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Best of Georgetown 2012: Where to Shop in Georgetown

Looking for something one-of-a-kind? Georgetown’s shops offer gems you probably won’t find at a mall.

With high-end brands and neatly organized racks, Tari feels more like a boutique than a consignment shop. Photograph by Jeff Elkins.

Women’s Fashion

Some of Washington’s most forward-thinking styles can be found at Hu’s Wear (2906 M St., NW; 202-342-2020) and Hu’s Shoes (3005 M St., NW; 202-342-0202). Owner Marlene Hu Aldaba stocks her spare Hu’s Wear showroom with statement separates from Yigal Azrouël, Alexander McQueen, Proenza Schouler, and Helmut Lang. Though her shoe emporium is smaller, each pair of pumps, flats, and sandals is a work of art; brands include Brian Atwood, Pierre Hardy, and Nicholas Kirkwood.

The airy boutique Relish (3312 Cady’s Alley, NW; 202-333-5343) dresses lawyers and business types in the edgy yet intellectual designs of Haider Ackermann, Marni, and Dries Van Noten. Don’t be afraid to ask for assistance—owner Nancy Pearlstein, a veteran of the Washington retail scene, has trained her sales staff well.

San Francisco import Babette (3307 Cady’s Alley, NW; 202-339-9885) carries flowy, loose-fitting separates in a variety of colors. Embellishment is minimal, and prints are few and far between—think Eileen Fisher’s quirky twin sister.

Society girls flock to Urban Chic (1626 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-338-5398) for floaty Rebecca Taylor tops, colorful Shoshanna cocktail dresses, and preppy, colorful separates from Trina Turk, Tibi, and Alice and Olivia. Check the website for frequent sales, special guests, and trunk shows, where cupcakes and Champagne are almost always provided.

Next door, newcomer Duo (1624 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-652-0837) is a budget shopper’s dream. Co-owner Kyle Barber carries trendy, affordable separates from the Addison Story, Ali Ro, and Dolce Vita. The real draw, though, is Barber’s beautiful line of Hippie Chic jewelry. Beaded in-house—Barber makes the baubles as she minds the store—the multi-strand pieces often feature beads from vintage necklaces she has found at estate sales and thrift stores, usually costing around $50.

Shoe and accessory fiends should head to cozy Sassanova (1641 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-471-4400), where Tory Burch flats, Loeffler Randall heels, and Jack Rogers sandals sit prettily atop white lacquered shelves. There’s also plenty of classic jewelry and handbags. Last year, the store began carrying clothes as well, including stylish separates from Yumi Kim, Hale Bob, and Waverly Grey.

Walk too quickly and you might miss Wink (3109 M St., NW; 202-338-9465), the women’s boutique under Steve Madden. After paying her dues at Armani and Hermès, Paige Speyer opened this cheerful, chic spot in 2004 to provide twenty- and thirtysomething women with pretty pieces from Rory Beca, Mara Hoffman, and Equipment as well as tribal-inspired jewelry from House of Harlow 1960.

Georgetown’s main shopping drag also plays host to trendy chain boutiques. We like Intermix ( 3222 M St., NW; 202-298-8080) for sexy Friday-night ensembles, Barneys Co-op (3040 M St., NW; 202-350-5832) for interesting basics and Alexander Wang bags, and Cusp (3030 M St., NW; 202-625-0893) for denim, party dresses, and a great sales rack.

Zara (1238 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-944-9797), Madewell (1237 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-333-3599), and Kate Spade (3061 M St., NW; 202-333-8302) round out the mix.

Gifts and Accessories

Jonathan Adler (1267 Wisconsin Ave., NW), the first Washington outpost of the New York interior designer, is slated to open in October. Fans of his signature “happy chic” aesthetic can expect great housewarming gifts—a quirky vase or salt-and-pepper set—as well as lacquered coffee tables, patterned rugs, and colorful picture frames.

A Mano (1677 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-298-7200) carries an elegant mix of gifts, decor, and entertaining supplies—perfect for the perpetual Georgetown hostess. Our last visit turned up beautiful Jill Rosenwald ceramics and, for kids, a back room full of handsome wooden toys.

Dalton Pratt (1742 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-333-3256) stocks all things feminine. Downstairs you’ll find printed Samantha Sung dresses, a wall of leather totes and embellished clutches, and wear-with-everything gold jewelry. Upstairs, the impeccable home-decor selection feels right out of a tasteful New York City penthouse. A few items—such as the Camomile Hixon glitter paintings—make a modern statement.

Jaclyn Mason’s Charm (2910 M St., NW; 202-298-0420) is a good place to find one-of-a-kind jewelry. The front showroom has statement necklaces from Bounkit and party-ready earrings by Roni Blanshay, but there are also more delicate everyday pieces from Gorjana. Step one room back for colorful scarves and clutches, and keep an eye out for the house brand of baubles—they tend to be cheaper and just as cute as what’s available up front.

We’re happy to report that the recent move of M29 Lifestyle (2800 Pennsylvania Ave., NW; 202-295-2829) around the corner to the inner courtyard of the Four Seasons Hotel had little impact on the shop’s inventory—an air of easygoing glam still pervades the boho-eclectic mix of John Robshaw weekenders, Chan Luu bracelets, and luxe trinkets for children and men.

Luxury leather goods are the name of the game at Sterling & Burke (2824 Pennsylvania Ave., NW; 202-333-2266), the only shop in the US to carry the English brand Swaine Adeney Brigg. Refined attachés, trunks, duffels, and smaller accoutrements pack the mahogany shelves, making it an ideal destination for Washington’s political power set.

