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Free Legal Advice (Really)

Lawyers are almost never free. Except for in February, when the DC Bar Pro Bono program is giving you  chance to chat with a lawyer one-on-one about your growing/good idea for a/business plan-stage company!

Saturday, February 11 @ 9:30am – the DC Women’s Business Center (727 15th Street NW, 10th Floor)

Email Lauren Paley ( for more info



how does “community” happen, anyways?

Way back when I was at Worn Magazine (five years in dog years, five months in human years), two things constantly struck me: how fast DC’s fashion community is growing and how fragmented it is.

Now, that’s not uncommon. DC was never known as a fashion mecca and the number of local designers, crafters and artisans has taken off over the past five to ten years. And everyone is working on their own initiative. So there’s going to be a disconnect.

Here’s how I see it: for a long time, these hardy folks were toiling away in obscurity, feeding off of their own passion and not much else. Then, a very small handful of local shops came onto the scene. People started to think about what sort of organizations might be needed to advocate for a fashion community. Finally, a media (social, print and otherwise) began to build up around the designers and shops, noticing that, hey, something cool was happening here. And some savvy DC residents and consumers have taken note and vote with their feet and dollars, supporting the nascent fashion industry.

All of these pieces now exist.  But its like a recipe after you’ve prepped all of the ingredients and before you’ve started cooking: everything is segregated in its own little bowl.

In order for us to move forward as a fashion community, the ingredients need to get mixed up, smushed into a giant ball of dough. But this is difficult. I don’t even know if the different stakeholders in our fashion community know each other. Or if they communicate. Or if they work together.

But all of these things are really important. Our local designers – emerging, established or otherwise – need the support of a strong community. One that regularly gets together and talks about what needs to happen now and next. Because if we are going to have a thriving, domination-station (as my brothers would say) fashion community, its time for everyone to come together and figure out how to make that happen.

So when Ally and Josef from #DCRESIDENCE approached me and Emma about programming something at The Parlour, we jumped at the chance to bring folks to the table. It’s a conversation worth having and one that we want to continue to have.

And you – we want you too. What ingredients need to go into the mix? What do you want to hear about during the panel? Tell us in the comments and we’ll be sure to add it to the stew.

Bathing Suits: the good, the bad, the ugly

Ladies. I feel like I have to take a deep breath before I start writing this because the subject of bathing suits is so fraught with … I can’t even find the right word. Tension, emotion, danger, fear? All of the above? Regardless, it’s not pretty. I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while, but since a New York Times article got me thinking about it, I finally sat down to reflect upon the sad relationship between women and their bathing suits.

I recently went on a beach vacation with my family. It was wonderful. The bathing suit situation was not. They were, to a tee, ill-fitting. Your bathing suit should never give you a muffin top.

As I stared into the recesses of dimpled cellulite, I thought about some basic rules for bathing suit use. Or at least my rules. And they are:

(1) Your bathing suit should not make any part of your body feel like sausage being encased in Saran wrap. Since they run mind-numbingly small, buy your suit a size bigger than your dress size. The fit is more important than the size. Look, I love it when my clothing tags say ‘2’ as opposed to ‘8,’ and most of the time you can fudge it with a good pair of spanx. Do not, I repeat, do not attempt it with bathing suits. Just take my word on it. If you need to use the word ‘bulge’ to describe any part of your body in a swimsuit, it’s too small.

(2) Buy separates. Chances are your bottom half is bigger than your top half or vice versa. I, for one, know that while a size small bikini top will fit me, size small bottoms will most certainly not. Both top and bottom should fit.

(3) Throw it away once it starts to: sag, lose elasticity, become sheer in spots, decompose or remind you of Saved by the Bell. This seems self-evident, but I can tell you from avid beach people watching that it is not.

(4) Really complex one pieces should be left to Sports Illustrated models or ill-considered Vegas trips. It seems like a good idea on the model, but trust me, side cut-outs look good on very, very few people.

(5) White is a good idea as long as it is double lined and you don’t plan on actually wearing it in water. Beyond that, a white swim suit will make you look tan no matter how pasty your office tanned skin. But it is always, always see-through when wet. Even if it’s double lined. Sorry.

(6) Boy short bottoms are not the most flattering thing for women with hips on the curvier side. This annoys me to no end. The last thing you want to do to take attention away from your hips is swatch them in masses of fabric. Go with a classic string bikini bottom and the lack of material on your hips will move the eye up.

(7) Two words: FULL COVERAGE. Unless you are a 14 year old cheerleader or Gisele, you want full coverage on your derrière.

(8) Find a solid black bottom and then just get cute colorful or black and white tops to match. Like this one.

So where does one go to find suitable suits? I prefer buying online and trying them on in the comfort of my own home. Something about poor neon lighting makes me want to get liposuction, so I try to avoid that.

There are a handful of places to go and things you can do to tackle the swim suit challenge. The standards:

I hate to be boring, but J. Crew has really great suits, that you can buy in separates, and that fit fairly well. I find that I’m a size larger in their swimwear than regular, but not by much. The bad news: I have not been able to order their stupid tulle bikini in the year I have been trying because they are always out of my size. Not that I’m bitter about that. Another good standard: American Eagle. They don’t have the same deep selection as J. Crew, but they have solid basics.

I hate to say it, but Victoria’s Secret. This can be dicey as they really want you to break rule #4 (A LOT), but when it comes to cheap, good standards, they are hard to beat. Order a generous size (or maybe two) up and, whatever you do, don’t order the ‘cheeky’ bottom. No one wants to see that.

no offense, but you’re ass doesn’t look like this.

