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Fashion expert offers style tips for the District

Tuesday - 9/4/2012, 9:31am  ET

AP: 7c661370-c397-4d4e-b288-c9664e339edd
This model's mini would not cut it in the office. (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza)
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Paula Wolfson, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - Fashion in the nation's capital often receives criticism, and one expert offers advice.

Stylist Lisa Tumbarello with Style for Hire says the biggest mistake she sees in the Washington area is "bad fit."

Too many people in the region buy clothes off the rack, especially suit jackets and trousers, then neglect the next step.

"They need to be tailored to fit your body because fit goes a long way, and it is the primo, No. 1 rule of styling," Tumbarello says.

Hemlines for women are perhaps the most common alteration. Skirt and dress lengths may go up and down on the runway and in fashion magazines, but Tumbarello says the appropriate hemline is universally just above the knee.

Mini-skirts are on Tumbarello's list of things that never, ever should be worn in an office setting, along with flip-flops. Dress-down days don't mean anything goes, she says.

"Let's have some decorum. You can dress down, but dress in shapes that are still work appropriate," says Tumbarello.

One suggestion is to wear a blazer made from sweatshirt material.

"The shape of the blazer is still work appropriate, but the material feels really comfortable like you are in your pajamas."

Tumbarello says don't wear jeans unless it is explicitly said in the office dress code that they are OK. Even then, make sure they're a dark wash and an appropriate cut.

And a tip from this stylist for women who wear heels with slacks at the office, but wear flats for the commute: "Buy little magnetic hem clips that can roll up your pants."

Those clips will keep the bottom of the slacks clean and dry during a messy trip to work.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)