minutes,” she says. “I take a bath, put cream all over my body, jump into an outfit, and off I go again.”

The outfits she’s jumping into are flattering pant and skirt suits.

“I’m crazy about my St. John suits,” she says, her speech peppered with undercurrents of a sweet Southern twang. “I’m delighted fashion moved off-center from basic black. It’s so restrictive. We women have proved ourselves, so we don’t need the black power suit anymore.”

Speaking of power, Rodriguez is fresh off a stint as chairwoman of the Go-Purple fashion show, an event organized by her General Federation of Women’s Clubs guild.

“Our mission is to start the end of domestic violence in Delaware,” she says. “Governor Minner spoke, and we packed the venue with as many women as possible.”

Dover-based Maxine’s New York Fashions was one of the show’s sponsors.

“I invited Joe Lieberman, but of course that was the day of the vote on Iraq funding,” she says. “So he said yes to Congress and no to me.”

Rodriquez wowed them in a regal, deep purple two-piece skirt suit and outrageous brown hat fringed in pheasant feathers.

“Hat aside, I like a classic look,” she says. “I’m not a trendy or fad-obsessed person. The idea that less is more is key”—especially in the summertime, when two pieces are most crucial to Rodriguez: a bathing suit and sunglasses.

Why? Because she is Maryland’s two-time first place female angler of the year.

“I love being a fisherman,” she says. “I won in Maryland because we keep our boat there. I don’t think Delaware honors women in this way, but we should really start.”

Rodriguez’s son recently gave her a new pair of shades.

“They are Costa del Mar sunglasses that usually wouldn’t be my style,” she says with a laugh. “They are very Paris Hilton, but that is the new look. I’m getting used to them.” And the high-quality polarized optics cut glare off the ocean for easy fish spotting.

Rodriguez’s favorite designer is Cynthia Steffe—someone Ms. Hilton herself would approve of.

“She’s cutting-edge,” Rodriguez says. “She’ll do zebra stripes on a sophisticated jacket, trim it with pink, and add a beautiful pin.”

Also on her list of favorites is Chanel.

“Chanel is No. 1 as far as I’m concerned,” she says.

She also enjoys Mary Frances purses and Lily Pulitzer dresses.

A mostly local shopper, she finds an interesting mix at the Dover T.J. Maxx, and in Greenville’s chic boutiques.

“I was on Rodeo Drive last summer, and I noticed all the young women in simple blue jeans and a halter top or a T-shirt,” she says. “That is such an ageless, young and free look. I adore it.”

Not one to skimp on class, Rodriguez is never without her pearls.

“I love large earrings, especially gold or pearls,” she says.

She may be one of the best women fishermen in the area, but one thing’s for sure: She is every bit the lady.

When asked her age, we got an earful:

“A lady never tells her age,” Rodriquez says. “And if she’s willing to tell you her age, she’ll tell you anything. And you can quote me on that.” —Amy Kates

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