One of my favorites is Bluefly, because they have free return shipping. I’ll order five or six knowing that I’ll keep only two. And they have great deals on otherwise pricey suits. They have one of my favorites, Lisa Curran, whose suits I would not be able to buy full price.

LL Bean. Go ahead and laugh, but if you only buy one bathing suit, it should be a simple black one piece from LL Bean. I have a long torso, which makes one-pieces almost impossible, but LL Bean has several in long sizes, as well as a host of other non-standard sizes.

When I’m feeling like I need to be younger and cooler, Swell does the trick. You feel Hawaii chic, but beware the bottoms. Many of them are emphatically small.

And finally, Asos. They just have great product, including bathing suits. Good hunting!



Where’s Spring + WMATA + Girlfriends

So… it’s not Spring yet. What’s up with that? I believe we’ve endured enough of this whole frosty and gray thing. Which is why I have decided that I’m going to force warmer temperatures by wearing clothing for warmer temperatures. It’s like doing a snow dance except for heat. Trust me, this is perfectly normal and I’m sure lot’s of people do it.

Sometimes this puts you in odd positions. Like when I wore a favorite blue dress (a little on the short side), with my absolute favorite sleeveless trench and platform clogs yesterday. Everything got a little bunched up while I was on my nifty Capital Bikeshare ride. The rest I take from an email chain with a friend who will heretofore be referred to as CFD: Cuban friend #dos (that’s right, I speak the espanol). I have lots of Cuban friends, who really need more coverage on this blog. Anways, I resisted calling her: I am still bitter you got to study in Paris while I was in North Carolina. Acronym would be on the long side.

ME: seriously. where is Spring? I changed over my clothes last weekend, so I really need it to be here.

CFD:  I have not switched my clothes but I want to change them out. But I have decided to not wear winter coats anymore. I am only wearing jackets and light coats. I hate coats! That may be why I am still so freaking sick.

ME: I’m 100% with you. I wore a sleeveless trench and a short skirt to a happy hour yesterday. A bus driver told me that my “panties was practically showing all over the place.” I interpreted that as: “your outfit might be slightly inappropriate for the weather.”

CFD: So many sassy responses coming to mind… She is just jealous of your style. I will say this though about inappropriate outfits in DC: if you do not get pedicures in winter and/or exercise any feet hygiene DO NOT put on flip-flops the first chance you get. You are making me sick to my stomach and you know who you are.

ME: haha… and it was so totally a man.

CFD: STOP… a MAN! First, OMG he said the word panties. Second, are you sure he was not a butch looking lady? Third, your response should have been: “Practically yes, but for you, literally never.”

This story has several morals: WMATA employees would make intrepid alt-street style bloggers. Girlfriends are the best people ever because they share your outrage instantly and can produce that line that you soo wish you had thought of on the spot. And Spring needs to arrive. ASAP.

it’s called respect

We had a lovely Saturday in the District, and I spent it in a lovely manner: lounging, catching up on my magazines (I’m perpetually behind with Vanity Fair), and browsing one of my favorite neighborhood vintage shops. The owner is fabulous and the selection is brilliant: really diverse – you can find both kimonos and 1950’s day dresses – and curated in a way that makes you want to spend hours letting your eye skip from netted hat to crocheted handbag. The customers… less so.

Maybe it’s because my mother insisted on raising me with a modicum of manners or because I have abnormally strong attachments to garments and the folks that make them, but I was appalled by the behavior of a group of women in the store. My age, of course, which is disheartening. It seems like my generation is totally devoid of any judgement or self-awareness. In this jewel box of a store they were loud, took up about half the place, and openly derided some of the clothes. I wanted to smack them. Instead I channeled that energy into buying a splendid 50’s madras dress that is actually a jumper (with wide pleated legs) disguised as a dress.

But the experience made me think about a couple of golden shopping rules. You give what you get, so put your best foot forward. Almost everything has to do with approaching the people and place with a respectful attitude.

1. The people. Someone found, styled, folded and designed everything that you are looking at. And they might be standing there with you. So smile, ask polite questions, and if you don’t like something, it stays in the internal monologue. It’s a good practice in general.

2. The clothes. Everything at that store is destined to be bought by someone, even if it doesn’t appeal to you. So don’t leave it in a rumpled heap in your dressing room. And don’t finger everything with your greasy post-brunch fingers. Especially not silk. It’s like being a guest in someone’s home: try to leave everything as you found it (except the Madras jumper: take that home with you).

3. The customers. Shockingly, there are probably other people in the store with you. And they probably don’t want to see your lower back tat or hear about how you haven’t showered in three days because you spent each night with a different random hook-up. And they really don’t want to hear that as you are placing delicate garments on your unwashed body. Talking loudly with your girlfriends about your latest exploit is what brunch and wine bars were made for. So save it.

4. Edit. Do you need to try everything on? Probably not. And if you do, maybe try things three at a time. Let others have a chance to play. If the shop owner hands you something to try and you’re not super enthused with the result, use something like “this would look great on someone really tall, but isn’t so much for me” instead of “this is frumpy, I don’t like the color, and it makes me look like Oprah on a bad day.”

5. Do Unto Others. For reals. Treat people and things like you would want them to treat you and your things. You learned this in kindergarten. It still applies. And always will.

This One’s For You, Ladies

For all of you who have ever sighed at an airbrushed Vogue spread thinking “No way am I ever going to look like that” and then zoomed through a pint of Haagen Dazs like the Jersey Shore cast consumes body glitter and self tanner, this one’s for you:

That’s Kate Moss. In Louis Vuitton. And cellulite. Now I know that you are going to accuse me of being anti-feminist and say that I shouldn’t point out another woman’s flaws, yadda, yadda… but doesn’t this just make you an eensy bit pleased? Come on, admit it.

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