Who: Vicky Theodorou, 31
Founder and Style Director, Heirloom Catering and Event Design
What I do: “In the early morning, you’ll probably find me at my Capital Hill loft writing custom proposals. From there, I might jet over to Rosslyn to setup a VIP luncheon or work with my culinary team to develop and taste new, fresh, and exciting dishes. Days are also filled with visiting local markets for in-season produce and sustainable meats and seafood and working in our creative space to design new tablescapes for events such as themed weddings and parties. In the evenings, I come home and walk the pups, then dash over to events like ZooFari or Capital Foodfight.”
My work style: "Timeless, yet progressive, meets functional."
Who: Meaghan Moynahan, 27
Program Analyst at the Department of State; style blogger at District Sparkle
My work style: “At nights, on the weekends, and at most blog events I wear a lot of black, white, and grey, and dressing for the office is no different. I never know where the day will take me so I like to layer pieces and I always keep a black blazer on hand for important last-minute meetings that inevitably come up. Due to the nature of the work that we do and my sartorial personality, I'm never completely comfortable in bright colors; instead I'll make a statement by layering delicate necklaces or focus my outfit around a great mixed-leather blazer, printed sheath dress, or a funky heel.”
Where I shop for workwear: "ShopBop, Nordstrom, Ann Taylor, ASOS."
Who: Sara Zou, 26, and Chellie Zou, 26
Marketing Representatives, C-SPAN
What we do: We promote C-SPAN and our resources around the country on the C-SPAN Bus. The bus is an interactive, mobile demonstration studio. We have all kinds of technology on board that we use to show people what C-SPAN is and how to use it. When in DC, we are in the office planning our next trip and sometimes attending events to market C-SPAN.
Our work style: Classic with a twist. We both have a very similar sense of style and share many pieces. We like to use our outfits as a creative outlet, and putting together a look is all about the silhouette and colors. We've collected style tips along the way, but most of our love for fashion stems from our parents! My mom always dressed us in trendy, fun outfits. Our parents bought us our first suit sets and our mom always taught us to invest in shoes since they will last and you want them to feel comfortable and look polished.
Around the Office
Sara: “C-SPAN has a standard dress code policy--it's professional. I like to do my own interpretation, avoiding black and going for colors! This look has all the pieces of a typical suit, but a twist with color.”
Sara (left) wears a Brooks Brothers blazer, and H&M blouse, a Banana Republic skirt and Zara pumps. Chellie (right) is in an Express blouse, a Primark skirt that she bought while abroad in Scotland, and Aldo patent leather heels.
Who: Jill Spaeth, 32
President and Director of Design, Citizen Creative
What I do: “I'm a design consultant specializing in experience design--primarily large-scale environmental graphics and signage. Each day is so different for me. My days vary from being at my desk developing a new concept to pitching a client at their office to visiting a site in a hard hat! I love the variety, and it fuels my creative process.”
My work style: “It’s classic with a ‘pop’ of something unexpected, which reflects my personality and my laugh—which if you know me is LOUD. I love bright and fun shoes—you'll rarely see me in a plain black shoe. My look usually incorporates a mix of different brands too, because I want to make each look my own. I'm a designer after all! I've built a wardrobe around a variety of ‘staple’ pieces that easily mix and match.”
Pitching to a New Client
“When meeting with a new client, I dress professionally and buttoned-up. I prefer to wear a crisp white or black shirt with one statement piece--in this case, my favorite Ted Baker pencil skirt. I want to give my prospective client a professional but bold impression that matches the work I create.”
Hugo Boss shirt, Ted Baker skirt, Sarah Jessica Parker shoes, Stella & Dot Citron drops earrings and Rebel ring.
Who: Laura Ritchie, 31, and Megan Pollard, 34
Principal designers, Events in the City
What we do: “Our day-to-day work life is flexible and jam-packed all at the same time. We can be sitting behind a desk for eight hours answering e-mails, doing research, making calls, and requesting contracts—or we could be out on the town driving between site visits and lunch meetings, and then getting dolled up for a networking event. The majority of our events are held on the weekends, and they can be ten-plus-hour days with little downtime. Saturdays are our Mondays, and Mondays are our Mondays too!”
