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Drop the cravat. Put that jaunty hat back in the closet. And you can leave your Dutch bike parked at home. The Sartorialist may be coming to D.C. tonight for a book signing (the titular 512 page photo book is his first), but he is here to do precisely that: sign your book. Meaning: not to photograph you. I recognize that there is a lot of pressure to dress well for the GQ columnist and arbiter of taste, who has been heralded by every fashion magazine, and whose photos provide inspiration to designers worldwide. But you can save several hours of digging through your closet tonight by remembering this simple truth: The Sartorialist will not be interested in what you are wearing tonight. He probably won’t even bring a camera. A search of his blog reveals that, of the many cities in which he’s photographed stylish men and women, D.C. has never been one.
Not that he hasn’t had the opportunity, as this isn’t his first time meeting a throng of D.C. stylistas. The Sartorialist‘s photos were exhibited last year at Adamson, and when it was announced that the photographer himself, Scott Schuman, would be in attendance, D.C.’s hipster fashionistas were abuzz. The biggest question on everyone’s mind was not about the art, or even about the artist. It was “What will I wear?” This resulted in hundreds of collective hours across this city being spent culling the quirkiest, most colorful, vintagey, over-accessorized outfits—-male and female—-that D.C. has ever known. The throngs at Adamson on the night of the opening looked like a caricature of every photograph the Sartorialist has ever taken. When this fashion elite, awaiting their close-up, encountered the artist in real life—-their emotions running high after hours of obsessive accessorizing—-and saw that he was not carrying a camera, they just looked glum. Looking glum can really ruin a good outfit.
By all means, I’m not advocating that anyone wishing to meet the Sartorialist conform to the world’s perception of D.C. as a beige, untailored city. Wearing Ann Taylor to meet the Sartorialist would be an unimaginable faux pas. Just maybe not look like you’re trying so hard this time? After all, the Sartorialist is all about effortless style (granted, it’s easy to have effortless style if you are a model, Carine Roitfeld, or a citizen of Milan). Instead, as you prepare to head over to Masa 14 tonight at 9, consider the oft-quoted advice of Coco Chanel: Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off. —-Maura Judkis