Elements of Style: Georgetown Shopping Guide

Looking for something original? Georgetown’s shops offer treasures you probably can’t find at a mall. Here are 18 favorite stores.

By: Cathy Alter

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Clothing and Accessories

Annie Creamcheese

This is the place where dreams come true for the vintage collector, with a covetable selection of ’70s Pucci and ’80s Missoni as well as racks of full-skirted prom dresses. Posh Spice, Nicole Ritchie, and Jessica Alba have shopped here.

3279 M St., NW; 202-298-5555; anniecreamcheese.com.

Hu’s Wear

Marlene Hu Adalba, the woman behind the popular Hu’s Shoes, has taken the show across the road, opening a two-level clothing boutique this spring. Designers include Kaylee Tankus, Devi Kroell, Megan Park, and Guilty Brotherhood.

2906 M St., NW; 202-342-2020; hushoes.com.

Major

The hipsters who line the street are waiting to gain entry into a pretty exclusive club: The store stocks limited-edition Air Jordans, artist-commissioned Chuck Taylors, and other short-supply footwear.

1426 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-625-6732; majordc.com.

The Mineral Kingdom

Owner Jacqueline Martin will help update that flashy ring you inherited from Aunt Fanny. Along with offering custom design, Martin stocks her showroom with delicate diamond bangles, strands of baroque pearls, and stacks of gemstone-studded bands.

1221 Potomac St., NW; 202-338-5505.

Relish

Owner Nancy Pearlstein has filled her airy boutique with cutting-edge designers such as Marni, Dries van Noten, and Jil Sander—all displayed like works of art. The shop also features exclusive gets, including perfect-fit jeans by Jean Shop, a New York–based line that’s not available anywhere else in the Washington area.

3312 Cady’s Alley, NW; 202-333-5343; relishdc.com.

Sherman Pickey

Psycho Bunny’s punk-meets-prep polo shirts put a twist on Ralph Lauren and Lacoste—instead of a cute alligator or mallet-swinging polo player, British designer Robert Godley chose a rabbit skull and crossbones for the logo. “They’re kind of a cult thing,” says store owner Ethan Drath.

1647 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-333-4212; shermanpickey.com.

Sugar

Owner Tobi Stewart can’t stock enough faux-patent-leather bags by Buddha, which cost around $80 and are available in a slew of colors (such as hot pink, lime green, and shoe-polish black) and styles (tote, shoulder, clutch). Says Stewart: “Last season, I blew through 100 of them.” The store also sells jewelry, T-shirts, denim, dresses, and more.

1633 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-333-5331; shopsugardc.com.

Twixt

At this boutique for 7-to-14-year-old girls, the leopard-print sequined gown with matching bolero jacket looks more appropriate for Joan Rivers. But that’s about as outré as it gets. Other party frocks are sweeter, especially the shop’s own line of silk-overlay dresses in muted shades of pink and purple.

3319-A Cady’s Alley, NW; 202-494-9708; shoptwixt.com.

Furniture and Home Goods

B&B Italia/Adlon

Putting your clothes away is a privilege in B&B Italia’s modular wardrobes. Available in both freestanding and built-in models, with sliding doors in various finishes—such as the waved glass, a textured panel that looks like a Venetian blind—the design is sleek, minimalist, and expensive. The store also carries a range of furniture, including the popular Maxalto collection, a transitional line that’s not quite modern, not quite traditional.

1028 33rd St., NW; 202-337-0810; bebitalia.com.

Darrell Dean Antiques & Decorative Arts

“I’ll tell you what I’m into,” says Dean in his Southern drawl. “Ratty, beat-up, and fraying at the seams.” This translates to offerings such as an oversize piece of weathered driftwood, a group of santos faded to perfection, and a pair of 18th-century Venetian candleholders, each a roaring lion’s head with a human arm extending from the mouth.

1524 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-333-6330; darrelldeanantiques.com.

Marston Luce Antiques

Luce has the kind of practiced eye that comes with more than 30 years in the business. His shop, which feels like the nicest summer home you’ve ever been in, contains a well-chosen collection of 18th- and 19th-century French and painted Swedish furniture as well as garden ornaments and fixtures.

1651 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-333-6800.

Poltrona Frau

“It doesn’t make coffee yet,” jokes Ezio Mattiace, CEO of Poltrona Frau’s Washington outpost, referring to a futuristic leather armchair that swivels and tilts on a piston. The chair, like most seating offered here, comes in 96 colors. “We have 18 tones of brown,” says Mattiace. The century-old Italian company’s leather is also used in Maserati cars, and the store sells both classic and modern designs.

1010 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-333-1166; frauwashington.com.

Gifts and Other Finds

Christ Child Opportunity Shop

Stepping inside this two-story consignment shop is like stepping back in time. Remember that candy dish on your grandmother’s table? It’s here. Same goes for your mother’s good china, your grandfather’s Hamilton wristwatch, and the bowl-of-fruit still life that used to hang in your childhood home.

1427 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-333-6635; christchilddc.org.

Georgetown Pet Gallery

Woody Neilson fills his shop with animal-related paraphernalia he finds on his travels as an international-dog-show judge. His collection includes sterling-silver dog collars studded with Swarovski crystal, pet beds that look like gilded Fabergé eggs, and chandeliers decorated with white ceramic rabbits.

3204 O St., NW; 202-333-3174.

Keith Lipert Gallery

The go-to guy for the diplomat who has everything, Lipert fills his shelves and showcases with sleekly designed decorative arts and bold, architectural jewelry—items he says reflect his international style and clientele. “We’re basically a village store,” he says, “but our stage is the world.”

2922 M St., NW; 202-965-9736; keithlipertgallery.com.

Moss & Co.

Next time you need to impress the hostess with the mostest, go for one of Moss & Co.’s whimsical topiaries. Owner Moki Moss sells these myrtle masterpieces in shapes ranging from cones to globes to double spheres. The store also sells tabletop accessories and French antiques.

1657 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-337-0540.

Rooms With a View

Owner Jill Goodrich-Mahoney grew up using G. Lalo’s hand-laid stationery when she lived in France. (Her father worked for the Foreign Service.) Now she stocks her brightly colored store with the Parisian stationer’s goods, among other finds. “Hand-laid paper is slightly dimpled, so the ink holds better,” she explains. E-mail suddenly seems déclassé.

1661 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-625-0610.

Tugooh Toys

The refreshingly retro toys here don’t need operating instructions, and there’s little or no assembly required. The Wheely Bugs—little sit-down scooters in the shape of bumblebees, ladybugs, and cows—are bestsellers. Parents did double takes when Brad Pitt visited in March.

1319 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-338-9476.

This article first appeared in the June 2009 issue of The Washingtonian. For more articles from that issue, click here.