Sidewalk Style: Night Vision

Daytime neutrals transition to night with a little understated glitz.

Photograph by Chris Svetlik.

Christina Coleman, 21
Sister2Sister Magazine intern and Howard University senior

We spotted Christina at the ATM inside U Street’s Jumbo Slice.

What she’s wearing: A $17 H&M tunic dress, BCBG sandals from Marshall’s, earrings from an African shop, carpet-material clutch, and a “wash and go afro.”

What went through your head when getting dressed for tonight? “Functionality. I wasn’t sure where we were going after dinner at Eatonville, so I picked an outfit that wasn’t extremely dressy but something that I could still walk into a club or any bar wearing. I chose the wooden heels rather than black high heels because they’re easier to walk in—there are so many places to check out on U Street. If I knew I was going somewhere like the Park or Lima , I would have thrown on the pumps—they’re sexier and dressier than the wooden shoes. I wanted to be comfortable, and I wanted it to look effortless.”

What other looks do you gravitate toward for a Friday or Saturday out?
“I love billowy tops, so I’ll pair those with skinny jeans and heels and some long earrings and bangles—I’m definitely an accessories whore! I have a simple American Apparel black T-shirt dress that I swear I’ve worn about 50 times. Sometimes I’ll take a skirt—usually from a thrift store—and wear it as a top or dress by pulling it up. And all sorts of belts—they’re my go-to for everything.”

Any wardrobe essentials for the Washington after-hours scene? “A little black dress, because you never know who’s going to be there. A pair of go-to heels that are irresistible. Nice jeans—I prefer skinny or long, wide legs. Dangley earrings to balance out my short hair. A nice clutch. That’s all you really need! Oh, and a long cardigan or blazer for cover-up.”

Where do you look for style inspiration? “The hostesses at Busboys and Poets are always fashionable and laid-back. They don’t have uniforms so you know it’s their personal style. They set the mood for the place.”

Favorite thing about fashion in Washington? “Washington isn’t afraid of color. You see it everywhere you go. People are fearless and wear whatever they want. I love it.”

Best places to people watch at night?Policy is a regular hang-out spot—there’s great drinks and a mix of all types of music, so it’s good for anyone. Marvin is a great starting point with reasonably priced drinks and a cool crowd and atmosphere. My friends and I also like the Park on 14th.”

Sum up your style in 5 words or less. “Eclectic, fluid, ethnic, simple, fearless.”

The sure sign of a successful outfit? When it’s the person who’s noticed, not the clothes. We spotted Christina’s friendly smile and naturally styled hair before we noticed her attire, and the undergrad proved her fashion smarts by choosing pieces that complement those features. She also wins our seal of approval for understanding the power of accessories—what could easily be a daytime look gets dressed up with the help of shiny gold earrings and bangles.

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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.