DC Fashion is all about the working man and woman. Never have I ever witnessed corporate America look so trendy, until I stepped foot into the District. The guys and gals here actually resemble the mannequins we see in stores like Banana Republic, Express, & Nordstrom, almost identically. My days of wondering "Who would really wear a blazer like that?" are over for sure.
It all began on the metro at approximately 1:0opm. The time that a lot of people take their lunch break in hopes of avoiding the large noon crowd of lunch goers, but since everyone is trying the same method...1 o'clock gets just as crowded. A body of pencil skirts, slacks, blazers, suits, ties, & button ups crowded the train. A woman in a black v-neck skirt suit was standing next to me and I happened to notice her leopard print pumps and shortly thereafter a red ribbon waist-belt meticulously wrapped around her white button-up underneath her blazer. "How Pizazz?" I thought to myself. My first day in DC and I've already found some fashion relief. From that moment on I had begun observing DC fashion and, irresistibly, comparing it to NYC fashion.
How does DC compare to NYC fashion? Realistically, it doesn't. NYC isn't called one of the Fashion Capitals of The world for no reason...it is truly in a ballpark of it's own. However, DC fashion helps you notice and appreciate the simpler things that personalize and make an outfit standout; The true essence of fashion. It's so easy to get wrapped up in NYC's super hip, super trendy, super bold designs and mixed matches...the neon greens with the oranges, the biker boots with the ruffle skirts, the chic black dress with the glittered accent jackets. But, with all that going on...it's just as easy to miss the simple things like patterns, shoes, accent colors, bags, jewelery, & scarves. That's the breath of relief in DC fashion...that's their stronghold.
Since the main purpose of existence in DC is mostly working, networking, and politics... DC people seem to have mastered the "ready for anything" style. Their outfits are literally ready for work, then a cocktail after work, then to the art gala, then to a late business meeting, the bookstore, the grocery store, etc. etc. All while managing to still look prepared just in case something or someone important comes along at some point in their day. I would say that NYC is the same, but realistically, we can all pretty much cast everyone into their appropriate roles- you have the artists, the rebels, the fashionistas/fashion career inclined people, the business/wall street people, the party-goers/rockers, and so on. NYC fashion is more about the statement and less about the versatility of lifestyle.
DC Fashion speaks in code. They take an average outfit and make it extraordinary by adding a colored scarf or trendy shoes, glitzy jewelry or an eye catching bag, hounds tooth pea-coat vs a regular gray one, and bright colors alongside neutral attire. It's like..."Yeah I'm in the world, yeah I like fashion, but most importantly I'm keeping it real." A simple white dress with a red leather bag will do. You can try to wear zebra print leggings to the local Starbucks if you want, I can't promise that no one will stare and probably secretly think to themselves "Where does she think she is? New York City?". (Although, let me add, don't ever let anyone's opinion ever sway your fashion choices)
Sophisticated & contemporary, yet versatile & trendy is definitely how I'd sum up DC fashion. It's so easy to fall in love with the simplicity of the Washingtonian's style, which is why the fashion scene is picking up more than ever, having celebrated their first annual Fashion's Night Out this past September. They remind us that less is more, simple is best, and fashion is truly about personalization. But don't worry if you get bored with that...just hop a couple blocks down to Georgetown, the brainchild of NYC. I'm sure you'll get your hipster relief there.