Our work style: “Having personal style that makes us feel confident and that represents us both as individuals and as a company is über-important. Megan has a boho-vintage twist to her classic separates, and she isn't afraid of a red lip or a good hat. Laura opts for more daring and wild patterned pieces mixed in with a great blazer and a statement necklace. Knowing that we will be photographed together or even looked at as a pair, its important to not match but at least complement each other. If one of us is in neon, the other might do a neutral with a neon accent. If one of us is doing a bright lip, the other may stray away from it that night.”
In our closet: “Being on our feet a lot has also made us major shoe hoarders. It’s not uncommon for us to start an event in slip-on metallic Vans, change to high heels for the ceremony and reception, and then end the night in hightop sneakers. I’ve even worn a bride's emerald green Louboutins because she was eyeing my black Ash sneakers and I could tell she was in major pain. Anything to make our clients happy!”
Meeting a Client
"We want to remain true to ourselves and comfortable while we are whipping up clever ideas and running between meetings with clients. Jeans, a great sweater, fun shoes, and a pop element like a statement necklace or big scarf totally do the trick here in DC."
Laura (left) wears a J.Crew sweater and statement necklace, Gap maternity jeans, and Urban Outfitters leopard-print booties. Megan is in a Target poncho, a fur stole she bought on eBay, Gap jeans, and Zara booties.
Who: Erin Clarke, 34
Chef de Cuisine at Casa Luca
What I do: "I am chef de cuisine of Chef Fabio Trabocchi's restaurant Casa Luca. You can find me in the kitchen between 9 AM and 10 PM pretty much any day of the week except Sunday. I cook, clean, create, and attempt to organize and direct a kitchen full of high-spirited cooks and a dining room full of some of the most talented people I've ever had the pleasure of working with."
My work style: "At work I'm usually in clogs and chef whites—not much room for anything else except an apron. Most mornings, I throw on work pants, my boyfriend's sweatshirt, and moccasins. They're super soft, broken in, and you don't have to lace them up, which makes changing into my uniform a breeze. Honestly, I'm half dressed before I get to work, but I always keep a blazer, a tailored pair of jeans, and a button-down collared shirt hanging up in the office just in case. It's my uniform."
In the Kitchen
"I purchased these Minnetonka moccasins when I lived in Charleston, South Carolina. Nights were cold, and there was always broken glass on the ground in the kitchens, so these were the perfect shoes to wear. They're also great on plane trips."
Out of the Kitchen
"I love this Theory blazer—I've had it for more years than I can remember. It's a label I stick to; classic, tailored pieces that last a lifetime. The scarf and earrings were a gift from my mother, who also happens to be my fashion mentor. I have no idea where she bought the scarf, but the earrings were brought back from a recent trip to Santa Fe. I'm also never without my Ray Ban sunglasses when I'm outside; I feel strange without them. I'd leave the house without keys or a phone before I left without my Ray Bans. These booties are also some of my favorites. They're a rare online purchase from a website I no longer remember, but they're versatile, comfortable, and not heels—everything I look for in a shoe."
Theory blazer, Hudson jeans, Mea Shadow boots, Ray Ban sunglasses.
All photographs by Andrew Propp.
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Who: Denise Nguyen, 27
Marketing manager, Occasions Caterers
What I do: “I manage all branding and communications for Occasions Caterers and our sister companies, MENUS Catering and Protocol Staffing Services. This includes the development, strategy, and overall execution of all content marketing, both online and off. Website launches, social media, new business development, and media relations are part of my everyday; I also support tastings and community-related efforts, such as our mural project with Sitar Arts Center, a three-year partnership resulting in a 90-foot student-made mural. I also enjoy working with great talents producing video and photography, as well as styling shoots."
My work style: “I have an ongoing affair with structured versus unstructured. That’s really my style in a nutshell. I’m mad for pairing the tailored with the relaxed. It also describes my work, as someone who wears many hats and is constantly multitasking. I need structure to stay sane, but flexibility is also key. I like to update traditional looks with just a glimmer of edge: an unpredictable color or texture. I prefer flair on my feet, instead of jewelry. A good shoe really does live forever. I tend to shy away from busy prints; I find them limiting. But prints that can act as neutrals? Now that, I can get behind.”
