15 February 2008

How I wish I could've pressed 'pause'

I intentionally left work a little earlier than usual last night.

My 5pm exit didn't have anything to do with needed prep time for a 'special someone' dinner reservation or at-home hydrating before a 'single and so okay with it' happy hour.

No, I left when I did yesterday because of you, or rather because of what many of you have been saying about my lack of DC-centric posting lately. After the dozenth or so "you've lost your direction" public profession, I thought I'd give myself some fresh air, say "hello" to Josh manning the door at Camelot and perhaps pick up a confidence-boosting smile or two.

Before I even took my sweet Valentine time, strolling on L for a couple of blocks, then shifting over to K and finally back to M, I had already identified the singular and specific reason for the paucity of this blog's bread and butter bitchiness in recent weeks.

Put simply, DC women have been looking much better lately.

True, I'm taking fewer lunch breaks and keeping my head in a more to-the-body tuck to avoid another season of "naturally" bronzed cheeks, but from what I've seen -or in some respects, not seen- during the 20 minutes or so of daylight I take in each morning, there aren't nearly as many major offenses walking the ConnAve corridor as there were last year at this time.

No new ones, anyway.

Honestly, how many times and in how many different ways can a girl berate her city's female professional population for walking the weekday streets in the same strappy evenings sandals, boxy poly-blend button-downs and denim skirts?

I'm not implying I've reached the end of my creative rope, not in the least, but that of which I am patently sure is how I work best, and that has everything to do with inspiration -- feeling it, being driven by it and producing persuasive pieces as a result of it.

For the first time during my young tenure as a blogger, I haven't felt very inspired by what I've seen on these sidewalks. There's been nothing particularly good nor bad, just a whole lot of hovering around the status-quo, which in itself could be fodder for an interesting post, I suppose, but call me nutty, I found my insights from what I saw at The Coterie and the prettiness of New York Fashion Week welcome breaks from the doldrums of rehashed 'DC dont's' of posts past.

So yesterday, a bit disheartened, I set out for a walk with no destination, no timetable and no real purpose other than to soak in the view and like I said, to offer Josh his daily greeting.

As I stepped from carpet to concrete and realized it was much milder than I anticipated (thank goodness, as I'd forgotten my gloves), I saw almost immediately a highly abnormal level of fabulousness going on in front of me.

"What in the world...," I thought to myself as not one, not two, not three but four consecutive women in slim, leg-baring black skirts (or dresses?), tasteful high heels and perfectly tailored showpiece coats -one each in red, ivory, black and camel- whizzed by me in a frenzied click-click-click sprint.

One of them, I do believe, was even rocking the sheer black hose with sexy back-seaming.

Before I could process what it was I'd just witnessed, another chic treat in a navy military-style wool trench, side-tipped Dita-style hat and these precious Marc by Marc Jacobs peep-toe pumps nearly sideswiped me by the CVS at ConnAve and L. And no sooner had she passed did two others emerge -one with flawless Hillary eyes and the other wearing that metallic Alice+Olivia party topper I so coveted but could never find in my size- by the flower stand outside Farragut North's K Street exit.

As this last one rushed past me, I happened to catch a few seconds of her phone conversation, and suddenly, it all made sense.

"I can't talk now, Janelle, I've got to get his present, wrap it, pick through all the shit cards that are left at Border's, find something that isn't totally lame, write something that isn't totally lame, and get to Citronelle by 6:15..."

It may not mean a style revolution is nigh, it may not mean that these women who looked so tremendous in their dressy garb won't fall victim to an unfortunate polo-and-khakis Casual Friday uniform today, but I gotta tell you, there was a reason why my 15 minute walk home clocked in at triple that time last night.

Because of you, gussied up DC women, my wanting inspiration got the adrenaline injection it so sorely needed.

I just hope the feeling you all had of knowing you were the prettiest girl in the room and realizing that the confidence you summoned through that great dress, that fancy hat, that sexy kohled eye or that special pair of shoes doesn't have to be a once annual experience.

And on that note, have a great long weekend.


p.s. the red suede Marchesa dress with rose-bunch shoulders pictured at top is what I would have worn last night had I been able to locate that direct easy-button transport into Georgina Chapman's life...damn, where did I put that?


Anonymous said...

speaking of hosiery, what places do you recommend to shop at for some great sexy ones?? :)

gemma g. said...

I noticed the influx of well dressed women last night too! Wish DC looked like that everyday!

Anonymous said...

OK, I’m a little disappointed in you. Seriously you’re going to listen to a bunch of anons tell you you’ve lost your direction? I thought you were the kind of girl to remind those fuckers who’s driving this shit. Christopher Reeves wouldn’t stand for it why should you?

Don’t conform, transform

virgle Kent

Johanna said...


while I *am* that "kind of girl," you've got to understand that in the fashion blog business, there are 10 blogs in every direction waiting to steal your readers once they get the least bit bored with you. In this genre, you've got to have your niche and you've got to deliver it better than anyone else. When you stray too far too consistently from that which you're best at, you lose readers and you probably won't get them back.

Those who reminded me to get back on track weren't spiteful or catty (not in the least), they were simply nudging me to recall what it was I came here to do - namely, to be a *DC* fashion critic.

