Painter, muralist and sculptor, Jay Coleman, lends his insight on how D.C.’s cultural impact translates to our city’s style. He also explains what outfit components are essential to his aesthetic.
District Fray: What D.C. style means to you
Jay Coleman: D.C. style is indicative of the colorful, cosmopolitan and historical foundation of our glorious city. We live in the capital of the world, where decisions are made that have an immediate global impact. The Gucci loafers on the Senate floor and the New Balance 900 series of the streets carry the same cultural weight. D.C. style is exclusivity personified. We have always been and strive to be the flyest [and] best-dressed, whether it be comprised of the most expensive articles or a fashionista’s assemblage of Morton’s meets Gucci.
Style icon and/or inspiration
In D.C., one is forced to create one’s own style, usually from a high-end, popular culture base. D.C. politics permeates our approach to style, sports, cars, music, etc. We are competitive to the core and must be number one. I was highly influenced by gangster movies and the Black and white elite. We use name brands stores as our creative palette: Britches Great Outdoors, Racquet & Jog, Moss Brown, Madness, and Hugo Boss, to name a few. Our outfits may take five stores to complete one look and your colors better match, or you [are] immediately reduced to being a bama.
Shoes define your style in D.C. Your personality defines your staple. A true Washingtonian would never tell you where they procured their wears. D.C. is small and forces you to do your homework on what you wear. The ultimate compliment is “Where did you get that from?”
Color and accessories define me as an artist and influencer: an ascot, pocket watch, scarf, camo pants, high-end jeans and shoes. My dog, a rare Tosa Inu, even completes my look at times. I never want to be typecast and the malleability of my style fits any given situation. From the White House to the go-go, I hope to create the style and monuments that propel us into statehood. It’s not the hat. It’s the tilt.