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.”
Find Valeria Boucas on Twitter at @valeriaboucas.
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.”
“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.”
“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.
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.”
“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.
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.
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.”
“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.
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.