We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.


If you follow Robin Givhan’s logic, visible bra straps will be daring in about eight years, fully fashionable in nine; last year, however, she was happy to inform us that they were a “slap in the face of good taste.” The former Washington Post staff writer and current Vogue editor, in addition to being a bit of a prescriptivist (but think about it: Bras with tank tops are a transgression akin to stirrup pants with slingbacks) and a haute-couture cognoscente, has a theory about the sociology of streetwear: She argues that a garment is indecent 10 years before its time, ridiculous 20 years after. But how does that cover the Madonna-inspired undergarment craze of the ’80s or, for that matter, the early resurrection of the Diane Von Furstenberg wrap? (“Very Ice Storm,” noted the tag in a San Francisco boutique I visited in 1998—decades before Givhan’s 100-year “romantic” milestone.) Of course, Givhan’s more likely to hit the mark when she talks about broader trends—and the sometimes mixed messages clothes can send. (How ’bout tank tops with no bra straps? In an air-conditioned office?) Review the haute, the hot, and the horrible when Givhan presents the slide-illustrated lecture “Interpreting Clothes” at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 13, at the Corcoran Museum of Art, 500 17th St. NW. $15. For reservations call (202) 639-1770. (Caroline Schweiter)