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This VP mixes things up with bold colors, graphic prints, and unexpected details. By Michelle Thomas

Who: Leigh George, 45

Vice President, Digital Strategist, Social@Ogilvy

What I do: “I help public and private sector brands develop, implement and track strategic plans for brand awareness, customer acquisition, customer relationship management, online engagement and community management. Depending on the client and the business challenge this could include creating a website, launching a paid media campaign, deploying a crisis communication plan, developing a content marketing program, uncovering insights with social listening and data analytics, and building influencer, advocacy and loyalty programs.”

Describe your style at work: “With a PhD in branding, I’m acutely aware of the power of personal image. I believe your style should tell a story about who you are and how you view yourself. No detail should be left to chance. Even my asymmetrical pixie, color and cut at Eastern Confederate, is a key part of my image. I love combining tailored feminine silhouettes with bold colors, graphic prints and unexpected details. I go for looks that make people stop and take notice … and sometimes even spark rumors. I’ve been mistaken for a fashion blogger and, when I joined Ogilvy, my colleagues told me they heard I was on Washingtonian’s best-dressed list. I don’t think that list exists, but I’ll take the compliment!”

Client Meeting

“There’s nothing more important than feeling confident in front of a client. I’ve always been a huge fan of high-waisted skirts because of the way they accentuate your waist. Combining the bold stripes of the skirt with the sculptural construction of the kelly green crop top creates a timeless yet very modern look that projects an air of authority and vibrancy, qualities that are crucial when meeting with clients.”

Erika Schrieber top, A.L.C. skirt, Vince Camuto booties, Nervous System cuff, Kalaki Riot ring, Elaine B. earrings

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Posted at 11:20 AM/ET, 09/03/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
The DC native talks about her favorite places to shop in Washington and the power of a statement shoe. By Valeria Boucas

Who: Justine Harman, 29
Features Editor, Elle.com

What I do: “I am the features editor at Elle.com, where I write and edit longform content for the number one fashion magazine in the world, Elle! I also help helm special projects, such as our monthly guest blogger series and Hot Guy/Cold Drink, a column in which I essentially have cocktails with some of the cutest guys in entertainment. It’s a pretty decent racket.”

My work style: “Basics with an edge—high-waisted jeans, loose button-downs, and lightweight silk dresses—with functional heels. However, I am not above a statement piece. My mom, former congresswoman Jane Harman (and the high priestess of DC cool), introduced me to to the power of the impact shoe. My favorite pairs, like a pair of two-tone, d’Orsay Pierre Hardy pumps, come from Hu’s Shoes on M Street.”

Interviewing a Designer or Celebrity

“Here I am interviewing actor Michael Pitt wearing an Atlantique Ascoli cropped tank, trousers by The Row, and Jean-Michel Cazabat slides. It was an especially hot day, and I had trained up to NYC from DC that morning, so I needed something that traveled well.” Photograph by Katie Friedman. 


Typical Day at the Office

“I tend to wear things that are comfortable, and this look is no exception: J.Crew shirtdress (I worked at the store in Georgetown Park in high school and have a total soft spot for their stuff) and my beloved Day Birger et Mikkelsen striped tee around my waist. The shoes are Saint Laurent. The glasses are Oliver Peoples.” Photograph by Joslyn Blair.


Casual Friday

“There really isn’t much of a dress code at Elle, but if I am going for a more laid-back look, I tend to rely on this Étoile Isabel Marant wrap dress. My brother and friend P.J. tell me that it looks like a karate gi, but what do they know? The shoes are the same Jean-Michel Cazabat slides. What can I say? I love ’em.” Photograph by Katie Friedman.


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

Find Valeria Boucas on Twitter at @valeriaboucas.

Posted at 11:00 AM/ET, 08/13/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
The chef favors simplicity and European touches in his wardrobe. By Valeria Boucas
Photographs by Greg Powers.

