Byline: Susan Watters

WASHINGTON — “Washington has more style than anyone gives us credit for. People have style, it’s just that they’re afraid to show anyone,” says Laura Battaglia, publisher of Capital Style, a new political lifestyle magazine that launched here this week.
On that point, the big-bucks fashion advertisers might take some convincing. The debut issue carries no fashion editorial or ads. However, there are a few retail accounts such as Neiman Marcus, Britches of Georgetowne and the Gianfranco Ferre boutique.
As for an assessment of Washington’s fashion scene, editor Bill Thomas offers that it’s simply one of the city’s many “tribal rituals.” Politicians who rise from the House to the Senate immediately try to upgrade their fashion image, he says, noting that “they go from dressing like real estate agents and car dealership owners to bank presidents.”
“If you’re not in uniform, people don’t trust you,” says Thomas.
The magazine launched with a 60,000 circulation, of which 20,000 is paid. Other ads in the nearly 100-page first issue include Mercedes and Absolut Vodka, along with local restaurants and services.
Early reader surveys show the average reader of Capital Style, published by the London-based Economist Group, which publishes The Economist and Roll Call, is most likely to be male, in his early 40s, with a household income over $100,000, says Battaglia, who also is publisher of Roll Call.
Thomas, who has tried his hand as a standup comic, considers the new magazine “an anthropological investigation of power.”
“You never know when you’re going to have to use the other guy,” he says. “Enemies and friendships are all more ad hoc since influence is always up for grabs, and there is no end product.
“As soon as you’re elected, everything you do is stage business to prepare for reelection,” says Thomas, who describes “jostling to collect headlines as quickly as possible” as “the Washington ritual.”

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