What I’m Wearing: Hill Staffer and Menswear Expert Robert Ordway Weighs In

The Indiana-native balances his Capitol Hill day job with a love for menswear.

Photos by Anthony Bolognese of Capitol Hill Photo.

Robert W. J. Ordway is originally from the steel-mill town of Lake Station, Indiana, but since 2017, has found a home here in DC. Ordway starts his days with a 5 AM workout before heading to work as a legislative assistant for Senator Mike Braun

He’s a self-described “keyboard warrior” with an expertise in math and data-driven policies. “The days are long, but I hit a post-work happy hour with pinot noir before heading home to Netflix,” he says. His weekends are spent running or biking the Mount Vernon trail, reading, whiskey tasting, and grilling on his rooftop in Crystal City.

Ordway’s love of fashion stems from his days in Northwest Indiana, where he owned men’s retail store Rusted Oak. He describes his sense of style as a modern take on Brooks Brothers. “I really let the math—my understanding of pattern and color theory—drive my outfit designs.”

Longing to get back into the fashion game, Ordway co-founded a custom fitting brand, Capitol Hill Clothiers, last year. He doesn’t have a favorite place to shop locally since many of his go-to stores have closed since he moved here. “Getting emotionally attached only leads to disappointment,” he says. “As a former menswear retailer, I believe and support any of the independently owned stores that are around.” 

Robert Ordway DC fashion
Photos by Anthony Bolognese of Capitol Hill Photo.

What I’m wearing in this picture

 Suit, vest and shirt (Capitol Hill Clothiers); lapel flower, tie, and socks (Edward Armah); shoes (Allen Edmonds).

Fashion Icon

The Duke of Windsor. “He was a short man who broke all the rules and was one of the best style innovators.”

Big meeting outfit

“Traditional navy and charcoal, but I always add an odd waistcoat, pocket square, or lapel flower to keep things interesting.”

Commuting style strategy

Ordway puts steel plates on the heels and toes of all of his dress shoes, which extends their usage by years, he says. “I would wear duck boots, but then I’d have to keep a closet of shoes at work.” He carries a Landlay briefcase by the British Belt Company, but says he’s “due for something new.”

Favorite item of clothing

A J.Crew Henley shirt. “I have five colors,” he says. “It’s just easy weekend wear.”

Favorite fashion trend

Utilitarian menswear. 

Least favorite fashion trend

Cropped trousers. “Just buy capris already.”

Three words to describe DC’s style

State of Progress

Robert Ordway DC fashion

Robert Ordway DC fashion

Have a unique sense of style you’d like to share with other Washingtonians? Tag a picture of your favorite outfit on Instagram with #WhatImWearingDC, or email me with “What I’m Wearing” in the subject line. You might be featured next! To read past entries, click here.

Assistant Editor

Elliot joined Washingtonian in January 2018. An alum of Villanova University, he grew up in the Philadelphia area before earning a master’s degree in journalism from Syracuse University. His work has also appeared in the Washington Post,, and, among others. He lives in Bloomingdale.