Capital Fashion

Lincoln Monument Washington DC

(Erika/Mom) While New Jersey teachers were on a convention of continuing education last Thursday and Friday, we decided we’d take a little fact-finding trip of our own. Tim and I took our children (Lizzi, her sister and her brother) to Washington DC and let them gaze for the very first time on Our Nation’s Capital. It was a wonderful family weekend. Although we only had two days of exploring, we learned a great deal. Here are some facts we can share:
1. The White House is big, but not that big. Many of our neighbors have oversized homes that rival its size. You can meander around right in front, on Pennsylvania Avenue, while stoic policemen watch. Probably could have tried to start a game of flag football, to see if Sasha and Malia could come out and play. We saw that something was going on, as dark-suited people with press badges were walking in and out of the gates. I asked if the President was home and got a terse “we cannot divulge that information.” In retrospect I believe everyone was gathering for the momentous healthcare legislation announcement.
2. When parking says “9:00 to 4:00” on H Street, that doesn’t mean it’s free after 4 pm as my husband and I naively guessed. Rather, it means “better move your damn car on the dot of four or you will get a $100 parking ticket.”
3. We were told brown squirrels only lived in Princeton. Not so; they’ve migrated to Washington, where they mingle in peace with the common gray squirrel.
4. The Smithsonian should be designated one of the 7 Wonders of the World. It’s free (after taxes) and goes on forever and ever. Being the average tourists, we started at American History and were instantly sucked into the worlds of the First Ladies and their dresses, Lincoln’s top hat, Julia’s kitchen, and Archie Bunker’s famous armchair. We learned how heavy a bucket of water is that an early 20th-century washerwoman had to carry 24 times to fill a washtub. (Answer: 21 pounds)
Caroline Harrison's Inaugural GownJacqueline Kennedy Inaugural Gown

5. There seems to be some kind of dress code in Washington that relies heavily on navy blue.

Lizzi and I began to pick up on this phenomenon as we posed for photos in front of the White House. Secret Service men were of course dressed in black but many of the people on Capitol Hill, chatting with colleagues and talking on their cellphones, were swathed in blue. Men seemed to prefer solid-color ties in greens and pinks. The obsession with navy really struck us at our hotel. We discovered an FBI meeting was taking place our first morning and we had to weave through a sea of blue to reach the front door.

Lizzi and I think that this epidemic of navy blue is in serious need of healthcare reform. Taking a cue from our President and the House of Representatives, which on Saturday passed the nation’s first national healthcare plan, we offer a somewhat less exhaustive but no less radical blue suit reform for the FBI, the press, the White House, and anyone else in Washington who doesn’t already have a strict dress code.

May We Suggest…
This classic suit was somewhat typical of what we saw. While nice, it is more of a camouflage than a standout:
classic navy womens suit
But for a little more distinction, how about this? (a 1940s suit from Lulu’s Vintage)
Lulus Vintage 1940s ladies navy suit
Accessories are really key here. Besides the nifty FBI badge and id tag, we suggest a great brooch or scarf, like these from 1928 Jewelry and Eileen Fisher:
1928 Jewelry vintage style broochEileen Fisher red scarf
I’ll let Lizzi be the world’s first under-21 fashion stylist for the women of the FBI. Lizzi, don’t forget to show everyone the first pair of shoes you chose. Let’s just say they were fabulous, but wouldn’t be your friends on a perp chase. 🙂

(Lizzi/Daughter) The outfits I saw in the hotel and around town were for the most part very boring. Black or navy frumpy suits with clunky black shoes. So I thought it would be fun to do a before and after and show how to transform from this:
boring suit

To this:
fashion suits

Suits in order:
Women’s Business Suit from
YSL Asymmetrical Suit
Two-piece wool skirt suit from YESSTYLE

Not knowing much about what you wear as an FBI agent, or anyone else who works for the president, I at first chose a pair of black stilettos for my new and improved black uniform.

black miu miu shoes

When I showed Mom my choice of shoes, she laughed and told me to change the shoes to a pair of lower heels. How was I supposed to know that running full speed down dark alleys was sometimes part of the job description of an FBI agent? (And scratch that as a career option for ME). Anyway, my outfit turned out like this:

For My Blog
For My Blog by ChicLizzi featuring Nine West shoes

Items in this set:
Vivienne Westwood Red Label skirt, $820
Juicy Couture coat, $400
DAY Birger et Mikkelsen blouse, $240
Nine West shoes, $79
Iosselliani ring, 160 GBP

Pretty nice, eh? Dressing like this for a job that has a strict dress code is pretty simple. All you need is an asymmetrical black skirt suit (nothing is symmetrical these days!), a pair of low heeled, simple (but NOT boring) black heels, a dark gray or black feminine blouse, and, if you need it for the outdoors, a black pea coat. To accessorize, a simple stack ring set and a brooch is very classy and chic. Of course, this particular outfit was made for an FBI agent. You can tell by the cell phone case and Presidential Seal!

Overall, I had a great vacation and learned a lot about how people who work for the federal government dress. Let’s hope they start representing us in a style that rocks the nation.


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