by Borderstan.com June 26, 2013 at 4:00 pm 0

Khelan offers up some summer suit options that work in the DC summer heat.

Khelan offers up some summer suit options that work in the DC summer heat.

Above: Thomas Pink Shirt, J.Crew’s Ludlow Summer Suit and Ralph Lauren Tie by khelan on polyvore.com.

From Khelan Bhatia. Follow Khelan on Twitter @KhelanB or email him at khelan[AT]borderstan.com. 

Today, I have some options for suits that work in the DC summer heat (and address the issue of seersucker, once a DC uniform in the summertime).

First, let’s address some do-not-do fashions on the subject of (ill-placed) patriotism on Independence Day. I was in Penn Quarter the other day, and I saw a fashion atrocity that I hope was perpetrated by a tourist and not a resident. This guy was wearing… get this… American flag slacks. As in white stars on a blue background on the right leg and alternating red-and-white stripes on the left leg. Cannot make this sh*t up. It almost made me yearn for a constitutional amendment banning the desecration of Old Glory… or mandating a sense of style. Relax, ACLU’ers, I believe that free speech is a fundamental, inalienable right. However, fashion is most definitely a privilege.

The Loss of Seersucker Thursday

Anyhow, down to business at hand. Not sure if you read Dana Milbank’s Dana Milbank’s Washington Post column last Tuesday, but it was an interesting piece intertwining two of my passions: politics and style.

The article’s intent was clearly to lament the loss of a frivolous, yet important, tradition in the halls of Congress: Seersucker Thursday, which was started by former GOP Senator Trent Lott to create a sense of bipartisan camaraderie and, well, fun in an often humorless institution. And, hey, I’m all for tastefully pushing the sartorial envelope in the workplace.

But the column got me thinking about seersucker in general and I came to this conclusion: Very few guys actually look good in the summer fabric. In fact, it looks downright costumey and (dare I say it?) Colonel Sandersesque on most guys. Don’t get me wrong; I fully appreciate that everyone from Thom Browne to Club Monaco has attempted to make the seersucker suit look cool… no pun intended. But it so rarely does. Am I right?

However, that doesn’t change the fact that many of us have to still wear business formal to the workplace even as the thermostat inches closer, and sometimes past, 100 degrees. And, as I’ve said repeatedly, this column isn’t just my little corner to bitch and moan about the heinous crimes against style. I pose solutions to the problems I often bring up (unless you’re wearing American Flag trousers — there’s no fix, outside of shock therapy, I can think of).

The Perfect Summer Suit

J.Crew’s Ludlow fine-striped suit is quite literally the perfect summer suit (well, at least, the best one I’ve ever worn). It’s cotton, so it breathes better than tropical wool, and doesn’t wrinkle quite as easily as linen. Plus, it’s just this side of off-white (sometimes slate, depending on the light), so it doesn’t look too stark, as pure white suits often can (look, this is still the District, not Miami. Let’s not get too crazy). And the stripes are so wonderfully subtle that you can pair it with literally any color or pattern dress shirt.

Here’s an idea: let’s try a red-striped shirt…maybe this one from Thomas Pink. And a blue knit tie from Polo. Red, (sort-of) white, and blue. Oh hey, I just found a solution for Mr. America, too.

This column first ran July 4, 2012.

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by Borderstan.com November 13, 2012 at 4:00 pm 1,377 0

From Rachel Nania. Check out her blog, Sear, Simmer & Stir. Follow Nania on Twitter @rnania, email her at rachel[AT]borderstan.com.

"sewing"

Learning to sew is easy at Ginger Root Design. (Courtesy Ginger Root Design)

If the thought of learning to sew has you in stitches, don’t be so hard on yourself – consider starting from the beginning and learning from the experts.

Ginger Root Design – the U Street design shop and boutique – will offer two Hand Sewing 101 classes this month. These classes are perfect for sewing beginners or for more seasoned seamers interested in learning how to finish off projects with a professional touch.

“We have a ton of great customers who come into the shop and think, ‘What a fun thing, to learn how to sew.’ But before you break down and buy a sewing machine, we want people to learn the basics and make sure they actually like sewing,” said Kristen McCoy, co-owner of Ginger Root. “And if we convert those newbies into life-long sewers, we will expand our curriculum and offer more advanced classes.”

What Will You Learn?

During the classes, participants will learn how to:

  • Begin and finish seams securely
  • Complete four different stitches (including two different hemming stitches)
  • Attach buttons and affix other closures

Ginger Root has four Hand Sewing 101 classes on the calendar:

Each class is $50; registration is required and can be completed online. (Insider tip: Use discount code HANDSTITCHED at the online checkout to receive five dollars off your first class.) For more information on the sewing classes, call (202) 567- 7668 or visit the website.

