07 January 2008

K Street's dual personality: Bespoke by day, Bebe by night

K Street, between 13th and 20th, is one of my favorite stretches of sidewalk to click on a new iMix, pop a few Ice Breakers Berry Sours and watch some of the most powerful men in my city preen just like the pretty peacocks you see emblazoned on their $135 Thomas Pink ties.

Some like to see the skinny-denim-clad sort the U Street corridor has to offer; some like the retro-fabulous rainbow invasion found wandering the streets of Penn Quarter and Chinatown; still others prefer the popped collars and Nicole Richie lookalikes populating Georgetown.

Those city pockets and their respective crowds are all fine and good in their own distinct ways, but for me, when it comes to on-the-street eye candy, I want the Willy Wonka fantasy factory that is K Street's lobbyist/lawyer row.

I've lived in DC for three and a half years, the last two and a half in my current, Dupont proximate building. I don't go out socially a tremendous amount -maybe once every other weekend- but by no means would I consider myself a stranger to the nightlife in our fair city.

Until Saturday night, that is, when I came face-to-face with a disturbing urban underbelly that quite honestly I would never have guessed existed within DC proper, much less four blocks from my home, three blocks from the White House and smack dab in the middle of my precious, suit-heavy K Street.

For those of you who haven't had the displeasure of experiencing the weekend scene at this street's eponymous lounge, I'd advise you to continue missing out unless the idea of having tight-on-tighter ensembles like this one flush up against your person while asshat men reeking of Mystic tan and low ambition attempt to bed you with gems like, "your friend's tits are amazing" and "you know where I'd like to put that mouth of yours?" sounds like a good way to waste $24 on cover and coat-check charges.


The good news in all of this is that despite my shock and sadness to see unimaginably unflattering and wrong-message-sending skanky clubwear in my favorite part of DC, this does present me with the perfect opportunity to run with reader Sarah Anne's "If you like ______, how about ______, instead?" idea.

I'm not yet sure with what I'll fill in that second blank, but so far, I already know I'll be inserting these into the first one:

- frayed denim mini skirts/shorts
- muffin-top creating skirts/pants
- "Real Housewives of Orange County" tops
- tube tops/dresses
- wrap-up-the-leg strappy stilettos
- acrylic French tips

Look for this inaugural installment later today or, depending on how many silver peacocks are out and about during the 65-degree lunch hour, possibly tomorrow.

p.s. here's that full-length photo I promised (photog credit goes to HRL):

50 comments:

16th streeter said...

K St Lounge? Why??

laura s. said...

great idea! I'd love to see some alternatives to my usual denim short shorts and strappy heels combo.

gross.

Anonymous said...

you didn't wear this dress to that armpit, did you?

Anonymous said...

Brioni = greaseball-wear and bebe = hoe-wear. K Street is the new New Jersey.

Anonymous said...

I can guarantee you that none of the K Streeters go to Lotus, K Street, Lima, Tatttoo on a regular basis. Only for an event or for a joke.

Bridge and tunnel crowd.

N said...

Anon 9:19 is so right. Saturday nights are for amateurs.

Anonymous said...

I was at the Black Cat the other night and although I grumbled inwardly to myself about black blunt-cut bobs, T-shirts with dumb sayings and 1980s sneakers, those things still beat polyester club wear (for ladies) and overly square-toed Italian shoes (for men).

Anonymous said...

Brioni is kind of a label-whore brand. Most of the really stylish men I know avoid this brand like the plague and stick with any of the Jermyn Street shirtmakers.

Johanna said...

I used Brioni in the title, because I needed a menswear label that started with the letter "b" -- see, I don't know ANYTHING about men's clothing!

give me something more suitable to the K St. crowd and I'll gladly change it.

best,
J

Lucy said...

"...disturbing urban underbelly that quite honestly I would never have guessed existed within DC proper."

DC is MADE for cheesy crap like this. Do you know how often I have to listen to my overgrown former frat/sorority co-workers talk about clubs and bottle service? It's so awful. *cries*

virgle kent said...

