Our September issue follows 19 of Washington’s most fashionable ladies and gents through a cool night out at the W Hotel. While the clothes do most of the talking in print, the Style Setters themselves get the last word online.
Who: Cheryl New, divorce attorney, New & Lowinger
Describe your style in ten words or less: “Rebel with a cause.”
Favorite Places to shop in Washington: “Muléh when I’m looking to be creative; Saks Jandel, Gucci, or Ferragamo when I have to dress for a particular event; Neiman Marcus for shoes; and Target for long, ribbed tanks to wear under scratchy sweaters.”
Fall gear you can’t wait to wear: “Capes are big this fall. Ponchos or cape-type wraps complete any outfit, and I’ve been wearing them for years. I’m also looking forward to longer-length in skirts and dresses. Unless you’re five-foot-two and 16 years old, the short-short lengths just aren’t flattering.”
Who: Rockstar Diaries couple Naomi Davis, dance instructor and blogger, and husband, Josh, banking associate
Describe your style in ten words or less.
Naomi: “Vintage-inspired, colorful, classic.”
Josh: “Eclectic, pragmatic, varied, and not what it used to be.”
What do you love about your significant other’s look?
Naomi: “One of the first things I noticed about Josh was the way he dressed. I love that he has the confidence to wear things you never really see, and that he knows how to pair them with the appropriate shoes or blazer to make everything work. I’m glad I don’t have to ever worry about ‘dressing’ my guy.”
Josh: Naomi has a knack for color and matching different patterns. The way she dresses reflects her love of everything pretty, girly, and feminine.”
Who: Eric Felten, jazz singer and trombonist
Describe your style in ten words or less.
“A retro sensibility embracing the swing era and the Rat Pack.”
Favorite places to shop in Washington:
“The Polo store in Chevy Chase always has a great selection of suits cut in the late-’30s, Savile Row style. I get my suits tailored by Baytok in Georgetown. For casual clothes, I like Lacoste shirts, Brooks Brothers khakis, and Levi’s 501s.”
Fall gear you can’t wait to wear:
“A new navy-blue suit with an early-’60s, narrow-lapel Mad Men cut. Cut slim, with no break in the trousers, it’s both modern and vintage at the same time.”
President, Desho Productions, which produces the Live! On Woodrow Wilson concert series.
What she’s wearing: A Cavalli jacket with a Diane von Furstenburg dress and Steve Madden shoes. Her sunglasses are an inexpensive pair purchased from a street vendor that she keeps at her desk for the times she forgets her regular shades.
How would you describe your style? “I think of my style as a personal expression of my creativity. Each day is a different mood.”
Have you gotten a lot of comments about the jacket? “This morning as I was walking up the street, a man yelled out to me and gave me two thumbs up. In some places, women will make reference to the label; they just know it somehow. Here, women just say, ‘You look great’ or ‘I like that on you.’ I think it’s important for women to compliment one another.”
What will you be wearing this summer? “Strong, bold colors. My eye has been going toward color-block looks recently—crisp reds, pure white, and jewel tones.”
Rachel says: What’s your standout statement piece? Mine is a pink, swing-shape brocade vintage jacket with beaded embellishments along the opening and cuffs. It looks great with jeans or with a springy pencil skirt. I feel happy every time I wear it, and compliments are always guaranteed. What in your closet makes you happy?
Allison Curtis, 19
Student, American University
What she’s wearing: Dress from Smash! in Adams Morgan, thrift-store boots, and tights from the back of her sock drawer.
What will you be wearing this summer? “Dresses along the lines of this one. I’ll be going to thrift stores to load up. I like Unique Thrift and Value Village because they’re large. And St. Alban’s Episcopal Church has a thrift store right across the street from my apartment.”
Do you have a style uniform? “Oversize sweaters and tops with black skinny pants of some kind. Anything high-waisted, like American Apparel Disco Pants.”
Rachel says: A loose dress, ripped tights, and old boots? Some of you will say “no thanks,” but Allison’s look represents a certain undone, less-is-more swagger that’s all the rage in fashion circles right now. If the New York Times says it’s true. . . .
Katie Nash, 22
Student, University of Maryland
What she’s wearing: “Actually, it’s all from H&M!” The sandals were a recent purchase from Target.
So you must be an H&M fan. “It’s cheap and fashionable. I’m a college student, so it’d be tough to shop anywhere else.”
Tell me about your style. “Laid-back, earthy. I don’t like to throw a bunch of trends on all at once. I’m not big on heels and super-short miniskirts.”
Favorite things in your closet? “My tall Minnetonka boots with layered tassels. They’re all worn in; they’re my go-to boots. And pair of acid-wash skinny jeans.”
What will you be wearing this summer? “I’m a big dress fan. The long, flowing Maxi style is my thing.”
