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.”
“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.
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.
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.”
“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.
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.
Who: Kevin Gray, 29
Industry relations representative for a music rights organization
What I do: “Do you ever listen to internet radio? Of course you do. Well, we’re the US performance rights organization that collects and distributes the royalties to your favorite recording artists when you hear their songs on non-interactive digital radio stations. From local acts like Rex Riot and W. Ellington Felton to global superstars like Beyoncé and Stevie Wonder, we deal with artists on every level.
“I educate artists, their managers, label owners, and lawyers on what the organization does and the various ways we assist artists from paying out royalties to fighting on Capitol Hill for musicians’ rights. Imagine getting an e-mail from Santa in early June telling you he has money for you that you never knew existed. I’m Kris Kringle, and I come bearing gifts.”
My work style: “Our office dress code is on the looser side, so that gives me the opportunity to have some fun with my outfits on a day-to-day basis. When most of my coworkers are wearing jeans and tees, I’ll be in a blazer and brogues. The music industry has many different looks to it, so I try to merge the backstage and the boardroom with a little bit of dandy in the mix.”
“I fell in love with the blazer-and-tee look a few years back when it departed from the Miami Vice look. The tee takes the edge off when I’m dealing with artists who don’t take well to ‘suits.’”
Zara blazer and loafers, L.Y. 1981 tee, Uniqlo chinos, Timex with J.Crew strap, Converse glasses, L-Men pocket square.
Who: Samantha DeZur, 26
Vice President, Communications and Industry Relations, Education Finance Council
What I do: I’m a public affairs professional. I focus on a variety of policy issues and work to advocate on behalf of our organization’s membership.
My work style: I typically don’t follow trends. I wear what makes me feel the most like me. My personal style in general is chic, classic, and elegant—at least that’s what I’m going for! That translates to my work style with clean, professional, feminine looks with a dash of flavor.
For a Meeting
When I’m in a meeting, giving a presentation, or representing the company, I always try to go with my most sophisticated look while still maintaining my personal style. This long, slimming skirt and feminine-but-professional top make me feel confident, which shows in my speaking.
J.Crew pencil skirt, Banana Republic Mad Men Collection bow-neck blouse, Marc Jacobs ring, Pour La Victoire pumps.
Who: Jocelyn Gailliot, 32, September Rinnier, and Maddy Moore, both 26
What Jocelyn does: “Maddy, September, and I work together to finalize the buying and set the vision for each season’s offering. As the CEO, I focus on fundraising, investor relations, hiring, reporting, legal, and, most important, growth strategy. While Maddy and September focus more on the daily operations, I’m constantly trying to figure out how to get us from point A to point Z. But we are a young startup, which means we all do everything and no task is below us.”
What September does: “Since our team is still small, we all wear many hats. Day to day, I oversee the inventory fulfillment and customer service teams. I manage the technology side of our business, third-party customer acquisition, and vendor relationships. Each season, Maddy, Jocelyn, and I work closely to map out our assortments for the clothing, shoe, and accessory categories. We’re also in the process of sourcing a ton of new brands to launch Tuckernuck Home and Tuckernuck Tots. Stay tuned!”
What Maddy does: “I focus on buying with Jocelyn and September and merchandising with our creative director, Sophie.”
Their work style: Jocelyn describes her look as “tomboy chic” but loves a touch of the unexpected with bold statement jewelry or wild shoes. Maddy goes for comfortable yet feminine pieces, and September is drawn to simple styles—but can’t resist a good stripe. All three prefer classic designs.
At a Trade Show
September: “Comfortable clothes and shoes are key! We are on our feet all day, so it’s best to wear flats. And our Cortland Park cashmere is the ultimate luxury.” What she’s wearing: Kule army green jacket with leather collar, Shirt by Rochelle Behrens the Icon, J.Crew skinny jeans, Charles Philip calf-hair spotted loafers, Asha Zodiac pendant necklace, heirloom Cartier watch and gold bangles, Julie Vos elephant bangle, Pomander Place beaded bracelet, and Asha Cambridge ring.
Jocelyn: “Being pregnant, I opt for cute shoes that are either a low wedge or a flat for all the walking and a noticeable Tuckernuck piece such as this jaguar skirt, so that we can stand out a bit among lots of new faces. I think the best accessory of all these days is my bump, though . . . it’s an incredible ice-breaker.” What she’s wearing: Persifor jaguar skirt, Calypso navy blouse, J.Crew sliver wedges, Loren Hope Elva gold tassel necklace, Julie Vos elephant bangle, and charm bracelet.
Maddy: “Attending trade shows in New York means meeting new vendors, pitching Tuckernuck nonstop, and walking countless floors. I try to wear Tuckernuck products head-to-toe to represent our style among new faces, but I also make a point to mix in a funky, more on-trend item like these printed slacks, showing our contemporary twist on classic prep.” What she’s wearing: Beth Bowley cashmere cardigan, Annie Griffin ruffle-collar sleeveless blouse, Amour Vert ikat pants, Ferragamo patent flats, Kenneth Jay Lane pearl earrings, and charm necklace from Nantucket.
In case you missed our massive retrospective of LivingSocial style, tech startups in this area don’t exactly adhere to the traditional business dress code. As long as employees look presentable, they’re free to do away with pencil skirts and boring black heels. At the almost Disney-ish work space of online marketing company Vocus (see pictures of the tricked-out workspace over on Capital Comment), the same holds true. We were lucky enough to visit a few weeks back, and snapped photos of some stylish employees in the process. Nothing too fancy or over-the-top here—just real office style from a real office of young people.
Stacey Acevero, social media manager
Slick booties and—most important—impeccable posture make Stacey’s more casual combo work for an internal meeting.
Who: Nikki Rappaport, 25
Senior assistant director for enrollment marketing, George Washington University
What I do: I manage the digital communication strategy for undergraduate admissions at GW—that includes social media, student blogs, and videos for high school students and their families. Recently we launched one of my favorite projects that I’ve developed and directed, the website Only at GW. This interactive platforms allows students to customize their own personal college experience, which is just what teens are looking for online.
My work style: I love color and patterns, and I’m definitely not shy about showing it at work. But I also have to be comfortable; I walk to work every day, and I’m often switching between different tasks such as photo shoots, writing, or working events. I love skinny pants and flats, comfortable dresses, and silk blouses.
Out and About
I’d wear this on a day when I didn’t necessarily have big meetings but needed to be out and about on campus for a video shoot or event prep. These pants are stretchy yet polished, and I love the preppy perkiness of the hot pink blazer.
Tahari pants from TJ Maxx, Zara blazer, lace T-shirt from Athropologie, Gap polka-dot loafers, and Kate Spade purse.
Who: María José Ovalle, 33
Director of media relations, Pivot Point Communications
What I do: Pivot Point Communications is a boutique PR agency based in Old Town, Alexandria. As the director of media relations, I work on reaching out and building relationships with local media and influential bloggers both for our clients and for Pivot Point itself. My tasks change every day—I run photo shoots, organize events, proof artwork, meet with clients and journalists, etc.
My work style: For me, it’s about being comfortable but also being able to express my creativity. This year, I decided I would no longer wear black (I wear some), and I embraced color like I never had before. It felt liberating. My go-to pieces are classics like a great trench, leopard-print heels, flats you can dress up or down, and a handbag. I have been a range of sizes throughout the years, and these pieces have always accompanied me.
Evening Work Event
I love dresses, and the flowiness and A-line shape of this one, mixed with the red pumps, makes me feel super feminine and classic. I like the clean yet color-infused look.
Motherhood Maternity dress, cardigan from a clothing swap, and Nine West shoes.