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What I’m Wearing: A State Department Senior Staffer With a Side Hustle as a Personal Stylist

Elizabeth Fitzsimmons describes her style as "DC boss lady."

Photos courtesy of Sarah Marcella Creative

Born in DC, Elizabeth Fitzsimmons says that now, her home is wherever the State Department sends her. That’s because the 46-year-old mother of five is the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Central Africa and Public Diplomacy. What does that fancy-sounding title mean?

It means she spends a typical day at State from 8 AM to 6 PM, “and then I juggle after-hours diplomatic crises, watching lots of high school basketball, and hanging out with my older kids and granddaughter,” she says. “There is never a dull moment, and my wardrobe needs to be ready for all of it!”

In a New York Times op-ed, she writes, “In my office, we are fighting to contain an Ebola epidemic, brainstorming ways to increase two-way trade between the United States and Africa, working to end human trafficking, protecting religious freedom and helping to educate the young people of a continent whose population will double by 2050 to 2.5 billion. And that was just last week.”

She describes her fashion sense as “DC boss lady—a mix of classic and luxe,” and puts her style sensibilities to use as a personal stylist for DC Style Factory. She chronicles her sartorial choices on her Instagram profile, @diplomaticdressing, and names Diane Lockhart from The Good Wife (played by Christine Baranski) and Diana Trout (Miriam Shor) from Younger as her style icons. “Both are total boss ladies,” she says.

Note: Sadly, this is my last What I’m Wearing post. But it’s been a blast bringing Washingtonians a snapshot of the creativity and style this region has to offer. Feel free to give me a shout if you want to chat, and be sure to check out the #WhatI’mWearingDC posts that continue to populate my Instagram feed (that hashtag started with ZERO posts!) Look back at the What I’m Wearing archives, and you might find some inspiration for your own wardrobe. I know I have. Cheers! 

Suit by Hilton Hollis purchased at Betsy Fisher, graphic tee and clutch by Emerson Fry purchased at The Hive/The Shoe Hive, sunglasses by Krewe purchased at The Hive, shoes by Marc Fisher purchased at Nordstrom Tysons Corner. Photos courtesy of Sarah Marcella Creative

Big meeting outfit

“One of my suits from designer Hilton Hollis, purchased at Betsy Fisher, with heels—always heels.”

Commuting style strategy

“I always try to remember a pair of Rothy’s for driving or dashing over to the National Security Council and I carry my Chloé Marcie or Celine luggage as a hybrid purse/briefcase.”

Favorite item of clothing right now

“My weekend favorite is my Emerson Fry tiger T-shirt from The Hive in Alexandria—I wear it with everything.”

Favorite place to shop in town

“A tie between Betsy Fisher on Connecticut—for the best work clothes in the DMV—and The Hive/The Shoe Hive in Alexandria for fabulous shoes, accessories, and the extended size range of Veronica Beard.”

Best bargain in DC

“I don’t believe in shopping the sale rack. Shop with a list and only add pieces that add value to your overall wardrobe. I’m all about cost-per-wear. Some of my most ‘expensive’ pieces are actually my best values by that measure.”

Style advice

“Dress for the life and body you have right now!”

Jumpsuit by Rebecca Taylor purchased at Nordstrom Tysons Corner, necklace by Lizzie Fortunato purchased at The Hive, shoes by Marc Fisher purchased at Nordstrom Tysons Corner. Photos courtesy of Sarah Marcella Creative
Lace Coat purchased at Betsy Fisher, jumpsuit by Tahari, purchased at Nordstrom Tysons Corner, clutch by Kate Spade, sunglasses by Krewe purchased at The Shoe Hive, shoes by Cole Haan purchased at Norstrom Tysons Corner. Photos courtesy of Sarah Marcella Creative
Suit by Hilton Hollis purchased at Betsy Fisher, tee by Current Elliot purchased at The Hive, Bag by Chloe purchased at Nordstrom Tysons Corner, Sunglasses by Krewe purchased at the Hive, earrings by Mignonne Gavigan purchased at The Shoe Hive, Shoes by Cole Haan purchased at Nordstrom Tysons Corner. Photos courtesy of Sarah Marcella Creative
Gown by La Petite Robe di Chiara Boni purchased at Saks Fifth Ave, shoes by Cole Haan purchased at Nordstrom Tysons Corner, earrings by Lizzie Fortunato purchased at The Hive. Photos courtesy of Sarah Marcella Creative

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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 earning a master’s degree in journalism from Syracuse University. His work has also appeared in the Washington Post, TheAtlantic.com, and DCist.com, among others. He lives in Bloomingdale.