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.
Who: Molly Burns, 24
Account executive, Merrick Towle Communications
What I do: I work for an advertising agency called Merrick Towle Communications, a full-service advertising agency that specializes in real estate marketing. My job is to communicate my clients’ needs and work with our team to provide strategic marketing solutions. This entails everything from creative presentations to project timeline construction.
My work style: Feminine and edgy. I typically try to pair one edgy piece with more subtle touches.
My go-to pieces are chunky statement necklaces, sheath dresses, blazers, and interesting
heels. I can pair a black sheath dress with a chunky necklace and great shoes and
still look professional.
The long skirt is tailored, chic, and in a great pattern, and the color of the blouse adds that feminine touch. These shoes are amazing—Chinese Laundry is one of my favorite brands because the shoes are affordable and comfortable.
Splendid top, skirt, and triple hammered necklace from South Moon Under, and Chinese Laundry cap-toe pump.
Since we first published the column in March, What I Wear to Work has filled our Wednesdays with more office outfit inspiration than we know what to do with. From a strait-laced Deloitter with a penchant for bright colors to the dude we still think of as the most fashion-forward man in Washington, the column has been our delightfully gratifying attempt to prove that office style in a city supposedly obsessed with work isn’t as dull and dreary as the rest of the country makes it out to be.
Who: Lauren Price and Vanessa Ligorria, both 30
Cofounders of the Clarendon Lava Barre studio
What we do: Aside from shaping arms, abs, and bums to perfection in the ballet-style workouts we teach, we also spend our days researching new exercise trends, building relationships with clients, and working on advertising, marketing, and social media for Lava Barre. We’re pretty sure it’s the best job in the world.
Our work style: We live in spandex! It’s important to have a close-fitting base layer for barre classes. From there, layering is the fun part—we’ll add loose knits, vests, and scarves on top for coverage. Lululemon’s Wonder Under or Groove pants are go-to pieces.
Close-fitting, comfortable clothing is important for our barre classes. Spandex, Lycra, and luon allow us to see the body’s movements and correct form and posture, but there’s no shame in using working out as an opportunity to show off your style, your moves, and your physique.
On Vanessa (right) Lululemon Athletica tank, leggings, and infinity scarf. On Lauren: Lululemon Athletica catsuit, Colette Malouf headband, vintage ring, and Makeup Forever red lipstick.
Who: KC Ellis Sledd, 26
Champion for customer bliss, GlobalGiving
What I do: GlobalGiving is an online platform connecting donors with little earth-changing projects all over the world, and I’m responsible for making sure our donors have a “blissful” experience on our site from start to finish. It’s a lot of customer service, but my favorite part is developing relationships with our donors.
My work style: Our office has virtually no dress code—it’s not uncommon to see people in shorts and flip-flops—and it’s nice to have that freedom. I love simple, effortless pieces like white tees, silk blouses, tailored trousers, and midi skirts.
Since our office is typically so casual, we decided on “fancy Mondays” instead of casual Fridays. All the tech guys wear ties and jackets, and they always look so nice. I had to step up my game! This is definitely a fancy Monday outfit—the bright colors are a perfect way to wake up after a lazy weekend.
J.Crew blouse and skirt, and Tory Burch pumps (not pictured).
Name: Kimmie H. Nguyen, 24
Program analyst at the Federal Aviation Administration
What I do: As part of the Department of Transportation, the FAA oversees all commercial air flights in the US. We have about 35,000 employees, and they all have to adhere to certain training programs within a specialized curriculum. That’s where my team comes in! I support the Curriculum Managers and the Training Manager of the Acquisition Training Group, which covers all the courses FAA employees must take for certification in their career track.
My work style: I am the opposite of your typical work drone—you won’t find any dress suits, boxy blazers, gray suit skirts, or work slacks in my closet! The FAA has such a laid-back, organic, and simple environment, I can be a bit more adventurous with my color and texture choices.
