Fashionable DC, Get Out & About, People, The Features

Fashionable DC: Garden Party at the President’s House!

America’s 28th president made at least one fortuitous decision for the Washington, D.C. social scene–he retired locally, to a stately 1915 Georgian Revival residence in posh Kalorama, now what we think of as Embassy Row. Though Woodrow Wilson himself only lived there for three years (1921-1924) before he passed away, his well-preserved home is nowadays a museum owned by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. It’s also a go-to place for fun and sophisticated events.

Fresh off a successful Mother’s Day Centennial brunch, the Woodrow Wilson House hosted its 26th annual garden party on May 14, where springtime hats were in full bloom.  (See: photos on flickr) The event was part of an effort to build a community of people who are interested in the neglected era of Woodrow Wilson, said the museum’s Executive Director, Robert Enholm, sporting a seersucker jacket, bow tie and straw hat.


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Fashionable DC, Technology

Geek2Chic Celebrates High-Tech Fashion – For a Good Cause

DC Week 2011: Geek 2 Chic

If you came to the Geek 2 Chic fashion event – where men from the world of technology are dressed up and sent down a runway – expecting amazing makeovers before your eyes, you might be disappointed. After all, many of the amateur models at this charity fundraiser were hardly pocket-protector-sporting hopeless cases when they arrived at the Chevy Chase Bloomingdale’s store on Tuesday. Instead, as hostess Angie Goff mentioned as they strutted confidently along, several of these gentlemen had been previously named to lists like The Hill’s Most Beautiful People on Capitol Hill.
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Business and Money, Fashionable DC, Life in the Capital, News, The Features, Ward 2

Brooks Brothers Opens On Georgetown Strip

This year’s latest addition to the Georgetown shopping scene is New York based Brooks Brothers which takes over the former Pottery Barn and Smith Hawken spaces on the corner of M & 31st Street NW. When I attended their grand opening party last week, I had completely underestimated how large this combined location would be. The new store offers three floors of retail space filled with ready-to wear suits, sports jackets, wool sweaters, shirts, etc.

Unlike other two DC Brooks Brother stores I’ve been to (Chevy Chase and Dupont), which have a prim, proper and country club-esque sterility to them, the Georgetown Brooks Brothers is a complete departure; the shop plays heavily on a hunting lodge or Adirondack cabin vibe with dark wood paneling, heavy uses of flannel and tweed fabrics in the drapery, carpeting and upholstery. On the lower level, you’ll find a pool table and bar lounging area that companion shoppers can relax in while tailoring takes place. Continue reading

Business and Money, Essential DC, Fashionable DC, Life in the Capital, The District, The Features

CB2 Fall Line: Space May Be Limited, But It Can Still Be Chic


Continuing on the heels of my Etsy Round Up: Washington DC feature apartment decorating finds, I ventured over the CB2 in Georgetown recently to check out their Fall 2011 collection. The latest and greatest from this Create&Barrel and Land of Nod, “affordable” sister shop centers on providing innovative, space saving options for DC’s small apartment, loft and efficiency occupants.  Although that is not a revolutionary concept (see IKEA, West Elm, etc.) and was not chosen to meet the particular needs of DC urban dwellers, it is well executed. Continue reading

Fashionable DC, The District

West Elm Arrives in Georgetown

West Elm has come back. Both in that they are back in the city, opening their first new store in the District since closing an underperforming Metro Center location in 2009, but also in terms of really reinvigorating the design and style of the homewares chain.

The Williams-Sonoma Inc subsidiary debuted in 2002 to considerable excitement. They were positioned as a bridge” brand for those who wanted something more upscale than IKEA, but not as expensive or “mature” as their sister store Pottery Barn. Everything came in the then-essential espresso wood finishes and blocky shapes which would go on to define so many apartments across the country.