I don't think I'm conforming, and I'm certainly not abandoning new ideas, but I am saying we do owe it to our readers -and to ourselves, in a way- not to lose too much of what distinguishes our particular blogs from all the others.

I get hate mail for adoring Kim K. and yesterday, even more hell for the Marisa Miller double-shot, but rest assured, I'll continue to post hot women with hot bodies, as I truly believe style and a fabulous figure need one another to reach that next level of...whatever it is.

So yeah, that's my piece. Now back to this nummy cappuccino!


Anonymous said...

I think it's refreshing to see a writer not completely consumed with herself in this way. I know J is in many other ways (!) but here in this post and also in her comment, she demonstrates how much her readers mean to her.

I'm for one pretty flattered by that.

Anonymous said...

uh nice picture loser

Anonymous said...

Even though more people are catching on to trends, etc... maybe a good topic here and there would serve to critique how the trends are not being executed correctly? I know you know what I mean... I think it would be helpful to us all.


Anonymous said...

That red dress is hideous.

charlie said...

I don't know if it's your influence or what, but women are dressing a bit more professionally now than they were a year ago. I've really noticed a change on my commutes on the orange line each morning. I see less square pumps and more tailored coats. Even the makeup looks more polished.

whatever it is, I hope it keeps moving in that direction.

dc lawyer said...

anon 11:38, you're entitled to your opinion, but why not explain why you think a dress J clearly likes is worthy of "hideous."

I think it's darling. Not what I'd wear on my dream V-day date, but I can appreciate what the designers were going for.

Anonymous said...

I love Marchesa but this is not their best dress. Not "hideous" but also not my favorite.

bff in chicago said...

love the new pic, loser ;-)

that red dress would look so hot with your stripper platforms and the Holly haircut. Find a way!

Anonymous said...

I've been somewhat puzzled by your fashion choices as of late. You used to focus on figure-flattering choices, and now it seems like you're focusing on particular design qualities in the clothing, like a neckline or a sleeve, that are visually interesting but don't do much in the way of flattering one's body. Like this Marchesa dress for example, or the sugar-daddy Zac Posen blouse you just posted.

The reason I bring this up is that we've been seeing a lot of clothing that's interesting in the abstract, but leaves something to be desired when we see it on a model or on you. I know that sounds harsh, and I'm sorry, but I'm just wondering why and when this change took place.

Johanna said...

anonymous 12:32-

I take your point, I do, but go back as far as 12/22, and you'll see I've ALWAYS been obsessed with necklines, sleeves and detailing. I'm not sure why you think figure flattering options and any of these are mutually exclusive -- the Zac Posen blouse and this Marchesa dress don't, in my opinion, leave anything to be desired. I think they look fantastic!

As for my choices of clothing looking less than stellar in recent days, unless you give me a specific example, I don't know how to respond.


Anonymous said...

maybe 12:32 hasn't been reading for very long, because one of the defining characteristics of Jo's style has always been attention to details in the sleeve and neckline choices. I may not like the Marchesa dress but it certainly doesn't look unflattering on the model.

tracy said...

the red dress is very whimsical! I love it!

joceyln said...

some people don't like the direction you've been taking lately but I love it. the high fashion choices (and those from the event in NYC) have been unique and not too far outside of your earlier tastes. I see more of a growth here than a departure.

elle said...

I think lately you have been offering a few more posts about *fashion* and a few less about *style counsel* perhaps. Which I like and want to continue.

Anonymous said...

I think perhaps one of the reasons DC women have looked better as of late is that there are more stylish choices that are work appropriate. With pencil skirts, good tailoring, blazers, high-waisted pants, etc all in fashion at the moment there are more things to choose from that aren't just from fuddy-duddy stores. It's no longer a choice between crinkle skirt or Talbots, you can get nice work appropriate clothes anywhere.

intern in the city said...

I agree with Elle completely. Love the fashiony stuff! And I also agree with anon 2pm that much of what's 'in' right now (structure, texturing, etc) is more work appropriate and that may have had an influence on DC women. I don't see much of an improvement myself but I'll take your word for it :)

Teek said...

The trend to more structured, formal, matching clothing is definitely working its way into average women's wardrobes just through greater availability, just as anon 2pm said.

Everything from ties for men, to matching suit pieces, to the pencil skirt, to high waisted bottoms, to colored coats, to gloves and hats have come back in the last year or so. And it makes sense that it's only now really making any impact on the less than fashion conscious.

Part of it's also probably winter. It's easier to hide your natural Bebe tenancies when it's freezing cold and all the stores are selling black black gunmetal black black wine cream black.

denver fan said...

For those of us who've been reading you for over a year, I don't think we need any more of the basic Fashion 101 stuff. We've learned where we needed to learn and now we can jump up a level to appreciate fashion. I don't see why that has to run contrary to dressing appropriately for your figure. The two go together quite nicely.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe so many people are ripping on the Marchesa dress! I love it.

And I also think the new photo is quite artsy chic.

missed the mayjah Fri though...


Anonymous said...

I have no clue why people are hating on you so much. If you don't like a blog, THEN STOP READING IT. It really shows a lack of maturity.

Continue writing your blog just the way you have been. If I like a post I read it, if I don't I skim through. I think it's brave of you to put up your picture and name.