Rachel says: I’m not making any argument here that Katie’s look is revolutionary (can we all agree, though, that her hair is completely amazing?). But quite simply, Katie’s outfit struck me as just the right sort of thing to wear to a live show on a spring day. Light, loose layers, flat shoes, and a cross-body bag are all good ideas for a concert.
Michael Harold, 24
Scheduler and executive assistant, Congressman Earl Blumenauer
What he’s wearing: J. Crew shirt, Banana Republic cardigan, American Apparel tie, Urban Outfitters pants, Cole Haan shoes, and Tom Davies glasses.
Where he likes to shop: American Apparel, H&M (“They have the Black Label line. The cuts are slim, and it doesn’t look like you’re swimming in your dad’s suit.”), the sale racks at Banana Republic and J. Crew, and Gilt Groupe.
Your outfit seems to have much more personality than the standard suit you typically see. “On the Hill, everyone’s in a suit, and it just doesn’t feel very comfortable. I’m from Oregon, so I guess I bring some of that vibe. In my first internship on the Hill, I wore bad suits. I didn’t know what I was doing. But young guys forget that you can change it up—roll up your sleeves, wear a better tie, try a cardigan. It doesn’t have to be a suit every day.”
Tell me your tips for being stylish on the Hill. “Basically, it comes down to wearing clothes that fit. And just because you’re wearing ‘nice’ clothes doesn’t mean they necessarily look good on. Try a slim-fitting blazer or suit; pants that aren’t baggy and flared out; skinny ties; nice socks; bright colors; a cool belt; and textured shirts, jackets, and pants (think tweed—very nice!). Always wear collar stays. Look at your tie and the rest of your outfit before you put it on. And no pleats!”
Vanessa Confesor, 15
Student at McKinley Technology High School
What she’s wearing: A vintage floral shirt with a jacket, jeans, and necklace from Urban Outfitters; Aeropostale belt; and Vans shoes.
On her style: “I like more casual things. I like to wear vintage, so I won’t have what everyone else does.”
What’s something you’d never wear? “I don’t like plain jeans. I like something to stand out.”
What are you shopping for this spring? “Flats, parachute pants, and cropped shirts that I’ll wear with skirts or jeans.”
AJ Singletary, 24
Environmental-policy analyst, Department of Transportation
What he’s wearing: Express shirt, vest, and pants with a Ben Sherman tie and tie bar, and Aldo shoes.
Where do you shop in Washington? “I get a fair amount at the outlets. Bargain bins are a good thing. I get basics at Express, Nordstrom, Saks, Banana, and Zara, and I look for accessories in boutiques.”
Are you satisfied with the shopping options? “You have to be careful because if you shop here, you’ll run into a lot of people wearing the same thing. I shop at a place called Jimmy’z in St. Louis when I’m home.”
Tell me about your style. “A little dark. I wear a lot of straight legs, leather, high-tops, and chains.”
How do you dress for work? “This is more like something I’d wear to work. Guys can mix up their look with things like cufflinks and tie bars, so I’ll do that. Sometimes I’ll wear an ascot instead of a tie. Sometimes I get ‘So, you’re wearing that . . . ’ comments at work, but I kind of like it.”
Rachel says: I like AJ’s take on classic summer suiting. The rolled-up shirt, vest sans jacket, and pocket-watch-style chain all add personality and visual interest to the look.
Andrew Rozas, 26
Youth-outreach manager at Earth Day Network
What he’s wearing: “It’s raining, so I had to gear up. The combat boots are Army-issue jungle boots, and the trench is Benetton. The jeans are Levi’s 511s, the cardigan is Ben Sherman, and the button down is a polo for kids—but like, for fat kids; it has really short arms. My favorite thing by far though is my button. It’s for the Earth Day Climate Rally on April 25 on the National Mall. If you see me on the street, ask me for a button—I have thousands of them.”
How would you describe your style? “Whenever I wear this trench with the boots, it reminds me of Ian Curtis from Joy Division. When I bought this coat, I also bought a hooded coat from Muji that’s really tight on the shoulders and then flares out. It reminds me of a Japanese school girl. So I guess I just wear whatever correlates with my mood.”
Do you have any signature pieces or favorite things to wear? “Tight jeans, pretty much all the time. In the summer, above-the-knee cut-off tight jeans. I wish I was kidding, I’m not.”What’s something a guy should never wear? “The Saturday-night outfit: cute top, tight jeans, and heels. I only say that because I don’t think women should ever wear that, and even though you didn’t ask my opinion on them, I kind of want that trend to end. Women have a lot of options for fashion, and they should use them. Guys are a bit more limited.”
What’s something every guy should wear? “I think guys should pay attention to the kinds of coats and jackets they wear. It’s one of the few creative ways that guys can work with their outfits without looking like they’re trying too hard.”
Rachel says: Tough boots add swagger to casual outfits. Take Andrew’s suggestion and check out Army-Navy stores for authentic options.