Dear DC,

An open letter to the fashionably-challenged.

Dear DC,

I’ve noticed you struggle to dress yourself effectively lately, and I thought rather than cursing the damned darkness, I could light this candle: a weekly blog briefing on some simple steps and guidelines you can use toward making good dressing–and shopping–decisions.

This week’s tip:


There are three acceptable reasons for carrying a cellphone on your hip in a holster:

1. You are a lone cellphone gunslinger ready for a fight
2. You have a job in which your primary responsibility is to save lives
3. You work in IT and would otherwise opt to have your cell surgically attached to your body

I’ll give a temporary license to:

4. Anyone expecting a baby in their family, or a medical emergency with a loved one

Men are fortunate because nearly all our items of clothing contain pockets. Pockets are useful for holding many things: change, keys, even cellphones. Now that the techology has advanced to the point where we’re not obligated to carry bricks around with us wherever we go, it’s time to put the cell phone where it belongs: in the pocket.

In the age of declining privacy (or freedom from others’ lack of privacy turning into your social discomfort), I think it’s both fashionable and good etiquette to keep your phone under wraps. Not everyone on the Metro needs to know when you’ve gotten an email, text, MMS, or voice message, but your phone probably lights up, dances, or makes noise to let them know. The pocket cuts down on this. The pocket keeps you abreast of otherwise unnoticeable vibrations your phone puts out. Consider it a free sporadic massage.

I’ll advocate here for all of us keeping our phones on vibrate at all times, except at home where we only annoy the people who have to live with us because they’re emotionally or financially dependent upon us. Ring away.

Of course, with the rise of The Crackberry and the smart phone, phones are getting bigger instead of smaller. But this will even out again soon. Your iPhone is slim enough that it won’t draw attention in your pocket, and either your skin or your cotton khakis will protect that screen from unsightly scratches, right?


Gentlemen, take out your wallets. Is it plump, overstuffed, overflowing with junk? Is it difficult for you to find what you need when you go in? Are you unable to pull it out of your pocket once you’ve gotten it in?

If so, consider a lifestyle change.

I carry a very small, slim wallet. In a former life, it was a cigarette case. I like this because:

1. It’s bulletproof (probably)
2. My ATM card doesn’t snap in half from being stuffed into an overcrowded leather wallet
3. It forces me to make tough choices about what to carry on a daily basis.

My wallet essentials:

Debit card
Driver’s license
1 Credit card (emergencies only)
Metro SmartCard
Car insurance card
SuperFresh Club Savings Card (groceries, yum!)
Health insurance card

That’s all I really need, plus cash. All of it can fit into my slim wallet solution, which slips neatly (and demurely) into my front pocket. Anything else–my Express coupons and such–can float in and out as I need them. It also encourages me to spend out my small bills (the majority of my money, I’m afraid), as continuously breaking large bills overstuffs my wallet so that it won’t close.

Nothing is more detrimental to the male silhouette than a big ol’ butt bulge on one cheek. Better the people around you notice you for your junk in your trunk, not the junk on your junk in your trunk.

A man confident enough to travel with only what he needs is a man who knows where he is going, and perhaps that’s the sexiest part about it after all.

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