Like design-conscious kitchenware? At the Italian company Alessi (3319-A Cady’s Alley, NW; 202-298-0407), bird’s-nest fruit baskets sit alongside parrot-shaped corkscrews. The sleek barware and cruets would look beautiful on any dining table.

The mix at Oliver Dunn, Moss & Co., and Catharine Roberts (1657 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-338-7410)—three stores fill one spot—feels right out of a provincial French cottage. The six-room rowhouse and its long, skinny back yard is packed with rustic table linens, vintage birdcages, topiaries, antique furniture, and more. It’s a good place to stop in for design inspiration.

At Jack Spade, men can find tailored plaid shirts, skinny ties, and more. Photograph by Jeff Elkins.

The Sporting Life

Opened in November in the old Tommy Hilfiger space, DC’s first branch of the Gap’s athletic brand, Athleta (3229 M St., NW; 202-471-4268), veers more granola-crunching hiker than extreme triathlete. Yoga-lovers will find tanks and stretchy pants; runners can scoop up pretty sweat-wicking bras and reflective shirts. Headed on an outdoorsy getaway? The store is especially strong in easygoing casualwear such as tops with built-in bras and water-resistant running jackets.

Geared toward urban athletes who spend more time at the gym than on the trails, the Georgetown branch of City Sports (3338 M St., NW; 202-944-9600) has everything from at-home exercise gear to slick equipment bags. Don’t hesitate to ask the knowledgeable staff questions, especially when it comes to finding the right pair of running shoes.

Serious outdoorsmen can spend hours browsing the North Face (3333 M St., NW; 202-298-5510), which carries everything from down jackets to heavy-duty hiking backpacks throughout the year. Rock climbers, skiers, snowboarders, hikers, and even those just looking for a new pack will appreciate the patient, laid-back staff.

British Imports

Stocked with rugged leather jackets and motorcycle boots for men and women, AllSaints (3235 M St., NW; 202-595-9828) perfected the art of grungy London glamour before it hopped the pond.

The iconic wax coat at Barbour’s (3221 M St., NW; 202-298-6032) anchors the 118-year-old company’s reputation as a purveyor of English-country style. At the Georgetown shop, men, women, and children can find timeless, high-quality jackets, button-down shirts, sweaters, and accessories.

The flashier cocktail-party set heads to Karen Millen (1259 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-333-0280), where notice-me party dresses are designed to hug every curve. Heels are high, straps are skinny, and clutches are sparkly, but you’ll never feel as if you’re wearing something out of a teenager’s closet.

Prepster’s Paradise

Sherman Pickey (1647 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-333-4212) is our favorite local boutique for preppy men’s and women’s clothing. Yes, there’s plenty of Lilly Pulitzer, but you’ll also find smart shifts from Jules Reid, Psycho Bunny polos for men, and charming bags, bow ties, and colorful enamel jewelry. Don’t miss the back wall of Petit Bateau T-shirts.

Georgetown’s recently renovated Brooks Brothers (3077 M St., NW; 202-298-8797) has the navy blazers, cashmere sweaters, and pressed chinos of a quintessentially WASPy wardrobe for men, women, and children.

Also good: J. McLaughlin (3278 M St., NW; 202-333-4333) for classic American looks and, for teens, Jack Wills (1079 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-333-7980).

Just for Men

Guys, sometimes the key to impressing women with your wardrobe is to let a woman pick it out. Kelly Muccio has mastered the art of rugged cool, and she keeps her boutique, Lost Boys (1033 31st St., NW; 202-333-0093), stocked with pieces from Band of Outsiders, Rogan, and Steven Alan. Bonus: Personal styling sessions in the upstairs Black Room come with beer and snacks.

The options can get overwhelming at the menswear emporium Streets of Georgetown (1254 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-295-9098)—best to let the dapper sales associates guide you. Southern gentleman will be happy with the extensive selection of navy, gray, and khaki suits by Hickey Freeman and Hart Schaffner Marx; there are also cashmere sweaters and polka-dot bow ties for weekends at the country club.

We like Jack Spade (1250 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-333-1905) for classic-with-a-twist accessories such as perforated-leather wallets, wooden iPhone cases, and leather weekenders. You’ll also find tailored plaid shirts, subtly luxurious sweatshirts, and cool work bags.

We’re excited for the August 31 opening of the Dutch import SuitSupply (2828 Pennsylvania Ave., NW; Shoppers can expect the 5,400-square-foot store—the third to open in the US—to carry enough smartly patterned ties, slim-cut suits, and leather weekenders to fill an entire issue of GQ.

Vintage and Consignment Shops

At Tari (1525 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-621-7500), gently used designer clothes and shoes are allowed plenty of breathing room on racks and shelves, making it feel more boutique than consignment shop. Women’s clothing skews more glam than at the rest of the neighborhood consignment stores, and we’re happy to report that the men’s section isn’t stocked with Western-style button-downs and ironic tees but crisply pressed dress shirts.

With enough Milly, Nanette Lepore, and Tory Burch to satisfy both mothers and daughters, Ella-Rue (3231 P St., NW; 202-333-1598) is good for a shopping date—and there’s always a friendly dog around to pet while you shop. Owner Krista Johnson sources from her socialite friends, which means the selection is always current. And thanks to a move to a larger space across the street last year, the store feels more spacious.

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