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by Borderstan.com September 17, 2012 at 4:00 pm 1 Comment

bag, campaign, trail

Tumi-Tech Kobbe Tri-Fold Garment Bag featuring Tumi bags 2. (Khelan on Polyvore.com)

From Khelan Bhatia. Follow Khelan on Twitter @KhelanB or email him at khelan[AT]borderstan.com.

Editor’s note: This column first ran March 2. As we enter the general election campaign — and all those cheap off-season all travel specials the rest of us are contemplating — we thought it was time to remind readers how to efficiently pack efficiently for travel under less than desirable conditions.

•  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •

For more images on polyvore.com, click on each photo in this story.

Howdy, Borderstanis. I hope you’re having a lovely week. Mine started off splendidly: I grabbed an afternoon cocktail with lovely journalist/media personality and fellow Borderstani Julie Mason (read Borderstan’s profile of her, it’s a must).

Mason is a veteran of the White House Press Pool for two newspapers and now hosts the national political talk show “The Press Pool” on Sirius XM radio.

campaign, trail, blazer

Rag & Bone Dagger Blazer. (Khelan on polyvore.com)

We had a grand time chatting about politics, fashion, that we had both lived in Texas for a several years, etc. Since she’s a veteran of the campaign trail, I shared my most recent experiences (both sartorial and professional) in the early states, as well as my last column.

campaign, trail, packing

Take a pair of  khaki-chinos. (Khelan on polyvore.com)

We commiserated over the fact that, unlike other cities, DC doesn’t have much of a biz casual culture, which can result in some inappropriate fashion choices by campaign staffers and journalists alike. (Jules, I’m totally giving you props for succinctly making a point I’ve attempted to convey through this column for over a year!)

BTW, I have to ask: If DC is known as the Hollywood for ugly people, is New Hampshire our equivalent to Sundance? Think about it.

My chat with Julie led me to think about how, through trial and error, I’ve learned to pack smartly and efficiently for long bouts of travel. Here are a few tips from Julie and yours truly, that have helped us along the way (and probably couldn’t hurt you on your next business trip).

campaign, trail, packing

To add a little pop, add a rep tie. (Khelan on polyvore.com)

Luggage. Buy the right piece of luggage: large enough to carry about a week’s worth of clothes, yet small enough to fit in an overhead bin. Honestly, who has the time and patience to wait at baggage claim these days?

I highly recommend the Tumi-Tech Kobbe Tri-Fold Garment bag. It’s compact, can hold a couple of suits (or blazers/slacks), shirts, ties, jeans, an extra pair of shoes, toiletries and your super-slim Macbook Air with no problem. At just over $200 it’s also a bargain.

campaign, trail, packing

A shawl-collar cardigan sweater is one option. (Khelan on polyvore.com)

Blazer. For your trip, take the all-purpose blazer that goes with … well, everything. The one-button Dagger blazer by Rag & Bone works just as well with a pair of dress slacks as it does with a pair of dark-rinse jeans. Plus, the slim lapels and pewter buttons are very chic.

Pants. Speaking of which, pack one pair of dark jeans that are slightly dressier than the rest of your denim collection. Also, take along a pair khaki-chinos for contrast.

Shirts and Ties. Since we’re trying to make the most of limited space, leave the louder, more casual shirts at home. Instead, go minimalist and take three non-iron extra-slim fit solid button-downs (one in white, one in blue and one in grey). To add some pop to your outfits, feel free to tote around a few rep ties, or even a “little-critter” tie, if you decide to go a wee bit crazy.

Air Franklin’s by Cole Haan are comfortable and affordable. (Khelan on polyvore.com)

Sweaters. Even though it’s been a ridiculously mild winter here in the District, you could be off to some frigid climates. Be sure to stow away one shawl-collar cardigan and one pull-over. I’m partial to a well fitted fair-isle sweater myself.

Shoes. Comfy, yet stylish, shoes are a must. The Air Franklin’s by Cole Haan are affordable (under $200) and won’t kill your feet, thanks to their nifty Nike-air technology.

Skin Care. For the love of God, pack a facial scrub and eye cream! Chances are you’re not going to get the most nutritious meals or sound sleep on your travels. If your experiences are anything like mine, you’ll have about ten minutes to eat and about two hours to sleep. To help battle the effects of campaign funk, I highly recommend the travel size versions of the facial scrub and eye cream from Anthony for Men.

That’s it from me this week! See you next time.

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by Borderstan.com September 10, 2012 at 12:00 pm 1,037 0

From Fox Deatry. Email him at fox[AT]borderstan.com.

