What I Wear to Work: “The Hill’s” Amie Parnes and Elise Viebeck

How two reporters—one who favors whimsy and color, the other whose look is “aggressively understated”—nail a polished style both onscreen and at the White House.

By: Michelle Thomas

Who: Amie Parnes, 35, and Elise Viebeck, 25
White House correspondent and staff writer, The Hill newspaper

What Amie does: “I cover the White House, which means lots of briefing room time, some travel with the President, working behind a computer on stories, and a heck of a lot of waiting around for things to happen. I’m also currently wrapping up work on a book, which means I’m reading edits late into the evening.”

What Elise does: “I write about health-care issues for our paper and talk on television about politics. Lately, my work has focused almost exclusively on the implementation of the Affordable Care Act—what a rich topic. You can find me most days seeking out lawmakers on Capitol Hill or contributing to our policy blog, Healthwatch.”

Amie’s work style: “There’s really no such thing as dressing down at the White House, but I do try to add a little whimsical touch to each outfit or wear a piece or an accessory that really stands out. I grew up in Miami and lived in New York, so my wardrobe is less ‘traditional DC’ and more reflective of my roots. When I’m working on the book, my wardrobe runs the gamut from Kate Spade or Trina Turk dresses (for interviews) to comfy Lululemon hoodies and capris (for writing time at home).”

Elise’s work style: “Aggressively understated. I embrace the idea of a uniform, and mine is defined by classic, masculine-inspired pieces in black, navy, and white. If there’s anything I try to get right, it is cut.”

Out in the Field

Amie: “Respect for the institution aside, you never know whom you might run into at the big house, even the President himself (which, believe it or not, has happened once or twice.) I usually wear dresses like this one paired with bold heels and a statement necklace because it’s classic yet modern.” What she’s wearing: Susana Monaco dress from Cusp, collar necklace from Anthropologie, and peep-toe wedges by DGM.

Elise: “Covering Capitol Hill has a physical dimension I never expected. You’re often jogging after lawmakers or coming in and out of drafty buildings. This outfit is warm and comfortable, and lends itself to movement. The leather bag goes back six years with me and is falling apart from loving use.” What she’s wearing: AllSaints cashmere sweater dress, men’s Missoni scarf, Nordstrom tights, Pied Juste wedges, Kate Spade stud earrings, heirloom necklace, and vintage leather tote.

TV Appearance

Elise: “This Rag & Bone blouse is my favorite piece of all. The detailing is exquisite, and it works well for television since it runs down from the shoulder to the wrist. The rest of the outfit assumes I’m going to a late dinner or event after a nighttime hit. The Saint Laurent clutch was a recent gift, and I can’t stop carrying it.” What she's wearing: Rag and Bone silk blouse, J.Crew cropped pants, Cole Haan peep-toe pumps, vintage stud earrings, vintage chain link necklace, and Saint Laurent clutch.

Amie: “My appearances on the tube have made me embrace bold colors and jewel tones, something my closet had been missing for years. And while viewers only see a fraction of what I’m wearing, it’s nice to get properly dressed for the occasion.” What she’s wearing: Kate Spade dress, Kate Spade suede ankle boots, Kendra Scott earrings, and bracelet stack by Aqua from Bloomingdales.

Casual Friday

Elise: “I live in versions of this outfit. The proportions work well for me, and the whole thing is comfortable without being too casual. I love the way a good blazer can make even the most basic outfit feel finished. This one has very serious bald eagles on the buttons.” What she’s wearing: Vintage Stanley Blacker wool blazer, Maeve navy button-down with “E” initial, Madewell jeans, Ralph Lauren slingbacks, vintage snake clutch, and heirloom necklace.

Amie: “On the days I’m not at the White House and I’m working in the newsroom, I like to be a little bolder with my wardrobe. I’ve always loved jeans, but lately I’m all about printed pants. I usually pair them with a jacket and an accessory that pops as well as a fun pair of shoes, like these oxfords. They’re functional and a fun alternative to standard flats—not to mention cute with dresses and skirts! Bonus: This kind of outfit plays well in the evening if I’m meeting friends after work.” What she’s wearing: Soft Joie snakeskin-print pants, Joie tank top, Tabitha marigold swing jacket from Anthropologie, Johnston & Murphy oxfords, tie beaded necklace from Cusp, silver shark tooth necklace by Heist, and watch by Baume & Mercier.

The Details

All photographs by Andrew Propp. Makeup by Johny Saade and hair by Clementine Croissant, both courtesy of Isabelle’s Okyo Salon.

Think you or someone you know deserves a chance in the What I Wear to Work spotlight? E-mail mthomas@washingtonian.com with pictures and a job description for consideration.

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