However, at some point a few years ago – around the time they opened the Tysons Corner retail location – it seemed like the brand had lost a bit of its way. Designs had leaned hard to the faux-ethnic and zebra-print and too many core pieces from shuttered Williams-Sonoma brand Hold Everything were awkwardly folded in to the West Elm range.
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Fashionable DC, The Daily Feed

Solas Nua Brings Modern Irish Fashion to DC

Monday night, Solas Nua presented Paisean Faisean – a showcase of several new Irish fashion designers. Styled by DC-based blogging duo Birds of a Pleather (who also make up part of the wonderful Worn Magazine team), the show included pieces by Orla O’Connor, Katarzyna Wypych, Deirde Williams, By Yvonne, Ellis Boyle, Emma Manley, and Kathy Mooney – all upcoming Irish designers rarely seen in the U.S.

The always-lovely upstairs space at Fathom Creative was washed with harsh white light from all directions – including a series of raw florescent tubes on the floor used to demarcate the L-shaped runway. A video piece, “Dias A/W 2010,” by Soyna Lennon and Christian Ammann looped silently on a suspended screen and one wall was cloaked with gauzy white drapes, out from which the models would appear. Packed with camera crews and attendees, the room took on a hint of downtown loft.

The collections by Katarzyna Wypych and Orla O’Connor, in particular, seemed to really reference Ireland’s craft and fashion traditions with their use of wool knit materials as they use in this Kurta Pajama for Men, but transformed into much more experimental pieces. It was, however, Ellis Boyle’s dresses which seemed to really win over the crowd, achieving an elegant balance of wearability and modern design. The Caribbean-born, Spain-raised, and now Ireland-based designer showed a marvelous use of textiles cut to move with the models – who seemed to particularly enjoy flouncing the frothier skirts as they walked.

Solas Nua is a non-profit dedicated entirely to promoting contemporary Irish arts and bringing them to American audiences. This show, presented in conjunction with Ireland’s Year of Craft celebration, was one of a number of events the organization is hosting in Washington in the coming months. Today is the opening of their Irish Writers Festival and there are other arts and music events on the horizon.

Fashionable DC, News, The Daily Feed

TheFashionMagpie: DC Readers Leery of the New “Sunday Style” Section in The Post

Photo courtesy of

courtesy of ‘Chris Rief aka Spodie Odie’

You may have noticed a change to your Washington Post this past weekend, and if you are like any of the Washingtonians that have commented on this modification, you are probably not happy about it.  The paper has split its arts and style sections, and D.C. residents will now receive a “Sunday Style” insert on Saturday mornings.  The insert will cover TV, music, fashion, and film, or as executive editor of the Post Marcus Brauchli put it in his explanation (defense?) of the new section, “the popular culture that shapes so many of our weekends.”

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Fashionable DC

TheFashionMagpie: Fashion, Illustrated

Fashion Illustration by Inslee Haynes

Image Copyright © Inslee Haynes

Last Thursday, I was in the midst of my blissful daily blog prowl when I stumbled upon a series of whimsical fashion illustrations that stopped me in my tracks.  After snooping around for more information on their provenance, I was surprised to discover that the illustrator behind the series was Washingtonian Inslee Haynes.  When I caught up with the talented artist over coffee (turns out she’s a neighbor of mine in Glover Park!), I was even more enchanted: the 20-something “greater DC area” native is not only incredibly gifted — she’s also sharp and ambitious, having launched, maintained, and grown her own fashion illustration business since 2005. Continue reading

Fashionable DC

TheFashionMagpie: Bringing D.C. Fashion and Art to the Foreground, Butler & Claypool Style

Photo courtesy of
‘Adams Morgan Day – 2010’
courtesy of ‘TDLphoto’

Have you heard about Butler & Claypool?  The District’s blogosphere is atwitter about this fresh-off-the-press retail and design collective.  Founded this past fall but currently gearing up for a full launch later this month, the D.C.-based “collective” (more on what that means in a moment) was established by seasoned fashion commentator Holly Thomas, analyst Krista Haywood, and musician Paul Thornley.

