Monling Lee

Founder, Colorindex; Architect. Washington, D.C.

By: Emily Ramshaw
Styling: Emily Ramshaw
Photography: Alec Kugler

With all the time we spend sucked in and researching online (fine, Instagram), well, a lot of more tangible, perhaps more productive things could have happened. But then we never would have found Monling Lee. And then we wouldn’t have this. That’s our justification for spending hours better spent sleeping in the deepest corners of Instagram Discover, and we’re sticking to it.

Truly, though, Lee is evidence that the internet—and Instagram especially—is a wonderful thing. Are you tired, sad, bored, or otherwise blue? May we direct you to her feed, which is the very definition of colorful. An architect and urban planner in her ~real~ life, Lee has an eye for mashing the brightest of brights when it comes to both her outfits and her surroundings—and brands like J.Crew and Coach have quickly caught on.

As only one who’s so aesthetically advanced could pull off, Lee actually has an open closet with racks that line one wall of her bedroom. Of course, it’s meticulously organized by color and garment type—and filled with beautiful pieces by Stella McCartney, Rochas, and Trademark. But the most amazing Coveteur-first about our shoot, other than the inimitable cool that is Lee herself, is the fact that when it comes to the most beautiful and eclectic pieces in her wardrobe, theyre pieces she actually makes herself. Not joking: a few years ago she taught herself how to sew, and started buying up vintage Vogue patterns from the 50s and 60s on Etsy. No word of a lie, every other piece we pulled out of her rainbow-brite closet—a neon green denim skirt complete with ruffle, a flamenco-style top you’d expect to find on Moda Operandi—all made by Lee’s own hand on any given weekend (we will never spend an entire Sunday watching Netflix in bed again). She swears it’s only a hobby, but something tells us that should it ever become, you know, more job-like, we’re pretty sure she’d have them lining up to get a Monling Lee original. As Lee herself says: “Who doesn’t love color?”

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