Who: Chef Frederik de Pue, 37
Chef/owner of Table DC and Menu MBK 

What I do: “I run Table DC and Menu MBK. Table is a Euro-style restaurant with seasonal dishes, and I just opened Menu MBK earlier this year. I spend an equal amount of time at both restaurants, although I consider Menu my ‘office’ as there’s physically more space for me there. I oversee menu development and daily operations of the restaurants. Some of the seasonal or signature dishes include the octopus at Table and the current chef’s tasting menu at Menu MBK. The theme changes monthly. It’s hosted at the open chef’s counter/kitchen with only six seats, and this month’s theme is breakfast for dinner.”

My work style: “A lot of chefs wear Crocs or clogs in the kitchen, but I love Adidas indoor soccer shoes. I’m typically in jeans and clothes from Massimo Dutti. I like their classic and stylish aesthetic with that European sensibility. I’m always in favor of the more polished look.”

My off-duty style: “I gravitate toward simplicity—just blazers and jeans. In the summer I’ll wear something more breathable, like shorts, when I get home, but I have to admit I’m not much of a summer guy. I find it harder to dress well in the summer, and I was brought up around clothing since my mom owns a store called Van Houtte in my hometown of Ghent, Belgium. She sells both men’s and women’s clothing and it has been in her family for over 50 years. She definitely passed on her fashion sense to me.” 

The Details

The Samba sneaker by Adidas Originals, $65. Photograph courtesy of Adidas.

Find Valeria Boucas on Twitter at @valeriaboucas.

Posted at 02:30 PM/ET, 08/06/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
These hospitality professionals show us how it’s done, in an industry that always has to look on-point. By Valeria Boucas

Who: Sophie Penichet, 26

Guest Experience Manager, Avenue Suites

What I do: “I oversee the guest experience at Avenue Suites, a lifestyle hotel in the Modus collection, in Georgetown. It’s a fun position that blends marketing and hotel operations. I focus on establishing partnerships that connect guests with unique experiences to make each stay unforgettable. The work is entrepreneurial in developing creative strategies and programs that increase hotel visibility and enhance its value. With the assistance of a great internal team and external partners, I help manage new programs including necessary support with website management, print and digital collateral, and events.”

My work style: “Unlike bigger hotel chains, Modus celebrates the individual spirit so there is definitely personal expression in style. Mine is polished, classic, and feminine, with a modern edge. My family lives in France, so every year I go back and stockpile items that cannot be bought in the US.”

VIP meeting

“Style and sophistication is a part of Avenue’s brand narrative, so whether meeting with new clients, partners, or VIPs, I represent that image. A graphic blazer, a pencil skirt, platform heels, and a top bun would be my go-to.”


Typical day at the office

“Most days you will find me in a dress or skirt with a blazer and high heels. For everyday, I love to mix and match neutrals and then layer on a statement necklace or bold earrings and cuff. My current favorites include a pair of gold graphic earrings and Swarovski retro earrings. I love the Georgetown boutique Charm for different inexpensive options. Accessories revolutionize any outfit.”


“Casual Friday”

“At a hotel, there’s no off day—whether it is a Monday morning or Sunday night, you always need to appear professional. I use Fridays as an opportunity to wear fun and trendier pieces such as a bold color dress (red Vince Camuto peplum) or a black jumpsuit—just add lipstick after work for a day-to-night look.”

Photographs courtesy of Penichet.

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Posted at 10:00 AM/ET, 08/01/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Leigh Heyman shows us how he sneaks bits of personality into his wardrobe at one of the city’s most serious workplaces. By Diana Elbasha

Who: Leigh Heyman, 42
Director of New Media Technologies, Executive Office of the President

What I do: “I oversee the development and operations for the entire technical platform behind the White House’s online presence. This involves managing teams of developers and collaborating with the White House digital strategy team and communications staff on new ways to engage with the public online. Everything from new website features like the ‘We The People’ petitions site, to adding new social networking tools to our live video streams, to supporting major online events like Twitter Q&As with the President, the Vice President, or the First Lady.”

My work style: “As my career has evolved and my responsibilities have grown, I’ve toned down some of the bolder aspects of my style and I now try for a more restrained look that highlights the cut and fabric of my suits and ties. But that simplicity is by no means conservative or plain. In fact, I find it frees me up to focus on details like complex color-mixing and expressing subtle hints of personality through judicious use of accessories; I try to strike a balance between bold statement-making and the seriousness of the place I work.”

