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December 2015

Culture

Christopher Kane – Miracle on 7th Street – 12.16.2015

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ART

Skirt by Christopher Kane

Christopher Kane is a Scottish fashion designer based in London.  His brand is part of Kering, the French luxury goods holding company.  Also part of Kering are designers like Alexander McQueen and Gucci.  His namesake label was established in 2006 with his sister, a textile specialist.  His designs are bold, intricate, stylish and fun.  Every season I am more amazed by the gems that Christopher Kane produces.

Earrings by Vintage Lately (local vintage collection)

Faux Fur Coat by H&M

Black Camisole by A.L.C.

Other metallic skirts I like:

POLITICS

As I mentioned in this previous post, I was able to score this Christopher Kane metallic skirt on Black Friday.  I love how sparkly it is and I love the pleats, very on trend for fall/winter 2015.  We have a couple more weeks to be festive in our outfit choices, the holidays are a limited window of time where sparkles are considered a neutral color.  I suggest embracing this period of time by integrating festive attire like this skirt into your own daily style.

ETIQUETTE

This skirt is appropriate to wear to work with a blazer during the next couple of weeks, for holiday parties, NYE and of course to Miracle on Seventh Street.

MIRACLE ON SEVENTH STREET

DC drink expert Derek Brown and his team, including bar manager and Christmas lover Adriana Salame-Aspiazu (featured in photo above with me wearing dope, blinged out “Ho-Ho-Ho” chains), opened Miracle on Seventh Street, the brother concept to NYC’s Miracle on Ninth Street.  This pop-up is in partnership with Cocktail Kingdom and NYC barman Nico de Soto.  Miracle on Seventh Street, opened on December 1st and will run through December 24th. Decked with Christmas decor, Brown and his team have swapped the usual Mockingbird Hill bar menu for a completely revamped Christmas-themed drink list and Christmas and Hannukah decor.

MY TIPS FOR THE ULTIMATE ENJOYMENT OF THE MIRACLE ON 7th STREET EXPERIENCE

-Arrive early.  The two lucky individuals I featured in my last photo were the first in line for Miracle on Seventh Street last Friday night.  The gentleman told me that he arrived at 4:15 PM, only 45 minutes prior to opening.  That isn’t really much of a wait to be the first into the bar.  I think the later you arrive, the longer you wait for this amped up holiday experience.  I recommend bringing coffee, friends and/or having a fully charged phone to keep you company in line.  Also, it may actually be winter-ish weather soon, so wear warm outwear.  However, the space is small in the bar so you don’t want to have a lot of extra stuff to carry or store.

-Consider dressing festive, I think it makes the experience that much more fun.  Everyone who works there is dressed festive and you can be too.  It’s a very welcoming and friendly environment.

-Be prepared to enjoy holiday cheer.

-Start with “nog shots” and treat them as a sipper.  They are delicious.

– Next enjoy a nice, light sparkling drink “Gretchen, Stop trying to make Fetch Happen.”  Key ingredients are sherry, cranberry, SPARKLING WINE, rosemary and a few others.   Obviously this one is for all of my girls who wear pink on Wednesdays.

-Order another one of the 11 festive cocktails on the menu.

-Order another one of the 11 festive cocktails on the menu. I meant to write this tip twice.

-Maybe it’s time for a snack, they have a really good toasted turkey, cranberry sandwich on the food menu.

-Be nice to other people inside the bar (and while waiting in line).  This isn’t a place for an attitude.  Someone tried to get territorial over my bar stool as I was giving it to another woman who had been waiting a while to sit.  It was gross.  Don’t do it.  Reel in your angst, 2016 is almost here and you should already be letting go of and leaving the lows of 2015 in the past.  Also, this is DC.  You know you probably have like 40 mutual friends in common with that “stranger” on FB.

-Finish with a “Francisco, That’s Fun to Say.”  Mezcal, chocolate “milk” (coconut, bananas, spice), green chartreuse marshmallows.  This drink will make you smile; “smiling’s my favorite.”

-You can take home the festive glasses that all have Santa, Rudolph, Frosty and others from the gang etched on them. This can be for your own further merriment or to give as gifts.  $10 to pay for a glass seems like nothing after you have enjoyed a few of the festive cocktails on the menu.

-Tip well.  The staff is awesome and as much as you might think they are naturally excited to be jolly 100% of their shift for your own entertainment, they are doing it to make your personal experience  amazing.  I have to say I was most impressed by the staff at this pop-up.  They were gracious, kind and fun.  Thank you!

