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Sidewalk Style: Back to Basics
This week, we stopped Janis Penman, who approaches her work and wardrobe with the same no-nonsense manner. By Rachel Cothran
Comments () | Published October 14, 2008

Janis Penman, 36
Partner, Baker Hostetler LLP

What she’s wearing:
Tory Burch dress from Bloomingdale’s in Chevy Chase, Gucci shoes from Bluefly.com, Kate Spade bag from the eponymous store in Georgetown.

Where do you like to shop?
“I really don’t like to shop—it’s just very time-intensive. I do a lot of it online at Zappos, Bluefly, and both Neiman Marcus and Saks online. I like the Bloomingdale’s in Chevy Chase a lot.”

Those shoes actually look pretty comfortable.
“They are. They have tread on the sole, and the heel is fairly substantial. I used to wear a high stiletto heel until I had twins three years ago, and they just really stopped being comfortable. It seems that a bit more of a platform is popular these days, so I’m happy that the trends followed suit.”

How has motherhood affected what you wear?
“I have less time now than I did before, and that wasn’t much! You learn to streamline and to eliminate what doesn’t work. On the weekends I look like a refuge from the J. Crew catalog: cords and jeans with simple, clean-cut sweaters. I have to be able to get dirty and not feel bad about it.”

In terms of work clothing, what do you wear?
“I’m partial to dresses because it’s one-stop shopping—all you have to worry about are the accessories. Our dress code at work is business casual, which is great because I don’t have to wear a suit every day. I think women have a much easier time with that dress code because we have far more options.”

What is something you would never wear?
“A mini-skirt. Never.”

You seem to have figured out what looks good and what works for your life—sort of your own personal dress code.
“I don’t strive to be trendy like I used to years ago. You just get exhausted trying to keep up with trends. I find that when you focus and narrow it down, people stop you and compliment you. Having to reinvent the wheel every morning is exhausting. Who has time to be trendy? I have other more important things to think about. And who can afford to be trendy? I prefer to spend money on things that will look classic and elegant for years.”

Rachel says:
The second I stopped Janis and asked her about her outfit, I thought, “Oh, of course I stop someone who is wearing all designer labels.” But Janis’s clean, sophisticated look is not at all dependent on a huge pile of cash. Her outfit is totally basic at first blush—and plenty of you may deem it boring—but sometimes going back to basics and doing it really well is what stands out in a crowd.

Weigh in on Janis's style!

What do you think of this week's Sidewalk Style outfits? Leave your thoughts and opinions in the comments below! 

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Posted at 06:36 AM/ET, 10/14/2008 RSS | Print | Permalink | Comments () | Washingtonian.com Blogs