When you’re getting ready for work, there’s a fine line between going underdressed (flip flops, old jeans) and overly pressed (the stiff suits of any male character on “House of Cards”). “It’s really about mixing and matching, maybe trying a conservative skirt with a flowy blouse,” says Arlington personal shopper Wendy Pilch (spendalla.com). And, even in a straight-laced environment, Pilch says, “you can change things up with accessories, whether that’s cordovan shoes for guys or a great necklace for women.” To prep for warmer times, we outfitted four local people with interesting jobs in fresh spring styles. And there’s not a pinstripe in sight.
Her job: Attorney and jazz singer
Her style: By day, Jorge tackles immigration issues as a solo practitioner. By night, the California native croons jazz standards at nightclubs around D.C. Like her interests, her style is eclectic. “I’m the funky attorney,” Jorge says. “If there’s a way for me to wear a dress with boots or wedges, I’m doing it.”
She’s wearing: A black and white dress by Rachel Roy ($398, Betsy Fisher), Tory Burch wedges ($325, Neiman Marcus), Matt & Nat vegan “leather” handbag ($150), Angela Caputi statement necklace ($660) and earrings ($125, all available at Upstairs on 7th).
Her job: Director, The Glover Park Group
Her style: Greenspan’s day at the strategic communications firm might involve writing a press release, pitching reporters or brainstorming brand strategies for her clients, which range from nonprofits to Fortune 500 companies. Her work attire reflects the unpredictability of her duties. “There’s really no typical day for me,” Greenspan says. “I prefer being in jeans, but when it comes to meeting with a client, I try to look more formal. I believe dressing up makes you feel more prepared and on top of your game.”
She’s wearing: White silk georgette blouse by Vince ($295, Neiman Marcus), Magaschoni dress pants with zippered ankles ($288, Betsy Fisher, 1224 Connecticut Ave. NW; 202-785-1975), red chambray tie by Forage ($95, Proper Topper), embroidered pin by Coral and Tusk ($68, Proper Topper), suede De Robert loafers ($285, Betsy Fisher), leather satchel by Tusk ($228, Proper Topper) and Warby Parker “Chandler” glasses ($95, warbyparker.com).
His job: Librarian of the Corcoran Gallery of Art and Corcoran College of Art + Design
His style: In his creative-yet-academic office, Ascencio both manages the Corcoran’s publications and helps students research projects. On workdays, he leans toward slim slacks, classic bow ties and lots of color (he’s from Los Angeles, after all). “I like to add something edgy, though,” he says. “It might be a leather wristband, cool shades or awesome sneakers.”
He’s wearing: Billy Reid linen-cotton jacket and monk-strap shoes ($595 and $395, Billy Reid, 3211 M St. NW; 202-499-6765), Massimo Dutti checked shirt, blue pants and leather belt ($70, $90 and $55, Massimo Dutti, 1220 Wisconsin Ave. NW; 202-944-8780) and a Tokyobay watch ($138, Proper Topper).
Her job: Owner, One Mango Tree (a fair-trade clothing company selling Ugandan-made goods, onemangotree.com), and a senior advisor in the Smithsonian’s Office of International Relations
Her style: Butvin (shown in her home office with her dog, Hank), frequently travels to Africa to oversee her clothing line, and this year, to help stock the Smithsonian Folklife Festival’s marketplace. “I love loose, flowy blouses paired with skinny pants or tucked into a pencil skirt,” Butvin says. And this ethical fashionista usually sports a funky accessory or two picked up while globe-trotting. “It’s often a big cuff or an artisan-made necklace,” she says.
She’s wearing: Tory Burch “Nicole” skirt and DV by Dolce Vita booties ($295 and $135, Bloomingdale’s, 5300 Western Ave., Chevy Chase, Md.; 240-744-3700); African bone bracelets and necklace ($18-$20 and $53, Amani ya Juu, 3166 Mt. Pleasant St. NW; 202-536-5303) and Yoana Baraschi blouse ($218, Proper Topper).