Washington, DC vs. Charleston: Which Masters End-of-Summer Style Better?
We’re constantly on the hunt for the best-dressed Instababes from coast to coast. And yes, snappable street style does exist beyond the confines of NYC and LA. In fact, we’re pretty partial to two new up-and-coming fashion capitals that are about to be at the forefront of the sartorial scene. If you guessed Washington, DC, and Charleston, South Carolina, then you’re right on the money. Let’s get this age-old debate settled once and for all. Whether you’re rooting for fashion in the District (where power dressing rules the land) or Chucktown, both cities are clear winners in our mind. Keep scrolling for 20 Instababes who define city style for the end of summer.
1. Bold Color Blocking: Too much color? No such thing when you’re Monling Lee of the Color Index. Ditch the snoozy neutrals for a slew of bright look-at-me hues that can be spotted at least a mile away. We’re more than obsessed with this Instababe’s carrot orange tank, sea foam green trousers, metallic pink mules, and mirrored sunnies. (Ahem, her Minion yellow suitcase by Away seals the deal for us.)
2. The Boardroom As Your Runway: When you’re a DC native, the boardroom (or rather Capitol Hill) is your runway. But don’t be mistaken — that’s not an excuse to settle for black slacks and a plain ol’ button-down. This Instababe slays from head to toe with her crisp white blouse, printed pencil skirt, and silver ankle-strap steppers.
3. All Black or Nothing: “I’ll stop wearing black when they make a darker color…” Says every successful #girlboss in DC who swears by a wardrobe of, well, all black. When it’s hot AF, that means reaching for a free-wheelin’ noir slip dress, embellished slides, and a bucket bag for around-the-clock slayage.
4. AM to PM Dressing: Chic from nine-to-five and five-to-nine looks a little somethin’ somethin’ like this when you’re enjoying summer in the District. This style influencer successfully teams a pair of colorful drop earrings with an off-the-shoulder black top, pink party sequins, and an edgy topper for a transitional look that doubles for both rooftop sips and restaurants with outdoor seating.
5. Laid-back Aesthetic: DC’s notoriously hot and sticky summers often translate to doing less. This babe comes through with her oversized white tee, distressed denim shorts, and signature Vans for a cool-girl city vibe that’s Beyoncé-level fierce.
6. Weekend-Chic: The bloggers of the DMV live for the weekend (but don’t we all?). Between exploring Georgetown, museum-hopping, and people-watching on the Mall, style influencer Alicia Tenise nails the art of leisurely dressing. Her throw-on-and-go ensemble consisting of a relaxed tee, an embroidered utility jacket, and frayed cutoffs seems to say “no Sunday scaries here.”
7. Off-Duty Overalls: “Living like it’s 1999, TYVM.” Even Washingtonians know how to dial it down in the summatime with throwback classics — namely, a denim overall dress and slip-on sneakers (perfect for logging all those commuter steps). Throw in an oversized tote, and you’re ready for your weekend farmers’ market run.
8. Those Ubiquitous Drop Earrings: A pair of the summer’s ubiquitous Les Bonbons-inspired drop earrings aren’t up for debate. Just ask one of the ladies from the betches who brunch crew and they’ll show you how it’s done. Add a flouncy one-shoulder blouse and classic sunglasses for maximum impact.
9. Casual Luxury: From blogger brunches to dinner al fresco at the coolest new spot in town, you just never know who you’re going to run into. Natalie of The Fashionably Broke has got the right idea with her sheer polka dot blouse, vintage cutoffs shorts, and fancy flats. A subtle reminder that first impressions are everything.
10. Gala-Ready Attire: If it seems like every DC socialite has some function or another to attend, it’s because they do. As a rule of thumb, it’s always best to be just an accessory away from being black tie-ready (you know, just in case a gala pops up at the last minute). See exhibit A: This HBIC accessorizes a white neck-plunging dress with gold jewelry and a floppy straw hat for a seriously wow-worthy look.
11. Summertime Frocks: Fact: You can’t go within a five-mile radius without spotting a Charleston babe clad in a printed or cold-shoulder dress. These two cuties take the cake for best-dressed-brunch-goers, amirite?
12. Tongue-in-Cheek Sun Hats: We’re not telling you that a slogan-strewn floppy straw hat is required for fun in the sun, but it certainly doesn’t hurt. For the hostess with the mostess, we recommend this snap-worthy “toasting” sun hat.
13. Breezy Essentials: Flouncy sunshine yellow top? Check. Pastel-hued check skirt? Check. Straw hat and matching tote? Triple check. Julia Engel of Gal Meets Glam has got the right idea with her uplifting #OOTD consisting of a slew of breezy summertime staples.
14. Preppy Stripes: “Dress like it’s Memorial Day Weekend all summer long” might as well be your style mantra if you’re intent on getting the Charleston lewk. Throw in some chambray tie-front shorts, and you’ve got it made, babe.
15. If It’s Not Moving, Monogram It: Monogrammed necklaces, totes, and cowgirl boots (yes, really) with Reese Witherspoon appeal rule the land. We especially love how this fashion blogger teamed hers alongside an airy palm leaf dress.
16. Denim on Denim: Did someone say Canadian tuxedo? Gray Benko masters the art of denim-on-denim dressing with her tomboy-chic button-down and cool cutoffs for a sexy-cool vibe that screams never-ending summer.
17. Show Dem Shoulders: When it’s too hot to deal, you reach for a shoulder-baring top and your best distressed jeans for a lived-in chic vibe that’s characteristic of the ladies of Charleston. None of this trying too hard nonsense now.
18. Crisp White Jeans: If anyone could show you some pointers on Charleston fashion, it’s the Charleston Blonde. From her glittery Keds to her crisp white jeans, monogrammed hat, and poplin shirt, she’s got it down pat. Oh, and that Instagrammable coral/pink door isn’t too shabby either.
19. Summertime Gingham: Picnic-worthy gingham and Charleston go together like PB and J. Ashley Brown of Sweet Southern Prep gets the job done with her blue Draper James dress, Cult Gaia clutch, and red cha-cha-ready earrings.
20. White Eyelet Dresses: If the District is synonymous with black-tie dress codes, then Charleston might as well be home to the LWDs (little white dresses). Chassity of Look Linger Love is a vision in her dainty white eyelet cold-shoulder frock that’s ready for some classy snaps in front of Rainbow Row.
Which city does your style most align with? Follow us on Pinterest for more summer style inspo!
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