Men’s fashion in Washington used to mean mostly two looks: baggy dark suits or pleated khakis with navy blazers. But no longer—and we’ve found some of the area’s best-dressed men to prove it.
If fashion is about expressing a point of view, these men aren’t afraid to speak their minds. And they’re not the only proof that Washington has gotten more stylish. Congressman Harold Ford and Senator Barack Obama bring a cool confidence to political attire. Dapper locals such as Matt Landsberg of custom clothier Eric Finn and Mulh owner Christopher Reiter make dressing well their business.
In November, we’ll introduce you to some of Washington’s most well-dressed women.
Aaron Kobilis, 34
Freelance photographer and art director
Biggest splurge? I’m really picky about jeans, so probably my $250 Diesel jeans.
Favorite designers? For edgier pieces I shop at Diesel. But I love Hugo Boss Black Label. It’s clean yet masculine. And I love Ben Sherman.
Best bargain? My best bargain was a slick DKNY three-button suit for $400. It was on sale after Christmas.
Any fashion disasters in your past? Those outfits that were made out of parachute material and lots of zippers.
Philippe Cousteau, 26
President and cofounder of EarthEcho International
What’s your style philosophy? I like to be comfortable but classic. You can never go wrong with a nicely tailored suit. I do like a few subtle surprises, like a colorful lining in a suit. Or mixing a nice suit jacket with jeans and a T-shirt.
Where do you shop? Barneys Co-op, Neiman Marcus, and Patagonia.
Item you’re looking for? I’d like to find more organic fair-trade clothes.
Fashion advice? Have your suits altered when you buy them to make them fit better. Your shoes should always be polished and match your belt.
Pirooz Sarshar, 34
Owner of the Grooming Lounge
What’s your fashion philosophy? I spend more on shoes, because I think they say a lot about the person. I buy my shoes from Gucci. What I love is the versatility—I can wear them with jeans but also with a suit and tie.
Where else do you shop? I buy my jeans from Denim Bar, and I buy shirts from MulÃ©h or Calvin Klein in New York.
Favorite designers? Tom Ford for Men. I love his style. I love Gucci and the simple stuff from J. Crew.
Biggest splurge? It was sort of an accident. I bought a pair of Patrick Cox shoes in London. I thought I was paying $400, but it was pounds, so I ended up spending over $800.
Best bargain? I bought an amazing Dolce & Gabbana velvet blazer at a Florida outlet mall. It was originally $1,200, and I got it for only $50.
Jeff Edwards, 41
Associate artistic director
for the Washington Ballet
How would you describe your style? Mary Tyler Moore meets Oscar Wilde.
Favorite places to shop? American Apparel and Meeps in DC, Louis Boston, and Montevarchi discount outlet outside Arezzo, Italy.
Best bargain? A 1960s double-breasted suit from Meeps for $70 that came with a free pair of retro sunglasses.
Favorite thing in your closet? My cashmere socks.
Any fashion disasters in your past? Chartreuse stonewashed jeans that I paired with a purple stonewashed jean jacket.
Fashion advice? Resole your favorite shoes, never discard them. Never tuck in a T-shirt. And no pleats, please.
W. Ellington Felton, 29
Actor, hip-hop artist, and DJ
What’s your fashion philosophy? Clothes don’t make a man cool. It’s the man who makes clothes cool. Be an individual.
Favorite designers? Paper Denim & Cloth, Nike, Hugo Boss, and American Apparel. I also love those five-for-$10 i love dc shirts.
Biggest splurge? A pair of sneakers called JB Classics. Only 200 pairs were made, and I own pair number 111. They were $600, but a little flirting with the girl who owned the store in Dallas got me a discount. Still, I paid more for them than for any other sneakers I have.
Best bargain? It’s a tie between some limited-edition Nike Terminators Arizona Final 4 sneakers for $10 from a Nike outlet and a Doug Williams Super Bowl sweatshirt for $2.
