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Chic, Reimagined

Globe-trotting tastemaker Julie Rhodes O’Neal sets up shop—and puts down roots—in Houston.

Julie Rhodes O’Neal at her new Rice Village boutique

Worldly Houston newcomer Julie Rhodes O’Neal, 33, loves how Houston ladies dress. “Women here have a level of personal care that I didn’t see in New York,” says the transplant, who opened her Julie Rhodes Fashion & Home boutique in West U in October. “Such a sense of presentation.”

The new shop nods to a Texas sensibility—“People wear a lot more color here,” she says, “and they have the closet space to have those great accessories”—and also draws inspiration from the places O’Neal has lived. Originally from Seattle, Wa., she spent time in France as a teen and later was based in Cape Town. “I like to wear layered prints, or dresses over pants,” she explains, noting how South Africa influenced her to add playfulness to her style.

After returning to the States to study at Parson’s in New York­—where she met her husband, a Houston private-equity worker who was in the Big Apple on business—she made her way south with him. The couple and their son make their home in Bellaire.

O’Neal has already developed a following for her prowess as a curator of home products from brands like Antica Farmacista, and clothing from Obakki and others. “I brought in brands that I’ve bought in other places and loved,” she says. “I have a group of women who depend on me, which is the biggest reward.”

O’Neal’s Hots
Matte nail polish, gelato, baroque patterns, recycling, straight-leg pants, mixing gold and silver

O’Neal’s Nots
Overdoing it with hashtags, shabby chic, Miley Cyrus, beige, name-dropping