These are the men of the DMV who make sartorial swagger look easy. It’s not by birthright or luck: They take fashion seriously. Their daily attire, whether for work, a road trip or rooftop cocktails, is a statement about who they are and how they want to be perceived. Each day represents a curated calling card. The looks sported by our Men of Style define the current state of fashion in DC and give us every reason to believe exceptional taste is here to stay.
When you’re one of the most recognizable athletes on the planet, dressing the part is hardly an option. And the Washington Capitals' Alexander Ovechkin, who notched his 500th career goal earlier this season, takes looking like a multimillion-dollar ice god seriously. In fact, when he arrived for the “Men of Style” photo shoot with his Russian-model fiancee Nastya Shubskaya (they’ll get hitched this summer), he had two custom Zilli suits in hand. Grinning, he asked, “Will these do?” Indeed, they did—he’s a frequent customer of the brand’s Tysons Galleria boutique, and with a $124 million contract, the left winger can afford a closet brimming with custom duds. When kicking around town, the Great 8 admits he has a minor Nike tennis shoe obsession, from Air Jordans to Air Max, which provide a reminder that Ovechkin is also an athlete to be reckoned with off the ice. His father was a professional soccer player in Russia, and Ovechkin even played for HC Dynamo Moscow of the Russian Superleague from 2001 to 2005 and again during the NHL lockout from 2012 to 2013. The 30-year-old future Hall of Famer also favors Dolce & Gabbana suits, and his wrist is typically graced with a Hublot or Tag Heuer timepiece. While some players roll their collective eyes over the National Hockey League’s suit-and-tie dress code, Ovechkin is clearly comfortable with a policy that allows him to look like a crown prince among the elite.
The Change Artist
Gavin Daniels is the guy prospective clients talk about after they’ve assessed pitches from all over the city. Sure, they discuss his firm’s award-winning designs, but there’s something else Daniels leaves on their minds: his sartorial style. “After we’ve won a project, I’ll hear through the grapevine that I set myself apart through what I wore to the pitch meeting,” says Daniels, who is the co-founding principal of Wingate Hughes Architects. Depending upon how Daniels’ day is shaping up—and the audience—he might change two or three times. Go-to looks might include his favorite jeans, Fabric-Brand & Co, crafted by Simon Miller from five-pocket denim sourced in Japan; Theory suits and leather jackets; and John Varvatos shoes and boots. “For Varvatos, it’s the next level of inspiration that appeals to me. It’s the rock ‘n’ roll persona; the guy who designed and made these pieces has worked his ass off,” he says. Fashion has most definitely shaped Daniels’ professional life in ways he wasn’t expecting. “As an architect, I’ve learned it’s critical to be the best-dressed man in the room. Details and aesthetics matter in design, and the same goes for fashion—it’s the level of thought you put into something. You don’t want to look like everyone else.”
For jazz musician Jason Moran, the stage is where substance meets style. “If people are paying to come see me perform, I have a duty to [convey] a vision all the way from top to bottom,” says Moran, who is also the artistic director for jazz at The Kennedy Center. That outlook means Moran’s onstage style choices play an important role in his performances, which often blend jazz with other art forms. “What I try to do with music is blend relationships even though their aesthetics might be vastly different,” says Moran. “I try to imagine that not only with music, but with style.” This June, for instance, he’ll be onstage as part of the National Symphony Orchestra’s Gershwin tribute. But his performance attire goes beyond the standard Dior tux (though he loves donning that for appropriate performances). Moran’s fashion faves run the gamut from a recently purchased Tom Ford black and blue plaid shirt and a versatile overcoat from Comme des Garcons to more unique finds like baseball caps made from African fabric manufactured in Harlem (his rotating collection is at 60 and counting) and a loafer/sneaker hybrid from Australian company Feit. “Once the lights go down and I walk on the stage, I really do see [what I’m wearing] as a costume,” he says. It’s a style philosophy that’s sure to earn him many standing ovations.
In a parallel universe, Nick Stefanelli’s life is just as it is now, but there’s one critical difference: He designs fine clothing. In fact, that’s the path the brilliant chef-owner of Masseria almost took 16 years ago. After working for fine-clothing designer Eduardo DePandi (father of Giuliana Rancic), Stefanelli headed to Milan to learn from the high priests of Italian fashion. “While I was in Italy, my eyes were opened to food and how people lived and dined,” he says. He wanted to be part of it, and thousands of Washingtonians who’ve eaten at the renowned Bibiana and now his new venture are thankful Stefanelli chose the culinary route. But Stefanelli never lost his adoration of fashion. Chef’s whites are a big part of his days, so he couldn’t be blamed for sartorial slouching like many others. The chef disagrees. “It’s easy to build your closet when you invest in things that are timeless,” says Stefanelli, who shops at Barneys New York and loves suits from Zegna and Canali while sporting a vintage Omega watch once owned by his grandfather. On those rare days when he can break free of the restaurant and shop for the next head-turning look, he’ll head to Friendship Heights and duck into Civil, owned by his friends Matt Krimm and John Anderson. “Fashion has a lot of similarities with the restaurant business,” he says. “Classics are always a staple, but there’s also an ongoing evolution similar to the seasonality in the food business—there’s always change.” And, in Stefanelli’s case, it’s always eminently appealing.
The Style Master
Had things worked out differently, Winston Thompson’s wardrobe of choice may have been a simple clerical collar. Before becoming a colorist and co-owner at DC salon PR Partners K Street more than six years ago, the Northern Virginia native was in ministry school studying to be a youth pastor. When his path brought him to K Street instead, Thompson became a devoted student of fashion. “It wasn’t something I knew anything about growing up, but the hair industry is run by fashion,” says Thompson. “Every decision that happens on the runways impacts what we do in the salon every day.” Thompson credits his PR Partners co-owner, Michael Uriarte, with his fashion transformation. “Michael helped me re-create my whole look. He said ‘I’m over all the Sperry shoes and J.Crew shorts that you wear.’ He’s really helped me discover who I am.” These days, Thompson’s look leans more toward a simple black, gray and white color palette with staples from brands like AllSaints, ASOS, COS and Topman. A recent trip to Copenhagen also influenced his current clean-lined look. “I was really inspired by the country’s minimal aesthetic,” he says, which has translated into a capsule collection wardrobe with finds from stores like Redeem on 14th Street, Zara and Barney’s Co-op in Georgetown. “I feel like I’m finally starting to look effortless.” Looks like the student has become the master.
“I like to push boundaries,” says sommelier and wine marketer Andrew Stover. “There’s nothing as boring as the same old over-extracted, overly alcoholic California chard.” That’s why you’ll find eclectic wines from lesser-known regions on the lists he creates for restaurants like Boe and Sei, as well as in the stock he sells via his wholesale and retail sales company, Vino 50: Grape American Road Trip. Think a Pennsylvania gruner veltliner, a Texas albariño or even British bubbly “I go for the unusual and weird, as long as it’s well-made,” says Stover. Stover also likes to stand out via his wardrobe, favoring a professional but edgy combo of velvet blazers, skinny-fit trousers and leather slip-on sneakers (a trade secret for someone constantly on his feet). “I get a lot of my clothes in Europe when I’m on wine-tasting trips,” says the dramatically coiffed Stover. “The cuts are slimmer and cooler than U.S. ones.” In DC, he picks up colorful pants from Massimo Dutti in Georgetown and John Varvatos shoes and shirts at Saks.