Nichi Dunphy grew up in Tarkio, Mo., population 2,000. Opportunities to shop were pretty much nonexistent. Lucky for Dunphy, her mother was a fashionista who loved clothes. Mother and daughter would often make the 100-mile drive to Kansas City or Omaha and visit the big department stores.
As Dunphy grew to 5 feet 10 inches tall, it was hard to find slacks that would fit. Her mother bought her a portable Singer sewing machine to make her own.
Dunphy still has that sewing machine, she said.
“My mother was a fashion icon who liked for everything to match,” Dunphy said.
Although Dunphy loves clothes, she concedes she doesn’t really like to shop, mainly because of time constraints.
“When I do shop, I like to find treasures and I am drawn to what I call ‘keeper’ clothes in natural fabrics like silk, linen, cotton, suede and leather that never go out of style,” she said.
As Realtor and manager of Better Homes and Gardens Gary Greene Real Estate in Galveston, Dunphy begins her day early and prefers wearing dresses.
“I find them comfortable and stylish and just feel more put together in a dress,” she said.
A 23-year resident of Galveston, Dunphy recently moved to Evia from Pirates Beach. Her closet houses a versatile wardrobe since her professional life often intertwines with evening social events.
During her downtime, she likes to take walks and do some traveling.
Q: Has the matching trend from your mom carried over to you?
A: A bit. Most of the time I match my shoes and purse.
Q: Other than dresses, what is your other fashion passion?
A: Shoes. I have about 100 pairs, mostly high heel pumps.
Q: Do you have a favorite shoe designer?
A: I have Minelli, Gucci, Ferragamo, Calvin Klein and Nine West — a little bit of everything.
Q: What are the shopping places you frequent?
A: DSW, Marshalls, Neiman’s, Tina’s On The Strand and Treasure Trove. The best place to buy swim suits is at Style Boutique in the San Luis Hotel. I don’t buy something unless I consider it to be a treasure and something I really like.
Q: What are some of your recent treasure finds?
A: I just returned from Italy, so I brought back some wonderful treasures: Four pairs of shoes, gold-hoop earrings and a leather and suede dress with matching jacket. Also, a beautiful handmade cameo that I bought from an elderly man making them in his small shop in Pompeii and two carnival masks from Venice. But the most exciting item was the pair of handmade sandals I found in Capri — made by the same shoemaker who made sandals for Jackie Kennedy in the late ’60s.
Q: What are your packing secrets?
A: People are always astonished at my smallish suitcase, asking: ‘Is that all you’re taking?’ I don’t really have a secret. I just fold things flat and get everything in. It’s a Hartmann PackCloth wheeled duffel.
Q: What colors do you like best?
A: Blue, but I gravitate toward black because it pairs easily with other items.
Q: Do you like items that are “easy upkeep?”
A: Ha ha. My dry cleaner knows me well. But I am probably one of the few people left who still irons. I just bought a new one.
Q: Do you have a “Realtor” bag that holds everything for the day?
A: I have one by Michael Kors that I use a lot. Also, larger ones by Coach and Chanel.
Q: Hosiery or bare legs?
A: For us on the island, bare legs are wonderful, but that look is everywhere now. I do wear hosiery to formal events. I have a lot of sequined gowns for Mardi Gras balls and holiday time.
Q: What type of jewelry do you like to wear?
A: Pearls and Sandra Ling bracelets.
Q: Going into fall, what will you be wearing?
A: I have a lot of leather and suede, especially short jackets that I can wear over my dresses.
Q: Who is your favorite jeans designer?
A: I buy my jeans at Chico’s and I also like DL1961 brand.
Q: Do you have an item from your mom’s wardrobe that you saved?
A: Yes, her Champagne mink coat. I had it remade into a vest, which is perfect for Galveston winters.