Yeah Yeah Yeah's

clara said...

I got my very conservative father a Brioni tie for Christmas - I had no idea that line was the favored choice of the Bridge and Tunnel crowd!! The salesmen in Saks should've warned me :-(

Anonymous said...

Jo, your arms are to die for!

msu guy said...

maybe from a girl's pov they're to die for, but from where I'm standing they look a little sickly.

love everything else though, especially that hair!

Anonymous said...

Pretty please grow out your hair!

Anonymous said...

Girl:

this dress's hem is too low for you. Shorten it by about 4-6 inches Also, try a wide black belt with it instead of a "desperate housewife" bow-tie belt

Johanna said...

Anonymous 10:27-

Sorry, not gonna happen, but thanks for the advice!

Anonymous 10:36-

you're the second person to tell me to try a black belt vs. the yellow one with which it came. I think I'll take you both up on that!

I like the hem where it is, actually, but like I said above, thanks for the advice!

best,
J

N said...

4-6 inches? You can't be serious. Maybe if she wanted to fit in with the crowd at K street lounge.

dc stylist said...

do not touch that hemline.

K St. Lounge gives me the hives just thinking about it.

Anonymous said...

how can you dole out advice when you stick your fat calves in a knee length dress and promote is as "stylish"? someone needs to give you a fashion 101 workshop. and the name of a tailor (or a trainer) who can help you out with your dilemma.

jezebel said...

hah hah you and your girlfriend are on Project Beltway today! nice blue nails!

59th & Lex said...

Sigh at Bebe. I used to have 4 Bebe suits I bought 12 years ago in NY and they were beautiful. Fitted. Very Melrose Place. (Oh hush, at the time we were all dressing like that, and no, I didn't make them micro mini's.) But then, I went to Bebe one day, maybe in 1998-ish, and it was ghetto fab. I started to cry and then brought those suits to Salvation Army because just having the labels in my closet was shameful.

Anyway, enough about Bebe. To the anonymous who wants her to shorten the hem 4-6 inches, um, can you check if you've left the glue open where you are? That had to be a joke.

dc girl said...

those Orange County moms have the worst taste. what's so annoying is that those horrible tops look like they came from Contempo Casuals but probably cost $500. can't buy taste I suppose.

elle said...

I take full responsibility for the K St. Lounge part. 3 glasses of champagne and an ulterior motive can affect otherwise sensible decision-making. Pre-lounging dinner at Westend Bistro was *the best*, though!

Jules said...

"real housewives"? I clicked on the second to last post, nothing reall about those puppies

manhattan_darling said...

clearly your calves aren't "fat" as the ignoramus suggested, but the point is still valid. why didn't you have the hem raised at least an inch to show off the thinness of the top of your thighs?

did you know nordstrom has the dress in ivory?

Anonymous said...

the smell of Mystic on a girl is bad enough but on a guy? that's f$#*ing disgusting.

Anonymous said...

I will assure you that the atrocity you witnessed is not confined to the K Street Lounge. I witnessed a very sad and disturbing one-two punch at Corduroy on Saturday night as well. First offender: Ultra-super-micro-puts Abercrombie denim to shame-mini skirt in some kind of poly blend paired with bare legs and a pair of chucky heeled “hooker boots.” Second offender: relatively slim girl with a relatively huge muffin top wearing skinny jeans and a cropped jacket and top.

Can’t a girl go to dinner at a decent place without having trouble getting down her delicious pistachio bread pudding?!

Anonymous said...

to annon 11:45:
You didn't go to dinner at a decent place.

Anonymous said...

I am usually a big fan of your outfit choices... but this dress is just not very flattering on you in terms of cut, color, or shape. It makes your midsection look much larger than it actually is and the color does nothing for your skin tone. One thing is for certain, though - you do not have fat calves (or fat anything)!

bff in chicago said...

