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.
Victoria Kurzweg, 26
What she’s wearing:
DVF wrap dress from Secondi, American Apparel cardigan, scarf from Anthropologie, Frye boots, American Apparel for Human Rights Campaign tote (coming soon to shop.hrc.org).
Any staple items in your wardrobe? Favorite pieces or signatures?
“I wear this cardigan about every other day. That’s a staple. Thigh-high socks are kind of a signature in the wintertime. Some of my favorite pieces are the ones I don’t get to wear that often: a black vintage sequin dress, a pair of Marc Jacobs stilettos from the spring 2009 runway, and a sleeveless minidress made of tuxedo fabric. I’m also really excited about a vintage chevron-print dress I picked up on eBay.”
What you will be wearing or shopping for this spring?
“More chevrons and deep V necklines. And a hat! That is top priority right now. I’ll be in Smalltown, North Carolina, for the next two months, and I have my hopes up for some decent thrift shops.”
Tatyana Ellis, 24
What she’s wearing: H&M jacket and leggings, Urban Outfitters T-shirt and shoes, Forever 21 necklace, and a necklace from her mother. The bag was a gift, and the glasses are by Barcelona.
Do you get a lot of questions about your hair?
“I do. It’s just easier to have half a head of hair. It’s still feminine, but it’s like a short haircut.”
Tell me about your style.
“Free. A little vintage on a good day. Leggings are a staple. I mix it up with the tops and shoes, but I wear leggings a lot. Leggings and a shirt, and I’m out the door.”
Where do you shop for leggings?
“I bought a few at a stand in the Pentagon City mall. I love the ones with the kneepads. They have silk panels and then kneepads. Sometimes we sell them at H&M.”
Viktoriya Demina, 23
Student, San Diego State University
What she’s wearing:
J. Crew jacket, Martin + Osa jeans and bag, Sisley scarf, and Aldo shoes.
Tell me about your style.
“I usually wear black and white. Today I added a little blue in the scarf. I don’t like anything too fancy-shmancy.”
Where she shops:
Sisley, Zara, Guess, Armani Exchange. “I like the European stores for the slimmer cuts.”
How does style in San Diego differ from Washington?
“San Diego is all casual, flip-flops, and bathing suits. Lots of blond girls with big boobs. The shopping isn’t as good. There are more casual, American-style clothes. Shopping here has been a blessing.”
Shon Armstrong, 17
Junior at Dumbarton High School
What he’s wearing:
Hat, cardigan, and shirt from Urban Outfitters; Levi’s jeans, and Polo boots.
Where he likes to shop:
Diesel, Rugby, American Apparel, Zara.
Tell me about your style.
“Well, we wear a uniform at school, but when I’m not in school I like to look nice. I like to dress in something that everyone else isn’t wearing. Some people clown me, some people like it.”
Alana Morrissey, 24
Consultant at Capgemini
What she’s wearing:
Soïa & Kyo coat from Bliss in Portsmouth, New Hampshire; an old Kate Spade bag; American Apparel tights; sunglasses from Junction Vintage; and Cole Hahn flats.
Where do you like to shop?
“I love to find things from stores in DC. The two vintage stores in my neighborhood, Treasury and Junction, have great finds, especially for accessories. It’s awesome to be able to support the local businesses and find really unique items at the same time. I also love to buy things when I travel to a new city or country—pieces that remind you of a place or an event make getting dressed a lot more fun.”
How would you describe your look?
“I like clothes that fit well to my size. I’m fairly petite, so the flowy/peasant look doesn’t really work for me or match my personality so much. I like urban, chic clothes that allow me to go throughout my day in the city and not get in the way but still look interesting.”