The talented trio has set out to “create a wholly unique retail experience with a focus on originality, sustainability, and community.”  Put differently (i.e. in lay terms), they’re planning to curate a series of pop-up shops featuring the wares of local artists and designers, organize performances and workshops by D.C. artists and musicians, and host “salon-style” discussions on fashion, art, and all things cultural.  (Not sure what those sessions would be like; I can’t help but envision an 18th-century Enlightenment-era set-up, with ladies in full dress reclining on chaise lounges as they read Moliére, a la this Jean Francois de Troy painting.)  As a self-professed shopaholic, I, of course, am delighted at the prospect of frequenting pop-up boutiques filled with vintage goodies, local crafts, and an assortment of fashion and jewelry finds from the collective’s eponymous label.  But even more exciting?  The serious, thoughtful way in which Butler & Claypool intends to promote the District’s homegrown artisanry and cultural profile.  “One of our main goals is to  promote and support locals who are doing inventive, inspiring things,” says Betsy Lowther, one of the start-up’s contributors.  “There are a number of really talented people who are mostly unknown to local shoppers, and we’re hoping to help bring them together.”

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Fashionable DC, Special Events, The Daily Feed

TheFashionMagpie: Miss DC Send-Off Tonight

Photo courtesy of
‘Miss Teen America’
courtesy of ‘MudflapDC’

Does anyone watch the Miss America pageant anymore?  Some consider the annual competition an offensive vestige of not-so-progressive [read: chauvinistic] yesteryear, but I must confess to a strange interest in the spectacle.  Perhaps this curiosity has been fueled by the addictive, deliciously edited, and highly disturbing “Toddlers and Tiaras” series on TLC; perhaps I find the pageantry a throwback to my Barbie-obsessed youth.  Regardless, those that share my passing bemusement (or any more enthused variation on that theme) may be interested in attending  the Miss District of Columbia send-off to the Miss America Pageant, which will be held at The Institute of World Politics (1521 16th St, NW) at 6:30 p.m tonight.  The event is open to the public, but a $25 “donation” is “suggested.”  Tickets can be purchased via the Miss DC website.

I’ve heard through the blogosophere that some of the pageant clothing that Miss DC, med student Stephanie Williams, will be wearing at the 2011 Pageant (to be held in Vegas and aired on ABC on Saturday, January 15th at 9 pm) will be on display this evening.  The thought of “pageant clothing” leaves something to be desired, but I like that Miss DC–or her stylists–make a point of purchasing her wardrobe locally (including at my favorite accessories boutique, Sassanova).  Check out some of her latest looks and their purchase points here.  For those seriously interested in seeing a District gal win the nation-wide pageant, cast your vote on Miss Williams’ behalf at the Miss America website after watching her contestant video.  Believe me, it’s not half as painful as some of the other gems available for viewing on the site, which present an excellent, cringe-filled way to pass a slow afternoon.  I hesitate to put anyone to shame, but this song and dance from Miss Connecticut made me want to crawl under a rug.  Cute girl, solid effort, but, the shoulder shrug midway through the performance make me want to cry.  Will you be tuning in this year?



Fashionable DC, The Daily Feed

The Fashion Magpie: Tari DC, A Different Kind of Consignment

Photo courtesy of

courtesy of ‘erin m’

When Julep–a well-stocked consignment shop in Georgetown–closed its doors in the spring of 2010, I was thoroughly disappointed.  I had been peddling my clothes there (with great success) for months, an arrangement that had come to be handy in my bi-monthly “closet-cleaning” practice, not to mention useful in funding the purchase of new and exciting wardrobe additions.  You can imagine my delight when I learned that the same space (1525 Wisconsin Ave, N.W.) had been purchased by Sara Mokhtari, a real estate developer seeking to launch a consignment boutique of her own.  When Tari DC opened its shutters in late November, I made it my business to set up an appointment to consign some of the items that had been gathering dust in my apartment and quickly realized that this shop was entirely different from your run-of-the-mill second-hand store.

For starters, the ambitious and charming Mokhtari had totally renovated the interior with dark paint, exposed brick, dramatic sconces, and an enorma-TV on the wall.  The space now appears vaguely European, much more attractively appointed, and altogether the way I would imagine a consignment shop owned and operated by the Kardashian sisters.  (Meant as a compliment.)  Then there’s the merchandise, which caters less to Julep’s former target audience (Georgetown’s young professionals and college/graduate student population) and more to frequenters of higher-end outposts.  (Think Christian Louboutin and vintage fur rather than last season’s J. Crew and Shoshanna.)

