The Directrice On Location

The Photographer suggested this weekend that we go downtown to take pictures. He thought I should do this to prove to readers that I really live in Washington D.C.

I told him that readers have occasionally questioned my judgment and taste, but that no one had ever challenged my residency in the District.
Understand that I hate heat and I hate crowds and if left to my own devices would happily spend the whole of every weekend chatting with Harper on the big (i.e., human-sized) bed. But I sensed The Photographer really wanted the fun of going on location and so agreed that after our separate plans for Saturday afternoon we would meet at the World War II Memorial at 7:00 p.m.

The Directrice on location
The Directrice on location

I'm sorry . . . did you say I'm blocking the memorial?
I’m sorry . . . did you say I’m blocking the memorial?
From the WWII Memorial it’s a short walk along the reflecting pool (or, more comfortably, in the shade of the allees that line both sides of the pool) to the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

So here we are, at the Lincoln Memorial.
It was actually a beautiful evening.
I always forget how fun it is to see the Washington sights on a beautiful evening. So much diversity — tourists from overseas, visitors from all across the country, D.C.-area families, and young locals. And us!
Is this better?
Is this better? No?

If we wanted these photos to be clear of other people, we’d have to get up really early and come down within an hour or so of sunrise. This means I’d have to get up c. 5:30 a.m. to ready myself for picture-taking.
I think you understand what I’m saying.
That’s not happening.
How about this?
How about if I stand here?

Where's Directrice?
Where’s Directrice?
The Directrice, master of disguise, can blend into any environment.

I have decided to rest a minute. These shoes are not made for seeing the sights.
The Photographer is encouraging me to slide toward this unsuspecting family group. I am ignoring his appeals.
Resting my barking dogs like everyone else
My dogs are barking

Should I stop the travelogue and tell you a little about my dress?
It’s actually a strapless cotton dress layered over a sleeveless cotton blouse.
Pretty clever, right? This dress would also work well with: a black blouse; a white or black short sleeved blouse, and; blouses made of linen or silk. It might even be charming with the right floral blouse.
The pattern is glen plaid, which I love for dresses and skirts. I, personally, would stop short of a full suit in glen plaid– although it works well for men’s suits.
No, I am not going to crowd into that family's photograph!
No, I am not going to insinuate myself into that family grouping

No mas
No mas

The Photographer continued to click away until I had to fend him off like a total celebrity.

Here are the details:

  • blouse neatly tucked into neckline;
  • simple black bag and subtle metallic leather watch band;
  • pair of inverted pleats at the waist give the skirt a bell shape and terrific ease.
Showing you this photo mostly because the light is so pretty
Showing you this photo mostly because the light is so pretty, although I will make a pitch for yellow sunglasses, which I have found immensely useful over the years

Little bag, watch
Bag, watch
Pleats at waist

Before leaving the park, we stopped to create a double self-portrait.
I think this one truly captures our character.
We're so tall
We’re so tall

Dress: Aquascutum from YOOX; Blouse: Jack Wills from ASOS; Shoes: Cole Haan Catalina Wedges from Zappos; Bag: Furla Metropolis; Watch: Michele Serein 16; Sunglasses: Illesteva Marco in Blonde (no longer available, but check Illesteva’s optical frames)

18 thoughts on “The Directrice On Location”

  1. Directrice—-you are both a style and a humor inspiration! Such lovely clothes, tweaked to perfection. Thank you for your blog!

  2. Hubby and I visited D.C. last fall…loved the Lincoln Memorial! Thank you so much for giving me another look at it.
    Also…I like your outfit a lot.

  3. Love to see you out and about in D.C. – never tire of the monuments! Your photographer is right to persuade you to show your lovely style amidst the sites!

  4. I too loved to see the laughing/smiling picture! This is a very smart pairing. How does your blouse stay so perfectly tucked in? It’s not like you can adjust in public…

    • When I wore this to work, I just adjusted as needed in the privacy of my office or the ladies’ room. But you are absolutely correct, Sharla, that such conduct is not appropriate on The Mall! So, to go on location, I wore a pair of Spanx shorts that I could tuck the blouse into.

  5. I’m constantly intrigued by how you take something and make it more than it is. Is this something you do after the fact (so you buy unknowing that it has possibilities) or are you able to do it pre-purchase?

    • It depends, Blonde! If I am looking at something that clearly is not suitable as-is, I generally do have a plan before I buy it. I had a plan for this strapless dress, as the number of times that I wear a strapless dress each year is small — particularly since the fabric of this particular dress is casual and the cut is worky (except for the strapless part). It would be most unusual for me to buy something completely unsuited to my lifestyle with no idea of how to wear it.

  6. Love the outfit and the Lincoln Memorial and the tourist family.

    In this post or an upcoming one, can you explain why people (you and many others) cross one leg in front of the other in full-length photos? I’ve noticed it on many style blogs but I can’t seem to figure out the advantage?

    • Hi Bette — I have found, through trial-and-error, that skirts and dresses show to best advantage with one leg crossed in front of the other and that pants look best when one’s legs are not crossed and the pant legs are clearly separate. In both cases, I think it is best if the subject is not facing the camera dead-on. Putting one hand on the hip and bending the opposite leg (red carpet pose) does not work. Posing for pictures, in general, feels ridiculous! It makes me think of the 30Rock episode in which Jack was taping a segment and couldn’t decide what to do with his hands, or how to move his arms when he walked — and he wound up carrying a coffee mug in each hand and moving the same arm as leg as he walked across the set.

      • LOL — and thanks! I think you’re right (and apparently, thousands of others do, too) that crossing one leg in front of the other creates a pleasing line in photos. It’s the backwards shoes that throw me off!

  7. This was quite a shoot for us. I move around a lot when I’m working the camera, and soon I was wilting in the heat. But as I said to The Directrice, “I may never get another shot at this, so I’m taking all the pictures I can.” The Directrice likes her comfort zones and I consider it part of my job as Husband and Photographer to head-bump her out of them. As you can see she started giving me the paparazzi treatment after awhile, which I serenely disregarded. An artist is not to be deterred. The setup wasn’t ideal: even at 7:30pm the sky was still very bright behind the Lincoln Memorial and my little on-camera flash couldn’t compete. We should have waited half an hour. (I like to shoot into the setting sun, using fill-flash for front illumination.) And next time I’m going make sure The Directrice’s clothes will contrast well against the color of the building — you notice they were the same color! But it worked out anyway, and upon seeing the photos The Directrice conceded that it was a good idea after all. Any of you readers have suggestions for other sites in D.C. for location shoots?

  8. Dumbarton Oaks; the Georgetown waterfront; the Kennedy Center (oh, the river at sunset!!!); Teddy Roosevelt Island; somewhere in Arlington with the city in the background (Crystal City has several spots, as does the GW Parkway bikepath); in front of the National Zoo with the sculptures; with the Triceratops on the Mall; on the steps of the National Gallery West Wing; by the Supreme Court (a lawyer, after all); at the National Arboretum; at the aquatic gardens in Kenilworth Park; in the atria leading down into either the Sackler or the Museum of African Art; at the Freer; by the Smithsonian Castle; at the Mall carousel; by one of the mansions on Embassy Row.

    We recently moved from DC, and while I like our new town, I clearly miss my hometown.

    • Hi RKT, these are wonderful suggestions, thank you so much! I especially like the Kennedy Center, National Gallery, and Supreme Court suggestions. In fact, now that I think about it, The Directrice has an old photo of her on the steps of the Supreme Court with her friend Desh. Maybe I’ll scan that in.


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