Annapolis Lighting and Dominion Electric Supply Co.
Multiple Maryland and Virginia locations
Dominion Electric and Annapolis Lighting have both been in business for decades, with
loyal staffers and customers. For good reason: They sell thousands of products, from
light switches to the fanciest of chandeliers. The choices can be overwhelming, but
each has certified lighting designers who can help you decide.
Bonus: All of the showrooms have an LED lab where you can compare bulbs and hold fabric
and paint samples up to them to get a feel for how they’ll look in your home. Dominion’s
Arlington flagship has a delightful outdoor lighting display that makes you feel you’re
on an evening stroll.
3323 Cady’s Alley, NW, 202-965-4888; 415 Eighth St. NW; 202-783-4888
Ask any modern-minded architect or designer where to get top-quality lighting, and
Illuminations is likely to be the answer. Artemide, Kartell, Foscarini, Bocci, and
dozens more brands can be found here, and the consultants at its Georgetown and Penn
Quarter stores will help you decide what should go where.
Bonus: The store’s online sample sale is impressive for its variety of styles and sizes.
Rugs by Design
Matt Camron Rugs & Tapestries
1651 Wisconsin Ave. NW; 202-333-0642
Designers have long been in the know about Matt Camron, a Texas company that specializes in reproducing antique designs in custom colors and also crafts contemporary patterns made to order. Now Washingtonians can see its work in a new DC showroom above Marston Luce Antiques. Bonus: Owners Elizabeth Esfahani and Dara Mersky are working with a Defense Department program to employ Afghan women to produce a new line of rugs for them this fall.
Downtown DC, 202-347-2160; Georgetown, 202-337-1363; Chevy Chase, 301-654-1481; Alexandria, 703-535-8750; Tysons Galleria, 703-288-4387
Cozy, ladylike apparel in pastel and neutral hues rules at this national chain. You’ll
find lace dresses, flowy blouses, and dainty accessories by hundreds of brands, from
Citizens of Humanity to Meadow Rue.
Bonus: Don’t miss the pretty, minimalist home pieces—from spice jars to duvet covers.
Carefree and Current
South Moon Under
Multiple Maryland and Virginia locations
Tribal prints, geometric shapes, and bright hues dominate the clothing and accessories
at this chain. Brands include Free People, Rebecca Minkoff, and House of Harlow. Denim
in both trendy prints and traditional blues by such labels as 7 for All Mankind and
Joe’s Jeans round out the mix.
Bonus: The nine area locations occasionally host in-store soirees, usually featuring discounts,
refreshments, and blogger appearances.
1237 Wisconsin Ave., NW, 202-333-3599; Tysons Corner Center, 703-761-4301; 7101 Democracy Blvd., Bethesda, 301-469-0104
This chain is most reliable for its shirts—from rugged chambrays to classy silk blouses—and
other timeless basics like tees and cardigans. Backed by the quality of J. Crew, this
sister store boasts a younger, more relaxed vibe with its geometric jewelry, brightly
colored flats, and “destroyed” denim—all at friendly prices.
Bonus: Some labels, such as Herschel Supply Co., craft unique accessories exclusively for
Sexy Party Outfit
3300 M St., NW, 202-298-8080; Tysons Galleria, 703-506-0914
Sleek, body-conscious designs from the likes of Herve Leger, Helmut Lang, Sergio Rossi,
Elizabeth and James, and Rag & Bone are infused with a sexiness that turns a ho-hum
silhouette into a stand-out-at-the-party outfit.
Bonus: Several times a season, Intermix teams up with designers such as Rag & Bone and Vince
on exclusive pieces.
5510 Wisconsin Ave., Chevy Chase; 301-652-2250
The odds of being invited to a black-tie affair are high in Washington, which is why
we appreciate Saks Jandel’s racks of flowy, sparkly showstoppers from Valentino, Oscar
de la Renta, and others.
Bonus: For brides, this is the only area boutique to carry Vera Wang.
For a Tween
Peeps and Company
National Harbor; 301-749-5791
It’s hard to not smile when you walk into this shop. An explosion of yellow and blue,
it’s dedicated to the Peeps marshmallow treats. The gooey chicks and bunnies aren’t
all that’s for sale—you’ll find “Chillin’ With My Peeps” tees, mouse pads (Peeps pads?),
and tween-appropriate gifts like Peeps-scented glitter nail polish ($7.90 for a set
Bonus: Enjoy time on the National Harbor waterfront, lined with eateries.
The Blue House
7770 Woodmont Ave., Bethesda; 301-656-6088
In addition to adorable presents for babies and children, girlfriend gifts such as
purses and scarves ($29) are deceptively inexpensive. This shop abounds with housewarming
treasures—from the latest cookbook to a smashing bamboo-framed mirror ($349) in creamy
orange to Le Cadeaux European-ceramic-inspired dinnerware in unbreakable Melamine.
Try the local Chouquette chocolates—some have a sprinkle of Old Bay.
Bonus: The shop is three blocks from the Metro and three blocks from the relocated Bruce
For the Glam Gal
210 S. Union St., Alexandria; 703-535-8002
Marked by French sophistication mixed with beachy boho and a dash of glamour, this
expansive lifestyle boutique works a Zen-like palette of crisp white, soft beige,
and shimmery metallic throughout its wares, which range from earthy, organic jewelry
and breezy clothing (floaty kaftans from Baci, silver-foiled denim from Eugene Is
My Middle Name) to sequined clutches and textured, gold leather wallets. This store
also offers some majorly chic furniture, such as white lacquered console tables, gold-leaf
accent tables, and oversize nail-head armchairs done in lush oyster velvet.
Bonus: Marylanders can check out Coco Blanca’s National Harbor location for a slightly different
aesthetic, marrying “French farmhouse” with “rustic lake cabin.”
Best for Future Aviators
National Air and Space Museum
Spanning three levels, Air and Space’s main store sells die-cast and assemble-yourself
planes and space shuttles, bomber jackets, freeze-dried snacks, remote-controlled
aircraft, and anything else a future aviator or astronaut could want. Independence
Ave. and Sixth St., SW; 202-633-2214.
Best for Everyday Jewelry
The shop in this Asian-art museum offers a noteworthy selection of wearable, non-kitschy
jewelry. Sizable earrings and necklaces in silver and semiprecious stones start at
less than $100 and move up from there. 1050 Independence Ave., SW; 202-633-4880.
Best Handmade Home Goods
Smithsonian American Art Museum and Renwick Gallery
The collection of vases and dishes in blown glass, wood, and ceramic at these two museums covers all prices and tastes—and most are made in the US. American Art Museum, Eighth and F sts., NW; 202-633-1589. Renwick Gallery, 1661 Pennsylvania Ave., NW; 202-633-1585.
Best for Colonial Curios
The Mount Vernon Shop
While fans of George Washington will find much to love—from 12-inch-high busts of our first President ($65.95) to Mount Vernon Christmas ornaments ($18.95)—the sprawling shop offers a wide range of gifts and decor, including lamps, mirrors, weathervanes, and dinnerware inspired by 18th-century designs. History books and cookbooks abound, and you can buy a US flag that’s been flown over the mansion ($29.95). For kids, there are old-fashioned toys including a jaw harp ($8.95) and tricornered hats ($6.95) perfect for dress-up day. 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Hwy., Mount Vernon; 703-780-2000.