Graduation Fashion

We know you all want to impress Timmy so here you go…

General Pointers

  • The gown is not an excuse to forget about fashion…it’s what underneath that counts…
  • Think classy/elegant daywear vs. our advice for Cherry Blossom which was classy/elegant evening wear

Day Vs. Night

  • No Jeans under the gown under ANY circumstances
  • No laurels on your head…yes Bologna that’s for you (unless you have been selected for…


  • Nothing too your boho-chic sundresses for beach week

  • Accessorize where the gown sack permits some fashion flair: beck, ears, shoes, hands
  • Statement jewelry can make you stand out but make sure you don’t overload with bling
  • And stay away from….

  • Keep the outfit looking light..cream, white, lace are a good place to start

  • Understated goes a long way…and definitely no excessively low or short dresses…again save those for beach week ;)
  • Colour can work but we would recommend toning it down rather than up for this…total opposite for beach week of course, the brighter the better
  • Black is ok but maybe lighten it up with cream shoes or bold accessories

  • Heels are always good but make sure you can walk in them…tripping over even makes Louboutin’s look like a bad investment…well almost
  • Espadrilles can work as long as they are not some variant of TOM’S Shoes…

Bad Vs. Good

  • Keep the makeup to a natural look - too much and you risk looking like you never took it off from the night before
  • Clutch bags are ideal but if you have to wear one with a strap make sure its elegant
  • Hair down or half up half down…remember your hair will have to look good under the caps


  • Wear long pants, otherwise you risk looking naked in front of Timmy
  • Wear a nice pair of dress shoes.  Please go get them shined, and remember, NO SQUARE TOES!!!
  • Wear a shirt and a full tie underneath your gown — remember our neck-lines stick out so your tie knot will be visible.
  • Want to make a statement that sets you apart from the others?  Wear a nice tie that stands out against the backdrop of your black cap and gown.
  • Don’t wear chinos of any kind — this includes colored chinos. Wear dress pants in the usual neutral colors — navy blue, grey, etc.
  • Suits are not suggested given the polyester fabric of our gowns. Make sure to wear a cotton shirt and cotton dress pants if you have them.  Polyester tends to suffocate and trap heat, so you want something breathable underneath.
  • Give your suit jacket to your mom/dad/family/girlfriend to hold for pictures after you take the cap and gown off.  
  • Military attire — As a team of two U.S. civilians and a Brit, we don’t know much about military attire, but believe that if you got it flaunt it..but it may be too have been warned…

Your Guide to Cherry Blossom Fashion

Life Lessons:

1)    Everything in moderation, even moderation

2)    Don’t match everything – it looks like you are trying too hard…


The Dress:

3)    Formal wear should be formal..this is not Vegas (sigh)

4)    Short or long dresses are both fine…as long as they don’t look like this:

5)    No PVC…tight and stretchy at your discretion i.e. stay away from:

6)    White is ok, but just remember you are not getting married..this is a happy medium

7)    Let your dress speak for itself – don’t overload the bling – accessorize with rings or earrings

8)    Fitted not tight, no one wants to see back cleavage

9)    Understated goes a long way

10) Sequins in moderation…your dress should not shed – neither should your hair

Classy/Elegance …think ball in Mad Men:

11) Don’t need to see your hoo-hah

12) Short dresses are a public good but not an excuse to look like a prostitute, keep them elegant…

13) Some cleavage not too much

14) Project an image of class: think more Lady Di, less Lady Gaga


16) Not an excuse to wear too much makeup – no orange and go easy on the eyes if you have blonde hair (heroin addict anyone??)

17) Your makeup should not need to be touched up so bring a small bag, do not bring your bathroom with you

18) Only expose on yourself what you would like to see on others (but no going topless – guys that is for you)

19) Keep your shoes on – are you at the beach?

Look Polished:

20) Pedicure and manicure – or at least no chipped nail polish

21) Brush your hair/ get a blow out/ no wet look

22) Updos are not created using a ponytail holder – they need to be styled

23) No gum except in the bathroom

24) There is such a thing as too much perfume

25) No VPL – thongs and absolutely no granny pants


26) Only make 1 statement: either your dress or your accessories..oh and some dress statements should NEVER be made

27) Comfortable shoes but NO flip flops. In fact comfort in the shoe department only goes so far – if fashion were about comfort we would all be wearing sweatpants i.e. WEAR HEELS (not kitten heels)

28) No espadrilles – think elegant stilettos

29) Strapless dress no strap on your bag…actually just go with the clutch

30) Flats are acceptable for floor length dresses as long as they are NOT FLIP FLOPS and are ball worthy - think Cinderella slippers without the heel


31) NO STOCKINGS WITH OPEN-TOED SHOES (sorry some of our resident sartorialists feel VERY strongly about this one)

32) No black stockings..only nude, ONLY

33) Strapless bras..even if your dress has straps (no see through bra straps!!!)

34) Just don’t let your bra show. Period.

