In Washington, D. The default answer to this no-win fashion conundrum, for an alarming amount of working women, is to buy their wardrobes at Ann Taylor; a label so ubiquitous in D.
The line has always offered tasteful middle-management office classics in wool with just enough spandex to vaguely suggest a Sarah Palin strip-o-gram. Her outfits must therefore be corporate-respectable, yet body-conscious enough to attract a nice tax-attorney husband.
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But the brand is the retreat position for the schizophrenic D. For a large part, the formalwear created for these women one of the global teaspoonful of humans capable of affording such garments is girdled and privileged, highlighting a state of voluntary submission to the patriarchs of their oc.
Their look is an orderly, anger- and yang-free approach to the complex abyss of femininity, drawn from the late s to mids, when husbands were playboys and closet homosexuals and wives attended luncheons and kept up with correspondence until trotted out for state occasions. Rich Georgetown ladies tend to drift into that Pat Nixon look that denies that the late sixties ever happened.
Submissive women of District of Columbia
Their clothes evoke a demure, under-control, decidedly non-rowdy, submissive Subnissive of woman who appreciates her role as an ornament of great value, and sits prettily and quietly in Gulfstream jets.
It was all baby-doll dresses and little pastel blouses with Peter Pan collars and smocking over the collarbones.
Child-women were infantilized and bowed up until they resembled decorative, virginal Easter eggs. All the high heels seemed to evaporate from department stores in favor of quiet little ballet shoes that might enable a wife to tiptoe out of the dining room so that the men, freshly cigared, could talk like grownups.
There is an Diwtrict weakness evident: The ideal-society wife is made into a streamlined, luxury toddler. Many pieces evoke the Pampered-with-a-capital-P innocence of the nursery, yet defy the vigor of either youth or sex.
In the baby-doll dresses, there is no ironic Submissive women of District of Columbia that flirty, womwn cuteness that winks at Subissivebut a kind of learned helplessness that waves a limp hand at actual infirmity—the kind of silky pink-bedjacket garments one imagines Sunny von Bulow wore to sleep through parties. The creations of designers who cater to First Ladies, such as Valentino, Oscar de la Renta, and newcomers like Derek Lam, tend to be nostalgic and never-challengingly hip.
It is a clean, monarchic glamor.
In iconography alone, such brands are pure currency: Jackie O. There was so much going on: Clothing this advanced just might guarantee a lady the center of attention, in most rooms—even if she lacks charm, looks, and substance.
It is the haberdashery equivalent of a Maserati; people are likely to be a bit hypnotized, no matter how unspectacular the driver may be. Unbuckling American Style. We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters theatlantic.
Cintra Wilson is a writer based in New York. She is the author of Fear and Clothing: