Welcome to "How to Dress", a Buck & Breck series in which I pick out a D.C. neighborhood and based on its local culture, vibe, and aesthetics, try to come up with a way to optimally dress for that area. In addition to giving the feel of the neighborhood, I also provide my top three picks for mens fashion and grooming spots that are worth a visit. Feel free to provide any input on anything I missed or other places I should check out in the comments section.
Adams Morgan (or Admo) is the unofficial night life corridor of Washington D.C. With a slew of bars, music venues, and restaurants adorning the stretch 18th St. from Florida Ave NW to Columbia Road, this area is pretty much synonymous with ‘going out’. It's also a popular haunt for a lot of D.C.-area college students, 20-somethings, and anybody who is out for a night of revelry. Unfortunately this area’s affinity for partying cuts both ways, with most Friday and Saturday nights concluding with crowded sidewalks filled with rowdy patrons from emptying bars. More often than not, you’ll likely step into a pile of something awful any given Sunday morning in the many side streets or alleyways off of 18th St.
Admo has a lot more depth though - there are many layers to this neighborhood beyond hitting the sauce.
As a testament to its history in diversity, the name Adams Morgan is actually derived from two formerly segregated elementary schools. This area is known for its deep cultural diversity and mix of available cuisines which range from Eritrean to Palestinian. Prior to the heavier gentrification in the 2000’s, the area was home to a massive Latino community with a smattering of African, Caribbean, and Asian communities throughout the neighborhood.
When choosing what to wear in Adams Morgan, it’s a good idea to go with a fun combination of things that can mesh into the best ‘going out’ (dinner, a show, drinks, etc.) outfit. I also took into account the propensity for people to leave things behind at restaurants and bars on those long nights out, so I went out of my way to select items that are less pricey and a bit more affordable - so get ready for a lot of picks from Zara, ASOS, and H&M.
That way, it's not the end of the world when you misplace a coat or get a stain on a shirt.
Here is what I put together:
Plain Bomber Jacket - Zara
Since we're going cheaper on these options, I tried to pick a jacket that was easy on the wallet but still had a very iconic look that was optimal for layering. I went for this interesting take on the classic bomber jacket - I like it because it makes for an easy outfit to layer with fun colors (as demonstrated by the model), and it's dark tones are perfect for evenings out. It's also great for stains or spills, and you won't miss it terribly if you lose it - especially coming in at a shocking $49.90. Not too shabby.
Graph Check Button Down - ASOS
I wanted to pair the jacket with a fun pattern, so I picked out this great Farah button down featured on ASOS. It has a larger-sized pane graph check pattern which will look great with the sweater I'm pairing it with.This shirt runs a bit more on the expensive side since it's a step up in quality compared to most things you'd find on places like Zara or H&M, but as with all things going out... yolo. This piece costs $97.00.
Fine-knit Cotton Sweater - H&M
In the theme of dark tones for a fun night out, I went for this navy blue sweater that adds a muted splash of color to the outfit. It has a nice round neckline which will accent the checked collar of the Farah shirt, and if you end up dancing the night away it's a fun look to roll up your button down sleeves into the sweater for an even more casual look. The real kicker on this piece is the price - $19.99. Not too shabby H&M, not too shabby at all.
Checked Trousers - Zara
The brilliant part about patterns is that you can match them with similar patterns - key word here is 'similar'. Identical patterns of size or color are harsh on the eyes, but if you can integrate patterns with subtle similarities, it gives an attractive impression of continuity in your outfit. To get that happening in this outfit, I paired these trousers with a smaller check pattern, which will match well with the navy top and white large check patterned top which accents the top of this outfit. And this will only cost you a whopping $49.90 - thank you Zara.
Oxfords - Zara
Dipping once more into the Zara well but you have to admit, their stuff is pretty amazing for the price. These knit fabric oxfords look fantastic - the pattern and color mixtures go perfectly with the rest of the outfit. They also have a very unique aesthetic and cut, which can make for a great conversation starter at a bar. The real kicker (pun intended) is that these will only set you back $39.90. Yeah, you're welcome.
Shopping options for mens fashion in Adams Morgan is are a tad sparse compared to bigger shopping hubs in D.C, but here are a number of smaller boutique shops that are awesome for new digs.
Commonwealth - 1781 Florida Ave NW, Washington, DC 20009
If you’re a sneaker head, this place is absolute heaven. Located right near the beginning of the 18th St corridor, Commonwealth is probably the place in the city with the best choices in sneakers and more casual footwear. With everything from your standard Stan Smith Adidas to those limited edition Jordans that are impossible to find, this place is definitely a required visit if you are into kicks.
Meeps - 2104 18th St NW, Washington, DC 20009
Admo is known for having some great vintage stores, and one of the best ones in D.C. is Meeps. It’s a consignment store so if you’re trying to sell old clothes you haven’t really worn, or if you’re looking for new ‘old-school’ digs, then this is a great place to hit up. The prices are pretty reasonable, and I really love the various outfits and looks they put together on their storefront mannequins.
Fleet Feet Sports – 1841 Columbia Rd NW, Washington, DC 20009
Yeah yeah yeah, I know this is technically a running shop but I can’t help but include it on the list since it’s truly one of the best shops in the entire city. No lie, this place has to be up there as one of the best running stores in the region. The service is outrageously helpful, they have the latest running/training shoes any guy can possibly want, and they really take the time to find you the right fit without the obnoxious upsell. If you ever need a pair of running shoes, need your gait analyzed, or even want input on the best shoe technology for your particular style of exercise or training, this is the place to go.