Erin Allweiss, 27
Communications director for Congressman Earl Blumenauer
What she’s wearing: The earrings are from Eastern Market, and the necklace is from Crafty Bastards. (“I bought more to give as gifts because so many friends liked it.”) Tommy Hilfiger cardigan, vintage belt, Vena Cava dress from Gilt Groupe, funky ‘elf’ shoes from a store in Brooklyn. (“I finally started wearing footwear that’s actually comfortable.”) The coat is from Reiss, and the scarf is from her favorite vintage store—Suzette Sundae in Manhattan’s Alphabet City—which has closed.
How do you stay stylish on the Hill? “Wearing bold colors helps me interject style while still looking professional. I think it’s getting better on the Hill. I’m noticing a lot more men in suits that fit. It must be all the young Democrats.”
Where do you shop? “Vintage shops in New York always seem to have great, affordable things. I get a ton of my stuff in New Orleans [Alweiss is a native]. I try to support the small boutiques there. I just bought a pair of black skinny James jeans from Ruelala.com, just because I know exactly what size I wear.”
Any style quirks? “Hats. I get cold all the time so they’re really functional—I can throw on a hat and then I don’t have to jeopardize the integrity of the rest of the outfit. I can still make it a little funky without having to put a big coat on over it. And in the summer, hats add a quirky kick. When in doubt, I put on a dress. I can layer sundresses in the winter with tights and cardigans. And I have a bit of a belt addiction.”
Jeff Dufour, 35
DC editor, UrbanDaddy.com
What he’s wearing:
“The jacket is Filippa K, a cool Canadian designer from the long and dearly departed Alex Boutique that my friend Liberty Jones ran. It was a great place to shop. It’s cool for the daytime because it’s kinda professorial. It’s got these snaps instead of buttons, which jazz it up a little bit. I’m wearing a lot of layers today because it’s Arctic outside: The sweater is a gift from my wife a few years ago, the shirt is Hugo Boss from a trip to Los Angeles, the jeans are Rock & Republic from this great store in Nashville that sells a lot of rock-music T-shirts—I can’t remember the name. The boots I got pretty recently from Bloomingdale’s.”
Is shopping in Washington a challenge for guys?
“Absolutely. It’s hard to find stuff here that you couldn’t find anywhere else. We have Bloomingdale’s, Saks, Neiman Marcus, and Barney’s Co-op. But we don’t have anything you couldn’t find anywhere else. There’s Lost Boys, Farinelli’s, and a couple of boutiques on 14th Street like Caramel. There might be a piece or two at Foreign Exchange, Lettie Gooch, Rue 14, or Redeem, but those are all somewhat casual. And there’s the fact that Washington is somewhat conservative.”
So where do you shop?
“My strategy is pretty simple. I generally go to the Barneys Outlet in Leesburg once in the spring and once in the fall. And then I sort of augment that with whatever else I find around: Barneys brand, Varvatos, and Hugo Boss are the brands I generally get at Barneys. I have a lot of Ben Sherman, too. And Billy Reid is sick.”
With its hammered gold-and-silver plating, delicate classic design, and sweetly colored semiprecious gems from India, Thailand, and China, you might never guess MIJA Jewelry is the product of conservative Washington. But the eye behind this line, Michelle Guest, is based in Glover Park. After she created spur-of-the-moment bracelets for her nieces, lots of people asked where to buy the dainty single-pearl chains, and Guest decided it was time to channel her creative juices into professional jewelry making. The result—a collection of stack rings, bangles, charm necklaces, and earrings named for the designer and her sister Jani—is “youthful, refined, and delicate,” according to her fiancé. The understated and versatile add-ons work with everything from jeans to wedding gowns, and we especially love how the bangles and simple birthstone rings can be combined to create a unique look that doesn’t overwhelm.
Now in her third year selling her pieces all over the country, it’s safe to say Guest knows a thing or two about jewelry. So we turned to her for gift-giving advice this Valentine’s Day. Read on for tips on finding the perfect Valentine’s piece for your significant other and how to win a his-and-hers gift package from MIJA and Smathers & Branson, another DC accessories company.