Fashion advice? If you can’t afford it, wait a week or two. I guarantee that by then it will be cheaper. And if people dis what you’re wearing, don’t sweat it.
Todd Boulanger, 34
Senior vice president of the lobbying firm Cassidy & Associates
How would you describe your style?
Savile Row meets Thrasher magazine.
Favorite labels? Duncan Quinn, Paul Smith, Theory, John Varvatos, and Ralph Lauren. But nothing beats a custom suit.
Biggest splurge? It probably wasn’t for me—I work to support my wife’s Christian Louboutin addiction.
Best bargains? Hanes white T-shirts, Rainbow flip-flops, and American Apparel, because any store that sells tube socks has to be cool, right? I also like their long-sleeve golf shirts.
Fashion advice? In this town, if another guy makes a sarcastic comment about what you’re wearing, you’re probably doing something right.
Robert Primus, 37
Chief of staff for Massachusetts congressman Michael Capuano
What’s your fashion philosophy? It’s all in the details. From the knot in your tie to the cuff links to the socks to the pocket square, the little things can be the difference between looking good and looking great.
Favorite designers? Ermenegildo Zegna, Ozwald Boateng, Ralph Lauren. I appreciate the attention to detail each of these designers gives to their clothing. Their ready-to-wear items fit like custom clothing.
Best bargain? Antique watches that I bought for next to nothing at Eastern Market and restored to working order.
Favorite thing in your closet? A custom-made, single-breasted, two-button black suit. It’s perfect for a night at the opera, a jazz club, or a party.
Hans Bruland, 56
General manager, Hay-Adams Hotel
How would you describe your style? Refined European.
Where do you shop? I shop mostly at Tysons Corner. But Neiman Marcus, that’s my favorite. They have a great staff; they will do anything for you. After all, it’s about relationships, right?
Favorite designers? For clothes, Brioni, Armani, Kiton, and Zegna. It’s true value for your money. The suits are superior in styling and craftsmanship. For shoes, A.Testoni and Ferragamo. Because your shoe, to fit right, must conform to your feet from day one, and these have that.
Best bargain? At the Neiman’s outlet at Arundel Mills Mall, I found an amazing Zegna tux and Zegna suit. I bought them both at one-fourth the price.
Favorite thing in your closet? My Testoni shoes.
What’s your fashion philosophy? Buy less, buy well.
Brian Bolter, 36
News anchor on WTTG Fox 5
How would you describe your style? When I’m not on the air, I would classify my style as “wannabe rock star.”
Favorite designers? I like a lot of European brands. I shop on ASOS.com, and I like Ben Sherman, Sweet & Toxic, Sailor Jerry, and Steady. They have a bit of attitude. And they fit just right: not too tight but form-fitting enough to make the gym membership pay some dividends.
Biggest splurge? I saw these Neil Barrett boots in Esquire and came to learn that they shoot a lot of pieces that aren’t available retail. I asked about them while shopping at Relish, and the owner contacted the company and ordered me a pair. They were $425.
Dream item? I would love to go to Italy and have a custom suit made. Probably Zegna.
Favorite thing in your closet? I really like this huge silver belt buckle shaped like a flower that everyone says is too big. I guess it’s a little ostentatious.
Mauricio Fraga-Rosenfeld, 39
Owner of several lounges and restaurants, including Mate and Ceviche
How would you describe your style? I like clean and simple lines. I am a boots, jeans, and jacket type of guy.
Where do you shop? My favorite place in DC is the Saks Men’s Store.
Favorite designers? Salvatore Ferragamo and Canali—they make amazing suits.
Best bargain? A $4,000 Brioni suede jacket on sale at Saks for $1,400.
Favorite thing in your closet? A double-breasted six-button Gucci blazer and that Brioni suede jacket.
Fashion philosophy? I believe in comfort and creating your own style that fits your personality.