Where I shop for workwear: “A bit of everywhere. I’m more focused on fabrication, flexibility, and whether I can see it living in my closet for a long while. Or if the piece has great verticals—can it be dressed up and down? Nothing pains me more than purchasing something that’s ‘trendy' and then chucking it at the end of season. If I have to name some places, my usual online sites are Gilt, the Outnet, and Barney's. Go-to-brands? Theory, A.P.C., and Tibi. I can always find staples with some edge.”
Working an Event
“If I’m working one of our events, it’s generally for photography, media opportunities, or other special projects. Because our team’s rule of thumb is to wear black, I tend to have my fun with structure. Also, this is a terrific transition shoe. It’s an open-toe pump, but the suede lets me reach for them in both summer and fall. The color-blocking and thick front band is a nice update to what would be a minimalist open-toe pump. It gives a little edge to a classic silhouette.”
Zara waffle-knit asymmetrical sweater, H&M full pleated skirt, Narcisco Rodriguez coral suede and red leather color-blocked sandals, Alexander Wang leather tote.
Who: Charissa Benjamin, 34, and Elaine Mazanec, 28
Partners at Savor PR
What we do: "Simply put, we tell our clients' stories and work with them to attract an audience, build and grow their brand, and communicate to the media and public about who they are and what they do. Together we run Savor PR a full-service public relations agency that provides strategic communications, brand management, and media relations to clients in the restaurant, travel, and hospitality industries. We collaborate with a range of clients from up-and-coming chefs to bakers to winemakers and industry veterans with multiple restaurants and accolades under their belts."
Describe your style at work:
Charissa: "For everyday client meetings, my go-to is great-fitting jeans (gray, white, black, indigo) and a stylish top or a blazer over one of my many Theory T-shirts. I own a lot of basics in black, white, and gray, but I am from Antigua in the Caribbean, so I love to insert pops of color with lipstick, fun jewelry, or bold patterns. In fact, jewelry is one of my weaknesses, and I enjoy finding statement pieces that add character to an outfit. It took me a long time, but I've learned to embrace and love my hair. My hair is big, and the style doesn't change for the occasion—client meeting, evening event, or new business pitch—it's very much a part of who I am and one of my favorite accessories."
Elaine: "I would describe my style as a collection of classic, timeless pieces, dressed up or down with statement jewelry or accessories that can seamlessly transition from day to evening. A 'uniform' for me consists of a silk blouse, dark jeans, sturdy heels, and a jacket (typically the item I tend to invest in the most). I tend to skip the trends—I find they go as quickly as they come. Instead I just try to focus on finding flattering pieces and invest in a few nice things that can mix and match well. And a bag. I love a classic bag."
Charissa: "We get to work with great clients who embrace our eclectic and laid-back style. The good news is we don't have to wear suits every day. Our non-routine days can include everything from a client meeting to a TV news shoot to delivering food samples. I love jeans, and the most flattering cut for me at the moment is Paige Verdugo Ultra Skinny. While I usually wear some form of a blazer and blouse combo, I love the length and cut on this tailored white button-down from AllSaints."
AllSaints shirt, Paige jeans, Renvy plum-colored mohair heels, and Diane von Furstenberg bag.
Elaine: "The various needs of our clients don't necessarily lend themselves to a standard routine, and I feel fortunate not to have a typical desk job. Every day is different, and my only weekday constants seem to be a morning coffee run to the Wydown with my beagle, Jack, and a workout of some sort. The many variables include photo shoots, media dinners, client conference calls, and those coveted moments of peace with my laptop and headphones. With such variance in our schedules I gravitate toward a comfortable but professional 'work uniform' of jeans, which I dress up a bit with a silk blouse, a nice jacket, and heels. My favorite everyday necklace is a handmade piece by local jewelry designer Jane Swensen."
Joie silk blouse, J Brand jeans, Rebecca Taylor tweed jacket, Rag & Bone harrow booties, Jane Swensen gold necklace, Club Monaco beaded wrap bracelet, and Madewell leather tote bag.
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!”
“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
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.
“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 firstname.lastname@example.org with pictures and a job description for consideration.
Find Valeria Boucas on Twitter at @valeriaboucas.