VIP Meeting

“Aside from my tuxedo, this suit is my favorite thing in my closet. I chose some classic style elements, such as the high-waisted, pleated trousers, specifically to offset the boldness of the lavender pinstripe and strike that balance of subtlety. I love that the suit’s ability to make a statement all on its own simplifies the selection of the rest of the outfit—I almost always pair it with a solid shirt and one of my quieter ties. It’s one of my most comfortable suits, so I’ll usually wear it when I know I’m going to have a long day.”

Kent Wang suit, Proper Cloth shirt, Tom Ford tie, Barney’s pocket square, English Laundry suspenders, Pantherella socks, Cole Haan shoes, Peter Lever cufflinks, Longines watch, Ted Baker bracelet, Ray-Ban sunglasses. 

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Posted at 12:28 PM/ET, 06/25/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
A peek at the eclectic staff behind the powerhouse wedding startup. By Diana Elbasha

Sometimes, when it comes to these features, it’s impossible to pick just one person out of a stylish group of Washingtonians. Take the three lovely ladies behind preppy apparel label Tuckernuck, for instance, or that time we featured nearly 60 of LivingSocial’s staffers.

Such was the case when we visited WeddingWire’s ultra-cool Chevy Chase headquarters. The office—laden with bright orange sofas, ping-pong tables, and a fully stocked snack area with a sign reading “Treat Yo’Self”—embraces a creative, casual-cool style not often spotted in offices around here. And we’re not talking riffs on pencil skirts and blazers: Graphic tees, animal prints, and bright hues are the norm, and the company’s 300-plus employees are encouraged to express their invidual style, whether that means donning sky-high Louboutins or Wedding Wire-blue Google Glass (both of which make an appearance in this feature). We caught up with a handful of WW’s refreshingly diverse staffers to bring you a glimpse of its unique, startup-culture style. Click through the slideshow to see all the looks.

All photographs by Andrew Propp.

Posted at 02:44 PM/ET, 04/23/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
This communications exec adds her own modern touch to classic, feminine pieces. By Diana Elbasha

Who: Maria Jose Abad, 29

Account supervisor for Qorvis MSLGROUP, Author of Maria On Point

What I do: “I’m a communications executive practiced in tactical execution and strategic planning for clients, with an emphasis on public and media relations, brand messaging, consumer marketing, and social media strategy for national and international campaigns. I manage corporate and consumer clients, offering strategic counsel, event development and management, and media relations support while managing an internal team from our creative division.”

My work style: “I tend to lean toward preppy, clean, and feminine looks. For the most part, I wear dresses, pencil skirts, and skinny pants to the office. I tend to wear classic and fitted outfits to work but always add a touch of personality through statement necklaces, colorful scarves, and blazers. Another key piece I wear to the office at least twice a week is the J.Crew Tippi sweater. I have at least ten of them, ranging from cashmere to Merino wool to linen. My outfits are always comfortable and professional with a splash of sophistication and femininity.”

Client Meeting

“When it comes to client meetings, I tend to wear my most professional business attire but still add a modern touch. Depending on the client, I am able to play a little bit with my outfit choices. A tweed jacket and skirt are perfect for the winter months; they have that Chanel classic and feminine air that we girls love. The houndstooth pattern and the beads on the jacket add a chic touch while keeping it professional and appropriate for seeing clients. I typically pair these looks with nude asymmetric Zara heels, my go-to office shoes.”

Tory Burch houndstooth tweed jacket, J.Crew tweed pencil skirt, Coach watch, vintage pearl bracelet, and Majorica pearl earrings via Neiman Marcus.

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Posted at 03:30 PM/ET, 03/18/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
The digital media specialist mixes vintage and contemporary pieces for a timeless look. By Michelle Thomas

Who: Victor Diaz Zapanta, 30
Designer for a financial regulatory agency

What I do: “Working in digital media, I spend my days thinking of elegant, accessible solutions to complicated problems. Because we’re a startup of sorts, I’ve worn many different hats, from designer and developer to video producer and photographer. It’s a unique space within government, and the opportunity to jump in and out of a wide variety of projects is perfect for my oftentimes ADD nature.”

