Today I did the unthinkable: I bought a white blazer. The owner of one of my favorite and most trusted local boutiques, Caramel, convinced me to take the plunge.
So, what’s the big deal? For us DC professional women, the most important question to ask when buying clothes is not
"Will it be in style for the next couple of seasons?" nor is it "Does it make me look slimmer?"
Can I wear it to the office?
To that end, I recommend Caramel across the street from Results Gym on U Street. Caramel is located at Ground Zero of Hip and Trendy, but it is neither pricey nor snooty. Caramel sells distinctive pieces by lesser-known designers, for men and women, and that can be worn to the office. By "the office" I mean Washington, DC, offices, where the goal is to instill confidence based on your creativity, intelligence and good judgment -- not your fashion iconoclasm.
My mission today was to find a blazer to match the long skirts and jeans I wear to work in summer. I envisioned something in basic black, a solid neutral or small pattern that I could slip into in case of an unscheduled meeting or chilly walk home. Caramel had all three options. There was something enticing about the white blazer, however.
White outerwear, I am convinced, is a fashion industry conspiracy to bamboozle us into buying more clothes. White doesn’t just show dirt easily, it advertises the details of one’s personal life: the wayward ketchup quirt, the greasy muffin leaking out of the paper Au Bon Pain bag, the ink from the newspaper carried to work. Dry cleaning solvents cannot restore a white article of clothing to its original fabulousness. (More about dry cleaning solvents in a future posting.) After a few wearings, you have a stained and shabby coat, and voila! madame has no choice but to get a new one. For that reason, I have never bought anything white, except for shirts to wear with a few indefatigable ten-year-old black and navy suits set aside for court dates.
So why did buy a blazer in white, the most impractical of all colors (if white is a color at all)?
A white blazer is bold. It symbolizes a fresh new start. It reminds me that I am expanding my horizons, questioning self-imposed conventions, exploring options I never before considered. And with a pair of tailored beige dress pants and heels, it looks sophisticated.
Coincidentally, I start a new job, in a new field, in two weeks.
Plus, Sarah, the owner, informed me, the blazer is machine washable.
Bold move, but practical.
1603 U Street, NW