-December 24th, Christmas Eve, is the last night to enjoy the festivities!

Thank you to Mockingbird Hill and MoKi Media for allowing Politiquette to photograph at and blog about this very, merry location!

Fashion

Sareh Nouri – Hitched – 12.15.2015

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Disclaimer: While I’m not engaged or getting married right now (as far as I know),  I am featuring a local designer who makes beautiful wedding gowns and modeling her dress to show readers how amazing  her designs look when they are worn.

Over the weekend, Hitched Salon in Georgetown hosted a trunk show for Sareh Nouri, one of the most talented couture wedding dress designers to emerge in just a few short years.  I was lucky enough to meet this lovely designer thanks to a thoughtful mutual friend of ours and to learn more about this DC native who now has wedding dresses that are sold in bridal and luxury stores worldwide.

I should start by saying it had never crossed my mind to feature wedding dresses on my blog, but because Sareh and Hitched have a local angle, it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.  Also, Sareh’s couture gowns will soon be worn for formal events outside of weddings. To this end, keep your eyes peeled during the upcoming awards season.  I have heard that Sareh’s dresses, including the one I am modeling (named “Artemis”) in these photos, may show up in beautiful colors like cadet blue or merlot.   Additionally, for DC women, it’s never too soon to think about what you will be wearing to the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner in April of next year. Sareh’s designs could be the perfect option.

After moving to the U.S. from Tehran at the age of 10, Sareh Nouri grew up in Northern Virginia and attended George Mason University, earning a degree in graphic design.  For her own wedding, in 2009, she could not find “the” dress, so she decided to design her own.  The experience stayed with her and Sareh began working at a bridal boutique in New Jersey.  Working with dresses from bridal couture greats Reem Acra, Carolina Herrera and Vera Wang, she was again inspired to design a wedding gown — this time a whole collection of her own.  Sareh explored this idea by making six intricately beaded belts, which sold out quickly in the boutique she was working in.  The instant sales of these belts made her realize that there were customers ready to purchase her designs, and so she moved on the wedding dresses.

In 2011, Sareh Nouri dresses were in just two boutiques. By 2013, her gowns could be found in forty stores.  Her success has only continued.  What I love about Sareh is that all of her gowns are made in the U.S.  Her fabrics are only the highest of quality; sourced from world renowned design houses (lace from France, beads from India, silk from Italy), but every dress is made here in America.  The advantage to the location of Sareh’s manufacturing headquarters is that she can work closely with her brides for customization and tailor gowns exactly to their liking.

As you can tell, Sareh’s designs are exquisite.  Wearing her gown had me feeling like I was on a red carpet for the Academy Awards.  I know if I ever have an occasion to wear Sareh’s designs, I will certainly be making that happen.  I also know that many engagements take place over the holidays – remember Sareh, Hitched, and this post when you decide to look for a dress!

Photo Information:  Photos taken at Hitched Salon in Georgetown.

Hitched is co-owned by Katelyn Strasdaukas and Katie Watson.  These ladies are featured in the photo above with Sareh Nouri and were both at the salon when I was there.  They were so lovely to let me take photos and host me and my friend.  Katelyn and Katie grew up together and are best friends.  I love this fact about them.  The entire team at the salon is warm and friendly, I can see why a bride would want to make an appointment for dress fittings at Hitched, it was a great experience even as a non-bride.  Katelyn recently got engaged, but she told me she has not picked her wedding dress yet, I can’t wait to learn what she chooses!  

*A special thank you to my friend Sarah Mamula for your thoughtfulness and help to make this blog post happen.

 
Fashion

Current Elliott – Malmaison – 12.11.2015

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ART

Jeans by Current Elliott

“Since its launch in July of 2008, CURRENT/ELLIOTT continues to evolve denim’s place within the fashion realm. Created out of love for vintage denim and its americana roots, the collection pays tribute to denim’s history as well as its timelessness. From the range of washes to iconic fits and silhouettes, each style is an homage to a pillar moment in denim’s american timeline.”

Jacket by Iro; Earrings by Lizzie Fortunato; Belt by Isabel Marant (similar here and here); Shoes by Kate Spade

The same Current Elliott jeans and other jeans I like:

 

POLITICS

A few years ago coated denim hit the scene in a big way for winter.  I immediately became obsessed with it because it was a way to look like you had on leather pants for a fraction of the price.

