Pocket squares certainly aren’t a new concept in the world of menswear, but their current popularity among stylish gentlemen has local brands like Hugh & Crye producing the accessories in all different shades, patterns, and fabrics.
The benefit of wearing a pocket square during a swampy Washington summer is that it means you can get away without a tie, thus freeing your neck for some much-needed air flow.
After sharing what women can do to stay cool and look professional during DC’s swampiest months, including summer office-appropriate dresses and even pants that can be worn when it’s sweltering outside, some of our gentlemen readers have asked an important question: “What about us?”
Men of DC, to aid you on your walk to work or muggy Metro ride while dressed in a suit and tie, we got in touch with Dwight Fenton, VP of design for menswear brand Bonobos, to get his best tips for staying stylish this summer.
There’s nothing wrong with a tie for Father’s Day as long as it fits who he is—or wants to be. Our neckwear picks for the common classes of Washington man.
1. The Craftsman
Whether he mixes artisanal cocktails or finishes salvaged-pine shelving, Switchwood’s designed-in-DC wood-and-cotton bow tie marks him as sustainably stylish. “The Clark,” $85 at switchwood.com.
2. The Everyman
Even dads who never leave the safety of Brooks Brothers will go for a stripe by Collared Greens, a Richmond company quickly becoming the new go-to for classic American neckwear. “James” teal necktie, $85 at collaredgreens.com.
Preppy style is easy to pick out because of how little it changes. Specific items may fall out of favor (never again, pleated-front khakis), but the primary colors and classic cuts remain signature elements that work for men of all generations. Which is precisely how a city kid like Tim Downing ends up in outfits only a few shades off from what you’ll see on golf courses at suburban country clubs.
“My style is not too far from the old Connecticut guy’s,” says Downing, a designer at the Bethesda needlepoint company Smathers & Branson. “What I do differently is keep the cuts of my clothes slim and modern. And I’ll make things interesting by incorporating tropical, African, or other big patterns.”
Anthony Lupo knows he stands out in Washington legal circles. “I mean, I have a mustache,” the Arent Fox partner points out. “When’s the last time you saw someone with a mustache?” The facial hair isn’t the half of it. One of the country’s top fashion and entertainment lawyers, Lupo represents Hugo Boss, Marni, and Diane von Furstenberg. And he dresses like it.
In any room of fashionistas, Lupo is unmistakably the suit—“If I hire a lawyer, I want him to look like one,” he says—but on K Street, his style is just as eye-catching. Though he blogs at Fashion Counsel, his updates on intellectual property aren’t the kind of counsel we’re interested in, so we visited his bright corner office facing the White House to talk fashion.
“I love shoes. Check out the Barneys warehouse sale. On the last day, you’ll get $3,000 shoes for $120. They might be green, but they’ll be affordable. The panache you need to carry that off is free.”
“Ricky Ricardo. I like retro. Back in the ’80s, I did a lot of thrift-store shopping, and I was drawn to the ’50s-inspired cuts, the rockabilly-type looks.”
“I go to a guy at the Grooming Lounge on L Street. He remembers how to cut hair from the old days, but I’ve had it trained to do this for so long, I can get out of the shower and it almost stands up on its own.”
“I like the fabric of Italian suits, but I like the cuts to be German-style, a little tighter in the leg and a little shorter in the sleeves so the cuffs show.
“I wear jeans. But never blue jeans.”
“Art. I buy oil paintings, contemporary impressionistic stuff.” He also paints in his spare time.
How does a Washington man upgrade his look?
“Shoes. Tie. Watch. In that order.”
“I’ve been to China to have a cup of tea with a client. Turned around, came right back. But personally, my favorite place is San Domenico Palace Hotel. It’s an old convent in Taormina, on the eastern coast of Sicily. It’s heaven.”
Coolest current project:
“I’m working on the contracts and filming rights for the second season of [von Furstenberg’s reality show] House of DVF. It’s the perfect marriage of both my fashion and entertainment practices.”
