A favorite of actresses dressing for the red carpet, the Italian design house Bulgari (301-986-8610) knows a timeless aesthetic doesn’t stop at silver, diamonds, and gold. Here you’ll find amethyst, garnet, and topaz filling the settings, and the hefty men’s watches make a strong statement.
For milestone anniversaries and timepieces you’ll hand down to your grandchildren, head to Cartier (301-654-5858). Signature styles at the French jeweler—in business more than 150 years—include the square-faced tank watch, the Panthère collection, and the iconic 1970s Love bangle, which can be opened only with a tiny screwdriver.
Girls of all ages love a tiny blue box from Tiffany & Co. (301-657-8777). Classic elegance comes in the form of key pendants, sterling-silver heart and bean charms, and simple diamond solitaires.
Also try: Pampillonia Jewelers (202-363-6305) for elegant engagement rings with an Old World feel.
Creator of some of history’s most coveted handbags, Louis Vuitton (301-654-1101) is also the place to shop for high-quality travel gear. Suitcases and trunks of all sizes and styles—with the signature LV print—line the walls, while smaller glass cases are filled with leather passport wallets, personal calendars, and jewelry and cosmetic pouches.
For a night-out shoe, look to Jimmy Choo (240-223-1102). The British line is famous for knee-high boots, strappy sandals, and pencil-thin heels. Look for shoes in leopard print, lipstick red, and glitzy gold. For those whose soles don’t hold up in stilettos, the brand has recently collaborated with Hunter and Ugg to create lines of boots.
The Italian house Gucci (301-986-8902), the power-dressing set’s go-to for modern-sexy accessories, is filled with equestrian-inspired boots and belts, snakeskin clutches, and bamboo-accented work bags and totes. Don’t miss the wall of movie-star-worthy sunglasses as well as the impressive selection of men’s sneakers.
Also try: Christian Dior (301-986-8715) for quilted leather purses and va-va-voom French heels.
Spanish import Adolfo Dominguez (301-576-3355) does casual European chic with an eye for interesting details. Men’s sweaters have asymmetrical patterns and stripes, while women’s separates—in rich shades of olive, violet, and navy—stay flirty despite a deconstructed menswear edge. Opened in May, the store also carries evening gowns, boots, purses, and dog coats.
Ohio-bred designer Nanette Lepore brings a dose of Parisian romance to her colorful collections. With a dazzling white chandelier, her only standalone store in Washington (301-657-1515) feels like a 1950s powder room. The shape-conscious clothing is good for women looking to showcase their natural curves. Popular options include ruched and ruffled skirts, detail-laden jackets, and romantic lace dresses. Lepore fans will be delighted by the selection of jewelry and bags, too.
Also try: The Italian store Piazza Sempione (301-656-0581) for modern, minimalist women’s separates.>> Next: Casual wear, kid's clothes, and black-tie attire