Style + Ask The Edit

Ask Belle: Tourist Style

Hi Belle,
I have a job interview in D.C. in early April.  Thanks to your website, I have a killer interviewing outfit already picked out.  However, my question lies in tourist fashion.

I’m from rural Kentucky, which would probably be your fashion nightmare (Abercrombie, Vera Bradley, and Crocs galore).  I’ve never been to Washington, and I would like to look less like a tourist from Kentucky (trust me, my accent more than screams my home state) and more…sophisticated.  As of right now, my plans are New Balances and American Eagle.


New Balances? Let me take this opportunity to say that New Balance is strictly forbidden.  Why?  Because they’re the sneaker of choice for terrorists everywhere.  Just remember, you’re either with us or against us.

That being said, there are only three things to have you looking like a casually dressed Washingtonian and not a tourist from the sticks.  And they are…

 A Stylish, Yet Comfortable Shoe

Geox Donna Lola Flat (Nordstrom, $150)

These flats are snakeskin print so that makes them versatile.  You can pair this shoe with any color in your wardrobe and it will work.  

They have a rubber sole, that makes them comfortable.  People don’t listen when I say this, but a rubber sole absorbs A LOT of shock and takes the burden off of your feet.  Just because a shoe has a rubber sole doesn’t mean it’s not stylish.

As for the Geox brand, they have little air holes in the sole so your feet can breathe.  This keeps your feet cool in the hot temps, because few things are as nasty as sweaty feet.

Sassy Sunglasses

Marc Jacobs Aviators (Nordstrom, $110)

Some women will tell you that the most fashionable sunglasses on the market are black or tortoise shell oversized sunglasses ala Jackie Kennedy.  But for my money, the sexiest sunnies you can buy are classic aviators.  I love how they bridge the gap between pretty and tough, sporty and feminine.  

Jersey Dresses

C&C California Short Sleeve Mini-Dress (ShopBop, $88)

If you want to “fit in” in D.C., skip the shorts, the skinny denim, the chino skirt and the capris and put on a dress.  A jersey dress, in the t-shirt shape above or another, looks relaxed and casual but also pretty.  It’s the kind of dress that people compliment and you say,”What? This old thing? I just threw this on.”  

Try a vibrant color or a nautical stripe for a little summertime flare.  If you don’t like the relaxed feel of jersey, try a cotton shirt dress like the Anthro dress from yesterday.  But believe me when I say: Dresses will set you apart from the tourists and capris will get you a fashion citation.

If you want people to think you are a Washingtonian, it’s all about wardrobe and attitude.  You’ll know if you’ve succeeded if tourists start asking you for directions.  And one last thing, I wasn’t kidding about the capris.  I live in the National Mall area and I will hunt you down and ticket you for crimes against fashion.  If you require reference material on this topic, please read my scholarly works including “Death to the Capri Pant.”


    leave a comment

  1. Leah S says:

    Hilarious observation on the NB’s

    March 23, 2010/Reply
  2. cia says:

    Spot-on advice.

    March 23, 2010/Reply
  3. daniela says:

    i love this outfit, but do you have any suggestions for jersey dresses with a defined waist? the problem is that t-shirt jersey dresses make me look like i’m wearing a potato sack and empire waist dresses make me look pregnant.

    March 23, 2010/Reply
  4. Allison says:

    I have the same problem, look for a shirt dress or a wrap dress. You can also try sizing up in the T dress Belle suggested and wearing it with a brown belt around the waist to fight paper bag syndrome. (I say size up because belting will pull it in and make it shorter, don’t want to get dangerously short!)

    March 23, 2010/Reply
  5. Allison says:

    Double post, sorry….

    The above dress I linked from Anthro would be great in navy wth red flats. (Or those great red wedges Belle found)

    March 23, 2010/Reply
  6. Ms. B says:

    Solid advice. it is nice when they ask for directions. I call the New Balance sneaker in blazing white is indeed a dead giveaway. Although when out walking at night for exercise, I admit…they are great.

    March 23, 2010/Reply
  7. Belle says:

    Daniela, I usually wear a belt. Or sometimes you can find cotton/jersey dresses that have a banded waist. This makes life simpler.

    March 24, 2010/Reply
  8. DCG924 says:

    Ann Taylor Loft has some great jersey dresses right now. Some of my faves:

    March 24, 2010/Reply