My work style: “My style at work is the same as my style out of work: variations on a theme. Part of this choice is informed by a desire I have to settle upon a personal style that will be mine for the rest of my life. Another part is informed by an aversion to feeling subjected to the whims of trends and fast fashion. And the final part is informed by my own romanticism for the minimalist lifestyle, a lifestyle I will almost certainly never attain but continue to entertain daydreams of.”


Big Meeting

“If you have to own one suit, make it navy and understated, and bring it straight to your tailor. A suit like this is all about versatility. This would be just as appropriate for a meeting on the Hill as it would be for an interview with a graphic designer. It’s a perfect foundation.”

Suitsupply suit, vintage flannel shirt, J.Crew tie, the Hill-Side selvedge pocket square, and vintage Johnson & Murphy double-monk shoes.

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Posted at 10:33 AM/ET, 03/05/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
This policy specialist livens up a formal dress code with feminine tweedy jackets, statement necklaces, and a touch of edgy detailing. By Michelle Thomas

Who: Casey Thevenot, 23
Public Policy Specialist, Patton Boggs

What I do: “I work in the public policy department at Patton Boggs as a health policy specialist. I assist with the research, development, and implementation of legislative and regulatory strategy for health-care clients, including hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, and medical-device companies. Specifically I monitor for agency regulations and developments on the Hill, correspond with congressional offices, and provide clients with real-time information and analysis on pertinent policy issues.”

My work style: “I would consider my work style as classic and feminine with a bit of edge. I feel most comfortable in dresses and skirts, so I usually shy away from pants. I like to wear traditional pieces with unexpected details such as studs, zippers, or embellishments to bring some life to what can be a dull work wardrobe. Fit is also key; I always buy work clothes that are comfortable and flattering. Oh, and I think I’m addicted to blazers and tweed jackets—I have at least 15!”

A Casual Day at Work

 “When I know I don’t have many meetings and will be in the office all day, I sometimes dress a little more casually. This sweater dress is soft and comfortable and allows for movement. I topped it with a black blazer to make the look more professional and wore an awesome statement necklace from Zara to bring the colors in the dress, blazer, and boots together. I’ve had these boots for years; I wear them with everything.”

Zara sweater dress, blazer, and necklace and Tory Burch riding boots.
 

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Posted at 09:46 AM/ET, 12/04/2013 | Permalink | Comments ()
This executive assistant takes his business dress with a side of bold color—and a statement sock! By Michelle Thomas

Who: Ron Akins, 43
Executive assistant, National Retail Federation

What I do: “I’ve been with the National Retail Federation for about six years. When my present boss, Vicki Cantrell, joined us, I was offered to opportunity to work with her. She’s a highly respected leader in the retail world. I went from a pure retail-loss-prevention-focused position to a broader role that includes engaging with senior level and C-Suite executives in IT, loss prevention, digital retail, and marketing. I work closely with my boss on any number of projects, and I am a lead person within our loss-prevention team, which is still near and dear to my heart. Travel for our events, dinners, and member visits is about 35 to 40 percent of my job.”

My work style: “I would describe my work style as business classic with a modern twist. Our office is business attire, and I personally prefer business dress. I am highly influenced style-wise by my father, who passed away 15 years ago. He taught me a lot about style, luxury menswear, and how to wear what, and I freely share with anyone who asks for advice or a suggestion.”

Events/Member Visits


“Bow ties have become a signature look for me. No matter where I go for work, in the office, meetings, events, or members’ offices across the country, my bow ties are what people know me for. Bow ties are a fun alternative to a regular tie, so I like to wear them with suits, sport jackets, or blazers. I have an affinity for rich, bold colors that give what could be an ordinary suit that something extra that catches the eye. Not to mention my socks, which are just as much a signature style of mine as the bow tie.”

Ben Sherman plaid suit, dress shirt from Nordstrom, Tommy Hilfiger bow tie, Happy Socks socks, Ben Sherman wing-tip dress shoes.

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Posted at 02:11 PM/ET, 11/06/2013 | Permalink | Comments ()