"Anyone who shows any individuality is deemed a fop, eccentric or dangerous," says John Buckley, a Republican political consultant. "The Brooks Brothers dress code that wouldn't be to the minimum standards of Wall Street is the outer envelope of what they wear in Washington. There are entire categories of buttons for buttondown shirts earmarked just for the Washington market. Pleats didn't hit this town until 1987.
Roger Stone may be the only man in Washington with enough chutzpah to mix politics with high fashion. The political consultant, an aficianado of double-breasted suits and an investor in the pricey new Alan Flusser made-to-measure boutique in the District, takes a harsh view of Washington sartorial standards: "We're talking high-water pants, too tight in the crotch, black socks down around the ankles with a lot of skin showing, jacket sleeves that come down and almost cover the knuckles--the sort of look that's big with Chinese leaders."
Designer Flusser, who's based in New York and who franchised the shop in Washington, defines the difference between the two cities more diplomatically. While New York and Washington are both in the Eastern Corridor, he says, New York has been influenced by the international trends and Washington by the "Virginia Ivy League" look. Just as the women wear what one wag calls "contrived Virginia"--outfits from Neiman Marcus, patent-leather flats with bows, gold Chanel jewelry, black velvet headbands and Hermès scarves--so the men who work in the capital lean toward a Dixie interpretation of the preppy look. "In the southern influence, there is a bit more of the Fifties idea of traditional business garb,' Flusser says, adding compassionately, "I would have to call Washington a single-vented town."'
'Read My Hips', GQ, August 1990