Best of Bethesda: Let’s Go Shopping
Where to find preppy Lilly Pulitzer dresses, one-of-a-kind vintage treasures, cool furniture, and handsome housewarming gifts
Shoppers at J. McLaughlin will find an array of preppy pastels. Photograph by Erik Uecke
CLOTHING AND ACCESSORIES
Daddy & Son
4836 Bethesda Ave.; 301-652-0595
The Bethesda location of this high-end Italian store is the chain’s only outpost in the United States. Men’s shirts come in three styles: standard European dress, business-casual button-down, and the more adventurous—in both color and cut—slim fit. Prices range from $139 to $159 for shirts. Ties—smartly displayed on a wall-mounted rack—are $79.
4851 Bethesda Ave.; 301-951-5272
Bethesda seems the perfect place for this preppy shop filled with critter pants, ribbon belts, and bright cashmere sweaters. But look past the pastels to find smart work and weekend separates for men and women. We especially like the printed shirtdresses and polished cardigan jackets.
7232 Woodmont Ave.; 301-656-1111
On-the-scene suburbanites hit this well-stocked shop for colorful, high-quality wardrobe staples. Flowy blouses from Velvet and MM Couture hang beside frocks from Alice & Trixie and Susana Monaco. Tribal-inspired Chan Luu jewelry and a wall of designer denim round out the selection.
4867 Bethesda Ave.; 301-913-9191
The largest Washington-area Lilly Pulitzer store has enough pastel resortwear to clothe a preppy for a lifetime. Popular with shoppers of all ages, Pink Palm carries a sizable selection for young girls and also stocks polos, ties, and swim trunks for men.
7134 Bethesda La.; 301-654-7403
The Bethesda Row location of this shoe boutique feels less girly than its Georgetown counterpart. In Bethesda, Moschino, Cynthia Vincent, and Oscar de la Renta stand in for Tory Burch and Loeffler Randall. The luxe options for children are also a draw—if there’s another shop offering Vivienne Westwood sandals for seven-year-olds, please let us know.
7126 Bethesda La.; 301-657-0290
Washington socialites swear by this local chainlet for feminine Shoshanna and Amanda Uprichard dresses and lacy blouses by Rebecca Taylor and Beyond Vintage. Though the Bethesda and Georgetown locations share a buyer, looks here are more stylish new mom than college fashionista. 7126 Bethesda La.; 301-657-0290; urbanchiconline.com.
VINTAGE AND CONSIGNMENT
7349 Wisconsin Ave.; 301-907-4699
Part consignment shop, part new boutique, and all on-trend, Mustard Seed has been helping teenagers and young adults stand out for all the right reasons since 1991. Teens will find stylish, age-appropriate options, experienced thrifters will squeal at the vintage steals (Chloé! Tory Burch! DVF!), and Mom will love that the affordable pieces are never cut too high or too low. If you’re hoping to back-to-school-shop without looking like everyone else, this is the place to go.
7801 Woodmont Ave.; 301-656-7333
Shoppers hunting for mall brands at a discount will like this secondhand emporium. The looks and brands skew young—think work essentials and going-out tops from J. Crew, Banana Republic, Forever 21, and H&M—but a few gems, such as an $80 lavender Valentino dress, can be found among the racks. Belts, jewelry, and purses—a glass display case holds Chanel and Hermès—are also available.
Second Chance Boutique
4920 Fairmont Ave.; 301-652-6606
The name of the game at Second Chance is designer consignment. In business almost 40 years, the shop carries brands such as Donna Karan, Akris, Christian Dior, Etro, Fendi, and Manolo Blahnik. Sign up for the e-mail list and you’ll be alerted when new items come in stock.
4924 Del Ray Ave.; 301-656-5995
Children change size constantly, and some moms don’t want to pay a lot for clothing kids will quickly outgrow. At Wiggle Room, a consignment shop for children’s and maternity clothes, you’ll find pieces from Mini Boden, Janie and Jack, Lilly Pulitzer, and Jacadi in sizes for newborns up to eight years. Moms-to-be can peruse four racks for stretchy tops and dresses from A Pea in the Pod, Chaiken Maternity, and Gap. Accessories such as bouncy seats, strollers, and high chairs are also available.
The Blue House
7770 Woodmont Ave.; 301-656-6088
Don’t be fooled—there are smart gifts among the kitsch at the Blue House, particularly if you’re shopping for Mom or a new homeowner. The trinket emporium is packed with knickknacks, but we come back for Claus Porto soaps, Savannah Bee Company honey, and beautiful cookbooks. There’s also a section of baby-shower presents.
7116 Bethesda La.; 301-718-1885
Chefs depend on this French brand for high-quality cookware. One of only a handful of standalone Le Creuset stores in the US, the shop has the full range of colors and shapes of its cast-iron classic collection plus nonstick pans, cutlery, and kitchen textiles. The staff can provide maintenance and cleaning tips to make these investment pieces last years.
FURNITURE AND HOME DESIGN
4909 Cordell Ave.; 301-986-1414
Budget-minded homeowners hit this store for traditional-to-midcentury consignment furniture. Prices are typically one-third of retail, and the shop takes in new items daily. Silver and china sets come with at least six settings, and the $10 shelf consistently turns up interesting glassware and fun trinkets.
Design Within Reach
4828 St. Elmo Ave.; 301-215-7200
Modern-design fans love this chain for reproductions of Arne Jacobsen chairs, PH lamps, and George Nelson tables. Known for carrying sleek Scandinavian designs, Design Within Reach also offers home delivery.
Tone on Tone
7920 Woodmont Ave.; 240-497-0800
Moving through the rooms at this antiques shop feels a bit like popping by the country home of a Parisian aristocrat. Specializing in 18th- and 19th-century French and Swedish antiques, owners Loi Thai and Thomas Troeschel have filled their store with chairs, end tables, mirrors, dressers, and decorative accessories in gracefully distressed shades of white and tan. Garden furniture is also available.
7117 Arlington Rd.; 301-654-0500
A little bit family beach house, a little bit downtown bachelor pad, this airy home-goods store offers dining-room, living-room, patio, and bedroom furniture sets. Popular brands include Drexel Heritage, Lee Industries, and Vanguard Furniture. The store also offers in-home design services.
FOR THE KIDS
Daisy Baby & Kids
4912-A Del Ray Ave.; 301-654-7477
This independently owned nursery store is a delight. Dana Evans—who also offers in-home decorating consultations—stocks Bloom high chairs, Cariboo bassinets, John Robshaw pillows and quilts, and much more. Preppy storage bins and room accessories from the Macbeth Collection can be monogrammed by special order, and they make great gifts.
Tugooh Toys & Yiro
4823 Bethesda Ave.; 301-654-2412
This two-in-one children’s shop caters to parents looking for educational, well-made toys and eco-friendly clothing. Up front you’ll find fingerpaints from Faber-Castell, Haba blocks, and miniature wooden vehicles by PlanToys. In back, there’s a collection of organic onesies and separates for kids age five months to six years as well as organic baby blankets.
This article appears in the September 2011 issue of The Washingtonian.