"Fashion"

Passion for fashion? (Liz Medina Chiomenti)

Take out your breeches, petticoats and buckled shoes – DC fashion week is A comin’! Yes, from September 17 to the 23rd, the nation’s capital will be girding its loins, Washingtonians will be bursting out their ‘OHs’ and ‘AHs,’ and some tourists gawking around Georgetown will continue to be confused from the real models featured on the shops’ window displays.

While First Ladies are often dressed to the nines and Secretary of States donned avant-garde brooches and wrapped their turkey necks with Hermès scarves, fashion for day-to-day citizens in this District is bleak. Supply, of course, can be the reason as the clothing shipment from New York or Los Angeles may have been lost in the mail or stamped return to sender.

However, there’s more to this. DC has good designers. The problem is that those who move to this city can’t exchange those Brooks Brothers and Ann Taylor suits, ties and pearls for something we call vogue even for a Friday night out. And when they do, it just turns into a hot mess. Here are some friendly fashion rules:

1.Don’t Be A Catalog Queen

Just because it looks pretty and glossy on the Versace catalog, doesn’t mean it’s wearable. Besides, these store catalogs are made to be ostentatious and wearing them in public doesn’t just make you a fashion misfit, but it also labels you a freak. In other words, use catalogs as guidelines instead of copy machines. Use them to know what color palettes and designs are in. And if I see one more person walking on K Street, looking like something I saw on a J Crew catalog, I will roll my eyeballs until they fall into my glasses while heaving a sigh of relief that you have finally progressed out of the Sears Catalog.

2. Don’t Start A Trend

DC is not Los Angeles or New York City where someone can wear a bejeweled potato sack, call it designer and rock it with some Christian Louboutins. This city has a flair for conservatism and its citizens — with the exception of foreign embassy staffers — will not appreciate it if you are seen walking around 14th Street in a sequined boa, a wool Miu Miu peacoat, and hot pink Jimmy Choos.

3. Accessorize

I know your lobbyist or Hill job requires bland suits, spit-shined oxfords, your Hush Puppies you can’t seem to part away from, and the Michelle Bachmann QVC pearl necklace collection. This shouldn’t be the reason that your fashion taste should be dreary and non-existent. A popping scarf, a skinny tie, conversational cufflinks, a fitted shirt, and modest stilettos can turn you from a coy newbie to a taking-charge bitch of the Beltway.

4. Support Local Businesses

No, you didn’t build it! The dilapidated, rusty, cornfield, western and upstate town you came from built your fashion sense. It was influenced by watching one too many episodes of those skanky Kardarshians, by your trips to the local Wal-Mart or by your sibling’s hand-me-downs. Now that you’re independent and living in the District, it is your Constitutional duty to provide stimulus to small businesses by shopping at local boutiques. It doesn’t just give you a sense of what’s in style in your new stomping grounds; it can lead to lasting relationships. In the Borderstan district, check out Passport Boutique.

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by Borderstan.com August 15, 2012 at 8:00 am 1,572 0

From Rachel Nania. Check out her blog, Sear, Simmer & Stir. Follow Nania on Twitter @rnania, email her at rachel[AT]borderstan.com. 

"sewing"

Ginger Root Design on U Street NW. (Luis Gomez Photos)

If the thought of learning to sew has you in stitches, don’t be so hard on yourself – consider starting from the beginning and learning from the experts.

Ginger Root Design – the U Street design shop and boutique – will offer two Hand Sewing 101 classes this month. These classes are perfect for sewing beginners or for more seasoned seamers interested in learning how to finish off projects with a professional touch.

“We have a ton of great customers who come into the shop and think, ‘What a fun thing, to learn how to sew.’ But before you break down and buy a sewing machine, we want people to learn the basics and make sure they actually like sewing,” said Kristen McCoy, co-owner of Ginger Root. “And if we convert those newbies into life-long sewers, we will expand our curriculum and offer more advanced classes.”

What Will You Learn?

During the classes, participants will learn how to:

  • Begin and finish seams securely
  • Complete four different stitches (including two different hemming stitches)
  • Attach buttons and affix other closures

The two classes will be offered on Tuesday, August 21 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm and on Thursday, August 30, from 7 to 9 pm. Each class is $50; registration is required and can be completed online. (Insider tip: Use discount code HANDSTITCHED at the online checkout to receive five dollars off your first class.) For more information on the sewing classes, call (202) 567- 7668 or visit the website.

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by Borderstan.com July 4, 2012 at 11:40 am 1,206 3 Comments

Khelan offers up some summer suit options that work in the DC summer heat.

