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What I’m Wearing: A DCPS Art Teacher With International Flair

"It’s all in the accessories," says art and literacy teacher Fatima Toor.
Photos by Vivian Bueno and Mark Boisvert

Fatima Toor is a proud Pakistani-American with a wardrobe that reflects her travels abroad. An art and literacy educator in DC Public Schools, the 32-year-old has taught in Connecticut—where she’s from originally—and at schools in Kuwait, Abu Dhabi, and Pakistan. Now, she enjoys living at the Southwest waterfront near the Wharf.

When she’s not in her NoMa office developing the literacy curriculum for DC elementary schools, she’s teaching Doonya classes—the Bollywood dance fitness workout—at Jordin’s Paradise in Dupont Circle, or she’s hanging out at Union Market.

Toor describes her style as “East meets West,” and she has a DIY approach that often includes her mother or sister helping with outfits. “My mom learned to sew clothes in Pakistan before she moved to America,” Toor says. “She can make just about anything.”

Says Toor, “I learned a lot from my students too, especially when it comes to shoes. I love to pick one interesting piece that comes from Pakistan whether it’s my authentic Islamabadi shawl or my Lahori earrings, and I always try to wear bangles. It’s all in the accessories.”

Fatima Toor DC fashion

What I’m wearing in this picture

Bangles and Jhumar earrings (from Lahore, Pakistan); white top (H&M, DC); blue jeans (J. Crew, DC); vest (self-designed, made in Kuwait); heels (Zara, DC).

Fashion icon(s)

“I love the women I met while I taught abroad in Kuwait and Abu Dhabi for three years. Most were from Europe. My French-Moroccan friend is incredibly dressed, and so is my British-Indian friend, currently living in Dubai. As for someone famous, I’d probably say the Olsen twins. They are my age, my height, and petite like me. I love their oversized clothing. I love [their fashion line] the Row—I just wish I could afford it.”

Commuting style strategy

“I wear a Michael Kors purple backpack, and I like to wear sneakers while I commute and then change into Zara heels at work.”

Favorite item of clothing

“My jacket from Suki Se, a Los Angeles-based brand that gets their clothes sewed from Pakistan, but the design is usually Western.”

Best fashion bargain in DC

“Spring and fall events, like the H street Festival, have really cool accessories.”

Style advice

“Putting things together is an art,” Toor says. “Clothes can feel boring at times, same old top, same old sweater. The question is how do we revamp it? I am always looking for a lace, beads, buttons, funky earrings, bangles that will make my clothes have an edge to them. Represent your culture through your clothing. I stand proud as a Pakistani-American in DC, and I want everyone to know it!”

Fatima Toor DC fashion

Fatima Toor 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.

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Assistant Editor

Elliot joined Washingtonian in January 2018. An alum of Villanova University, he grew up in the Philadelphia area before moving to Syracuse, where he earned a master’s degree in journalism. His work has also appeared in the Washington Post, TheAtlantic.com, CatholicNews.com, and Syracuse.com. He lives in Eckington.