Dates, thank us later…

35) Don’t take more than you can carry – the guys are not mules

36) If you think it will be cold, bring a boyfriend (or an elegant wrap)…just not a cardigan


The Outfit:

1) A neutral-color, well-tailored suit will go a long way both for the Cherry Blossom Ball and in life.

2) Your jacket should not 3x too big

3) Jacket should not look like your mom purchased it when you were 15 or something your dad wore 30 years ago

4) Back of suit jacket should not stretch – it should fit

5) Suit should not smell like it was rented – you know what I’m talking about

6) Sleeves and pants should of the correct length…ALWAYS

7) No ruffled shirts – it’s not 19th century Britain.  You don’t want to end up looking like this guy:

8) Don’t wear a sweater or over-sized vest:

9) Kilts are only appropriate if you are Scottish or are willing to wear no underwear
10) When in doubt, let these gentlemen be your guide:



11) Cufflinks are great, even necessary, but this not a time for dice or gold Vegas bling.  It won’t even be funny, you’ll just look cheap.
12) Quality dress shocks – Ask Andrew Noh for a pair if you don’t have any.
13) Only a few people can wear slim ties and you’re probably not one of them
14) That doesn’t mean you should wear monster white fat ties
15) Top hat and tails are ok – only if they come from an expensive BRITISH tailor
16) Cummerbund – jury is out…actually jury is in and it says NO
17) Bow ties and Pocket Squares – if you can’t tie a bowtie youtube it or get a girl to do it
18) If your pants have belt loops, you need to wear a belt.  You can only get away with the beltless look if your pants have tab closures on each side of your hips.

19) Converse do not look good.  Put on a pair of dress shoes.  NO SQUARE TOES!
20) You should shine your shoes so you can see your reflection.  Go pay the $7 for a shoe shine.  It’s worth it.

Style Points:
21) Quirky-ness — If you’re going to try, go all the way.  Otherwise, don’t even start.
22) Its spring, show some color
23) Hair should not look like you just woke up – it will be 6:30pm after all
24) Iron your shirt/jacket/pants – or get them dry cleaned
25) Men’s jackets are good for keeping your girlfriend/date warm and keeping hold of your belongings.  Guys, we can be gentlemen for one night.  Just one.
26)  Cologne is under-rated but don’t overdo it

Finally, we all wish we could look like this model couple but at the end of the day just be yourselves. After all, that is what style is about…

Reposting from my facebook.
It’s Spring.  Don’t be afraid to wear some color. 

Reposting from my facebook.

It’s Spring.  Don’t be afraid to wear some color. 

London Style for the International Staff Ride

 Savile Row

General Advice

  •  It’s not New York …colour (note spelling) is ok and grey is the new black.
  •  Stiff collars so it still looks like you are wearing a collared shirt…
  • Fitted/tailored suits - refer to original blog post.  PLEASE. 

Men If You Want to Fit In:

  • No brown in town.  Save that for a country jaunt on the weekend.  This rule includes brown shoes anything tweed
  • Flashy suit lining — the brighter the better 
Suit Lining
  • Scarves flung over one shoulder with a suit
  • Avoid where possible the east coast syndrome of Brooks Brothers navy blazer and khakis.  Unless you want to stand out as an American.
  • Ditto wearing red white and blue — it’s our flag too but we don’t feel the need to wear it.
  • Coloured chinos and a blazer can be fun for a dinner out.
  • Bright with grey — shirts ties etc.
  • Charcoal grey is the new black
  • Coloured socks – see Andrew Noh’s collection
  • French-cuff shirts
  • Bowties
  • Suede shoes — yes you might need to buy spray
Suede Shoes
  • Umbrella as a fashion accessory — drowned rats are out
  • Neither square nor pointy dress shoes
  • Colour!! At minimum a bright pocket square

Note: If you want to educate the Brits on how to dress…your resident British blogger wants nothing to do with this.

If all else fails, just try to look like Colin Firth:

 Women If You Want to Fit In:

  • Don’t be afraid to mix and match — the more patterns the better except if it’s more than 2 and then you need sunglasses.
  • Absolutely no kitten heels — flats or HEELS 
  • Jewelry — more than nothing, but less than a Christmas tree (the only rule is no dangly earrings and necklace)
  • Vintage — we invented everything pre-revolutionary war, and guess what, it still looks good

Finally, women…if you want to teach the Brits one thing…You have a waist, so use it. (Even the British blogger will acknowledge our penchant for over-sized border line ill-fitting attire).


If you want some inspiration we have mined the internet for some of the London-Looks right now..

The most common AND most egregious of all DC fashion crimes

Somebody call the International Criminal Court because male muffin tops are a crime against humanity.*

For those of you who don’t know, a “male muffin top” is a term for “the condition or appearance of volume and billowing of an ill-fitting shirt on an otherwise skinny, lean, or athletically built guy.” Visual depictions of such can be seen here:

*SAIS Style would like to thank a former SAIS alum for pointing out this highly relevant and necessary blog and for inspiring this post.

