But it was an offhand remark the president-in-waiting made after his Streep-bashing that caught our eye: Trump played hype man for his own inauguration, boasting that the turnout would be record-setting. “There will be plenty of movie and entertainment stars,” Trump told the Times. “All the dress shops are sold out in Washington. It’s hard to find a great dress for this inauguration.”
Hang on — is Trump actually saying that Washington’s racks are bare of formal gowns? That there are scant “great” frocks left? Putting aside the old-timey reference to “dress shops” (ladies wear all manner of clothing these days, including pants), we wondered if it was possible that the city’s shops actually had been cleared out of ball-worthy wear.
Definitely not, said Martha Slagle, vice president and general manager of the Neiman Marcus in Friendship Heights. If a ball attendee were to walk in today, “you have more than a thousand evening gowns to choose from,” she said, noting that the store stocks up every four years in anticipation of inauguration demand.
Classic black? Got ’em. Colorful garments? Yep, those, too — plus furs and wraps and evening coats for the notoriously chilly January nights, she said.
Slagle actually laughed when we mentioned Trump’s claim about the status of Washington’s dress options. “I’m stuffed with beautiful gowns,” she said.
Even the city’s smaller boutiques still have plenty of stock. “We always have dresses,” said Krista Johnson, the owner of Georgetown designer-consignment shop Ella Rue. “Unless a thousand people came in today, we’d still have choices.”
Johnson said her racks include everything from on-trend formal rompers to runway pieces, from labels like Oscar de la Renta, Alexis and Moschino.
Lena Farouki, the owner and buyer at Georgetown boutique Curio Concept, similarly said she stands ready to dress inauguration attendees with an array of cocktail and formal wear. And she found it difficult to imagine all of Washington’s shops ever selling out. “It would be really difficult to achieve,” she said. “We’re a bigger city than people think.”
It’s hard to imagine how Trump came to his conclusion, and a transition team spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But for all of the president-elect’s promises about economic stimulus, it doesn’t seem that he’s making Washington dress-shopping great again.