I get this question often.  I’ve seen a lot of fur and a lot of sequins in the Fall fashions, and while I welcome all of it, DC is still about classics.  Sure, critics may be point out that Washington is not as exciting as LA and that we are not as edgy as NYC, and quite frankly I’m ok with that.  In DC, the city of power and policy wonks, we have our own style, bound by tradition, a need to blend in and simply not offend.  Ironically, in this city of protocol, we have considerable freedom to wear what we want: attend a cocktail reception or dinner in a dark suit and a sensible pair of Ferragamos or a knee length DvF or Tahari paired with stilettos.  And, while the gala always seems to fill folks with anxiety, ultimately what you wear is more a factor of your age and comfort.  Where else but DC do you so often run across the vague sartorial direction:  “black tie optional”.  (I tend to recommend a dark suit and tie for men, but not your ordinary tie – bring out something a little fancy).  La femme d’un certaine age may choose the long gown – Oscar de la Rentas, Vera Wangs – but don’t be surprised to see a hot little Nichole Miller on the dance floor or a sassy Dolce & Gabbana in the bar line, not to mention “national dress,” which can vary from brocade and beading to head accoutrement two feet high.  My advise to DC: dress how you feel.  The worst you can do is try to be something you aren’t.

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