Female Fashion Sins

The moment you have all been waiting for…the first delve into women’s fashion*!!  Just because we might be the fairer sex, we can be just as guilty as men of fashion faux pas. In light of this, we thought we would kick off the semester with some of SAIS women’s fashion pet peeves:


Scrunchies – out unless it’s a 90s party

PVC anything – invest in real leather boots and bags, they are worth it

Roller backpacks to school– if you cant carry your possessions in a normal bag you are carrying too much

Too much jewelry – no need to look like a Christmas tree with giant necklaces, earrings, bracelets and rings all at once

Silver and gold together – though some disagree on this one

Lanyards – just to clarify your keys or SAIS ID is NOT jewelry

HUGE sunglasses – not just large, but HUGE, people might actually want to see your face

Giant bows – you are not 5 anymore  


Wearing sneakers to work – a DC disaster that is never EVER acceptable, invest in a decent pair of flats instead

Heels you cant walk in – it’s just painful to watch

Crocs - the definition of fashion faux pas

Uggs – the jury is out on these among the women but according to our resident male sartorialists they are apparently a big no-no, you have been warned

Velcro on ANYTHING – that was over in primary school  


Wearing red and pink together – it just hurts the eyes

Stockings with open-toed shoes – enough said

Frumpy A-line skirts with flats – it just makes your legs look stumpy

Shirts that don’t fit a woman’s bust – no one needs to see your bra in an interview

Mom jeans – unless its your Mom

Cargo pants - unless you are currently an intrepid explorer in the Amazon/on active military service

Hemp – just no

White cotton socks with sandals – same goes for guys on that one

Spandex outside the gym/yoga studio – its just not attractive

Juicy sweatpants – these were NEVER cool Enough said.

*One of the resident male sartorialists maintains that the only thing he knows about women’s fashion is how to take it off.

Spring Fashion, Part I

Hey all, so now that we’ve returned from our glorious six-week break and are back to spending much, much too much time in Nitze, we thought we’d start off the new semester with an introduction to men’s spring fashion. We know we’ve been neglectful as of late, so we want to kick off with some basic ideas on how to stand out in a sea of pleated khakis and baggy oxford button downs come this spring. Yes, spring is still nearly two months away, but it isn’t too early to start planning for that perfect look. To inspire you, we are posting some pictures from some of the top stores 5th Avenue in New York has to offer. Sure, some of these outfits might break the bank, but you don’t have to spend a lot to get the same look and effect. Most everything you see here can be had at nearly any price point. Just shop around in stores or online, be creative, find yourself a good tailor, and you’ll immediately stand out from those staid, unoriginal Georgetown guys. And if you don’t know of a good tailor yet, don’t worry - we’ll help you out with that shortly.

This is the perfect spring outfit: slim trousers, crisp shirt, simple cardigan, and a fitted blazer. The shirt and blazer really stand out - the shirt has a simple but eye-catching print that highlights the unique color of the blazer. Try something other than a solid or striped shirt, but go for something muted and pair it with solid-color pieces. As for a blazer, there are more colors out there than navy blue. We aren’t saying go crazy, but look for something with a bit of flair and pair it with more conservative colors like in this outfit.

Classic look for spring. Safari jackets always reappear come springtime and pop up in most stores in colors like grey, beige, olive, and navy. Pair it with a t-shirt (other than a SAIS logo one, please), polo shirt, or casual plaid button down. Finish off with some well-cut jeans and you’re good to go.

When you are looking for something less formal than a blazer and lighter than a jacket, a toggle sweater is a great choice. Get a slim one like up top and pair it with a nice shirt and you have another alternative for a casual but professional look. White chinos can be tough, but they’re done perfectly here. If you decide to take the risk, make sure they are slim throughout the leg and roll them up for some cuff. Then pair them with a pair of drivers, loafers, boat shoes, or low top canvas sneakers. Whatever you choose though, no socks.

We know this may be a bit too preppy for most, but if you are willing to go for it this look does prep perfectly. We know most guys will eschew red chinos, but if you want to stand out and show a little personality, we’d take these any day over the baggy, pleated kind. And if you are willing to go all out with a pair of red chinos, do the rest of the look right - pair it with a plaid button down or polo. The sweater over the shoulder may be a bit much, we concede, but props to the guy who can pull it off.

Not much to be said here - just perfect fitting blazers and trousers. All the outfits here combine some unique patterns or colors - that’s key in spring. Whether it is a pocket square with a flash of color, or a shirt and tie combination with a muted pattern, spring is a great time to try something different. And definitely pay attention to the proportions here. Everything here is tailored to be slim, but not tight. Baggy clothes are never flattering, no matter what your size is.

Just Because It’s Finals…

We know that you all have been living in Nitze for the past week eating takeout and slaving over your books and notes as you prepare for finals. And we know fashion is probably the last thing on your mind. But never underestimate the self confidence that comes from dressing to impress no matter how stressed you are. Just because you never leave Nitze doesn’t mean you can’t ditch the sweats for something more stylish. Your friendly SAIS fashion bloggers happen to find that fashion improves our productivity..and it seems other students agree.