08 February 2007

A sad day for DC fashion

One of the best parts about living in DC is the constant influx of fascinating people with fascinating jobs. You meet them in hotel bathrooms, on street corners, and through friends of friends at Libertarian magazine happy hours. Some are here indefinitely, some for a fixed period of time, and some, because of the nature of their work, have no choice but to pack up and whisk away to various corners of the earth with little or no notice.

And therein lies the worst part about living in DC.

In the past four months alone, I've lost three of my best DC girlfriends to no-notice job transfers to Colombia, Singapore and Zambia.

To Colombia, M took with her the brand of non-hippie (i.e. non-infuriating) San Francisco style you hardly ever encounter in this protester-prone city. Her unreasonably large collection of $179-a-pair Paige skinny jeans was completely justified, she argued, for their unique ability to flatter her "frustrating" 5'11" 132lb frame. Though a devout suit-wearer during business hours, M came home every night to at least four drawers filled to the brim (and often spilling out) with nothing but soft-as-d├ęcolletage C&C California tees and tanks in bright sherbet shades. In her closet, you were greeted by a shoe rack stocked with Kate Spade professional and special occasion shoes, Delman flats, lightweight, SF-appropriate cap-sleeved pointelle cardigans, slim black pencil trousers, and then, tucked away in the back of the left-hand side, the crown jewel, still-yet-to-be-worn, black jacquard-print Dolce & Gabbana corset dress.

A gift from Mom to daughter to wear in the big city.

Not surprisingly, in the two years M lived in DC, not once did she find an occasion - or a man - that was D&G-worthy. So there it sat, enrobed in plastic, as a testament to this city's lack of fabulousness.

To Singapore, C took with her a talent I never knew existed: the ability to remain fashionable in the face of a strictly-enforced, year-round, must-wear-hose requirement. Her heels may not have high been enough, her wardrobe a little too suit-dominated, and her style influenced to an uncomfortable degree by the baby boomers twice her age with whom she worked. But at the end of the day, C had what really mattered -- she had taste. Real taste. She was the woman who waited until she could afford the best - which in some cases took years - and then bought the David Yurman diamond right-hand ring, the real Jimmy Choo structured clutch, the soft-sided Cole Haan briefcase. It was from her I learned the virtue of patience and quality over quantity. Her absence is duly felt every time I look at my falling-to-pieces Urban Outfitters bell jackets and ratty-heeled BCBGirls pumps.

And then there was E who left me only a month ago for a wild six-month adventure (okay, a fellowship) in Lusaka. Of all the women I've befriended during my time in this city, it was E's mixed inspiration of Choate-London-NYC style I admired and was influenced by the most. With a body like a supermodel, a level of self-assurance so high I'm not even sure how to begin to describe it, and a passion for conservative politics more divisive than Ann Coulter's, E was this city's most rare and piquant force. And though she might have seared some people - a lot of people - the wrong way upon first meeting them, you can be sure she did it stylishly in a DVF wrapdress, a fur-trimmed coat given to her from one of her many admirers "just because," and in higher, more well-taken-care-of heels than anyone else in the room.

And now, today, I stand to lose another of my precious, well-dressed girlfriends to a country far, far away.

To Argentina, C will take with her the tri-state area's best face for rocking a short haircut and a fedora, the most discriminating eye for vintage and the kind of natural talent for bright, curious, infectious flirtation that leaves all the men weak and the women, well, leaves them weak, too. Her departure, temporary as it may be, is a sad day for DC fashion. Especially for its vintage industry. I will do what I can to fill the void she leaves behind, but when that void is capable of out bedazzling me in my sapphire-blue satin mini and strappy gold slingbacks, that's about as futile a task as attempting to de-hillbilly Britney Spears for Fashion Week.


nyc admirer said...

I had no idea there were such knockouts in DC! What am I doing in Manhattan??

bff in chicago said...

you still have me, you big fat ingrate!

yeah, that's right, I said BIG, FAT ingrate.

aww, you know that just comes out of my jealousy for that ass of yours. you never answered me before...how's the training going?

Johanna said...

You call me the "F" word and expect me to just roll over and tell you how my training is going?

Okay, fine, but only this once. And ONLY because you praised my ass.

training is going well. much easier this time around, though the weather is forcing me to stay indoors more than I'd like.

Anonymous said...

you look beautiful in that picture!

Johanna said...

Thank you for the nice words, but the real star of that photo (after my Amanda Uprichard mini) is my girl, C.

Raising my last two Stella Artois longnecks to you!

Safe flight!

Anonymous said...

Don't be sad. Argentina's nice in the summertime. You can visit.