Michaele Sahali in a White House-inspired portrait. Photo courtesy of Bravo

Before the "The Real Housewives of D.C." even aired on Aug. 5., White House party crasher Michaele Salahi was already back in the headlines, thanks to reports of a backstage blowout with Whoopi Goldberg following her appearance on "The View" the same day.

Salahi told People that Goldberg, who grabbed her arm and asked her to change subjects during the interview segment, confronted her backstage and demanded to know if Salahi had claimed that Goldberg hit her. (According to ABC, Salahi told producers Goldberg "hit" her, while Salahi told People she used the word "grab.").

The backstage bickering got even more heated, and, as Goldberg tells it, Salahi's husband, Tareq, "got in my face, had his BlackBerry out and started taking pictures of me. And needless to say, I really went off then."

Regardless of "The View" brouhaha, Salahii will probably forever be known as the Beltway social climber who put on a red sari, snuck into a White House state dinner, and scandalized the Obama administration's social planners in the process. But for her part, Salahi would rather exchange the "party crasher" label for a new one: "Commander in Chic."

As Salahi cheerfully tells StyleList, she was thrilled when The Washington Post recently gave her that title in anticipation of the Aug. 5 season premiere of Bravo's newest Housewives franchise.

Her D.C. cast mates are not so generous in their praise. In the show's first episode -- which StyleList recently got a peek at -- they criticize how skinny she is and claim she does not pay her bills. (In other words, they all act like "Real Housewives.")

Here, the former model explains why she's the most stylish of them all.

StyleList: Is it a given that D.C. women dress more conservatively because of the political subculture?

Michaele Salahi: It's very true! Even though D.C. is very diverse in some respects, there's a style that's dictated by the fact that this is a seat of power. Within the last three years, though, I've seen a change. You see it in suits, for example. You don't just see black and brown and gray. You see people taking more risks with color -- which I really like.

SL:
Does that mean we see less cleavage from the D.C. Housewives, than say, Atlanta or Jersey?
MS: Big decisions are made here [in D.C.]. If you're going to watch a law being made, there's a way to dress. Maybe we might show more at happy hour or if we are going out for the night, but in general, we are a little more discreet.

SL: So who is the most stylish Real Housewife in D.C.?
MS: Myself! My mother is going to tell me I shouldn't have said that, but you know why I say that? The Washington Post just called me the Commander in Chic. I dress with impact whether it's a suit or a dress or a night-on-the-town look. I embrace fashion. I wear things with confidence.

SL: What's in your closet that you can't live without?
MS: I love a great wrap, to bring when I go out. I like to have something unique that gives me color and personality. It's very functional but also a great way to express myself. A basic is a great little black skirt that hits just above the knee. You can do so much, dressing it up or down. [It] can be casual, serious, elegant; I would say that's my must-have!

SL: And your must-have designers?
MS: So many favorites, but I love Versace, I love Dolce & Gabbana, and I cannot live without my Jimmy Choos. In Washington, there's a [Russian] designer Tsyndyma, who moved here to dress dignitaries and diplomats. When I tried her things, I fell in love. Wherever I travel, I try to find one piece by someone who's doing something terrific to put a new perspective in my wardrobe.

SL: What are your beauty must-haves?
MS: A great moisturizer. I love La Mer. I think the most important thing is to have a great salon where you get your hair and makeup done. For me, in Washington, I am lucky to have the [Dennis] Roche Salon to keep my hair and makeup great. If they are looking good, I can wear just about anything and still feel OK.

michaele sahali white house state dinner red gold sari husband tareq sahali

Michaele Salahi and her husband Tareq crashing the White House state dinner. Photo: Bill O'Leary, The Washington Post / Getty Images

SL: Which Washington woman's style do you admire?
MS: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is always appropriately dressed and very pulled together. She really conveys the power of her position while looking attractive and fashionable. You know who's been looking incredible is Secretary of State Hilary Clinton. She's stepped it up in the last four or five years in such an impressive way! And of course, there's our first lady. I love the way she embraces high-end/low-end fashion, mixing J.Crew with designers. I think people relate to that and like it.

SL: You've received so much attention for your White House visit last November. Who did you wear?
MS: That was by a designer from India and made for me specifically to celebrate a bilateral polo event we were having as part of the U.S. American Polo Cup. [Salahi's husband, Tareq, founded America's Polo Cup.] I was incredibly honored and proud to wear it.

SL: So, no regrets about the wardrobe choice.
MS: No regrets about that dress at all! I was very proud to be seen in that. It was very heavy, though, with lots of stones and pieces to it. But I would absolutely wear it again.

Since giving this interview, Salahi has announced that she plans to auction the dress for charity after the episode featuring the White House state dinner airs.

"The Real Housewives of D.C." airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on Bravo.

In related news, read about another Bravo breakout star: Brad Goreski of "The Rachel Zoe Project."