five things I won’t wear

I get asked all the time what I will and will not wear. I don’t have a ton of rules, but I do have some fashion nos.

1. Yellow: So few people look good in yellow. In fact, I think maybe 10 people, including Halle Berry and Michelle Williams that one year she wore canary yellow to the Oscars (though it was a love-it-or-hate-it dress). That leaves eight non-celebrities who can carry off this tricky tone. It doesn’t matter if it’s a pastel or the neon hue that’s so omnipresent right now, I think it casts a sickly glow. It probably doesn’t look good on you either.

2. Boyfriend Anything: No boyfriend blazers for me. They are too boxy and too long for my frame. I also stay away from boyfriend jeans. Even if I had a boyfriend, I wouldn’t wear his jeans, so why would I buy jeans that are meant to mimic his? I’d rather wear yoga pants. And the only thing worse than a boyfriend cardigan is a grandfather cardigan. I like clothes that fit and have feminine detail. Some women (tall, willowy ones) can carry off the boyfriend this or boyfriend that look spectacularly, but it isn’t for me, and I won’t cave to trend.

3. Nude Pantyhose: In the winter, I wear opaque black or gray tights, and occasionally, black silk stockings if they are Wolford. I splurge on one pair a year, and literally that one pair gets me through my winter needs. But otherwise, if I’m wearing an outfit that can’t take a dark tight, I bear leg it. No matter how cold. Let’s be honest: nude pantyhose aren’t really the color of actual skin nor do they provide any warmth value. So why keep up the charade?

4. Messenger Bags: After all, I am not a messenger. The one possible exception is if you consider the Proenza Schouler PS1 to be a messenger bag. But there is neither a reflective patch nor a gore-tex seam in sight on this amazing bag that my fashion fairy can feel free to leave on my doorstep (work though please where someone is here to sign for it).

5. Strapless Dresses: I wore a strapless dress to my cousin’s wedding two summers ago and within 15 minutes, I swore I would never wear that style again. Frankly, most women look uncomfortable in strapless. There’s nothing worse than having to yank your dress up all night except perhaps watching someone else yank her dress up all night. The options with strapless seem to be (1) fall out of your dress; (2) spend all night preventing such a fashion disaster; or (3) bind yourself in so tightly that you can’t breathe.

These don’t wears of mine are very personal and aren’t meant to insult anyone. My advice when it comes to style is that if it feels wrong on you, it probably is. However, if it feels right to wear a boyfriend blazer over a yellow strapless dress with nude pantyhose and carry a messenger bag, I might identify you as needing a fashion intervention.

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hot mess

this is what our air feels like to breath today

As this week’s more-than-balmy temperatures have clearly established, it’s summer. But this is not the summer of our youth. More than one million acres of the United States is covered by a so-called heat dome. Today’s heat index in DC is expected to reach 120. Do we really have to go to work and dress professionally? Shouldn’t the government give us a “heat index” day? I’d much rather have the city closed on a day like today than on a day when we get 6 inches of snow.

But I digress. While there probably isn’t much one can do to dress for the weather today, on a normal, low-90s hot and humid DC day, you can make wardrobe choices that will keep you cooler but allow you to still look professional. For example, from the time the post-winter temperatures climb into the 60s until it’s cool enough for tall boots, my legs are always bare.  Now, in the spirit of full disclosure, this is a choice not only dictated by weather. Overall, I am, you might say, anti-pantyhose. I wear opaque tights in the fall/winter, but there is nothing that would ever compel me to don a pair of pantyhose any time of year. Not even Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, and ridiculously outdated royal protocol are likely to change my mind.

Royal fashion aside, if you are going to reveal bare legs this summer, I’d like to offer some seasonal rules to live by:

1. If you reject leg coverage for the office, your skirt length better be long enough and the material should be work appropriate.  I’m not a prude. I’m fun and adventurous when it comes to my wardrobe. But don’t wear a skirt-length that better belongs in a nightclub or at the beach. No one should look like a skin-tern.

2. If you are a coverage “tween” and opt for Spanx, just a warning that we should not be able to see the signs of said underpinnings when you are sitting down with your legs crossed.

3. If you use self-tanner at least apply it correctly. One guy friend of mine reported seeing a woman on the metro recently who had only applied self-tanner to the bottom half of her legs. Personally, I reject self-tanners. I hate the smell. I hate the color. But if you must self-tan, at least do the whole leg.

I understand that some stuffy offices might not allow you to skip hose. If this is the case for you, I only ask that you please don’t wear heavy black tights on a 98-degree day. Seriously, Kaitlan witnessed a woman doing just that the other day. And today, Holly saw a woman wearing long black leggings. Pants are always a better (and breezier) option.

And ladies, be thankful that you don’t have to wear a so-called “lightweight wool” navy blue suit with your shirt buttoned snugly around the neck and a tie wrapped around for good measure. This is one area where we have one up on the boys.