Lukas Smith, 30
Barista, Big Bear Cafe
What he’s wearing:
Pants from eBay, corduroy jacket from “a monster thrift store” in Maryland, a “fancy French scarf,” his grandfather’s tasseled loafers, pocket square and tie from Jos. A. Bank: “It’s my power tie. The guy who sold it to me held it up and said, ‘Now, this—this is a powerful tie.’ ”
Describe your style.
“New-wave Italian cowboy gigolo with a little fop. And probably a little Left Bank devil-may-care.”
Favorite thing in your closet?
“My Hermès pocket square. The French translation of the design is ‘Indian fantasies.’ It has fuchsia peacocks on it. It’s fantastic.”
The tasseled loafers are kind of an unexpected touch.
“You really don’t see them. At least not worn this way, I mean. You’ll see guys wearing them who never stopped wearing them with khakis. I liked them but almost stopped myself from wearing them. You can’t do that. You have to wear what you love.”
Do you think style in the city is changing?
“I think it’s getting fresher on the whole. There’s a certain extravagance among those who really enjoy it, possibly because DC has this reputation going on. It compels you to step it up.”
What will happen if you get an office job?
“I’m thinking of going in that direction soon, actually. And I guess I’d have to conform a bit at first, but then I’d work it in. And there’s always casual Fridays. I mean, no one’s going to fire you because your clothes are too ‘hot.’ That’d be the funniest lawsuit ever.”
I’d noticed Lukas before, always walking in the U Street area with his girlfriend, Erin, and always wearing something with an eccentric, one-off touch. When I stopped him for the interview, he’d just finished talking to a guy who walked with them for two blocks after admiring his outfit. Lukas has a real sense of personal style, which to me is what makes doing this column interesting in the first place.