Above: Thomas Pink Shirt, J.Crew’s Ludlow Summer Suit and Ralph Lauren Tie by khelan on polyvore.com.

From Khelan Bhatia. Follow Khelan on Twitter @KhelanB or email him at khelan[AT]borderstan.com.

Happy 4th of July, Borderstanis! Hope you have some wonderful plans to celebrate our country’s independence. Today, I have some options for suits that work in the DC summer heat (and address the issue of seersucker, once a DC uniform in the summertime).

First, let’s address some do-not-do fashions on the subject of (ill-placed) patriotism on Independence Day. I was in Penn Quarter the other day, and I saw a fashion atrocity that I hope was perpetrated by a tourist and not a resident. This guy was wearing… get this… American flag slacks. As in white stars on a blue background on the right leg and alternating red-and-white stripes on the left leg. Cannot make this sh*t up. It almost made me yearn for a constitutional amendment banning the desecration of Old Glory… or mandating a sense of style. Relax, ACLU’ers, I believe that free speech is a fundamental, inalienable right. However, fashion is most definitely a privilege.

The Loss of Seersucker Thursday

Anyhow, down to business at hand. Not sure if you read Dana Milbank’s Dana Milbank’s Washington Post column last Tuesday, but it was an interesting piece intertwining two of my passions: politics and style. The article’s intent was clearly to lament the loss of a frivolous, yet important, tradition in the halls of Congress: Seersucker Thursday, which was started by former GOP Senator Trent Lott to create a sense of bipartisan camaraderie and, well, fun in an often humorless institution. And, hey, I’m all for tastefully pushing the sartorial envelope in the workplace.

But the column got me thinking about seersucker in general and I came to this conclusion: Very few guys actually look good in the summer fabric. In fact, it looks downright costumey and (dare I say it?) Colonel Sandersesque on most guys. Don’t get me wrong; I fully appreciate that everyone from Thom Browne to Club Monaco has attempted to make the seersucker suit look cool… no pun intended. But it so rarely does. Am I right?

However, that doesn’t change the fact that many of us have to still wear business formal to the workplace even as the thermostat inches closer, and sometimes past, 100 degrees. And, as I’ve said repeatedly, this column isn’t just my little corner to bitch and moan about the heinous crimes against style. I pose solutions to the problems I often bring up (unless you’re wearing American Flag trousers — there’s no fix, outside of shock therapy, I can think of).

The Perfect Summer Suit

J.Crew’s Ludlow fine-striped suit is quite literally the perfect summer suit (well, at least, the best one I’ve ever worn). It’s cotton, so it breathes better than tropical wool, and doesn’t wrinkle quite as easily as linen. Plus, it’s just this side of off-white (sometimes slate, depending on the light), so it doesn’t look too stark, as pure white suits often can (look, this is still the District, not Miami. Let’s not get too crazy). And the stripes are so wonderfully subtle that you can pair it with literally any color or pattern dress shirt.

Here’s an idea: let’s try a red-striped shirt…maybe this one from Thomas Pink. And a blue knit tie from Polo. Red, (sort-of) white, and blue. Oh hey, I just found a solution for Mr. America, too.

That’s it for me this week, patriots. Enjoy your 4th!

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by Borderstan.com April 26, 2012 at 2:00 pm 1,100 0

From Alden Leonard. Contact him at alden[AT]borderstan.com and follow him @aldenleonard on Twitter.

By this point, you’re probably used to the idea of mobile vendors bringing delicious lunch options to within blocks of where you work or live. Korean BBQ, fish tacos, and so on. But beginning this spring, you can add couture to the menu (to wear, not eat).

Violet Boutique, 18th Street NW, Urban Expressions

Not from the Styleliner, but they do sell handbags. Featured items are from Violet Boutique on 18th Street NW. (Borderstan file photo, courtesy of Violet)

Yes, starting May 4, local fashionistas (sorry gents, not for you, yet) can experience the mobile boutique already creating buzz in New York and Miami, the Styleliner. The so-called “treasure chest on wheels” will offer clothing, jewelry, and accessories in a setting owner and creator Joey Wolffer calls an “80s nightclub” vibe.

This is not the first fashion rodeo for Wolffer, who cut her teeth as a designer in New York and the UK, but the Styleliner is the first of its type to cruise the streets of D.C. Wolffer says she was inspired by the lesser-known fashions she encountered in Europe that she wanted to bring to the U.S. in an innovative way.

The Styleliner’s base of operations will be next to the PNC Bank on M Street in Georgetown, where it will operate Thursday to Sunday from 11 am to 7 pm. The fashion truck can also be found outside the W Hotel from May 10 to 12, but will leave the District entirely on June 17, when it heads to the Hamptons for the summer.

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