News & Politics

The Blogger Beat: Dekan DC

This week, we channel our best Tim Gunn and talk fashion with Dekan DC blogger Meg Zatko.

Meg Zatko, a.k.a. Dekan DC. Photograph by Chris Leaman

Two years ago, Meg Zatko moved to Italy to pursue a master’s degree in fashion merchandising and management at Polimoda Fashion School. She started a blog to document her time there for her friends and family back home. After returning to the States—and having not shaken the blog bug—she put her old blog to rest and started Dekan DC as a way to stay connected with and up to date on the fashion world.

Why the name Dekan? For starters, it’s “naked” spelled backward because, according to Zatko, “the only thing better than wearing something great is wearing nothing at all.” She also says that if she ever opens her own store, it’ll be called it Dekan.

When she’s not updating her blog, Zatko works in marketing for a trade association. She’s a regular contributor to the Web site Brightest Young Things, penning the Weekend Style Happenings column every Friday.

We caught up with Zatko recently to chat about fashion and style in Washington. We got the lowdown on her biggest fashion pet peeve, where she goes for a splurge, and her best advice for the fashionably inept. Read on for her answers.

Number of items in your closet:
“Surprisingly, not that many! But I’m scared to count because it’ll probably end up being a lot more than I think. So let’s say 60. I did a huge purge when I moved to Italy and totally cleaned it out. Most of my stuff went to friends. It’s funny because every now and then they’ll be wearing something and I’ll look at it and be like, ‘Ooh, I like that . . . wait, was that mine?’ ”

Three basic items every woman needs to have in her closet:
“A white V-neck T shirt, well-tailored pants, a sexy nightgown (trust me).”

Best winter fashion trend:
“Right now, I really like textured tights. They work with almost anything and add a little something extra to even the most boring work suits. I also love all of the plaid flannel that’s out there right now. It’s cozy and reminds me of wearing those oversize plaid shirts in high school.”

Biggest fashion pet peeve:
“Jeans that are saggy in the butt. I’m also not a fan of platform flip-flops; they kind of defeat the purpose, no?”

Best advice for the fashionably inept:
“Keep it simple and follow your gut. Ignore the trends and buy things that are classic and fit your body type. Not all trends are made for all bodies—I wish someone had told me that. Have fun with lots of jewelry or a bright purse.”

Favorite boutique for a splurge:

Circle Boutique has some really yummy items for winter. I heard that the new Pink November on U Street had some fabulous finds, too. Muléh is amazing, but that’s more than a splurge. It’s like no groceries for a year.”

Favorite place to get designer looks at bargain prices:
“I just recently discovered Century 21 in New York and may be slightly obsessed. The deals you can get there are amazing. But in the DC area, just go to Forever 21. Most of its clothes are direct designer knockoffs. They may not be built to last, but then again, neither are most trends.”

Favorite place to shop online:

“I have to be honest—I don’t shop online that much unless it’s for Christmas gifts because (1) I’m impatient and like the instant gratification of going into a store and (2) the last time I had a huge online splurge, it ended up costing me almost $40 to ship back half of the clothes. Lesson learned! But I do love Topshop, Newport News (for cheap shoes), Net-a-Porter, Victoria’s Secret for its bathing-suit sales, and Revolve Clothing for denim. I also buy all of my makeup brushes on eBay.”

Most fashionable neighborhood:

“H Street, hands down. Every time I go to the Rock and Roll Hotel, I see some of the best style in DC.”

Best neighborhood for shopping therapy:

“The U Street corridor between 16th and 14th streets, then turn down 14th and hit Redeem, Rue 14, Circle Boutique, and Pulp. I love Pulp for random gifts. Plus CakeLove just happens to be right in the middle, and who doesn’t love a good cupcake?”

One word to describe your personal style:
“Not-matching match. (Sorry, that was three words.) If I feel like I’m too matchy-matchy, I have to throw in something random to mix it up, like a snakeskin clutch with a print summer dress. And I always have a scarf on, even in the summer. It’s sort of like my security blanket.”

One word to describe Washington’s style:

“Growing. If you keep your eyes open, there’s some amazing style going on in DC right now. You just have to look around. My only gripe is that it seems like the same four to five people sort of control the DC fashion world. And I have nothing against them, but there’s so much more than what’s happening in the Georgetown fashion scene. Style to me isn’t what you see on the pages of a magazine; it’s how you take it and make it your own.”

The most money you’ve ever spent on an article of clothing:

“Do I really have to admit this? It was in Italy last year for my birthday. I bought a purse that was originally about 300 euros, so you do the math. But if my mom or dad ask, it was only 100 euros.”

Total cost of the outfit you’re wearing right now, including shoes:

“Shirt, $30; pants, $50; scarf, $8; bracelets, gift from India; earrings, $15; shoes, $5. I’m only wearing one shoe because my other foot is in a medical boot—I recently had foot surgery—so I’m only counting half the cost. That brings the grand total to $108.”

Finish this sentence: “I never leave home without my . . . ”
“. . . BlackBerry. I know, it’s sad. This may be my longest relationship. I always have my Burt’s Bees lip gloss, too, if that makes it any better.”

Heels or flats?
“Flats to work, high heels to play—though I’m not above wearing heels out and bringing a pair of comfy flats for when my feet start to hurt at the end of the night. I actually just did it for a birthday party a few weeks ago. I wore ridiculously high ankle boots, and later in the night when my feet were ready to collapse, I kicked them off and put on some comfy ballet flats.”

Jeans: skinny, flare, or boot cut?

“Skinny. I love them tucked into my riding boots in the winter. In the summer and spring, I like boyfriend-cut jeans with sandals and a little tank top.”

Boots: ankle or knee-high?

“Though I just bought a great pair of ankle boots from Century 21, I have to go with knee-high. They have more staying power and can be worn during the day or at night. The ankle trend won’t last too much longer, but man does it look hot!”

Elle or Vogue?
Vogue. Plus, if the rumors that Anna Wintour is out in 2009 are true, then I can’t wait to see what happens with the magazine.”

Favorite local fashion blog besides your own:
Panda Head is my favorite. I think that Morgan really knows what’s up when it comes to style. I’m also a fan of DC Goodwill Fashionista and Pedestrian Typography. Outside of DC blogs, I’m addicted to the Sartorialist, Imaginary Socialite, Fashionista, Face Hunter, Modern Destiny, and the Clothes Horse.

Next week in the Blogger Beat, we talk with Marissa from the Anti DC about her love/hate relationship with Washington. She tells us her picks for the most overrated and underrated neighborhoods, which local leader she wishes she could fire, and where she escapes for a bit of art and music. Stay tuned!

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