"asshat men reeking of Mystic tan and low ambition [who] attempt to bed you with gems like, 'your friend's tits are amazing' and 'you know where I'd like to put that mouth of yours?' "

classic Hannie. Love it.

Magnifique said...

If you think that outfit is bad, you should see K St in the wee hours on weekdays when the actual working girls are out! I see them on my way to early morning personal training appointments. And I hate to burst your bubble, but K St has been total sleaze for as long as I've lived here (going on 10 yrs.) Although more recently the clubgoers outnumber the hookers, as you point out, the fashion is nearly indistinguishable.

Dave said...

In response to anonymous 10:27 AM
J, Pretty please cut your hair shorter!

brown rowergirl said...

It must be the angle that makes this dress unflattering to J's waist and skin color, because I saw her wear it over New Year's and it was extremely flattering in person.

"asshat" never fails to make me laugh out loud.

You're a bama said...

Anon 11:48 --

Snobbery is akin to asshattery.

she said...

you're a bama --

Isn't this blog akin to snobbery?

Johanna said...

she-

is it? it's really not meant to be.

J

Marissa said...

You just saved me from a night of hell. I had K Street Lounge on my short list of places to check out in DC, but that's because I heard it was more Euro-trash than B&T-trash. What can I say? I have a soft spot for overpriced martinis, DJs and certain brands of electronic music. But, yeah, I don't do denim minis or Orange County.

you're a bama said...

She,

In my opinion, no. It's meant to be helpful, not snobby. It might be a bit snarky, sure.

Perhaps it would snobby if J turned up her nose at anything that wasn't designer, but her helpful tips about Zara and Zappos have proven that she can be a woman of the people, too!

dara said...

Jo's views on club venues might be considered snobby but with clothes, I think there is a real sense of trying to help you look your best in every post she writes. snobby would be to break everyone down and move onto the next topic; she breaks people down and then offers them a ton of advice on how to make themselves look better. sometimes that helpfulness is so subtle you almost miss it, but I have yet to read one of her posts that is bashing for bashing's sake.

love this gold dress on you and can't wait to see what it looks like with a black belt.

59th & Lex said...

I find nothing snobby about this blog. I also find nothing fat about Jo's calves.

But I do find something lacking in the lives of the obnoxious commenters.

Anonymous said...

What's with the dark, dark crease right in the middle of your legs on the dress? It makes it look like a pair of linen shorts or something.

enough already said...

I don't get the point of the comments here about Jo's appearance. Suggesting a different belt or a different hemline is one thing (and it seems like Jo welcomes that kind of feedback), but offering criticism about her appearance is just wrong. And that includes comments about her arms being too skinny or whatnot. I find it to be rude and obnoxious.

Anonymous said...

enough already,

Johanna has started a dialogue about style and fashion--she critiques everyone from lawyers on K Street to politicians to Hollywood stars. She has made her fair share of pointed remarks about not just clothing, but bodies--Liv Tyler and Katherine Heigl, for example. She is the one who set this precedent: frank discussion about bodies, even hers, is fair game.

Johanna said...

anonymous 3:16-

you're right, weird.

the dress snaps all the way up, so I think the crease you're seeing -we're *all* seeing- is the track of snaps falling into my body. The fabric is so ultra lightweight, that even the tiny extra mass of the snaps causes it to "weigh" into my body a bit.

anonymous 3:59-

you're right. and frankly, the body assaults don't really bother me so much anymore. the "stripper shoe" accusation, however...that kills me!

best,
J

Candid Cool said...

the housewives thing cracked me up, the wife pic made me jump back in horror a bit.

fab dress & hair of course

okemos pal said...

I have to agree, your waist looks bigger than usual in this dress. otherwise, it's really pretty. and your arms are god damn perfect.

Anonymous said...

I think the hipster hair style just doesn't go with the more conservative dress so maybe the black belt will give an edge. love the shoes.

sarahsouth said...

is all fabulous, down to the perfume. totally works with the look

Anonymous said...

cut the hair. seriously, it's so unflattering.