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Fashionable DC

TheFashionMagpie: Ringing in the New Year in Style

Urban Chic in Georgetown

Personally, the question “What are you doing New Year’s?” spurs the infinitely more pressing question of “What am I wearing New Year’s?”  For the ladies, metallics are de rigueur for this festive holiday, and with this season’s embrace of “the daytime sequin,” sparkly options abound in all but the stodgiest of major retailers.  In short: a shimmery, glimmery look should be easy to come by, even if you’ve waited until the midnight hour to hit the stores.

Your best bet for a strategic shopping session?  Take Georgetown by storm in the next day or two (infinitely more manageable and less terrifying than Tysons at this time of year).  I’d begin in North Georgetown: pop into Urban Chic (1626 Wisconsin Ave) for trendy, “evening-out” looks from the likes of Milly, Diane Von Furstenberg, and Alice & Olivia.  The staff there is uber-friendly and helpful, and the boutique is offering 20% off all dresses from now until NYE to boot.  A recent visit on a lunch break had me drooling over a metallic-thread strapless mini by Shoshanna, a silvery slip dress by Parker, and a navy sequin shift by Alice & Olivia — all pitch-perfect picks for watching the ball drop.  Don’t be discouraged if they’ve sold out of your size already (a frequent problem there, in my opinion) — we have a number of other pit-stops on our agenda.  (Do, however, check out their eye-catching collection of be-jeweled Deepa Gurnani headbands before heading out the door.  They’ll add holiday cheer to any ol’ get-up.)

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Business and Money, Fashionable DC

Luxury Retailing in a Post-Recession Washington

Photo courtesy of
‘Louis Vuitton Dog @ Atatürk Airport’
courtesy of ‘lrumiha’

While within the District and around the region the recession seems to still be felt terribly – the census numbers reported yesterday, for example, which show a marked rise in childhood poverty – other pockets of the metropolitan area are recovering faster. It was reported recently that, for the fourth year in a row, Maryland ranks second in the nation for millionaire households. Virginia holds seventh place in that ranking, and the District tenth. According to Forbes, six suburban counties in our area are among the wealthiest in the country. Loudon County Virginia, the richest in the region is also top in the nation, followed closely by Fairfax County.

Moneyed suburban Virginia – the flushest area within a region with one of the strongest economies in the country – made an appropriate setting, then, for experts to convene on luxury retailing in the post-recession world. The first event of 2010’s All Access Fashion encouraged journalists and marketers to delve into what is meaningful for consumers today. Even if some individuals still have the cash to buy them, how does one – brand or shopper – justify “luxury” goods?
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Fashionable DC

Fashion’s Night Out DC (And The Men That Love It)

image courtesy of Fashion's Night Out Georgetown

One cannot shake a blog, magazine, or twitter this week without hitting some kind of coverage of Fashion’s Night Out. The event, now in its second year, was launched by the Council of Fashion Designers of America and Vogue Magazine occurs this year on Friday, September 10th, from 6 to 11 pm. The well-intentioned – if just a bit self-serving – folks behind FNO imagine it as a response to the recession which supports independent fashion designers, boutique owners, and downtown commercial districts, while making the average person feel good about shopping and stimulating the economy.

Originally focused in New York City, this year the events have spread out – and include festivities here in DC. The principal neighborhoods organizing to participate are MidCity and Georgetown. While there is certainly plenty for the lady, it should not be overlooked that many participating businesses do cater to those in the male way. Therefore, to make this an inclusive event, I present to you…

DC Men I Know and Where They Should Go for FNO:
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Fashionable DC

Washington Wardrobe: Lisa Rowan

Photo Courtesy of Lisa Rowan

On Lisa Rowan’s blog Quarter Life: The Beltway’s Best Vintage and Thrift, she focuses on showing readers how to clothe themselves frugally and without filling landfills with cast-off fast fashions. Judging by some of her posts, buying vintage and thrifted leaves plenty of money in the budget for a busy schedule of cocktail parties and events around town.

This month, Lisa is teaming with Sisarina and Jobsessed to present an event they are calling Fancy Little Things. In the back-to-school and work spirit of September, this fall fashion swap encourages women to prune their professional wardrobes and exchange their garments for someone else’s. Likely to be a particular boon to recent graduates with their first office that requires dressing up, anyone can benefit from emptying their closet of good garments they just do not wear and replacing them with something they might.

