7 Questions with Capitol Hill Style

The internet is full of fashion blogs – from daily outfit posts to brand marketing to couture appreciation – but amid the bevy of style-based blogs, Capitol Hill Style stands out. The blog’s author, Belle (she keeps her real identity a secret), offers style and beauty tips tailored to the D.C. working woman’s needs. She posts daily, with regular features like Splurge vs. Save, Two Ways , and the 10th Commandment, with covetable items at different price points (don’t worry, Belle looks out for the unpaid interns among her readers).
We got a chance to ask Belle some questions about her inspiration, her own style and what to do when you’re just starting out.

When did you start blogging, and what inspired Capitol Hill Style?
I started blogging in 2008 during the August recess.  I was inspired to start the blog after seeing how the summer interns on the Hill dressed for work.  Half of them were dressed for the club, and the other half looked like they were wearing clothes stolen from Mommy’s closet.  At the time, there were no professional style blogs geared toward women under age 40, and I thought it was about time Capitol Hill had a resource for young women who want to dress appropriately but be stylish as well.

 

How would you describe your style?
Sophisticated and feminine, I like a good mix of pretty and sleek.  I prefer dresses and skirts to pants.  I also like to wear feminine fabrics like silk and chiffon with ladylike accents. I try to keep up with current trends, but when I’m unsure, I stick with the classics.

 

D.C. style gets a pretty bad rap – where do you think this comes from? Is it legitimate?
D.C. style has changed a lot in the past few years. When I moved to the District in 2005, women still wore white sneakers with suits and nude hose.  Almost no one wore dresses to work, it was all pants.  And women seemed content to downplay their femininity rather than embrace it.  So in the past, the criticisms were certainly valid.

Now, I see more women who recognize that you can be a professional who is taken seriously without having to dress in shapeless, masculine attire and bad shoes.  What’s the point of having a successful, well-paying job if you have to wear clogs and tapered trousers? Ick.

 

Do you have a D.C. fashion role model?
Former Congresswoman Jane Harman was probably as close as I came to having a real fashion role model in D.C.  She had the most amazing wardrobe and the attitude to match.  No one else could have pulled off a chartreuse silk pleated skirt on the floor of the House. She made me realize that it’s not just about the clothes, it’s about how you carry yourself.

 

What’s your biggest style pet peeve?
People who believe that being comfortable trumps everything else.  They know that their clothes are unflattering, less-than-stylish or just plain inappropriate but they wear them anyway because they only care about comfort.  Just look at how people dress on casual Friday or on an airplane.  There isn’t a deep enough circle of Hell for some of the fashion sins committed in the name of comfort.

 

Where are your favorite places to shop, eat, and go out in D.C.?
I love Rasika, Cava, Sei, Zaytinya.  I’m really into restaurants with unique flavors and dim lighting, probably because a delicious dinner is as close as I get to romance these days.

I do most of my shopping online because of my schedule, but I do like to head to the Zara in Penn Quarter. If I need an actual department store, you’ll usually find me at Mazza Gallerie in Friendship. If I can hit Bloomingdale’s and Sephora in one trip, I’m happy.

When I have free time, I spend most of it writing my blog. If I do tear myself away, I like to visit the museums on the Mall.  Washingtonians take for granted that so many great museums are so close and free to get into.  Other than that, you’ll usually find me on my rooftop patio with a cocktail and a book.

 

What advice would you give to college students interviewing for jobs and internships?
Don’t over think your outfit, and don’t let your interview be the first time you’ve worn the suit, shoes, etc.  Choose something appropriate and fitted that reflects your seriousness as a candidate.  Then, wear it around once before the interview so you’ll know if it itches, pinches, etc.  This will allow you to focus on the part of the interview that really matters, the conversation and Q and A.

Also, practice answering questions about your resume before you go to the interview.  You shouldn’t be dumbfounded by a question about your own resume.  And if an applicant comes to interview with me and has no questions about the job, that’s a red flag.  If you aren’t curious about the position, the company or the nature of the work, then you probably aren’t the best fit for the job.

7 Questions is a feature in which we talk to our favorite local bloggers about living, working and blogging in D.C.  If you have a blog that you would like to see featured on 7 Questions, send us a link and tell us why they’re awesome at blog@thehoya.com.
Photo: Flickr user luismunoz

4 Replies to “7 Questions with Capitol Hill Style”

  1. *snorts* sorry but i refuse to take any professional advice from someone who consistently responds to comments on her BLOG during business hours. there’s better, non-anonymous blogs out there with authors who don’t think they’re too good for everyone else. more thorough research would have been nice before deciding to feature this one. sheesh. who wants to be talked down to constantly?

  2. Oh yuck. I have to agree. I tried to like her blog, but they way she acts was just a total turn off. No one wants to be scolded for not dressing correctly–they want helpful, practical advice. “Belle” offers advice but you have to dig through layers of “I’m-smarter-than-you-are” first. No thank you.

  3. Really? I love her blog and her direct no nonsense approach. She has helped me a lot. I even like that she’s a bit snarky. I have followed her advice in several areas and so far, everything has worked out better than I thought it would.

  4. well, she’s no longer anonymous so that’s actually pretty awesome. and i have a lot more respect for her now. her real name is abra belke and she used to work for Rep. Denny Rehberg and now is a lobbyist for the NRA! she was featured in the most recent issue of TIME magazine. you go, abra!

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