Where he sees the fashion industry in ten years:
“Brick-and-mortar stores will be showpieces for a brand, but the real transactions will take place online. Virtual avatars so you can try things on, apps that recall and advise your purchases—that’s the future. It will free up a lot of money for the industry because a brand’s biggest expense is real estate.”
This article appears in our April 2015 issue of Washingtonian.
It’s sale season, gentlemen, and we don’t want you to miss it. Hugh & Crye hosts a sample sale this Saturday and Sunday, where you can get any Seneca blazer (which retail for $195) or McComb blazer (which retail for $245) on sale for $99.
Why the big discount? Hugh & Crye has been operating out of its Georgetown shop for four years, with offices at the WeWork Wonder Bread Factory in Shaw, and the owners say they’re ready to clear out and consolidate their two locations, moving into a bigger space in Navy Yard this spring.
You’ve finally decided on your New Year’s Eve plans—now, what to wear? Whether you’re spending the last night of 2014 bar-hopping with your boys, sipping wine with your main squeeze, or impressing your boss at a black-tie event, we’ve got you covered on attire with expert suggestions from menswear brand Ledbury’s retail manager Audie McDougall.
As fall settles in, it’s evident that Washington’s new sense of style has begun to change even the established uniforms of male power and privilege. Here's how to read the plumage.
The Hill Honcho
Michael Steel, 37, spokesman for House speaker John Boehner
Inspiration: Sean Connery in From Russia with Love.
On Capitol Hill, a suit telegraphs competence, conformity, and a higher purpose amid the chaos of lawmaking. Cost isn’t often spared, but a staffer’s attire shouldn’t shout its price tag. “The most important thing is to respect the institution and the people we serve,” says Steel.
1. Brooks Brothers suit, in gray or navy, with white or blue shirt.
2. Hermès tie. Rank and party are often expressed in choice of neckwear—color, material, brand, even the knot. Steel wears his in a simple four-in-hand.
3. “At work, I wear a nice watch my wife gave me for our wedding. On weekends, I wear a Timex from a Walmart in Janesville, Wisconsin, on a grosgrain band.”
4. Cuff links are a personal indulgence. These are engraved with an image of the Capitol, from Tiny Jewel Box on Connecticut Avenue.
5. Negotiating the miles of halls in the Capitol or hoofing it after the speaker from meeting to House floor to smoking break argues for a sensible oxford: “Every year or so, I get a good pair of dress shoes from Sky Valet Shoes on Wisconsin Avenue—black with gray suits, brown or cordovan with navy.”
Brandon Weight, 22, assistant events coordinator, Brightest Young Things, a web magazine and marketing company
Inspiration: “Any rapper with true street style is incredible.”
1. Creating an event in a retired embassy or throwing a dinner for a crowd is hell on clothes. “I tear things up and always have gaffer’s-tape residue on my clothes,” Weight says. “I wear H&M suits—it’s cheaper. This jacket I’ve had for a year, but I’ve already gone through two or three of the pants.”
“I’m young, so it helps to be present-able. When I came from California to Northern Virginia. I had super-long hair, highlights, I shopped at PacSun. It was really bad.”
2. How to know you’re a hipster? “I mean, I’m wearing an $8 camo shirt from Urban Outfitters.”
“I usually get off work and go to J. Crew. That whole strip [of M Street] is great—H&M, American Apparel, Urban Outfitters.”
Christopher "Gindy" Gindlesperger, 33, senior director of public affairs, American Beverage Association
Inspiration: “This is going to sound polarizing, but Kanye West is a huge influence for me.”
1. Gindy’s slick wool houndstooth communicates access and the discipline to stay on message. Like many of his suits, it’s custom, from Suitsupply: “My boy Will there helps me out. He’s amazing.”
2. Thomas Pink for shirts, or Charles Tyrwhitt, English cut. “I like a two-button barrel cuff.”
3. A pocket square is the discreet fun zone, with room for polka dots or Liberty prints or a hot color.
Lobbying has been liberated from its traditional mufti of yellow ties and pinstripes. Debonair is the new brash. “I look at fashion in Washington like people look at work: Once upon a time, work was a place you went. Now it’s something you do.”
“If you’re professional, you know what you’re talking about, and you look great. That’s the recipe.”
4. “The shoes are Ferragamo. No socks.”
Aderson B. Francois, 47, associate professor, Howard University School of Law
Inspiration: “My father would always find an excuse to wear a suit. As I got older, I got used to the idea of dressing a certain way, almost like putting on a uniform.”
“There is no dress code at Howard or any other law school—in fact, most professors tend to dress extraordinarily casual. Some don’t even bother wearing a blazer, much less a suit. Some even wear jeans. I just prefer not to do that.”
1. Gant Rugger blazer.
Perhaps nowhere is dressing to impress as important as in the classroom. “Teaching is like a performance,” Francois says. “If you don’t have a certain measure of confidence, students can detect it.”
2. Buddhist prayer-bead bracelet.
Academics avoid trends in favor of eternal truths. “I shop at Billy Reid, Gant, sometimes Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus. I buy very few things but wear them for a long time—so much that they’ve literally fallen apart. But I’d still be sad if I lost them.”
His look defines a precise line between youthful panache and crisp authority. “I tend to wear Dunhill or Gian-franco Ferre, but I like a slimmer cut and al-most always end up having it tailored.”
3. “The shoes? They’re Lidfort. I got them a few years back at Barneys, I think.”
This article appears in the November 2014 issue of Washingtonian.
When I think of Canadian fashion, the first thing that comes to mind is a Canadian tuxedo (think: the now-infamous look that Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake wore oh so well at the 2001 American Music Awards). But when I met up with Canadian-born hockey players Braden Holtby and Mike Green of the Washington Capitals at their practicing rink in Ballston, Virginia, the day before their home opener game, I saw a very different style of denim. Neither one consulted with the other before the interview, and both turned up in denim shirts half tucked in, their sleeves rolled up to reveal tattooed forearms.
In separate interviews, each player professed to be "more of a boot guy" than a sneakerhead, and insisted their styles are very much their own with little to no outside influence from, say, their wives. Read on to find out what stores they rely on to find their favorite brands and how they like to spend their limited free time in Washington.
Where do you like to shop in Washington?
Mike Green: I do a lot of my shopping online at Mr Porter and Gilt. Gilt has great deals. I've also gotten really into Billy Reid in Georgetown, but other than that I rely on Neiman Marcus—they have a good variety of clothes.
What about favorite brands?
BH: Hugo Boss fits us hockey players really well. For standard suits, I usually go there. I like black and blue suits. On the more casual side, Best Made has cool woodsy-style clothes that I like, and the Canadian brand Roots has changed a lot. They make great leather clothes and bags now.
Are you into any of the shopping services that exist now, like Trunk Club?
BH: My wife and I like to shop, so not really. We enjoy picking out everything ourselves.
On that note, do your wives influence your style at all?
BH: We have similar styles, actually. We have since we met each other. Fashion was one of the things that sort of brought us together, believe it or not.
MG: My style has definitely picked up since getting married but for the most part, it hasn't changed much. My wife's an artist, though, so she sees certain things she thinks look good on me.
So if you were to sum up your personal style in just a few words, what would you say?
BH: My style reflects my personality so I kind of just throw on whatever I'm feeling that day. I really don't have one basic style or specific look; it changes all the time. But if I were to use one word, I'd say retro. Some people joke that I look more like an artist than a hockey player.
MG: You represent yourself through your clothing. Hockey players struggle with fashion the most because we're in a rink wearing suits since we're young kids.
Your beard has also become such a signature part of your look, Braden.
BH: Yeah I've always had a beard. I can't stand being clean shaven. Right now it's the shortest it's been in awhile. I actually grew it out this summer, and it was huge. No one would recgonize me back home, so it worked perfectly.
When you're not on the ice, what restaurants do you frequent?