You might look for Lisa’s help if you find yourself overwhelmed at the swap or on your next thrifting mission – she has a knack for pulling the clothes that fit her style from a variety of sources. “Whether I’m shopping new or vintage, I’m drawn to clean lines, subtle details, and crisp fabrics.”
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Fashionable DC, Life in the Capital, The Features

The Devil Wore Hose

Photo courtesy of

courtesy of ‘erin m’

It’s oppressively hot this week. A scorcher. Another record-breaker in a year unfavorably full of cruel weather. Some of you will be able to go about your work day in “summer business casual,” but for others, you’ll soldier on in full battle gear. And for many women in our unfairly unfashionably maligned city, that means pantyhose.

Ugh. Really?

Though sales of pantyhose have been on the decline since the mid-nineties, there are still offices that require them for women’s dress year-round. The excuse normally given for such a dress code is that they give the wearer a “polished, professional look.”  As they are more precisely termed actual underwear, I find it a bit vulgar to be told by anyone other than my mother that I should be wearing pantyhose. Wear hose when the garment requires it – something form-fitting and unlined, for example – but with a knee-length lined skirt? If one is well-groomed there should be no need.

And in disgusting 100-degree weather, there is no need to wear pantyhose other than to cover what is bare – which implies that it’s wrong to bare your legs in an office. Why? I’m by no means a radical feminist, but I can’t stand rules with no discernible logic, and especially not rules that are based on perceptions rather than facts. After all, it’s not so long ago that business women in this city were told never to wear pantsuits, only suits with skirts. What was the logic there?

Let’s step back for some history, a fun fashion tangent on clothing codes, before we shred more hose. For example, high heels. Did you know high heels started out as a male fashion necessity?  Continue reading

Fashionable DC, Featured Photo

The Seersucker Social in Photos

All photos by Max Cook

This past Saturday was a crazy day in DC.  Despite the sweltering heat, dedicated soccer fans filled Dupont Circle to cheer for their favorite teams.  Hoards of people filled the streets to watch or partake in the Pride Parade.  However my choice of torture was to participate in the Seersucker Social.  What was supposed to be a delightful, dandy of a bike ride through Rock Creek Park was actually a hot, sweaty, feat of endurance.

As a witness to the Tweed Ride last fall, I was determined not only to photograph the Social, but to participate in it as well.  While my normal summer attire consists of shorts and a t-shirt, I purchased some seersucker pants, a matching belt, and a madras tie to add a little flare to the ensemble.  Had the temperature been 65 degrees and the humidity low, I would have been fine, however with temps in the 90’s and the humidity of a Vietnamese jungle, I was miserable the second I stepped out of my door.  That’s not to mention the fact that I had borrowed a friend’s vintage Goodyear, bazillion pound, single speed bicycle that I had to push uphill to the finish line.

Are you tired of me complaining yet?  Good, because I’m done.  Once I had taken a bath in the restroom sink at Hillwood Estate and drank a gallon of water, I was rejuvenated and ready to start documenting the affair.  This was my first visit to Hillwood and let me say that it’s straight out of the movies.  With stately buildings, manicured lawns, and acres of beautiful greenery, it was the perfect setting to socialize with other seersucker-wearing sweat bombs.  The sun soon hid behind some clouds, refreshing (amazing) drinks were served, and music began to play.  As for the rest of the afternoon, well, I’ll let my photos speak for themselves.

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Fashionable DC, The Daily Feed

Shecky’s Girls Night Out

Photo courtesy of
‘Kazuko 05’
courtesy of ‘yospyn’

Do you enjoy spending time with your friends, shopping at amazing discounts, and scoring lots of freebies?  If so, Shecky’s Girls Night Out may just be your idea of a perfect evening.  Experience the newest Spring trends while enjoying cocktails and beauty treatments all in one night.  Sounds pretty good to me!

Shecky’s will be setting up shop in DC at DAR Constitution Hall on Wednesday (14th) and Thursday (15th) — tickets can be purchased here.