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What the Stylish Girls Behind Bona Drag Wear to Work

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Photos by <a href="http://www.faythelevine.com">Faythe Levine</a> for Racked.
Photos by Faythe Levine for Racked.

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Welcome to Working It, where Racked follows street style into the office. Forget pedestrian khakis and button-downs—these fashionable professionals take dress codes to a whole new dimension. Quick, somebody call HR!

Housed inside what was once a funeral home, the Bona Drag offices unfold like fashion origami to reveal one of the most interesting e-commerce set-ups we've encountered. First, the geography: The operation is run out of a working class neighborhood in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, better known for bars with ridiculously cheap beer specials than a place where you might find three dozen Pamela Love SKUs waiting to ship.

The space opens to a showroom—open soon to local shoppers—adorned with dreamcatchers and stocked with an impressive breadth of home goods, like hand-dyed pillows by Upstate, Turkish towels, tarot decks, even bunches of feather-adorned arrows. Further in, stock—including floor-length dresses from Mara Hoffman and Candela—hangs in a space that eschews cubicles for vintage desks, oriental rugs, and the decades-old velvet curtains that came with the place. A cat named Pizza walks the premises, an open floor plan punctuated by a photo studio.

Founder Heather Wojner started the online boutique in 2006 after years spent working for a skateboarding brand in California. Her team is small but mighty, comprised of a pair of her close friends plus her sister, Sarah. Get to know the quartet's thoughts on current trends, bad shopping habits, and the perils and privileges of dressing up in the Midwest.


Heather Wojner, Owner/Buyer/Photographer, wears a vintage top and an Upstate skirt.

Your closet is on fire! What three items do you save from the flames?

My Pamela Love Crystal Tribal Spike necklace (massive and goes with everything), Lizzie Fortunato embroidered Cruiser clutch (this thing could be framed), and a handful of the closest Mara Hoffman dresses in sight (I have a ton… I would burn to death if I had to choose).


What is an item you spent a lot of money on that you regret buying?

Over-the-knee Christian Louboutin boots, the Armurabotta style. I truly adore them, but I regret it when I remember what the price translates to in vintage chairs (which is my current obsession).

Which trend do you really like, and which would you never be caught dead trying?

I love the matching two-piece, midriff baring sets. I would never wear high-heel sneakers.


What have you learned at Bona Drag about the fashion industry that you wouldn't have known otherwise?

I've learned that fashionable customers can be real assholes sometimes. (Is that bad? I've had the worst customer ever today.)


What are the pros of living outside of a "fashion capital?" The cons?

A pro is that it's no bigs if you leave the house in sweatpants. A con is that it's no bigs if you leave the house in sweatpants.


Sarah Wojner, Makeup Artist/Hair Stylist/Nail Artist wears a vintage jacket with custom patch, Obesity and Speed t-shirt, Ksubi jeans, and Plomo shoes.

Your closet is on fire! What three items do you save from the flames?

My high-waisted Ksubis, my perfectly worn-out vintage Stevie Nicks tee, and my Upstate cloak.

What do you splurge on, and what do you cheap out on?

I splurge on skincare and cheap out on mascara. I've spent a lot of money on fancy mascara, but I always go back to the cheap stuff.


What is an item you spent a lot of money on that you regret buying?

I regret buying the hundreds of bottles of nail polish that sit un-opened in a box under my bed. I can't stop buying them. My nails aren't even polished 90% of the time. I just really want to be the kind of lady that always has really tight nails, and maybe if I keep buying the polish I will turn into her? (Nope.)

Which trend do you really like, and which would you never be caught dead trying?

I love that boyfriend jeans are currently considered more than acceptable. (My actual boyfriend does not love this.) I would never be caught dead in a pair of creepers—I have chicken ankles, so they give me clown feet.

What is your worst shopping habit?

My worst shopping habit in the last year has been wasting money on new shoes, because no matter how great the new shoes may be, I find myself wearing my Samantha Pleet for Wolverine boots. Every. Single. Day.


What have you learned at Bona Drag about the fashion industry that you wouldn't have known otherwise?

I've learned that really big things can be accomplished with a very small group of strong, talented women.

What are the pros of living outside of a "fashion capital?" The cons?

I was going to say a pro would be that there is more diversity in the fact that everyone around you isn't wearing the same thing, however all four of us girls may have shown up to the Bona Drag HQ in the same With Hearts In My Eyes velvet leggings once or twice.

Cons? A lot of people wear their jammie pants in public, and I'm not even talking like, cute-ish lounge/yoga wear. It is a fact that I love my jammie pants more than anyone (the other girls will back me on that), but this is not okay.


Traci Bunkelman, Marketing Assistant/Stylist/Photoshop Enthusiast/Shipper wears The Sway leather jacket, a vintage sweatshirt, Courtshop jeans, and vintage shoes.

Your closet is on fire! What three items do you save from the flames?

Vintage Levi's, a black Harley Davidson tee, and some ankle boots. Can I grab a ring too?!

What do you splurge on, and what do you cheap out on?

I can't say I splurge on much as I'm a huge thrifter, but it would have to be shoes. I cheap out on denim, coats, and beer.

What is your worst shopping habit?

All of my shopping habits are bad: eBay, Etsy, thrifting—add wine to any of those and they just get worse.


What is the worst worst dress code or uniform you've had in a former job?

This isn't the worst, but at a past job I was not allowed to wear stripes of any kind. Silly, but it drove me crazy.

What are the pros of living outside of a "fashion capital?" The cons?

Not being surrounded by the "it" thing-of-the-moment makes it easier to stay true to your own sense of style. I also enjoy the hunt. Searching for, or finding a way to create a look that I am into is much more rewarding than just snagging it off the rack.


Hannah Baird, Buyer/Stylist/Customer Service Manager wears a Samuji dress, Pskaufman shoes, and a Pamela Love necklace.

Your closet is on fire! What three items do you save from the flames?

Louboutin leopard boots, Kaelen macramé dress that I still have never worn but when I do it will be real special, and my boyfriend's paper thin gray t-shirt.

What do you splurge on, and what do you cheap out on?

I splurge on all things leather: Bags, shoes, and coats. Trader Joe's wine is my cheap out—it's rad.


What is the worst worst dress code or uniform you've had in a former job?
McDonald's uniform. I wore a visor and accomplishment pins on my collar.

What are the pros of living outside of a "fashion capital?" The cons?

Pro: You always feel dressed up, even if your boot heels are only 3 inches. Con: Sometimes you don't make yourself dress up.

· Bona Drag [Official Site]
· All Working It posts [Racked]