BH: My family and I live in Old Town, so we love Virtue Feed & Grain because it's close to our house. Founding Farmers is one of our favorites also; we go there for brunch sometimes. We used to live in Shirlington, where we'd go to Busboys and Poets a lot, so we try and stop by there when we can. When our parents are in town, Vermilion in Old Town is a good spot for a nice supper.
MG: I live in McLean, but I thoroughly enjoy the restaurants in DC. When we can, we eat out as much as possible—we like Le Diplomate and the restaurants along 14th Street. When I first came to the US I lived in Annapolis, so that turned me on to seafood, and Joe's Seafood, Prime Steak and Stone Crab is great for that. When we have time for a drink I really like Bourbon Steak at the Four Seasons; it's low-key and quiet. My local watering hole is Thirsty Bernie's, a sports bar by my house.
Is there anything people don't know about you that they may be surprised to learn?
BH: I like bookstores, so I'm always trying to find as many of those as I can.
MG: In the offseason I build and customize motorcycles. I started doing this about three years ago. I learned how to weld, and once I learned that, I would cut apart the bikes, redesign them, and build them again. I do it as a hobby with five of my buddies.
Find Valeria Boucas on Twitter at @valeriaboucas.
Barber of Hell’s Bottom
818 Rhode Island Ave., NW; 202-332-0200
Founded by Mike Thomas and Kelly Gorsuch of the 14th Street hair salon Immortal Beloved, this shop perfects a fusion of low-key cool and high-style sophistication, all in the booming Shaw neighborhood—a place once unseemly enough to be dubbed Hell’s Bottom.
The nine-chair shop offers haircuts and straight-razor shaves with an easygoing vibe and a reclaimed-meets-artful aesthetic that includes whitewashed brick, vintage mirrors, rustic wood, and one very special find: an antique barber chair salvaged from a New Jersey shop once frequented by Hollywood’s Rat Pack.
Wise Owl Club
2010 18th St., NW; 202-705-9425
A cross between classic barber and modern hipster, this Adams Morgan shop may be itsy-bitsy—and no, it doesn’t take appointments—but it attracts a big crowd. Owned by a woman who calls herself Lauren the Lady Barber, the Wise Owl Club addresses all your barbershop needs, such as straight-razor shaves and hair services, but part of the draw is thanks to the stylish-cool atmosphere.
The setup includes five 1930s barber chairs and a pop-up with products curated by DC’s Mutiny, plus a taxidermy buffalo head on the wall—naturally.
1745 L St., NW, 202-466-8900
2001 International Dr., McLean, 703-288-0355
Mike Gilman opened his first Grooming Lounge—arguably the granddaddy of today’s luxury barbershops—in downtown DC 12 years ago, followed by a second store in Tysons Galleria four years later.
Known for top-notch service in a boys’-club atmosphere—including flat-screen TVs and mahogany walls—the two locations tackle services ranging from the expected hot-lather shaves, haircuts, and color to spa treatments such as “business manicures,” hot-stone massages, and facial peels. The Grooming Lounge offers its own line of products, too.
Roosters Men’s Grooming Center
1815-C Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-625-5112
Though the first Washington location of this 70-strong nationwide chain is in an unassuming shopping center in upper Georgetown, inside is a haven of old-school masculinity, complete with seven oversize black-leather barber chairs tucked into handsome, semiprivate hardwood stations—all set to a soundtrack of vintage jazz and classic rock.
The barbers at Roosters are certified in straight-razor shaving, and you can expect such luxuries as hot-towel service and scalp massages with your cut.
The Gentlemen’s Quarters
105 S. Union St., Alexandria; 703-836-7330
Open more than a decade in Old Town, The Gentlemen's Quarters looks the part—rich red walls, handsome wooden accents, black leather barber chairs—and acts it, too. Pour a stiff drink from the bar before settling into your service, whether a standard haircut and hot-lather shave or a dude-friendly take on everything from back facials to pedicures.
Need a shoeshine? They do that, too.
This article appears in the September 2014 issue of Washingtonian.