News & Politics

The Blogger Beat: Capitol Hill Style

This week, Belle from Capitol Hill Style is up to bat with good fashion tips for working women.

Capitol Hill Style's Belle—she keeps her identity under wraps—on the visitors plaza at the US Capitol Building. Photograph by Chris Leaman

The local fashion blog Capitol Hill Style turns one year old this week. Twenty-seven-year-old blogger Belle—she keeps her real identity a secret—says she started the site to offer fashion and style tips for busy working women who don’t have time to worry about their wardrobes. Among her fellow Hill staffers, she says she noticed lots of fashion faux pas, from dated looks to drab ensembles. “I’m a big believer that the right clothes can open all doors,” says Belle.

Even with a busy work schedule as a legislative assistant, Belle posts several times a day with tidbits that are accessible to everyday women. “I wanted to give women an outlet that was inspirational but also realistic,” she says. Regular features include the aptly named 10th Commandment, in which Belle posts photos and links to items she covets, and the Floor Report, which covers Belle’s favorite products and trends.

We recently caught up with the style maven to find out what she likes and dislikes about Washington fashion. Plus—read on for where she bargain shops, how she adds flare to a work outfit, and her picks for top fashionistas on the Hill.

Five words to describe your style:
“Tailored, feminine, pretty, sophisticated, conservative.”

Five words to describe Washington’s style:
“Dowdy, ill-fitted, poly-blend.”

Number of items in your closet:
“I keep my closet as well edited as possible. I’ve never been the woman with a closet that bursts at the seams. That said, I’d say I have a dozen pairs of shoes, 60 articles of clothing, and six handbags.”

Total cost of the outfit you’re wearing right now—including shoes:
“Shoshanna dress picked up at Rue La La for $88; bracelet, earrings, and stack rings purchased at Banana Republic for $125; and Cole Haan shoes purchased at an outlet for less than $100. That’s about $300 for the whole thing.”

Three basics every woman should have in her closet:
“Comfortable nude pumps (they go with everything); chic sunglasses because they add pizzazz to any outfit and they’re perfect for those Saturday-morning-sans-makeup errands; and a trench coat because it classes up any outfit.”

Best way to spice up a work outfit:
“I love colored shoes. I have a pair of purple patent pumps that I pair with bland suits for a little punch. This fall, I’m hoping to add a pair of green pumps and some strappy royal-blue booties to my wardrobe.”

Best thing about summer fashion in Washington:
“There’s nothing good about summer fashion in DC. The things tourists wear to the Capitol are atrocious, and the locals aren’t much better. But then again, it’s nearly impossible to look chic when the weather’s a humidity-addled blast furnace outside.”

Trend you’re most excited about for fall:
“There are two trends that I am drooling over: big jewelry (particularly, bib necklaces) and lace. I love lace; it’s so sexy and feminine.”

Biggest fashion pet peeve:
“When women buy an awful item like Uggs, Crocs, or Vera Bradley and make excuses about why they purchased the item in an attempt to justify. Good fashion doesn’t require an explanation.”

Top style mavens on the Hill:
“Dana Bash always looks great. And Congresswoman Jane Harman is an inspiration. I would love to raid her closet.”

One piece of advice for the fashionably inept:
“Find a competent tailor. No matter what you buy or how much you spend, a good tailor can make everything better. My tailor can make a size-eight dress a four, or a long-sleeved jacket a chic vest. She’s a genius, and I could not live without her.”

Favorite Washington boutique for a splurge:
“When I need something special, you’ll find me at Muléh.”

Where you go for a bargain:
Zara or Neiman Marcus Last Call.”

The most money you’ve ever spent on an article of clothing:
“$1,250 on an evening gown for a Miss USA state pageant. Fun fact: I have placed as runner-up in seven pageants. Always close but no tiara.”

Finish this sentence: “I never leave home without my . . . ”
“ . . . Eucerin Aquaphor. It moisturizes lips and cuticles and can even be used to smooth flyaways.”

Favorite local fashion blog besides your own:
“I love Fashion is Spinach and Capitol Hill Barbie. I’d love to sip a Prosecco with those ladies.”

Next week, we get geared up for football season with Jason Reid from the Washington Post’s Redskins Insider blog. Reid gives us his forecast for the season, plus who he thinks are the most valuable rookies, which wide receiver he prefers—Malcolm Kelly or Devin Thomas?—and his thoughts on Michael Vick’s return to the NFL. Stay tuned!

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