I tend to live in jeans when I’m not out at events, and even then, if I can wear denim I usually opt for it.  I have a couple of pairs of coated jeans and they are so fun and immediately dress up any outfit.  Black is my favorite, although I have seen them done well in other colors.  When I bought my first pair of these jeans I wasn’t sure if they were a one season trend or not, but three years later there are more styles available than ever and I would consider a coated jean is a classic staple for any wardrobe.  If you don’t own a pair you may want to add them to your closet.

ETIQUETTE

Coated jeans are great to wear for holiday or New Year’s Eve parties or to feel a little sassier during everyday errands.  I don’t recommend them for work in DC, unless you work in a creative space.

I am I going to be frank and tell you that all coated jeans scrunch and it doesn’t really matter how skinny you are.  I had to get over thinking I needed to be a Victoria’s Secret model to wear these jeans and realize that this is an inevitable quality of these jeans.  We intentionally shot the back of these pants so readers would know what to expect when wearing these jeans.  If you don’t like that look or will feel self-conscious when wearing them, then these jeans aren’t for you.

A few tips on caring for these waxy, coated jeans:

– Many of the tags on these pants say you need to dry clean them.  You don’t have to follow these instructions.  If you do dry clean them, environmentally friendly cleaning is best because the process does not use high heat.

-Hand washing them inside out is a good option.

-Airing them out and using febreeze can give them life prior to resorting to other methods.

-I have never done this  myself, but I have been told you can put them in the freezer and it kills bacteria.  You can search that method online and learn more about it.

-Avoid washing these jeans, or any jeans, as much as you can.  Washing jeans alters the dyes, fit and quality of the item.  I know it may sound gross, but a few wears before washing isn’t a bad thing.

Photo Information:  Photos taken by Anna Meyer at Malmaison in Georgetown.  Malmaison is a beautiful, quaint coffeehouse and brunch space, that takes on a second persona as an event space.  On Wednesday I featured the charming coffeehouse space and today I am featuring the edgier bar/events area.  Malmaison is a hidden gem next to the canals in Georgetown and certainly worth making the trip to visit.  Thank you for Malmaison for allowing me to take photos at your beautiful location and for the coffee refills, as my life is fueled by coffee these days!

Fashion

DKNY – Malmaison – 12.09.2015

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ART

Tights by DKNY

“Simply stated, DKNY is the energy and spirit of New York. International, eclectic, fun, fast and real. DKNY addresses the real-life needs of people everywhere, from work to weekend, jeans to evening. Both fashionable and friendly, DKNY consistently delivers its unique mix of style around the world.”

I have to say that the DKNY mission statement mirrors my feelings about these red tights.

Dress and shoes by Kate Spade (both old);  jewelry by Zara

POLITICS

I find it very challenging to want to incorporate colors, let alone bright colors, in my winter wardrobe.  Fortunately I discovered a long time ago that colored tights are an easy way to bring a little more cheer to your outfit.  Tights are also a necessity this time of year because it is so freaking cold out.

The great thing about tights is that they are a very cost-effective way to reimagine an outfit.  I have worn this pink dress many times with black or navy, but red seemed like a fun hue to bring to the mix.  I personally own quite a few pairs of opaque colored and textured tights.  It can be so good to mix them into your work and evening wardrobe to create fun outfits like the outfit I am featuring today.

ETQUETTE

Tights are really a must this time of year in DC.  I am certain your legs are cold and even if they aren’t its just proper etiquette at this time of year to be covering up your legs with dresses and skirts

A few tips on tights:

-Tights are very inexpensive for the most part.  You should always update keep your tights updated and have multiple pairs on hand.  Snags, runs, worn out tights can take an outfit from very chic to really sloppy instantly.

-Always have a back up pair of tights at work or with you when you are going to be out for a long day of events.

-If you are just going out for an evening event, carry some clear nail polish with you.  Painting over a snag will stop the run.

-Wash your tights delicate cycle in a laundry bag and air dry them OR hand wash them to increase their lifespan.

-Black opaque tights are the most slimming.

-Patterns can be tricky and not slimming.

-Wear footless tights, with socks when wearing boots for comfort and to prevent slipping.

A few of my favorite brands of tights:

Photo Information:  Photos by Anna Meyer.   Photos taken at the beautiful and charming Malmaison in Georgetown.

