This Project Runway Finalist Talks Fashion Around the Main Line

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Fashion designer and Project Runway finalist Nancy Volpe Beringer shares her stance on fashion, along with a look to recreate.

Her style: I don’t limit myself to a specific style. I’m just as comfortable in a classic business suit and heels as I am mixing that same suit jacket with a pair of jeans and my favorite Y-3 high-tops.

How she got her start: I progressed from making “not so couture” outfits for my Barbie dolls as a little girl to sewing my prom gowns and a new outfit each week for football games.

Style motivation: I’m captivated by the power and fantasy world of fashion. It gave a very shy young adult a way to project confidence, and I truly believe it helped me succeed in the business world. Designer consignment shopping took my fashion fantasies to fashion reality.

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Indispensable wardrobe item: The coat I designed for my sister Rosa. It’s an upcycled blanket with lots of hidden inside pockets that’s cozy and stylish while promoting sustainability.

Project Runway designer Nancy Volpe Beringer
Tessa Marie Images

Favorite places to shop: Main Line secondhand shops—especially shops whose proceeds benefit the community. I also have a sentimental attachment to both Agostino and Van Cleve Bridal & Evening Wear. Frank Agostino and his team mentored me during my Drexel University graduate co-op experience. And Deborah Van Cleve gave me the opportunity to showcase an exclusive Nancy Volpe Beringer line for evening wear.

Fashion icon: Philly’s own Joan Shepp, who founded her meticulously curated boutique over 50 years ago. She put Philadelphia high-end designer fashion on the map and welcomes emerging designers and fashion students with open arms.

Thoughts on accessible fashion: My online resale platform, The Vault by Volpe Beringer, is a prime example of accessible fashion. It’s the world’s only luxury resale platform that offers adaptable options for disabled people and encompasses all sizes, abilities, disabilities, ages and gender identifications.

Best fashion find: Chanel embroidered boots.

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Thoughts on aging: Age didn’t deter me from going to fashion school at age 58 or competing on Project Runway at 64. But I did have to face the physical reality of aging after developing severe arthritis in my neck and spending two years in physical therapy before competing on Project Runway.

Indispensable accessory: A classic handbag can survive any trend.

Makeup tip: My skincare regimen is the most important part of my makeup routine, before application and at the end of the day.

Fashion no-no: Ill-fitting garments.

Why fashion matters: Fashion is empowering and can build confidence, enabling a person’s inner beauty to shine brighter. A treasured moment came after my Project Runway finale. As my wheelchair model, Brie, hugged me, she whispered, “Thank you, I never saw myself on the runway as a little girl.”

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Visit nancyvolpeberinger.com and thevaultbyvolpeberinger.com.

Get the Look

For June, the look is soft and light—like a summer breeze.

Misa Nicole dress pick by project runway designer
Photo courtesy of brand
With a structured shoulder, side cutout and romantic floral print, the Misa Nicole dress is sexy and sweet. $460. Available at Posh Collections, 103 E. King St., Malvern, (610) 644-7220, poshcollections.com.
Triple Arc necklace
Photo courtesy of brand
Carolyn Keys Triple Arc hoop earrings
Photo courtesy of brand
Designed and handcrafted by a Pennsylvania jewelry maker in sterling or gold fill, the Carolyn Keys Triple Arc hoop earrings feature concentric arcs that swing freely. Suspended on a fine chain, the Triple Arc necklace keeps the free-flowing vibe going. Both starting at $94. Available at The 5 Senses, 133 W. Market St., West Chester, (610) 719-0170, carolynkeys.com.
Smith Longfin sunglasses
Photo courtesy of brand
Smith Longfin sunglasses feature a no-slip grip and high-tech polarized lenses. Starting at $179. Available at Trail Creek Outfitters, 487 Wilmington West Chester Pike, Glen Mills, (610) 558-4006, trailcreekoutfitters.com.
Valentino Garavani Roman Stud sandals
Photo courtesy of brand
Valentino Garavani Roman Stud sandals combine hot pink calfskin leather, glitzy gold studs and a comfy wide heel. $1,150. Available at Boyds, 201 W. Lancaster Ave., Wayne, (610) 726-0036, boydsphila.com.

Related: Meet Fashion Expert Jeanette Limas of Delaware County

Our Best of the Main Line Elimination Ballot is open through February 22!