Fashion Find: Bitter Grace Boutique
Anne Marie Johnson's comfort-chic wardrobe staples are all about empowering women. Shop the collection online.
Anne Marie Johnson moved to the U.S. from the Philippines at age 11. As an immigrant and the daughter of a single mom, she always knew that whatever career she chose, she wanted to find a way to empower disadvantaged women.
That resolve was further cemented once she entered the workforce, holding professional jobs in government and IT, where she says she was often underestimated by her employers. “I have always had to fight for what I deserved,” says the 35-year-old. “I’m very results-driven by nature, but I found that I constantly had to prove myself and advocate for myself because I was being judged on the way I looked, not on my work or my performance.”
Fashion, Johnson recalls, became both a means of self-expression and a way to boost her self-confidence. Now it’s through fashion that she aims “to empower other women to be confident, authentic and relentless in achieving their goals and dreams.”
In December of 2018, she founded Bitter Grace, an online women’s clothing and accessories boutique specializing in “comfort-chic” wardrobe staples. Johnson works with designers who support global microbusinesses that employ women. She also donates 10 percent of every sale to Arlington’s Doorways for Women and Families, which helps women move beyond the cycle of abuse to find safety and stability. In Bitter Grace’s first year of business, it raised $1,500 for the Arlington nonprofit.
Johnson also invites Doorways clients to Bitter Grace’s annual self-care retreat, which is open to women in the D.C. area and features wellness coaches, personal shoppers and other tips. bittergraceboutique.com