Visiting My Home Company
My company has a younger feel than my client site, but it’s still conservative. Mixing textures like lace and tweed is a youthful touch, but pants and a substantial sleeveless top keep everything office-appropriate. It’s important for me to balance being respectful with remaining true to my out-there personality.
Urban Outfitters lace tank, Asos tweed trousers, Hego ballet flats, Jerome Dreyfuss bag, and C. Wonder scooter charm necklace.
Name: Cori Sue Morris, 26
Communications manager at an Arlington nonprofit, cofounder of Bitches Who Brunch
What she does: By day, I’m the one-woman communications department for my company. I write and disseminate the weekly and monthly newsletters, press releases, blog posts, and social media feeds. I also handle marketing and cross-promotion. By night/weekend, I’m the HBIC (Head Bitch in Charge), along with my partner, Becca, at Bitches Who Brunch, one of DC’s top lifestyle websites. We’ve reviewed more than 200 restaurant brunches since our inception in March 2010, and also cover events and fashion—hence the need for plenty of work-to-play ensembles.
Describe your work style: My professional style is like my personality—feminine, tailored, and bright. I’m a true type-A personality, and my style is also is also very matchy, thought-out, and put-together. I love bright colors, pink, nautical inspiration, belts, and bracelets—gotta have a good arm party.
Dressing in a Pinch
Michael Kors silk blouse, J.Crew Minnie pants, J.Crew belt, Tory Burch flats, and Marc Jacobs handbag.
Who: Maria Belen Vizcaino, 28
Special events coordinator, the Phillips Collection
What she does: The special events director and I plan and execute every internal event at the Phillips—that includes everything from exhibit opening receptions with donors to Phillips After 5. I’ve also assisted with our annual gala and its after-party.
Describe your work style: A mix of classic and edgy. I love men’s fashion, and I love wearing slacks and dressy pants, but I also enjoy embracing my girly side with form-fitting skirts and A-line dresses. My go-to is a nice pair of black pants with a bright top, a graphic tee, or a nice crisp button-down. I am greatly influenced by the art I see every day, but I would be lying if I didn’t say I’ve always loved fashion and expressing myself through my clothes.
J.Crew dress and belt, and BCBG pumps.
Who: The entire staff of BYT Media, a lifestyle website/event production company that “speaks to a young DC demographic raised on the Internet and obsessed with arts and entertainment” (managing editor Logan Donaldson’s words). Names and titles for the rest of the group follow below.
Around the Office
Stephanie: I wore a J.Crew swimsuit under black jeans and denim shirt, to represent the casual-office-to-pool-party transition. (It’s always important to be ready.)
Logan: I show up in jeans and a T-shirt but bring a blazer in case there’s a business-casual event after hours.
Svetlana: This is my trusted Ann Taylor Loft jumpsuit—add lipstick and you’re ready for an event/tasting/show after work.
Cale: I chose a pizza costume and a Casio calculator watch for on-the-fly office pizza delivery tip calculations.
Shauna: Around the office I love to showcase my shoe collection, but I keep the rest of my wardrobe pretty tame.
By Sarah Zlotnick
Who: Rikka Johnson, 32
General manager, Wolfgang Puck’s the Source
What she does: I manage the staff, the restaurant and its guests, and the finances at the Source, Wolfgang Puck’s pan-Asian restaurant located on the bottom floor of the Newseum. I love my job—I easily eat better than anyone else in Washington, as I am also the unofficial guinea pig for chef Scott Drewno.
Describe your work style: With Wolfgang, there’s definitely a value placed on style and on always looking and feeling your best. At the restaurant, you never know who’s going to walk through the doors, so I’m frequently in suits. My go-to color is black due to its functionality—no matter what I’ve tried, soy sauce and red wine don’t wear well on colored pieces.
Dressed-Up Day at the Restaurant
Oscar de la Renta dress, vintage onyx necklace, and Valentino heels.