Washington DC style is conservatively trendy. I grew up in Washington and the style of natives is quintessential North East trad/prep chic. Hardly any girlfriends of mine even knew how to put make-up on senior year of high school. The style was very much an easy breezy natural Americana. DC’s general culture is heavily influenced by the professional character of the city, many people’s being employed in staid jobs as attorneys, federal office workers, and other supporting industries which call for an austerity to workplace fashion.
Nonetheless the DC yuppie, due to her age still longs to express herself fashionably. Given her lifestyle, though, she cannot go full-on couture like her friends in New York or LA. There is a slight international influence due to the high population of diplomats, consulates and other foreign workers. And certainly, perhaps more in-step with trends, would be the urban style of some DC natives. Practically speaking Washingtonians adhere to the classics because it’s acceptable career gear and for busy folks Ralph Lauren and J. Crew can be a mindlessly chic uniform! Those who’ve struck the perfect balance have outfits fit for work but also trendy enough for happy hour or dinner after.
- When choosing a suit, pay attention to the blazer. If you can find a blazer that is not too boxy and that is obviously meant for professional wear, you can use this same blazer as a cool menswear accessory.
- Patterned tights can help add an ultra chic look to any demure work outfit. Polka dots, pointelle, or vintage style hose work well.
- Fashion staples should include one highly luxurious item such as an heirloom luxury watch, grandmother’s diamond earrings, or a Prada bag. Extra points for passed down luxury items as this speaks to the old wealthy WASP culture of DC! This one haute couture staple is more than enough for conservative Washington to be considered highly fashionable!
- Current trends are a funny thing to talk about in Washington. I cannot stress the love for trad style here. Whenever I go home, as I live in Los Angeles now, it is as though nothing has changed. The only trend here if you want to look like a local are office shirts and pearls.
What to Wear
- Casual Outfit for Site-seeing: Chambray shirt with sleeves rolled up, chino shorts, bright-colored boat shoes, beautifully-printed tote.
- Dressier Outfit for a Nice Lunch: Don’t forget a large, good quality leather bag big enough to hold your smart phone, a bottle of water, metro card, and book for the train.
- Nightlife Outfit: A little black dress is all you need to wear in a city where not many dress to impress.
May kicks off cherry blossom season with an average high of 74 degrees F (24 degrees C) and a low of 50 degrees F (10 degrees C). This kind of weather calls for light layers to protect against the chilly early morning and evening hours – make sure you bring a jacket. And an umbrella and wellies! May has the most rain with an average of 12 days.
June through August sees warmer days with slightly less chances for rain (monthly average 10 days), an average high of 85 degrees F (29 degrees C) and 62 degrees (16 degrees C). It’s warmer on the East Coast, AND it’s hurricane season, so be sure to watch the weather forecasts, wear sunscreen, and wear light clothing during the day and a light cardigan or thin cotton wrap at night.
- South Moon Under | According to their website, “…South Moon Under offers a unique mix of fashions while remaining true to its laid back and free spirited mindset instilled in the founding store over forty years ago.”
- Tari | Georgetown | “This elegant boutique offers something for all. While women seek the one of a kind piece for themselves or a rare gift for someone special, the men that accompany them, discover this gem on their own and are thrilled to finally find an upscale consignment boutique where they can shop AND consign!…TARI offers gowns, cocktail dresses, party, professional, weekend and men’s wear. Many accessories, handbags, shoes, jewelry…All with a special touch of you in mind!”
- Rugby Ralph Lauren | Georgetown | “Launched in 2004, Rugby translates Ralph Lauren’s legacy of authentic prep into an eclectic, irreverent collection for young men and women. Cool and rebellious, vintage varsity and heritage classics are reinvented with a chic downtown flair and playful, sexy vibe for an individualistic approach to personal style.
- Tysons Corner Center | McLean, VA | “With Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom, Lord & Taylor and Macy’s, and an impressive 300+ specialty shops and restaurants, Tysons Corner Center is one thing all of Washington, D.C. can agree on.”