Sidewalk Style: Night Vision

A fashion writer tells us what she likes for cocktail attire and Summer Restaurant Week.

Tracy Long, 25, Urban Chic Blogger

Where we stopped her: Hanging out at the launch party for her blog, Living Chic.  

What she's wearing: Hot-pink Thread Social One Shoulder Dress, Kenneth Jay Lane turquoise studded bangle, and Brian Atwood nude pumps.

You started penning the entries for Urban Chic’s blog last May. Where do you look for fashion inspiration on the Web?
"Not that original, but I love I religiously check their 'Look of the Day' section because, let’s face it, celebrities work with the top stylists in the world—who better to steal an idea or two from? Also, it’s not exactly a fashion Web site, but I’m obsessed with Park Avenue Peerage.  New York socialites sit front row at Fashion Week and have access to everything fashion in the city that never sleeps, so I love seeing what they wear to events and social gatherings."

And what a stylish blogger you are! Tell us how this semiformal frock works for occasions out in the city.
"Even though I’ve only lived in DC under a year, I’ve found that my social calendar is often filled with benefits and black-tie events, so it’s great to have a cocktail dress on hand.  This dress highlights a woman’s figure without revealing too much skin, and the vibrant color keeps the look youthful and fun.  I’m also obsessed with this garment because it can be transformed from a chic cocktail dress to one that is appropriate for more formal affairs with the right accessories.  Unless an upscale party was being held at a bar, I would save it for special events or dinners with a boyfriend.  I’m thinking dinner at Blue Duck Tavern or a friend’s birthday party at L2 Lounge."

Speaking of fancy meals out, summer Restaurant Week starts Monday. Where are your reservations, and what do you plan on wearing to the dinners? 
"I’m looking forward to Bistro Bis, Co Co. Sala, and Zola.  I’ve always had a soft spot for the French, and I love Bistro Bis’s chic and luxurious atmosphere.  As this restaurant is more formal than others in DC, I’d choose a classic look, like a flawlessly tailored Shoshanna dress and tasteful pumps.  Zola’s stylish lounge is an ideal space to grab drinks before you relish in the restaurant’s yummy food.  The vibe there isn’t as formal as Bistro Bis, so I’d opt for a more funky dress with a fitted leather jacket and unique accessories.  For Co Co. Sala, I’d mix things up a bit and try skinny jeans with an embellished blouse and blazer or a chic dress with over-the-knee boots."

Even fashionistas have curtailed their shopping in the wake of the recession. What advice do you have for women in need of a formal-occasion wardrobe that will be remembered without looking repeated?
“If I had to have only three pieces in my wardrobe for formal occasions, I’d definitely snag a classic little black dress. Alluring yet sophisticated, the LBD can be worn again and again, as you can reinvent its look by adding chandelier earrings, donning bejeweled heels, carrying a brightly colored clutch, or belting it. A red dress, in a cut that flatters the figure, demands attention and is a great weapon to have in your arsenal—it looks amazing with silver, gold, and even rich violet accents. Finally, it’s fun to put something in your closet that stands out from your other pieces. Leopard print is a must this season, so why not indulge? I’d suggest opting for a print in delicious browns and creams, which will look stunning against a red cardigan or turquoise accessories.”

And for girls looking to work summer party gear into their fall wardrobes?
“When going out this summer, I gravitated toward the season’s trends: brightly colored pieces, one-shoulder garments, and maxi dresses.  Although vivid, radiant colors often conjure up images of exotic beaches and the sun, they can still be worn well into fall. To create an edgier look for night, I’d style these colors with black tights and booties.  When worn with patterned tights or a cropped blazer, the one-shoulder dress makes a pretty outfit for going out with the girls. I find maxi dresses to be effortlessly chic and feminine and can’t let mine go just yet.  For fall, I’m thinking of wearing mine with vests or a fitted leather jacket. Urban Chic carries Rebecca Taylor’s faux-fur vest, and it looks particularly awesome over floral-print dresses, jeans, and a tee or even a long button-down and leggings.”

Like many other parts of the city, the DC power-restaurant scene is still riding the slightly conservative wave. Tracy’s dress covers enough skin up front to stay crowd-appropriate, but her age and personality shine through when she turns around—the unexpected two-strap back gets her noticed with a dash of sexiness. The fashion blogger also scores points for classic, versatile accessories that can work in outfits for all occasions. For a girl fresh from the Big Apple, she seems to have the late-night-shots look down pat.

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Sarah is the Editor-in-Chief of Washingtonian Bride & Groom, and writes about weddings, fashion, and shopping. Her work has also appeared in Refinery29, Bethesda Magazine, and Washington City Paper, among others. She is a Georgetown University graduate, lives in Columbia Heights, and you can find her on Instagram at @washbridegroom and @sarahzlot.