Culture

Kicheko Goods – The Kennedy Center – 12.07.2015

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ART

Necklaces by Kicheko Goods 

Kicheko (Keh-check-o) Goods jewelry is designed by a local DC designer, Sarah Bayot.  Her designs are made with great purpose and social consciousness, providing scholarships for children to attend school.  Purchasing 2 pairs of Kicheko earrings can send a child to school for a month.

Sarah and her brand are a great inspiration and I hope a future model for fashion.  With a background in international affairs from George Washington University and a previous career, Sarah has been able to weave together both her passion to help children in the Congo receive education and design gorgeous jewelry.  I find her intention very admirable and love knowing that not only does a purchase support a local artist, but it also helps provide education to a child.

I met Sarah at an event to benefit the DC Public Library Foundation in September.  She was showcasing her designs with other local vendors at this event.  All of the Kicheko jewelry is beautiful, but the parlay cords are what grabbed the attention of my friends and I on that night.  The cords come in many bright colors and can be made any length as they attach magnetically.  There are so many fun combinations that can be put together to be worn on any occasion, including a formal event like attending the Kennedy Center Honors.  I was actually so excited about meeting Sarah and her designs that I forgot to buy a necklace.  My girlfriends both bought one and I have had jewelry envy ever since.  Fortunately that issue is being resolved!

Sarah works with a variety of materials to produce her jewelry in addition to the nylon, woven cords.  I asked her where she seeks inspiration for her designs and she told me “A lot of my inspiration comes from a mix of travels, geometry, nature, a sense of play, creative conversations, and the interplay between materials.”  Sarah is very enlightened to the world and you can tell this not only by her response and the mission of her business, but if you have the privilege of meeting her you will sense it immediately in her energy.

Because this is a DC focused blog, I also asked Sarah what her favorite DC locations are to spend time.  Sarah’s response:

“When I’m in between meetings, I like spending time in the atrium of the National Portrait Gallery in Chinatown.  Several mornings during the week,  I enjoy jogging along the Rock Creek Park.  On a bright afternoon or weekend, I like meeting friends at Union Market or at Maketto for a drink and pork buns.  The Smithsonian and private art galleries are also a favorite.  This is more seasonal, but I love spending time at the FDR Memorial during cherry blossom time in spring.”

I am thankful to Sarah and Kicheko Goods for allowing me to feature them in this post.  You can view and purchase all of the Kicheko Goods jewelry here.  As I mentioned in my post last Friday, Kicheko is a great idea for holiday gifting!

POLITICS

In DC black tie events happen frequently.  Over the many years I have lived in this city, I have been invited to attend many formal events and these invites most always happen at the last minute.  I am an advocate of having a formal dress in your closet for this reason, similar to the Issa dress I am wearing in this post today.  This dress has saved me on more than one occasion.  In fact I was lucky enough to be invited to the White House Correspondents Association Dinner at the last minute a couple of years ago and this dress is what I wore.

I recommend the dress you have is a solid colored and simple dress, it doesn’t have to be black, because you can wear it multiple times and accessorize it in many ways to look different each wear.  The Kicheko Goods cords are a playful way to bring this dress to life.  With so many options of cords, I could accessorize this dress to make it look and appear unique for multiple events if I need to.  Jewelry and accessories are what can help you get away with repeating the same dress, especially in a time where everyone is “insta-famous.”

I had this dress altered to fit me perfectly, tailoring is a must!  Very few items are ready-to-wear as they are sold.  I always keep this dry cleaned and ready to go, along with a pair of spanx and a lint roller.  This is a very simple way to be ready for any spontaneous invitation you receive.  I am sure most readers have received the last minute invite; if you have not and you stay in DC long enough, you will!

Formal Dresses I like:


ETIQUETTE

The Black tie dress code is very specific, however it has certainly relaxed in recent years.  Often floor length gowns aren’t worn to black tie events and according to Emily Post, a female can wear a dressy cocktail dress (or suit) for a formal event.  I think this is acceptable for weeknight black tie events, but I really encourage the floor length dress or black tie tuxedo for a woman who is attending a black tie event on a weekend evening.  I think it is a classy move.  The Kennedy Center Honors took place last night and this is one event where women and men pull out their best, most formal black tie attire.  I have never attended, but I know I would wear an outfit like the one I have featured today.

*The Kennedy Center Honors will air on CBS, December 29 at 9:00 PM ET.

Photo Information:  Photos by Anna Meyer taken at The Kennedy Center.