In the world of fashion, DC doesn’t really make the map. Yet, I’m actually surprised at how many uniquely stylish people I meet in the city. Of course, you encounter plenty of suit-with-tennis-shoes-wearing men and women. You have your pretentious hipsters in skinny jeans, ironic tees, and funny facial hair. And you often find yourself in the midst of that broad group of people in blue jeans, ten year old sneakers, or sloppy, ill-fitting pants and shirts. BUT, hidden amongst this mass of forgettables, you can sometimes catch a glimpse of the bright red lips of a girl with a ’40s reminiscent blouse, bold metallic accessories, a geometrically cut bob, and shoes that AREN’T Uggs. As she walks by, you try not to stare at this remarkable apparition of style & identity.
My goal with this post is not to judge the stylistically inept or berate those who don’t have the time/energy/interest in their outward presentation. My dad has been wearing the same cut of jeans since he was in his 20′s and my mom exclusively wears camping gear for all activities and events. They’re not really what you’d call fashionable. Definitely not trendy. However, they truly embrace their identity and through their clothing give you an idea about their values, their interests, and personalities. Whereas I feel that many people I see on the metro, walking down K St., or sitting at a cafe make themselves look bland and uninteresting by their choice of well-worn and graying garments or even their polished commercial outfits that look like they’re straight out of a Macy’s catalogue.
I truly believe there is a special story behind everyone and I like it when I find myself intrigued by someone because of how they wear their clothes and carry their style. Otessa recently showed me the croquis she used for styling the wardrobe for the OJBG girls. The thought and care she put into creating these outfits revealed to me how important clothing can help be to conveying character and providing insight to personal history. We recently tweeted to Donnis Collins that we loved the crazy outfits her character Libby wore on the show. She was basically a punky, new-aged hippie and her personality was fierce and fun. And if you saw her walking down the street in her neon-green tutu and quirky shades, you’d know she was a far out party-girl.
Discovering your style and playing around with new looks is definitely a process and something that requires experimentation. I know I didn’t really know myself until recently, and even then, I’m still learning and guessing at who I am. A fun way I’ve found to do so is through vintage/consignment stores and boutiques featuring local designers. You’re bound to something unique that fits who you are, or who you want to me. And it’s oddly (….or weirdly) cool to find clothes that carried another person’s story and adventures before.
DC is actually a GREAT place to find these local/vintage boutiques and I wanted to highlight a few of them here:
TREASURY VINTAGE is a concept boutique with vintage clothing and curios that melds “an appreciation for the historical with the quest for modern beauty.” Their looks are unconventional but cool and classy. Everything here has a story and will give character to your outfits. Visit their blog for fun inspiration posts, like style tips inspired by Jackie Kennedy’s inaugural outfit and by the ’90s show “Clueless” and movie “The Craft.” They’re up for Washington City Paper’s best vintage store in DC– you can vote here.
MEEPS, which is owned by Treasury Vintage and located in Adams Morgan, offers “a respite from mass-produced, cookie cutter clothing.” It has casual vintage from the 1960s onward, contemporary designers, and an extensive costume selection. They’re quirky, unusual, and affordable AND actually have a great men’s section, too. Some of my favorite things from here have actually been old-man sweaters and printed button-ups from their men’s section! Don’t forget to look at their bags, jewelry, and local designs.
And FYI, Treasury and Meeps will both be bringing 90s clad mannequins and special coupons for our FREE premiere party on February 16 at Artisphere. We’ll also be selling OJBG ’90s grunge wardrobe pieces in our pop up shop at the gallery so be sure to stop by and take a look! Don’t forget to check out our Etsy shop on facebook!
GINGER ROOT DESIGN is one of the coolest boutiques selling locally designed or repurposed clothing. What is so cool about this place is that they also provide tailoring services so you know that whatever you’re getting is going to fit you perfectly. You really get a sense that they care about their products and the people who will be wearing them. Check out their series “About a Dress” to see how they transform discarded clothes into classy custom looks. Also, take a look at their unusual ties and amazing jewelry. I love my paper-inspired metallic rings from here and Otessa still remembers falling in love with their necklaces, all locally designed.
VIA GYPSET is a relatively new addition to the DC fashion community, but it has quickly become one of Otessa’s favorites. It’s a vintage and consignment retail showroom that features designs influenced by street styles around the world, with a bohemian and lux aesthetic. It has clothes, shoes, and accessories for men, women, and small children and home decor items. The fact that the store caters to that organic, street style element in fashion is refreshing and different. But be warned– you can’t walk out of this store empty-handed! There are just so many items you’ll find that you feel you have to have.
Do you have any favorite stores of your own? We’d love to hear about them! Leave us a comment below or shoot us a tweet @OJBishopsGarden.